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A Close to Cottage Season

 Scott picked me up from work again so we could head to the cottage one last time before New Years. I thought the last time we went up was the last, but not for Scott.

I figured we might as well go up one last time and help Mr. Mike with a few closing chores. On the way I talked Brooke into getting Chinese food in St. Croix Falls.

 When we arrived there was a present for Meadow. Nolan had picked out a bracelet for her at Cranberryfest.

Its been a long time since we've had the cottage to ourselves. My parents weren't arriving until late Friday night. I was excited to have a peaceful day for once, but I guess I really do enjoy having people around.

We were actually prepared this time and brought eggs. Meadow still requested waffles.

I wanted to do some thrifting and hiking today. Meadow had to play on the "cottage playground" first.

We stopped in downtown Three Lakes before we made it to Eagle River.

I'd always wanted to check out the Choo Choo Store and it was actually open for once.

They had a lot of neat model kits.

On our way to our favorite thrift store we passed a new thrift store.

I can't recall what this place was called, but they had a pretty good selection. 

In my head the stores were close to each other. Instead of buckling Meadow in for a 2 minute drive we walked.

Meadow was super excited to see me. Our second stop was also a success, but I failed to capture any moments. The place was packed as everything was half off.

Meadow has a cold and Scott and I were feeling a little run down. We both decided we didn't have much energy to do hiking. On our way back to the cottage we always pass the Thunder Lake Wildlife Area. I told Scott to turn in to check it out. We were both surprised to see no trees.

According to the DNR it's rare example of a peat wetland. It kind of looked like a natural cranberry farm.

We drove down the gravel road for a while and then took turn at a crossroads. That took us to Thunder Lake.

The road literally ended right into the roaring lake.

The water was so high that it was jumping over the dam.

Meadow wanted to do some hiking and we obliged.

The kid loved running along the raised shoreline.

And then she climbed up the earthen dam. Next time we're, we'll have to explore some more.

Our thrift scores of the day. A Woolrich jacket for Scott, enamel cups and a dress for me, an apple dress, Richard ScarryVHS movie and a pink net for Meadow. All for under $10.

I remembered that there was gyro fixings in the freezer. So, when stopped by Triggs we looked for some pita. It took us a half of an hour, but we finally found some.

Thanks Chelsea and Dan.

Meadow wanted to play at the cottage playground again after lunch. I made her a leaf pile.

Her jumping in the leaf pile turned into riding her bike into the leaf pile.

Her balance on her bike is actually really good. She just doesn't push herself fast enough to do it.

We learned this trick from Marina. It seems that learning to balance is a more important skill than scurrying along.

We ate a late lunch, so I tried some fishing. At some point I thought I had a monster fish on my fishing pole, maybe a muskie. It kept fighting and fighting. In hindsight it might have just been a heavy log. The moral of the story is that I lost my favorite spinnerbait either to a musky or an inanimate object.

I did manage to catch a blue sunset. Look, no docks, mom.

Then I made salsa verde enchiladas from our garden tomatillos. It was all going good; guacamole and salsas made, chicken cooked. Then I realized I had left the tortillas in the oven too long. I ended up making more of a Mexican lasagna. It would do.

Meadow didn't mind having dinner late.

Oh yeah, today also happens to be our 5th Wedding Anniversary. We thought by coming up north, my parents could watch Meadow while we go out, until we found out they wouldn't be getting here until 2 a.m.

We had Mexican food at our wedding. This ended up being a fitting anniversary meal. Plus Meadow's a really cool kid. We don't mind hanging out with her.

Scott even made the meal from recipes by our caterer.

 So, Meadow and I put on our new dresses and she joined us for our anniversary dinner. I guess we did go see Jenny Lewis and go out last weekend.

The Jenny Lewis concert was Brooke's present. I'm still waiting for mine. I guess I just get to spend time with these two lovely gals.

When we woke up the next morning my parents were already up. I didn't even hear them get here.

You know Brooke was going to make some kind of hash at some point this weekend. This time she added Brussels sprouts.

Since we won't be seeing my mom on her birthday we gave her her gift early. Meadow colored a picture for my mom. When Meadow gave it to her my dad said he still had the picture she gave him for his birthday hanging above his bed.

I don't think we'd ever noticed.

Mr. Mike didn't need any help on the fireplace. Instead he suggested I blow around leaves. I put some earmuffs and blew those leaves deep into the woods.

Meanwhile, inside I painted some squares. I had my dad bring some scrap wood that were butter shaped. My project for the weekend was to make butter for Meadow's kitchen.

Mr. Mike's been working on this all summer. The poor guy has hardly fished.

Meadow and I worked on a Hello Kitty puzzle. I helped her with the outside and she did most of the rest herself.

Then Meadow and I picked out some rocks for her to paint. It was a nice afternoon of hanging out with my little buddy.

The whole day spittled. That's U.K. English for drizzled.

We hadn't really been outside the house much all day so we took a break outside. Meadow has too much fun racing back and forth to the lake.

Then I took Meadow for a long walk in the wagon.

When we came back we had s'mores.

Meadow had some more.

I had mentioned to my parents that the original Willy Wonka was playing at the theatre downtown. Everyone but Scott thought that was a great idea.

 Watching movies is kind of anti-social. I like to hang out with my in-laws.

It turns out they were having a live performance instead. We didn't want to go home so we went to Eagle River to see a movie. For Scott's luck nothing good was playing and we had to opt for bowling instead.

Meadow had never bowled before and had no idea what the point was.

After a few rounds she thought it was fun and wanted to carry the ball over herself. She was even winning for awhile.

A pitcher of Spotted Cow, bowling and good company. What more could you ask for?

G.G. claimed that she wasn't all that good, but before you know it she was keeping pace with Mr. Mike.

Scott used to be the worst and has suddenly gotten better.

Scott won!? What!?

Well, I didn't really win. In the last round the pins didn't reset after Brooke went. Everyone told me to just go. I knocked her last two pins. It gave me a strike. Then I managed to bowl a real strike and then a seven. Thus, I "won."

The smallest shoes they had were two sizes too big for Meadow. Still toddler bowling shoes are pretty cute.

Of course Meadow got some prizes in the arcade room.

Just as we were leaving the night bowling lights came on. We are all a little bummed.

We finished our beers in the bar listening to live music.

To Meadow this meant dancing time.

She entertained the whole bar for a good twenty minutes. She's got some slick moves.

When we got home I remembered that there were pizza rolls in the freezer. Heck, yeah!

While making breakfast I finished Meadow's butter. I put velcro in between the squares so she could cut it into tablespoons. Also notice the sock mittens, her new favorite thing.

I think I was supposed to prep the hash, eggs and Canadian bacon. I slept in and Brooke already had started. She did her best job, but I don't think she realized that Canadian bacon just needs to be heated through.

Today was perfect, as the day you have to leave always is. The water was calm and it was sunny. A kayak trip with my hubby it is.

I brought my fishing pole along. I like Brooke and I like kayaking, but I'll never give up on a shot to catch a big fish. Even if I probably won't catch a thing.

We only saw a few fisherman out otherwise we had the lakes to ourselves.

We went our ways when I wanted to fish a bit more in a prime location.

Right about here I started getting some good bites. I caught what looked like a bass, but didn't set the hook. A few minutes later I had lost my mini spinnerbait. It was disappointing finish after getting much better about losing lures since a bad start to the year. Brooke came back out with Meadow. The site of those two in the tiny kayak turned my frown into a smile.


My dad finished the fireplace until it was almost time to go. It still needs a mantle, but it feels like it had always been there.

It completes the place.

Then Mr. Mike and I pulled the dock out the water.

Until next Summer.

One last jump in the leaves and it was time to go.

With a stop for ice cream on the way home of course.

Thanks Mr. Mike.


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