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B-day, 4th, Tattoos (Wait, What?), Yay

This year we spent the week of Meadow's birthday in Wisconsin. First for her birthday party in Green Bay and then up at the cottage for some good old-fashioned 4th of July fun.

We were heading out of town the day of Meadow's actual birthday. During breakfast we let her open a gift.  Girly potato heads. 

For breakfast she chose waffles with sprinkles.

I think she just wanted to play with her potato heads.

On the road, for lunch she chose Culver's.

We took a little detour on our way to Wisconsin to pick up a tent for Theo.

I've been taking the kids to the beach near our new place. I'm always struggling to find a shady spot to hide the newby.

I needed some cash for the tent, which meant I need some change for a twenty. Meadow got spoiled a bit more.

About 45 minutes from my parents Theo was hungry again. Luckily we were close to a county park.

Unluckily I was the only one that wanted to step outside. It was something like 100 degrees out. Thanks goodness we were escaping to the cool confines of G.G. and Grandpa's.

When Theo gets upset in the car Meadow shows him her heart sunglasses. He loves those for some reason.

G.G.  had sloppy joes ready for us when we arrived in Little Chute. With venison of course.

Even though it was super hot out Meadow still insisted on wearing this white dressy dress.

And wanted to play with all my old childhood outdoor toys.

Little Chute seemed like the perfect place to practice some drone flying. The Fox Valley sure is flat.

It's weird to see from this perspective. 

Harvey drove his motorcycle around like a pro. At one point he disappeared and I found him halfway around the block.

There was some kind of deal on Chocolate Shakes at the nearby Culver's. So, we walked on over.

I think we all had coupons for free ice cream.

Yes, we did go to Culver's twice in the same day. Our defense is that we only had custard one of those visits.

Chelsea gave Nolan her old FitBit. I asked how many steps he does in a day. She said his average is around 20,000.

The next morning my mom gave Meadow her gift. Coincidentally she found a DC Super Hero Girls birthday card.

Good job DC. You've got a winner of a franchise.

When I asked Meadow what she wanted most for her birthday she said a Wonder Woman outfit.

And that's what she got.

Scott had work to do so I took Meadow over to Brittany's new house.

I wanted to wrap up a 360 photography job for Discover Stillwater before having the week off.

Brittany and I took the girls to the mall for Meadow's birthday present from them. I like that the girls had their costumes on today. Well Marina always wears costumes anyway.

They first rode on some kid rides.

Then they got to drive around this giant stuffed animal. It was pretty hilarious.

Brittany brought Meadow to Build a Bear to pick out a new outfit; Wonder Woman of course. And Marina got a Paw Patrol outfit for her doll.

She also insisted she needed the hairbrush too.

Once we were back we walked over with Scott to Chelsea's house for dinner.

Meadow was too busy watching tv to care that Harvey was sticking stickers all over her.

These kids were everywhere.

After dinner we went out for more ice cream at Dick's.

Totally different than frozen custard. So, this was a first.

The next morning was Meadow's Birthday party. 
I ended up going back to work a week earlier during my maternity time. Because of that I was allowed a week off anytime in the next year. With the 4th being in the middle of the week this year, I chose this week of course.

Since we were going to be in Wisconsin this week, I thought it would be fun to have Meadow's birthday party at Bay Beach this year. With her going to school she will start having more Minnesota friends. The cake I planned to make wouldn't be easy to bring to Bay Beach so we picked up some kringle at Uncle Mike's Bake Shoppe.

We arrived a bit before everyone was set to arrive. Well, actually everyone was late.

We also stopped at Costco and picked up pizza and drinks. This was the easiset birthday party yet,

Meadow got some fun gifts from her friends. A rainbow backpack, unicorn chapstick...

a kids cookbook, DC Super Hero Girls cup...

and Legos!


Of course she hated being sung to.

Then we squeezed in a couple rides before a storm came.

Somewhere during the day we lost her Wonder Woman crown.

The storm passed us so the kids got in a few more rides.

With storms in the forecast the park wasn't very busy.

I can't wait for Theo to be big enough for rides.

The kids had a good time.

Meadow and her Wisconsin friends. I wish she saw Alayna more.

I'm glad Meadow isn't afraid of ferris wheels like I am.

Come one Brooke. They're the best ride.

It sounds like an additonal bigger ferris wheel is in the works for the park.

Then the next storm hit.

We waited out in the cafeteria for the rain to pass. About 80% of the people left at this point.

Once the rain stopped the only ride open was the bumper cars.

All the rides had to be checked first.

Slowly more rides started to open. With everyone gone there were no lines.

Brooke and I went on the scrambler, just the two of us. I find that romantic. Brooke not so much. Ha.

Then Theo got to go on his first ride!

Theo didn't look too thrilled.

Of course the kids have even more fun on the playground.

I love that these double swings are popping up everywhere. Theo loved his first swing ride.

I also hear they want to put in a boardwalk and bring back a beach.

When we got back we played outside some more.

Meadow and I raced scooters up and down the block.

We stayed one extra day and took the kids to the new pool at Erb Park. Marina lives nearby so we picked her up to come along too.

Theo's first time really swimming.

This is my don't take my picture pose. Classic photographer.

We asked Meadow what she really wanted on her wishlist that she didn't get. She said a snorkel set. We found a pink one for her at Dick's Sporting Goods. She said if she had a set she would be more willing to go under water. Of course as soon as we put the mask on she complained it was too tight.

We still had a good time. Well, at least Meadow and I.

She did really like using the flippers.

The next day everyone drove up to the cottage separately. Somehow we made it there first.

Not too long after the Gostisha's arrived except Dan and Brayden. They'd show up later to blow some stuff up.

We needed groceries for our meal day.

Fishing, fishing, fishin' time. I'm not sure what Brooke does up at the cottage, but that's what I do.

I like to eat food, bake and relax.

Then Blake and Daniel arrived with fireworks and a stomp rocket for the kids.

Three Lakes, you're a star.

I'm not sure why we packed clothes for Meadow.

Chelsea made stuffed zucchin boats for the first night while Daniel made some sushi tacos.

Scott passed Theo along to Daniel.

He's in the family, right? We can just call him Uncle Daniel.

Always too much food up north.

Yup. I blame my tummy on the cottage and eating Meadows leftovers.

And just like that it was the 4th of July. These sleepy heads weren't ready for the early morning wake up call.

Parade o'clock!

Miss Meadow 4th of July Fairy.

I love the crowds at any parade. The 4th crowd never disappoints.

Is that girls shorts unbuttoned?

The city of a million fun weekends.

Meadow wasn't into getting candy again this year.

I'm liking all these new perspectives.

This is when you know it's all over until next year.

Our clan, always in the same spot.

I always end up with some fishing gear at the flea market. This year was no different. Got me an ultra light fishing pole to match my little spinning reel. Now I just need to find a reel for my medium action pole. Ha, sorry to bore you.

Harvey was having a good time, but I was ready to split.

"You never take any photos of me and Theo"

We're pretty cute. We even have the same haircut (which the Romenesko's love to point out).

I spent a good portion of the week removing and repairing the bad seal on our free sailboat (while grumbling that no one was helping me).

Welcome to my dad's life.

The kids lived in the water.

Blake had a firework that shot out a soldier in a parachute. If you look hard enough you can see the soldier in the sky. 

When my mom was 5 she had a doll cake, when I was 5 I had a doll cake. 

Meadow requested a Wonder Woman doll cake. I used the Lotus Bundt pan for the skirt.
Sadly it was super hot and with the oven on all day, the frosting was super soft. We had to eat it right away before the frosting melted more.

It's perfect in an imperfect kind of way. Just like Meadow.

I think this bass and... 

...Theo feel the same way for the opposite reason.

Beautiful wife, beautiful baby and the best dang family you could marry into (when they're not making bald jokes).

Nolan had the right idea.

Brooke on the other hand...

Bathing in the lake. Why not.

I thought this would turn out cooler than it is.

The northwoods seemed quieter this holiday.

I love seeing the view from above. I was pretty sure about my drone flying right about here.

On the fourth we had soup courtesy of Mr. Jeff Farber.

And a yummy salad thanks to Brittany. Our splitting meals is a good idea.

Harvey must like me or something.


And more fireworks.

Theo was being super crabby while waiting for the fireworks. I was getting ready to pack up to leave while Chelsea held him. As soon as they started he was in total awe, then he cried when it was all over.

To celebrate our new Russian overlords, I made some Russian pancakes on the 5th of July.

Then it was back to fishing.

Swimbait on a jig, two casts in a row. Then nothing.

I hope the cousins still hang out as teenagers. And hopefully they get along as adults because they're going to have to share the greatest place on earth.

Blake, Brittany, Jeff, Daniel and Marina went on the almost annual canoe ride to get ice cream at Sunset Grill. Brooke had to watch the babe or something and I didn't really want to go this time.

Theo picked up something in Little Chute. Too many people touching him I guess. He had a low grade fever and runny nose. 

While Theo napped I re-stained our old Adirondack rocker. Everyone thought it was going to be fire fuel, but I reclaimed its life.

I was busy putting together the new pizza oven attachment for the trusty Weber Grill.

I was in my element.

Brittany and I chipped in on this pizza oven attachment for Father's Day. Fourth of July weekend was the perfect time to break it in.

Instead of running in and out of the house we set up a pizza making station outside. I just realized we should have used our old picnic table for this.

The pizza dough that we make is super yummy, but can be really sticky. This is me posing as a dough monster.

I was clearly frightened by this.

Between pizzas I showed Daniel how cool the drone was.

The new pizza oven was a hit and we all had fun hanging out outside.

That pizza oven attachment was the perfect birthday/Father's Day present for Mr. Mike. He does love a good pizza.

My very nice father-in-law spent way too much of his weekend working on Blake's truck.

Little Harvey is always watching and helping my dad work. He's going to great to have around when my dad is no longer able to fix everything.

Meadow do you want to fish?

Maybe she will now. Her first little fishy!

Well, not her first first. 

He made it 2 weeks!

On Friday Mr. Mike rented a pontoon for the whole clan.

With our group growing larger it's hard for all of us to take a boat ride at the same time.

Little Zissou kept trying to look over the edge. Eventually he ended up falling overboard. Luckily he had on his life jacket.

Theo got to drive the boat for the first time. He's already a pro.

Theo sure gets a lot of attention.

So serious.

After 12 plus years of coming to the cottage we finally went over the dam to the Eagle River side of the famed 28 lakes.

I haven't crossed over in years.

I wasn't sure if I was going to like riding a boat all day, but this was pretty great.

Thanks for letting me borrow your hat Meadow.

This house is my favorite. I really hope whoever ends up buying it keeps it restored.

We finally made it to the beach way across the chain of lakes for swimming and a picnic.

Theo likes his little floatie.

The Funboard 3000 is always a hit.

Gosh, Brooke is beautiful.

Meanwhile farmer tan over here.

Theo fell asleep while in my dad's arms.

Then a pirate ship sailed by. We are so doing this next year.

Putting this hammock to use.


Sweet little guy napped right through the beach.

The sound of the crashing waves kept him asleep.

Next year we're going to have to take the pirate ship.

Meadow has really gotten braver this year.

Eventually we did in fact make it back to the cottage.

Dan and Brayden were here with a huge hull of fireworks...which proceeded to leave a hole in the dock.

They brought the big kind. We never have the big kind. 

Brooke sure loves this game. She dominated. I'm grumbled.

Video games are better on the big screen.

I had to stay home and split my time between daddy daycare and fixing the sailboat.

Meanwhile, my siblings and I headed to Rhinelander to get matching tattoos.

A few weeks back Blake asked if any of us had any photos of our Grandpa's tattoo, he was considering getting one. I mentioned that if I ever got a tattoo it would be Grandpa's anchor. Then Chelsea mentioned she had been wanting to cover up a tattoo on her wrist and we should all get one together. Brittany reluctantly agreed and with us all being together at the 4th we got our tattoos.

Us newbie tattooies were a little nervous.

I'm not sure about the tattoo, but the sailboat was looking dang good.

I ended up last and everyone was psyching me up for how painful it was. 

It ended up feeling exactly like I thought it would. And I thought the shading was better than the outline.

And finished. I wish my Grandpa was still around to ask him more details about the design because it's a very unique anchor.

Next thing you know I'll get a tattoo (I'm doubting that).

Jeff tagged along with us to get a Mario one up mushroom on his arm.

To wrap up the week at the cottage we had a fish boil to get to.

The fish was good enough, but we got split into two tables.

I've always been curious to try it out.

You know Brooke was all about touring an old house and the history museum.

The fish boil was by the Three Lakes Historical Society so they had the museum open for free.

This house is from one of the original settlers of the town.

Meadow liked the dresses.

On the way home Meadow drew a picture of Meadow and I riding a boat together. Oh, Theo's there too.

We then walked around a neighboring parcel that's for sale. This is Mike thinking about whether it's worth the money.

Blake wanted to go out and finish the week off with a bang. I agreed to a shot, but when I realized Brooke wasn't going, I didn't want to go. I just wasn't feeling it. 

Theo had been sleeping through the night until we got to the cottage. This mama was too tired.

My favorite breakfast. 

On a stop to feed Theo, Meadow picked me some flowers.


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