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It's a Northwood's New Years Eve! 10th Year Anniversary

We were the first to arrive at the cottage for New Years weekend. We unloaded our stuff, turned on the heat and headed into town for dinner.

Black Forest has new owners, which means it was about time to retry it out.

They gave us a bin of toys to play with while we waited for our food.

I just love the German bar vibe. No cheap wall paneling in site.

I didn't realize my meal came with a giant chunk of meat.

But it was a tasty giant chunk of meat hidden under layers fat. Yum. I got a tasty burger topped with sauerkraut and splurged on on a Spaten Optimator. They've got a great list of German and local beers.

When we came a few years ago the previous owners had new German food on the menu.  I'm glad the new owners brought back the originality of the place back to life.

I'm still not feeling great and felt wiped out after returning from dinner. 

Sleepy Brooke is the cutest.

Come morning Harvey helped me make french toast for the clan.

The boys wanted to sit with Theo for breakfast. We would have a full house again this year.

I was snooty about it at first, but Meadow and Theo love spending time with their cousins.

Having 14 people in a small space in the winter does get a little chaotic. 

Eventually we made it outside.

What a perfect day to cross the lake. Crisp air and a sky blue sky.

I spelled out Marina's name and Scott wrote Meadow's name.

We should've had the drone out for this. Whoops.

I always tell Meadow it takes more energy to eat snow then it's worth. Sometimes you just gotta let kids be kids.

When we returned we found Harvey riding the snowmobile.

This kid has no fears.

None of the older kids wanted to try. Only Harvey. Hopefully Theo will give it a go when he's older.

Off to the forest we ventured for a Second Christmas Tree.

Our choices were slim this year, but I think we found a good one.

All these stumps are becoming a bit too obvious. Hopefully someday the landowner will cave into our offer for his land.

Marina peered intently. Maybe next time she can cut the tree down.

And then back to the cottage we all went.

The kids were excited to decorate the little tree.

It required a redecorating after the kids put all of the ornaments on one side. Our little tree wasn't going to stay upright.

Everyone was being boring and hanging inside. Marina and I went out to find an adventure. She pulled me around like a pack of sled dogs.

And then we sled down the septic tank hill.

When you run out of places to sit.

While the kids watched the Wild West Show, Wonder Woman and other classic TV,  I made chicken wild rice soup with Chelsea's help.

Then Blake, Daniel and Jasper arrived.

Of course, they brought along some Mad Libs. 

Harvey was mad when Nolan got to sit by Theo at breakfast.

I'm not sure how we all managed to squeeze into the table.

We played some Apples to Apples and Chelsea kicked everyone's butts. 

Some laughs were had.

Mostly at my expense... Apparently reading emu as E. M. U. was a barrel of laughs.

After not feeling too good from my last few glasses of egg nog, I told Jasper to drink the rest.

He made it fancy.

We were treated to waffles made by Blake and Jasper the next morning.

Blake was clearly excited..

I helped get the waffles out a bit faster by getting the egg waffle iron going.

I think Theo had almost two full waffles.

I thought he had like four. G.G. insisted he could fit more in his tiny belly.

Up north Santa came again this year. There were many presents to open.

Even Zissou opened his own present.

I have a tradition of giving away my old sweaters. This year Jasper was the lucky one.

We also brought up a few of Meadow's presents since she didn't come home with us after Christmas.

She'd been at G.G.'s and grandpa's all week.

I also made her a dress with fabric she picked out last September. Every year she gets a handmade gift.

Our gifts this year were pretty good. 

I got a mini waffle iron (too bad we didn't open this before breakfast), "Kiss the Cook" magnet and a solar garden light.

Scott received a ice fishing tip up, gourmet popcorn set and ice fishing line.

Meadow received a crazy straw, Midwest wild berries identification book, paint your own Wonder Woman bank, princess puzzle, skittles, fruit snacks, a princess coloring book and a light up wand.

For some reason Blake, Daniel and Jasper thought it was a good idea to drag each other around on the kiddo snowmobile.

Eventually they brought the big guns.

I love seeing our lake from high up.

Occasionally someone would break out a game of Mad Libs.

Eventually I got Meadow to go outside and try her new skis. She was a pro. We might have to get her real skis next year.

Meanwhile I went a little hike to a bog Blake found while creating a stained glass of Dog Lake.

Zissous' little paws were getting cold and my foot went through the ice in the bog, but we survived.

This house looks so quaint from this side. On the other side it's like four stories high.

We passed what was possibly a bear den, hiked past the cottage and took a break on the other side.

Daniel and Zissou went back to the cottage while Blake and I went on to the end of the little peninsula.

Eventually Jasper caught up with us.

Blake found a geocache near the end of the strip of land. Geocaching is just following us everywhere.

We couldn't get the snowmobile going for some reason, only to have Mr. Mike get it going.

Everyone took their turn trying to get it to go. My dad comes out and starts it right away.

Nolan finally gave the snowmobile another try.

The Gostisha boys are generally more adventurous. 

I guess they get it from their parents.

I had pizza duty, but didn't get the dough started until after 4. Shrimp cocktail would have to hold us over.

Harvey helped me make the King Cake this year.

What? Chelsea, Brittany and G.G. are playing games on their iDevices. Oh, yeah, that's normal.

G.G. did manage to make me my favorite: Chex Mix FTW!

I of course made my luminaries again this year. This time I did half clear and half blue.

Poor Theo sleeps all day and doesn't get to go outside.

She always makes fun of me at home. Now she knows it's not my doing.

We took him for a little night ride in his sled to watch my dad check his tip ups.

When we came back inside it was pizza time.

I made a few pies and then took requests. We were all very full.

Somehow we managed to eat a few slices of king cake during a rambunctious game of Scattergories.

Theo had a blast riding in the dump truck.

That is, until he fell out.

We got most of the crew ready for sledding at the old ski hill. Harvey stayed back and fished with Grandpa and may have ran halfway across the lake. That kid.

The rest of us met up at the old abandoned ski hill for some sledding.


On New Years Eve a group of snowmobilers meets up for a bon fire and party.

We've run into them twice in the past three years.

The party seems to have doubled in size.

Despite making me nervous (and one guy claiming that Daniel stole his jacket) we got along just fine. We even let some of their teenagers borrow one of our sleds. 

Marina was the bravest of the kids.

It took until the end to get Meadow to go with me.  She was not a fan of the snow in her face. She loves sledding at our neighborhood hill, which is also a hellraiser. I think the big hill that only Daniel, Blake, Jasper and I went down scares her.

Until next time snowmobilers.

For New Years this year we had dinner at the Lake of the Torches buffet. Since there was 14 of us I didn't think we'd be able to make a reservation for a table big enough to fit us. 

After Mr. Mike went the wrong way I lead us through snowy roads to the casino.

While it wasn't quite Black Bear, it was one of our better traditional New Year's Eve meals. Chelsea and Gail just loved the crab legs. I even tried them for the first time.

This worked out well for everyone to get what they wanted.

The little ones were not in the mood to eat. What weirdos.

I think of all the kids Theo ate the most.

By the time we made it back home it was already 11:30.

I suggested we keep the TV off this year and go down by the lake. 

We all set our alarms to midnight and rung off the New Year with sparklers and fireworks.

It was the perfect way to wrap up this family tradition.

Happy New Year, folks.

After packing up and driving home we still had presents from Santa to open.

Meadow had a very special present to open.

Meadow earned money this month doing chores so she could buy Theo a present. She picked out a little rainbow stacker. Which ended up being a smaller version of the same thing Brittany and Chelsea got him for Christmas.

Theo got his own camping chair.

And Meadow got the present she was waiting for, a Snow White dress.


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