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God Bless the Cottage (Another Northwoods 4th)

After Meadow's birthday, Brittany and Chelsea stayed a few days longer. Since they were heading to the cottage they took Theo and Meadow with them. To take advantage of our kid free car ride we stopped at Moon Ridge Brewery for dinner.

We actually went out two, count them, two nights in a row without any kiddos causing a ruckus.

The pizza was good. The beer was good. What else can you ask for?

The beer was also cheap.

Might have to stop back here with the kids.

I suppose.

Our new tradition of biking to the parade.

Well, I was going to also, but our new pump broke. 

I had to drive and walk, which meant Blake, Brooke and Theo beat me to the parade.

Patriotism can be fun.

Theo was excited for the parade.

We didn't notice it at the time, but Meadow had lost a lens at the cottage. Whoops.

Same old parade, good old time.

There were donuts of course.

The emergency vehicle sirens were too loud. I had to hold our sun umbrellas and Theo's ears at the same time.

The kids all seem to hate the sirens, but they sure do love the Shriners.

I'm not sure who let these jerkwads in the parade.

All the kids got plenty of candy.

Eventually Meadow even grabbed candy this year.

Even Theo took part.

And with the big band, the parade ended as it always does.

Over the years the after party at the park has kind of gotten ho-hum.

Half the party stays downtown. We tried to check it out later and it was already over.

Mr independent. Has to walk on his own. Does not like to be carried.

One thing that keeps on going strong is the pie bake.

You have to get some ice cream or you must trade in your American card.

Back at the cottage could only mean playing in the water and dogs going nuts. Wait, where did all these dogs come from?

Theo was not into the water. What is up with my children?

Although Meadow has turned into a fish this year.

Theo prefers the sandbox.

With a ring of our garage sale-bell, lunch was served.

I can't find any food in the fridge, but we do eat well once someone makes a meal.

I brought along the leftover bubbles from Meadow's party.

Of course it was a hit.

Harvey was good at the big bubbles.

Grandpa decided to take out the old row boat and put on the little motor.

While everyone played in the water I took a nap in the hammock.

The party kept moving from the lake to the woods and then back inside.

The thrift store was handing out old books at the parade. The kids got 90's teenage romance novels. Chelsea got really into one of them and couldn't put it down.

Dan made us dinner that night. Meadow said he should open a restaurant because the chicken was so good.

She doesn't lie.

Out of nowhere a storm came through and we thought the fireworks were going to be canceled.

It cleared up again, but Theo needed to go to bed, so I stayed home with the little guy.

They lit the fireworks off as fast as they could before it started raining.

Back to the sandbox for little Theo.

He was well rested.

He also loves the dock, which makes the hair's stand on my neck. I get so nervous.

Giant egg sandwich. Such an easy meal for a crowd. Except I should have doubled the recipe instead of doing 1.5 times.

While everyone else went thrifting we went on a boat trip to go swimming.

Mr. Mike always has the best ideas.

Harvey and Meadow tagged along.

My dad knew of this sand bar on Big Fork Lake.

You could walk almost to the middle of the lake.

I mostly floated around and paddle to and fro.

We had fun.

Snack attack for the ride home.

Dang. The cottage is a beautiful place.

Dad tried out his new drone that we got him for Christmas.

Our turn for dinner which means pizza on the grill of course.

My dad got this little table just for us to make pizza.

The kids wondered how the magic happened.

I love grilled pizza so much.

I finally got Mike to take me fishing. He always seems to be busy.

I kept on catching small pike the whole time. Not sure where all the big guys have been the past few years.

Mike got a rare walleye. Not sure why he didn't keep this beauty.

As it got darker I had more and more luck.

We would've stayed out, but we couldn't see where we were casting.

Don't worry. All the fishies lived another day.

Who needs to go to the Three Lakes fireworks when Dan and Blake bring the big guns.

No docks were harmed during the fireworks.

The kids had fun taking turns riding the tractor.

Another day and Theo was still marauding along the dock.

I entertained the kids on another perfect summer day. It's never too hot or too cold at the cottage.

I came up with the idea for human ring toss.

While everyone else went for a boat ride Blake, Scott, Theo and I went hiking on the Sam Campbell Memorial Trail.

The mosquitos were loving us in here.

Brooke insists on avoiding bug spray until it's no longer comfortable.

I covered Theo in a net, but he wasn't having it.

I want to come back in the fall and winter.

I love a good pine forest hike.

One trail brought us to the lake.

Theo seemed to enjoy the big woods.

Brooke was walking so fast that she missed most of the great interpretive signage.

I read it when its cooler out.

I guess we did have to get back so we could make it to the fish boil.

Theo has discovered his belly button.

Meadow drew an amazing picture of the cottage Airstream on the way.

The Three Lakes Fish Boil. Our new 4th of July weekend tradition. Last year we came near the end and had no line to wait for.

Theo mistook a stranger for me or grandpa. 

They had some old containers on display including lard form my hometown.

Yes, I will take more.

There's no seconds except our children's plates.

That's why you've got to get all the plates loaded up.

I thought Dan and Mike were going to fish on their own, but they invited me out.

Nothing like fishing at sunset.

Dan's got a knack for getting the big ones. I think I need some true topwater baits to go with my spinners and spinnerbaits.

It was Blakes' turn to put on a show.

When we were up last time and visited Chelsea at her campsite we saw a sign for a bar. I had no idea a bar was even out this way. The Swamp Witch Inn. We had to stop this time.

Apparently I had been here as a kid snowmobiling with my dad.

G.G. was unimpressed and I guess everyone just wanted one drink.

I guess we'll have to come back another time.

Blake had been sailing all weekend. I thought I would give it another go since the wind was mild.

I had done pretty well earlier in the morning.

I'm doing better, but I still need direction.

Direction is the key. Ha.

Then dad took Meadow, Harvey and Theo on the little boat.

I thought they were going to go around the lake and come back. When they were gone for a long time I was worried something had happened to Theo. When they finally returned my dad said he sat in his seat the whole time just looking around.

That bodes well for our upcoming excursion into the BWCA.

On our drive home we promised Meadow ice cream. We stopped at the park in Ladysmith to eat our ice cream and play.

This is the best playground in all of the Upper Midwest. I don't need to see your newfangled ones.

Theo wants to do all the things Meadow does.

Usually that works out. Sometimes, not so much.

After being out of town so much recently it was nice to drive back to Minneapolis.


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