Posts Tagged ‘Cabin Vacation’

Let me start out by saying that every year these vacations get better and better and this year was by far the cream of the crop. Part of this has to do with the fact that our kids grow bigger and more independent every year, and with that independence comes more freedom for us, which gives us more quality time to spend with said children in these sweet, precious, short years. And also more time to drink. And nap. And did I say drink already?

In all honesty, it was pretty bittersweet. On many occasions throughout the week I would ask Rowan if she wanted to go on a kayak ride with me, or to the playground, or tubing and she turned me down a majority of the time, mostly because I was not an eight year old girl named Ellie, who is apparently The Shit, or whatever the elementary school equivalent of The Shit is {And you all know that The Shit is good, right? That I’m not calling my lovely niece shit? Okay. Good.} By the end of the week I was feeling pretty jilted and though really what mattered was that we were all having a blast, I sort of wish my five year old could have fit me into her Very Busy Schedule full of Very Important Things. She did go on a paddle boat ride with me, Jen and Jorie but she brought along a fly swatter and was sort of freaking me out with the furious passion of hate with which she went after the flies. I may have backed slowly away from her when we returned to the dock, for fear she’d turn her whapping powers on me.


We left on time and under happy circumstances around noon on July 16th. The kiddos were granted Happy Meals upon embarking out of our city which is something we don’t ‘do’. Rowan could count on one hand how many she’s gotten and I think this was Keaton’s 1st or 2nd and LOOK AT ME I WIN AT PARENTING FOR NOT GIVING MY KIDS HAPPY MEALS REGULARLY. {Now let’s not talk about the peanut butter sandwich/hot dog/spaghettios diet they’ve been living off of for the last 2 months, m’kay?} Anyway it doesn’t matter because I now SWEAR by happy meals as Strawberry Shortcake and C-3PO got along fabulously in the back seat for more than two hours, at which point they started incessantly asking if we “were there yet” so I threw them out the window into the grill of a semi {oh I’m kidding. Or am I.}

Little known fact: Paul Bunyan is a HUGE Star Wars fan. He's pretty lukewarm when it comes to Strawberry shortcake though.

Keaton was very confused by how this giant Paul Bunyan came to be sitting on that stump at a rest area in Brainerd so I very stoically told him that when giant lumberjacks get too old and tired to cut down trees or take care of cerulean oxen they look for the perfect stump, sit down and BAM, just turn into a statue. “Ohhh….” He said like he’d already known this but just forgot and it was all very confusing and then I looked up and knew I had done my dad proud. Not because he’d told me that particular story but because given the chance he would have done the same thing just to fuck with us. Your legacy lives on, old man.

The last hour of the drive was definitely the worst but all in all we did pretty well. We arrived a little after 5pm and set about trying to get our things unpacked and our beverages safely nestled in the coolers as it was eleventy billion degrees outside. This part of MN nearly ALWAYS cools down at night but not this week, people. The humidity and heat indexes kept temps in the 80’s and 90’s+, day and night, almost the whole week.

Getting into actual cabin recap times now. I’m going to try and use as little words as possible and make use of all. the. pictures. Because holy jebus there are many of them.

After dinner we headed to the beach so the kids could get in a late evening swim and we were greeted by old friends, Dodge the One-Eyed Dog, and this other guy whose back legs didn't work so well. Which didn't inhibit him from seeking out kids' sand castles and plopping down on them...

This group of ducklings was new but no less tame than last years. Keaton got into a face-off with the mama duck that I so wish I'd gotten video of. She fell backwards off the dock because she was so distracted by quacking at him {Advantage: Keaton} and then he got too close so she chased him all the way down the dock {Advantage: Mama Duck}. They seemed to come to some sort of mutual agreement after that so I'm calling it a draw.

There were festive summertime drinks {Pictured: This year's new concoction by Jen called The Smurf. All I will tell you is that it contained diet blueberry juice and it was definitely something Gargamel would have been pissed about due to it's epic deliciousness.}

We didn't forget to hydrate the kids either. Or dress them up like little hippies with real flowers in their hair.

The second day there was overcast but HOT so we spent it at the resort beach for the most  part. Monday was beautifully sunny and hotter still, so back to the beach we went, where a lot of shenanigans on the trampoline took place.

This was a little launcher thingy, where one person sat on the end while the other jumped on it to throw them off. Sadly, in a horrific turn of events, my husband could not get his ass to the end without falling off so I never got to launch him. I know. The saddest story EVER told.



CANTALOUPE! {Keaton yelled out a number of things before jumping into the water, "blast-off!" and "I believe I can fly!" among them, but Cantaloupe! was our favorite. And yes that it my tiny 3 year old jumping from a high, unstable surface into deep water. Whatofit?

Here is where I do need to break out and say that the independence factor carried over to the water this year as well. Last year the kids would jump off the dock to Bill or I but we had to be there with sturdy, open arms. This year, by day two they were both taking running leaps off the dock and in Keaton’s case, the trampoline, all by themselves. Obviously the life jackets and the little inner tubes were key here because they almost always kept their heads above water upon impact but still. This led to greater water confidence and both were dog paddling all on their own around the beach in their life jackets which was great. Keaton even jumped in with us when we took the boat out deep water swimming; jumping off the back ladder to me and then swimming back to the boat on his own, wash, rinse, repeat 400 times over. Most times kids gain their independence in such small, slow steps that we don’t even realize we’ve witnessed it, so it was pretty cool to be there front and center this time.

Photographic evidence of Rowan, who is NOT a water lover, clearly loving the water. The fact that you can see there are drops on her face and she's not writhing about in agony but smiling, is a small miracle in and of itself.

This guy was in heaven. And so fun to watch.

There are some moments in life when you hopelessly look down at the underwear your partner's left for you to pick up on the floor for the 3rd day in a row and you sort of wonder WHY you're still married. Then there are times like this when seeing him with your kids makes your heart warm, then expand in your chest and you wonder how the hell you ever got so lucky. Makes you forget about those underwear for an hour or two anyway.

I think the kids might have liked it too.

Gratuitous ring pop photo. Sometimes they're just necessary, ya know?

I’m going to have to break this into two parts so I’ll have to save the full t-shirt spread, our one and only Challenge {guess who ended up in the water? AGAIN.} And the most epic bonfire substitution ever recorded in recent history. Oooo! Don’t you love cliffhangers?


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Hi. Sorry about that sort-of-but-not-really intentional extended blogging silence. Part of it was due to the gearing up to and going on of our annual cabin vacation and part of it was due to the Extreme Cabin Vacation Hangover and subsequent onset of a very ugly case of Beach Withdrawal, suffered by at least 3 out of the 4 members of my family.

I have now resigned myself to the fact that we are back home and that our reality, while more mundane and considerably less gin-soaked than I would like, is not so terribly bad after all, as it contains a clean shower and a bed that was not hand crafted by the ghost of Hitler in the reddest, hottest fires of Hades*.

{*Okay, that may be an exaggeration. The bed we slept in was actually pretty comfortable but for the fact that it was two small  but very annoying inches too short for me. At 5’5” {when I strain my neck high enough}, I am not a tall woman and think it ridiculous that a double bed does not adequately contain my slumbering person. Also, on the third night I found a teeny, tiny spider crawling up my leg when I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night which may have largely shaped how I felt about the bed. No decent bed would house miniature spiders, amirite? Of course I am. It also didn’t help that on the first night Rowan had a hard time being away from home and to ease her fear I selflessly offered her my own pillow, which always accompanies me on overnights.  I was pretty confident she would rather sleep on her unicorn pillow pet so I was fairly sure she wouldn’t accept the offer, but no, her greedy little paws wrapped themselves around it and my own head did not touch it again for 8 looooong nights.

Me, unabashedly optimistic on the second night: “You’re probably ready to give mommy her pillow back, right?!”

Rowan, lips tightening from a relaxed grin into a taught, thin line, brow furrowing down, threatening to crush her eyelids out of existence, faint but unmistakable storm clouds, gathering about her small, bebraided head: “I think not.”

I didn’t ask again. And the pillow was not offered back up to me. }

{Wow, I really had no idea I actually felt this strongly about all this until this writing. I did know I hated that motherfucking tiny spider though. It has brought out my passion for the right to unarachnied sleeping arrangements. Stay tuned for the creation of some sort of grassroots movement with it’s own facebook fan page regarding this.}

Anyway this whole post is actually not a post at all but instead a sort of a promise of a post. I have been busily sifting through the 500+ photos I took {Aside!: With my penchant for hyperbole I feel I really do need to clarify that this is not an exaggeration. The exact number was 548. I know. I have a problem- but I’m pretty sure I took even more last year, so progress? I think?}

Now because I’m not cruel, and certainly don’t want t0 keep any of you awake at night, wondering in unbridled, nervous glee about what ridiculous shirts Bill picked out for himself and Keaton, I will mercifully show you this picture, which I’m sure will be the fodder of many a therapy session for my second born in the coming years.

{For those of you new here, 2008 was Bass Attack {scroll down to the 9th picture}, 2009 was the year of the Wolf Pack, 2010 brought with it the Galloping Wild Stallions and this year…

The Majestic Eagle.

Frighteningly majestic, I know. Or maybe just frightening. With a heaping side of lame, but you know it’s the GOOD kind of lame. And there’s so much more to come, Internet. So very much more.

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Imagine if you will, Internet, I have invited you all to my house… lured you into my living room with promises of taco dip, a cheese ball and gin and tonics and then the click of the lock deafeningly slides into place behind you. As you look at the projector and white screen in abject TERROR you realize that you have been tricked into viewing 700 slides of someone else’s good time. The dreaded vacation slide show is about to commence as the lights get dimmer and dimmer and the muah-Ha-HA’s get louder and louder.

The next few posts are going to be kind of like that. Except you don’t really have access to cheese balls or booze and you can totally ex out of this stupidity at any time.

So! Hows aboutcha takes a looksee at mahs vacation pitchers!

We headed out on the 17th for Broadwater Lodge on Woman Lake. When we left it was beautiful out, but by the time we were on hour 3 of our drive, the skies looked like something out of an End Of All Humankind sort of movie, probably directed by Michael Bay:

If you look closely I bet you can see the Hand of God smiting someone.

We got a little nervous for the well being of our precious booze when the rain started pelting down ridiculously hard, while trying to navigate what seemed like the world’s most windiest road ever. Wait, did I say booze? I think I was supposed to say kids, but let’s be realistic and figure I got it right the first time. This weather was nerve-wracking mostly because last year’s vacation consisted of a day and a half of sun and five and a half days of 50 degrees and rain. Don’t get me wrong, we had a blast. We go in every year saying vacation is what you make of it. Even if you get a less than idyllic cabin or a week of shitty weather, the point is to carpe some of that friggen diem, and have yourself a good time. And for me that starts with a good attitude, an addictive true crime book and lots and lots of booze. But still, we were all hoping for some sun this year.

Thankfully, by the time we made our way to the cabin the sun was trying its best to peak out and it stayed out for the majority of the week. In fact, we packed so much into the first full two days that everything after that was just gravy. There is so much I want to document but I’ll start with my first top 5 take-away moments…

1. The boat.

The first morning our cabin piled into the DCFI’s boat and toured the lake. It was considerably bigger than the lakes we’ve stayed on the last 2 years. The best part was Keaton, who showed little interest last year and SCREAMY interest the first year, but this year -WHEE DOGGIES.

This boy was in heaven, admonishing his uncle every time he dared slow down.

2. “Is dere BOOOOOZE in dere?”

This was a familiar phrase from Keaton, as he kept asking for sips from our cups, which at home we normally readily grant. Unfortunately we had to turn him down due to the fact that pretty much everything we drank after, oh, say, 9:30 am had some sort of alcohol content.

Morning cup of joe or a refreshing ice tea? Don't be silly. It's a bloody mary.

3. The beach.

The beach on the resort was perfect for the kids, and they used it almost every day. It got a good amount of morning sun so the water wasn’t too cold and it had kayaks and water bikes and a giant jumpy trampoline. The first couple of days we swam the kids out to the water trampoline and they had so much fun. Not as much as the grown-ups who comically tried to launch each other off only to land in the water themselves, but still, lots of fun. I am the definition of a Helicopter Parent when my kids are around water- I’m totally neurotic and overbearing but the whole beach area was the perfect size and depth for us to have the kids in sight at all times and be comfortable having them play without their crazy mother holding the handle of their life jackets.

Jumping off the dock to daddy.

This smile says it all.

4. The wildlife.

Meet Dodge, the one-eyed dog. He liked to follow us on walks and would occasionally happen to meander over when we would start the grill. I have no idea where he came from or who he belonged to since pets weren’t allowed at the resort. He does look like he’s got some serious street cred though.

In addition to the bald eagles and the many loons we saw, there was also a very well fed flock of docks. And I use the term flock loosely as these lazy bums just floated at the water's edge all day getting fed stale hamburger buns by gleeful children.


These little buggers started off sweet and innocent enough, sidling up to our deck chairs, batting their little eyelashes and receiving a peanut in the shell to shove in their puffy little cheeks. We marveled at their domestication and pretty soon, all inhibitions were gone and the older kids were getting them to crawl in their hands and eat the peanut there while they pet their backs and scratched their ears.

Now a peanut in the shell is one thing, but I DO NOT share my sunflower seeds. They are MINE and I share with neither man nor chipmunk. During Keaton’s nap one day I brought some sunflower seeds out in a little bowl to snack on while I read my book. The two chipmunks tried their usual cute routine, and when they found it ineffective on me, the bolder of the 2 climbed up on my lap and deliberately spilled my bowl of seeds on the ground, then frantically shoved them in his mouth pouch and scampered off. This happened no less than 3 times in 15 minutes, THE JERKS.

5. The challenge.

In years past we’ve done multiple challenges, specifically last year. Due to the inclimate weather, we had to entertain ourselves somehow and it usually resulted in some sort of baffoonery from one or all of us each and every night. This year the weather was gorgeous and by the end of the day we were really tired from being out on the water and in the sun, so we really only ended up doing one big one, but OH LORD was it ever a challenge. It hinged on a game of Screw Your Neighbor and once you lost your 4 peanuts, you were out of the game. The last loser was to be the Ultimate Loser, having to perform The Challenge.

The stakes were so high, this was Jen's reaction when she lost to Bill in the final round.

And this is how a grown, 30-something women ends up in her swimsuit at midnight with a mustache and a dead walleye.

Earlier in the day Bill went fishing and caught the walleye. The Deps put it in his live-well to keep in case another member of our group wanted to clean it. When no one wanted to, Bill came up with the challenge: the loser of the game would have to jump with the fish off the dock, releasing it back to its watery home. Oh. And of course you have to wear a fake mustache. Because we say so. Only the live well on the boat was soon to be named the dead well, as it could not hold a fish without killing it. So alas, we found that the walleye had gone to the big fishpond in the sky. We didn’t feel right about letting him go to waste so my sister’s boyfriend ended up cleaning him to save for dinner and Jen just had to pick him up for a photo-op and then jump in the water with her mustache on, which though not quite as cool, is still pretty funny to a bunch of drunken idiots.


Cabin vacation 20 to the 10 wrap-up will continue later this week. Right now copious amounts of cold medicine are about to kick in to my bloodstream (did I mention all 4 of us caught a nasty cold right in the middle of vacation? No? Maybe expect more whining about that also.) So before this goes from incoherent to belligerent, I’m putting down the computer and going to stare at the wall for a while. I missed you, Internet.

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