A guy Andi was talking with this weekend said it like this: You basically have 18 years of memories with your kids. Sure, there's many more years after that but life gets busy and kids start to live their own lives. Eighteen years of life's fondest memories with your family. How do you want to spend them?
That little conversation struck a cord with Andi and I. Eighteen years with Tory (maybe less if you count the latter years when hanging with her friends will be far cooler than being with her parents on the weekends). When Andi and I think about how we want to spend these few precious years with Tory - the ones that'll pass us in the blink of an eye - it's simple. We want to share those memories at the cabin.
This winter at the lake has been just as fun summertime. It's different, of course, but it calms the mind just the same. Every weekend feels like an adventure. We're experiencing something new, whether it be ice fishing on the lake or taking wintery walks with Tory. It still feels like an escape from reality, even when we only make it up there for 24 hours. It never fails, on the drive home Andi and I exchange starry gazes at one another and comment what a wonderful weekend we had together. That is worth every penny we pay for the cabin.
Saturday, Andi saw the nearby town of Luck, Wisconsin was hosting a winter carnival. We decided to check it out. The town's website boasted an ice sculpture, craft fair, sawdust pile for kids and snow man building contests.
First, we stopped by the ice sculpture. It was a 10x10 ice fort with flags and pretend guns sticking out the sides. I thought it was pretty neat; Andi was less impressed. I bundled Tory up in her snow suit and we plopped her on the bench in front to take a few photos.
**I'll have to add the cute photo later -- It's on Andi's camera.**
Next, we decided to visit the craft fair. It was held in a missionary building which really felt like a retirement community. Andi, Tory and I were the youngest people there by 30 years at least. There were two rooms full of vendors selling t-shirts and scarves, Pampered Chef, Tupperware and Avon, wind chimes and lawn decorations, and other less desirable "hand-sewn" gifts. We bought Tory a children's book and I purchased new measuring spoons from the Pampered Chef lady since mine have recently gone missing (ahem, Tory Bean).
Afterwards, we drove down the road to the Lion's Club. There's were a slew of cars parked all around here, so we figured there must be something good happening here. Turns out, it was just BINGO and the kid's sawdust pile which seemed to be three kids kicking dirt onto one another. Strange.
We walked down Main Street to grab a bite to eat at one of the town restaurants. First, we stopped inside a tavern who's food seemed to be all fried and not very kid-friendly. We decided to eat at Jenell's Main Dish across the street, a greasy-spoon diner and the only other food option. Once we opened the door, I knew it was going to be a treat! It was like stepping back in time, and nothing in the restaurant had changed in probably 50 years. Andi ordered a butterscotch milkshake and a grilled cheese. I ordered an omelet and Tory had pancakes. We had the best time at that little diner, watching Tory devour Andi's milkshake, and hanging out as our little family of three.
|Photo 1: The little diner where we had lunch together|
Photo 2: Tory and I deciding what to order on the menu
Photo 3: Andi reading a local circular and Tory coloring with her straw
While the Luck winter carnival was a bit of a bust, I'm still really glad we ventured to check it out. It's those little adventures that make having the cabin worth it in the wintertime. We see things differently than we do in the summer. It's not all about being on the lake, bbqs and soaking up the sunshine. The towns are slow-paced, less people and more down-home. We still spend time outside in the gorgeous snow-covered woods, we catch fish in the lake and drink beers by the fire. Mostly, we spend hours cuddled up in front of the fireplace, playing toys with Tory on the living room floor.
One more funny story about our weekend: Andi wanted to buy a 5-gallon bucket for the back of his Ranger ATV. We stopped at the lumber store in a nearby town and Andi asked the worker where he could find one to purchase. The man said (in his best up-North Wisconsin accent), "Oh, those 5-gallon buckets are right there on the shelf for $3.99, or you could just have the one in the back of my pick-up truck." FOR REAL. The lumber store employee gave Andi a bucket out of his truck instead of making a sale in the store. "There ya go," he said to Andi, "you might need a little elbow grease to get'r cleaned up." Maybe there was a "don'tcha know" and a "you come back now, ya hear" throw in there somewhere, too. Seriously, how awesome is that? Small towns at their finest. We just love that place.