Then, this weekend happened. Sunny and 80's and just absolutely wonderful for every single moment. It was the first weekend in many where were didn't have any company at the cabin and therefore, we had no expectations about what the weekend should hold.
Friday afternoon, Andi scooted out of work early. We putzed along our drive to the lake, stopping at a farmer's market in Chisago Lakes on the way.
Armed with fresh produce, we made a big shrimp and sausage boil for dinner on Friday night and invited our cabin neighbors/landlords Joe, Lisa and their girls Morgan and McCall over to eat. Seafood boils are one of our favorite dinners at the cabin during the summer. Piping hot shrimp and mild Italian sausage paired with farmer's market fresh red potatoes and corn on the cob. We like to use Slap Ya Mama seasoning to pull it all together and serve the meal family-style with brown paper rolled across the tabletop. The best part is, there's little clean-up. WIN.
Andi, Tory and I woke up early Saturday morning (hey, Tory! Thanks for the 5:30am wake-up!) and decided to eat breakfast on the pontoon as we cruised around the lake. There's really no better way to start the day than on a boat, in your pajamas, with coffee in hand.
|Daddy's little skipper|
Tory was so relaxed she actually fell asleep on my lap during our boat ride. So, I just held her while Andi fished and we soaked up the morning sunshine and peacefulness. I had to laugh; Tory was snuggled against my belly for 30 minutes or so while she slept and Baby Boy must not have liked having her in that particular position. He gave me (or her, really) some big ol' kicks -- a constant "boom, boom, boom" in an effort to get her to move. I doubt he was in trouble as I didn't feel uncomfortable, but funny nonetheless. Aww, their first sibling quarrel. Cute now; probably not so adorable later.
After Tory's morning snooze, we drove to a nearby lake to meet Andi's dad who was camping with some friends. We hung out with Grandpa Jim for a while. He even showed Tory how to cook on "grandpa's kitchen" since she's likes to play with her kitchen set at Grandma and Grandpa's house so much.
|Tory and Grandpa Jim|
|Banging on pots and pans with a stick|
|Looking at Osprey flying overhead|
|Playing outdoor "kitchen"|
Tory's coming into the phase of development where she really remembers people (specifically family) and the places we go. She talked about Grandpa Jim for the rest of the day and even told me later how she played kitchen with him. She would have loved to spend all day there, but we had to scoot off to the annual Pipe Lake Picnic taking place back at the lake. At the picnic, we socialized with a few of the cabin neighbors, ate fried chicken and watched Tory play with Morgan, McCall and their college friends in the grassy area nearby. I wanted to rush back to the cabin afterwards to put Tory down for a nap. We transitioned her to a big girl bed at the cabin a few weekends ago and sleep there has been quite disrupted for all of us since then. Another post, another day about that topic because it's been a big ol' hassle. Anyway, I knew Tory needed sleep before too long or she'd be nearing meltdown.
We came back to the cabin and Tory slept for an hour while Andi and I laid by the water in the sunshine. This weekend felt like summer's last big hurrah; or maybe said in a less sad-trombone-summer's-ending kind of way, one of those weekends in Minnesota where you stop and realize this amazing weather will soon give way for another season. It felt awesome to soak it all in.
When Tory woke up from her (too short) nap screaming her head off, Andi wrestled her into her swimming suit and and we headed out on the boat for distraction. We told Tory we'd go to the swimming beach but when we saw how busy it was, we did a few hot laps around the lake and enjoyed the sunshine instead. Tory's new favorite thing is to boat through the "tunnel" (the channel that connects Pipe Lake and North Pipe Lake) so we obliged her request. I'm not sure where she learned this, (from Andi I assume, but I'm not sure when) but Tory shouts "tunnel! tunnel!" and then we're all instructed to clap our hands as we pass through to create an echo. She thinks it's the best thing ever and asks to see the "tunnel" about a dozen times on every boat ride. Eventually, we made our way back to the swimming beach and linked up with a few other cabin owners. We had the best afternoon standing in the water, chatting with our friends on the lake.
|Tory and McCall|
|Deanna, Lisa and I|
|Tory and her college-age friends|
McCall, Brianna, Nick and Morgan
It's kind of funny, actually, how much the "college kids" love playing with Tory. She had a blast as they tossed a ball in the water and scooped sand into buckets on the beach. It's such a nice break for Andi and I to be able to chat with our cabin friends and not have to be constantly entertaining Tory the entire time, especially because there aren't many kids her age around there.
After a while, Tory kept grabbing our cheeks with her hands and saying "home!" so she was clearly ready to leave. We packed up at the beach and headed back to the cabin for dinner. Andi grilled pork chops, potatoes and fresh corn on the cob. We sat outside on our deck - just us three - and had a lovely dinner together. It hasn't happened very often this summer that it's just us and it was a really nice treat. Tory scarfed down her pork chop and corn on the cob, so she must have been hungry!
We cleaned up dinner and decided to take "truck ride" around the area in Andi's Ranger ATV. It was just about sunset and amazing to see all the wildlife out and about. First, we drove to a nearby goat and donkey farm for Tory to see the animals. Then, we cruised along the country roads, stopping every time we saw deer or turkeys in the fields. We also saw cows and sheep at another farm. Of course, no family road trip would be complete without a few sunset pictures.
I can't describe why exactly, but our "truck rides" around the cabin are truly some of my favorite moments as a family. It feels like we're the only three people on Earth, just us and nature, and it's so incredibly peaceful. My heart feels so warm and full when I think back to our evening together and really, our entire weekend, because it was just so unexpectedly perfect.