Anyway, in short, our four days at the lake cabin were absolutely perfect. Amazing, actually. The weather skipped straight to summertime here and I'm not complaining a bit. It turned out to be the most beautiful Memorial Day weekend I can remember. Somehow, it feels like the Universe's payback for such an incredibly long and brutal winter. This past weekend was also a break in work for Andi and some much-needed family time for the four of us. I'm crashing hard this week after spending such a fun few days together.
Last Friday's warm summer-like temperatures felt too good to be true so we seized the day and spent our entire afternoon outdoors. Andi power-washed and stained the backyard deck while I entertained the kids. I set up a "car wash station" on the patio for Tory with a soapy bucket of water and sponges and she kept busy for infinity in toddler-time, washing her pails, shovels, and tricycle. Keeping my fair-skinned baby in the shade while entertaining a toddler dying to play in the sunshine was a bit of a challenge, though. I tested out several ideas for Aden - including this pack n' play system with a sheet over the top - before the afternoon sun finally set behind a tree and allowed us to spread out a blanket on the grass. I gave myself a serious mama pat-on-the-back when the weekend was over and Aden remained as ghostly-white as ever.
|Tricycle car wash|
A while later, our little family went for the first of many weekend boat rides around the lake. Two things were immediately obvious: 1) Toddler Two is the best age yet for boat rides. It seems like just yesterday infant Tory hated wearing a life jacket on the boat. Boat rides back then were always interrupted by baby screams and we never made a full loop around the lake. Ever. Last year, Age One was better, but I spent my summer with a constant hand on Tory's little body as we cruised around the lake. At least we MADE it around the lake, though. This year, Tory at Age Two is awesome. She had a blast blowing bubbles, eating snacks and waving to passing boats wherever we went. 2) And, REPEAT. Boat rides were short and sweet this past weekend as Aden firmly let us know he does not like wearing a life jacket and prefers being inside over the outdoors. Cue boat rides and baby screams. Ugh. At least we know this phase doesn't last forever.
We ran to town Saturday morning for some of those "cabin errands" we ritualistically do together on the weekends. The four of us stopped by Louie's for meat, the hardware store, Andi picked up bait for fishing, etc. Then, Saturday afternoon was basically the same as the day before. The one "bad" part about the first nice weather weekend at the cabin (if there's even fault in it) were all the "spring cleaning" chores to be completed. Everything outside was covered in a layer of grime from the winter. Andi did more deck power-washing and staining while Tory, Aden and I played outside again. This time, I set up the pack-n-play for Aden on the inside of the doorway and that seemed to be the best method in keeping him shaded while Tory played nearby on the patio.
After kid-naps on Saturday, we loaded up the car and trailered our new canoe to the natural scenic rice beds of the Apple River. Now, this is not the same section of river for which Wisconsin's Apple River is made famous. Nope, there isn't nasty water and party tubing here. The very beginning of the Apple River is just a few miles from our cabin and offers a beautifully untouched landscape of rice beds and wildlife. In all honesty, Andi and I weren't sure how our little canoeing adventure with a toddler and an infant would go, so I think we both had pretty low expectations. It took quite a bit to get us started (Andi and I hauling the canoe into the water, loading up the kids and getting them situated with snacks, life jackets, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.), not to mention there was a weird family of people standing on the bridge overhead who decided to watch us take off. But once we got settled, our canoe adventure was a lot of fun! Aden hated his life jacket of course, so I spent much of the time shushing and entertaining him with sounds and songs. Tory was a rock star and sat on the middle bench eating snacks and taking in the scenery and Andi did all the "heavy lifting" by navigating the route and keeping our canoe moving. I surprise even myself when I say I really love to go canoeing. There's something so amazing about the quiet calm of sailing along the river, admiring nature from a point of view not possible by any other mode of transportation. Though, after all the rigmarole of hauling the canoe to/from the river and keeping the kids busy with snacks, songs, etc., Andi and I joked we'd unlocked some sort of outdoor parenting badge. It's definitely easier to walk 50 feet out the cabin door and go for a pontoon ride around the lake instead. Life's all about the adventure, right?
|Aden laying in a "nest" of blankets at my feet in the bow of the canoe|
|Tory the Explorer|
Another evening pontoon boat ride after we returned to the cabin because, duh, then we invited our cabin friends Josh and Krista and their kids over for s'mores and a bonfire. Tory and her little friend, Hannah, loved having s'mores so much. I don't think Tory really grasped the concept of marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers in sandwich form until she saw it all come together. Girlfriend wasn't complaining, that's for sure! Both girls were covered in a sticky chocolate mess by the end.
|Tory and Hannah|
Okay, going to have to break this post into two parts because we took entirely too many cute photos not to share and there was more fun had over the weekend ... but the kids are up from naps and hence, my free time is over. More of our Memorial Day fun at the cabin coming soon!