Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Weekend Recap: Black Bears, Construction Zone, Fall is Here

We enjoyed a nice fall weekend at the cabin, though it was a bit out of the norm for us. Our remodeling projects are still underway there, so the upstairs and middle-level of the cabin were a complete construction zone this weekend. We aren't doing any work to the basement at this time, so Andi and I decided to shack up down there and make due with bare-bones accommodations. We didn't have much access to the kitchen and couldn't cook any meals, but we had enough room to sleep, shower and let the kids play in the downstairs family room. For us, being at the cabin in a limited capacity is better than not being there at all!

Friday evening, we stopped by the lake first-thing to verify our family could safely stay there. Our back-up plan was to sleep in the room above our cabin neighbors Joe and Lisa's garage. After we decided our own cabin would be acceptable, we cruised over to Joe and Lisa's cabin for a bit to let them know our plans, and to catch up after a few weeks apart. Eventually, Tory tugged at my pant leg enough chanting "snack! snack!" that we left our friend's cabin for dinner at The County Line Tavern.

Andi and I have been so proud of ourselves lately for braving restaurants with our little gremlins. Dinner out is actually semi-enjoyable these days! At first we wondered if our kids were behaving better in public, but then realized our expectations are more in check as seasoned parents of two. At dinner on this night, the one and only high chair was being used by another table, so Andi tucked Aden under his arm on the bench seat and held him there during dinner. Tory ate four packets of butter before the waitress arrived to take our order, and afterwards proceeded to crawl on the dirty floor under our table and between the two booths over and over again. Did we care? Eh. It's not worth the fuss to stop her. Andi ordered us drinks, dinner, asked for a box and our check in one felt swoop. We ate our meal and left the restaurant in less than an hour. Ah, dining with kids. With the lowest of expectations set, we enjoyed a nice evening together!

Saturday was a good mix of family time and chores around the cabin. Andi assembled our new dining room table and chairs while I manned the children downstairs. Mid-morning, we packed everyone into the car and drove about 20 minutes to the nearby town of Amery with intentions to check out a fall festival. It ended up not being what we'd hoped, so we stopped by a tile store instead to gather ideas for our cabin bathroom remodel and ate dinner at a local Mexican restaurant there. We made it back to the cabin by mid-afternoon for kid naps and more cabin chores. My favorite memory of the entire weekend happened Saturday night as Tory and I lay in bed together. (We all shared a bed this weekend since our usual sleeping places were under construction). Tory and I often play this game where one of us says, "I'm thinking of an animal and it sounds like ..." The other person guesses the answer, then we take turns. Over and over again Tory and I played the guessing game as we laid together in the dark, and every single time Tory's clue was, "I'm thinking of an animal and it goes like this: oink, oink." Finally on the fifth or sixth time of giving me the same clue during her turn she said, "I keep saying oink oink because I really like pigs!" Ha! I could've scooped her up in my arms and squeezed her tightly. (Okay, maybe I did.) Love that little girl!

Sunday morning, Andi received a text message from Joe, our cabin neighbor, saying his daughter Morgan shot a bear. It's bear hunting season in Wisconsin right now and Morgan drew a tag this year. We decided to go over there and check it out. Worried Tory might be frightened, we told her there was a bear at Joe's house but it wouldn't hurt her because it was sleeping. Tip-toeing lightly, Tory responded, "Okay, I'll be reallllly quiet."

The bear was a sight to see, for sure. It was about 250 pounds with all black fur. Andi brought his camera so he could snap a few photographs for Morgan and her family. Hard to believe this bear (and many others!) was/are living within miles of our lake cabin.

Tory asked to have  her picture taken with the bear, too. She happily said, "Cheese!" right on cue.

Then, I had to get a picture with my little black bear and the real deal behind him. 

Amazing, isn't it?

Shortly afterwards, we walked home from the neighbors through the wooden trail connecting our cabin to theirs. It was a perfect fall afternoon - the air was crisp and the leaves were beautiful colors around us. We "crunched, crunched" the leaves as we walked along the path.

Look out, Andi! There's a little black bear behind you!

Sunday afternoon, we hired a photographer to take family photographs of us at the lake. We're hoping to have a nice family photograph of the four of us together to hang about the fireplace in our newly remodeled living room at the cabin.

Next weekend, our cabin construction projects should be close to completed, my cousin Jen and her family are coming to visit, and we've got a trip to my favorite pumpkin patch planned for one afternoon. I'm already dreaming about our next visit to the lake!


  1. Seriously, eating out with kids is a major adjustment of expectations! It has to be fast, something they will eat, and cheap!! My parents are coming to visit and my mom mentioned that she wants to go to The Melting Pot. I said, "sounds like a fun date night for you and dad!" She couldn't understand why that would not be a good dining choice for our family (4 yrs, 19 mos, and 12 weeks) they forget.

  2. Ha! The Melting Pot! Hot cheese & little kids. Ahhh!

    Here's a better idea, let Grandma stay with the kids and you and your hubby go out for a date night. :)

  3. Seriously? I'm so jealous that ya'll have a cabin. THAT IS MY DREAM. Lucky!!! ;) and I try to limit how much we eat out with the little in tow, let's face it.. they just don't sit still for very long!

  4. holy cow - that bear is CRAZY!
    And yes, dinner out with the kids is always an experience, for sure ;) We still do it about once a week or so, but it's often a bit of a battle. It's funny how far our expectations have changed for what we consider a "successful" dinner out, haha!
    What are you guys doing to your cabin? Will it be under construction for the whole winter?

    1. We're remodeling quite a bit actually! I'll do a recap post when it's all finished. New sheetrock, trim, doors, floors, bathroom, new furniture, built-in cubbies, and more! It's so exciting to see the cabin take shape in a way that's more reflective of the way we use it as a family, and more our design style. Most of the construction should be wrapped up in the next week and hopefully all of it by the end of November.

  5. We are so excited to visit!! : ) Can't wait to see everyone.

  6. That one of Aden and the bear is my favorite.

  7. I think we've been lucky with eating out with the kids - we've never had a problem, even when they were little. It has to be luck, because I can't see how we've done anything different than anyone else (except that both the kids have grown up in restaurants - I cook a lot, obviously, but we like to eat out. We stopped at a restaurant on the way home from the hospital with each kid. ha!)