Andi is home again after a whirlwind month of travel in September. We hadn't been to the cabin since September 13, so all four of us were chomping at the bit to get up to the lake this past weekend. Even Aden was walking around the house asking, "Cabin? Cabin?"
We left home late Thursday evening after Andi got home from work, and used Friday morning at the lake to run our usual errands -- trips to the grocery store, hardware store, liquor store, and the meat market. I love when we're able to knock out those chores early so we can fully enjoy the "real weekend" together.
Friday afternoon, Andi and I took the kids for a nature walk on the mile-long trail by our cabin. Several of the neighbors (us included) collectively own the wooded area which is used for recreational purposes. It's wonderful to have a safe and secluded place to let the kids and the dog run free, or to go for rides in our UTV. This was Aden's first time walking the trail on his own two feet, and he absolutely loved it! It's quite a ways to walk for little legs and even Tory asked to be carried toward the end ... but not Aden. Every time I picked him up, he'd say "No! Walk!" He'd trip and fall down, pick himself up and keep on moving. Andi and I were just beaming watching him explore.
I put together a nature scavenger hunt for Tory to do during our walk, and she had a lot of fun finding various items on our list. In addition to finding the usual items like pine cones, sticks and leaves, I also asked Tory to use her senses and find:
It was amazing how engaged in her surroundings Tory became! A fun twist on the typical nature scavenger hunt.
Saturday, Andi and I took the kids to Autumnfest in nearby St. Croix Falls. There were various events taking place -- an arts & crafts fair, farmer's market, live music and kids activities. After walking around the small downtown area for a while, we decided to stop by Fawn-Doe-Rosa wildlife park. Andi and I took Tory here when she was about Aden's age and she loved it; we were certain the kids would go gaga over seeing the various animals up close.
Oh parenting, how it always keeping us on our toes!
About six seconds after we paid admission and walked into the Fawn-Doe-Rosa park, a flock of geese charged toward us in search of food (you can buy bags of feed for the goats, deer, sheep and geese on property and I'm sure the animals have learned this). As the geese waddled toward us, they noisily honked, and Tory and Aden nearly died on the spot. Screams of terror! Sheer panic from both of them. I looked at Andi in bewilderment and he repeated one of Tory's favorite phrases, "Well, I wasn't expecting that to happen..."
We skipped the free-roaming animals and walked over to the barnyard area to see the goats and sheep. Tory and Aden still weren't sure about the whole situation, but seemed a bit more assured since the animals were enclosed in fencing.
A few minutes later, of course, Tory tripped on a rock and face-planted into the dirt. More screaming! At that point, we decided lunch might be a better idea. Andi really wanted to try a farm-to-table restaurant in Amery, Wisconsin but I wasn't so sure a fancy restaurant lunch was the best idea given our morning's success rate. We went for it anyway and surprisingly, it was the best stop of the trip! The kids were well behaved and Andi and I were very impressed with the restaurant's commitment to local sustainability.
A surprising amount of leaves have fallen at the cabin already (there are hardly any on the ground at our house in the Twin Cities), so after we returned to the cabin Tory and I raked up a pile to jump in. This is one of Tory's favorite fall activities, and it's so simple! This was Aden's first time jumping in a pile of leaves and he was a big fan, too.
That night, we let the kids stay up past their bedtimes and took them to Boogie Nights at the Pipe Dream Center. It's a very kid-friendly music venue located right down the road from our cabin, so it was easy to pop in for a bit before the kids were too tired. Aden and Tory loved the music and danced in the aisles so freely. (There were about 10 people there, so it wasn't completely empty like the picture portrays).
Sunday morning, we met our friends Val, Brionn and their family at our favorite apple orchard by the lake cabin. It was Val and Brionn's first time, but Andi and I visit as often as we can during the fall because the owners are so sweet and the kids have such a great time there. We picked pumpkins in the patch, went for a hay ride and a scavenger hunt, fed the goats, and played chess with ornamental pumpkins. It was a perfect fall outing.
Summertime is my favorite season, but there's something to be said for fall. With the crisp, cooler air comes different activities and new memories.