Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fourth of July 2016

Thoughts of Tory and Aden's "school years" are looming and more than ever, I'm realizing how fortunate I am to be in control of our day-to-day schedule in this phase of life. For this reason, I purposely "un-planned" our summer so Tory, Aden and I would be able to spend as much time at the lake as possible. Summer is, no doubt, the best time of the year here and I want to enjoy it!

Unfortunately, Andi's work schedule is busier than ever so he's been working long days and traveling a lot. He reminds me he's glad the kids and I are able to enjoy the cabin, even if he's not here with us and I try not to feel guilty about it.

Tory, Aden and I drove up to the cabin on Thursday, June 30 for a long Fourth of July weekend. Since we've been at the lake on Thursdays this summer, I've taken the kids to the Country Lane Farmer's Market in Barron, WI to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. This market amazes me every time I visit; it's bustling with produce and craft vendors, food trucks, a playground, and a huge bulk foods market despite being located in the middle of the countryside between cattle farms and corn fields. Tory and Aden love the face-painting station and the homemade ice cream. 

The kids and I spent most of Friday, July 1 on the lake. It felt top-secret to enjoy the lake before the holiday weekend craziness set in. We practically had the place to ourselves.

Andi joined us at the lake Friday evening, and we capped our night with a boat ride around the lake.

Early Saturday morning, Andi and I took Tory and Aden to Crystal Lake Berries for our annual berry-picking adventure. Strawberry picking is one of my favorite summertime traditions. I can't get enough of those delicious berries - there's nothing better!

Aden was surprisingly uninterested in picking berries this year. He picked and ate a few, and then stood by the field and whined the rest of the time. Tory, on the other hand, loved picking strawberries. She took the task of filling her pail very seriously.

We walked away with three pails of fresh strawberries filled to the brim. Lucky for me, Andi was kind enough to wash, cut and package them all in Ziploc bags for freezing.

Saturday night, we attended a Fourth of July BBQ at our cabin friends Joe and Lisa's place on the lake. They always throw a fabulous party with lots of food and live music. We chased the kids around in the yard and chatted with various neighbors on the lake. It was a perfect evening!

The next day, our good friends Nick and Julie joined us at the cabin with their boys Joel and Alex. We've celebrated many Fourth of July's together over the years, so it was great to have them. Sunday was spent lounging by the lake -- jet skiing, fishing off the dock and relaxing in the sun.

For dinner that night, Andi and I hosted several of our cabin friends at our place for a shrimp and sausage bowl. We've done this in the past a few times and it's always so fun and easy. I say easy because Andi is the one who does all the cooking! He boiled shrimp, Cajun sausage, corn on the cob and red potatoes, then we dumped all the food onto the table family-style for everyone to eat. It really is a fun meal for everyone, and different than the usual summer BBQs.

Another place on the lake did a big fireworks show that evening after dark, so we promised the kids we'd go watch them if they weren't too cranky by then. Fortunately, everyone was in great spirits and we made it to the show for the first time in our five years on the lake. Of course, not before we did our own little fireworks show (with snappers and sparklers) and s'mores by the fire.


We watched the big fireworks show in our friends' Oscar and Deanna's backyard on the lake. It's was in perfect view of the big show. 

Julie, Nick and their boys left the cabin mid-morning on Monday, July 4 so our little family of four enjoyed the rest of the day together. It was peaceful, low-key and exactly what we all needed after such a busy weekend celebrating. 

Tory, Aden and I were lucky enough to stay another week at the lake following Fourth of July while Andi returned to the Twin Cities for work. I'm operating in a constant state of "vacation mode" being here so long: no time tables or schedules to keep, no distractions of television or media. I feel like we're safe and sound in our little bubble here, and it's absolute paradise.

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