Friday, September 6, 2013

Up North

We headed out of town on Wednesady afternoon, around 2:00.  We drove to Madison and then stopped at a park and ate a picnic dinner and let Charlie run around a bit.  He loved running the bases and we had an incredibly exciting pretend baseball game.  Then Mason and I timed eachother and my 40 year  old husband rand the bases in 13 seconds.  I was totally impressed and my number was not quite so good.  Maybe 19?  And I was really trying.

We arrived at the cottage that night shortly after ten.  Charlie fell asleep about ten minutes before we arrived, but managed to sleep through the night and wake up bright and early the next day.  We unloaded stuff as he slept and then we settled ourselves in. 

The weather was supposed to be great most of the weekend so we headed into town on Thursday and picked up some library books.  We’re the only family I know of that stops at the library the first thing on a vacation to ensure a fresh new stack of books.  Charlie found a ton of goodies and I picked out one for myself too.  After the library, we headed to get groceries and stock up for the weekend.  We were starving by the time we finished grocery shopping so we stopped at McDonalds for a bite to eat.  As much as it pained Mason, his wife and son loved the decision.  I loved that Mason overheard a lady comment on how well behaved Charlie was for his age.  Proud mama moment.

Even for short trips, we always load up on groceries and this time was no exception.  We especially loved the abundance of fresh produce stands off the beaten path.  Yum.

We headed back to the cottage and settled Charlie down for a little nap.  He napped and Mason and I relaxed a bit, watching tv and settling into the cottage.  I spent some time reading in the hammock and Mason surfed the channels. 

That evening, we headed down to play on the beach a bit.  Mason showed Charlie the big Styrofoam airplane.  He showed him how you could turn the tail to make it fly straight or loop, which was pretty entertaining for both Mom and Charlie.  Then we headed down to the beach.  The water was pretty choppy but it was nice enough to play outside in the sand.  We brought out the canoe and some floaty toys and had a great time.  Charlie jumped off the neighbor’s dock.   We ate noodles and salad for supper because we hadn’t given ourselves enough time to grill.  Oops. 

Friday was our Museum Day!  I love the NW Children’s museum because it’s so typical of the northwoods.  Only in the northwoods will you find an exhibit with a snowmobile stimulator and a “what to do if you fall through the ice”.  Don’t forget fishing and log-cabin life and all the other things the Northwoods provides.

Friday night we had a campfire down on the beach and roasted s’mores.  Charlie loved it and kept pointing out the stars.  He once looked over at me and said, “Mom, it really is a wonderful night to have a beach fire.”  I think my heart melted.  The three of us were so happy and content, watching the stars that Charlie kept calling “twinkles”.  Definitely a night that I want to capture in my memory vault.

On Saturday morning we woke up and relaxed around the house.  Charlie and I took a Nature walk down Denton Road and collected things.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we knew it was going to be a great day.

That afternoon, we drove over to Minackwa to the petting zoo.  Charlie had fun but not as much fun as last year.  On the way, we stopped and rode go-karts, which was pretty exciting to Charlie.  He kept calling them race cars.  We picnicked in the van before going into the zoo.  He fed a giraffe a little cup full of carrots.

After the zoo, we came back and played in the water.  We were down by the beach all afternoon.  Mason put the Iowa game on the radio and listened to it on the outdoor speakers.  (They lost to NIU) The water and weather were just perfect.  We hung out with the neighbors, DeYoungs for awhile.  They were coming off a boat ride.  Charlie made friends with their granddaughter, Brynn and the two of them played on the beach while the grownups chatted. 

That night, we grilled brats and ate quickly before having another fire down on the beach.  Charlie was thrilled to eat fudgecicles and s’mores before going to bed.  We weren’t too concerned with the calorie count that week! 

Sunday was supposed to be rainy and cold and though it didn’t rain, it was pretty chilly.  The three of us drove up to Bond Falls, MI to look at the waterfalls.  We enjoyed our hike down, although Charlie insisted that he didn’t want to go for a hike.  We took a few pictures by the falls and then decided to try hiking up the other side of the falls.  The trail is not well maintained, and it’s much rougher hiking but we were up for and adventure.  Charlie did a great job although he made me nervous any time he was close to the falls.  We found our way back to the trail head and then headed back to the cottage for lunch.

That afternoon, we killed time in the cottage, playing with toys and reading books and watching movies.  We went into Eagle River for supper, choosing Alexander’s over Log Cabin because we thought Charlie might be more apt to eat it.  Plus, the video games and pool tables kept him entertained while we waited.  We were all surprised that they serve their pizza on paper with no utensils—supposedly the traditional way to eat pizza in Italy.  We think they just don’t want to mess with doing dishes. 

Charlie had trouble falling asleep that night, after watching his movie, “PeterPan”.  But eventually he settled down and we had to wake him up the next morning.

Every other day, Charlie woke up at 6:30 and called out to us:  “Hey Guys!  Someone come get me! Somebody get me out of here!”  But of course, on the morning we needed to wake up at a decent time, he slept until we woke him around 7:30.  We threw the sheets in the laundry and washed a load of our clothes before packing the suitcase to head for home.  The weather was cloudy and cool, which made leaving the lake much easier. 

On the way home, we stopped in Waunakee to rescue Bunny, and then again in Verona to grab a quick ice cream cone at Michael’s.  Charlie loved the ice cream treat but was getting tired and fell asleep almost as soon as we hit the highway.  He slept until 6:30, and was still tired enough to fall asleep by 10:00 that night. 

We had a great trip and every time I go there, I can’t wait to go back again.  Mason and I seem to connect on such a good level and everything slows down (if it can slow down from Grundy Center) which makes things that much better.
The picture of Mason and Charlie in the canoe literally takes my breath away.  There was something magical in the air that night.  The water was calm, the breeze was light, and we were surrounded by nature as far and high as we could see.  The Northwoods of Wisconsin have become something of a spiritual place for me.  The daily hassles of life are lost and the tiniest gems, like the dimple in Charlie's right cheek and the weight of Mason's arm around my shoulder are intensified.  Things slow down.  We breath in the deep pine, we breath in the musty lake, we breath in each other.  And we eat fudgesicles.  All is well.  

We are blessed beyond words. 

And just as a side note, how did this little guy get so big in just a year?  


  1. cute wing spans, you are some good looking folks. Love your thoughts on the spiritual aspect of the North Woods of Wisconsin. Would love to hear more..


  2. Those are some great pictures!