This month our family went on a week long vacation up north near the boundary waters of Minnesota. We stayed in a cute little cabin on Fenske Lake, with no TV, no computers, and surrounded by wilderness. It was just what our family needed! With John’s busy schedule, it’s often hard to get in a lot of quality family time and he loved getting the chance to spend so much time with the kids, and they loved all the time they got to spend with him!
My parents camped across the lake so we met up every day for meals, canoing, hikes, swimming, and visiting the near-by town of Ely. They also watched the kids while John and I celebrated our anniversary with dinner at the Blue Heron, where we had a great 5-course meal. The chef made my dinner all vegan. It was wonderful!
It was so enriching for the kids to be surrounded by nature for a week. Ava and Noah learned to paddle a canoe, they went on a row-boat for the first time (Amora’s first time on a boat), saw many different animals including a fox who came up right outside our cabin and ate some leftover food the kids were feeding the chipmunks.
|Ava learning to paddle.|
|Noah loved going into the lilly pads!|
It was fun seeing how each of their personalities fit themselves into the vacation. Ava enjoyes a bit of solitude and liked having her own room in the cabin where she could sit and do art and play games with her grandparents or John or I. She liked to go off on hikes with grandpa and go out canoing on the quiet lake. I remember growing up being the same way. My dad often brought me on early morning canoe rides on the quiet lakes so we could see wildlife. It was really cool watching her soak up all the peacefulness.
Noah loves animals, insects, fish, and flowers. Going a short-distance on a walk takes much longer with Noah. He stops at each of the many butterflies and follows them. Finds slugs and beetles. Stops off in patches of flowers and weeds. Examines the ground and the plants. And wades into any open water he comes across. Clothes and all. He is very delighted by the smallest simplest things. I love watching his eyes sparkling as he explores and we always had a pretty kid-picked bouquet of flowers for the cabin table.
Amora loved the butterflies and all the animals she saw. She loved laying on the dock watching the fish. She got braver in the water on this trip too. She learned so many new words and saw so many animals for the first time including the fox, bear, and wolves we saw. She turned two years old on the trip!
We walked (or rowed) to the beach almost every day. It was such a nice quiet little swimming area, good for making sand castles, and the dock was perfect for the kids to run and jump off of. There were tons of small fish that the kids fed bits of crackers to. Then when they’d go in the water, the fish weren’t afraid of them and would even come up and “kiss” their toes. Noah’s face the first time a fish came up and “kissed” his foot by our cabin dock was priceless.
One evening at the beach, a man was fishing on the near-by dock. Ava and Noah loudly serenaded him with a song about how he shouldn’t hurt fish and gasped everytime he brought up the rod saying, “Oh no! I hope he didn’t get one!” He didn’t fish there long. Our kids rock 🙂 No wonder the fishies love them.
In Ely, we visited the bear center, the wolf center, and also Dorothy Molter’s (The Root Beer Lady) cabins which Ava liked. It was cool for her to see how someone lived up in the boundary water area without many modern conveniences. She chopped her own wood, washed clothes on a washing board and did a lot of snowshoing and, more famously, made and sold Root Beer to those who paddled in.
The hardest part of the week was leaving. There were many tears and sad faces. Ava wanted to live there. She had her whole plan together that we would come back and get our cat and bring him up. Then mail a letter to all her friends with our new address so they could come visit. She went and hid in one of the rooms when it was time to leave and John went in and carried her out. She just layed her head on his shoulder and didn’t say a word.
Even Amora, when I told her we were going bye bye earlier that day, had made a mad face and said, “NO BYE-BYE!”
It helped us all when John stopped by the lodge and booked us again for next year, though!
|Ava with her magnifying glass and tweezers.|
|Examining a dead mouse perhaps dropped by a bird.|
|Amora’s first S’mores!|
|Bat and ball with daddy.|
|Pounding a fern to get the color onto paper.|