Summer Trip to the North Woods

Hi!! I recently saw my blog’s renewal come through, and I realized it’s been forever since I’ve written (so says bloggers everywhere at some point during their blogging life).

I decided to share some beautiful photos and a few highlights from our camping trip in Wisconsin’s pristine north woods.  We ventured to Northern Highland – American Legion State Forest – the largest state forest in Wisconsin, spanning three counties and over 200,000 acres.  Our campsite was near Crystal Lake, north of Minocqua and Woodruff.

Just look at these huge trees around the site.

tall trees Northern Highland American Legion forest

My crew looked very happy before leaving on our hike. You can just see the hammock and our tent in the background.  We had to walk a bit from our car to access our campsite.

Happy hikers Go Mama O

Here’s a view of from our hike around Fallison Lake.  Simply Gorgeous.  Needless to say after 2.5 miles, my crew was not as eager to finish hiking.  Fortunately, we hiked with a bigger group of extended family, so the kids kept each other going, while the adults spaced out to accommodate different speeds.

Fallison Lake

View from the trail around Fallison Lake

After our hike, the kids enjoyed swimming in Crystal Lake, a small, peaceful lake without the noise of boat motors whirring across it.  Daddy O. and I borrowed kayaks from a family member and had fun paddling around.

In St. Germain, a short jaunt from our campsite, we spent time with a big group of family, enjoying numerous pot luck dinners and time to catch up.  On our way back from one such gathering, Daddy O. and the kids fished on a small pier.  We were the only people on the lake!

Fishing near St. Germain

Sunset view on a small lake near St. Germain

I read my book and took in the solitude of the evening.  We all watched a few mama ducks cross the lake with their babies in a long line behind them.  One baby duck let out loud squawks, upon being left behind, so mama duck and her babies circled back to rescue the lost baby.  The duck siblings seemed to celebrate his or her return to the line-up – a sweet scene. Fishing wise, there wasn’t much luck: only Big Sister caught one small fish.

We ended up spending some time in the city of Minocqua, eating at Minocqua Brewing Company and Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty.  The shanty was kitschy with red and white checked table cloths, up-north cabin decor, and all-you-can-eat family, style, hearty breakfast food.

Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty

Giant Paul Bunyan outside of the cook shanty.  You can’t miss it! 

One morning we grabbed some coffee at a place in Woodruff.  We sat outside on their back patio, savoring the view.

View from coffee shop northwoods

Another lake in the North Woods

All in all the camping trip and family reunion up in the north woods was a huge hit. While tent-camping for three nights IS a lot of prep and work, our family really has a lot of quality time together on these kinds of trips.  As our kids grow older, it may be more difficult to get away between sports and activities, which makes this time together even more special – just look at me and my sweet girl!

Mama O and Big Sister in the North Woods

Mama O. and Big Sister in the north woods

Cheers to summer, family-time and exploring together!

 

 

 

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Cheers to all Fathers!

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing Dads out there!

Today I celebrated with the father of our sweet kids.  We went to church as a family and ventured to a water park to beat the heat, stopping for Culver’s fast food and frozen custard along the way.

In true Daddy O. fashion, he kept his cool even when the kids were losing it in the backseat.  While we don’t have pictures from the waterpark (not really the best photo opps IMHO), I though I’d share a few of my favorite Daddy O. pictures.

Pictures with Daddy O.

Daddy O. through the years – being an awesome dad

From eye-roll to crazy face making while reading stories, Daddy O. is patient, loving, and a kid at heart. We’re so blessed to call you ours.  Love you!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

We love Dr. Seuss books in our house.

I grew up reading Dr. Seuss and loved his books so much that I even wrote him a letter when I was in elementary school.  I’m sure I wrote him several pages about me and my exciting life in Wisconsin.  This is what I received in return:

 

Dr Seuss letter

My framed letter from Dr. Seuss, 1987-ish

 

I have to admit I was a bit underwhelmed with the short response.

Today I have a bit more perspective on how fan mail works, so I appreciate it more. The letter is no longer relegated to a plastic storage bin, instead, it sits on my son’s dresser in his bedroom.  He may not appreciate it as much as I do, but someday, maybe he will.

Keep on reading Dr. Seuss! Happy birthday to one creative, remarkable author!

Fly on the Wall: Smart Kids

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 6 bloggers are inviting you to catch a Fly on the Wall Postglimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Here’s who you’ll be hearing from in my house:

  • Me, Mama O.
  • Daddy O.
  • Big Sister, age 8
  • Little Brother, age 6

Since I have been writing these blog posts since 2014, I have my own Fly Post Page.  Check it out if you want to hear more craziness from my house.

The first day back to school after the holidays and I ask the kids how their day was.

Big Sister: Good

Little Brother: Annoying!

I could tell Little Brother was grumpy and tired, so I said later, “Well, maybe you should go to bed early. Sometimes after a bad day, a good night’s rest will make you feel better.”

Little Brother replied, “I didn’t say I had a bad day. It was a miserable day.”

Okay then…

Just Between Siblings

I can’t remember the exact context, but I heard the kids talking:

Little Brother: Me thinking only of myself.

Big Sister: If you do that, then you can’t be a Jedi.

Daddy O. has them well-trained on Star Wars.

Two Cute One-liners from Smart Kids

Big Sister’s friend said, “Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.”

Little Brother declared (as he asked me to read him a story), “A story will make a good snuggle even better.”

Future Blogger?

Little Brother brought home some journal entries from his kindergarten class, and they really are great. It’s adorable to see what stands out in his mind and what he chooses to draw and share. I think he could be a future blogger.

Journal Thing a ma bob

I played with my little blue thing a ma bob this morning.

Journal Kicked my Heel

I accidentally kicked my heel yesterday.

Riveting, right?!

Journal Beer Garden

I went to the beer gardens.

YES, this is true.  We DID take the kids to a beer garden in town.  There IS a playground and slide there, so it IS family-friendly.  No, this isn’t a weekly thing. Of course, he writes about this in kindergarten!!

Grandma’s Got a New Job

My mom recently retired, and her schedule has been quite full. I was telling Daddy O., “Grandma is working the polls.”

And then I realized that it could be interpreted as “poles.” We just cracked up.

Grandma will be working as part of the primary election staff just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The BEST for Last!

Big Sister: Mom is smart.  She is raising two kids.

Amen, sister!

Now go read those other fantastic blogs for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado                  http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Menopausal Mother                     http://www.menopausalmom.com/

Never Ever Give Up Hope            https://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen             http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Spatulas on Parade                   https://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com