Category Archives: Up North at the Cabin

Another long weekend Up North at the Cabin

This trip you guys. It was a total 180 from all cabin trips since Critter was born and a total 180 even from our trip over Memorial Day.

Namely, the children slept and that made everything else easier.

Critter enjoyed his outdoor classroom. We inspected the textures of different types of tree bark (Norway Pine, Maple – sapling, Birch), as well as varieties of moss. He also got to hold a toad and plant some grass.

It was also a trip of firsts.

Marcus docked the pontoon for the first time and Glitter went swimming in Big Pine Lake for the first time!

And by that I mean she spent most of the time being held by me. In the lake.

I also got to have a nice swim with Mom which hasn’t happened in a few years so that was really lovely.

We ate a lot of sprinkle donuts.

This was much to Critter’s delight. When we were talking about going up to the cabin he repeatedly brought them up. Apparently cabin = sprinkle donuts to him and I am good with that.

We had some Zorbaz pizza (obviously).

And we checked out the new taproom in Crosslake, 14 Lakes.

Otherwise, our nights were (less than wild!) spent reading, relaxing, having a few drinks and watching the lake. Almost like a vacation.


Some Things

Recurring feature?


Currently we are up at the cabin and I am enjoying the best cabin sleep I have had since…2014? A brief chronology: 2015 pregnancy insomnia, 2016 Critter doesn’t sleep through the night, 2017 pregnant and all sleep is bad, 2018 BOTH OF MY CHILDREN SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT SO I DO TOO NOW.

The weather is great, the wind coming off of the water is just a balm for my soul.

Otherwise literally living my best life right now. We come home tomorrow, on Wednesday I get to enjoy a day of self-care and getting our lives in order because on Thursday (!) I am going on a long girls’ weekend to Traverse City, MI.

Up North at the Cabin (with two!)

Critter’s daycare was closed this week and it was my turn to take time off from work (Marcus and I try to share time-off between holidays and sicknesses) so we packed up the kids and headed up north to join the rest of my family.

A brief summary: Glitter HATED the pack and play and we are deep into the eight month sleep regression so I mostly did not do a lot of sleeping (God bless my Mom for helping me to get afternoon naps in because I needed them). Critter is now an expert at riding on the pontoon and is probably turning into a human sprinkle because between donuts and ice cream he ate ALL of them.

We caught some fish.

Uncle Billy leveled up his Uncle-ing game.

We saw where the beavers live. We learned about moss. We walked in the “forest” (on a paved path with tall trees).

We played outside a lot. Since we were having such a heat wave in the cities, even a five degree temperature change was WELCOME.

I will also say that vacationing with kids is WORK y’all. Marcus went home after the first night so it is safe to say that once our merry little band (all of us in serious need of a bath) gets home, I will need some time to myself to recover.

That isn’t to say that we didn’t have a wonderful time. It is so special to bring the littles to the exact same place I have been coming since I was their age.

MN Lake Life (tiny tots edition)

Memorial Day weekend hey.

We went to Bellecour + Wayzata Beach on Saturday and Sunday. God it is just so good to be back into this weekend routine again. Once the farmers’ markets get a little more energetic (…July?) we’ll do that one morning/weekend. Also we have been having an incredible May heat wave (hello, 90s) so going to a beach at 7:30 AM was the only logical response. Truly.

Today we are headed up to the cabin. Critter’s daycare is closed this week, so I will be Up North with the kids, Marcus (for one night) and Billy and Mom until Thursday.

People heading west on the Oregon Trail probably packed less than we have. I will also note that in the old times I used to have a well stocked toiletry kit because we were going to the cabin tons in the summer or traveling every few months throughout the remainder of the year. Today as I was packing, I realized that the last time I used my toiletry kit is when I was in the hospital birthing Glitter and then I threw a bunch of stuff away.

Marcus asked me if I had any particular goals for this cabin trip. I was like uh…everyone sleeps reasonably well? We ride on the boat at least one time? In some ways this trip seems easier than the ones we have taken over the past two summers and in other ways I want to run around the house screaming HELP US GOD WE ARE TAKING TWO KIDS ON “VACATION” WHAT HAS GOTTEN INTO US.

Honestly, I don’t know.

Memorial Day Weekend

Stuff that is true about taking a toddler Up North: It is infinitely easier than taking up a finicky infant.

I may have set an extremely low bar, but last year, our drives to/from the cabin included 1-2 stops to nurse and change diapers on our 2.5 hour journey, a tiny tyrant who would refuse to nap for more than 20 minutes and be VERY overtired, and screaming for the portion of the drive from Garrison to Crosslake.

This year?  We left to drive to/from at about 6:30 AM after Critter woke, fed him quesadillas/pouch/raisins/milk on the way up, stopped for a diaper change and running around about halfway through, and even though there was some complaining by the end, it was a VASTLY improved situation over last year.

There was lots to do and see since he is a big boy now and not an infant!

We went to the park, and then stopped by the dam.  

Critter was fascinated.

We stopped by the Northern Trackers Train Museum in Crosslake for the first time.

There is no set admission price, they’re only open two times per week and they only take donations.  I’d definitely recommend a visit if you have kids and you’re in the area.

When Critter discovered that the lake in our backyard was essentially a giant kiddie pool, he was thrilled and delighted. 

And he only wanted to splash if he was wearing his play clothes, and not his swim shirt and diaper, but what are you gonna do.

On Saturday night, Marcus and I took the canoe out on the lake and I did a bit of fishing.  

We didn’t bring our phones with so there are no photos but I caught a northern and a small bass.  It was nice to get back into it again, and honestly I think the last time I caught something in a canoe was elementary school with a cane pole so there is that.

We went to Gull Dam Brewery and met up with Amanda, Mike, and Baby O and all was well until there was a torrential downpour.

We ate some Zorbaz pizza.  And some maple-sprinkle cake donuts.  All was well.

Coming Home


So.  Let’s discuss the rest of the cabin week.  We came home on Thursday morning because a real rager of a storm rolled though just after midnight and took out our power, a tree in our backyard (that blocked off the road), a power line (c/o said tree) and so then we didn’t have running water and we didn’t have air conditioning and it was supposed to be 90 degrees that day.  With an infant.  No bueno.


This was after the fire department stopped by to clear the road for us.


Our neighbors.  Less lucky.

In addition to this, on Wednesday morning, I discovered that because our yard was one of the few dry ones in the area, the local ants had decided to colonize the entire thing.  One such ant lair was large enough to see from the deck and looked like something out of Nat Geo.


Generally I am an ant pacifist, but it was all too much.  Destruction rained from the sky upon these ants as well as all of the others in the yard so that we could actually…have a yard.

While there wasn’t a great deal of downtime while we were up there because Critter is still a crappy napper and I was all baby-tending, all the time, I did get to fish once, off of our flooded dock and the back of the pontoon.  On one of my last casts, I finally caught a Northern.  When I walked up to the cabin to tell Mom and Dad about it, Mom expressed surprise that I hadn’t captured a photo of it.  I reminded her that for my entire life up until 2011 or so, 99% of the fish I had ever caught were not also captured on film and they still existed too.  Even as I was casting and picking weeds off of my line and casting again, it was just nice to even be doing it.


And as a grand finale to the entire ordeal, when we got home, I discovered that the bite I had thought was a deer fly bite was actually developing a small bullseye around it.  Even though I had never seen a tick, part of Tick Bites 101 is that if you see a bullseye bug bite, you should go to the doctor pronto.  In order to get Lyme’s Disease via tick bite, you have to be bitten by an infected Deer Tick and it has to roll with you for 24-36 hours.  With that in mind, you can take antibiotics prophylactically within 72 hours of the bite and that should keep you on the healthy list. I did just that when we got home (it’s literally one dose) so what a grand and splendid way to wrap up our time in the Great North. 

Friday Food Round-Up

I headed up to the cabin last Saturday so there is some food here that I didn’t make, some meal ideas that I did propose, and a few things I actually made.

I will also confess I did a heinous job of not photographing the bacon-wrapped shrimp we ate on Saturday and the steaks we had on Monday. Please use your imagination.

Friday – Szechuan Chicken Kebabs from Von Hansen’s, Grilled Tomato and Mushroom Kebabs, Dijon Potatoes

Looks like a weekend date night to me!

Tuesday – Brats on King’s Hawaiian Bread, Corn on the Cob, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Quinoa Pilaf

I love/hate/secretly love all of the iterations of King’s Hawaiian Bread that now exist. The hot dog buns being an example of a positive expansion.

Wednesday – Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal from Cravings

That missing corner of the pan?  Me.

Chrissy has some great breakfast recipes that I would never be able to make if it was just Marcus and I eating them. Solution: the cabin. Mom and I agreed thay this would be a great baked oatmeal base for a host of flavors. We’ll probably try it out with a few other combos instead of raspberry-peach.

Wednesday – Baked Chicken with Green Salad, Tots, Stretchy Artichoke, Spinach, and Buffalo Chicken Dip from Cravings

Real talk: we built a meal around the dip because when we scuttled our original plan (too hot to grill!!!), basically we wanted to be sure to eat that.  Not such a bad existence, right?