Thursday, July 28, 2011

north shore chronicles {part II}

On day three of our North Shore trip, we loaded the troops up in the van and headed even further north to Grand Marais. We had been warned that even though it was only about 30 miles north of our campground, it was considerably cooler there than where we were staying. Thankfully we heeded the warning and brought along our sweatshirts. Unfortunately, the cold air caused us to forget that the sun was, in fact, still shining, and we neglected to apply sunscreen to our faces. Most of us came through the day unscathed, but poor Wyatt got burned right on one chubby little cheek. To add insult to injury, in the days following it started to peel making it look like he had a patch of dried mucous on his face that his mother kept trying to wipe off. Poor baby.
Our first stop was the beach where my sisters and I finally gave my mom her long overdue Mother's Day gift and we all searched for sea glass.
Wyatt didn't care so much about looking for sea glass.

He was content to just pick up stones and gaze introspectively over the lake. Either that or I snapped this picture right before he decided to see just how frigid the water was causing me to have to trudge back to the van to find him something dry to wear.
Elliot wasn't afraid of the icy water.

He dove right in...
...and rather exuberantly threw his rocks back to where they came from.
Kolby had a method to seeking out the beach's treasure.
Kenna, on the other hand, just wanted to fill her bucket with any stone she could find.
Kyleigh clamied the best find of the day. A heart-shaped piece of sea glass.
Poor Brenna searched and searched and searched and came away with nothing.
All that digging made us hungry. We walked down to Sven and Ole's Pizza for a delicious lunch where the older three kids were ecstatic because they got to have pop (soda or coke for you non-midwesterners) with their pizza. After lunch, it didn't take long for our full-bellied boy to conk out in his stroller. As it turns out, the wisest move at this point would have been for me to take him out of his stroller and put him on my back in his carrier instead. Because where we went next? Not exactly conducive to pushing a stroller. There were certainly some flat areas, but I wound up carrying him in the stroller for much of the treck out to the lighthouse. Not impossible, but not the best way of doing things, either.
Thankfully, we did have the foresight to have Elliot hitch a ride on Aaron's back.
Somehow, Wyatt slept through me picking him up and putting him down all the way out to the end of the pier. (He did wake up on the way back though.)
We even managed to snap a picture of all of our brave little adventurers together.
And look! A family picture! With all of us! Together! In the same photo!

{And this is the part where I interrupt our previously scheduled programming to tell you why I prefer to shoot in full manual mode on my camera. See this picture here? It was shot in auto mode. As was the picture below it. And while they are okay pictures, they just don't look quite the way I like them to look. And seeing as I am not a master photoshopper, I wasn't able to make them look how I wanted them to by editing them, either. And now back to the show.}

I even managed to get in a picture with my mom and sisters.
When we left the lighthouse, we walked to the other end of the "island" we were on. As we were walking, we looked out on the lake and saw a real live pirate ship. See it?
We also saw a cool looking birch tree.
The kids were less fearful about plunging to their deaths on the rocky cliff than I was. I was much happier when they were all back on solid ground.

The beauty of Superior will never cease to take my breath away.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

north shore chronicles {part I)

A couple of weeks ago we loaded up our kids and 89% of our personal belongings, hitched up the camper, and took off for the North Shore for a FIVE night vacation away from home. Now, let me just explain something here. The last time we took a vacation THAT long was back in the day when taking our one child on a trip over an hour away caused us to break out in a cold sweat and experience heart palpatations. Typically our camping trips (which are the extent of our "vacations") are two to three nights max. And much closer to home. So this trip was definitely a big deal (read: a LOT of work to prepare for).

Day 1: We actually managed to leave our house when we planned to! Pretty impressive if I do say so myself. After swinging through Starbucks to get my beloved nectar we hit the road. The older kids each popped a Dramamine and watched movies on the laptop (we don't have one of those fancy DVD players in our van). We managed to get by with only TWO pit stops and seven hours after our departure we arrived at our campsite. After getting all set up, we walked down to a nearby pizza place for supper (perhaps not very authentic camping fare, but it did the trick). The rest of the night was filled with exploring the campground. And then it was bedtime. Getting the kids to bed was amazingly not a problem. HOWEVER. At approximately 1AM, Wyatt decided to start coughing. And coughing and coughing and coughing. This, of course, woke him up. Being quite exhausted he didn't want to be awake coughing. And so he started crying. After trying unsuccessfully for about 20 minutes to get him to go back to sleep, I laid down and let him lay on top of me. At which point he coughed again and with that cough came vomit. All over my shirt and in my hair. At 1AM. In an unfamiliar campground. At 1AM. I had no choice but to pass him off to Aaron and take myself down to the creepy shower. Let me tell you. I was fairly convinced that I was going to be attacked by a bear or some crazed axe murderer. I wasn't. Phew. Still, not the start to the trip I was looking for.

Day 2: We met up with my family and went to Temperance River State Park (just a couple of days before the government shutdown). We first went down by the lake and had a picnic.
Wyatt couldn't wait to climb down the stairs and get closer to the water.
Elliot was curious about the (freezing cold) lake...
...until the waves chased him away.
After that little scare, he maintained a safter distance from the killer waves.
Ethan learned how to skip rocks. He may or may not have been a much faster learner than his mother. Ahem.
Wyatt didn't quite catch on to the whole rock skipping technique, but he did have lot of fun throwing the rocks.
Maya became a master in the art of creating a "moat".
After hanging out on the beach for awhile, we crossed the highway and went for a hike. Most of the trail is fairly close to the Temperance River.
The hiking trails we were on were just a little different from the ones we're used to (read: I was afraid my two littles would DIE if they were allowed to walk as there are steep cliffs everywhere) so Wyatt and Elliot always hitched a ride. Sometimes they were each in a baby carrier on my and Aaron's back.

And other times Aaron would carry one on his back and the other on his shoulders. Which put Elliot right where Wyatt wanted him.