THE SUN SETS OVER LAKE SUPERIOR

After eating the s’more, we decided to go paddleboating. We all took turns, with Jeff being the head crew member …

I’m not sure you could have found an activity more relaxing-and-work-forgetting than this – paddleboating in the Lake Superior sunset.

Ahhh… my cubicle seems very far away …

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But alas, the night must end.

Tomorrow was the day we had been waiting for since February …

THE MOTEL …

We reached Ashland by mid-afternoon and everyone was hungry.  We stopped at a cafe downtown and even though we got to sit at the counter (which was a thrill for anyone age 9 and under), the food wasn’t all that good. Maybe you shouldn’t trust a restaurant that has artificial flowers and washcloth butterflies hanging from the ceiling. But at least we were now sufficiently fed.

The unusual thing about Ashland (other than its Lake Superior location) is the murals. Unfortunately, we were too concerned about being fed and then finding our motel to see very many of them, but I did get this picture as we headed back to the car.

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We then made our way to our hotel, carefully chosen by me, not only for its proximity to our boat boarding dock in Bayfield, but because of it’s water-park-type-swimming area and the room balconies overlooking the lake. Could I just say here – if you ever need a motel in Ashland, Wisconsin, this is the place to go. (AmericInn)  Not all that expensive, they had the above-mentioned amenities, plus bikes and s-mores and paddleboats (and some other things, too).

The kids immediately convinced their parents they needed to go swimming and I thought about going, but was enchanted by my lake view and never got there.

Here’s another selling point for the motel – among the pictures of people who have stayed there in the past was this:  DSC_0153

As the sun began to set over the lake, we went out for all-you-could-eat s’mores and as you can see, they were greatly enjoyed by all.

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ON OUR WAY TO THE APOSTLE ISLANDS

The next morning we left early – well, the plan was to leave early, but we stayed up late talking the night before, so we didn’t leave quite as early as planned.

We headed west – through Woodruff (with a stop to see the world’s largest penny. This is not an exciting stop. Do not go out of your way to stop. Ever.)

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We moved on to the world’s largest loon, which is actually the world’s third largest loon – but used to be the world’s largest talking loon, but it really didn’t talk, just made loon noises. So, this is the world’s third largest non-talking, non-loon-call loon.

Once again we were on our way. Cindy had heard of a place called Copper Falls. The person who recommended it said it was worth stopping. We figured the falls were right off the road and so I turned when I saw the sign. Well, they aren’t right off the road, they aren’t even in the town right off the road, but are rather way down the road in another town. But the grounds, trails and falls were worth stopping for. The falls are in a state park and we did have to pay $10.00 to enter, but we did a lot of hiking and felt the stop was worth the price.

After rock climbing, hiking and seeing guys propose, the girls and I hung around at the playground while Jeff, Cindy and 6yo climbed up a tower to see Lake Superior in the distance, except when they got there, they couldn’t see the lake because of the trees.

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We actually ended up spending a few hours there – the first of the events in the unplanned/planned vacation.

THE VACATION THAT … WELL …

Did you ever plan the perfect road trip only to have all those plans … well … fall apart?

This perfectly-planned vacation started last February when Jeff and Cindy gave me a “boat trip around the Apostle Islands” for a birthday present. This sounded good to me. My parents have been to the Apostle Islands, my brother has been to the Apostle Islands, both my kids and their spouses AND my two oldest grandchildren have also been there.DSC_0018

The Apostle Islands, by the way, are a group of 22 islands in Lake Superior off the Bayfield Peninsula in nothern Wisconsin.

Being that Awana was shut down this week, a boat trip seemed like a great way to forget-about-work-and-relax.

So, Jeff and Cindy made the boat reservations and I made the hotel reservations.

We had three goals on this trip.

1. Our Apostle Island boat trip.

2. Split Rock Lighthouse.

3. The rather kitschy Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame with the world’s largest muskie.

So, I drove north.

One of the things that Jeff does each summer is give his kids a list of goals for their school vacation. Some of these things are fun, but some are quite challenging. They include reading, memorizing, learning and sleeping under the stars …

This year, one of the goals was role-playing the Prodigal Son. They worked on it quite diligently and were ready to perform the moment I got in the door. The whole play was extremely cute and well done, but my favorite part was the pig as seen here. (That’s the Prodigal Son feeding the pig – notice that the pig has a real mouth that actually eats things.

Then I was treated to the annual Fourth-of-July-visit steak dinner – grilled to perfection by Jeff.

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By the way, Cindy’s table is done. For those of you who have known our family for a long time – this was our dining room table through all the kids growing up years.

The refinishing looks great! DSC_0015

MY DAY

Well, this was my day.

I went to two meetings.

I mowed the front lawn.

I drove back and forth between St. Charles and Carol Stream six times. Yes, there’s a reason for that. I wasn’t lost.

Actually, the reason was my mom had to swallow a camera. A tiny, encapsulated camera.  So, I went to get her. I drove her to the doctor’s (and stood amazed at the tiny camera that you could actually see in the capsule),  then I took her back to her home so she could go to a funeral. Then, I went to get her and take her back to the doctor’s where they took off the pager that was videotaping her and then took her home again.

As we were walking back out to the car, we saw another lady walking toward the building that had the same type of pager. The lady very frail and very alone and the instantaneous went through my mind, “I am so glad I am here for my mom and could do this for her.”

At which point my mom said, “There, but for the grace of Linda, go I.”

And I said, “I don’t think anyone’s ever said that about me before.” 🙂

Anyhow, I am doing a series on five verbs NOT to do in parenting.

For verb #1, check out this link.