Saturday, August 14, 2010

Little Cabin in the Big Woods

It's 102 degrees in Austin today, so suddenly the 90 degree weather in Siren sounds delightful, even one without air conditioning.

As I said before, it was a lovely trip. I don't want to bore you with a long narrative, and since our days were so interchangeable, it would be hard to recount anyway. So instead I want to share a few of my favorite pictures- ones I will undoubtedly return to many times just to smile and remember.

This is one of my very favorites. My grandma raised 4 children while living all over the world, far from her close-knit family, and frequently on her own while my grandpa flew fighter jets in Vietnam, and even though I know it must have been so hard at times, she has never complained. She looks back with happiness on times that I think I would still be whining about, and she does it by living with a stubborn insistence on finding the good. Finding it and focusing on it to the exclusion of the bad. She is my inspiration to do the same.

This is JP and Landon building a sand fortress. It was an impressive piece of sand architecture until an "extreme weather" storm destroyed it our second night there. I love watching the two of them together and this is one of many pictures that reinforce why contributing to our separate "vacation fund" savings account is important, even though that money could, and perhaps should, go to about 12 other places.

Clairebear was such a joy on this trip. She slept a solid 8-10 hours each night and woke up so happy each morning. Landon always woke up starving and mad, but when you pick up Claire she looks up at you with the most delighted expression, like "oh, helloooo there!! I'm so happy to see you!" I can change her diaper, change her clothes, and then let her snuggle in for a bottle. And she smiles so much during that first feeding that the bottle keeps falling out. It's a pretty fantastic way to start your day.

It was also wonderful to spend so much time with Landon. He's such a fun kid- so good (my grandparents couldn't get over it) and loving and happy. He was best buddies with my grandpa within minutes and one night as we made a quick trip to the local Dairy Queen, Landon exclaimed, "oh, but I didn't hug grandma!". He rectified that as soon as we got back.

JP loves antique shops, so we drove to a few other local towns to peruse their shelves of old junk (or shelves of valuable and important historical artifacts, depending on whether you're talking to JP or me). JP gave Landon a stern talk before we entered the first one, that he was to look but NOT touch. Later, as I was walking through the store with the little guy, I picked up an old tea pot and Landon very seriously reminded me that "we look but don't touch mommy!". Then he shook his head as he walked away to find JP and Claire. Cracked me up.

My camera broke on Day 5 (tear, lots of tears), so I don't have any pictures of our last few days or our night spent in Minneapolis. We went to the Mall of America to pass a few hours and Landon fell in love with roller coasters. Legoland was pretty cool too, but a giant working Lego clock couldn't compete with being slung around a car track at high speeds. I had seriously underestimated one ride and thought he would be scared once it got going, but after one circuit where his eyes bulged out of his head, he got a huge grin on his face for circuit two. JP and I also rode on some of the "big kid" coasters and I have to say that while I still love scary rides, my body is more fragile than it used to me- my brain was rattling around in my head for hours after one of them.

I hope my grandparents will be able to continue spending their summers up at the lake for many years to come, but just in case I am so very glad we got to spend a few days up there while it is still their place. So much of my love for Siren is wrapped up in their love for Siren that I can't imagine it without them. The history will still be there- all those summers we traveled there when I was a girl, and I'll still be able to show my kids the farm where my grandpa was born and grew up and the little shop where my grandma would buy anything marked "Made in Sweden," but it will be different and I'm glad I got another summer trip to a place that always stays just the same.


  1. I love the pictures, especially the ones of you and Landon roasting marshmallows and Claire and her grandma :) Looks like a great time. Keep contributing to the vacation fund. I have to remind myself that I likely won't die wishing I'd put more money towards student loans. That, and that my kids are only this little for a very short time.

  2. What a wonderful trip!! We had the same experience in Maine that you have in Siren--the childhood memories, the grandparents, the history. I love it. It means so much now that I am taking my own family there! It is definitely worth saving for, like you said!

  3. Looks like an absolutely delightful vacation! And even if your kids don't remember it when they're older, they will love having the pictures from it and as you said, so will you. Even if vacations aren't the most responsible budgetary expense, creating memories with loved ones has to be up there.

  4. Beautiful post LL! We travel to Minnesota every June with our 2 kids every summer! We have done it since our kids were born (18 and 16 years ago). We live in TX. Both sets of grandparents live in MN and we stay for 2 weeks. There is no internet...we sleep in twin beds and the town we grew up in STILL has no traffic light. The kids LOVE it...they think it's like Little House on the Prairie! I can truly say that the BEST gifts we have ever given our children is their visits to Minnesota! It is such a part of their childhood and the close bonds that they have formed with their grandparents could NEVER be replaced...PRICELESS!!! Don't ever give the vacation fund up and put that money to a different use! These will serve to be VERY, VERY special memories for all of your family!

  5. Two comments:
    Picture #4 - Beautiful mommy, beautiful baby.

    Picture #7 - Man, Landon sure did enjoy those 'smores, didn't he?! :D