Saturday, August 29, 2009

Going to the Cabin!

On July 24th, just days after Grandma and Grandpa Gant left our house, the boys and I packed up for twelve days in northern Minnesota. Drew followed us a week later for a short, but nice, extended weekend in the cool, sunny north land.

The trip started off on Friday evening on a not-so-nice-note. We were stuck in the plane on the ground in Austin, alternatively at both the gate and on the tarmac, for an hour and a half. It was over 100 degrees, and the a/c was not running the entire time. It was really unpleasant. Jasper didn't understand what was happening or why he couldn't watch his videos. Benjamin was trying to play circus animal and crawl ALL over me, and before we even left, he and I were both wearing his dinner. He slept a whopping 45 min the entire flight, and our portable DVD player stopped working after one 20 minute segment. ugh! Despite all that, we endured and the boys fared better than most. It was exhausting, but Nana and Papa were waiting for us when we arrived. Jasper was ecstatic to see them! They drove us to the cabin, and we got in around 2am.

Saturday was our only overlap day with the Atkinsons. How sad! Chris had to get back to Indy for a quick trip to Boulder for the Google Teachers' Academy (woo hoo Chris!) and then get ready for school to start less than a week later. Here's a sisters and kids shot before the little ones hit the sack. (Lindsay and Asher: Karin, Brittany and Linnea; Benjamin, Jasper and me.)

This is Jasper's first day with his cousins, and you can tell he's sooooo excited. Papa and Nana are proud of their brood, too!

Benjamin's cheeks are just the right size for kissing.

At the cabin, Jasper experienced his first real campfire. Uncle Adam is at the helm to get things rolling. (Yes, he did have to use some girl scout juice. it's been a wet summer!)

Asher is getting bigger and is such a cutie.

This tree swing has been around for a l-o-n-g time. We all love it! Right now Linnea and Karin spend the most time on it, and the swing was showing its wear. But Adam and Papa pretty much made a new one this summer. it's great!

Can you beat this sunset view?

Day or night, warm or cool (mostly cool), long sleeves or shorts ... Jasper wanted to be in the water. Pokegama is a spring-fed lake, so it is not warm (especially not Texas warm). I'd say the water temp was generally around the air temp - mid 60s.

We'd try to keep the clothes dry and clean by rolling up the pants and shirt sleeves ....

and then Karin and Linnea wanted to get in on the fun ...

and pretty soon, they were having so much fun they forgot they were supposed to stay dry.

Jasper has a bit of a height disadvantage, but he also wanted to get wet.

case in point:

Beautiful days for a ride in Papa's boat were not plentiful, but when they happened we jumped at the chance. Linnea is a speed lover. She is our bold and daring niece and loves being in the boat - just like her mom.

Benjamin loved the view from the big front window. When his brother and cousins played in the yard below, he'd stand at the window (like he is here), bang on the glass and squeal. Also, if you look closely, benjamin's hair is just getting long enough that it's starting to ... CURL.

Both boys liked riding in Papa's boat, so much so it put Benjamin to sleep each time. :)

Papa's at the helm.

Benjamin and I are chillaxin'

The absolute best thing about this trip to the cabin was that the weather was cool enough and Jasper is old enough that he could be outside playing with one of us adults or his cousins ... all day long. We haven't been able to stay outside in Texas longer than a few hours at a time (and that's really pushing it, unless you're in water or heavy shade) since May. By late July we were craving fresh air and the chance to really stretch our legs. This week was wonderful for that. He could run on the lawn, perch between trees, throw rocks in the lake, jump off the dock, play on Leo's pontoon, throw the frisbee (at which he got to be reallyl good!), kick the soccer ball, play croquet, explore the trees and the spring. There was pretty much an endless list of things for him to do. It was wonderful! And, he was generally so tuckered out by the end of the night that he went right to sleep on his soft little bed. Bliss, pure bliss!

Jasper liked climbing onto Leo's pontoon and pretending to be taking us for a cruise.

Check out that hair!!!!

It looks bright, but looks can be deceiving ... it's cool and windy here. Jasper still loved being in the water.

Benjamin was a crawling and getting into all sorts of trouble while we were at the cabin. He did not share his brother's fondness for sleeping and started waking up earlier and earlier as the week progressed. Because we did not want to wake everyone else, he and I shared some early mornings in the big recliner in the living room. I SO missed those chairs when I got back to Texas.

Every child in our family has been bathed in this tub. Benjamin loved his bath from Nana. Perhaps later I'll find a photo of one of us Jasper girls to show you.

One rainy day Papa and Nana took us over to Eveleth, MN to see BIG mining trucks which Jasper affectionately calls "Papa dump trucks." As we got out of the van, Jasper took one look, put both hands on his cheeks and said "oh my goodness, they're so big!" It was precious to see his awe of this MASSIVE machines. He really did not have a perspective for how big they are until this point. It was a great day trip.

Papa's dump truck is so big, Papa is just half the height of the big tires.

Jasper was exploring the underside of the truck with Papa and Nana.

Here he's saying "it's the wheel barrow." I don't know why he thinks it's the wheel barrow, but he was adamant that's what it was.

He's so excited about everything!

The boys and I are just dwarfed in comparison to this big rig!

These are the rear wheels. Pretty amazing, huh?

On the trip back to the cabin, Benjamin was 100% uninterested in eating the baby food I brought for him. So, I used the "second chance pocket"* of the bib to feed him Cheerios. It worked out great! (*coined by Auntie Brittany and Uncle Adam)

It's after dinner. The sun is going to be setting soon. The moon is up. And what do you think Jasper has in mind? A romp in the water. He was giving permission to come down to the water to throw rocks.

Once he got his shoes off, he looked at me wondering if he could do a little bit more ...

And I relented. It was a beautiful night.

On Friday morning, July 31st, the boys woke up to find that daddy had come late the night before and was sleeping in the same room. What a treat! After breakfast we all went for a ride in Papa's boat with Nana and Papa. It was a cool morning, and the added breeze from riding in the boat made us all bundle up in pants and long sleeve jackets. However, once we got back to the cabin the first thing Jasper wanted to do was ... get in the water. What a funny juxstaposition of him in his swimsuit in the water and his dad watching, wearing a fleece. :)

Once they returned, Karin and Linnea were happy to play in the water with Jasper.

Over the weekend, we got to celebrate Uncle Adam's birthday. Jasper was SOOOOO excited he got to participate. check out these videos.

Jasper had been working earlier at getting the party hat on by himself.

Here he's having a little tete-a-tete with Uncle Adam before things get into full swing.

Jasper was mesmerized by this shirt of Karin's ... he called her beads "prickles" and couldn't help touching them.

Here is the whole Shively family on Adam's birthday. The girls planned a special celebration with games and prizes (obtained at the treasure store with Nana).

This big gray tub is our toy chest and full of things Benjamin loved to play with. But right here he's just talking to Papa.

Yes, this is posed. While my boys couldn't care less about the Rescuers, Linnea and Karin are hanging on Nana's every word. They LOVE to read. Jasper does too, but there are no trucks in this story.
Benjamin's getting some special time with Auntie Brittany.

This is an endearing shot for me - Jasper just running and having fun!
And this shows what happens when Daddy (or Papa) is left in charge: kids (and their clothes and shoes) get wet. The first day we were at the cabin, Jasper was playing with Papa down by the lake and came running up the lawn soaking wet. He met Nana along the way, and she asked him if he had gone in the water with Papa. He replied "no, I went in by myself." Nana thought Papa's babysitting priviledges should be revolked for that, but Jasper had all sorts of fun with Papa while we were there.

Linnea and Karin were awesome helpers while we were at the cabin. They helped feed Benjamin on various occassions. Benjamin is a good eater and pretty much eats anything you put in front of him. And he's nearly always so anxious to eat that he'll sit in his high chair with his mouth open wide just waiting for you to spoon some baby food goodness in.

While the weather was not great for sun bathing while we were there, the breeze (sometimes strong wind) was almost always good for sailing. Drew relished the time he got to spend out on the lake. It was such a release for him, and it was great!

Some times the wind was really great for catching the sail and making the little sunfish just fly!
the men chillaxin'

A peaceful, easy feeling is what I get when I look at these pictures. The sun is setting just through the trees, and Benjamin is innocently sitting in the lawn just looking around, taking it in.

Jasper discovered Leo's tetherball while we were there and just LOVED it. He'd laugh the whole time he was playing - even if the ball bonked him in the face. He loved it so much, Papa installed a teatherball in our yard too! Thanks, Papa!!!

This old oak tree is showing signs that it might not be with us much longer. It's too bad because it's an excellent hiding spot for little explorers (and it gives us great shade and character to the yard).

The first weekend we were there, Jasper jumped off this patio. I did not witness it, but I'm told Uncle Adam was wide-eyed as he saw Jasper leap and then crumbled onto his bottom when he hit the ground. I would have likely lost some sanity points had I witness such an event. Thankfully he got up after the jump like it was nothin!

final shots of the Gant family at the cabin in 2009:
Jasper being goofy, and Benjamin wanting so to be like his older brother.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, and Papa is so sad to see his boys leave. We'll see them again in October.

I always feel like Diane Keaton from "Father of the Bride, Part 2" when she's taking rolls upon rolls of photos of their house before they move. I always take tons of photos from our time at the cabin. There are a lot of photos in this post, but even more that we took. Check out others at our Picasa album.
cabin 2009