We took our big summer vacation the last week of August, right before school started back up. Lee had to stay home and work, but the kids, Shannon, and Grandpa headed up to Pimushe Resort. This was our second time visiting this resort, the first being a couple years back.
We stopped on the way up at Walker, where the kids romped on the playground a bit and watched the sailboats on the lake. Here's Grandpa checking out the sights with the gang.
This time we stayed around the cabin and just relaxed a lot more. It was great! The weather was perfect the whole week as well. Nora was thrilled to have graduated to a smaller waterproof (!) cast the day before our trip. Here she is with Anna on the beach.
The beach and swimming area was where we ended up spending most of our time. The kids loved it! Here's Rosa digging it!
We even rented the same cabin we had years before. One of the best things about it was the humming birds that zoomed around their feeder on the deck. While they were much to fast to catch on film flying, Corbin managed to sneak a shot, although somewhat blurry, of one resting.
The next day we were unpacked and settled in, so the kids adorned their swimwear and hit the water. The resort had acquired even more water toys since we were last there. The older kids loved the fun boats. Here's the gang out for a spin.
A main draw of the fun boats is that one can spray water quite a distance. This is also called how to get your big brother soaking wet...
and now little brother can hope his battery is more charged than said big brother to make a clean get away...
Nora was excited she could drive her own boat this year.
Rosa liked being with her favorite big brother, Caleb.
Biking on water? Sure, why not?!? These are a lot harder than they look. Sort of like peddling with your brakes on. But the boys still gave it a go. Here's Corbin.
Alex has a try:
Corbin thought the bikes were a bit too much, so he tried Kayaking for a bit.
About mid-morning a weird cloud appeared just above the treeline.
As it approached, it took on a snake-like form:
With a rush of wind the shelf cloud passed right over the lake. The backside looked more threatening because it blocked the sunshine.
One last shot of the amazingly cool cloud:
With the weather looking suddenly iffy, we headed into town. We stopped at the tourist information building to say hi to Paul and Babe the Blue Ox.
Before we knew it, the sun was again shining, so the kids hit the beach again as soon as we returned from our town romp. Here's Anna getting wet.
Rosa loved the little tiny paddle boats. She expertly steered herself all over the swimming area.
There is just something about babies and the beach that just warms the heart. Here's Ella being her adorable self.
She loved, loved, loved the water and the beach! Here she is again, showing everyone how happy she is.
Now back to the serious business of playing...
Nora's favorite was the water slide. With sheer determination she would lug herself (remember, she had a cast on one arm!) the six feet or so up the ladder of the slide, throw herself over the top, get centered, and gracefully swish down with a splash into the lake.
Caleb and I went on a little canoe trip around a close by island and back. We enjoyed the ease of paddling over the calm waters. I especially enjoyed seeing the water lilies in bloom, and a duck nibbling grains off water grasses.
By the time we returned, the girls were done swimming and had moved on to fishing. On the way to see how they were doing, I noticed this creature among the flowers by the dock.
Rosa was a mean, lean fishing machine! She was pulling up sunfish as fast as Grandpa could put them back in the lake! Here she is with some of her catches:
The boys were all great about helping with baby Ella. Here's Caleb watching her "drive" the boat.
Anna didn't want to fish much, but she enjoyed cheering Nora on.
While we relaxed and the girls fished the clouds made more neat shapes. Ribs, anyone?
Fluffy clouds above, refreshing water below; what a way to relax!
Here is our cabin as viewed from the dock. With a dishwater, air conditioner, and television it was more of a house than a cabin!
Another shot of Caleb, Ella, and Anna on Grandpa's boat:
Right after that picture was taken Anna fell of her chair! So we decided to get our land legs back and shoot some hoops.
Alex tried out the stilts a bit. (Like he needs to be any taller!?!)
Nora stayed a while longer fishing, and she was rewarded with a Sunfish.
We ended the day with a campfire. Here's Corbin roasting a marshmallow for some s'mores.
And the whole crew around the campfire:
There was definitely a whisper of autumn in the air! Anna climbed onto Grandpa's lap to warm up.
The next day we had more fun playing at the resort. We didn't take many pictures that day, but here are a few gems:
A duck bravely swam right under the dock we were on.
Ella tried out the playground swing.
Here's the boys at one of their hang outs: The blue swim pad. Their favorite thing to do, near as I could tell, was to push each other off of it.
Grandpa took the girls on a boat ride around the lake. They got a kick out of how fast we went, but were frustrated with how their hair got in the way!
After a big supper, we went on a walk to the main road and back. Here's the kids posing by the resort's sign.
The next day we ventured off to Itasca State Park The big evergreens amazed all. Even Ella enjoyed it; she loved feeling the rough bark.
Holding the baby presented some challenges to being able to take photographs this vacation, but the boys were more than happy to step up to the plate and take shots for me. Sometimes, however, this made for some rather interesting pictures like this one of Caleb:
But it also allowed for some breath-taking photos, like this unique shot of the large evergreens.
Here's the kids at a scenic overlook among the trees:
This day proved to be the hottest of the vacation, with the afternoon temperature passing the 90 degree mark. So when we reached the little stream that is the beginnings of the mighty Mississippi River, we hopped right in. Here's Corbin hamming it up:
At one point we went under a walking bridge. The underside was full of chewing gum! While all the kids said "eww!" I thought it was sort of artistically interesting. Or maybe interestingly artistic.
Here's the gang that braved the leeches and painful rocks to get to the official start of the river:
Once there we splashed about a bit. The girls on the rock bridge over the beginning of the Mississippi:
We traded Anna for Ella for the walk/ swim back.
Alex found a friend on the walk back to the bridge we were swimming to. Here are some shots he took of it:
Ella loved the water! She floated and kicked her way downstream (with Mom holding on, of course!)
Once back at the visitors center we ran into our family doctor (it's a small world!) and the kids got goofy making "butt prints" along the cement benches. Maybe the heat was getting to them?
We drove around the park a bit, soaking up the warm sun and cool views.
Lastly, we went up to the big ranger's tower. On the way back sleeping Ella got a toe-tally neat visitor.
The next day we headed for Paul Bunyan's Animal Land. I'm not sure if one would call it a small zoo or a deer park, but the kids all enjoyed it. We all oohed and awed over a couple baby deer that followed us around.
The kids all had fun feeding the deer the corn feed mixture. One lovely doe gave Caleb a kiss to show her appreciation!
Here's Caleb feeding the deer:
And Rosa in action:
Deer can be quite powerful when they want to be, and as the food cups became empty, the deer got pushy! (And don't worry about Nora; she can push right back if the need be! She enjoyed it all.)
Soon the deer figured out Grandpa was where the food was coming from!
Another shot of the deer hunter himself. Life's ironic that way, isn't it?
Around this time, amid all the craziness of our family, a family of four started stalking us. At first we thought maybe it was just a coincidence they kept following us around, but after trying to get away from them three different times, it became apparent. We talked about it amongst ourselves afterwards, and we concluded maybe they saw Alex with our big (and very old) camcorder, and thought we were filming for a television show or something. We also did get asked a couple times while we were vacation if we were "that family from that large family t.v. show," so maybe they thought we were? At any rate, the kids wanted to finish up and get away from them!
Here's Caleb giving the rest of his treats away...
and Nora and Anna doing the same:
The deer Nora fed is a rare piebald version. It was very skittish, but also very beautiful.
Ella had a blast. She loved feeling the deer when they let her, anyway!
In fact, she got so into feeling deer hair, when Grandpa was within reach, she grabbed his hair!
Finally we gave the following family the slip by the lama (I won't get into the details of that now), and quickly cleaned off our shoes so we could escape to a place to eat lunch in peace!
After lunch we headed over to the Headwaters Science Center in downtown Bemidji. It is a fun hands on museum with lots for kids to do. Anna loved feeding the big white carp. They seemed to kiss the water as they fed.
Corbin joked around in front of the fun-house mirrors.
Here he is trying out the echo chamber.
Alex played us a tune on the flip-flop and plumbers pipes xylophone.
Rosa showed everyone just how talented she is by getting two balls to stay up in midair with a blower machine.
Nora, meanwhile was determined to work out the mind puzzle I had given up on:
I was amusing Ella with the huge bubble maker when Alex "popped" on over.
Ella thought that was so funny, we did it again.
All that stubbornness of Nora's paid off! Here she is, with the puzzle completed:
Caleb spent most of his time next to his favorite exhibit: a blue-fronted amazon parrot (you knew it was going to be a bird of some kind, right?!?!)
Finally, after prying Caleb away from his new best friend, we said our goodbyes to the museum.
After that we did some bumming downtown. The girls weren't too thrilled about shopping, but we calmly told them to not have a cow...
The next day we ventured out again. We started off at Bemidji State Park. The bog walk was a favorite the last time we had visited, so we started off on that trail.
The walk was wonderful. Not a bug was to be found; the chickadees were everywhere, chirping and fluttering about. The wild cranberries and raspberries abounded. We even found several carnivorous pitcher plants.
After leaving the bog, a new playground beckoned the kids so we rested and they played. Here's Alex and grandpa enjoying the day.
Corbin had a whirl on the playground.
Anna found the slide quite shocking.
Our final stop at the park was Lake Bemidji itself. The kids enjoyed wading in the water and seeing all the shells.
From there we headed off to see if we could find The Lost Forty, a grove of tree that some say are upwards of 300 years old. The whole experience was really cool These trees made the biggest pines in Itasca look like matchsticks. It was also not so commercialized; we were the only ones there! Here is a view looking up:
Here's the gang at the base of one of the trees:
Ella loved feeling the thick bark. She really got into nature this vacation!
The next day we hit the water again. The kids set out with a sense of urgency, knowing that we were heading for home the next day. Anna wanted to play in the sand...
while the others took a final swim:
Alex ventured out to the water trampoline and patiently waited for his brother to join him.
Meanwhile, Grandpa did some off the dock fishing.
The trampoline proved to be quite the entertainment, if not for the boys, then for the ones like Ella and I watching them! Here's Caleb being bounced into the water by Alex:
Where is Alex, you ask?
A side view yields the answer. Look at the anticipation on poor Caleb's face!
There was a long skinny tube coming off the trampoline, which the boys liked trying to run down without falling off. Here's Alex showing how it's done:
Soon the boys migrated back to the blue floating platform to play another round of push each other off.
Grandpa rounded up the boys for a final bit of tubing fun. Here they are, ready to depart.
The resort had several new beach toys for our enjoyment, including some super-sized surf boards that one stood up on and paddled. Here's Caleb giving one a try.
Alex also got in on the act.
The girls stuck to less challenging toys, like the teeter-totter.
The kids liked the water so much, it was had getting them to come out! Here's Alex being Alex...
Meanwhile Anna had become quite sandy from playing in the sand. Alex hosed her down with a water toy, and the giggles that bubbled forth were priceless.
While Anna was taking a break at the cabin, we sat and watched the hummingbirds a while. They sure are fast!
Back at the lake, Corbin hammed it up on the floating dock. Run, Corbin, run!
Now get back up there!
and jump off again!
Alex was out prowling the seas in a fun boat...
Caleb had had enough water for a bit. He grabbed the camera from me and promptly started taking pictures...
and of himself!
Now Caleb sneaked up on his brothers and got some shots.
Ah ha! Alex has caught the spy red handed! (Not sure why this photo is showing up goofy.)
Here's a cool shot of Corbin jumping on the blue platform.
Ella waves "hi" for the camera.
We were up bright and early the next morning for our journey home. Some fog was lifting over the lake.
Soon the sun was peaking over the horizon, and it was time to go.
On the way we stopped at some small tourist trap of a town. We nibbled on some fudge from the candy store while the girls played on a train ride.
Anna loved Babe the Blue Ox because he is blue, of course.
The kids climbed all over a caboose. Here's Rosa up in the lookout seat.
Thus ends our late summer vacation.