Friday, August 7, 2015

MN Trip: Itasca State Park (Part 2)

The plan was to arrive at our lake house rental around noon on Saturday. We were all coming from different directions - five cars total. But if you know anything about the Hagen family and our vacations it's that they never start on time. By noon, our groceries were not packed nor were our bags. Tensions were a bit high (mine were anyway, pretty sure everyone else knew this is what it was going to be like, so they were just fine).

After a quick lunch and loading up the van in the rain, Chris, William and I headed out a little after 1 p.m. Mom needed to finish packing up and Dad wasn't even close to finishing up his work. Once we got on the road, we found out no one else was able to leave on time either -- so the pressure was off. We could still arrive and unpack and get ready for everyone else! I tried to enjoy our road trip.

We arrived a little after 3 p.m., with another vehicle arriving nearly every hour until 7 p.m. We had a lovely grilled dinner of hamburgers and veggies (made by John) and enjoyed the sunset on the patio. After the toddlers had gone to bed, we headed down toward the water to have a camp fire with s'mores.

We did fires a lot when I grew up; I enjoyed it again with my family now, noting the four additional adults around the ring. We didn't really have serious conversations or anything, it was mostly "pass the bug spray" or "who wants this burned marshmallow?" But we were all together, just enjoying being together.

Sunday was a fun day. After getting William's breakfast out, I noticed my mom had made her way down to the dock. I loved seeing her enjoy the beautiful morning before the day went crazy. It was quiet and peaceful. A little while later, I noticed my dad grab a book and head down there too.

After William's nap we headed out to the Mississippi Headwaters. William was so excited to see water, he practically jumped in. He did wade in far enough to get his diaper soaked; after that it seemed pointless to stop him. The water was warm and the sun bright, it was really fun just to watch him experience the river. He loved picking up and throwing rocks. (no one got hurt.)

After splashing around for a while, we drove down to the beach for a picnic. William was much more interested in the playground than the beach. Eventually, I put him in his swim diaper and took him into the water and we splashed around. After falling and getting his head dunked, we put him in his life jacket, which he didn't like one bit. Charlotte had one of those cool puddle jumpers (arm bad with waste flotation) and William was eyeing that pretty badly. We'll have to look into that for next time; she certainly had a blast!

My parents took Chris, William and I back to the house for nap time and then mom and I went on the paddle boat. I had never used one before and was a little surprised by the workout we got! (That and realizing they aren't meant for tall people.) We had a good time together -- and was our only time of just me and mom.

El and Ryan grilled chicken, sweet potatoes and corn on the cob for dinner and after dark we headed out to the camp fire again!

Monday was our last full day together. One of the things on my "must-do" list was taking William on a bike ride. I had hoped to rent bikes and go with my whole family, but the timing just didn't work out for that. Instead Chris and I borrowed my sister's bikes and child seat and went for a shorter ride ourselves. It ended up being just under 30 minutes, but we William got to experience the bike seat and I think he liked it. This is another item we'll have to look into getting for the near future!

The rest of the family went on a 16 mile bike ride when we got back. They made it back in time for lunch and then we had the rest of the day to enjoy the lake. The guys went fishing, the kids played outside, and some of the girls went canoeing. It felt a little like "free time" at camp!

That night, Molly and Quintin grilled salmon and asparagus for dinner; it was amazing. Then we surprised my mom with a birthday cake for her birthday which was later in the week. She had no idea! We ate cake, dad read a poem he wrote for her, and we watched a slideshow of pictures from her past that my brother put together. It was a really fun way to celebrate her -- and I loved how everyone played a part in it. 

After the kids were put to bed, we played games. The next morning we had planned to take William out on the water with the canoe, but we woke up to rain and a power outage. So we packed up, ate breakfast and went our separate ways. Thankfully the sun came out when it was time to say goodbye. 

We had a flight to catch that evening and everyone had to work the following day. It seemed like such a short time together--only three days. But we had a lot of fun. William got to play with his cousin, Charlotte and re-meet his aunts and uncles that he's seen only a couple of times before. He experienced biking and swimming and long car trips! It was a great weekend and a wonderful time in Minnesota -- Summers at the lake really are the best in Minnesota!

If you want to see even more photos of our week in MN please check out this album.

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