Monday, 23 July 2012

The Cabin

We just got home from a beautiful week at my grandparents "cabin" in Minnesota.  


This spot is one of my most favorites on earth.  Growing up, we travled up to the lake every summer to see family and just enjoy.  Time at the cabin is mostly spent in either pajamas or a swim suit.  You take off your shoes when you arrive and go for days without seeing them again.  Mornings are spent drinking coffee and talking over the paper, afternoons spent playing in the lake and boating and evenings spent playing cards and reading.  The days are broken up by my grandma's fabulous cooking and millons of photos being taken by my grandpa.  I have so many great memories from being up at the cabin as a kid and now it is so fun to be going back with my family.  Our years spent in Ecuador were the only summers that I haven't made a trip to Ottertail.  It was a sweet reunion this summer.  This small spot on our big Earth means so much to me.

Originally, the home belonged to my great grandpa Harold and in those days it did resemble more of a cabin.  A few years back however, my grandparents completely remodeled the property and now it is a beautiful home on the lake and makes it possible for them to spend months out of the year enjoying Ottertail.  Although it has changed somewhat, the spirit of what it has meant for our family to "go to the lake" very much has remained the same.

So here are a few favorite photos capturing our week.  

Elsa has kinda curly hair these days!  I love it!

Also enjoyed a visit from my cousin and her family.  Of course I didn't get a picture of us together, but here are our handsome men with their daughters.

New addition to lake fun - kayaks!  LOVE IT!

Epic games of croquet - just one of the many lake traditions

Breck constantly stands with his hands on his hips these days :)

Celebrating Amy's 25th birthday!


Amy brought back henna from India.  

First time on a boat.  Don't worry, she's a natural.

Breck getting pirate themed henna tattoos. 

Trip into the town of Ottertail.  

Ice cream stop!

Happened to be in town for the East Ottertail County fair.  I kept wondering if everyone there had us totally pegged as city folk.  

Tootsie roll pops - another fabulous tradition.

Breck has become quite the swimmer this summer.  He is now moving into working some synchronized swimming routines into his rotation.

Thanks for a great week Grandpa Bob and Grandma Bug!  We love you!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

pixie dust

That is almost all I can say about it.  

Being that last week was my first ever time experiencing the magic that is Disney, I had no idea what to expect.  None.  It was so crazy, insane in so many ways but we had such a good time and had so much fun with family.  Chris' grandparents very, very, very, very generously shipped the entire family down to Orlando for a family reunion.  
25 of us!
That in and of itself is pretty crazy to me.

So here are some random thoughts, memories and my favorite photos from the wonderful week.

Our kids were such troopers, and especially this little one.  Elsa got a fever the Thursday before we left and it hung on until Monday.  Boo.  We were ready to head out of the magic and into the real world to find an urgent care center Tuesday if things were not looking better.  But, Tuesday she woke up - no fever!  Hooray!  Just a rash all over her torso - boo again.  Turns out she had herself a case of roseola.  But she was awesome despite not feeling well, the fact that it was pouring down rain and her crazy parents drug her around the park anyway.  Gotta make the most of this once in a lifetime trip!

Recovering from the rain and cold with some hot chocolate and a little Curious George.

The week started out with TONS of rain (thanks for making an appearance, Tropical Storm Debby), but everyday it got a little nicer and by the end of the week we were enjoying heat and lots of sunshine.  We were all so gung-ho at the beginning, the rain couldn't get us down.  However, I know that had it rained at the end of an exhausting week, we would have had some days spent in room 4027 at the Pop Century.  

These boys love themselves some Uncle Jeff!

Totally unimpressed.

The highlight of the week for the 3 Hoskins boys.
The Tiki Room
I think I started hearing about the Tiki Room about .35 seconds after Chris and I started dating.  For whatever reason, it has made a lasting impression on these men.  

One of the best quote of the trip happened at a family breakfast we were all eating together.  Mickey Mouse was around and making his way to all the tables to take pictures and give out hugs.  Conversation:
Chris:  "Hey Breck, don't you want to go over and have your picture taken with Mickey?"
Breck: "No"
a few moments pass
Chris: "Are you sure Breck?  This might be our only chance to see Mickey"
Breck: "No"
Chris: "I really think that we should"
Breck: "NO Dad!  I don't want to take a picture!  I just want to make a memory!"
(But don't worry, we snagged a picture with this world famous mouse moments before leaving the restaurant.)

Another wonderful little gem we overheard between a husband and his wife:
"Honey!  You are not being a very effective human being right now!"

The magic truly brings out the best in us all.

The attention to detail in this place just blew me away.  That, and everything is SO clean despite the fact that 50 kajillion people are experiencing the magic with you.  We were eating lunch in China (in Epcot) and Elsa was going to town on her rice.  This Ecuadorian baby girl LOVES her rice.  So she is eating away and about 65% of said rice actually makes it into her mouth.  I feel badly whenever my children are eating anywhere that is not our home because we leave such a path of destruction in our wake - and this meal was no different.  Huge rice-y mess all over the table and floor.  So I wipe up the table and walk away feeling badly for the Goodwill Ambassador who will have to sweep up after my daughter.  And I kid you not, I turned around 5 seconds later and the rice was gone and the table sparkling.  Blows my mind.  

By day 3 we decided to double up the stroller to try and preemptively avoid meltdowns due to exhaustion by Breck.  Good call.  I was fully preparing myself mentally to endure at least one of these meltdowns a day while we were there, but happy to report we made it back to our home nearly meltdown free.  A few mini-meltdowns here and there, but nothing major.  Although, I feel like the Disney crowd would be pretty forgiving and understanding had these meltdowns ensued.  There are kids falling apart pretty regularly, so we would have been in good company. 

Breck enjoying a stein of milk in Germany.

With some birthday money and "fun money" from Grandma Kathy, Breck walked away from the week with these 2 new additions to his wardrobe.  I think the only reason the hat has left his head is because now he has a fever (perhaps roseola for the boy as well?  only time will tell).  But before the 100+ degree body temps, we were all Jack Sparrow, all the time.  

Breck also went on his first roller coaster, the Barnstormer.  
Not a fan.
We may have ruined him for life as far as roller coasters go.  I think it was a mistake to make this one of the very last rides he did, after a week of few naps and constant excitement.  It was too much.  He held it together until he sat in the stroller.  Then the little tears came.

The kids got to bed at a very decent hour most nights but the night before we left we stayed up late.  Breck and Elsa both ended up falling asleep in the stroller and Chris and I enjoyed the fireworks from the line for the bus back to our resort.  

The stories could go on and on but I shant bore you all.  It was a great week.  The best part by far was having the whole clan together to make the memories.  
Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Kay for the trip of a lifetime!