Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cabin Time: Stilp Family Vacation - Part Five of Who Knows How Many

So happy to see the Minnesota Welcomes You sign!
The biggest chunk of our summer vacation time was spent at Curt's parents' cabin in Northern Minnesota. Nestled on the shore of Boy Lake, just outside of Remer, the cabin is about the best place to go on a hot summer day.

Curt grew up hunting and fishing up in the woods around the cabin.  When a piece of land became available, his parents bought it.  The original cabin on the land was not so nice.  Old and mostly run down, the human inhabitants shared the old cabin with bats, mice, skunks, and who knows what other kinds of critters.

On my first visit there - as Curt's new girlfriend- a bat started swooping around the room where we were staying.  It was quite comical watching his dad try to hit the bat mid-flight with a fishing net while I screamed every time it flew near my head.  I'm surprised they invited me to come back.

Other "big" things happened on that first visit to the cabin.  Curt and I made a  "Love Pie"out of leftover cement that we were using to repair the sidewalk. We wrote "C+J August 31, 1996" on a circular piece of cement.  It's still at the cabin to this day, sitting on top of the rock garden we made on a work weekend when we were newly married.  We also talked about marriage for the first time at the cabin - in the boat out on the lake.  The cabin has some good memories for us.

Curt's parents eventually tore down the old cabin and built a new one in 1998.  We got to be a part of the planning, dreaming, and building process.  Once it was finished, we all got to enjoy it.  We spent many weekends in our newly married years at the cabin hunting, fishing, boating, and playing.  It is one of the things Curt misses the most about living so far away.

Curt loved bringing our family back to the cabin, especially now that our kids are old enough to remember it and enjoy it.  Chad (Curt's oldest brother), his wife Lara, and our niece Madison worked tirelessly to get the cabin in tip-top shape.  Lara and Madi hung "Welcome to the cabin" signs off the deck and as we pulled in, Chad set off a giant firework.  What a way to start our time together.
Our view as we pulled up the night we arrived.
Our other niece Alexa was working as a camp counselor at the Christian camp bordering the cabin property so she came over on every work break and in the evenings if she could get a sub for her cabin.  We wish we could have seen her more, but loved catching glimpses of her throughout our visit.  Twice Alexa and the other counselors came over to get all the Stilp Cousins and brought them back to the camp to join in the after-dinner camp games with the other campers.  A pretty cool perk to having a cousin as a counselor.
The first night we arrived - Alexa got to come over really quickly to say hi

Katie turned 12 while we were there so Alexa came over on her hour break to squeeze Katie.
Curt's parents came up a few days after we arrived and joined in all the fun.  We spent our time at the cabin relaxing and playing.  We took boat rides and kayaked.  Most of the adults took a spin around the lake on the waterskis.  Curt and Chad taught Grant how to waterski and Alli almost got the hang of it.
Grant got up on his third try
oh my goodness is he cute!
One time around the lake was more than enough for me.
Curt and Paige stuck to tubing 
Grant and Katie watching Auntie Lara get up on the skies
Madi showing us how it's done
Paige and Katie settled for tubing with Madi and Alexa and Chad gave them some wild rides around the lake, whipping them back and forth across the wake while they squealed with delight.

The boys got up early to fish, while the ladies slept in.  The kids fished off the dock when they weren't swimming or playing in the water with the dogs.
early morning fishing 
We laid around.  Ate, and ate some more.

The kids did a lot of four wheeling too.  One day when Alexa was off work all six cousins loaded up on three four-wheelers and drove all the way into town.  Ate ice-cream, played at the park, then drove home.  They were gone for several hours and came home dust covered, with huge smiles.
And they're off...
dirty face
Exercise at the cabin was fun.  Lara and I did yoga on the shore by the water.  I squeezed in a few runs that were beautiful, minus the deer flies and mosquitos that swarmed me the entire way.  By the time I got back to the cabin I had dead bugs all over me!  (That is one of the downfalls of northern Minnesota - the bugs in the summer are really awful.)

Curt and I swam across Boy Lake while Chad and Lara boated next to us.   .75 miles across without any panic attacks for me.  BOOM!  And thank you Jesus.

The other really fun thing we did at the cabin was celebrate Katie's 12th birthday.  Everyone pitched in to make it special.  Madi and Lara spent hours making and decorating delicious cake pops and planning a special dinner.
homemade cake pops
Grandma Carole brought balloons and helped with dinner.  There were birthday flowers and decorations.  Katie got to open birthday presents with her extended family for the first in years.
My beautiful birthday girl

Happy birthday Katie Joy!
After dinner she and her cousins headed over to the church camp for the evening games.  It was really special.
cousins playing camp games
We concluded the birthday celebration with a piñata from Grandma Carole stuffed so full of candy that it took multiple hits and mutilations before it finally broke open.

Alexa and Paige waiting for their turn at the piñata.
I also subjected everyone to family pictures.  The kids were not impressed, but participated nicely in spite of their desire to move on to something much more fun than family photos.

Grandma Carole and Grandpa Mo with most of their grandkids
We all had a hard time saying goodbye to Alexa and driving away to the Twin Cities.  She looked so lonely sitting on the front steps waving.
right before we left...
It was also hard to say goodbye to the cabin, not knowing when we'll be there again next.  But more beautiful memories were made and we can revisit them any time, no matter where we are.

Thank you Chad, Lara, Madi, Alexa, Mo and Carole for all the work you put into making it such a wonderful time.  We love you.

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