Happy Camping

This past weekend, we drove up to Bayfield, Wisconsin, on the Lake Superior shore to take the ferry across to Madeline Island.

Joe is a great adventure planner, and this one was to celebrate our 11th anniversary, which was on Saturday.

We camped at the Big Bay Town Park. It was the first time the four of us have all camped together, and it went just wonderfully!

The last time we were on the island, I was pregnant with Henry. I also bet this tree was upright then. Not often you see a tree from the bottom!

I distinctly remembered beautiful, huge rocks on the shoreline of the State Park. I wanted to get back to see them again, so we went for a hike.

We found them!

I just love the water!

Henry had been antsy to get the hike over with, but once he found this spot, we couldn’t drag him away.

Hello, Joe!

After the hike, we hit the town looking for lunch. Luckily, I had brought snacks, because once we saw the docks lined with boats, lunch had to wait. Each boat needed to be examined first.

Shuffleboard at the lunch spot

…followed by some ice cream. I liked that Henry’s ice cream matched his suit.

Then, it was finally time for the beach!

Charlie’s that tiny black dot in the water in the upper left corner of this pic.

Naturally, Henry had to bury himself.

The water felt so refreshing!

Someone had dug a really deep hole, so the boys contributed

Then it was the perfect time to roast some hot dogs for dinner

Then Henry got to do some fire poking before bedtime.

It felt wonderful to sleep in our own beds Sunday night, after two nights in sleeping bags. It’s also always fun to see how my plants look after being away. Even though it was only a few days, I feel like my hydrangeas really went nuts.

TRL 2021

Now, an image like this is not where I would normally start a post about our annual vacation on Table Rock Lake. But then, this just wasn’t a normal year.

This is a thing you crawl through that gives a bit of the feel of caving, apparently. I was not interested in putting myself through that.

Henry was!

Charlie, too, though he got less enjoyment out of it.

Through a sort of comedy of errors, a good chunk of our family ended up at a different resort this year. The day that our crew went to visit their crew, we weren’t really invited, since the boys had had migraine symptoms a few days before.

So, in the spirit of the theme of the week, we made lemonade out of our lemons!

I even made a friend who stayed with me for over 10 minutes until I had to go into a building. So I politely invited them to fly away!

All of this took place at Talking Rocks Cavern in Branson.

I get excited by caves, so I all but insisted that we go here. Dad and Joe chose not to go underground this deep, but the boys and Mom were super game!

It was super cool. Apparently, the first tour guides were two ladies, Hazel and Pansy, who gave the tours using a single candle. They turned the lights off so we could see what that would be like. GAH!

Mom sneaking through the curtains

Now, back to some more familiar scenery! Joe took this one morning while fishing with Gramps.

He even caught something

Mark photographed the fish Grandpa caught that same morning. Gramps said, “It’s barely bigger than the lure!”

The pool down there often has algae issues, so it gets closed for…clarification. I love pool time, but I actually don’t mind when it’s closed, because hanging out down at the dock and swimming in the lake is such a relaxing alternative.

Okay, maybe the trampoline part isn’t so relaxing, but it is a fun challenge.

Joe waiting for the hammer to fall

The boys love looking at the boats. Charlie’s at the stage where he’s checking out features and accessories.

Henry’s all about the motors.

At one of the marina docks, they have the boats lifted, so he could get really good views of those motors. He had me take a lot of photos of them…

…for drawing inspiration and reference.

Grandpa’s boat was out of commission this summer, so the Beckers VERY generously invited us to crash their boat outings, and even use it when they weren’t around. One of the days, they drove us out to Shell Knob for some World Famous Lemonade!

On the way back, we dropped in on the Petersmas to say ‘Hey!’ and go for a quick swim. Here we see Henry figuring out what to do in deep water after going down the slide. He made his way over to me, coughing, to pronounce, “Turns out I can swim if I have to!”

Those two up front are good little buddies

Nothing like vehicles, Legos and swimming to bring friends together.

The little lady’s a bit too young to really play too much with the bigger kids. But she discovered she could drag me just about anywhere. She especially loved bouncing on Grandma Jan’s bed after dinner.

The bigger kids thought that looked like fun, too.

Did your bed feel a little lumpy that night, Grammy?!

This dude just loves water. Especially zooming across it on the boat.

Nothing better than your first sunset cruise!

Although monitoring GPS and speed during day cruises with friends is pretty amazing, too

Oh, the front-of-the-boat times. I remember them so fondly. We cousins used to wit up there and compare nutrition facts from our pops.

Charlie and Henry’s favorite meal of the year is when David and Mark spend all day smoking pork and then everyone else brings a smorgasbord of side dishes. The Petersmas made the trek over that day to partake. It did not disappoint!

We also then got that whole day to hang with them. The newest member of the group learned that Charlie’s face makes a very good drum! Babies just love Charlie.

Our final day ended in kind of a bummer. Mark was taking us out for one last boat ride/ski, when the motor just gave up. Luckily, he has a fishing boat as well. He called Joe to drive it out to get us. We all got to see first-hand how to tie two boats together so one can tow the other.

Henry was very shaken by the event.

But the experience has been part of many a drawing and story ever since. He’s shown me countless pictures in which a motor has “shredded a belt.”

Those motor pictures have now undergone much photo editing by him as well. Isn’t there just inspiration everywhere you look?!