This summer has been full of good things, so much so that I haven't taken much time to record them. And I'm putting a stop to that now.
Usually by now in July, I'm panic-striken that the summer is half over and there are still so many summerish things to do, but this year I feel a sense of satisfaction that so many fun things have just happened, of my own planning or not.
Always high on the list is visiting the family cabins up north as many times as possible. So far we've been three times, which is legit and makes me feel like we're going enough.
It's always a bonus when extra family members show up, like my brother Jon. It's a great feeling when your kid gets to spend quality time with uncles and grandparents and the like. It just feels like time well spent.
The lake finally started warming up on our last visit. It usually takes well into the summer for it not to be ice cold because the average depth is something like 100 feet with spots that are 200 feet. To this day, though, it takes a force beyond myself to get me to jump straight in. I can't explain it. It must be all of the instances of getting myself into water so frigid it's actually frigide and the well-being of ones limbs and organs comes into question.
And then irony or ironies, by the time it's warm enough not to die in, our super brain biologist cabin neighbor stops over to tell us the swimmer's itch has never been worse than this year so best to avoid. Thanks Bruce.
One good hosedown later and I can say I survived chigger-free. Shudder. How is that even a word?
Zanna has mixed feelings about kayaking. On one hand, she begs to do it. On the other hand, then she sits immobilized in her Snoopy lifejacket and wears the most doubtful of expressions. But on the whole I'd say she'll be back for more.
Muffy and I celebrated our birthdays at the cabin again this year. Angel food cake with a flavor cacophany of peppermint bonbon ice cream, Cool Whip, and many berries was intensely festive and perfect. I also requested steak and got it.
Chillin' with her homedad. Purple and green marker all over the belly. If not at the cabin, where?
If I'm doing the math right I've been coming here for over 30 summers. And every year the Norway pines keep growing so tall it's hard to comprehend that they were once small. There is always at least one hammock in commission and the only thing that seems to change is that the weedlike trees on along lakeshore have turned into tree-trees big enough to make shade.
Knowing a piece of land so closely creates a rare and hard to describe feeling. You see it for what it was, is, and will be all at once. I don't mind getting older because getting older brings so much richness with it.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, here we are doing our weekly grocery shopping. Zanna lives for cheese samples and running screaming down the peanut butter aisle. I am constantly trying to figure out how to get weeknight meals on the table with the least amount of internal debate. Hate to say it, but meal planning is a lifesaver. The weeks I set down to doing this, I never regret it. What we eat, well that's a huge secret.
Earlier this summer, Zanna had her 2nd birthday. She wore the dress I wore to my 2nd birthday party, so that's about as poignant as you can get. Going off her love of chocolate milk, she really appreciated the chocolate cake. We also had a princess torte to round out the offering. I'll give you one guess as to which of those I made.
And then back up north! Now that Z is old enough to take in the sights, it's becoming a tradition for us to stop in Treasure City. If you haven't had the pleasure of visiting this roadside attraction in Royalton, I pity you.
Treasure City houses merchandise to be found nowhere else. By no stretch, some of it has likely been sitting in the same spot since before the day I personally entered this world. It's kitschy and overpriced, but if that's what it costs to keep "interesting" in business, so be it.
Portrait of Zanna and Mother, posing next to the jaws of many reptiles.
But the best part about Treasure City is the free Dum-Dums. We made off with three, and each provided 30 minutes of nonstop entertainment, respectively. 90 MINUTES, people! Who needs iPads?
On this occasion, we visited my in-law's cabin which is in the same general area as Camp Nelson. Zanna woke up with her usual Albert Einstein hair after a deep cabin sleep in the Pack N Play.
And this would be how you visit a local antique shop with a toddler. Off the floor.
Someone thought it was super cool that Dad let her stand on the driver's side for a bit.
Zanna was majorly digging on the jewels she procured at Treasure City: a necklace and bracelet combo. To this day these go everywhere with her and naturally I have since restrung both on indestructible dental floss. We've started calling the bracelet the Angry Bracelet because any time things start to get dicey to her, she flings it away in a mini fight of rage, only to regret the decision two seconds later and cry for its return.
I was kidding about what I said about the iPad. It's an awesome piece of technology. It makes for good quiet time every once in a while and I have no shame.
Back in the cities, Zanna spends her week days in a number of places, one of which being Chez Boppa and Nana.
Most days I'm the picker upper in the afternoon after working at my new job in international sales. I am very much appreciating the new gig and my energetic new team, and while it's a lot to learn, I really enjoy being able to stay in the international world and learn more about it. I'm only six weeks in, so it'll be a while before I'm even close to expert status on anything, but at least I know how to procure and send brownie samples to someone halfway around the world.
Other fun summer things included the Edina 4th of July parade and planting window boxes. The lady at the store Micah bought the flowers from gave him all his random sass and attitude about caring for the flowers and getting them to grow correctly; little does she know they have positively flourished. Ha, sass lady.
Z got a trike for her birthday from Grandpa Steve and Grandma "Aggie" (Maggie) and there is no talk after nightly dinner other than "MY BIKE!!"
After dinner we also usually spend time outside tagging the sidewalk with graffiti.
And what summer would be complete without a wedding to dress up for?
We headed out to Winsted, MN for a college friend's lovely wedding and had a blast. (Blast due in part to a movie-playing Smartphone set down in front of a toddler.) Z was a champ and let us stay past 7:30.
And a parting shot from the wedding. The dance floor. Starting 'em young.