The Mountains are Calling

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Friends, tomorrow I’m embarking on a trip! By myself! I’ll be attending Socality Camp in the Canadian Rockies and I can’t tell you how stoked I am about this.

I first learned of this over the summer, and it seemed pretty affordable (at least compared to other camp-for-creatives events I’ve encountered in the past) and Alan and I talked it out and decided I could go for it. I was so scared. Scared of leaving my baby for 6 days, scared of him not being well fed or not sleeping and creating chaos and stress for Alan. Scared of being all by myself in a sea of strangers! Scared of having to continuously pump milk so my supply doesn’t run out. It had also been so long since I did anything independently, and that was scary too.

But, I thought, if it scares me, I should do it. If I can do it, I should do it. I’ve been away from other creative adults for so long, and becoming a mother, while amazing and life-changing, meant that I lost part of myself along the way, and this is an opportunity to get some of that back, maybe an even better part.

So that’s where I’ll be! And I hope to return refreshed and positively abuzz with creative energy and motivation to do and make and maybe I can dust off the ol’ blog for fall.

Make sure to follow along on Instagram!

Weekend Away

JUGGLER-16JUGGLER-14Last Tuesday we returned home from a whirlwind long weekend Up North to visit Alan’s folks at their cabin. It’s recently built (replacing a TRULY rustic cabin that lacked electricity or indoor plumbing!) and we only briefly toured the place last summer on a day trip from my family’s cabin. Now that this cabin is here, Alex will have twice the fun summer times with family! It’s so nice to be able to have these places for our kids. Growing up going to the cabin was and still is one of my most cherished traditions.JUGGLER-1JUGGLER-2JUGGLER-5JUGGLER-8JUGGLER-9JUGGLER-11JUGGLER-20A couple evenings Alan’s dad took us two out in the little boat to tour the lake. Is there anything better than an evening on a lake? No there is not.JUGGLER-27JUGGLER-29It occurred to me that I’ve never been this far north, this close to the solstice, so it stayed light out past 10 o’clock. This was a bit of a novelty to me. I’d hoped to do some astrophotography but I couldn’t make it to darkness. And good thing too, because our first morning Alex woke up about 5:30. It’s tough for a little guy to adjust to vacations!JUGGLER-30JUGGLER-31I really don’t mind waking up at dawn (although these photos were taken decidedly post-dawn). It’s tough, but when you’re at a beautiful lake in the woods, that’s basically a feature. I’m sure there will be more of these next month at the other cabin.

And if you’re going to have a baby force you awake in the early hours, it’s nice to have a couple extra pairs of hands to hold him while you get your bearings and drink lots of coffee.JUGGLER-33Hah! Alan’s uncle who owns a little stretch of shore across the lake picked us up in a pontoon for a little family visit. Alex’s first time on a boat!JUGGLER-37JUGGLER-38JUGGLER-39JUGGLER-40JUGGLER-43JUGGLER-44JUGGLER-45JUGGLER-46JUGGLER-47JUGGLER-48JUGGLER-50JUGGLER-51JUGGLER-52JUGGLER-53JUGGLER-54JUGGLER-55JUGGLER-56JUGGLER-57JUGGLER-58JUGGLER-60JUGGLER-63JUGGLER-64JUGGLER-65JUGGLER-66JUGGLER-68

Highway 61, We Visited

NORTHSHORE-32NORTHSHORE-24Last weekend for our 3rd anniversary we packed up the minivan and headed north. The plan? Explore the north shore of Lake Superior. That was all we knew. The unpredictability of the baby made it hard to have any solid plans.

And that really worked out well.

Parenthood is challenging, in a thousand different ways, but for me particularly, accepting that I can’t control everything, or even most things, is an incredible hurdle to leap. I guess I was always a bit testy, but the hormones, the loss of sleep, and a plan gone off the rails? I get terribly agitated, which is a great understatement.

I had visions in my head of beautiful sun kissed afternoons and us on the craggy rocks overlooking Lake Superior, on hours-long hikes, while the baby happily snoozed and we took little breaks to have a picnic of cheeses and salmon spreads. But the forecast indicated a much different trip, one with coldness and rain. Everything we wanted to do was more or less set in the outdoors. If the weather was shit, the trip would be RUINED. I tried not to get bummed about the trip before it even started, but it was hard.

But, back to this trip. It actually turned out really great! We had one day of really crap weather but still managed to go out and do some stuff. Our little lakeside condo at Bluefin Bay was cozy and spacious. We don’t feel any time was wasted, which in my mind, means the trip was a huge success.

Day 01

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Day 02

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Day 03

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Day 04

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Day 04

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Day 1 was spent driving, walking around Canal Park in Duluth. We ate lunch at Northern Waters Smokehaus and grabbed beers at Canal Park Brewery . We then took a pit stop at Tettegouche State Park. We stayed at Bluefin Bay for the trip. 

Day 2 started sunny, but quickly turned to rain. We rode the new gondola at Lutsen and got lunch and beers at the Summit Chalet. Later on, we took Alex swimming for the first time in the hotel pool.

Day 3 we got breakfast at Coho Cafe (and every morning subsequently!) and hiked around Temperance River State Park in the drizzle. After naps, we ventured to Grand Marais to eat lunch at The Angry Trout  and explore Artists’ Point. Before heading back we got beers at Voyageur Brewing. And later, more swimming!

Day 4 we went to Cascade River State Park, followed by lunch at Cascade Restaurant

Day 5 we packed up and headed home with a brief pit stop at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

It’s easy to forget how much beauty is in your own state. I can’t recommend the North Shore enough for a family getaway. I think going later in the summer would’ve given us a wider range of opportunities for activities, but I’m glad we got to go when it was still pretty quiet and cool.

Help Plan our Anniversary Trip!

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Our anniversary is in a couple months, and we can’t really do what we did last year, but we still want to do something exciting! So, what I proposed was a tour of Minnesota’s beautiful north shore. But, we need some help deciding what to do and most importantly, where to stay. It’ll be 4 nights and 5 days in May AND oh, we’ll have a baby, so baby travel tips are welcome too.

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I made this super cool graphic to wrap my head about what is available to us up there because there’s so much to do and see.

So, go! What should we do Up North?

Week in the North

CWC2016-2When you photograph a certain place so many times, it begins to feel more of a task and less of a creative outlet. Just a day before embarking on our annual cabin trip this year, I realized I hadn’t thought about what camera gear I would pack. Last year I definitely over prepared by bringing 4 lenses and a slew of other accoutrements. This year I hastily stuffed my 70D, 24-70 2.8 lens already affixed, into my bag, made sure the 128GB card was clean, and just for grins, threw in my macro lens and a few filters. I packed the tripod too, in case I wanted to get into some night time photography, but pregnancy has me out these days at about 10:30.

Suffice to say, it was a very quiet week on the photography front. CWC2016-1CWC2016-3And that’s totally fiiiine. Anything I would’ve tried to do this year would’ve just been trying to recreate my photoset from last year’s trip, which in my mind, really told the story of what our cabin trips are like well. I have nothing new to say about the cabin this year. It was insanely quiet. In our cabin, one daughter had just had a baby, and another was on the verge. Not a lot of wild swimming or runs or volleyball. Just straight chillin. I assume next year with a 10 month baby in tow I will have a new story to tell and/or not have any time to take pictures.CWC2016-9CWC2016-10CWC2016-11CWC2016-12CWC2016-13CWC2016-14CWC2016-28CWC2016-29CWC2016-30CWC2016-37CWC2016-38CWC2016-39CWC2016-40CWC2016-44CWC2016-45CWC2016-46For my cabin read this year I have delved back into the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Man. Reading these things with knowledge of what’s to come… It’s so frustrating. Ned Stark is SO STUPID you guys amirite?CWC2016-47I kept envisioning a cool bump photo of myself in my swimsuit with my lady prominently featured but I had yet to show anyone how to take a picture with my camera, so I took one myself. My suit is from ASOS maternity. Also: Rocking the top knot these days! CWC2016-48CWC2016-49Little Hattie is a little older and a little more delightfulCWC2016-50CWC2016-52CWC2016-53SUMMER EVENINGS, right?CWC2016-56We also had a new little niece this year, seen here being cradled by Uncle Alan. Thanks for the infant prep, sis!CWC2016-58CWC2016-64On the last day Alan and I took a walk and I got him to take some pictures of me. He had the hat turned around and everything, and his composition is not bad. Just have to teach him about aperture now! I find it difficult to pose and smile for pictures, as I think I have a super goofy smile when I’m forcing it. So he told me some jokes to get me going. You know, like you might a child. CWC2016-66Since getting tattoos and becoming pregnant, even though I’m not at my ideal weight, I feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin, and this summer especially I have been loving just showing off my arms and belly and legs with no hesitation. Early on, my midwife said “birth will be easy for you, because you’re tall!” I don’t know if that’s actually true, but it did give me a new lens to look at my body through, which I’ve always had a rough relationship with. I was like, hell yeah, I’m tall, I’m solidly built. I will birth the hell out of this baby and it will RULE. It’s so, so cheesy, but I’ve really embraced womanhood and body positivity with this little (super kicky) baby inside me.CWC2016-67I now feel a little better about handing the camera to Alan more often especially once the baby is born because I am poorly represented in my own photography and this blog. CWC2016-72For this one I handed the camera to my sister! And of all the shots she took I like this one of us being goofs. CWC2016-73CWC2016-77CWC2016-78CWC2016-80And the sun sets on another year at our beloved cabin. It really feels like it went too fast, and yet I’m still filled with a sense of renewed energy, like most years when the summer winds down. Must be all that Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living I read Up North. I get home and I’m ready to hit the ground running. Why, just today, I had a doctor appointment (which was very good BTW), went to the bank and the post office, and IKEA. I got a whole to-do list for the coming months, until baby arrives. Vacation as reset is always so positive.

🌞

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