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

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.


Getaways + Gadgets


A quick post on this gloomy Friday morning. I’m heading back up north this weekend with my sister Addie for a sort of wellness retreat at our very own cabin resort! It’ll be nice to experience the place in a cooler setting. Addie and I are gonna hike, drink coffee on our little deck after we take an early jump in the lake, maybe get some massages, do some afternoon yoga, cook dinner, and play some cribbage in the evening. We’re getting our own cabin to ourselves. I think it’ll be precious. I would really like to unplug a bit and reset myself. Possibly get some good sleep… And we’ll actually be able to see, because last night I got a fitbit flex. Woohoo!fitbit2I wrote about fitness trackers back in the Spring. It was hard to decide, so I abstained. But last night we were at Target and it was there and I was like “ah hell.” Because I want to be able to quantify all the good hard work I’ve been doing, you know? Nothing flashy like the Charge HR. Just a good, simple flex model. I already used it to track my sleep last night and I only got like 4 hours of sleep. Rough. And I think I was so restless because I was excited about the fitbit tracking my sleep. Goes pretty nicely with my little Nixon watch huh?

A little trip


Over the weekend Alan and I went up to Duluth for our anniversary. Hooray! We’ve spent a lot of time on 35-N in the last year, so this trip seemed fitting. Also, it’s only 2 hours away, and I couldn’t get any time off work. So we kinda *had* to. ANNIVERSARY-3 ANNIVERSARY-2ANNIVERSARY-4Leaving the city it was gray and stormy, but we were promised sunshine and cold air Up North, which suits us just fine. ANNIVERSARY-6ANNIVERSARY-5We stayed in Canal Park, which is kinda like one big resort. It’s extremely pretty and there’s a shit ton of hotels and mediocre dining. We arrived just after sunset and I thought this area right outside our hotel looked like Bowerstone Market from Fable 3 (because I’m super detached from realty, as we know). Upon arriving, we drank a beer while watching The Weather Channel (we learned how to die of hypothermia, not to be confused with learning how to avoid it), then walked around and ended up at Canal Park Brewery, where we talked about a lot of stuff, including how baseball players are so basic despite having one of the largest on-average salaries of any major league sport (INHALE). We may have stayed up way too late, and woken up way too late the next day, so we grabbed brunch (Pizza Luce, which we do every weekend at home, because we’re massive yuppie tools!) then went south to Jay Cooke State Park.ANNIVERSARY-44ANNIVERSARY-43 ANNIVERSARY-42 ANNIVERSARY-41 ANNIVERSARY-40 ANNIVERSARY-39 ANNIVERSARY-38 ANNIVERSARY-37 ANNIVERSARY-36 ANNIVERSARY-35 ANNIVERSARY-34 ANNIVERSARY-33 ANNIVERSARY-32 ANNIVERSARY-31 ANNIVERSARY-29 ANNIVERSARY-28 ANNIVERSARY-27 ANNIVERSARY-26 ANNIVERSARY-25 ANNIVERSARY-24 ANNIVERSARY-23 ANNIVERSARY-22 ANNIVERSARY-21 ANNIVERSARY-20 ANNIVERSARY-19 ANNIVERSARY-18 ANNIVERSARY-17 ANNIVERSARY-16 ANNIVERSARY-15 ANNIVERSARY-14 ANNIVERSARY-13 ANNIVERSARY-12 ANNIVERSARY-11 ANNIVERSARY-10The real treat was coming back to the hotel in the afternoon and hopping in the hot tub with an ice cold Hopvale to soothe those hiking legs. We went to Grandma’s Saloon — as a joke — for dinner. It’s like, the lamest restaurant ever. No better than a TGI Friday’s or Applebee’s. Okay, so the boneless wings were decent, and you can get 22 oz beers, but OTHER THAN THAT…  ANNIVERSARY-45 ANNIVERSARY-46At night we walked around the peninsula and I tried out some night time photography. It went *ok*.ANNIVERSARY-47 ANNIVERSARY-48 ANNIVERSARY-49  ANNIVERSARY-51 ANNIVERSARY-52 ANNIVERSARY-53Boom! This one is nice; you can see the stars in it. I placed this on the ledge by the water, and we stacked up our phones and Alan’s wallet, because I don’t really have a tripod. Pretty neat thing. I could never do nighttime photography with my old camera. Too hard to focus in the dark. Having live view capabilities makes all the different. ANNIVERSARY-58 ANNIVERSARY-59 ANNIVERSARY-62 ANNIVERSARY-64The next day I woke up butts early and realized I hadn’t charged my camera battery overnight, but also the sun was just coming up so I sleepily put on my shoes and a hoodie and walked around while the city wasn’t quite woken up yet. ANNIVERSARY-65 ANNIVERSARY-66The real kicker is that when it was time to go on our excursion for the day, to Gooseberry Falls State Park, many hours later, I had neglected to put my camera battery back in my camera. I have no high quality photos of the park, alas. It was a disappointing moment, and I almost felt like the trip out there was a waste. But we walked around and just enjoyed it, and I wasn’t bogged down with trying to capture every single thing. If there was something that was worth stopping for, my iPhone did in a pinch. I suppose it was a nice reminder that I tend to get a little over-involved with my photography a lot. Sometimes a hike should just be a hike.

But still, now that I’ve been there, I’ve seen what’s worth photographing for the next time. Although, with all the rain we’ve had this spring, the falls were *extreme.* And that would’ve been cool to document.

So we spent our actual anniversary at Gooseberry, then came back and did some more drinkin’ and hot tubbin’, spent some ample bank at a few little cool stores (the only two we could find) then went to a pretty decent Italian restaurant (BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE YOU GO FOR ROMANCE DUH). The biggest bummer was having to pack right after dinner, then wake up butts early (again) to race back to Minneapolis so I could go to work yesterday (yawn).

Duluth is so close to us, and I think we take it for granted a little. There’s a lot of parts of it I don’t like. But its convenience can’t be beat. I wouldn’t mind taking a few more sojourns up there this year, at least so we can make a trip to Bent Paddle, and some radtacular other state parks like Tettegouche. And I’ll remember the camera that time, and maybe I’ll just play it cool.

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