The kids and Shannon headed up to Duluth with Grandpa for a weekend of fun. We stayed at The Edge Waterpark again. We spent the first day just relaxing in the indoor waterpark. Rosa was excited to be big enough to go on the lazy river without Mom.

Rosa on an tube

Anna was a regular fish, too. Here she is with Corbin.

Corbin and Anna on a tube

However, my real fish who LOVES baths and all things water, Ella, decided she was terrified and would not let me put her down!

Ella clinging to Shannon

Thankfully that only lasted a day. The next time we went to the waterpark, she was ready! Meanwhile, here's Corbin and Caleb zooming out of a big tube slide:

Corbin and Caleb

Taking a break from our swim, the kids checked out the resort a bit. Here's Anna, Corbin, and Caleb hamming in up:

the kids in a cut out

The next day we started off with another swim. Anna loved the kiddie area with all the squirting and splashing.


The bigger pool was a little intimidating for her, though.

Anna clinging to Caleb

While all the other children fled when the warning bell sounded, signaling a huge bucket of water to dump over the kiddie area, Corbin ran to it. Here he is, about to get very, very wet.

Corbin about to be soaked

To dry off, we went outside to play a couple rounds of mini golf. It was a pretty view, with the famous Duluth lift bridge in the distance.

the boys golfing

Grandpa and Nora played a round.

The younger girls had fun in the bounce houses that were there.

Anna and Ella on a bouncy slide

From there we went into town. We managed to be in the right place at the right time to see not one, but two huge barges coming into the Duluth Harbor. The lift bridge was up. It was really cool watching the massive ships maneuvering through such a tight space. Here is the first ship:

the first ship

and the second, and bigger ship:

the second ship

We thought watching the bridge lower again was just as cool.

the bridge lowering

Afterwards we walked out to the lighthouse, then strolled down the beach. It was quite a warm day, and the cool water felt refreshing

Corbin, Caleb, and Rosa at the beach

The Duluth area had suffered a horrible storm about a month earlier that had washed out streets and devastated their local zoo. As a result, the beach was littered with debris. Ironically, the lake was very calm during our stay. Here is a neat shot at the beach.

water splashing over a log

The kids turned into rock hounds, and I found my purse becoming loaded up with treasures they wanted to bring home.

the kids wading and rock hunting

In the process, some of them also got quite wet! Good thing Corbin got a waterproof cast!

Corbin wet

Dainty Rosa, like any real princess, didn't allow herself to get too wet.

Rosa reflecting

Nora and Alex found some agates and other cool looking rocks. Here's Nora on the hunt.

Nora and Rosa

Anna didn't mind getting a bit wet, but when a large wave drenched her, she was not a happy camper.

wet Anna

Even Ella got into rock hunting.

We were amazed to see yet another barge coming into Duluth off in the distance.

a barge

Later on we took a scenic drive along the coast of Lake Superior. We stopped at Two Harbors for a bite to eat and a walk out to along the pier. (The kids were a bit nervous about that.)


Breathtaking views abounded. Even the moon competed with the setting sun for oohs and awes.

daytime moon

Back at the Edge Resort, the kids hit the arcade. Corbin managed to hit the 1000 ticket jackpot! All said and done, the kids won enough tickets to bring home two board games, woopie cushions (hey, teenagers, what can I say), talking pens, toy ponies, and other treasures.

Corbin winning

The next day we wandered down to the waterfront. Here's the girls on the little walking lift bridge.

the girls and Shannon

After being tourists for the morning, we took a boat cruise. We didn't realize quite how hot it was supposed to get (in the 90s), or how little breeze there would be, but it was still enjoyable. Here's the gang ready for departure.

A cool shot of the lift bridge:

the lift bridge

We passed yet another huge barge in the harbor of Duluth. It is amazing how much humans consume!

another barge

After the cruise we headed back to the waterfront shops. It sure was hot! We stopped in the shade near a whimsical fountain. Oh no... if you know Corbin at all, you know what is going to happen next...

Well, Corbin's cooled off! Soon mayhem ruled as the others joined in.

Unfortunately, the spray also cooled off everyone else on the corner, including his sister, Nora. She was not very appreciative, to put it mildly.

That evening we roasted marshmallows back at the resort. The resort also had a outdoor theater of sorts, so the kids enjoyed watching the movie "Up" before heading to bed.

the kids roasting marshmallows

The next day we headed to the Duluth Zoo. The zoo had been hit painfully hard in the storm I mentioned earlier, and had even lost several animals, so we weren't sure what to expect.
We started out in the main building. The kids love the hands-on animal room. Corbin found some old friend there.

Corbin and the rats

The monkey and nocturnal building seemed fine, too. We were all delighted to see several lemur babies making mischief in their inclosure.

lemur and Corbin

But as we walked the zoo grounds the evidence of the disaster was apparent. The barnyard animals almost all had perished in the flood, leaving a lone pony sadly looking at us in the usually crowded barn area. Whole sections of the walking paths were washed away. Anna was thankful that "her" kangaroos were okay.


The old walking bridges that I loved sitting the kids on for scenic pictures were washed away. It was unbelievable seeing the massive rocks and trees that the destructive flood waters had thrown down the hillside, straight into the zoo.

For lunch we managed to down some fast food. The kids had some fun with the kid meal toys: goofy sunglasses.

Ella in silly glasses

The day was getting quite hot, so we opted to visit the Duluth Children's Museum All the kids had a blast! Caleb and Corbin immediately commandeered a fanciful flying dream car.

Ella found a quiet book corner, grabbed a book, and cooled off.

Ella reading

Caleb decided to try building a castle. (Which Alex enjoyed destroying.)

Caleb building

The older girls were busy playing dress up in a castle kitchen. It made for a nice relaxing time for Grandpa and I!

Nora, Rosa, and Anna dressed up

We did find out something interesting on this vacation, though. Ella is terrified of elevators, and the one at the Children's Museum was no exception.

Ella scared

All too soon our vacation was at it's end. We went to the Great Lakes Aquarium before leaving Duluth. The kids took turns controlling the underwater trout camera.

Nora and Rosa at the controls

Alex made friends with a blacked billed magpie. The bird wanted to play with Alex in the worst way; bringing him toys and playfully cocking his head at Alex.

Alex and the bird

Here's the girls "fishing" at a play campsite.

the girls playing

We all thought the lion-fish was very regal.

a lionfish

Of coarse before we left for home the kids had to get just a bit wet one last time; playing in the interactive lock and dam area.

Anna playing

Back at home, Alex realized the drivers permit he had was about to expire, and he'd have to take the driving test. He hated driving, but didn't want to have to go through the permit process all over again, so he sweated out the driving test... and passed with flying colors! He was so relieved to be able to put that chapter of his life behind him. Here he is as an official licensed driver!

Alex driving

The summer was quickly coming to an end. It was County Fair time again, and Caleb decided to enter a new catagory this year: vegimal. He won second place! Here is his vegimal (a bird, of course!)

Caleb's vegimal

Nora raced in the Sheriff's Posse Stick Horse Races again this year, and won first place in the Pennent Race. The trophy is huge!

Nora won race

Ella had a lot of fun trying out all the farm equipment, especially the horns.

Ella on a tractor

Nora got her face painted like a cat.

Nora face painted

Rosa went for the puppy look.

Rosa face painted

Corbin went for... um... well, being Corbin.

Corbin with a balloon hat

Anna just wanted to have her favorite color, blue.

The highlight for the kids again this year was the lego competition. Anna tried it for the first time this year. She made a swimming pool scene. While she didn't place, she enjoyed just being a part of it all.

Anna's lego creation

Nora made a bird nest scene.

Corbin made a lego boy playing with his legos. He came in a close second place.

Corbin with his creation

Rosa also entered for the first time, and won first place! She made a horse race track. Here she is with her creation.

Rosa with her lego creation

Caleb just plain blew the socks off of the judges with his lego project themed "Man's Quest for Flight." He scored the highest of all the age groups.

Caleb's lego project

Nora didn't mind not winning in the lego building contest because she won the coloring contest! Here she is with her prize and picture she colored.

Nora won

Corbin acquired a camera from Grandpa this past year, and so he had photographs to enter for judging at the fair, and many of them placed well. Here he is with his ribbons and photos.

Corbin's photos

Caleb decided he would also enter some photos, after winning first place last year. Here he is with his ribbons and photos.

Caleb's winnings

We even managed to get Alex to try entering. Here he is with his photo.

Alex's winning photo

Here's Nora with her photos and a drawing she entered, which came in first place:

Nora's photos

And Shannon with her shots and ribbons:

Shannon's winnings

Rosa was so excited to win the latest Elephant and Piggie book from the library's booth at the fair.

We will end the summer with the news that Rosa needs to wear glasses now. I had a hunch after she kept complaining of one eye wandering (which you can sort of see in the above picture). So here she is sporting her new look!

Rosa's glasses

We will end with Ella showing us all what one can do with a birdbath on a hot day.

Ella splashing in a bird bath

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