We took our big summer vacation the last week of August, right before school started back up. Lee had to stay home and work, but the kids, Shannon, and Grandpa headed up to Pimushe Resort. This was our second time visiting this resort, the first being a couple years back.

We stopped on the way up at Walker, where the kids romped on the playground a bit and watched the sailboats on the lake. Here's Grandpa checking out the sights with the gang.

the gang looking out over the lake

Grandpa pointing out a boat

This time we stayed around the cabin and just relaxed a lot more. It was great! The weather was perfect the whole week as well. Nora was thrilled to have graduated to a smaller waterproof (!) cast the day before our trip. Here she is with Anna on the beach.

Nora and Anna at the beach

The beach and swimming area was where we ended up spending most of our time. The kids loved it! Here's Rosa digging it!

Rosa digging

We even rented the same cabin we had years before. One of the best things about it was the humming birds that zoomed around their feeder on the deck. While they were much to fast to catch on film flying, Corbin managed to sneak a shot, although somewhat blurry, of one resting.

a humming bird

The next day we were unpacked and settled in, so the kids adorned their swimwear and hit the water. The resort had acquired even more water toys since we were last there. The older kids loved the fun boats. Here's the gang out for a spin.

fun boats

A main draw of the fun boats is that one can spray water quite a distance. This is also called how to get your big brother soaking wet...

Corbin spraying Alex

and now little brother can hope his battery is more charged than said big brother to make a clean get away...

Alex chasing Corbin in the fun boats

Nora was excited she could drive her own boat this year.

Nora in a fun boat

Rosa liked being with her favorite big brother, Caleb.

Caleb and Rosa in a fun boat

Biking on water? Sure, why not?!? These are a lot harder than they look. Sort of like peddling with your brakes on. But the boys still gave it a go. Here's Corbin.

Corbin on a water bike Corbin on a water bike again

Alex has a try:

Alex and Caleb on water bikes

And Caleb:

Caleb on a water bike

Corbin thought the bikes were a bit too much, so he tried Kayaking for a bit.

Corbin in a kayak

About mid-morning a weird cloud appeared just above the treeline.

a weird looking cloud

As it approached, it took on a snake-like form:

shelf cloud

With a rush of wind the shelf cloud passed right over the lake. The backside looked more threatening because it blocked the sunshine.

The backside of the cloud

One last shot of the amazingly cool cloud:

the cloud again

With the weather looking suddenly iffy, we headed into town. We stopped at the tourist information building to say hi to Paul and Babe the Blue Ox.

the kids around a giant Paul and Babe

Before we knew it, the sun was again shining, so the kids hit the beach again as soon as we returned from our town romp. Here's Anna getting wet.

Anna in the lake

Rosa loved the little tiny paddle boats. She expertly steered herself all over the swimming area.

Rosa in a paddle boat

There is just something about babies and the beach that just warms the heart. Here's Ella being her adorable self.

Ella with a beach hat on

She loved, loved, loved the water and the beach! Here she is again, showing everyone how happy she is.

Ella on the beach smiling

Now back to the serious business of playing...

Ella holding a beach toy shovel

Nora's favorite was the water slide. With sheer determination she would lug herself (remember, she had a cast on one arm!) the six feet or so up the ladder of the slide, throw herself over the top, get centered, and gracefully swish down with a splash into the lake.

Nora on the slide

Caleb and I went on a little canoe trip around a close by island and back. We enjoyed the ease of paddling over the calm waters. I especially enjoyed seeing the water lilies in bloom, and a duck nibbling grains off water grasses.

water lilies

By the time we returned, the girls were done swimming and had moved on to fishing. On the way to see how they were doing, I noticed this creature among the flowers by the dock.


Rosa was a mean, lean fishing machine! She was pulling up sunfish as fast as Grandpa could put them back in the lake! Here she is with some of her catches:

Rosa with a sunfish

Rosa fishing

The boys were all great about helping with baby Ella. Here's Caleb watching her "drive" the boat.

Caleb holding Ella

Anna didn't want to fish much, but she enjoyed cheering Nora on.

Nora and Anna

While we relaxed and the girls fished the clouds made more neat shapes. Ribs, anyone?

the clouds again

Fluffy clouds above, refreshing water below; what a way to relax!


the water reflecting the clouds

Here is our cabin as viewed from the dock. With a dishwater, air conditioner, and television it was more of a house than a cabin!

Our cabin

Another shot of Caleb, Ella, and Anna on Grandpa's boat:

Caleb, Ella, and Anna

Right after that picture was taken Anna fell of her chair! So we decided to get our land legs back and shoot some hoops.

Anna with a ball

Alex tried out the stilts a bit. (Like he needs to be any taller!?!)

Alex on stilts

Nora stayed a while longer fishing, and she was rewarded with a Sunfish.

Nora with her fish

We ended the day with a campfire. Here's Corbin roasting a marshmallow for some s'mores.

Corbin roasting a marshmallow

And the whole crew around the campfire:

the kids behind the campfire

There was definitely a whisper of autumn in the air! Anna climbed onto Grandpa's lap to warm up.

Grandpa and Anna

The next day we had more fun playing at the resort. We didn't take many pictures that day, but here are a few gems:

A duck bravely swam right under the dock we were on.

A duck swimming under our dock

Ella tried out the playground swing.

Ella smiling and swinging

Here's the boys at one of their hang outs: The blue swim pad. Their favorite thing to do, near as I could tell, was to push each other off of it.

Alex, Caleb, and Corbin on the blue dock

Grandpa took the girls on a boat ride around the lake. They got a kick out of how fast we went, but were frustrated with how their hair got in the way!

the girls on the boat

After a big supper, we went on a walk to the main road and back. Here's the kids posing by the resort's sign.

The kids with Pimushe's sign behind them

The next day we ventured off to Itasca State Park The big evergreens amazed all. Even Ella enjoyed it; she loved feeling the rough bark.

Ella smiling while touching a tree

Holding the baby presented some challenges to being able to take photographs this vacation, but the boys were more than happy to step up to the plate and take shots for me. Sometimes, however, this made for some rather interesting pictures like this one of Caleb:

Caleb up close

But it also allowed for some breath-taking photos, like this unique shot of the large evergreens.

Looking up at the tall trees

Here's the kids at a scenic overlook among the trees:

The kids at Itasca

This day proved to be the hottest of the vacation, with the afternoon temperature passing the 90 degree mark. So when we reached the little stream that is the beginnings of the mighty Mississippi River, we hopped right in. Here's Corbin hamming it up:

Corbin swimming

At one point we went under a walking bridge. The underside was full of chewing gum! While all the kids said "eww!" I thought it was sort of artistically interesting. Or maybe interestingly artistic.

a gummy bridge side

Here's the gang that braved the leeches and painful rocks to get to the official start of the river:

Caleb, Anna, Nora, Rosa, and Corbin

Once there we splashed about a bit. The girls on the rock bridge over the beginning of the Mississippi:

Nora, Rosa, and Anna

We traded Anna for Ella for the walk/ swim back.

The gang heading back

Alex found a friend on the walk back to the bridge we were swimming to. Here are some shots he took of it:

a caterpillar

the caterpillar crawling

Ella loved the water! She floated and kicked her way downstream (with Mom holding on, of course!)

Ella in the river

Ella again

Once back at the visitors center we ran into our family doctor (it's a small world!) and the kids got goofy making "butt prints" along the cement benches. Maybe the heat was getting to them?

butt prints

We drove around the park a bit, soaking up the warm sun and cool views.

Lastly, we went up to the big ranger's tower. On the way back sleeping Ella got a toe-tally neat visitor.

a dragonfly on Ella's toe

The next day we headed for Paul Bunyan's Animal Land. I'm not sure if one would call it a small zoo or a deer park, but the kids all enjoyed it. We all oohed and awed over a couple baby deer that followed us around.

baby deer

The kids all had fun feeding the deer the corn feed mixture. One lovely doe gave Caleb a kiss to show her appreciation!

A deer licking Caleb

Here's Caleb feeding the deer:

Caleb feeding some deer

And Rosa in action:

Rosa feeding the deer

Deer can be quite powerful when they want to be, and as the food cups became empty, the deer got pushy! (And don't worry about Nora; she can push right back if the need be! She enjoyed it all.)

a deer nudging Nora

Soon the deer figured out Grandpa was where the food was coming from!

Grandpa and a deer

Another shot of the deer hunter himself. Life's ironic that way, isn't it?

Grandpa and Rosa and Anna with a fawn

Around this time, amid all the craziness of our family, a family of four started stalking us. At first we thought maybe it was just a coincidence they kept following us around, but after trying to get away from them three different times, it became apparent. We talked about it amongst ourselves afterwards, and we concluded maybe they saw Alex with our big (and very old) camcorder, and thought we were filming for a television show or something. We also did get asked a couple times while we were vacation if we were "that family from that large family t.v. show," so maybe they thought we were? At any rate, the kids wanted to finish up and get away from them!

The kids feeding deer while Alex films

Here's Caleb giving the rest of his treats away...

Caleb feeding some deer

Caleb again

and Nora and Anna doing the same:

Nora and Anna feeding some deer

The deer Nora fed is a rare piebald version. It was very skittish, but also very beautiful.

a white and brown faced deer

Ella had a blast. She loved feeling the deer when they let her, anyway!

In fact, she got so into feeling deer hair, when Grandpa was within reach, she grabbed his hair!

Ella pulling Grandpa's hair

Finally we gave the following family the slip by the lama (I won't get into the details of that now), and quickly cleaned off our shoes so we could escape to a place to eat lunch in peace!

Cleaning our shoes on a boot brush

After lunch we headed over to the Headwaters Science Center in downtown Bemidji. It is a fun hands on museum with lots for kids to do. Anna loved feeding the big white carp. They seemed to kiss the water as they fed.

Anna with the fish

Corbin joked around in front of the fun-house mirrors.

Corbin looking fa in a mirror

Here he is trying out the echo chamber.

Corbin at the echo chamber

Alex played us a tune on the flip-flop and plumbers pipes xylophone.

Alex playing the instrument

Rosa showed everyone just how talented she is by getting two balls to stay up in midair with a blower machine.

Rosa with the balls

Nora, meanwhile was determined to work out the mind puzzle I had given up on:

Nora working on the puzzle

I was amusing Ella with the huge bubble maker when Alex "popped" on over.

Alex with a bubble popping on him

Ella thought that was so funny, we did it again.

Alex and a bubble again

All that stubbornness of Nora's paid off! Here she is, with the puzzle completed:

Nora with the puzzle

Caleb spent most of his time next to his favorite exhibit: a blue-fronted amazon parrot (you knew it was going to be a bird of some kind, right?!?!)

Caleb with the bird

Finally, after prying Caleb away from his new best friend, we said our goodbyes to the museum.

the kids outside with a dino

After that we did some bumming downtown. The girls weren't too thrilled about shopping, but we calmly told them to not have a cow...

the girls in front of a cow ball

The next day we ventured out again. We started off at Bemidji State Park. The bog walk was a favorite the last time we had visited, so we started off on that trail.

The walk was wonderful. Not a bug was to be found; the chickadees were everywhere, chirping and fluttering about. The wild cranberries and raspberries abounded. We even found several carnivorous pitcher plants.

a pitcher plant

After leaving the bog, a new playground beckoned the kids so we rested and they played. Here's Alex and grandpa enjoying the day.

Grandpa and Alex

Corbin had a whirl on the playground.

Corbin spinning around

Anna found the slide quite shocking.

Anna with static hair

Our final stop at the park was Lake Bemidji itself. The kids enjoyed wading in the water and seeing all the shells.

at the beach

From there we headed off to see if we could find The Lost Forty, a grove of tree that some say are upwards of 300 years old. The whole experience was really cool These trees made the biggest pines in Itasca look like matchsticks. It was also not so commercialized; we were the only ones there! Here is a view looking up:

looking up

Here's the gang at the base of one of the trees:

the kids in front of a big tree

Ella loved feeling the thick bark. She really got into nature this vacation!

Ella at the base of a tree

The next day we hit the water again. The kids set out with a sense of urgency, knowing that we were heading for home the next day. Anna wanted to play in the sand...

Anna at the beach

while the others took a final swim:

the kids swimming and playing in the water

Alex ventured out to the water trampoline and patiently waited for his brother to join him.

Alex bouncing

Meanwhile, Grandpa did some off the dock fishing.

Grandpa on the dock

The trampoline proved to be quite the entertainment, if not for the boys, then for the ones like Ella and I watching them! Here's Caleb being bounced into the water by Alex:


Where is Alex, you ask?

Caleb again

A side view yields the answer. Look at the anticipation on poor Caleb's face!

Alex behind Caleb

There was a long skinny tube coming off the trampoline, which the boys liked trying to run down without falling off. Here's Alex showing how it's done:

Alex running

Soon the boys migrated back to the blue floating platform to play another round of push each other off.

the boys in action

Grandpa rounded up the boys for a final bit of tubing fun. Here they are, ready to depart.

The boys on the boat

the boys heading off

The resort had several new beach toys for our enjoyment, including some super-sized surf boards that one stood up on and paddled. Here's Caleb giving one a try.

Caleb on a board

Alex also got in on the act.

Alex and Caleb on the boards

The girls stuck to less challenging toys, like the teeter-totter.

Rosa and Nora on a tetter-totter

The kids liked the water so much, it was had getting them to come out! Here's Alex being Alex...


Meanwhile Anna had become quite sandy from playing in the sand. Alex hosed her down with a water toy, and the giggles that bubbled forth were priceless.

Anna laughing Anna again

While Anna was taking a break at the cabin, we sat and watched the hummingbirds a while. They sure are fast!

Back at the lake, Corbin hammed it up on the floating dock. Run, Corbin, run!

Corbin running on the platform

Now get back up there!

Corbin trying to get back on the platform

and jump off again!

Corbin diving in

and again?!?!

Corbin going in again

Alex was out prowling the seas in a fun boat...

Alex in a boat

Caleb had had enough water for a bit. He grabbed the camera from me and promptly started taking pictures...
of Ella

a close-up of Ella

and of himself!

Caleb taking his own picture

Now Caleb sneaked up on his brothers and got some shots.

Alex and Corbin swimming

Corbin reflecting:

Corbin in the water

Ah ha! Alex has caught the spy red handed! (Not sure why this photo is showing up goofy.)

Alex smiling

Here's a cool shot of Corbin jumping on the blue platform.

Corbin jumping

Ella waves "hi" for the camera.

Shannon and Ella

We were up bright and early the next morning for our journey home. Some fog was lifting over the lake.

fog over the lake

Soon the sun was peaking over the horizon, and it was time to go.

fog over the lake

On the way we stopped at some small tourist trap of a town. We nibbled on some fudge from the candy store while the girls played on a train ride.

the girls on a train

Anna loved Babe the Blue Ox because he is blue, of course.

the kids by Babe the Blue Ox

The kids climbed all over a caboose. Here's Rosa up in the lookout seat.

Rosa in a caboose seat

Thus ends our late summer vacation.

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