Big Chip is the kind of place where, as a kid, you may pack your toothbrush and toothpaste but it's more a matter of habit than practicality since it never gets used. Same goes for shampoo, body wash, and anything else related to personal hygiene. You run around barefoot all day, indulge in freeze-pops, candy, and s'mores (depending on the hour), and wash off the accumulated layer of grime and stickyness by having another go in the lake. "Don't pack your good clothes!" my mom would warn every year. It's a place of sand, worms, dirt, and lake water, and somehow nothing around the place ever seems truly clean.
As an adult, a few things have changed. Vacation or not, I prefer to brush my teeth every day. Even if I don't get a shower in, you can bet I've put a can of dry shampoo to good use. I have good intentions when I pack that makeup, but usually only put on the foundation for it's SPF benefits. I pack 10 shirts too many (how many days were we up there again?) but end up rolling out of bed each morning to grab the same clothes I wore yesterday off the floor. They might be rumpled and have the smell of last night's bonfire lingering in them, but when today's schedule looks pretty much the same as yesterday's, there's not much use for clean ones.
Until the time comes to go home. Then you roll out of bed, throw some clean clothes on an otherwise unwashed body, and realize just how disgusting you really are. Somehow it takes the realization that you're leaving this place - trading lake country for your normal, city (ahem, suburban) life - to become desperate for a shower, your own bed, and a washing machine.
But while it lasts...
We made a quick trip this year, arriving early on Thursday and back on Saturday, but in a way that's the perfect amount of time with little kids. The only downside was the cold front that took over all day Thursday. I personally don't mind a day of downtime: reading, maybe a nap, a run into town, but with three little ones to entertain? They didn't quite know what to do with themselves. The big ones at least enjoyed the paddle boat. (Loling at thinking that Nolan would last longer than two minutes on there before trying to dive off into the water.)
At least the weather made it a good day for fishing, and the big kids also had a chance to catch their very first fish. Though it was a toss-up as to what was more fun: actually catching the fish or just throwing bread in the water.
Also: talk about a throwback.
Then, because these kids are Minnesotans, dammit, they decided that they'd had enough of just looking at the water and to hell with this 60 degrees in the middle of July nonsense, we're just going to go in this lake, swimsuits or no.
I am happy to report that the next day turned around for us
Learning the fine art of s'more making. (Graham cracker. Dark chocolate. Two marshmallows (toasted brown, maaaybe to the edge of burning for that extra crunch). Graham cracker. EAT.)
And then the time came to head home. The most beautiful of mornings, of course.
...we just couldn't resist...
...one more dip.
And since swimsuits were packed and everyone who participated was under the age of four, underwear, diapers, and bare bellies worked just fine.
...a stop to see Ole the Viking on the way out of town. Caden could not get over the fact that he had a spear. His life’s goal is now to be a Viking, probably.
Maybe I'll learn my lesson next year and leave those pesky toothbrushes at home. Until next summer, Big Chip!