4th Of July At the Lake...

This year we arrived Sunday evening and had fun catching up with Bailey and Madelynne, who had just arrived from TX as well as my parents and sister.  My grandparents arrived the next day as well and later in the week, Alex, Kristiaan, Casen and Chris came too.  At one point there were 16 of us around the table -- what fun!

Unfortunately, the rain was relentless in the spring and early summer in Minnesota and the lakes were all very high, covering many low-lying beaches and docks as well as eroding land surrounding the lake.  Due to high water, there were lake restrictions including not driving over 5 mph anywhere on the lake which meant no fast tubing, no water skiing, etc.  This meant a different lake experience BUT when given a lemon, my family makes darn good lemonade.  FUN was still had by all!

There was a rainy day while in MN (not surprising) so we decided to celebrate Solon's birthday with the tradition of going to MOA and doing the rides!  He asks to do it every year with Grandma!  This year, my mom could do all the rides and was loving it all :).  Solon is in to the "big kid" rides now including most of the roller coasters!

Vera still enjoys the kiddie rides and she had lots of willing chaperones!

For lunch, we checked out the new Benihana Hibachi Grill in the mall.  We all squeezed around one table!

That night we got a cake and Solon opened his presents from Grandma and Grandpa...a highlight was a remote-controlled astronaut (about 4 inches tall) that flies up and down!

The rest of the week, we spent hot tubbing, sailing, taking slow scenic boat and jet ski cruises and we added paddle boarding and kayaking to our repetoire.  They were both really fun.


Solon even tried his hand at kayaking..

And a daddy-daughter trip...

The whole "youth" gang....minus the grandparents!

We also were being silly and paddle-boarded in our dresses one night after a fun dinner at Lord Fletcher's.

Of course the fireworks were amazing and this year, due to all the rain, Waconia hosted the "Taste of Minnesota" at the Carver county fairgrounds which meant fireworks shows for 3 nights and a double firework show on the night of the 4th.  It was spectacular.  Our neighbors ran out of gas on the way to the fireworks and they were stranded in a pitch black lake, thankfully we found them with smart phones and the flashlight app and towed them home.

We also spent every evening on the new porch around the fireplace....definitely a cozy fun spot to hang out!

...and with absolutely no wake on the lake, you could paddle board and kayak wherever free of worrying you would get run over and there were no waves!  It was so peaceful!

Of couse our kiddos loved all the attention from Bailey, Madelynne, Alex and Ellen while there.  They had plenty of people doting on them and they ate it all up!  Bailey had to get back to his mowing business but Madelynne headed back home with us for a week to enjoy some time in IA with the kids and us!  More on that soon.  It was a great week in MN, relaxing!  We can't wait to get back up there one more time with our friends in August and now there are no speed limit restrictions, I might get up on the slalom ski yet!