Monday, August 1, 2011

Vacation 2011: Lumberjack Steam Train

If my memory serves me correctly, children under the age of four were not allowed in the NICU.  I believe it was four for siblings, 13 for non-siblings, but I could be mistaken.  Either way, Keaton was definitely too young to come inside the big grey doors that only swung open when one of the hospital staff granted a visitor access to the locked off halls, to see his baby brother.  So every night for that week when Collin or Busha would arrive with Keats in tow I would come out and spend time with him in the family waiting room while everyone else went in to spend some time with Hutt.  There were toys in there, a dollhouse, chalkboard, books, and cars.  And a train set. 

Keaton instantly fell in love with that train set and he would build, tear apart, and rebuild the track numerous times each visit.  When he couldn't get the puzzle like pieces to fit to his liking he'd hold it up to me, rather impatiently, and ask for my help.  At the end of each visit it was a battle of the wills to get him to put the trains down and pack up to head home.  I think this was partially due to the fact that he loved that train (he is still like this with sets in public places) and partially due to the fact that his world had been turned upside down - mom was no longer coming home at nights, we weren't spending any time together as a family - and he was acting out because he was confused.  

It was June 2010, he was 18 months old, and it was the first toy/thing he really showed an interest in.  I mean, he played with his toys at home just fine, but from that week forward the boy was in love with trains.  So much so that before the summer was over we knew what Santa would be bringing for Christmas, in October he was a conductor for Halloween, and in January we celebrated his 2nd birthday with a train-themed party.

So it's not surprising to me that the day trip Pa Drr planned over vacation to the Laona Lumberjack Steam Train was a huge hit.

Keaton has ridden on a couple of small trains like the one at the zoo, but this was a real train. A steam engine that ran on coal and had a whistle and a conductor that yelled All Aboard! and took our tickets.

We rode the train through the woods to Camp5, the location of an old logging camp that is now a museum.

We had packed a picnic lunch for our trip so after our 20 min ride we found some picnic tables and the grownups ate while the kids mostly played on the swing set and slides. 

The camp has a number of different things you can see and do.  Unfortunately, we didn't have time to do them all but since we plan on making a return trip no one minded too much. After lunch we headed first into the old barn and petting yard.

There were a number of different farm animals, chickens, cats, bunnies, goats, horses, pigs, cows, etc.  Some of them were a little to nosey for my liking (I'm looking at you, donkey and you, pony) but this little guy was a sweetheart.  Definitely my favorite of the bunch.

After the barn we headed into the museum where we saw the blacksmiths pounding and shaping iron.  We made a special request for four letters: a J, two H's, and a K, which will go on the wall in the kids room at the cabin.

In the back of the museum there was a replica cook shanty and bunk house.  This was definitely my favorite part.  I love learning about and seeing "the olden days."  As kids, my parents took us to a number of different historical sites and houses and museums.  I love walking through them and imagining myself living in those days; making food from scratch, knitting/sewing/making our clothes, raising animals and growing vegetables in the garden.  I know those days were hard, in a lot of ways harder than our days, but they seem to have been simpler.  In this fast-paced, corporate world that I find myself in now, the thing I crave most is simplicity.

Collin loved learning so much about logging in Wisconsin.  While the kiddos loved the train ride, Keaton's favorite display was the chainsaws. This will not surprise his grandpas.

Tee cut tree down!
There were two trains left for the day and while we'd planned on taking the later of the two we would have been the only ones left at Camp 5, so we jumped on the earlier train and rode back through the woods to the station.

A great family trip.  One I'm excited to go on again in the years to come.


Em said...

Oh man, the beginning of this post made me tear up, reliving again those difficult days for you guys when Hutton was in the NICU. The rest of the post just made me smile. :) I love the pic of you on the train with your boys. You look so pretty and happy! :)

CaSondra Shim said...

love seeing those BIG smiles on the boys- oh how I want to squeeze them!

Amanda said...

I too wad saddened thinking of the NICU days but just look at Hutter Butter now!!! Great post and awesome memories :)

Mama B said...

I love all the pictures, the one of the calf is my favorite (he was my favorite animal too)! I can't wait to go back in September, hopefully you guys can make it as well!