The best part of this "lumberjack" theme is using it to get the kids to eat their meals, "eat like a lumberjack, guys. Eat lots of food so you have energy to cut down trees."
And the great part is, it has worked. More than once Keaton has said to me, I'm hungry; I'm going to eat like a lumberjack, Mom.
On Tuesday morning we loaded up and headed to Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty in Minocqua for breakfast. It's been years since I've been there for breakfast but Justin and Kira took the kids earlier this summer and they put the idea in our head.
I'm so glad they did. The pancakes! The donuts! I'm not normally a big breakfast person, but the food was amazing and we'll definitely be going back. Paul Bunyan's is always busy and sometimes it's hard to sit down and really take in your surroundings, but for just a moment I did...the tin plates and cups, the red and white checkered table clothes, the log walls...for a split second, I was a lumberjack. And then someone needed a bottle and I was instantly brought back to reality.
After breakfast we took the obligatory crotch shots (term credit: Ryan Johnson) and then headed to Wildwood Wildlife Park. Going to Jim Peck's (the old name) was something both Collin and I remember doing as kids, so I love that our boys are also growing up with this experience. We also went last year.
Collin's cousin and her family were also in the area so we met them there and the boys got to spend the day looking at the animals and playing with their cousins.
When you walk in to Wildwood the first thing you see are the goats in the barnyard. They are usually hungry and will jump into your stroller, wagon, what have you. But this year I'm not sure if it was the heat or that we went a little later than usually, but they weren't that hungry. It was actually kind of nice because the boys were able to really walk up to them and try to feed them without being jumped on and scared.
We stayed in the barnyard for awhile. There are also bunnies that they got to pet, birds to see, and a big 'ol pot bellied pig that Hutt was particularly fond of.
We finally corralled the boys out of the barnyard with the promise of finding a bear. I set Hutt up on the rail in front of the bear and he started pointing like crazy. Thinking he was excited about the bear I asked him, what do you see? Poop! Right der. Ah yes kid, there is bear poop, right there.
The kids all crowded around to watch Collin feed him bear juice and then it was time to go see the deer. My favorite part about Wildwood is the free roaming deer. They run through the park and you can get close enough to touch them. The kids loved it, although Hutt was a little scared when they came running too fast towards him.
From there we headed around to see the big cats, a wolf, and the prairie dogs. Complete with a few trips through the life-size prairie dog tunnel.
Then we headed into the bird house. We made the mistake of buying only one feeding stick and making the boys share. Note to self for next year, it's not worth the fighting, spend an extra $1 and get a stick for each of them. They both loved holding the birds.
It was another hot, hot, HOT (did I say hot?) day and poor Nolan was overheated and sweaty so I striped him down, fed him and let him cool off. Then he was happy.
From Wildwood we stopped at Hoggie Doggies for lunch and ice cream and then headed back to the cabin as my aunt, uncle, cousin, and her friend had arrived. We spent the afternoon swimming at the lake and then cooked beer can chickens on the grill.
While we were swimming I asked the boys about their favorite part of the day:
Keaton: When I found my tractor and Papa Grizz bought me a bear. (The gift shop! He saw all those animals and his favorite part was the gift shop!)
Hutton: Blue. And this is when I realized that the only time we ask him what is "favorite is" we're asking about his favorite color. Ahhh, so this is also why he said blue yesterday. Keaton offered up his favorite animal was the deer.
My favorites from the day:
Taste: The pancakes at Paul Bunyan's.
Animal: This is a tossup between the deer and the river otters.
Funniest Moments: As a deer was running up behind Hutt (before I knew he was scared) I said, Hutt, a deer is coming! He turned around, saw him and jumped up on this ledge to get out of the way. Two strides before he got to Hutt the deer also jumped up on the ledge and walked right next to him. Hutt jumped down and scolded "Naughty, deer. Damnit deer!" (this was only funny because no one was close enough to hear him. This is also the moment I don't want to forget, even if I wish he would forget this word.)
At the lake my cousin was reading the notices on the board and looks up and questions "They have aquatic hitchhikers?" I find this especially hilarious because I could totally see myself asking this same question.