Ah, summer vacation.  That oh-so-lovely 3-month torture for parents and heaven for kids!  My children all love summer vacation, for obvious reasons.  They’re kids!  All kids love time off away from school!  Parents love it until those kids utter the dreaded two words:  I’m bored!!

I’ve had to deal with those words times 4.  Yup, all 4 of my SOCs (Servants of Chaos) have uttered those dreaded words to me at least once during this 3-month torture session.  Luckily, I’ve been able to send ‘em outside to play, so that’s been great.

A couple weeks into July, my parents and I decided that it would be fun for them to visit us at our home.  For a month.  A.  Whole.  Month!!  This falls under the realm of “What was I thinking??”  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my parents, dearly!  Without their help and support, there is no way that I would have become the woman that I am today.    But, my mom, again, who I love dearly, suggested that perhaps we could take the kids someplace fun.  Um, okay.  Where do you have in mind??  “How ‘bout that place that we all went to last year?  Up north, in Lutsen, MN?”  O-o-o-okay.  I’ll make the reservations.

I got us reservations at Caribou Highlands (http://www.caribouhighlands.com/), on Lutsen Mountain, MN.  If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it.  Truly a wonderful place, with views of the mountains and Lake Superior that are fabulous!  It’s family friendly, even allowing pets in several of the units.

My parents, kids, and I drove up there last week.  My husband couldn’t get off work, so he stayed home.  We got in around 9:30 p.m., unloaded the cars (yes, we took 2 cars.  Believe me, with 7 people, it was necessary!), and got everyone settled into the cabin.  Kids were in bed by almost 11 p.m., but woke up sometime around 8 a.m., ready to go exploring.  Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate.  But we did manage to get some beautiful pictures of rainbows over the mountains!

The next day, however, was gorgeous!  We took the kids into Grand Marais, MN, and explored Artist’s Point.  There basalt rocks all over, and the SOCs showed their true genealogy by becoming mountain goats and climbing all over the rocks.  They had a lot of fun!

My husband, who was unable to come up with us initially, surprised us by driving up and arriving for the weekend.  He did have to work on Friday, but was able to do so from the cabin (did I mention that Caribou Highlands has free Wi-Fi?).

My middle two SOCs decided that they wanted to go to the Kids’ Camp that is offered by the resort, so that opened up a 3 hour chunk of time.  My parents and I took the remaining SOCs (ages 12 and 3) to Cascade Falls, and hiked up in that area.  It was phenomenal!

The next day, the kids woke my husband up bright and early because gasp there was a deer eating outside their bedroom window!  You’d think these kids had never seen a deer, despite seeing them walking across our front yard.  That day, we all went up to Moose Mountain, by way of a tram ride.  Once, again, we saw some stunning vistas of the Sawtooth Mountains and Lake Superior.

Unfortunately, my husband had to go back home, so it was just my parents, 4 SOCs, and me.  But, we decided to enjoy the last full day by taking the kids up to the Gunflint Range, just north of Grand Marais.  It was beautiful!  Once again, I have to highly recommend this spot.  Beautiful lakes, gorgeousness all around!

We did have to return to our house, if for no other reason than because the kids had school related things going on.  Nothing quite like Open Houses and Fall Rallies to remind you that the beginning of school is right around the corner!  At least we had one last hurrah before the drudgery of school commences.