uncle tom's cabin {ontario, wi} 2014

every fall, our family goes up to ontario {not canada}, a little town in north-central wisconsin.
the population of ontario is 554...and over half of those people are amish.
the rolling hills, covered in trees resplendent in their autumn foliage, combined with stepping back in time, sharing the twisting, climbing roads with old-world horse-drawn wagons and buggies truly makes for an idyllic combination.

my parents took my brothers and me up to ontario every fall back during my growing-up years.
a friend of my dad's has owned property up there for ages and ages.
back when we were kids, we stayed in an old, abandoned school house on his land.  he's since retired and turned that old school house into his permanent residence--remodeled and modernized, of course.
"uncle tom" {that's all i've ever known him as} then bought a patch of picturesque valley-land down a hilly gravel road and had an authentic log cabin built down there.
no electricity.  no running water.  an outhouse.  a hand pump.  a wood-burning stove.
and it's our autumn-heaven.

to be able to take my kiddos to the very same places that i remember from my own childhood is beyond special.
one of my brothers was actually able to make a trip up there this fall, too {separate from us}.  he was group-texting photos to my dad, my other brothers {i have three, total}, and me...all memories that we share from our times up at uncle tom's cabin.
i can only hope that twenty years from now, austyn, colton, addison, and eden will be exchanging similar sentiments.

our trips to ontario are usually friday through sunday.
any time we are up there for friday night, we eat our dinner at the blue goose.
it's a little tiny restaurant, tucked back in the middle of nowhere, down a long country road.
the blue goose serves only pizza.
and you must have reservations if you've any hope of getting in to eat.
it's not that the pizza is that good {although it isn't bad, that's for sure}...
but when you're the only eating-place for miles and miles around,
you're bound to fill up fast.
anywhooooo, the blue goose has a juke box...
and on friday, eden had her very first juke box experience.

friday night was chilly!
i slept all night with one of my favorite hats on...
and a scarf.
in the morning, one of my snuggle buddies crawled in with me to keep me warm.
{yes, we take our own pillows.  and i take my own quilt.
it's kind of like my "blankie"...my mom made it for me and it's on our bed most nights.}

saturday morning...
yes.  it's right under 30ยบ...

☝{one of my very favorite shots from the entire weekend}☝

{view of the cabin from down at the pond}

this girl and those boots.
my mom-in-law originally gave them to colton several years ago...he wore them and i tucked them away, thinking i'd save them. {for his own kids?  who knows.}
i came across them last week, and decided to have addison try them on...
i mean, they're cowboy boots...boy, girl...pretty universal, right?
she fell head-over-heels in love with them.
{heels! ha!  boot pun.  get it??}
don't know if they'll make it to colton's kiddos now...
but there's one more girlie after addison...
so at leastl we'll get good use out of them!

eden's "taking a pit-ser" of a giant wild toadstool addie found...obviously.

a while back, i found addison one of these vintage cameras for cheap at a garage sale.  
the shutter still clicks when you press the button and the film wheel still advances with lots of loud clicking...
basically, it's a perfect toy camera for a six-year-old.
well, this weekend, i found another one...
so now eden finally has one of her own.
she spent the entire weekend "taking pit-sers"...
i'm thinking they've watched mommy do this just a few times☺

this is not uncle tom's cabin.  
this cabin is up on a hill {uncle tom's is in a deep valley}...
but this is the cabin that we all "fight" over.
"that's my cabin."
"no, dad, that's mom's cabin."
"mom, dad says that's his cabin."

i don't care what anyone says.
it's mine.

the boots, again.
{big heart eyes}

all the photos near the end were taken at wildcat mountain state park...
yet another stop that we--we, being my parents and brothers and me--always made.
i'll have to dig through our old family photos...
i know there's a shot of us four kids by the state park sign.


i'll be honest.  truthfully, brutally honest.
trips like this make me miss my mom more.
i miss her so much on just a daily basis...
and then to travel ground, fertile with memories, her scent still lingering on each of them...
the missing grows until it threatens to choke out the enjoying.

it's october.
soon, we'll reach the four-year mark.
october is my favorite month.  
but it's hard.  it just is.
i'm having to compartmentalize my thoughts these days.
having to allow myself time to dwell, to remember, to reminisce...
and then having to shut that "compartment" off for certain times, certain gatherings, certain events.
otherwise, all i can think of is how much it would thrill her to see the sheer childish ecstasy as my kids toss leaves up into the autumn breeze...
otherwise i think of how much she loves campfires and how she'd surely bundle up under a pile of quilts with me, just to watch the sparks dance heavenward, just to gaze at the stars...
otherwise, all i can think of is "we did this...at this place"...
and "we went here...on this day..." and "oh! remember when..."
and those memories, while precious and treasured, hurt.
in october, they hurt.

so, if you're a grandma, "read" these pictures through eyes of a grandma who will never get to see them.
and if you're a young mother, "read" these photos through eyes of a young mom whose only wish is that she could share them with her own mom.
and by all means, give each other a hug...or a kiss...or a phone call...

i'm getting all sappy.
i'll stop.

thanks for letting me share.
i needed this.



  1. Good morning, friend.
    I love this post as we were spending the weekend with our family in a cabin outside of a town of 600 this past weekend, too.
    I love it the most for your honesty. My heart aches for you. October is a month that I tie to my mom, too…her cancer diagnosis 11 years ago. My story is different as she is still here. Thank you for reminding me to treasure her.
    I will call her today.
    Big, big hugs and much love to you, sweet friend.

  2. She does see. It does thrill her. I know you know that. I know it's not the same as sharing though. I love you.

    PS. It's my cabin. When I own it, I'll share though.

  3. You make so many great points here that I read your article a couple of times. Your views are in accordance with my own for the most part. This is great content for your readers. shipping container


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