Category Archives: Oliver

Legoland

We usually avoid places like Legoland. They’re expensive, crowded, and cater to a materialist brand-oriented ethos that we dislike. Did I mention expensive? But this year, knowing that we were going to San Diego, and we might not be back until Griffin’s too old, we considered checking it out. Grummy and Grandpa Stape jumped in, offering to give Griffin and Maggie gift certificates for their birthdays. That clinched it, and the kids were bouncing with excitement during the intervening weeks.

To our great surprise, all five of us had a great time and we stayed all day… we closed out the park! We went on a cloudy Wednesday and the park wasn’t as mobbed as usual. Lines were short, people (guests and staff) were kind and cheerful, and food options were better than expected. Oliver even took an afternoon nap in the stroller while Griffin and Maggie played at the waterpark. Lounging in a cabana while the older kids played and Oliver slept was not-at-all what I expected from a trip to Legoland. Moreover, the lego models were wicked cool.

Camp du Nord II

During the week of June 16, we took our second trip to Camp du Nord. (Our first visit was the summer before Oliver was born.) It was a glorious way to kick off our summer. We were way up north, totally unplugged, and getting into a more natural rhythm (going to bed early, rising with the sun, getting dirty, washing in the lake, walking everywhere, etc.). We stayed in a platform cabin (“Deer”) which was perfect for us. Here’s the description from the website:

Deer Platform Cabin 6 — Enjoy one of our “off-the-grid” eco-cabins. These newer cabins are simple, yet very comfortable. A screened porch with picnic table and stainless steel table make outdoor cooking a breeze. The sleeping room includes 2 elevated long twin over queen bunk beds. Nearby water spigot, showers, biffies, and refrigeration are available. Solar lanterns and all dishware and cooking utensils are provided.

We stayed in a backpacking tent last time, and although we love tent camping, we found it challenging to manage for a full week with cooking, washing, bugs, and unpredictable weather. The cabin gave us more sheltered space without adding electricity and plumbing.

Our pictures are in the gallery below, arranged roughly in chronological order. Note that we only took pictures of a few moments during the trip. Unpictured elements that we all remember fondly included, in no particular order:

  • age group activities for the kids in the mornings
  • cooked meals with the community up at the dining hall
  • afternoon ice cream at the trading post
  • the polar bear plunge into the lake every morning
  • the sauna
  • hiking on the nearby trails
  • easily achieving 20,000+ steps each day by simply walking around camp (if you wanted to go beyond that, the hiking trails extend pretty much infinitely)
  • filling downtime with non-electronic activities (Bananagrams, crossword puzzles, reading, writing, drawing, inkle weaving, etc.)
  • a week without news headlines

As always, click on a picture to see a larger version and then scroll through the slideshow.

Oliver’s Second Birthday

We celebrated Oliver’s birthday a bit early this year because we’ll be up at the cabin on the actual day, and we wanted to celebrate with Grandma Pam and Grandpa Jeff. We enjoyed a birthday brunch together featuring a fabulous spiced squash cake that everybody loved except for Oliver. (He ate about half the scrambled eggs instead.) Pictures below followed by two short video clips.

Blowing out his candle (and some very sour grapefruit!):

Opening Maggie’s gift:


Update: We took the following picture on the 25th at the cabin:

Today, we celebrated the youngest member of our family, Oliver Louis, by boot skating on the lake, cutting our Christmas tree, and playing in the snow. Today, he turned TWO. We love this guy to pieces and can’t imagine our lives without him.

Why I Am Currently Losing My Mind

Oliver <sitting in his high chair, wearing a sweatshirt>: ZIP! ZIP! ZIP!
Me: You want me to unzip your sweatshirt?
Oliver: NO! ZIP!!
Me: You’re right, your sweatshirt doesn’t have zips, it has buttons.
Oliver: Buttons!
Me: Yes, buttons.
Oliver: ZIP ZIP!!
Me: Do you want your sweatshirt off?
Oliver: ON!
Me: Ok. You can keep it on.
Oliver: OFF!!
Me: You want help taking it off?
Oliver: Uh-huh.
<I help him unbutton and take off his sweatshirt>
Oliver: ON! ON! ON! ON! ZIP! ZIP!
Me: <throws sweatshirt in his face>