Maggie completed a week of circus camp today. She tried out an array of different acts and performed in the German Wheel and Low Casting (a mini flying trapeze). Lighting and audience layout made it hard to take good pictures, but we’ve got two decent video clips of Maggie performing and a photo of her with her group.
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.
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.
File this one under, “kids are wonderful and also weird.”
I braved the vortex this morning to walk to a local supermarket (less than two miles round trip). In the end, to my surprise, I overdid the layers. I was hot and sweaty when I got home. The only real challenge was my face. I brought goggles, but the wind wasn’t blowing hard enough to justify them. In the end, I just pulled up my neck warmers and that was fine. Moisture control is a pain, though, with every breath creating crackling ice.
Apparently our winter has tired of my mockery. Thus far it has been a toothless sham — moderate temperatures with little snow. As often as not, I’ve walked to work in my summer shoes.
All of that is changing this week. The kids’ school (along with all nearby public school districts) closed yesterday due to snow and will remain closed through Wednesday. My school, generally loathe to close, is closed today and tomorrow. Thursday is unknown at this point.
This is all due to the latest polar vortex that’s bringing a mass of arctic air down from Canada. Raw air temps aren’t all that crazy (we see a few days pushing -20 most years), but the winds will be increasing dramatically, creating some insane wind chill values. As someone who walks to work, I can attest to the fact that the wind is the most important factor that I consider when planning my layers. When temps are below zero, even a moderate wind in your face is basically a show-stopper without face and eye protection.
When we got up this morning, it wasn’t so bad. Cold, but safe enough if you’re properly dressed.
I’ll post updates later to see what actually happens out there.