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.
Oliver is ready
Oliver eaten by a lion
Daddy let’s Oliver drive (not)
Daddy is mesmerized
Is this on Coruscant somewhere?
Glimpse of NYC
This idol stands above the wave pool. We’re in the cabana, chilling out.
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
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)
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.
We began the morning with an early present of some blocks that Sarah picked up at a recent yard sale.
Knock them down!
The joy of destruction.
Ready to feast.
Oliver kept covering his eyes as the cake approached. We’re not sure why.
Ultimately, Oliver is the only person who didn’t love the cake.
Pam and Jeff’s masterpiece.
Yup. We’re putting this guy to work.
Maggie gave him the loader. He loved it.
Griffin got him a game that features Yetis and marbles flying through the air. He loved that too.
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:
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.
Me: Yes, buttons.
Oliver: ZIP ZIP!!
Me: Do you want your sweatshirt off?
Me: Ok. You can keep it on.
Me: You want help taking it off?
<I help him unbutton and take off his sweatshirt>
Oliver: ON! ON! ON! ON! ZIP! ZIP!
Me: <throws sweatshirt in his face>
Oliver has been enjoying watching the construction across Snelling (see Daily Pilgrimage) and was starting to play with old construction trucks in the backyard. With the advent of chillier, wetter weather, Sarah came up with this activity in the kitchen. He loves it!