The kids took the opportunity of a snowy afternoon to paint these three watercolors. They sent the originals to their Auntie Alli for her birthday.
This kid got some pretty great presents this year, but clearly they don’t compare to the play telephone from 1979 and vintage Fisher Price helicopter at Grandma and Grandpa’s house 💕
It was this little guy’s third birthday today. Griffin and Maggie lavished love and attention on him all day, making it feel extra-special.
Quote from Maggie right after Oliver woke up:
Oliver, do you know how many times you’ve gone around the sun? Three times! You’re going to go around the sun many more times. Lots and lots! You’re going to keep going around the sun until you, um, until you … pass away. [Whispers to me: I think that’s nicer than saying he’s going to die.]
And, from Sarah’s lovely Instagram:
We recently replaced the medicine cabinet in our bathroom (while cursing manufacturers of cheap fiberboard accessories that begin disintegrating after your first shower). The kids decided to hang some artwork in the wall cavity behind the new cabinet, hoping that someone will find them in “three hundred years.”
Ah, it’s persimmon season—one of our favorite seasons of the year!
Griffin: Do you think it’s safe to explore outside with Oliver?
Me: Yes. I trust your judgment.
Griffin: I’m just not sure.
Me: What’s the worst that could happen?
Griffin: Oliver could slip and fall off a cliff and drown in the freezing water.
Maggie: “Oliver, you’re an amazing little brother! What am I to you?”
Oliver: “Maybe a . . . spaceship?”
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.