Oliver’s First Birthday

Oliver’s birthday landed two days after Thanksgiving this year. Pam and Jeff were able to join us for the day. Sarah had been pummeled by a rough case of strep earlier in the week, but everyone was healthy by the weekend. We went for a walk around Lake Como, ate cake, and enjoyed more Thanksgiving leftovers.


Pike Island

Despite its proximity to our neighborhood, we’ve been here in Saint Paul for seven years without visiting Pike Island. The island lies at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, visible from many of the roads and bridges on the nearby bluffs. Sarah and the two older kids finally visited it a few weeks ago with some other friends. She gave it great reviews, so we planned a family outing for today. Alas, the fates were arrayed against us, and both Oliver and Maggie were sick. Griffin and I decided to face the cold north winds on our own and had a great time.

It’s about a three mile loop, and we decided to start on the north edge of the island.  The wind was blowing down the Mississippi, so it was mostly at our backs. The return trek, along the Minnesota at sunset, was less windy because the trees on the island acted as a windbreak. This was fortunate, because it would have been a cold walk with the wind in our faces. Highlights of the walk included hollow trees (big enough to climb into), a huge paper wasp nest, trees taken down by beavers, conversations about why there aren’t any three-eyed monsters in real life, and a monument showing how deep the river has been during flood stages over the past 150 years.

Griffin at the tip of Pike island where the Minnesota meets the Mississippi. Moments after shooting this picture, Griffins boots sank so rapidly in the mud that it looked like he would fall backward into the icy river. A close call!