Already 6. She's 38 lbs (11th %), 44 inches tall (25th %). She is a creature of habit. Thoughtful, funny, creative, observant, and, at times, anxious and strong willed. I love seeing her continue to grow into her own person.
Over Memorial Day weekend we went to William O'Brien state park with friends (6 families total). It rained most of the day so we showed up after dinner and only camped one night. We got a group campsite, which was great because then we had a lot of space to ourselves.
Steve and Harriet have been to this annual friend camping event before, but it was Eloise's first time camping. Might be her last for a while (or at least a year). She was not a very good listener in the tent and didn't go to bed until 11.
Harriet slept right through everything in the morning, including a very loud bird (turkey perhaps?) squawking at 5:30 am that woke everyone else up.
Eloise refused to go to the bathroom in the outhouses by our campsite so everytime she had to go to the bathroom we had to drive to the regular campsite where they had a regular bathroom.
The next morning we all took a junior naturalist class about insects and the kids all loved it. The kids got a state park patch when they collected at least one spider and 10 different insects.
Harriet getting her bug work checked by the ranger.
We had a fun time, but really exerted a lot of effort packing, hauling, unpacking, tent pitching (in the mud), repacking and then unloading for about 16 hours of being in the state park. I'm still glad we did it and each year will be easier going forward as the girls (and our friends' kids) get older.
Kindergarten seemed to fly by! Harriet had a wonderful year (although, if asked, she would say she didn't like school). Everyday she excitedly told us about the new things that she learned and made at school and Mpls Kids. She generally has a lot of ups and downs emotionally, but there seemed to be more ups than downs this year.
One exciting development was learning to read. It started out rocky and was frustrating (for both of us), but she learned how to read and ended up finishing exceeding grade level expectations. I worked with her night after night for over 6 months so it was very rewarding to get this news.
She made new friends and learned a lot from the diverse group of kids in her class about their respective cultures. We loved all the multicultural events that school put on, our favorite one being International night. We ate foods from all different cultures and boisterously participated in traditional Somali dancing. It was so sweet (and somewhat emotional) to see kids of all races and ethnicities and their parents dancing together and having such a carefree time.
We look forward to what 1st grade has to offer, but in the meantime we will all enjoy summer with a more laid back routine (with more reading, of course).
Earlier this month we went to the Shepherd's Harvest Festival, an annual fiber event out at the Washington County fairgrounds. I have wanted to go for close to 5 years, but every year something gets in the way. This year we finally made it! They offer classes, but we just went and did some of the activities. Steve and Eloise saw a sheep herding demo with a dog and Harriet and I saw an indigo dyeing demo.
Eloise loved seeing the llamas and the angora rabbits.
Check out this funny looking llama after it was sheared.
There was tons of raw material to buy in the sheep building. I would rather just buy the final product at this point, but in the future it would be fun to do carding, hand spinning and dyeing.
Another building had different demos and booths. Harriet made this little fiber weaving on a branch. She loved doing it, although you wouldn't know if from the picture below.
In another couple buildings they just had vendors selling yarn and other fiber-related products. I held it down to only buying one skein of rainbow-colored yarn. One guess who convinced me to get that. Ha!
This year for mothers' day some of my closest friends and I went up north to Grandview Lodge. We have been up here at number of times for bachelorette parties so we know the area and have always had a good time. Saturday morning I slept in until 10 am (what?!) and then did some knitting while watching a movie. A real luxury. The weather was beautiful and we had a relaxing weekend. We even got a decedent Mothers' day brunch before we left, quite a treat.
Grandview has a beautiful main lodge with a great view of Gull lake.
The view as we walked down to our cabin from the lodge.
Kristen and I went for a half day hike all around Crow Wing State Park. A real gem. The Mississippi and Crow Wing rivers converge here and apparently was a natural crossroads because of its easy travel routes and hunting opportunities. This had been an area where many Native American battles occurred and the Ojibwe were the last to have control over it after they won a battle over the Dakota.
The town of Old Crow Wing was once all around where the Clement Beaulieu House is currently. It was put back in this spot in 1988. This house was considered palatial by standards back in mid 1800s. Hundreds of homes used to be in this area, now it is just an open area with a replica wooden boardwalk in the park. Settlers abandoned the area after James J. Hill routed the railroad through Brainerd (10 mile north of here) in the 1870s.
We enjoyed seeing the new buds on the trees. Only downside of this lovely excursion was that we discovered about 15 wood ticks on each of us after leaving. I spent the rest of the day feeling like bugs were crawling all over me.
At night we went out to eat at a place called Ernie's on the lake and then out to our favorite townie bar, Zorbas.
While I was gone Steve took the girls to the Walker Art Center for family day and they had this set up for a photoshoot. I even got a 5x7 and some wallets of this keeper. Amazing.
Last fall we filmed a cameo in a segment MN Original on our local pbs station with our neighbor Sarina. She is an artist who does rogue taxidermy sculptor. For our 2 minutes of fame, it took us about an hour and a half to shoot. We exchanged that dead, frozen chicken no less than 8 times to get it right. It is always fun to see artists at work and this was no exception.
Our annual tradition continues. This year we had a great turnout of family and friends to join us. I thought the parade was less political this year, but still as fun as ever. It was a beautiful spring day and for the first time the four of us biked over to Bloomington Ave. It proved to be the easiest/quickest way to get there!