The quick road trip

We zipped out of town for a couple nights last weekend to open the cabin. The kids had school Friday and Monday, so we headed out after school Friday and returned on Sunday. (The drive takes 4+ hours each way.) Saturday we took a half day trip to Duluth for an event, leaving us with a little less than a day of cabin time.

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This is Eli after he spotted a dead fish in the water. He’s trying to poke it with a stick . . .

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The cabin was great, but the mosquitoes were vicious. Really. The worst these kids have ever seen. In the time it took us to open the doors and get our of the car, we collected hundreds of them. If we stopped the car while driving in the woods, we’d see an instant cloud of them surrounding us. Our poor dogs were protected from ticks but ended up covered in mosquito bites! The kids spent some time outside and were mostly okay after we coated them in OFF, but it was kind of a bummer that the bugs were so bad.

We made it up to them by letting them choose where we stopped for lunch on the drive home.

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And buying them ice cream a couple hours later.

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Last day of school

Yesterday was the last day in uniforms at Piper’s school, and the day all the supplies came back home. They’ve had no homework all week. Today is Field Day. The kids will hike to the park near school for a picnic lunch and basically spend the rest of the day running and playing. The after-school group Piper attends will be walking to Dairy Queen for ice cream. She’s just a little excited . . .

On Monday she’ll switch back to her old school (Eli and Annabel’s school) for the summer program they have for older kids. The little kids get a sprinkler day each week during the summer. The older kids ride a bus to a nearby BEACH once a week. Piper can’t wait.

We’re pretty thankful to have found such great places for our kids to go and learn and be taken care of when we can’t be with them. Piper LOVES her old teachers (from PreK/K), and everyone at that school has been really kind to her this year, even though she wasn’t “officially” their student anymore.

The boy is FIVE

The highlight of turning five for Eli was probably that this was the year for his very first FRIEND PARTY. He has attended a few birthday parties for his school friends, and was so excited about having his own party. We booked a spot at a party place Eli chose (Pump It Up), made an invite list of his very best buds from school (and his sisters!), and had ourselves an awesome time. The kids spent about an hour and a half running and jumping and climbing and playing on giant inflatables, bouncy houses, etc. They also played air hockey. At the end of playtime, we had a pack of red-faced, sweaty children. It was great! (It was also one of the longest days of our lives. Eli went to his friend’s party at Chuck E. Cheese in the morning, then had his own party in the afternoon. There were some extra tired kids that night!)

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The bigger kids (Eli, his friends, Piper) raced through their cake and ice cream to get to present time. Something we leaned when Piper started going to friend parties is that kids LOVE handmade stuff. We’ll buy a gift, but we encourage Piper and Eli to make a card for the birthday kid. Eli loved opening the gifts from his friends, and it was really sweet to see the kids dig into the cards together.

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Annabel had been at preschool for about a month when Eli was prepping the invitations for his birthday party. As much as he can be a massive stinker for us, Eli is the kindest kid inside — he asked if he could invite Annabel’s school friend to his party. Once I explained to Amelia’s mom why her little kid was being invited to a party for someone from “the big kid class,” she was all over it. Annabel and Amelia had a great little playdate and helped themselves to SECONDS of cake while Eli opened his presents.

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The party was the weekend before Eli’s actual birthday. When the big day rolled around (on a school night), Eli shared a treat with the kids at school and came home to the dinner of his choosing. (Mac and cheese, they always choose mac and cheese!) He initially wanted to go to Red Robin, but we made him an offer he couldn’t refuse — a picnic dinner in front of the big TV, watching STAR WARS for the first time. We rarely eat in front of the TV, and shows at or after dinner on a school night are normally FORBIDDEN. He had a great day.

Be sure to check out his birthday shirt (below) — awesome, yes? The mustache is from the party favor bags he made for his friends. All small children should have stick-on mustaches to play with. So fun!

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By popular demand, stats and an interview

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Well, hey. I guess people actually read these. Another birthday, another checkup!

ANNABEL, AGE THREE (also Piper, Eli)
weight: 28 lb. (22nd %-ile)
height: 35.5 inches (17%)

Also, this happened…

And a peek at Miss Annabel’s party at Grandma Sue and Grandpa Rod’s house on Easter Sunday. (Not pictured: Mama, Daddy, Eli, Grandpa Rod, Aunt Elaine, Uncle John, Cousin Mary. Oops.)

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Cupcake number ONE (blue frosting) . . .

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Cupcake number TWO (green frosting) . . .

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Stay tuned for all of the birthday fun featuring another kid, soon. Our boy turns FIVE tomorrow!