Friday, July 27, 2018

Grand Marais

We climbed on rocks and threw rocks and made rock houses and tried to eat rocks. And for some reason, Daniel has a need to swim when he goes to the North Shore so he had to do that every day. Uncle John says the temperature is about 40 degrees. I have a video of him coming out of the water on the second day, but I do not feel that it would be an instrument of peace in our marriage if I were to publish it.

We were there just us 4 Monday - Wednesday, then Wednesday - Friday were joined by Paul & Karin, Hanna & Caleb and Paul's brothers James and John. We missed Auntie Pat, but got to spend quality time with her on Saturday at Paul's family reunion, remembering Grace & John who we were going to remember back in April when we had the blizzard. 

We are still learning what it means to travel with small people who have needs and come with strollers. Before children, we used the Superior Hiking Trail for hike-in-camping (once chaperoned by Hanna). This time we forgot the baby hiking backpack. The Thule, though excellent for nearly every condition and my best friend, just could not do the narrow path with roots everywhere. So Daniel found a Juneberry tree 10 feet in and picked until he found ten more and raspberries. Theo was content to follow Papa and be fed until he refused more berries (a first in his life). Lukas and I had a mini hike and managed to even get a little lost until he needed the toilet, when we managed to navigate our way back out of desperation to the porta potty in the parking lot, where 1,000 hungry mosquitos had been trapped since the night before. Mama cried a little, and Lukas got some bites on his bottom. 

See the nice rock house?


An advertisement for Thule:
it takes us as far as our adventures go

The late night campfire, still bright sunlight
(felt like Norway and Sweden!)

Lukas and Auntie Pat made fantastic coffee in this play kitchen

And Theo's love-hate relationship with swings:
"Put me in! Take me out! Put me back in!"

Lukas on His New Bike

I got this bike for him on a rare visit to facebook looking for homeschooling materials... it weighs 9 millions pounds so I didn't have much hope for it, but on Monday when we went out for our walk Lukas said "I want to ride my new bike". So he did! Yes, I'm the proud parent, and very pleased with my son (though I'd still be pleased even if he didn't do amazing things) but I'm possibly even more impressed that the balance bikes really do what they say they do: prepare a kid to ride a bike at 3 yrs. old. We went down the sidewalk to Mercy's house and he was riding by the time we got there - 5 doors down. Maybe Strider will pay me to do ads for them?

Thursday, July 12, 2018


We got to spend lots of time with Farmor and Farfar, and walking and canoeing at Oak Hills College, and with friends. It was quiet and we didn't see anyone dealing or doing drugs, and I don't remember seeing any litter. 


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Big Day

Lukas' news first, because he is older: Today was the first day of school. For 10 minutes. We learned about the letter "A". We stamped it on the special erasable-letter-stamping-pad, we colored it in, we scribbled around it, we found it in Lukas' name (right away! before Mama circled it). We are very excited to do school again tomorrow. There has been a request for "S".

And now for Theo's news: I'd call today the official first day of walking. It's been perhaps a month since he started taking 1-2 steps, but this week he went from 6 unaided steps, to 24 this afternoon! I'm very sorry to report there is no video because we were at Auntie Mercy's for this important event and I can't be bothered with bringing my phone when I walk down the street, and even if I had brought it, we were too busy cheering for him and kissing him and he was too busy receiving all this glory for anybody to be expected to get out a recording device. Lukas was very proud of him, but was more interested in Thomas' lego medical helicopter. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Isn't he cute?! And doesn't he look so grown up?!

Playing together. How beautiful when brothers dwell together in unity. They don't have to be best friends, but may they be friends forever.

I also still think he's cute:

We went camping at Lake Mil Lacs Kathio State Park. Camping is always more fun in hind-sight, but even in the conditions (rain, poor kid sleep, oodles of mosquitoes) it was fun. We were outside all day, I got to buy a mosquito tent for the picnic table which gave me endless joy, we got to bring our bikes and bike all over this beautiful, huge state park we'd never seen, we swam, and we ate a lot of fire-cooked food. The boys loved it, and didn't mind having welts all over their bodies from the mosquitoes, even though I was constantly spraying them with (real, deet) bug-spray.

In the car home from camping,
reading Planes Go from Hanna. 
His favorite.

lighting doesn't allow optimal viewing of bite welts

And I turned 38. Hoiliens don't make their own birthday cake, but this year I realized that I love to bake, and since I've been on a diet since Theo was born I don't bake near as much as I would like, I baked my own and was delighted. I mixed a favorite black bean brownie recipe with Grandma Eleanor's devil's food cake recipe, and found a 5-ingredient frosting recipe that didn't involve the stove. And then I decorated, because Mom was playing with the boys :) 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Caterpillars (with videos working!)

First we gave them lots of milkweed:

Then they were full, and started to do this:

See how the left one is very dark? That's from the butterfly wing pattern, the shell was increasingly transparent.

And then he snuck out while we were eating lunch!

The videos work now! I fixed it. I know I shouldn't brag, but I'm very pleased to have solved a technical problem. Very pleased.

We were determined not to miss the second one's debut, and got this cool video:

 and the release:

Two empty cocoons!