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!
This year for spring break we decided to both take off Mon-Weds and stay around town and do fun excursions each day. By coincidence, Eloise didn't have daycare those three days and so four of us had a lot of time together. Above we went to visit the rabbit sculpture along Minnehaha creek after Easter brunch at the Uptown diner.
Monday we went to the North Mississippi Regional Park. They have a beautiful nature center and newer playground and a splash pad, which is open during warmer months. I really thought this park was a hidden gem and it is only a short drive. The girls loved running up and down this inclined hallway as well and playing at the playground.
This park has nice paved paths throughout thanks, in part, to this allocation of money. Only downside is that there is some loud highway noise in areas since it butts up against I-94 on one side.
Tuesday we headed to the Colossal Cafe. Our former neighbor Bess used to own it and we have always wanted to go. Problem is that it as tiny so you have to go at an off time in order not to wait. Tiny is understatement. Luckily we got the window ledge since there were only 4 other tables in there. Quite cramped, but good.
Then we attempted to go the play Animal Dance at the Children's Theatre, but it was sold out so, even better, we got a behind-the-scenes tour with our neighbor who works there and Eloise got intimately close with one of the baby goats.
Next up, Macy Spring flower show! Harriet being ever so cooperative.
Wednesday was rainy so we went over the St Paul Conservatory.
Eloise is clearly dressing herself these days.
While Eloise napped and Adam was working at home, Steve, Harriet and I went over to the new Hi-Lo Diner in Longfellow. The 50s diner was hauled over from PA in two pieces and then put back together. We went on opening day at 2:30 and it was packed, a fun experience and awesome for that neighborhood.
We really enjoyed having three days to hang out and do fun activities as a family!
I loved making this little Loch Ness monster. So quick and easy compared to the hermit crab. I love the shape too. These are both out of the Amigurumi knits book.
This little mini gnome was from a new book I got called Mochimochi. Everything in it is super tiny. I just used scrap yarn. The knitting guild has a contest going on now where you bring all the things you have knit, but none of it can be out of a full skein of yarn, it has to be leftovers. Both of these could be entered.
Here he is in the garden next to the only thing I could find for scale, fake money.