E&Z&H&G celebrated the Fourth with Zanna’s dad on Madeline Island so I decided to be the birthday party planner extraordinaire to keep Birthday Girl entertained and well fed.

  • Marine Landing for breakfast, our favorite St. Croix restaurants. Love the setting. Love the owners.
  • Hike to Rock Island Swing Bridge. Brand new park, right on the Mississippi River. They had a bike repair station there with a lift, tools and air—never have seen anything like it.
  • Urban Growler: my favorite pub. Food is good and the beer is great. Oh! And you can actually hear well enough to have a conversation.
  • Brunch at Wise Acre: delicious and beautifully landscaped old gas station site.
  • Went to the movies, but because it was Karen’s birthday and part of the deal is I agree to anything she wants—we each went to the movie we wanted to see: Inside Out for Karen and Jurassic Park for me. I did it because I had to not because I wanted to 🙂 It was strange to watch a movie and not hold hands.
  • Market BBQ for dry rubbed ribs. You add sauce at the table; Karen and I always use the mix EEK invented: half Classic and half Hot. The wood booths and funky interior is our idea of cozy.

On this momentous birthday, Karen was wrestling with how to define herself now that she is officially old. Richard sent her happy birthday greetings in Hawaiian, and this spurred her to look up the Hawaiian word for “elder,” which she discovered is “kupuna.” I like this definition I found: “It also has at least three distinct, but related meanings. First, a kupuna is an honored elder who has acquired enough life experience to become a family and community leader…. the embodiment of natural respect . . . . a practitioner of aloha (love), pono (righteousness), malama (caring), and spirituality. In ancient times, they were teachers and caretakers of grandchildren and that bond was especially strong.” Karen’s embracing this new official identity!

H&G have Y camp all week—horse camp for Harper and pirate camp for Gus. Tonight we’re going out to Pizzeria Lola with E&Z&H&G. Can’t wait to hear their first day stories.