We celebrated Emily’s birthday all weekend! In July she told us she wanted to go hiking at Turkey Run State Park, get frozen yogurt, and have a pink cake with purple frosting. Last week when we were finalizing plans she added in having her friends over for cupcakes.
Andrew bought the supplies for the Pickler Triangle on Monday and spent a bit of time each evening working on it at home. He restored a 100 year old hand plane this summer and used it extensively on this project. On Friday night Andrew and I had a wood shop date to finish up Emily’s birthday gift. I did the final sanding while Andrew shaped the sides. It took two of us to glue the rungs in; we struggled and figured this was our hardest glue job yet. Once the Pickler Triangle was in clamps we headed out to get frozen yogurt while it sat for 30 minutes. When we came back to take it home we discovered we were locked out of the building and Andrew’s card wasn’t working. Andrew ran to his professors house to borrow his card key around 10pm so we could pick it up the next day.
On Saturday morning we headed down to Turkey Run State Park. When we pulled up a huge walnut tree was dropping softball sized walnuts in droves of 20-30 with each wind gust. We hustled through to get to the path to hike trail 6 rated at moderately rugged. Andrew was patient helping all three of us along the trail. The weather was perfect and the scenery beautiful.
Emily found a “hiyaka stick” (the name she consistently gives a long hiking stick) at the beginning of our hike that stuck with us until it was time to leave. Nathan found a perfect stick of his own, half the size.
The trail followed along a little stream (that can be so full of water it is impassible at times) through a beautiful canyon. When we talked with the kids at the end of the day about what they enjoyed, Nathan said he liked splashing in the river “big river. splashing. hahaha. splashing river!” Emily liked walking through the water with her boots.
A man passing by offered to take our family picture. He took around 10 thinking at least one would be good. Andrew and I were pretty consistent, Nathan apathetic, and Emily had a different expression in every single one!
After completing our first hike we decided to walk along the trail to the suspension bridge. Nathan had been a trooper and already walked the entire hike including up and down some big stairs and rocks. He was done. We put him in the ergo until we got to the 70 steps leading down to the bridge. He walked down and then back up every one. Emily and Andrew counted each of the steps and found the sign was a little inaccurate coming in at just under 70 steps.
The kids loved the bridge and were in no hurry to get off. Emily wanted to walk all the way to the end before we turned around to get lunch. Andrew ran back to the parking lot and grabbed our car to meet us at the parking lot near the bridge. While we ate the kids ran around the grass and I stretched before hopping back in the car for 1.5 hours.
On the way home we stopped to get frozen yogurt. We had the kids sample a few flavors and Emily had zero problem deciding she only wanted the strawberry banana one. She said she wanted sprinkles on it, so I helped her bring a chair over to get her one topping. That quickly snowballed to a full cup of many types of candy. Andrew helped Nathan with his cup and Nathan also wanted the strawberry frozen yogurt with m&ms and pumpkin flavored pretzels and oreos. When his was all gone Emily shared some, “squishy balls” with him, which he asked for over and over again until they were all gone.
When we got home Andrew and I both slept for an hour. We woke up in time to give the kids baths and eat dinner before our neighborhood friends came over to celebrate. On Friday Emily and Nathan helped me bake purple cupcakes. Emily put the sprinkles on top after I frosted them. We had a great crowd and it was fun to just eat and chat for a few minutes. The kids quickly got involved in games and it took a little while to pull everyone apart so we could all go to bed.
Sunday morning we had our traditional pancake birthday breakfast. Emily had a letter E and 4 for her pancakes. Andrew told the story of the day Emily was born. Andrew got ready for his church meetings while the kids finished breakfast and then we opened presents. Nathan was really interested too and Emily taught him how saying, “Here Nathan let me show you. I’ll get it started. Here Nathan you can pull here.”
Emily received a little baby doll set, a children’s atlas, and the Pickler Triangle. Emily and Nathan spent at least an hour climbing over, under, swinging on, and jumping off the triangle. We got them both set up with little babies and they played with those for awhile too.
After dinner we had ice cream cake – pink on the inside (strawberry) and purple on the outside. We always talk about the things we appreciate about the birthday person while we eat cake. It was a wonderful weekend celebrating our FOUR year old!