Thursday, June 30, 2011
Yes, my childhood nickname was 'Cupcake', have a good laugh and get it out of your system. June 30th, a beautiful sunny day (of course) because it's my birthday! And check me out - things may be a little tumultuous right now, but if I compare it to 30, I'm still way happier where I am. I've got great friends, loving family, at least 3-4 blog fans who aren't one of those first two things, and a Jellybean. What more could a gal-who-still-feels-28 want?
Monday, June 27, 2011
The best part was that I made two new camp recipes, a hobo dinner thing where you simply throw ground beef, baby carrots, onions, and red potatoes in heavy-duty foil; and this -
And now there's a crazy thunderstorm probably flooding those cute little toys all over my yard. That's ok, get it out of your system, Mother Nature, as The Ta so wisely said. Because in just four days - 40th BIRTHDAY/4th of July BEACH TRIP!!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The Great Backyard Camping something-or-other is coming up, an event I only found out about because I happened to finally catch up on some blogs, and since it’s an excuse to finally put the tent up in the backyard and thus clinch the deal on my neighbors forever thinking I’m a nutjob, I think it’s a great idea. I wasn't even going to bother registering but then my curiosity got the better of me and I did, but then the website confused and irritated me (how do I set my Team Name? where's the template for inviting people to camp with me instead of asking for money?) so I'm going to ignore if for a little while. And, uh, the weather forecast is calling for rain anyhow.Jordan Lake Park, NC - Jellybean eats bacon. Friend looks at bug in bottle. Life is good.
People assume that growing up in the wilds of Northern Ontario meant I camped practically every weekend, nay, lived in a tent more likely. And I’m sure that there are families who are like that in Canada, just as there are families like that all over the US and Europe and everywhere else in the world. However, the area I’m from is fondly referred to as ‘cottage country’, which means the more sensible people on vacation go to their cottages. This is because, while the wilds of Northern Ontario are beautiful, they are vicious. Yes, there are bears and poisonous growy things and whatnot, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about blackflies. Nasty, nibbly blackflies. And the mosquitoes are bigger there, too, I think. And it gets COLD at night.Armed with her backpack o' gear, Jelly sets off in search of adventure. It does NOT get cold at night here.
My parents were not the sort of folk who could afford a cottage, and despite being dirty hippies, they weren’t into battling blackflies with a pack of obnoxious children. Keep in mind that was the 70’s, when tents were made of canvas and weighed approximately 846 lbs, and took about four days and eleven people to assemble. There weren’t luxuries like collapsible marshmallow toasting forks and Kelty camp sinks (just got mine, can’t wait to use it, it’s freaking adorable!). My mother and sister shake their head in disbelief when I talk about camping – I’m not exactly the outdoorsy type, and they have no idea where my love of this activity came from. I admit I will never be the person strapping on a backpack and hiking into a site, and Jelly and I definitely like our air beds and a flush toilet within walking distance. But it’s relaxing, and cheap, and I dunno, I can’t explain it, I hate washing dishes at home but man, I love to wash dishes in a tub on a picnic table.Pitching in like a good camper (get it? 'pitching' in?)
We’ve officially camped twice now, both times in the pouring rain, so even though it’s only twice I think those two experiences should count as much more. My $40 BJ’s tent (there was a $10 rebate when I got it!) performed amazingly and was the perfect size for us, and the camp stove from my mum is like an Easy Bake oven, only way better, because, you know, it can cook bacon for reals. Jellybean had a blast – she was ridiculously patient waiting for me to do all the boring stuff that I never understood what took parents so long to do, and was a good helper, and had fun running around with her friend who was camping with us. She slept great, and napped great, and the sky cleared up and we swam and went for walks and looked at interesting bugs and made pancakes and sang camp songs and lit sparklers at twilight. This upcoming weekend the same friends will come over and we’ll put up the tents and get out the hot dogs and marshmallows, and there won’t be any television or bath time or internet; there will be fireflies, and contraband drinks in plastic cups after the kids are abed, and an open sky overhead.Overcast, but not rainy!
I just really, really recommend ear plugs. You never know what the campground is going to be like. Our first trip, the location was quiet, but there were some crazy-loud snorers in our Single Parents group. This trip, well, it was a long weekend, I don't know what I was thinking. Par-tay! I don't worry about sleeping with ear plugs in with a kid in a tent, the kid is right there and is going to smack me in the face if I don't respond to her. And yeah - bathroom. Unless you're hardcore, and especially if you're potty training, make sure to get a site near the facilities.But I say, do it!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
All of you who have been reading my blog for a while now know that I am a planner, but you may not know just how much of a planner I really am. It’s true that I am already looking forward to a future event when the next one has not yet arrived, and that I get little shivers of delight when I open up a Word document to create a brand-spankin’ new checklist for a trip or a task. I like things to happen the way they are suppose to happen – a schedule to flow like clockwork, nothing to be forgotten, everything to be in its place. We all know that real life intervenes and things rarely turn out that way, but I do everything I can to ensure that the rules are followed in strict accordance, arbitrary rules that I make up based on my own childhood experiences or just the way I think things should be in my cute little crazy head.
I tell you this long and boring background story so that you have some idea of just how tense something like a happy child’s birthday party makes me. Yes, it’s a fun thing, but even though I know it’s not going to be perfect and things are going to go wrong and there will be things I can’t control that will make me insane, I still carry around this vision of the ideal day, and the pressure of trying to deliver to it makes me sick to my stomach. Yep, I totally bring it on myself, I know that. Doesn’t help.
As you know I’d been planning Jelly’s Third Birthday Extravaganza for some time. Despite the fact I swore after last year’s exhausting event to NEVER DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT AGAIN, and that this year would BE DIFFERENT, I again found myself up at 6 am the morning of the anniversary of the day of her birth, sighing heavily at the gorgeous little girl (WHO SLEPT IN TIL AMOST EIGHT!!!! EIGHT!!) and lugging various ridiculous party accoutrements into my backyard. An inflatable pool. A bounce house with a water slide. A 3-person slip 'n slide. Another inflatable pool. Coolers. Tables. Stop to sweat and curse my stupid ideals.
The weather, oh the weather! Totally cooperated. Sunny and beautiful, hot but with a nice breeze. With a few minor hilarious hijinks, the bounce house and crazily fun pool went up. Everyone came. The pizza arrived precisely on time. The cake was delicious. I wanted to die every single second, but Jenny had a complete and utter blast, and her friends cried when they had to leave because they had so much fun, and that’s a good party.
Somebody may have poisoned the water hole, but there are no snakes in this cake! I was traumatized because it was not enough, but I thought the kids would go for the cupcakes. Silly me. Oh well. That's what happens when you put a pack of chocolate fudge pudding and an entire bag of chocolate chips in a cake.
Yee-HAW! Whatever you do, don't call her a cowgirl. She's a cowBOY. Hilarious. Check out that three-year-old-Bean, can you believe it?!
There were lots of good lookin' cowboys at the party. The Ta totally rocked it.
Aunt Jen, the official party photographer, giving us some guns.
My Jellybean. A very, very happy little girl, who spent 548 hours in this fantastic Intex pool purchased on Craigslist for $40.
The ring I bought? I bought for my future daughter. My mother doesn’t have a lot of jewelry, and certainly no family heirlooms to speak of. I sure as heck didn’t have anything, I had just come out of college. So I decided to buy one. A stunning set of opals (because, you know, it’s bad luck to buy them for yourself). Yes, so what I’m saying is that 15 years ago, 12 years before Jenny was even born, I bought a ring that I could give to her on her 16th birthday that would already have a story. It could have turned out badly, and I could have ended up with a sad little ring buried in a drawer in a box forever bringing me bad luck. Sometimes being a crazy compulsive planner works out, and sometimes it backfires. I got lucky with her birthday this year, again. But, yeah. That's how messed up I am. Just so you know the kind of therapy I SHOULD be getting.
The camping trip? Oooh, wait til you hear about THAT. I'll give you a hint. There was lots of rain, but rain didn't fit into my plans, so I chose to ignore it.
Happy Birthday, my 38-inch, 43.5lb 3-year old girl!