Happy 8th Birthday, Ryan!
Michael and I helped out with the party set-up and kid control, and Michael’s still helping out while supervising the camping part of the birthday fun; which is why we aren’t getting to have another co-ed camping night here.
Yes, that means that we did have some tent mate swaps last night during our teen camping adventure; and Michael and I had a lot of fun with that! The entire evening last night was awesome, and while the cuddling and make-out time with Michael was the highlight of the night for me; the campfire duets with him; sing-alongs with our friends; and scary stories were all great too. We wrapped up the campfire before one; I’ll guess that all of the teen couples had fun after that, judging solely on the mix of tired and smiles this morning; and none of us got much sleep before Michael and Rebecca needed to get to the Inn to help with the breakfast shift; Lucas needed to get out to the farm; and Joel headed over to his father’s place to get ready for work. They were all off and running when Mom and Dad came outside for Tai Chi; and it was just the three of us today with Ethan and Ehlana also away on their own sleepover adventures.
Tai Chi by the river was my sole bit of quiet and relaxation for the rest of the day until now – or at least it feels that way to me. Mom, Dad, and I had our little gang of campers to feed – or at least the campers still remaining. I helped with the work on both sides of that meal; we cleaned up the camp site but left the tents up for the junior camping adventure that I’m supervising tonight with help from Dawn and Jillian; and then it was time for me to do as much of the usual weekend yard work through until one o’clock when Mom had a small army of cousins and friends to feed – with some help from Grandma, Grandpa, and a handful of aunts and uncles. That wasn’t a break for me because I was on kid control duty during the meal; I had to hit the shower and get ready to go over to the Bassett’s house; and then I was off and running to go and do that – and help Sylvia with the party set-up for Ryan’s party, campfire, and camping adventure.
That meant missing out on the cousins and friends fun with my family; but I really loved getting to spend that time with Michael and his family too – and I always owe him family time compared to how much time he spends with mine. Michael didn’t get there to help out for a while because they’d had a busy lunch rush at the Inn and he wasn’t set free until the clean-up was finished; so I started out with setting up tables and games around the yard; we did the tent and camping set-up after Michael joined us; and we were eventually the fun coordinators for the party once Ryan’s friends and other guests began arriving at four o’clock. Ryan had been out playing with some of his friends for most of the day too; but had been home and either swimming or getting their camping gear rounded up pretty much since a few minutes after Michael got to the house. Once all of his buddies were there; we had an hour or so of game competitions complete with prizes; Michael and I had fun with all of that; and then there was a social hour where games and swimming were part of the action; but it was also when the adults began arriving for dinner – including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends. Michael continued with most of the kid supervising then; but I helped Sylvia with the dinner prep work and keeping drinks and appetizers stocked on the tables in the back yard while a few of the guys started the grilling and other helpers worked in the kitchen with Sylvia or helped Michael with the kids.
Dinner was a real adventure, and more than a bit scary; thanks to Ryan and his buddies. I got to experience first-hand how scary a football team of guys can be around food; so it’s saying a lot that a small gang of eight-year old boys can be just as scary. There were other meat options for anyone that wanted something more than burgers or hot dogs, and that might have been necessary; since it was possibly dangerous to get your hands between hot dogs or hamburgers and the ravenous mob of boys. There was not an official competition, but Michael still ended up giving out more prizes for food feats because Ryan wanted him to do that. Whether those awards were for fastest downing of a hot dog, hamburger, or canned drinks, or for stamina and quantity; the boys had way too much fun trying to be the best they could be in those contests.
I am so glad that I had Sophia, Jessica, and some other girls to hang out with during dinner so that I didn’t have to be right in the middle of all of that grossness!
My work at the party wrapped up with the end of the dinner clean-up; and then I headed home – and on to more work with camp and campfire set-up for the younger cousins. I’ve skipped over the birthday cake, gifts, and the rest of the usual end-of-dinner fun, but other than adding that Ryan loved his gifts and had fun with all of that; there actually wasn’t anything particularly newsworthy to add for that part of the adventure – and I worked through most of it anyway while helping Sylvia with getting the cake and ice cream distributed to everyone or doing any other little chores that she needed help with while most of the guests were busy playing and watching Ryan open gifts and play with new toys and games.
Moving along, it was nearly dark and time to light the campfire by the time we had all of the junior camping cousins rounded up and everything ready for the night at our house, and while I was ready for a nap by then; I was instead soon drafted for music and story duty while Ethan and Ehlana in particular helped me out with bribes of toasted marshmallows while I was busy singing, playing guitar, or telling toddler-rated scary campfire stories. The campfire was going on at the Bassett’s house too, but Michael rounded up a band of Ridge River Raiders; they crashed our campfire; and we all had fun for nearly an hour while they demolished all of the extra food that we had with us – and that I’d arranged to have on-hand because Michael had warned me that their raid was going to be part of his entertainment plans for Ryan. We – the girls in our group – eventually chased them off when our supplies were running dangerously low, and while the boys were talking big when they left; the threat of hugs, kisses, and girl germs had them running for the safety of their own camp and campfire.
Dawn, Jillian, and I didn’t have any other teen help tonight, but we did have some parental support; including from the weekend visitor parents. For our family, that was Uncle Blaine and Aunt Alison. They’re mostly here to meet Brianna; and so are the rest of the Johnson-McEwan visitors – though they all got into town late; and haven’t been over here to see us tonight. Uncle Blaine and Aunt Alison got here not long after I went over to help with Ryan’s party; and that was mostly so that Uncle Blaine could have a couple of meetings for work with the construction companies about upcoming work plans for the new section of town. I don’t think about any of that work at all, but Uncle Blaine’s drawings and plans are always way ahead of the construction. While there might have been some current issues to deal with too; they were likely dealing with the plans for next spring and summer today, and while the construction crews do indoor work around here in the winter; Uncle Blaine designs all of the new houses, townhomes, and apartment buildings then too.
We didn’t talk about any of that tonight, and Uncle Blaine and Aunt Alison spent most of the evening with Brianna and her parents; but they did all have dinner together while I was away; and all of the parents stopped in for at least a little while during the campfire. I even got to have a bit of cuddle time with Brianna during her cameo visit between feedings and nap time; and she seemed to love the little campfire lullaby I sang to her while having that little snuggle. I don’t feel as though I’ve seen Brianna much this week, but that doesn’t matter for us; and she definitely has me wrapped around her little finger – just as she’s done with pretty much everyone around her.
Our youngest junior campers began falling asleep shortly after the raiders had left; and I was kept busy getting them tucked into sleeping bags through until the last big push to get all of the kids off to sleep when we put the fire out at eleven-thirty. I have four junior campers with me tonight, and while Michael and I definitely had more fun last night; my little buddies tonight are all sleeping now; and I’m definitely going to get more sleep. Leah’s also cuddling with me while Ehlana and Naomi have Hailey between them. Dawn and Jillian are in charge of two other tents of girls, and while we don’t have any teen boys with us tonight; Eddie is working as a junior counselor tonight; and the boys’ tents are next to mine; and I’ll know if any of the boys need my help tonight – though I doubt that they will.
I guess that’s it for now, and while I’ve missed most of the family fun news, that’ll be covered by others in their journals anyway; so you can read about that news direct from those involved instead if you’re interested. For me, though, getting some sleep in now number one on my to-do list; so, until next time...
...May the Magi Force be with you!