Happy 1st Birthday, Brianna!
I’m writing this update live from our tent in the Carrington’s back yard because the weather has finally cooperated for us; and we’re having our first camping adventure of the cousins’ holiday to go along with Brianna’s birthday. Rowen and I have Ehlana, Naomi, and Brianna with us tonight too, but all four of my tent mates have crashed for the night; and Rowen wasn’t even the last to finally fall asleep. Naomi had that honor; and our girl chat time was a lot of fun once we were all in here for the night – even when it was just the two of us.
That camping decision was made this morning, not long after breakfast; and that’s why a lot of my day has been filled with work instead of play time – at least until Brianna’s party started. I also needed to mow the lawn here at home and do some basic gardening; but had help from that from Dawn, Jillian, Jaimie, Kaitlyn, and Kara before we then moved on to Brianna’s house to help out with the work there. Getting set up for the party was part of that, but we also set up four tents for the camping; and had to take a turn at kid control when Mom, Aunt Leanne, and the other volunteers needed to do other things instead – like making lunch for all of the kids, teens, and adult volunteers.
The kid part of Brianna’s party started at three o’clock; and Dawn, Jillian, and I were on kid control from then on – sometimes with help from other teens; including Michael, Tim, and Rowen. Except for right at the start, while Michael was still on his break before the dinner shift at the Inn; that wasn’t until later for the boys. Rowen came over before Michael left, though; and has stayed here since then. The afternoon games were all rated for one and two-year old kids; we made sure that all of Brianna’s friends ‘won’ at least a few prizes of treats or little toys; and we had a highly-supervised swim for all of them too before we had some wind-down play time heading into dinner. Since that meal was late so that the doctors and nurses in the family could be here for it too; we also had snacks and drinks available; and had to try and keep track of the munchies intake for some of those kids to keep them from exploding long before we got around to the dinner, cake, and ice cream part of the fun.
While Aunt Leanne took the day off from work, Dad only left an hour early so that he could help Grandpa and some of the other guys with the grilling part of the cooking for our meal. Hot dogs and hamburgers were easy enough, but we had quite a few adults at the dinner too; so they also cooked up some steaks, chicken, and a few racks of ribs that took more time and effort. The meal was a crazy-busy adventure for those of us on kid control; and that’s the only reason why I was close to Brianna at all while we ate – because I was one of the teens in charge of watching her little gang of daycare and Sunday school nursery friends. That meant getting to have bonus fun with Aunt Leanne too; so I had a blast even with all of the work.
There is one really great bonus to summertime parties for toddlers, and that’s the ability to dunk them into the river to clean them off after they’ve made a mess of themselves during the meal. Ditto that for me, and while I love having long hair; it is a magnet for little kids – even when they’re covered to the elbows in chocolate cake and ice cream; so I needed to be cleaned up as badly as some of the kids did. How messy was it? Bad enough that I hopped into the river later when I had a break from the kids with my travel bottle of shampoo to finish getting rid of the remaining bits of sticky grossness.
Most of the youngest kids headed home not long after that post-dessert clean-up swim; but we had some kids stay to play with the rest of us – and other kids and teens had tents set up for them so that they could join the camping adventure. That included Patrick, Scott, Jessica, and Lindsay; and they were all invited to join in so we’d have enough help for the younger kids that are here for the night too. We played more games in the back yards until it was nearly dark; followed that up with a campfire; and added in a few bonus bits of fun like having the kids play with sparklers for a while to go along with the music and scary campfire stories.
This time, other teens and parents took care of putting younger kids into sleeping bags and tents as they ran out of steam and fell asleep, but that was only because Michael and I were on music duty then and I also had Brianna in my lap for a lot of that time too. She is, by the way, such a ray of joy that I fall in love with her all over again pretty much every time I’m around her. She’s a little Magi dynamo, and is as beautiful as her mother; but it’s that gift of joy and love that’s truly amazing – and something that everyone notices; whether they’re consciously aware of it or not.
We’ve got another busy day ahead of us for Saturday, so I’d better move this along and wrap it up so I can get some sleep too – assuming Brianna doesn’t wake up and want to start partying again!
The campfire wrapped up at midnight. Some of us went for a swim after getting all of the younger kids still standing ready for bed and tucked into their sleeping bags. Michael and I were among those swimmers, and we had fun with that too; but he was ready to crash by then so we didn’t swim for long. I needed to retrieve Naomi from Ethan’s sleeping bag once we got back to our tents – and did that despite the fact that she was pretending to be sleeping already; but we did take pictures first before I pulled her out of Ethan’s arms and carried her back to our tent. She thought it was funny that Rowen and I didn’t want her in the tent with the boys when Michael and Tim got changed out of their swimsuits; which has me wondering just how scary Liz must’ve been as a kid and teen! ;^)
I’ve already mentioned the girl chat; we listened to some music on my computer while I did my email check and a bit of family business work; and now it’s time to finish this update so that I can head off into nap mode. We’ll be doing a breakfast at the Inn surprise for the campers in the morning that most of the kids don’t know about because Aunt Leanne did not want to feed this large a gang again. We also have a family and friends day planned for quarry Lake tomorrow after that; and some of us also have a teen birthday party and camping night there to go along with all of the family fun. Michael has to work too; but he’s doing the breakfast and dinner shifts so that he can be out at Quarry Lake most of the day – and then again tomorrow night for the campfire and camping part of the teen fun. All of that news can wait for the next update, though, and I really do need to get what sleep I can now; so, until next time...
...May the Magi Force be with you!