Wednesday, September 28, 2011

our pop-up adventure

We recently purchased a new toy:

And decided to take it for a test run this past weekend.

Here's the inside before we put all our stuff in it:
the left side (where the kids sleep)

the right side (where we sleep)

my "kitchen" in the middle 

Friday night - our first night out.  And yes, this look on my face is one of forced joy.  Let's just say it wasn't the ideal first night... 

The campground we wanted was first come, first serve and we couldn't leave until after Chad's football practice, so by the time we got there it was full.  After driving around forever to a few other campgrounds, we finally found a spot (a spot out in the open, with no trees, but oh well... at least we had a spot).  We only had a tiny bit of sunlight left by the time we got there.  We got the camper set up, the electricity hooked up and then realized that this particular campground didn't have water hookups.  I wasn't expecting that at all, so Chad drove back into town to buy some water.  When he returned, Odie (yes, we brought our dog) desperately needed a walk, so Chad took him out.

Meanwhile, back in the camper, it was getting very cold.  Fortunately, we had a space heater in there so we plugged it in to warm things up.  And since it was too cold to sit outside by a fire, I decided to pop the kids some popcorn and put in a movie to settle them down a little before bed.  But when I plugged in the TV (at the same time the microwave was popping the popcorn - DUMB MOVE), all of the electricity shut off.  Even the heater.  And all the lights, making it pitch black.  My kids don't like pitch black.  So, once we all found each other (which wasn't too hard... I just followed the sounds of their crying), we huddled together in the darkness, trying to stay warm and waited for Daddy, who had the flashlight.  When Chad returned, he looked all around trying to figure out how to get the electricity back on, but couldn't find a thing in the dark.  But we did have an extension cord that we were able to run from the heater to the electric hookup outside so we could at least have some heat.  

So, although you can't tell from the above photo, thanks to the camera flash, we're sitting in darkness (except for the little glow from the flashlight) and I'm worried about the success of this camping trip (and our food in the fridge - which was now in a cooler) if we can't get the electricity back on.

Oh, and just a little side note... if you're ever out camping with your kids and you have to walk a distance to get to the bathrooms, don't put footy jammies on them until after they go to the bathroom.  Let's just say that shoes don't really fit over most footy jammies and it's also really hard to keep unzipped footy jammies from touching the bathroom floor while they're using the toilet.  Just sayin'.

Fortunately, in the morning, Chad figured out how to get our electricity back up and running.  Which made the rest of the camping trip SO much more enjoyable!  

Would you ever be able to tell from all my griping that we used to tent camp quite often?  And we actually worked for a whole summer at a camp where we took high school freshmen on rafting/camping trips (with NO bathrooms or electricity) every week?  Guess I've just gotten spoiled in my old age.

On Saturday, we enjoyed a nice campfire,

made a "garden" in a cup,

played with Odie,

 cooked our own hotdogs over the fire,

played some soccer,

played at the campground park,

enjoyed a warming and comforting dinner of tomato soup and grilled cheese,

had good conversations around the fire,

and finally settled in our cozy little camper for a peaceful night of slumber.
(pay no attention to Tate's pink sleeping bag... it's really his sister's).

Sunday morning, we loaded up and headed back home (a whole 8 minutes away).
And Odie had fun being king of the backseat.

So over all, I'd say this camping trip was very successful.  Even after our first night of chaos, it ended up being just what our family needed.  Just a chance to be together, away from everything else for a few days, was heavenly.

Friday, September 16, 2011


The season is upon us.  

It begins with the start of school.  It's followed up closely with one... two... THREE birthdays (not to mention 3 cousin birthdays and 2 uncle birthdays as well!).  And it's punctuated with Chad coaching football and therefore being gone all. the. time.

    So, if you're wondering about my lack of blogging for the past month, there you have it.  This mama is just tired.

But I now feel the need to take a few minutes and post some pictures of all our birthday celebrations from the past few weeks.  Bear with me folks, it's gonna be a doozy.        

Let's start on August 24, when Tate turned... wait for it... you're not gonna believe it.... 
I know!  Seriously, seems like just yesterday that he "popped out of mommy's tummy" (as his sisters would say).

And let me explain the lack of big cakes for their birthdays.  We have a big combined birthday party for all 3 kids (which you'll see below if you don't tune out before then) which we have their real birthday cakes at.  So, on their actual birthdays, we have a little family celebration with cupcakes, which the kiddos like just as much!  Especially since they get to pick out what rings they want on their cupcakes.  I know... store-bought... I'm a terrible mother.  Think what you want, but during football season, store-bought cupcakes are a God-send in this house.  And don't worry, there are some homemade cakes at their big party.  :)

Anywhoo, back to this guy.

Made a mess then got to open presents!  What an awesome night for Tate!

Two days later, on August 26, came Emilia's birthday!
4 years old already?!

And lots of presents awaiting her!

The Olivia house was one of the favorites (and one of mine too, since I picked it up at 75% off in the after-Christmas sales!)

Then 8 days later, on September 3, Adeline turned 6!
Don't worry, there really are 6 candles on her cupcake.  2 of them are just itsy bitsy (I had to save the rest of the big ones for her real birthday cake!)

Can't wait to tear into those presents!!

We saved the best for last!  I think she was pretty excited.  :)

Then after all the birthdays were celebrated, we took the kids to Incredible Pizza!

I highly recommend going there anytime, but especially for birthdays!  Adeline just happened to mention it was her birthday and they gave all three of our birthday kids a bag full of goodies and a spin on the prize wheel!  And they each got to wear a sticker saying, "It's my Birthday!" so they were constantly being wished Happy Birthday by everybody.

This little 6 year old took on 3 big boys in the bumper cars all by herself!  :)

Our big party was scheduled for September 4, or "Labor Day Sunday."  There were many preparations to be made, like making Addie's cookie cake.  Millie and Tate were big helpers while Addie was at school.  Here, they're putting a little love for their big sister in the cake by blowing kisses into the batter. *Awwww* ;)

Nothing beats licking the batter.  YUM!

When Addie came home from school, she got to decorate it!

And finally... the big ol' party.  Lots of cousins.  Lots of fun.

After playing around for awhile, we started the festivities with Adeline's cake as an appetizer.
We stuck with the Wizard of Oz theme for Addie's part of the party.  Remember, this party... a whole month ago?  Hmmm... That might be part of my exhaustion too... ;)

Here they are... the 7 cousins.  
Clara, Kaiden, Ruby, Millie, Adeline, Taryn and Tate!

Then we opened presents!
First Tate...

Then Addie...

Then Millie!

Next we had dinner with the main course being pulled pork sandwiches.  However, I neglected to get a picture of anyone actually eating dinner.  But trust me, we ate.

Then we had our "dessert."  Tate's ice cream cake...
Can you tell it's a soccer ball?  I was going to pipe on black lines, but ran out of time.  And this was super easy.  Just freeze a glass or metal bowl for 30 minutes.  Line with saran wrap and scoop in ice cream.  Then freeze it again until it's completely hard.  Take it out and smooth it and it's ready to decorate!  We did this last year as a lady bug for Millie's cake.

And then Millie's princess cake!
Yes, this is store-bought.  Straight from Target.  But it was delicious!  I really wanted a special cake for her.  She had been feeling a little down about not getting to have her own "friend" birthday party like Addie did (we don't start those until they're in school), so I decided to give her the cake of her dreams.  And she loved it!  :)

"Let them eat cake," we said.  And so they did.

Birthdays - DONE!

And since we were missing the busy-ness of birthday season, we thought we'd replace the hole with... SOCCER!

Yup.  Addie started soccer this week.  It's just through the city league, so fortunately it's only 6 weeks long, with one game every Saturday and 1-2 practices a week.  I think I can handle that.  I think.

But she LOVES it!  And I must say, she's really good at it too!

 And this is how I feel right about now...

Think I can sneak a nap in this afternoon?