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June, 2009:

More Bacon, Please

After tomorrow I may get to add myself to the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon – OK, so I’m not an actor . . . small issue! I know you’re all jealous, EXTREMELY jealous, but Kevin and brother Michael will be performing in the first ever concert on top of Pikes Peak tomorrow to benefit global cancer care and promote the nationwide bone marrow registy campaign (go Bacon Brothers!).

I’m actually thinking of driving up there to see this . . . mostly because I want to see these guys and the other bands that are performing try to sing at 14,110 feet . . . the air is a bit thin up there, and last I heard, Los Angeles was pretty much close to sea level.

Godmothers

There are two main types of Godmothers . . . Fairy Godmothers and Regular Godmothers. I’d like to take a moment to compare the two.

Fairy Godmothers turn pumpkins into coaches that take you to the ball
Regular Godmothers turn pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns that roll down the steps like a ball

Fairy Godmothers turn rags into beautiful ball gowns
Regular Godmothers turn rags into togas

Fairy Godmothers turn sandals into beautiful glass slippers
Regular Godmothers turn flip flops into carpet skates

Fairy Godmothers bring you handsome princes
Regular Godmothers bring you gum

Fairy Godmothers wave their magic wand and give you a beautiful smile with sparkling white teeth
Regular Godmothers grab a pliers, rip your loose tooth out of your mouth, and give you a gap-toothed grin!

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Yes, this photo was staged after-the-fact, but I had to get a picture of the pliers that Queen Taunya wielded to perform the deed. Two amazing things occurred with the extratction of the tooth. First, QT does NOT do loose teeth, blood, or anything else similar. But, she took one for the team and volunteered to rip the tooth out of her Goddaughter’s mouth because there was no way Princess was going to let me do it. Second, it took 2 yanks to get the tooth out. No, not because the tooth was so attached, but the first time, QT didn’t have a good enough grip on the tooth, so the pliers flew right off. Princess actually let her re-engage and yank again!

 

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Here’s Princess holding some ice on her slightly bleeding tooth crater while getting some lovin’ from QT. Princess really was a trooper – she didn’t even cry!

 

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Here’s the crater! And for anyone who thinks we yanked her tooth out prematurely and should have let it fall out completely on her own, I offer exhibit A above. See the adult tooth growing in behind it? She was starting to look like a shark with her multiple rows of teeth. The tooth behind was just growing in crooked instead of underneath the baby tooth, so the roots were not going to dissolve anymore.

 

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Last but not least, my beautiful BABY holding her BABY tooth in one hand and the Tooth Fairy pillow in the other. My baby has lost her first tooth.

:-( and :-)

 

And I must give kuddos to my wonderful sensitive Dude, the big brother. He was SOOOOO nice to Princess while she was getting her tooth ripped out of her mouth and couldn’t wait to get her Tooth Fairy pillow for her. She was so happy and excited and he was so happy and excited for her – I think he was as happy as she was.

The “SH” Word

Driving in the car with Princess, listening to the radio – “Gives You Hell” by All American Rejects is on (about the 100th time we’ve all heard it).

Princess: That man just said a bad word! Why do they let this song on the radio if there’s a bad word in it?
Mom: You’re right. But the radio people don’t think it’s a bad word.
P: Well, yes it IS! And I know how to spell it. H-E-L-L. But I can’t say that word.
M: You’re right. And you know what’s most important? That you KNOW it’s a bad word. You’ll always see people do things that aren’t right or say things they shouldn’t, but the most important thing is that you know it’s not right and try your hardest to do the right things.
P: And you know what’s another bad word I hear a lot?
M: What?
P: D-A-M. And that’s a badder word than H-E-L-L.
M: They’re both pretty bad words, yes.
P: Ya. And last night, Dr. Doolittle said a bad word! I heard it, RIGHT ON TV!
M: Oh ya? What was the word?
P: The “S” word.
M: Really? I watched the movie with you and I didn’t hear that word. What “S” word was it?
P: Oh yes he did say it! The “S-H” word.
M: The “S-H” word?
P: Yes . . . the “S-H” word. A word I will never EVER say! The “SH – blank – T” word
M: The “SH – blank – T” word? Really? He said that? When?
P: Yup. He said it lots to the animals. He said “S-H-U-T-U-P” RIGHT on TV!

Oh. My. GAWD! I just about died laughing right there in the car! If you could have only seen the huge blue eyes in the rear view mirror, shaking her head so positively just KNOWING that this was the worst word on the planet!

Bridge Work

No, I’m not talking about teeth – all of our teeth are fine, except for that one hanging by a thread in Princess’s mouth that should have come out a week ago but she won’t give it a good yank.

I’m talking about summer school work . . . at home . . . so your kids don’t forget what they learned during the school year before they start again in the fall.

We don’t do bridge work. The kids read a ton. They love to read, so they do – every single day before bed or on longer car rides or whenever they just can’t put a book down. In my mind, if you can read, you can learn anything – including math, science, music, and whatever else. Books have been written on every subject anyone could ever think of.

The ability to do math does not provide you with the tools to teach yourself how to read. The knowledge of the lifecycle of a ladybug or how water is naturally recycled does not provide you with the tools to teach yourself how to read. The ability to play Yankee Doodle and Happy Birthday on the recorder does not provide you with the tools to teach yourself how to read. The ability to count to 30 and recite a few verbs and nouns in French does not provide you with the tools to teach yourself how to read.

You see where I’m going with this. I think my kids need to know all of that stuff above. And it’s so great when they bring home their projects from school and they’re so excited at what they’ve worked so hard to learn. While I don’t discount any aspect of the education my kids receive in school, I think that’s where they should learn their stuff – in school. Summer break is only 10 weeks long . . . kids work hard during the school year (even with the bazillion days off for various teach days and holidays and other random days). I think they deserve a break during the summer.

I think their brains NEED a break during summer – they need to get up without worrying about having to think about anything other than what they want to eat for breakfast. I think their bodies need to get out and run and play and climb with their friends – they certainly don’t get enough of that during the increasingly shorter and in some instances non-existent recess and gym class at school. I think their brains need to learn how to handle social situations – like making up rules for an impromptu baseball game in the cul de sac so the little kids have as much fun as the older kids – which they don’t get at school because they are coddled and prevented from running and playing and getting dirty and making up their own rules on the playground. I think they need to be able to sleep in a few days a week and stay up late watching movies and eating popcorn every now and then – a break from the ever-present schedules imposed upon them in school and at home during a school year. I think they need to spend time hiking and exploring the forest with their family – kids don’t get enough time with their families during the school year, learning through experience rather than through listening to someone else tell them how it should be. I think they need to be able to do all of this whenever they want without having to complete school work before they’re allowed to play – how resentful might they end up being of any school work if it’s something they have to do ALL the time, even when they’re not in school?

It IS summer BREAK afterall. When they go back to school in the fall, they spend the first 2 weeks reviewing what they learned last year no matter how much bridge work they did during the summer.

Besides, none of the adults I know were forced to do bridge work during the summer. We all got to run and play and be kids and make up our own rules to games and occassionally get grounded and have a much needed break from the structure of sitting in a desk all day doing exactly what other people told us to do.

We all turned out OK. We all got good grades. We all are productive members of society.

What’s your opinion on bridge work?

Camping – Day 3

We woke up on day 3 after another chilly night in the mountains. Hubby slept like a rock as always, snuggled away in his nice warm mummy bag. Dude slept like a puppy with MY pillow. Princess slept motionless all cuddled up in my warm mummy bag. Me? I spent the night figuring out how to roll onto my side while inside a child’s sleeping bag without exposing myself to the cold air, adjusting the flimsy pillow I had left so my neck didn’t get a kink in it, and venturing out into the cold to the bathroom while regretting the hot chocolate and schnapps I just HAD to have before bed!

After a yummy breakfast of scrambed eggs and bacon, we headed out on another hike. We decided to go on a “difficult” rated trail this time – the kids are such good hikers and love the outdoors, so we figured it wouldn’t be a problem. We started out on the 2.5 mile trail, thankful for the overcast skies, but hoping the rain would hold off until we finished our hike. The trail was a loop, so we decided to head to the right and go UP the hill to start.

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Here’s Princess and Hubby heading up the hill. You can see the incline a little bit in this photo – if you want to know what the incline was really like, set your treadmill to a 10% incline and walk 1 mile like that – at 9800 feet elevation :-) Of course Dude and Duma are way up ahead! A bit further up the hill, it got pretty rocky and we got to climb a little bit.

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Here are the 3 kids having fun climbing on the rocks :-) We saw lots of other cool things on the way up the hill – Princess particularly liked this cool tree.

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She liekd that it was curved over “like a rainbow!” I thought it was cool because it was twisted . . . here’s a closer shot so you can see what I mean.

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Of course there was more balance beam action.

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About half way around the loop, there was a sign that said we could hike off the trail .5 miles (further UP I might add) to a backcountry camping shelter. We figured why not! So up we headed again . . . and at the end we saw this neat little shack, which turned out to be the perfect spot for a snack.

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Oh – and note to anyone who geocaches – there’s a geocache in this shelter – we found it by accident :-) Notice that Princess and Hubby are in the shelter having a snack, and I’m taking the picture. Who’s missing? Dude and Duma of course! Since it’s impossible for Dude to ever sit still when he’s out in nature, he and Duma went exploring behind the shelter, and discovered this really cool boulder to climb (it’s about 5 feet high) with an AWESOME view . . .

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All you could see were snowcapped mountains forEVER – and to think we would have missed this awesome view if we had decided NOT to keep hiking up another half mile. I love that my kids will hike!

The 2nd half of the hike was much less eventful . . . there were lots of pretty flowers to look at, bugs to inspect, fallen trees to use as balance beams, and creeks to cross. And once again, right when we got back to the Jeep from our hike, it started to rain! We have been SOOOO lucky! So we got to spend another family afternoon in the camper playing games, listening to music on the iPod radio (You’re gonna need an oceaaannn, of calamine lotiiiooonnn – saw some poison ivy so I had to play the song for Dude), and discussing Princess’ loose tooth. Duma, of course, hung out on the bed and napped all afternoon again. Think she’s a little spoiled?

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After a yummo dinner out on the picnic table after it rained, we started another fire and had one last night roasting marshmallows and eating s’mores and STILL talking about that loose tooth – that is still INSIDE Princess’ mouth.

Wordless Wednesday – Amusement Park Fun

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Camping – Day 2

We woke up on a chilly day 2 . . . took inventory of everyone to see if they were warm enough over night. Of course Dude said he was toasty and Princess said she was chilly. So she and I traded sleeping bags for the next night – she got my nice toasty warm 0 degree mummy bag and I got her regular sleeping bag with 4 blankets thrown on top 😉 Dude said he needed a different pillow – so I gave him one of mine. In a 5 minute span I gave up a pillow and my sleeping bag – what’s up with THAT?!

After a yummo breakfast of pancakes and strawberries out on the picnic table, we got ready for our hike. We chose a medium difficult 3 mile hike to Panorama Point. Duma was so excited to go with – she got to wear her back pack for the very first time – I think Dude was happier about that than Duma was, but she did great with it.

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Dude and Duma off on the hike. I love how much Dude and Duma love each other – they have so much fun together. Duma just can’t stand to wait in the morning when she gets up before he does! The minute he walks out of his room she mauls him with kisses and grabs a toy to play with :-)

Anyway, back to our hike. We had some great scenery to look at as always – it’s hard not to see some great stuff when you’re hiking in the Rockies!

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Here we are .5 mile into our hike. That hillside is AMAZING in the fall . . . those lighter green aspen trees turn a deep golden yellow that blends in with the dark green pine and just screams GO PACKERS! At least that’s what my mind hears :-)

We saw some great old cabins and beautiful flowers on the way. The kids were dying for some rocks to climb on or trees to climb on. Instead, we got to cross a stream a couple of times . . . Duma had a great time playing around in the water (which is not against the rules). She also had a great time not being tethered to her leash (which is against the rules). But seriously, she’s so much better off leash – she stays close, comes when called, and is soooooo good. And, we saw a total of 4 other people on the hike – yes I’m trying to justify my rule-breaking 😉 But does she look scary to you?

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That log  behind her? Dude and Princess had a blast walking cross log behind Duma . . . those years of gymnastics that they were in for fun payed off! We also got to see tons of these beautiful flowers . . . they’re called Golden Peas.

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We hiked up and down quite a few steep slopes, but the kids never complained. Dude was waiting so patiently for us to come across some boulders to climb on or SOMETHING! Finally, about 1/3 of the way into our hike, he saw an awesome old tree to play on . . . and being the monkey he is, he just had to climb on it.

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After we finally pryed Dude off of this tree, Princess took the opportunity to grab Duma’s leash and walk her. She LOVES to walk Duma, but rarely gets the chance because Duma’s usually sans leash. Aren’t they totally cute together walking through this little clearing!

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At mile 2 we finally came out of the trees after our last incline. Princess was very happy for that – she was getting hungry and had to use the bathroom at Panorama Point. We ended up walking along the gravel road along the trail for a little while to get to our ultimate destination . . . we stopped to read a trail map and were a bit confused. We thought we had gone around the loop the OTHER way! We must have looked a little confused because the ranger stopped to see if we were OK . . . we said ya, we had figured it out (I secretly wanted to go get lost later so he could come find me . . . OMG was he a HOT ranger!) :-) But, we made it to Panorama Point and enjoyed our view of 100 miles of the Continental Divide . . . it is absolutely beautiful!

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That picture above is about 1/4 of the view . . . you could take 3 more photos to the left and not be to the end yet. Notice that grey in the upper right corner? That’s a nasty rain storm – the stuff to the right was DARK and nasty looking. We were lucky that it kept moving north. We took a little break to take in the view and have a snack before heading out on the last 1 mile of our hike. I could seriously sit and looka t the mountains all day every day . . . and I DO get to see them every day – I’ve lived here on the Front Range for the past 14 years and STILL think it’s one of the most beautiful things ever.

On our hike back, we saw this awesome tree . . . everyone had to get up in it to take a little break 😉

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Dude and Princess were happy as clams when we came across a fallen tree that actually had quite a bit of a drop under it . . . more balance beam action for sure! And the danger of actual injuries if you fell off made it even that much more exciting.

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Due waited patiently for Princess to make her crossing then went across on his own. They weren’t allowed on there at the same time because they would bounce it for the other person and cause all kinds of trouble “on accident” 😉

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We made it back to the camper just as it started to thunder, lightning, and rain. Poor Duma was EXHAUSTED only because she usually gets to nap a few hours every afternoon and she hadn’t had her nap for a couple days. We put her banket up on the kids’ bed and she CRASHED while we hung out in the camper and played Farkel and Uno. We hopped in the Jeep and headed to the Visitor Center to get Dude a Junior Ranger booklet to complete and to check out the fish pond, and after a couple hour rain delay, it cleared up nicely just in time for the neighbor girl to crack her head open on our picnic table and for us to make a fire for dinner. Yummy chicken sandwiches, green beans, fruit, and lemonade – mmmmmmmmm! Oh, and no chicken was flipped into the fire or onto the ground – this entire meal was dirt-free – BONUS!

Of course, no campfire is complete without S’MORES!

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We enjoyed sitting out by the fire drinking hot chocolate (with Peppermint Schnapps for the adults) talking and watching the skies.  Another wonderful day with the family. We considered ourself very lucky with the weather – it was supposed to rain a lot more than it did, so we were very happy with the way things turned out. Another chilly night of sleeping under the wet rainy sky.

Princess still has a tooth in her mouth. We’re planning another hike on day 3 . . . a difficult rated trail. Check back to see how it goes!

Camping – Day 1

I can’t believe that it’s already been a week since our first camping trip of the season! At this time last week, we were taking cover from the rain in the camper and playing Farkel :-)

But, let’s move back to the beginning. The kids LOVE to take their bikes and scooters when we go camping at State Parks. We like that the sites are large, there are tons of trees, and you’re not right on top of your neighbor, but we still have facilities other than the nearest bush 😉 The kids love that there are usually loops for them to ride their bikes and scooters around. The first thing they did when we got to the campsite was head out to explore on their bikes and scooters while Hubby and I set up the camper.

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Princess CAN ride her 2-wheel bike, but she doesn’t want to. I don’t know what it is, but she constantly thinks she’s going to fall, even when she’s not, so she jumps off. But, she had a great time on her scooter, so we were all happy.

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Dude KILLS me! He got that cool camo backpack at a garage sale a couple weeks ago (along with a real life army helmet!) . . . he just had to wear it while he was riding around. All of his clothes for the trip are in that thing, along with a few other things he just had to bring with him. He’s such a boy :-)

By the time we got to the campground, got the camper popped up and hooked up and all the bedding out, it was time to make dinner. So Hubby made a fire . . . just in time for the rain to start! The kids hung out inside for a while while hubby and I made burgers over the fire . . . remember the previous post where I dumped the burgers into the fire? Ya – that was how we started day 1 of our trip 😉 Anyway . . . we decided to eat inside since it was still raining (boo hoo). But, it did stop raining while we were eating, so we got the fire going again after dinner and headed on out to hang out by the fire and make some S’mores – YUMMOLA! Dude, the kid who does not like things like cake, chocolate, and other sweet things, convinced me that we needed to bring enough stuff for each of us to have 2 s’mores each day – and he actually made and ate 2 s’mores! Way too much sweet for me, the one who loves sweet stuff, but he choked down 2 of those things. And after his s’more fest, he had to play in the fire like any good 8 year old boy.

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It started to rain again, so we put the fire out and headed for cover in the camper again (and can I just mention how much I love love love our popup and was sooooo glad we were not in a tent!). This is when the fun began. You see, Princess has a looth tooth – not just a little loose, but hanging by a thread loose with the replacement tooth coming in behind it. She’s excited for it to come out, because it’s the first tooth she’ll lose, but she’s also nervous for it to come out, because it’s her first tooth she’ll lose.

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Princess loves to show us how looser her tooth is with her tongue . . . what she doesn’t understand is that we can’t actually see her tooth when she does this 😉 But it’s still hilarous to watch because she opens up her big blue eyes as wide as she can every time she shows me!

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She wouldn’t take her own tooth out of her mouth, so she commissioned her brother to do it for her. She told him to “twist it twist it until it comes out!” He decided he needed his flashlight for some extra light 😉 I love this picture because Princess looks as calm as ever and Dude looks like he’s hating every minute of what he’s doing. But seriously, what big brother wouldn’t love to be able to yank a tooth out of his sister’s mouth – withOUT getting in trouble?

Alas . . . Princess went to bed with a tooth in her mouth. She did not lose a tooth the first night.

It got down to about 38 degrees – 38 wet degrees – but we were toasty warm in our awesome REI mummy sleeping bags (at least me and hubby were). We all slept well, even Duma (oh ya – she came with us on her first camping trip ever!). We were excited for Day 2 because we had some hiking planned and couldn’t wait!

All in all, Day and Night #1 were a success . . . always a good way to start a camping trip :-) Check back to see and hear more about Day and Night #2 . . . did our hike get rained out? Did Duma catch the squirrel that was taunting her? Did Princess lose her first tooth?

Her First Baseball Game

Princess had her first baseball game today and had a BLAST! She was a little nervous because she thought she’d be the only girl and she hadn’t had a practice . . . she said she didn’t want to play until she had 2 practices 😉 I told her she was playing today without practicing. She was happy there was another girl on the team, and she DID have the pinkest bat on the PLANET to play with!

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And yes, she did hit the ball and get on base :-) She was a bit nervous about batting . . . they play combo pitch where the coach pitches 4 pitches – if the kids don’t hit it, then they put it on the tee for them. She was SOOOO excited she didn’t need the tee :-)

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She actually did really well! I think it was because she hadn’t played before, so she had to listen to her coaches tell her what to do. She ran all the way around the bases and scored and was happy as a clam :-)

She was also happy that she got to play pitcher her first time out there . . . she didn’t get a lot of balls hit at her in her first game as a Giant, but when she did, she fielded it cleanly, wound up as much as any teeny tiny little girl could, and threw it right to 1st base! The First baseman caught it on one bounce and they got the out – woo hoo!!!

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Isn’t she the cutest little giant you’ve ever seen?! In the next inning, she got to play left field . . . she didn’t get any balls hit to her – I was amazed she was actually paying attention instead of picking dandelions :-) They were all soooooo cute – it was much more fun to watch than I thought it would be.

So her first game was a success, and she has proudly declared baseball as her favorite sport, followed by snow skiing and soccer.

Being an ex-competetive softball player, I was happy as a clam to see baseball rise to the top of her list above playing with Barbies and shopping for pink things :-)

Well, That Wasn’t Very Smart

The fam went camping earlier this week up in the mountains. We had a wonderful time hiking, sitting by the fire, playing games while it rained, eating S’MORES . . . yummy! I, of course, had a few Dumbass moments . . .

First off, I checked the weather before we packed and noticed it was supposed to be 68 with a 30% chance of rain each day. Here, that means it’ll be 68, partly cloudy, and at some point during the day, either sprinkles or a down pour or hail. It was also supposed to get down to 35-40 degrees at night. No problem! I just made sure the kids brought pants, long underwear, warm pajamas, a couple hoodies, a rain jacket, and another jacket. They were toasty warm and dry the whole time – and they didn’t have to wear clothes that smelled like campfire every day.

Me, not so smart. I forgot to pack a single pair of pants! That wasn’t the biggest deal . . . I’m a pretty warm person. But, I also forgot to grab my fleece sweatshirts and my jacket on the way out. That meant that I had one hoodie and one rain jacket. Anyone who’s been by a campfire knows that one hoodie is not enough for 3 nights of campfires! But, it was the only one I had, so I wore it every night at every fire. Not only did my sweatshirt smell like a campfire, it had mustard, tomato soup, and melted chocolate spilled on it. I don’t think it will EVER come clean!

My next dumbass move? Hubby and I were cooking hamburgers on a grate over the fire. Hubby accidentally dropped one of the burgers between the slats in the grate right into the fire! He was trying to get it out of the fire with a spatula, and it’s not going very well. I’m thinking he doesn’t want to reach into the fire to get it, so I will. So, I flip up the grate and grab the burger while Hubby yells “Be careful!” I’m thinking he’s all worried about me burning myself . . . turns out, he’s worried about the other 3 burgers that I flipped off the grate onto the ground when I went to save burger #4 from the depths of our campfire. We quickly grabbed all the burgers, brushed them off, and threw them back on the grate – the kids were busy playing, and what they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.

And for my final move? Dude and I had gone to the Ranger’s office to turn in his Junior Ranger workbook and get his badge. We decided to clean the crap out of the Jeep while we were there . . . Dude grabbed the garbage and I grabbed some empty water bottles. Dude and I were chatting while we threw the stuff in the trash and recycle bins – and then I realized that I had an empty water bottle in my hand – where my Jeep keys used to be. Yup, I dropped my keys in the recycle bin!!! I started laughing and Dude was like “what?” I told him what I did as we walked into the Ranger station to get some help. Being oh so helpful, Dude says “Now THAT was funny!” Ahhhhh – gotta love him :-) The Ranger and I did manage to lift the bear-proof top off of the recycle bin so I could fish my keys out . . . not so sure I could have done it myself – it was HEAVY!

On a different note, Princess was playing around with a girl from a neighboring campsite. They decided to finally sit down and relax by the fire for a while, when Lauren crossed her legs on the chair, sending the chair toppling over backward in very slow motion. She BARELY hit her head on the seat of our picnic table. I went over to help her up and check out her melon – all looked great and she wasn’t crying. A minute later, I glance over there and see blood running down her neck! I’m thinking she ripped one of her earrings out of her newly pierced ear or something since I hadn’t seen anything on her head. Nope – the blood came all the way from the back of her head! And there was A LOT of it . . . you all know how heads bleed. So I walked her to her campsite and her Dad and I investigated her melon . . . nice gash that required 2-3 stitches. I saw Dad leave in the truck with Lauren to head to the nearest Urgent Care about 15 miles away. But wait! Lauren isn’t IN the truck – I see her riding her bike around the campground about 10  minutes later. Dad came back about 30 minutes later with SUPER GLUE! He went to the nearest gas station and got some Super Glue to glue her head together!!! Now I know they use glue at the hospital and stuff . . . but I’m pretty sure they would have cleaned the head wound of a child who had been camping without a shower for 3 days before gluing her head together.

So, there you have it. My dumbass moves and the dumbass move of the dad in the campsite next to ours.

Coming up . . . GOOD stories of our first camping trip of the year :-)