it was an in-tents trip

Last week I was applauding myself for 10 years of blogging then I abruptly and unintentionally took 10 days off. 

I wish I could say I was taking a blog-funded trip to the beaches of Bora Bora but alas, the monetary gains from this blog are very low. Instead, we were on a budget camping trip.

I’ve been trying to go camping since we got married. The closest we got was our brief babymoon at the Loretta Lynn cabins in late 2013. Other than the fact that I spent most of the time popping zofran, it was a great trip. I was determined this would be THE YEAR we finally took our family camping trip. I made reservations two weeks ago on Airbnb for the cutest little cabin. Fifteen minutes after I reserved the cabin, I got an email saying there had been an issue with scheduling and the cabin was already booked, but please come visit us again later! I thought my camping dreams would once again be put on hold for several months but at the last minute, I found the last available cabin in the entire state of Georgia that was less than $225 per night. I made a list of the 35 camping items I’d need to pack (not counting clothes and food) and wrote a schedule for the next day. I’ve spent many a night in a tent, but we knew a cabin would be easier for Annabelle to sleep in and overall give a less stressful trip. I could not wait to take AB in a kayak or play with her on the banks of the lake. We would read bedtime stories by the fire. I was so excited. 

Annabelle had to a pottery painting class that morning and told me on the way there that she didn’t feel well. Naturally, she would require a visit to the doctor on the day we were going camping. I called the doctor to beg for a prescription but they said I would need to be seen, but they didn’t have any openings for the rest of the day. I didn’t want to visit urgent care, but I also didn’t want her to suffer from a UTI for four days. We did the pottery class, stocked up on supplies at Walmart, ate lunch, packed and drove ourselves to the nearest urgent care. I bought myself an iced coffee on the way for liquid courage. We prayed we’d be in and out quickly and the Lord who hears our cries and pleas got us out in under 30 minutes.

Thanks to our unforeseen visit to see the doctor, we got on the road late and rolled into the campground around 7:30. I knew the cabin would have air conditioning and a bathroom which I considered fake camping, but I wasn’t expecting it to look like a hotel room straight out of the 70’s. It had wood paneling, faded floral comforters, and a generic hotel painting. It was not adorable the cabin in the woods I had dreamed of for so long. We couldn’t even find a fire pit! What’s a camping trip with no fire to sit around while toasting marshmallows?! I was so disappointed I almost cried. 

The next morning we explored the campground. On the website, they advertised boat rentals with a picture of a woman in a kayak. They had no kayaks or canoes for rent. I asked where we could play in the water since swimming was also advertised, and three separate park rangers said they would never swim in that water. It turns out that the campground is more of an overnight stop for boaters and hikers than an actual campground. All the toys I had brought for Annabelle were for water or outdoor play, neither of which she could do much of. There was a playground and we walked around a little, but it was 103* with high humidity. There are no words Daniel Webster could pull out of his dictionary to accurately describe the heat. It was outrageous. I knew camping in May would be hot, but I thought it would be manageable. The thermometer can read the same in Massachusetts and Georiga, but here it feels like someone is putting a wet pillowcase over your head. It’s the worst. The gnats were out in full force. I HATE GNATS. I hate them so much, I’ve been praying since last summer that God would keep the gnats away this summer. So far my prayers have been working well (you’re welcome, people of Georgia) but they were all over the campground. 

We did make some fun memories. We went on a boat ride, made a 550 piece puzzle, went on a short hike, and looked for alligators. I got some reading done. On Sunday we drove about an hour to the nearest town to go wading in the little creek. I only slipped and fell in once. I would have stayed upright if I wasn’t watching a very pregnant woman crawl over slippery rocks in an effort to get the most Pinterest worthy photos she could. 

 “Here you go, Mama. You can take these and decorate the cabin like you like.”

We found the firepit (a circle in the middle of the grass) and Sesame got to roast her own marshmallows.
I’d make s’more jokes but it’s too hot.

we’ve hit double digits

Today marks the tenth anniversary of this ol’ blog. To commemorate such an auspicious occasion, I set myself no less than 8 phone alarms this week to remind me to write a special post. Alas, here we are, with not a one special post idea in mind.

In 10 years, I’ve written 1,267 posts and have 92 drafts. My posts took a steep dive south when I had Annabelle. I don’t want to assign blame, but she’s really cramped my blogging style. I looked at the 92 drafts to see what I didn’t publish and I can now say the internet wouldn’t have been improved had I published all those drafts. I often type notes of what to blog about at future dates, yet most of the time I didn’t give myself enough information to remember my brilliant idea when I actually sit down to the computer. I tell myself that at least I had ideas.

The following is a small sample of the gibberish notes I found:

Orange groomsmen
Homeless children
Water plants before it rains
Ebay anniversary
Driving the car

Blog name

I really wish I knew what I meant by “orange groomsmen.” The only one I can speak to is my blog name. The current name has absolutely no special significance. I don’t know why I chose it. I don’t particularly like it and I’d like to change it. I didn’t think I’d stick with blogging for long so it wouldn’t matter what I called it. Here we are 10 years later and I’m researching how to change the name and the URL. I remember Daisy Days being an option but, thank God, someone else already had it and I was saved from that trainwreck of a name.


I also found an unpublished post where I took several BuzzFeed quizzes.

Quiz: What Kind of Mom will You Be?
Result: Stage mom. 

This makes me laugh as I was just a stage mom for the first time and I was not good at it.  

Quiz: What Percent Diva Are You? 
Result: 80%. You’ve got more diva in you than not. While you have a little bit of flair for the dramatic, you’re also somewhat of a realist. You’re used to coming in first, which is why it’s hard for you to accept certain failures. You strive for perfection, and people who can’t keep up with you can step aside. In short, you’re someone people generally admire but would NOT mess with.
If the crown fits…
Quiz: What Period in History do You Really Belong In?
Result: Renaissance Italy.
 couldn’t disagree with this more. I’d like to live in a time period with air conditioning and underwear.

Quiz: What Career Should You Have? 

Result: Writer

You have a skill for language, your imagination is vast and you are artistic and creative. Your brain is just overflowing with ideas, and all you have to do is get a piece of paper and share it with the world. You were born to turn words into magical stories.
While the quiz goes above and beyond in describing my overflowing brain, I do have an award-winning blog* and am writing my memoir called “I Have No Idea what I’m Doing, subtitled When Does the Pizza Arrive?”
* I did get a blog award from a friend back in 2012 which is the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.
Quiz: Which Fruit Matches Your Personality?
Result: Apple.  Apples are classic, classy, and sophisticated. Apples know what’s up. You can’t mess with an apple. You try to mess with an apple and you’ll regret it. Apples just have it together and know what’s up.
Given that I have several pounds I can’t lose (a.k.a I’m getting rounder) the shape of this fruit hits a little too close to home. I do try to be klassy but sometimes it doesn’t work out well. For example, I didn’t realize that I wore the wrong bra under my dress to church today. It was visible from all angles.
When I look back on my first years of blogging it makes me want to sink into the floor with embarrassment. I’ve unpublished some of them because they’re so awkward. I must have written 45 posts about Daniel and Erika’s wedding and 189 about my babysitting career. It was a snoozefest for a while there. I didn’t have any timeline when I started blogging. I started and just haven’t stopped. It’s crazy to think of all the things that have happened in those 10 years. I went from a 20-year-old student/professional child caregiver to a wife, mother, and owner of cats.

This blog has given me some of my favorite people. I have a daily group chat with three girls I became friends with through blogs- Laura, Michelle, and currently blogless Toi. I call them my focus group and ask their input every time Christopher and I disagree on something. We discuss everything from proper tipping amounts to bad neighbors to moral dilemmas. I’m the only one who has met any of the others in person but I’ll keep hoping someday we can all get together to eat chips and dips.

Of course, it gave me a husband. Christopher read my blog while he was deployed and it brought such joy to his life. Not only have I blogged tirelessly for 10 years, but I also improved the morale of the troops. I assume I’ll be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom any day now.

I might not love the name and most of the posts might be less than stellar, but it’s my little blog and I think I’ll keep it around for a while longer.

little graduate

Sesame Pie graduated preschool this week. I don’t know how that happened since she started preschool seven minutes ago.
Everyone knows I love a good party and any chance to celebrate, but I’ve always rolled my eyes a little at preschool and kindergarten graduations. I’m the odd person who enjoys high school and college graduations, but preschool graduation ceremonies always seemed a little too much. However, I arrived at Annabelle’s graduation ceremony 25 minutes early to get a good seat and loved every second.

I teared up a little when they walked into Pomp and Circumstance. I feel like she was just learning to smile and hold Mr. Lion. In September I agonized and shed tears over whether I should have her switch schools. It could not have gone better. She learned so much about God. She went to chapel every week and memorized a new Bible verse every month. She learned so much about praying and says the school prayers at home. She loved playing Wild Kratts on the playground with the other kids in her class who also watch the show. She went to music class weekly. She loved her little group of friends. She learned about fruit by the foot and other foods we don’t buy by seeing what her friends bring for lunch. 

She told me for weeks they were going to sing “the ABC 123 song but not like, the ABC song. The other song that has ABC in it. Some kids will get to hold signs with ABC and 123 on them but not me. Miss Terry’s class gets to do that. I get to move my hands fast like boom boom boom.” They sang four songs and recited all their Bible verses. It was precious. 
Receiving a preschool diploma is very serious business. 
Her teachers, Jessica and Sheila, made a photo book of the school year for all the students. They also gave a children’s Bible that they and the principal had written in. 
I plan on many months of popsicle eating and swimming before we hit the books again next school year.

muffins with mom

Muffins with Mom happened at school this week. Annabelle was home sick thanks to bad allergies for a few days before, but I pumped her full of remedies and prayers and off we went. I waited all year for Muffins with Mom (the kind that wasn’t muffins I made, served and cleaned up in my own kitchen) and I was not about to miss it because of pollen. We would have gone had she been in a body cast. 

Every Mother’s Day since she was born, I take Sesame to a pottery place and do her handprint on a tile. The gift the students made for us was a decorated tile of the same size I’ve been using. I can’t wait to someday make a mosaic out of all the tiles. 

She thinks my favorite restaurant is Applebees but it’s her favorite restaurant because they bring chips and salsa to the table. If I leave no other legacy behind as a mother, I’m proud it’s a legacy of loving chips.

I don’t think stage mom will be my new career

Last week, Sesame’s extra rehearsals for dance began. The way our studio is set up, the waiting room is positioned so the dance room can’t be seen and we don’t get to see the girls practice. When I saw her on the stage at the theater dancing for the first time I half cried and half laughed. I can’t believe she’s old enough to be up there! They were so so cute. Only two girls remembered what to do and everyone else moved their arms and legs whenever they felt like it. It was more of a free dance than synchronized dance. I loved it. I don’t like driving 30 minutes for lessons and have complained about the extra rehearsals, but seeing them dance was worth it. That’s how they reel you into signing up for another year of dance. They wear you down during the year then show you the best parts when you’re at your weakest and most likely to hand over some money.  

I was a backstage volunteer for the next rehearsal. There were two groups in our dressing room- the daisies and the violets. I wasn’t sure what to do so I was relieved when the mom in charge of the violets walked up to me. I was hoping she’d share some wisdom but instead, she said, “Have you ever done this before? I have no idea what to do.” It was a classic case of the blind leading the blind. 

I was in charge of nine 3 to 5-year-olds who I had never met. They all had identical leotards, tutus, skirts, ballet slippers, tap shoes and necklaces. That’s a total of 72 items to keep organized and less than a quarter of the items had the dancers’ name written inside. Their moms went out to watch the performance having done only the most minimal of organizing. There were rouge ballet slippers and skirts scattered around our half of the room. I went straight into teacher mode and made everyone sit down in an assigned seat while I organized their things. They were very sweet but they were overexcited and in a crowded room with little entertainment so it was chaos for the first 20 minutes. Lilah, Emma and Lillian looked identical so I had to keep asking their names. I might bring name tags for next week. Nala purposely stepped on all the coloring books as her friends were using them. Emma repeatedly tackled Nala to the ground. Mica was very offended every time someone so much as brushed her with their tutu. “She keeps falling on me and TOUCHING ME! Tell her to stop looking at meeee!” London kept taking off her leotard because the sequins were making her itchy. We played Simon Says with Mica in the back loudly commenting on what everyone did wrong. I told them the longest version of Jack and the Beanstalk ever recounted in the history of storytelling. Seven of them paid attention and sat quietly for the whole thing. We practiced spelling their names. We talked about giant chickens. By the end of the rehearsal, they were all more or less under control in the dressing room. Someone went by and thought our room was empty because they were all so quiet. I won’t lie. I was proud of myself for whipping them into shape   transforming us into the most organized group. I hope they keep it up for the real recital on Saturday,

As these things tend to go, pride in one area makes things go south in another. They squawked like a flock of geese while they were waiting on stage. I could not keep them quiet. No matter how many times I said they needed to whisper, someone was always talking and it was usually Emma. “Are they (the older dancers) real princesses? Is this when we get popcorn? Are the strings (tassles) on their costumes covering their butts? Is this real life? Is this a dream? Where is my mom sitting? When can I dance? My mom said this is a dream. Is it real life or a dream? Do you want to hold this fingernail I found for you on the floor? Did you bring a snack? Do we dance after them? What’s my dance again? What am I supposed to do? Can you tell me? Can you kill that bug?” The older dancers backstage kept giving me looks that said to make them be quiet. I was doing my best! I can’t help it if they get distracted by the curtains and want to pull them down.

Three hours later, all that was left in the dressing room was a pile of hangers and one lonely tap shoe without a name. I would have tracked down the owner but I barely had a voice after all that corralling. And besides, I’m only a volunteer. I don’t get paid enough to chase people down in the parking lot in this much humidity.