So I realize that I’ve already posted today, but I couldn’t help myself. I actually have something to say, or should I say, someone to tease…….

At this very moment, my husband and his two buddies, are currently putting their heads together trying to design the World’s Greatest Apple Gun Launcher. You’ve heard of a potatoe gun right? Well they decided that since we have like 3 apple trees on our property, an apple gun would be….how should I put it….much more economically friendly.

I shit you not, I can actually hear them out there. Last time I checked they had this empty propane bottle welded to a pipe and they were filling it with brake cleaner! That right there, is a recipe for disaster! Not to mention that when they actually lit the thing, it burst into flames.

Now, silly me, I would’ve quit right there. I would’ve realized that my idea sounded better in my head, and then I would’ve moved on. Not the three AMIGO’s! Nope, they are on a mission!

By the end of the night, we’ll either have a killer apple gun-launcher-thingy-majiger, or my house will burn down, one of the two.

Of course, I did have to remind them that it’s like July, and we won’t have apples until Fall, but that didn’t slow them down. In fact, my husband’s buddy even said, “ya, well that gives us plenty of time to perfect our design.”

There’s nothing more to say……….except that if you don’t hear from me in the next week or two, you can assume that my house burned down…….or I was taken out with an apple-gun-launcher-thingy-majiger.

Wish me luck!

 

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So I’ve been reading this series, it’s called DEADLOCKED. It’s not my usual kind of reading material, but my sister insisted that I read them, and guess what? Yep, I’m hooked.

It’s all about Zombies taking over the world, and it’s crazy! It’s action packed and exciting, extremely gory, and kind of disgusting, but I’m totally into it!

Anyways, I’m one of those people, when I read a book, a really good book that sucks you in, I sometimes have a hard time distinguishing between what’s real and what’s not. Like when I stop reading, I’m still thinking about it, and I start imagining things, like Zombies walking down the street, you know, stuff like that. I’m not delusional or anything, it’s just my imagination taking over, and I have a really active imagination. I sometimes find myself preparing a list in my head of everything around the house that could possibly be used to kill a zombie.

Right this moment I’m actually looking at a pair of samurai swords that my brother bought me last year. Those would work wonders!

Note to self: Sharpen samurai swords in case of Zombie attack…..

So that got me thinking, not necessarily about killing zombies, but about society in general. In the book it’s kind of like, everyone for themselves, and trust NO ONE! Well, it just doesn’t seem that different from how things are today.

There’s so much BAD out there, that we sometimes forget about the good, and when the good does happen we’re so caught up in finding the bad that we completely miss out on the good.

Let me explain…..

Today, Z and I went to the grocery store. We were just about ready to check out when I noticed an old man standing behind me. I also noticed that he was only purchasing one item, a bag of M&M’s. I didn’t think much about it, but as I was preparing to leave the store the old man tapped me on the shoulder. He said, “would it be okay if I gave these to your little girl?”.

I have to admit, I was kind of shocked. So shocked that I actually repeated his question out loud, which now that I think about it, probably sounded really dumb.

Me: “You want to give my daughter a bag of M&M’s?”

Old Man: “If that’s okay with you?”

I had to think. Was it okay with me? Here’s this old guy at the grocery store, he looks perfectly harmless, yet he’s a complete stranger, and if I take the bag of M&M’s am I making some huge monumental mistake? He could be  a creeper, but what if he’s not. What if he’s just a really sweet old man that couldn’t help but notice my loud, but sweet, extremely social little girl.

Me: “Sure, why not. That’s really sweet.”

Old Guy: “You see, I have 9 grand children, and I don’t get to see them very often. Your little girl reminds me of my youngest granddaughter, and I really just wanted to make her smile.”

Aaaaaah. Seriously! How sweet is that?

So I get Z’s attention, which was previously fixated on a box of ice cream we had just bought, and she turns to the old man.

Old Man: “Hi sweetie, what’s your name?”

Z: “Hi! I’m Zoey.”

Old Man: “Well it’s nice to meet you Zoey, would you like a bag of M&M’s?”

Z: “Okay…..Thank You!”

That’s my girl, I didn’t even have to remind her!

As the old man said good bye and walked away, a certain song came to mind…….

“What if God was one of us,

 just a slob like one of us,

 just a stranger on the bus

 trying to make his way home”

What if God was an old man at the grocery store with a bag of M&M’s………you never know. At least he wasn’t a Zombie.

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Two things…..

First, I’ve discovered my feminine side, or maybe I just found it, I’m not sure. It was definitely MIA, or maybe it was just lying dormant, or hibernating for a verrrry long time. The thing is, all this time I didn’t even realize I’d lost it.

Just to give you an idea, the other day I caught my daughter painting her fingernails with a washable marker. She did a fantastic job, aside from the fact that as soon as she rubbed them against something, the beautiful blue disappeared.

My first thought was, where in the HELL did she get that from! Then I realized that she’s almost three, and the other day I also caught her coloring her teeth.

Anyways, so that got me thinking…..Maybe I should paint her fingernails, with like real nail polish! I bet she’d love that!

So I went on a mission, and you know what? I searched my entire house! Yep, the whole damn thing, and I didn’t find one stupid bottle of fingernail polish!

What kind of a women doesn’t own fingernail polish!!! Seriously, what’s wrong with me.

So that got me thinking……when was the last time I actually painted my nails?

Hmmmmm, oh good Lord, has it really been 10 years! My wedding! That’s the last time I painted my nails, and I didn’t even paint them, my niece did!

So I called Grandma, and of course she had fingernail polish. She brought it over the next day and we had a fingernail painting party. Z loved it! She was so excited we had to buy new sandals the next day to show off her green toes.

I have to admit, it was kind of fun having my nails painted again. Every so often I’d catch a glimpse of my hands, then I’d admire them and think, WOW, so girly, I LOVE IT!

That was just the beginning……

Last week, I went shopping…..by myself……all by myself…….

I had 36 dollars to spend, cause that’s what was left on my ROSS gift card. I was on a mission once again….SUN DRESSES!!

I did good. I walked out of there with 5 DRESSES!!

So now, not only do I have painted fingernails, but I’m also wearing dresses! Crazy stuff! It feels good too, so good, that I decided I needed a tan to go with my new sun dresses and my beautiful fingernails. So yesterday I laid out in the sun during Z’s nap time, thinking, oh ya, I’m gonna look HOT!

But instead I ended up with some really funky tan lines, red butt cheeks, and a tender back. Oh well, at least my dresses cover it.

 

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You know it’s funny, I’ve always teased my husband for being too anal, or as he likes to call it, a perfectionist. But the thing is, I’m pretty anal myself. In fact, that’s one of my issues when it comes to writing.

When I first sat down and decided to write a blog, the plan was simple.

Just write.

Write about life, about Z, about the everyday, about the stupid shit that goes through my head, you know, stuff.

While it all started out good, somewhere along the way I became a perfectionist. I can’t even tell you how many unpublished posts I’ve written. You know that saying, “it sounded better in my head”, well that’s exactly what my problem is. I sit down, I write, I finish, and then I re-read it . That’s when I lose my nerve. Because when I go back and I read my thoughts, it sounds stupid, or boring, or just plain weird. And then I think, why the HELL would anybody want to read this crap?

That was my first mistake. Writing was supposed to be for me. It was supposed to be my outlet. A way of venting, or just sharing my life with friends, family, and fellow bloggers. So ya, I might say something stupid, or talk about something that only I think is interesting, or laugh about something that really shouldn’t be funny, but that’s the point. I should feel free to do so. It doesn’t have to be perfect, because I’m NOT perfect, and I’m certainly NO poser.

So for now on, that’s what you’re gonna get. I’m going to be an imperfectionist!  Ya I know, that’s not actually a word, but the HELL with Webster and spell check! I’m breaking out of my damn box, and I’m going say stuff like, whatsup,  and cuz, and…….well that’s pretty much all I’ve got right now.

The point is, get ready, cuz I might just blow your mind……whatsup with that huh…..you scared?

See now, the old me, would’ve deleted that entire rant, because it’s kind of lame and weird, but the new me says, why the HELL not!

 

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So, I haven’t written in like what, 2 months? Ya, sorry about that….

Life has been a little bit crazy lately.

In other words, my plate is full.

And you know what’s really sad, I don’t even have a dinner plate like most Mom’s, I only have a dessert plate. Just a teeny-tiny little plate, and it’s always FULL. I know it’s pathetic, but I’ve come to terms with it. I just can’t handle a full dinner plate, I’m not that organized, or capable.

So, let me catch you up in a quick play by play of what’s happened. I will warn you, it’s NOT very interesting, but I’ll do my best to make it so.

Let’s see……

Well, we went camping again, over Memorial Day weekend, and it didn’t rain, which is practically unheard of.

The camp next to us had 14 foster kids……..14!!

It was NUTS! The kids were great too! I kept trying to sneak a peek at the foster parents, mostly because I was curious. I wanted to see what “Crazy” really looked like. When I finally did get a chance to see them, I was blown away! They looked mostly normal, well aside from the angel wings protruding from their backs, and those little halo’s floating above their heads. Seriously though, they must be Angels. Only Angels could handle 14 FULL dinner plates!

It really was a great weekend. Z and I had a blast, and so did my husband. I even got to go fishing, which almost never happens. I had to drive like ten miles down the road to get to the river, but it was worth it. The only problem was, I had to drive my husband’s truck.

Now, normally I will drive pretty much anything, but when it comes to my husband’s truck, I get nervous. He’s very type A personality, A as in Anal. To top it off, when it was time to take off, I had an audience. I know it’s silly, but it’s probably been like three years since I drove it, and the last thing I wanted to do was stall it in front of everybody.

I did pretty good. I got out of camp without stalling it, but about 5 miles down the road I noticed a familiar stench leaking in through the windows. Yep, forgot about the DAMN E-Brake! I had to drive around for like 20 minutes before heading back to camp, didn’t want the stench to follow me.

My husband and Z All in all it was a successful camping trip. Z even went for a 4-wheeler ride, which normally wouldn’t be that exciting except for the fact that she’s terrified of loud noises. It doesn’t just stop there either. She HATES the lawn mower, the weed eater, my blender, the vacuum cleaner, the mixer, the air compressor, etc. So I was pretty excited when she hopped on and went for a ride with Daddy.

Let’s see…..

Just this last week we had some friends visit from California and North Dakota. They all camped out in our back yard for about 4 days. In all, there were three little ones. A little girl that’s about 4 months younger than Z, a little boy that’s about a year and half older than Z, and another little one around 8 months. We had a blast!

With friends at Glacier National Park

With friends at Glacier National Park

My husband even took a few days off work, so it really did feel like a vacation for us. I can’t even describe how excited Z was to have kids living in her back yard for a week. Every morning she’d wake up with this little sparkle in her eye, almost like Christmas morning.  They’d play hard all day long, and crash hard at night after a camp fire and smores.

We even went up to Glacier Park for a hike one day. It’s been ages since I’ve entered the park.  People will literally drive hundreds of miles just to see it. I live maybe 40 miles away, and it’s been at least 4, maybe even 5 years since I’ve been there. It’s always the same though, beautiful and breathtaking, and filled with tourists. It never fails too, we always run into a couple of overly outgoing tourists that ask us where we’re from. When we say here, they almost always say, “Wow, really! You’re so lucky! I’ve heard the winters are bad, are they really that bad?”

Now, you have to understand my husband. He’s a service technician, and he fixes water softeners and stuff like that. A large part of his job deals with vacationers, or out of staters, or people that have entirely too much money. They all start out as tourists too. They come here on vacation one summer, fall in love, and then decided to make it permanent. They buy up tons of property, close roads that have always been open, and then build enormous houses that block the sun. So, to say he’s a little bit jaded, is an understatement. So, back to the conversation with the overly outgoing tourists.

My husband answers, “Oh ya, they’re terrible! Like, you want to hang yourself in the garage terrible.”

That pretty much ends the conversation. As we walk away, I can’t help but notice the shit-eating grin plastered on his face. “Was that really necessary”, I ask.

“Hey, I wasn’t lying, and yes, it was necessary”, he says.

So, now our friends are all gone, and life is basically back to normal. I can’t make any promises, cause it’s summer and stuff, but I’ll try my best to keep posting. Even if it’s only two sentences long.

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In lieu of Mothers Day, I really wanted to write something special. Kind of like a tribute to my Mom, but I’ll be honest, I’m having a hard time just getting started.

I think it’s because it’s so over-whelming. My Mom is an amazing lady, and to try and sum it all up in just a couple of paragraphs just doesn’t do her justice.

I’ve written and re-written this post about a half dozen times, and instead of just bragging about how AWESOME she is, which she is by the way, I’ve decided to give you a few examples.

My Mom is just one of those Moms……

The kind of Mom that you’re not embarrassed to be seen with, unless of course she’s driving a Toyota Station Wagon with a smashed up front end because Dad hit about a dozen deer with it. Don’t forget the scanoe tied to the top. At least Mom had the decency to drop us off a block from school so we didn’t have to get out in front of our peers.

She’s also the kind of Mom that has cooler clothes in her closet than you do. Seriously! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve raided her closet just before a party.

She’s the kind of Mom that you actually want to spend time with because she makes you laugh. No Girl’s Night, or shopping adventure would be complete without Mom.

She’s the kind of Mom that no matter what kind of day you’ve had, will always make you feel better. The kind that just gets you. The kind that steadies you when you’re about to fall, or picks you up when you’ve already fallen flat on your face. She’ll tell you what you need to hear, but she’ll also tell you what you want to hear, because she knows exactly what to say to make you feel better.

So, even though she always dressed my sister and I in matching clothes, and scarred us for life by telling us that our stuffed animals and toys had feelings, she’s still the most incredible Mom two girls could ever have.

Seriously though, our stuffed animals and our toys were ALIVE! Not like the creepy Chucky Doll or anything, it was exactly like TOY STORY! She liked to pretend that they had feelings, feelings that could easily be hurt. For example…….

Mom: “Don’t you want to sleep with froggy tonight? He’s so alone over there, all he wants to do is cuddle.”

Me: “But Mom, he’s creepy.”

Mom: “No he’s not! Look, you just hurt his feelings.”

Me: “Okay, come here froggy, I’m sorry.”

You see what I mean?

Now, my sister always joked that she was scarred because of it, and up until recently I thought she was nuts. But now I see it too. I tend to grow attached to insignificant objects in such a way that I have trouble separating myself from them.

For instance, in a couple of weeks we’re going to have a Garage Sale, so this last week or so I’ve been going through the house, trying to find something to sell. Every time I pick something up, it doesn’t matter what it is, a knick-knack, an old coffee mug, or an electric skillet that I have never used, I have flashbacks of the life we’ve shared together…..

“Oh skillet, I still remember the day we got you. You were wrapped up so pretty in all that wrapping paper. The perfect wedding gift, and although I never really used you, expect for that one time when we made pancakes together, you’re still special to me. Now it’s time for you to move on. There’s somebody out there….. waiting for you, I just know it, and I know they’ll use you. They won’t store you in the bottom of the pantry like I did for all those years.”

I know, kind of creepy right?

So, thanks Mom! Thanks for turning us into a couple of hoarder’s……..just kidding…….well kind of.

Mom and UsNo but seriously, thank you Mom, for always being there, for always supporting us no matter what. I can’t imagine life without you. You’re my BEST Friend, my rock, my adviser, my everything, and I love you so much. You are my inspiration. I want to be just like you. I want Z to feel the same way about me that I feel about you.

I’m a MOMMA’s GIRL! And I’m proud of it!!!

Love you Mom, Happy Mother’s Day!

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May 9th, 2013

Zoey's B-day 061Today is my Grandma Shirley’s Birthday. She would’ve been 86 today. I wish with all my heart that she was here to celebrate it with us, but I know she’s in a better place…..

I can see her now, sitting up in Heaven with Grandpa, probably enjoying a glass a whiskey as we speak. Maybe even challenging an old friend to a game Rummy Cube……I’d like to think so anyways.

I have hundreds of photographs, some in black and white, and some in color. When I look back through those photo’s I’m reminded of something……

Grandma lived, with all her heart, she lived, and she enjoyed life to her fullest. Not my fullest, or anyone else’s fullest, but her fullest.

She didn’t have much, but what she did have was enough. She had an appreciation for life, the hard life. Farming and ranching, that’s what she knew, and she loved every second of it.

img0913She used to tell me stories about raking the fields with the horses when she was only 15 or 16 years old. She’d have one horse on each side, propelling the old dump rake forward, while she sat in the middle on an old rusted seat. One time, the old seat collapsed! She said, “Thank God them horses stopped, or I would’ve had a hundred wholes poked through me!” Then she’d laugh, like it was the funniest damn story she ever told.

1942 - 3I like to think of myself as a tomboy, but Grandma, she was the ultimate tomboy. She was pretty too, and from what I understand, there were lots of boys chasing her around. One of which, caught her eye…….

Maybe it was the bright red hair, maybe it was the smile, maybe it was the fact that he was the ALL Star everything and her Daddy didn’t like him, whatever it was, Grandpa Frank won her heart.

They married in February 1946. Not too long after that came my Uncle Ken, and then my Mom. They raised cattle on their little farm in Lonepine Montana, owned the Grocery store for a time, and Grandma even became the Postmaster for a while.

Shirley and FrankWhen I look back through those photographs I see smiles, laughter, friendships, and loving embraces. A childhood full of joy, a road trip with friends, youth and happiness. Memories of a time when life was simple.  So simple, that we sometimes feel as though they missed out on something. Like they somehow missed certain joys that this life has to offer. But the truth is, they didn’t miss anything. They had it all, and more. Grandma wasn’t just content to be a farm girl, or a ranchers wife, she was proud of it, and she was happy.

So when the sadness creeps in, especially on a day like today, when I miss her so much. I try to remember……. she lived her life to her fullest. She didn’t miss out on anything.

She experienced so much, some of which I will probably never get to experience. Like the satisfaction of raising her own cattle, or haying the fields. Growing her own crops, and enjoying the fruits of her labor.

tasha's pics 200She also got to fall in love, and marry her sweetheart. She got to experience all the joys of Motherhood. She watched her children grow up and have babies of their own. She even got to meet her Great Grand Children.

She lived a FULL life, and now, she’s up there, with Grandpa, drinking whiskey and playing Rummy Cube. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Happy Birthday Grandma, I love you with all my heart…….

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I’m still getting used to the fact that my daughter is actually talking now. It seems like only yesterday, when all she spoke was gibberish. Now she’s actually constructing full sentences, and even telling me stories.

Park and Potty 004smallWhat really blows me away, is how she views everything around her. If I could only see the world through her little eyes, every single day would be an adventure, and the little things in life, wouldn’t seem so little.

She can take something as simple as washing the car and turn it into an interesting, and somewhat humorous story.

This is the conversation we had on the way to the store today…….

Z: “Nice and clean car. We washed car de other day. It was yucky. We washed it wish soap. I washed the windows, now I can see the tree’s growing, and the grass growing, and the road growing……….. We sucked out the dirt too. Clean car make Daddy happy. Mommy and Z messy. I found a cheerio, huh Momma?”

Me: “Yes you did. It was yucky though, so we threw it away didn’t we?”

Z: “Yep! 1, 2, 3 cheerios.”

Me: “I thought you only found 1 cheerio?”

Z: “No, 1, 2, 3 cheerios.”

Me: “You found 3 cheerios?”

Z: “Yep!”

Me: “Did you throw them all away?”

Z: “Nope!”

Me: “Did you eat them Z?”

Z: “Yep!”

Note to self: Vacuum first before I ask for her help next time.

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Okay, so my new favorite show is……….. Nanny 911.

I know it’s been on the air since like 2004, but I’ve only recently grown interested. I think it has something to do with the fact that I can now relate to some of these families. Although most of them have like 4 or 5 little demons running around, and I only have one.

I still remember the first time I saw the show way back before Z was born, I was terrified……

“Seriously, did that boy just spit in his Momma’s face!”, “OMG, how horrible, my kids will NEVER act like that!”

Little did I know that I too would spawn a demon of my own some day.

So what sparked my sudden curiosity?

toddler-tantrum-photo-420x420-ts-86484517

No, this is not Z, in case you were wondering…..

The other day Z had a RAGER. I call them RAGERS, because a “fit” is just too tame of a word to describe it. It’s like Hurricane Z bearing down. All the air in the room gets sucked out, shit starts flying, and the noise level goes through the roof.

So anyways, I do what I usually do, hold her down until the worst of it passes. It’s like trying to contain a wild animal with sharp teeth and flying fists….it’s not pretty. While I’m sitting there, trying to maintain control, I start thinking…..

Is it really supposed to be this bad? What am I doing wrong? Why is she so angry?

I realize that Z has to learn how to control her emotions, and that it’s my job to teach her that control, but I’m not really sure how. I need help!

So, that got me thinking…… I wonder if I could find that show on Netflix, the one with the Nanny that goes around fixing peoples kids. Maybe that would help me.

So I found it, and immediately started watching it. I have to say, I’m impressed. It’s given me a whole new outlook on parenting.

One show in particular really got my attention. They had 5 boys, all with red hair. One set of 5 year old triplets, and one set of 3 year old twins! They lacked proper discipline, as Nanny would say. In other words, they were the spawns of Satan, even their hair was on FIRE!

When the kids acted up, Mom just yelled, and yelled, and yelled. She didn’t really do anything. There were no consequences. Only when things got completely out of control did Dad step in and start making threats ,”Get back in that bed, or I’m going to spank you.”

So, Nanny shows up, and the parents are like, “Seriously, you think you can fix this? Go right ahead!”. They had absolutely no faith what-so-ever!

And when I say that their kids were out of control, that’s an understatement. They beat on each other, constantly. There was so much anger flying around that house, Hurricane Z looked tame in comparison. The kids were angry, the parents were angry, I think even the dog was angry.

photo posted on post-gazette.comSo what does Nanny do? She tells them, no more yelling, no more spanking, no more threats, and no more chances. Every action has a consequence. Use positive reinforcement verses spanking. The kids are angry because you are angry, and you’re doing a shitty job of hiding it.

Nanny, you are so right!

It’s funny, I could see it all too clearly watching from the outside looking in. But when you’re inside, it’s almost like your blind. How can I expect Z to control her emotions, when I can’t even control mine. I get so angry with her for not listening, I lose my temper, and then I yell, and I make threats.

Someone once told me, don’t make a threat unless you intend on keeping it. That same person also told me that once, while eating dinner, her daughter was acting up. Her husband told her daughter that if she continued to act like a baby he was going to take her bed away and make her sleep in a crib. Talk about a threat! Guess what he did? Yep, he took down her toddler bed, and put the crib back up. I don’t remember what happened after that, I think because I was too busy being impressed with the follow through, but I’m pretty sure it did the trick.

So that’s it! I’ve stopped yelling. I refuse to let my anger fuel her tantrums, and when I get to three, that’s it! No more chances. I don’t make threats anymore, I only make promises, and there is a consequence for every action.

It’s been about a week since I made this vow, and things are going well. Since I’ve reined in my anger, Hurricane Z hasn’t had any RAGERS, only small “Thunder Storm” tantrums. I personally consider that a HUGE success.

There’s no manual for parenting. Every kid is different, and as much as I wish that Z came with a manual, one with pictures so that my husband could read it too, it’s okay, cause I’ll eventually figure her out. Even if it is on her 18th birthday……..

 

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Okay, so it’s been like a week since I posted anything. I guess I’ve been a little preoccupied.

On Tuesday, or maybe it was Wednesday, my husband informed me that we were going camping for the ENTIRE weekend. He even took Friday off so that we would have three WHOLE days in the woods together!

CampingNow, BZ (before Z), my husband and I spent more time in the woods than we did at home. November, December, February, or August, it didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that we had a warm fire, a dry place to sleep, plenty of good food, our fishing poles, mountain bikes, beer, a good book or two, and more beer.

Skip forward to present day, and it would be an understatement to say that things have changed.

I still love it, but it’s just not the same. Camping with Z is……….. interesting, to say the least.

Gone are the days of relaxing around the campfire and reading an entire book, or fishing for hours just for fun, or hitting the trail with our mountain bikes in search of the best lines.

It’s just different now, not bad, but different.

We’ve taken Z camping before, so at least I knew what to expect.

On Wednesday Dad loaded the camper, so of course, Z could barely control herself. She was absolutely beside herself with anticipation and excitement. “Go camping Momma, GO CAMPING!”

“Yes Baby, we’re going camping, but not for another two days.”

“GO CAMPING MOMMA! GO CAMPING!”

It didn’t take long for us to realize what a HUGE mistake we had just made.

NOTE TO SELF: Do not load the camper two days early! Save yourself the pain of listening to her scream for two days straight, and do it at the last possible minute!

Friday morning FINALLY came, and we headed out of town.

I was looking forward to it, and not just because I wanted the screaming to stop, but because I figured, she’s almost three now it should be easier than last year………..please God, let it be easier than last year.

Last year wasn’t horrible, but it was bad enough that I wasn’t eager to do it all over again. We only went camping three or four times if that, and every time was exhausting. She’d be so excited to go, then we’d get there, she’d wander around, play with all her toys, get bored, and want to go home, all within the first hour.

I decided that this year would be different!

The plan was to keep her so busy that she wouldn’t even think about home.

It also helped knowing that our friends would be joining us later with their two little kids. Although both kids were older than Z, I hoped that she would still have fun following them around, doing big kid stuff.

So we get there, make camp, and settle in. Z happily races around camp like a little tornado, destroying everything in her path. She plays with her toys, she blows some bubbles, she explores the camper, she follows the dogs around for a bit, gags when Mya (the dog) takes a crap, insists on burying it with her little shovel, and then gags again when she gets poop on it.

Things are going well, and she really seems to be enjoying herself. Then she informs me that it’s time to go for a walk. GREAT IDEA! Let’s go for walk….

What was supposed to be a nice relaxing stroll along the river bank, turned into 15 minutes of SHEER TERROR!

Z’s brakes don’t work so well, in fact, I’m not sure if they work at all. The banks of the river were super steep, and every time I looked down I visualized her tumbling down to the bottom, and splashing into the rushing water below….SHEER TERROR!

All she wanted to do was through rocks in the water, but every time she got close to the edge I would yank her back. Then she’d get pissed, pull away, and RUN!

So there I was chasing her down the river bank, screaming for her to stop, all the while she’s giggling, thinking she’s just discovered the world’s greatest game. Like I said, SHEER TERROR!

NOTE TO SELF: DO NOT take walks by the RIVER!

Meanwhile, back at camp, my husband has taken it upon himself to ensure that we have a very private camping experience. In other words, no immediate neighbors!

When I saw the unfamiliar truck and camper pull up, I knew exactly what he was doing. He began what can only be described as, make like the most annoying camp neighbor EVER!

We heard gun shots, one right after another. First the .22, then something bigger. Then I heard the dirt bike fire up, and then the 4 wheeler.

It only took about 10 minutes, then the unfamiliar truck and camper pulled back out on to the main road and disappeared in a matter of seconds!

I know, I know, it was rotten, but I have to admit, he played that one well.

When we finally returned to camp, the hot dogs were on. After we ate, Z helped Daddy organize the rocks around the campfire, then she helped him stack the firewood. It was AWESOME! I was actually relaxing!

Then I noticed that Z was having trouble walking, which was a sure sign that nap time was upon us. So I quickly prepared her bed. Normally, I would’ve brought the Pack N’ Play, barricaded her inside, and then hid outside until the screaming stopped, but this year we decided to take our chances and have her sleep in a big girl bed. Needless to say, I was a tad bit nervous.

Luckily, it went well, fabulous in fact. She actually stayed in bed and slept for 2 full hours. AMAZING!!

That night the rest of our party showed up, including the two little kids. Z loved it! They played and played for the rest of the evening. When bedtime came, Z was so exhausted she barely made it through a book.

The next morning she woke up promptly at 6:30 am. Not too long after Z and I stepped outside, the other two kids joined us.

Unsure of how to entertain them all, I decided to keep them busy with small tasks. The first, was to fill in a few small holes around camp, one in particular that made me trip the night before while rushing into the woods for a pee break.

We began using our shovels to carry dirt from one spot to the next, that’s when Z spotted a worm.  “Look at this!” she said. She was so excited, and so were the other kids. So I decided to abandon our “hole filling” task and move on to something a bit more exciting, a WORM HUNT!

Sure enough, this task kept all three of them busy for at least 2 hours. It became a competition, who could find the most worms, and then, who could find the biggest worms. It was awesome! By the time the rest of the grown-ups joined us, I had finished almost an entire pot of coffee all by myself, the fire was burning hot, and all three kids were covered in mud from their heads to their feet. A mighty fine morning if you ask me.

NOTE TO SELF: I may not mind if my kid is covered in mud, but other parents do, especially if it’s before they’ve even had their first cup of coffee. Oops, my BAD!

Later on that afternoon, Z and I decided to go for another walk, in the opposite direction of the river of course. My husband had mentioned something about a very tame creek just around the corner. I thought it might be fun to tie some strings on to a couple small plastic boats and watch them float down the creek. Z thought it was a great idea! She’d seen Curious George do it a hundred times!

So, off we went. When we got there, I noticed that the creek was not quite as tame as I had imagined it would be. It wasn’t the depth that was the problem, but the current. It seemed to zip along pretty quick, but nevertheless we decided to toss a boat in and see how it went……..BIG MISTAKE!!!

As soon as the boat hit the current, the little string ripped completely off!

So while I’m flailing around, trying to catch the stupid $2 dollar boat, Z is screaming, “MY BOAT, MY BOAT!”

Me: “STAY THERE Z, I’LL GET IT!”

Z:  “MY BOAT, MY BOAT!!!!!”

Sure enough, in a complete panic, she launches herself off the bank, trying to catch her boat! Now she’s soaked, and covered in mud, and the stupid boat is still zipping down the creek.

I pull her out, make sure she’s okay, and take off running after the boat. The creek splits, I’m on the left side, the boat goes right, of course! So I take a running leap to cross the creek.

You know that saying, “white girls can’t jump”, well it’s true. I landed smack dab in the middle of the creek! When I tried to climb up the other side I lost my footing and slipped in the mud!

Great! Now I’m soaked and covered in mud too, I’ve lost sight of the stupid boat, and the kid is screaming bloody murder. Great idea MOM!

That’s when I realize, there’s a small damn at the end of the creek. Nothing could get past it, not even a small plastic boat. Sure enough, there it is, stacked up against the branches.

See, now that’s where better observational skills would’ve come in handy. Had I noticed the stupid damn, I would have handled the whole situation incredibly different. Z wouldn’t be soaked and covered in mud, and neither would I.

NOTE TO SELF: Work on my observational skills, get stronger string, and buy more boats, just in case.

On the plus side, once we got back to camp, changed and got cleaned up, we headed back over. This time the other kids came with us. Once Z and I realized that we wouldn’t actually lose the boats, it was an absolute blast. Even the grown-ups joined us. It was AWESOME!!

So, despite the fact that it rained off and on the entire weekend, and we woke up to snow Sunday morning, I’d say it was a BIG SUCCESS! Z had a blast, and I did too, which of course was a huge relief for Dad. I even felt more relaxed when we got home, another bonus.

NOTE TO SELF: Next time, I’ll pay more attention to the stupid weather lady!

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