My little girl is all grown up. OK, she's 1. Insert stock statements about how I can't believe how fast the time as gone, how big she is, how proud I am. All of those are true, and more. Rachelle is still as sweet, tender, loving and easy-going as ever. And now she's a big girl. Happy birthday, RaRa!
Being away from Rachelle for a week really made me realize how quickly she's growing. Before I left, she was taking a step or two at a time (she took her first steps 5 weeks ago at play group). When I came home, she was walking herself all over the house like a drunken sailor in a diaper. She is still as sweet as can be and continues to earn the title "Angel Baby". She likes to parrot everything Stellan does, including building marble tracks and jumping into large bodies of water with reckless abandon.
So for you grandparent types, here's a quick video of Rachelle walking around. Don't worry, Stellan's "horseshoes with Mardi Gras beads" game only lasts the first few seconds.
While I was away at camp, Granny generously agreed to fly out from California to help with the kids. She is a super terrific person, and if possible, an even more amazing grandmother. The kids had a blast playing and reading and cuddling with her. She admits to having been pretty tired at the end of the day, which I totally understand, but you'd never know it to see her. I walked in from camp to find everyone in the backyard; Stellan was constructing a mud pool in our dirt pit, Granny was picking something up off the patio and Rachelle was crawling around looking 100% grubby and 110% adorable in muddy overalls. How does that Granny do it? She's a wonder.
She was here a couple of days before camp and a couple of days after, so we also got to attend the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Parade together and take her to our museum and the beach. We had such a great time seeing her, and now that she's gone, we are all in withdrawal. Thank you, Granny - we miss you so much already!
We are celebrating my mother-in-law's birthday today. There was a huge surprise party for her yesterday but we couldn't make it, seeing as we live 2,500 miles away. That is not a reflection on how we all feel about her, though. Susan is a remarkable woman and a devoted fan of the blog, so I'm sure she's about to be mortified by the nice things I'm going to say about her right now.
Susan, you are one of the most special people in my life. You've adopted me as your own and I'm so grateful. You are an amazing grandmother to my children and will always be my husband's mommy. We all appreciate the close attention you pay to our lives and your concern for our well-being. We love you so much and we miss you every day. Happy birthday!
As a special Cookie Jar bonus, I'm including the video I made for the surprise party. Susan, I know you will balk at this because you don't want everyone to see your old photos. Luckily, you don't know how to leave comments on the blog so you'll never be able to tell me to pull the video down. Sorry, but I just had to let the world see how fantastic you are.
You may start reading this post with trepidation if you remember my more recent girls camp blog posts here and here. I mean, after canoeing in a thunderstorm and camping during a tornado watch, what could possibly come next?
I'm pleased to report that camp was a breeze. I had virtually no assignments and my girls were perfect little angels. They kindly respected the "No Drama Zone" I initiated before we left for camp and a good time was had by all. Basically, my job was to make sure my girls got to their assigned locations on time and also to lead the astronomy certification. Check and double check. I also helped in the kitchen, where the friendly but overworked cooks literally sweated the days away.
I will say that I think it's a bit wimpy to "camp" in air-conditioned dorms, but I do see that there are many possibilities for disaster if we were to actually camp in Florida in June. So instead I'll just be content with my happy memories, a dozen new teenage pals, a little extra padding from such delicious food and the hope that I'll be back next year.
When the Odenwalders called to say that they had a couple of weeks off and would we like to meet them halfway between South Florida and here for a few days, we said yes. So we met at Rainbow Springs State Park and camped together. It was very hot and pretty buggy, but the water was a cool 70 degrees and kept us refreshed all day long.
It was so great to spend time with them! Kirk and Stellan are of course friends for life, and Rachelle and Heidi were besties since before they were even born. Everyone got along great and we enjoyed good food, relaxing time in and near the water and a beautiful nighttime sky.