T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stay-cation - Part VI - The Gauntlet

When summer starts, we begin what I call "the gauntlet". It seems like we have a ton of birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate. It happens that my sister and brother-in-law's 30th wedding anniversary and my mother's birthday are within a week of each other. Therefore, we opted to have a combined gathering to celebrate both events. And what better venue than the beach?

Here are some highlights from the birthday/anniversary celebration beach party. 

I took it upon myself to plan and execute everything. I did not want my mom or sister having to do anything. Oh, and I pulled it together with less than a week's notice, for under $100, and with a last minute venue change.

The day before the scheduled gathering, we found out the beach we were going to be using had high levels of E. coli and was not suitable to playing in, especially by young children. Thus, on the morning of the event, the kids and I loaded up in the car and drove around looking for a beach that would be suitable - tough in a state not near an ocean. We returned home two hours later. To our surprise, T Rex Dad had shampooed our carpet. It is amazing what one can accomplish without little helpers.

We put the kids to bed and I began cooking preparations - fried chicken, corn on the cob, rolls, fruit kabobs, tortellini spinach salad, and chocolate cake balls. T Rex Dad loaded the car with the coolers and remaining beach gear and away we went.

We arrived at the chosen beach spot but it happened to be occupied. However, the folks there were about to leave and they had already made it a nice cozy spot with a fire and make shift tree log table. It was wonderful with plenty of shade.

First, a little bit of that homemade food. Yes, I did dress the kids up a bit - you will see why. Isn't it a lovely venue? Not too bad considering we have no ocean.

After our bellies were full, it was time for the wedding vow renewal ceremony - this was the one big thing they wanted to do for their celebration. It was a simple ceremony and the couple both wrote lovely renewal vows for each other. My nephew also wrote a lovely poem for his parents. It was a nice bonus the ceremony was short enough that the kids were quiet most of the time, too.

After the quiet, contemplative, and sentimental ceremony, the swimming fun began as we all changed into our swimming attire. T Rex went right into the cold water. As we started to see him become more daring, we opted to have him wear his life jacket, just in case. Throwing rocks into the water is always a bit hit with the kids, too.

When our daughter started foraging for food in the cooler, we decided it was time for dessert. Chocolate cake balls. I wanted something simple that would not have to be cut into pieces. I will say these are more labor intensive than just baking a cake but the fun and delight factors were worth the extra effort. 

Bebe Sister had a grand time eating her cake ball. This is what I like about the beach - the kids can get as dirty as they want and it all washes off before we leave. Of course, I am still finding sand in the car and laundry room but I am learning to just get over that. The memories are so much more precious than being frustrated over sand.

 Then we sang happy birthday to Nana and she opened her cards.

As the sun started to wane in the west, a family of ducks swam by and my sis, Bebe Sister, and I grabbed a bag of old bread brought just for the purpose of feeding the birds. We were not expecting the birds to be Mallards. This was a nice moment for me. When I was Bebe Sister's age my sister would take me to the park to feed the ducks. Now the circle is complete. 

My little guy then found me to tell me "Thanks for this beautiful day, Mama" which I always reply, "You are welcome but I think there is Someone Else who needs to be thanked, too." (Which he did that night before bed.)

Indeed, it was a lovely evening. All the time and effort put into this gathering was worth it. Everyone had just the best time. There were tons of smiles, laughs, and even some sentimental teary moments, too.

Do you have a gauntlet of birthdays/anniversaries that you celebrate or have you ever put together a last minute celebration on a tight budget?


Caitlin said...

Wow! What a BEAUTIFUL beach and such a beautiful day that you gave your family! You are such a wonderful hostess- I still don't know how you do it!!
I love the flower in your hair by the way!!

Our gauntlet of sorts is in December, 5 birthdays + my brothers anniversary + christmas. Oh and my sister-in-law to be (brothers fiance) is expecting a little one... on Christmas Eve of this year. Sigh! Unfortunatley/fortunately we don't live by family so we don't have to participate in the craziness other than sending gifts!

Rey said...

Beautiful! And I love that T Rex appreciated that beauty too! What a sweetheart!
Seems like my only break is August & September! But December is the worst. Mom, mother in law, brother in law, cousins, friends...lots of Birthdays!
Oh, and those cake pops look delish, now I want one...

Crunchy Beach Mama said...

I just learned there was a cake ball maker ~ I want to look into it more as it sounds easy and right up my alley!

septembermom said...

How beautiful! Lovely times with family in such a gorgeous setting. February is our big birthday month.

I love that last picture!!

Kim said...

What a beautiful day!! I love the chocolate cake balls. Great invention. You did a great job planning and executing the day.