Number 6

Our youngest turned 6 today. Six! That’s pretty big stuff. He’s lost two teeth this Summer with one more soon to be under the pillow. A sweet and lovable little cutie, who is also very stealthy; sure to keep us on our toes for year to come. We kicked off the birthday celebrating early last night at a party at his paternal grandparents’ house and then continued on with it today.

Birthday table at the “old” house. Which does predate our new house by a solid 50 years I’d say. Notice how dark it is? We have all the lights on; there was no over head lighting outside of the kitchens and baths.

As the timing turned out Hubby, his brother and dad really turned up the volume on our move today and made two mega trips from our house with the uhaul and even moved the dreaded….daaa…daaaa…da….piano! Everyone else you are officially off the hook! Thank you mom, David, Sisters and families for the assist. What a busy and amazing day all in one.

Birthday celebrators after moving all day. Hubby up since 3:00am working on his game plan. (a week ahead of schedule). Notice the lighting. Not a single light on. Oh the natural light. I have missed you!!

Happy 6th Birthday Johnny Boy! 

The birthday boy. Happy to be home. As we say in the military, Home is Where the Stuff is.

And a yearly special shout to his birthday buddy – Mr. Edward Bottomley. Celebrating 75!!! years today. A very special friend of ours from Arizona. Edward I hope yours was more restful. Miss you!

Who doesn’t love a good parting cake shot? This was the second of two cakes I made for the birthday boy. Both funfetti. This one was smaller with vanilla frosting. The first was chocolate frosting and taller and wider.

Camp of Nostalgia

Sixteen years ago when settled on our wedding date, we didn’t think much of the proximity of 4th of July beyond a red white and blue themed wedding. As it turns out it’s great and also challenging having an anniversary on the last day of June. Sure, there’s a guaranteed holiday directly following, but it usually means friends and/or family are along for the celebration. Last year, we took to the coast in search for cooler temps. This year…the mountains.

John made friends with this guy. They are both going into first grade in the Fall and kindred spirits. He ate lunch with us and was a great conversationalist; even asked my permission before sharing his soda with the boys. Hats off to these parents!

Hubby was a real trooper (especially if you know his introvert tendencies) and agreed to attend a family camp session near Lassen National Park at Camp Tehama, for our Sweet 16 Anniversary. I attended a children’s version at this very camp, over 30 years ago as a  3rd to 5th grade child.  Although I don’t remember exactly which year it was nor the cabin I was in, I did remember it’s where I met Debbie Myers. I didn’t meet up with her again until High School. This was a real trip of nostalgia for me.

In front of our cabin; in our camp shirts. Eyes a crazy!

The camp hosts are long time family friends and the camp is set as an extended friends and family adventure in the woods, centered around the July 4th holiday. The days are loosely scripted with events (fishing tourney – don’t ask, it didn’t go well, creek trip, tie dying…) as well as lots of down time to do whatever you please…take naps, a hike…etc…*cough* have a beer *cough*… Knowing all the details from a written description is one thing, attending is a completely different experience.

We really had no idea how it would go. Our oldest is a strong personality (and apparently quite the glow stick dancer!), which sometimes makes for an interesting battle of wills with other strong personality children. Especially girls. Anna Purna, I’m talking about you! But fortunately there was no pig tail pulling and plenty of boys for my boys to make friends with and prize incentivized games.

The shirts of our labor. Mine is spots a lot (third from the left) the boys are further down the line .

Post dyed camp shirts and face painting. One of the moms did face painting and boy was she popular. Both boys ended up with dragons and one a spider on the other side. Most, if not all, the younger set had their face painted.

There was crafting. So much crafting! For as crafty as I am, I have never tie dyed. *gasp*. This was it, under the guidance of the seasoned veteran Heather, the boys and I (along with most of the other campers that day) successfully tie dyed our camp shirts. Brendon of course did a step by step verbal description for the group. Oh that one. Announcing loudly at one point “Get ready for the complexity!!” While John meticulously and silently dyed his shirt on the side.

Brendon keeping it noisy.

There were numerous events to keep the kids busy and the parents sane. And the food. Now if you have had camp food, you have an idea of what you might expect. Well, forget that, the food was downright fantastic! If I could hand out michelin stars, I certainly would. These ladies knew what they were doing and cooked gourmet food for a crowd.

There was also a never ending candy bowl. The boys sniffed it out within minutes of being in camp and were never too far from its sugary bliss.

Other highlights: Our cabin, complete with lots of scrawl from kids of years past. Don’t worry, you won’t find anything from me. I’m too much of a rule follower to be defacing a cabin interior with a sharpie. The boys loved having a family cabin and were very snug on their bunks. They could hardly believe the camp was “as old” as me. We heard it was built in the 50s.

John enjoying the view behind the cabin.

Running! We know I love a good run. And a run with the hubby, well those don’t happen that often and especially on vacation with the boys. The extended community of the group was the best part of the trip for me. Hubby and I headed out for a morning run and I had no fears the boys would be safe and if they needed something, could easily find an adult to help. I was right. These are some great people! And a little cherry on top for this run. We ran with one of my elementary school teachers. Ms. Kathy, was one of my very early exposures to math. She ran a *nerdy* math group called Math O for us and I LOVED!! It. Oh yes, I have been a math and science girl from very early on. It was fantastic to see her still running and to catch up with her again after all these years. She’s an amazing woman.

The hotly debated Nature Trail, behind the “woodpile”. More notably behind the amphitheater. Possibly the spot for a fun run?

The fishing tourney. Right before the tourney started, Vance and B caught a fish. They never caught another; a real shocker for a stocked pond. These trout would let a worm hit them and just keep swimming. They preferred pellets and spinners. Who knew?! Oh let’s see, the seasoned campers that’s who. Ugh. Maybe next year. A disappointing show for Team McNulty. Although I will say, I even baited a few hooks, getting caught up in the competitive spirit. Have I ever in my life baited a hook with a live worm? No. I have not.

Rock head. Sure other kids were playing in the rapids, eating lunch….mine. He was busy finding rocks to balance on his head. As a side note: Be sure to try your last year’s swimsuit on before blindly packing it or you may end up unintentionally sporting a trendy half cheek suit. Ask me how I know. Thank you Boden swim bottoms for lack of coverage and all the yummy food of the 2016 holiday season for making this possible. 

Green glow stick to the far left. Oh yes, that’s my boy. Later in the evening of the Talent Show, I looked up to see him on top of the wall, waving his glow stick to the music; a glimpse of the teenage years? Who’s kid is that??!! As a side note, the heckling of the parents to one another was almost as fun as watching the kids go wild with “talent”. An interpretive dancer…a pogo stick boy…hula hoop girl…100%  unscripted entertainment.

The kids of Camp Tehama.

We had to break camp earlier than expected due to a family reunion for Vance’s side being thrown the next day in Oroville. When asked if we would come back again next year, hubby’s response was, “Do you think they’ll invite us back?” I tell ya, it felt like a secret society of wonderful families; the making of memories for a lifetime.

Let me also add this little gem from our Oroville trek the next day:

The Ishi monument across the street from Hubby’s childhood home. He also took the kids (we bussed two of my nieces to the event) and I down “Devil’s Dip”. This outrageously scary hill he used to ride on his bike. The boys will never know the dangers and pure joy of riding such a dip!