Well, this month we did a lot. We came home from vacation to be sick for a week and because I am completely nuts, i felt like I had to make up for that lost week when we were sick and do tons of stuff during the remainder of the summer. Let me preface this entry by saying that I am crazy.

I have this amazing friend Shannon who I wanted to visit and she lives out in St. Helens, OR. So we set up a date to get together and decided we would meet at her house this time and then go to a park. It took me about an hour to get there in the morning and it was a beautiful drive. Kinda slow, but still beautiful once you got out of the Portland traffic. I have to admit, I wanted to go see her home this time (last time she came out to my home) because she is a fabulous decorator and I wanted to see just how this supermom worked. She has 3 super cute kids and she is busy doing stuff with them as well as scrap booking like a mad woman and she blogs almost every day (quality posts even!) and she put together a really great reunion website for our ward from freshman year at BYU and keeps updating that frequently and I secretly thought she had a team of elves running around helping her get everything done! It turns out she is normal… no big shock, elves don’t really exist… and just really organized! It was a great visit. We played at a park and our kids played wonderfully together. I introduced her boys to the joy (pain in the butt really) of Star Wars light saber play. I think she might never forgive me for that. The drive home was not so nice because of Portland traffic, but we made it home without anyone spontaneously combusting. Isaac did keep asking me to make Reece quiet so he could hear his movie, but he just had to live with the singing and sometimes squawking toddler on the now 2+ hour drive home.

After touring the huge metropolis of St. Helens (population 10,000?) I decided that I really like the amenities of my suburban life in Vancouver, but I am glad she is happy there. Really all that matters about a place is whether they have a Burgerville or not. St. Helens has a Burgerville. I could live there if I needed to. Did I mention Walla Walla sweet onion rings are in season?... Burgerville Walla Walla cheeseburgers are a big reason to love August here!

Marching along in August we did a bunch of other stuff like going to Blue Lake park in Oregon (not my favorite park because they won’t let kids under 5 swim in the lake therefore making it not so fun for the little people) going to Klineline pond in Vancouver, lots of parks, and then it all came down to a fusion frenzy of adventure for Isaac’s birthday party.

Isaac’s party deserves a whole entry of its own because of the death spiral of activities that I sent into motion to get ready for it. Early in the week I should have done more planning for it, but I kept putting it off. I picked up a few things here and there but I didn’t do everything I should have. So I was left with making a cake, buying a present for Isaac’s friend who’s party was the day before his party, making light sabers for the boys out of swim noodles, making targets for them to use with the star wars Rebel blasters and clone blasters (AKA fancy Nerf dart guns), blowing up balloons and decorating, and having to go to the school open house to find out who Isaac’s teacher was going to be on Thursday. Isaac’s party was on Friday. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I had left to do and was really tired so I decided to try and take a power nap so I could function better afterwards. I started my nap and who shows up but the yard dudes who thatch and aerate. I was too brain dead to realize that I needed to go tell them to come back another day so I just slept on through the noise of the machines doing work in my yard. I completely forgot that thatching produces tons of yard waste that looks like hay scattered everywhere and is very dirty and takes forever to clean up. So I woke up Thursday afternoon to a nightmare of yard gunk everywhere and realizing that I now had hours of yard clean-up to do before I could have Isaac’s party the next morning out in our back yard. It was an awful realization. To make it worse, I had promised Micah that after my nap we could set up the bounce house in the yard so he could jump for a bit. But with all the thatch everywhere, I couldn’t put it up. He was reduced to a ball of tears for hours because I couldn’t set up the bounce house.

For those of you out there who think I rented a bounce house for my sons birthday, just know that i didn’t. My tastes aren’t that extravagant for kids parties. I am a cheapskate through and through. i have done parties at home because they are cheaper. My friend Vicky bought it a few years back for an insanely cheap price for a birthday party for her boys and she lets me borrow it. It only hold 3 kids at a time and still takes up half of my yard, but is tons of fun.

It was too hot to go out and clean up the mess before I had to go pick up Isaac from Antone’s birthday party so I worked on other party stuff, knowing that I wasn’t going to have time to clean up the yard until after the school open house, which got over at 8. Let’s just say I was feeling very bleak… and Bryan had to give blood that night at the church and so he would be too weak to help …. plus he was going to go buy one more birthday present for Isaac while I was gone…. the death spiral of events continues…

After the open house it was almost dark so I sent Isaac in with the other boys and said “get ready for bed, I have to mow the lawn. “ The lawn mower works really well to suck up all the thatch when you have the bag on. It is almost like a yard vacuum. It takes a while though. I started in the front yard and after an hour I had gone over the yard at least five times with the mower and it looked pretty good, other than being completely thrashed form the de-thatching, and I had filled our 104 gallon yard debris can. The problem now was that I had the back yard to finish and no place to put the yard debris and no light left to do it by.

Luckily, it was garbage night. The garbage man would be by in the morning…. maybe the yard debris guy would come early enough that I could get the can emptied and filled again before the party. I heard the garbage man at 6:30 and was out mowing the lawn not long after and now filling my 64 gallon garbage can with thatch. It filled up pretty quick, darn-it. At 7:15 the yard debris truck came by across the street and was emptying cans. I dragged my cans across the street to beg him to empty my first load of yard debris. He thought I was crazy, he would be around to my side of the street in just a few minutes. I then explained how at 10 30 am 7 boys would show up at my house for a birthday party that was planned for outside and at this point, my yard was buried in thatch and I had no place to put any more of it! I also hoped that I could have the can full again by the time he hit my side of the street because I had a lot of thatch left and didn’t think my one 104 gallon can (a huge beast of a can) could hold it all. Shaking his head, he emptied my cans and marked the extra charge for extra pick-ups on his little paperwork list thing in his truck.

I ran, literally back to the back yard and mowed like a mad women. I filled the can again in about 15 minutes. I think the yard debris guy drove around a different route than normal so that I could have more time to fill my can again. He emptied the big can again (that makes 3 can loads) told me to enjoy my party, and drove off still shaking his head and grinning about what a crazy woman I must be to be out mowing my lawn before 8 am. It took me another hour to finish up and the yard debris can is full once again. So the lawn was clean at 9, but I still had to sweep the patio and set up for the party, and most importantly get a shower. Without lots of details about how that all went, I will just say that because of the lawn, I wasn’t super-prepared and had to give up on some last minute details of the party. I jumped out of the shower just as the first guest came and his mom helped me throw up some streamers and balloons. Boring and minimal, yet gives the essence of festivity.

The party was to be 2 hours long, and we exhausted all my planned activities in the first half hour. Whoops. So we opened presents and this is a huge credit to Isaac’s growing maturity because he let his friends play with the toys he was given. After that I was amazed at how well they all played together, even the boys who didn’t know each other and just sat back and enjoyed it. We ate pizza, cake, ice cream. They played some more in the bounce house, more with the light sabers, more with the toys, and more with dart guns. it went well. It was over before I knew it and I realized I actually enjoyed it. That has never really happened before! I always end up so exhausted after the party is over that I just end up hating the experience. So next time a birthday rolls around, I will be looking up one of those spendy places that does the party for you just so I can rest up and have fun at the party instead of stress the whole time. And if I go for one of those places, then it won’t matter if my yard gets destroyed the afternoon before the event.


shannon September 13, 2007 at 5:29 p.m.

whew! Reading your account of the b-day party is making me tired!!
So glad that you were able to come out and visit. And I'm sorry the drive home was so long. Yikes! We need to find a mid-point to meet up next time.

And I totally agree, as long as you have a Burgerville (and a grocery store) you can survive just about anywhere.