We kicked off the celebration early - two days before his actual birthday - with an overnight trip up north to the campground that houses the RV that took us on many family vacations in my youth. (If this is sounding familiar, we started the tradition last year and I wrote all about it!) Last year's celebration included a lot of rain, but whatever the weather, it's peaceful to spend time in a relaxing place with my family.
And it looked like rain would rule this year's party, too, when we left our home on Saturday morning. But the downpours subsided as we got closer to the campground, and it wouldn't rain again until we left again on Sunday morning.
In a development surprising to no one, I had my camera within reach for most of the day, so photos will help tell the story.
Josh and I drove up with my brother. We stopped at a gas station en route and Wish cleared up any doubt who's in the driver's seat:
Then he relaxed and enjoyed his extra-long leash:
(The bandana is a gift from our friend Kate, whose dogs also love their bandanas.)
My mom dug out our old hammock from storage, and Josh and my dad set it up. I arrived at the quick conclusion that a hammock is one of my favorite material items.
Because the weather forecast had been erring toward crummy, my mom had churned up a batch of playdoh that morning, just like the olden days. (I love that this happened.) One of my dad's many talents when we were kids was his ability to craft a Babar elephant out of anything: hamburger, playdoh, snow, you name it.
I looked over at Dad minutes after the playdoh came out, and he had already sculpted an elephant family:
He's good, right!? That's Babar and Pom and Flora, two of Babar's children, plus Rataxes, a rhinoceros in the story. (I hope you guys know the children's books I'm talking about. Otherwise, this post is getting really far out there, really fast.)
Then I looked over another minute later, and my mom and dad were making snakes.
My sister and her boyfriend arrived, and Wish was pleased. He and my sister are pretty much BFFs.
Around that time, the first watermelon I laid eyes on in 2013 also appeared. Yes.
If it looks like we lounged around and ate a lot, well, that's a pretty accurate portrayal. It was so relaxing.
This photo says it all:
Dad grilled chicken and steak for dinner, and then Mom brought out her famous lemon meringue pie. I mentioned earlier this week that Dad has had lemon meringue pie for his birthday instead of cake for as long as he can remember. My mom makes one every year for him, and part of the tradition is how she trash-talks various pie components until we cut into it and see that it's magnificent as usual. (I need a lemon meringue pie lesson from her.)
I love this time with my family, and the whole day (and the bonfire after the sun set) made for a great celebration to honor my dear dad.