Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Day -- I mean Q8's birthday!!

It seems to me as if we are travelling for Easter or spring break or something every year around April 15. Maybe I'm just imagining it, but of course this year was no different. Our little road trip sat squarely around April 15, and Q asked if we could be home for her birthday. So for that reason we lopped Charleston off our itinerary, and drove home on Q's birthday. Which really was enough of a visit for her, anyway. She was glad to be going home.

For a little while now, however, Q has been talking about a surprise party. Surprise party? She wanted a surprise party.  But of course she would not tell me what she wanted to do, because it was supposed to be a surprise. I was thinking of taking a pack of girls to get their nails done, or go to a pool, or something. But I really had no idea what would work. So on the 14th, in Charlotte, at the raptor center, I had the inspiration to throw Q a party THE NEXT DAY. Yes, we were driving home. Yes we wouldn't be back until 2 pm or something. No, I couldn't make a cake. No, I had no idea how many people were actually around. But I was going to make this work.

First, I called C44, to see if he could order a cake from Shortcake Bakery. He said they were closed on Mondays, and they needed two days to do a cake, but he'd try the next morning, the morning of the party. If they couldn't do it I suggested a cake from Giant, or an ice cream cake. And ice cream, if we did get a cake cake. All of which C44 did admirably. AND he pre-made dinner for us, which was great.

I'd been in contact with H8's mother already, and we'd planned to have H8 sleep over on her birthday, so when I did ask Q what kind of cake she wanted. A vanilla cake, of course, because H8 doesn't like chocolate. With strawberries.

So, then I texted a bunch of people and told them I was going to have a surprise party the next night, and could they come??? All except one family could come.

So the next day we arrived home. Dinner was made, and eaten, the cake was in the kitchen.

Q8 cake

Q8 knew that H8 was coming over at 6:45. So I sent her over to our neighbors with a pile of magazines for my friend E. And I told Q8 not to come back until 6:45. And could she bring the D family over to share the cake with us??

Q9: "I don't want to share the cake with the Ds"
Me: "Well, I actually already asked them, so ..."
Q9: "Why do I have to stay over there until 6:45?"
Me: "Well, because I'm cleaning up after dinner, I don't want you to get dirty, and if you come back I'm going to make you do chores, H8 isn't coming until 6:45 anyway."
Q9: "Ok, I guess"

So, she did stay. And promptly at 6:30 her friends showed up and started practicing jumping out and yelling "SURPRISE!!!"


Which was funny, but did get old after a while. (above see from left to right H8, P8, C6, and S7)

So, then we were watching outside. It was POURING rain, so the Ds drove her back. Here is me looking out the peep hole. I think this photo is just funny.

Q8 is almost here

Then they arrived, Q8 opened the door and we yelled "SURPRISE" and were rewarded with this big, giant smile:

Q8 walking in the door

And the hugs began!!!

Q8 birthday hugs Q8 really surprised

Great party, best and only surprise party I've ever thrown, and Q loved it. We are good til next year.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Charlotte was lovely. J & C live on a stream. that the girls were old enough to really really enjoy. I think they spent a few hours down there. That is really what they wanted to do. I don't have a picture of them down there, because I was enjoying the screen porch too much to walk through the forested area to go see them. Until ONE of them hid the OTHER of them's shoes, so she couldn't walk back. Then I did have to go down there. But for the most part, they loved the little stream.

Monday we went out to a raptor center in Charlotte. Charlotte really is sprawling; it took 40 mintues to get there! And through rural areas! We saw all sorts of raptors, owls, vultures, eagles ...

J at the raptor center. I love this photo. He's just the right height. We all did this, but J did it best.
Charlotte J at Raptor Center

Q was really ready to go HOME home while we were at the raptor center, partly because she was hungry (it was around noon, and school lunch is around 11) and partly because she just was ready to be home. This was actually her best trip yet, I was very pleased with her ability to go from house to house and have no problems falling asleep at all.  But because of her attitude, and the fact that her birthday was the next day, I started organizing a surprise party for the next day while at the raptor center. Thank you smart phones!!!! More on that coming up.

Last photo at the raptor center. I love this picture.

Charlotte at Raptor Center C9 & Q7

But we went to Panera Bread for lunch at Q7's request, since she had gone with H8 sor H8's birthday celebration in Baltimore. Q7 really wanted me to get the broccoli-cheddar soup (which she kept thinking was cauliflower-cheddar), which was, I admit, delicious. And she got it, too. And C9 got mac & cheese. Also apparently delicious. So delicous that C9 thanked the staff for making such delicous food.

Then we hit a Ben & Jerry's for dessert. Mmmmmm. Mocha chip. I can't recall what anybody else got because mine was the best.

Later that night we celebrated Q7's birthday once again, with a delicious frozen yogurt cake. This is the last picture we have of Q7 ... everything after this is Q8~

Charlotte Q7 Cake

We had such a good time with J & C, it was relaxed and wonderful. Thank you!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Georgia! Sunday

Sunday, our last day in Georgia, but we had a great morning. A took us to a local green space where we could bring the dog and basically let loose. We all flung the buoy for Duke. Some of us (A, A10 & L10) better than others (C9, Q7, and me). But Duke loved it all.

Georgia Q7 throwing

Best photos of the four of them. 

Georgia Cousins at lake

Georgia cousins with Duke

We headed a little further in and went to a natural waterslide. Wow, was this fun. And very dirty. Q7 ripped her shorts (whooooops), C9's skirt is permanently stained, but we loved it anyway.

Georgia Q7 natural  waterslide Georgia C9 natural waterslide  Georgia A10 waterslide

Then we had to go to get to Charlotte. Back north a little bit! We had a lovely wonderful time in Georgia, special cousins visit.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Georgia! Saturday

Well, we made the drive from Greensboro to Georgia with no problems. While we were there we celebrated Q7's 8th birthday twice. Once the first night we were there (sans twins) and once the 2nd night we were there (with twins). The cupcake cake was delicious and beautiful!!!


On Saturday we did tons. The indoor water park. They had a great little kid structure to play on, and a lazy river that looked as though it was moving at a very fast pace! I got no photos, but thanks to N here both girls coming off the slide. 

Georgia C9 waterslide  Georgia Q7 waterslide

And then that night we went to Medieval Times. L10 was skirting around dressing up so I told her if SHE dressed up I would dress up. In anything that she wanted, provided it fit me. So .... she found me a dress. Ninoo, does it look familiar? The girls said you ALSO got to wear this. And then all the girls dressed up to go. Here we are looking awesome. C9 looks a little pained (she later said the sun was in her eyes), Q7 looking ecstatic to be with her cousins, L10 looking classy, A10 looking like a bridesmaid, and me looking orange!

Georgia Before Medieval Times

And here are A & N at the Medieval Times. A little fuzzy but cute. Ok, a LOT fuzzy.

Georgia A & N at Medieval Times

And Q7 at the table enjoying SOMETHING. Best cheesiest show ever. I really enjoyed it. Or was it just that I got to eat with my fingers? 

Georgia Q7 at Medieval Times

Friday, April 11, 2014

Greensboro part 2

The girls weren't as impressed as I was by this, but we visited the statue of the Greensboro 4 and drove by the Woolworths.

Here we are at the Greensboro 4 statue.

Greensboro 4 plus C & Q Greensboro 4 plus C, Q & E

And then we went to another great park. This one a walking park, with great paths, ducks, and trees.

And then our trip was done, it was time for us to drive to Georgia! We had a great visit, thank you to Bob & Mary!!!

Maryland to Greensboro

Last fall I realized I'd not travelled south for a long long time, and that we hadn't seen relatives, and we'd never imposed ourselves on some of them ever. So we had to fix that. Operation Imposition! So we planned a trip for spring break, and we thought we'd hit Greensboro, Charlotte, Lawrenceville, GA, and Charleston. With Q's request that we be home on her birthday we lopped off Charleston (although I'm wondering if we could take a fall visit there, maybe) and made the trip a quickie Greensboro, Lawrenceville, Charlotte, home.

It was the perfect length for us. By the last day the girls were ready to go home, but still able to be mostly pleasant. That's a delicate balance.

SO, spring break arrived and the first leg of our trip ensued. Maryland to Greensboro. The trip took, I don't know, 5 hours, I think. I am not sure. It sure felt long. And the GPS in my car is acting up, so it took me backward at one point, and I (stupidly) did what it said. Oh, well. We got there will really no problems. We were fed a delightful and delicious meal by our hosts, and settled in for bed. Then up for some Greensboro action in the morning.

First, Mary and I hit the gym at 5 am. I LOVE it. Somebody else who works out like I do. We had a good time at the gym, and I made great time on the treadmill going nowhere. Yep, that's right.

The next day Bob took us to this fantastic park. No play equipment. No stuff. No plastic. Just plants and paths and we spent a LOT of time there.

We all loved these little seats ... I thought there was a picture of me somewhere, but I can't find it.

And a lovely photo!

More coming up ....

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Piano Recital

Ah, piano recitals.

No commentary lest I give away how I really feel about spending 2 hours listening to piano.

Here they are.

Q7's Bach piece (all that paper shuffling you hear? C9, I believe!)

Q7's 2nd piece, Riding the Wind

C9's Bach piece

And C9 playing Allegreto