This is 32

On March 4th I celebrated my 32nd birthday. It’s an age where by now we’ve lived enough to be able to share similar experiences and relate on a personal level to other human beings. We should do more of that, I think. Anyway, I really wanted to create something photographically that would show this, and this is that effort. Some of the shots are meant to be taken literally, others figuratively, and most can even be seen as both. (Side note: The stuffed gorilla represents Love, because my son was fast asleep & I couldn’t very well wake him to jump up and down for 10 or so shots until we nailed it, lol.) Viewing the video now, I wish I would’ve thought to jump with some bills, or something equally as stress-inducing that we can all relate to. Anyhooo…I present to you, “This is 32,” and I hope you enjoy…

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This one time, we went to Mathis, Tx…

“Family road trippppp!!! Everybody, gitinthecah!”

And so we did :).

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And we headed to Mathis, Tx, home of Lake Corpus Christi State Park.

Now…listen closely, because I don’t say this too often: I’ve spent most of my road trips out west, but, as much as I adore West Texas, South Texas will always be home to me. I grew up in a tiny Polish-rooted town south of San Antonio, and graduated college in Kingsville, home base of the King Ranch, and a mere two hours north of the border. The farm & ranch lifestyle of the southern area of this beautiful state is the most grounding experience I have had, and I was blessed to have it as my upbringing. You can’t feel too big for your britches while cleaning goat pens, gathering chicken eggs, helping repair fenceline and dragging Mesquite limbs twice your size to the burn pile, two city blocks to the south, on your family’s property.

Driving South felt good.

We got to the campgrounds, picked a site right by the lake, and set up housekeeping. A surprisingly easy task, even with a busybee 6 year old and a horsedog ;). They kept each other occupied.

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This is probably as good a time as any to mention that I’ve never tent camped alone, before. It’s usually a bigger group, with other responsible adults to help think of details. So, there may have been a few brain farts.

Me: “Ok! Lunchtime! Let’s make sandwiches!”

*digs through ice chest & food bin*

“Umm…well…”

Tiny Human: “What’s wrong, Mama?”

Me: “I forgot the bread…haha…hmm. Want a turkey/cheese/lettuce wrap, instead??”

(Five hours later)

Me: “Time to make s’mores! Let’s look on the map to see where the little store is, so we can get firewood…”

*searches map of park…then searches it a second & third time*

“Dangit!”

TH: “What’s wrong, Mama?” (yes, again…)

Me: “This park doesn’t have a store like Garner. I guess not all state parks have them. But, we can go to the grocery store real quick!”

TH: “Nah, I just really want the chocolate and marshmallows. Can’t we just eat that??”

Me: “Are you sure, baby?? We can go, it won’t take long at all.”

TH: “I’m sure! Can we go fishing, now?”

Absolutely…thank God my child is forgiving of my space cadet self, at times like these ;)

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After we fished, we went back to camp to have a breadless dinner (it worked out, hahaha). We inspected some marching ants, who refused to stop their work so I could get a clear picture…

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…played with some tiny LED lights that attach to your fingers (well, TH played with the lights, I played with a slow shutter camera app to get this picture)…

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…and, of course, we explored :).

“Mama, can we explore around the camp, when it gets dark? And pretend there’re ZOMBIEEEEES?!”

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And then, while getting everyone in the tent and settled down for the night…

Me: “Ugh!! I forgot pillows!! Seriously?!”

TH: “Mamuuuhhhh!!”

Me: (unable to suppress my laughter at my own forgetfulness) “I’m sorry, Little One. Here, we have an extra blanket we can roll up and use. Sorta.”

At least I’m quick to offer an alternative, right?? Ugh, I know…I know.

I did find a way to hang our lantern, though! Who needs zip ties when you’ve got these horrible ear bud headphones that are too big to actually stay in your ears? Thanks, Apple! (Honestly, who was your ear model for this mold? Godzilla??)

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So, we all laid down (Jessie eventually scooted over so TH and I could fit on the bed), talked about the stars we could see through the mesh roof of our tent, and before too long my two babies were sound asleep. I stayed awake for awhile, just listening to the quiet murmurs of other campers across the creek, staring up at the night sky, and eventually, drifting off to sleep…

The next morning, we packed up our stuff and headed back to the lakeshore for some more fishing and swimming. Jessie had more fun than us, frolicking in the water like a graceful ballerina…

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…and otherwise doing her duties as a little sister and annoying the piss out of TH while he fished…

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(daaaang gurrrl, look at that wake!)

He eventually gave up, because she kept splashing him and then hauling tail back towards shore, where she’d spring back into the water to splash him again. She remained undeterred by his exasperated screams to leave him alone, and to “QUIT SCARING THE FISH AWAY!!!!” So, he finally decided to just swim and play with her. She was ecstatic…

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Before making the drive back home, we detoured another hour south, so TH could see where I went to college. I’ll admit, I did so with an ulterior motive…to hopefully impress him with the feeling of being on a college campus (size is everything, when you’re 45 inches tall) and give him an idea of the goal that lies at the end of his current educational path. Yes, I know he’s only six. Your point?? :)

He loved it! He especially liked the Astronomy building, because the doorways had mosaic tile work. He yelled out, “MINECRAFT!!!”

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Unfortunately, all the buildings we tried were locked, so we were both a little disappointed we couldn’t get inside. Especially as we were walking around the English buildings and we got surprised with a downpour. It was one of those freak rainstorms that comes out of a cloud that looks completely innocent, hahaha. We didn’t even try to outrun it, though, and just made our way, at a steady pace, to the pavilion they’ve added by the bookstore. Jessie and I watched as TH played in the rain…

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…and I couldn’t help but grin. He’s me, through and through. I used to love getting caught in the rain while walking across campus, and still do today, and his playful little free spirit echoes that part of me.

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(oh, hey, what’s up sunburn??)

“Mama…I wanna go here. Can I study bugs, here??”

“You sure can, baby…and I think that’s a great idea.”

And from there, we walked back through the rain to the car, piled in, and headed home. And, despite all of my forgetfulness, I was tickled to hear him say, “Camping trips are SO fun, Mama! Can we go again??”

You darn right, we can. I’ll even pack the pillows.

I might stop posting puppy pics soon…

Don’t be too terribly annoyed with me, I haven’t had a pet since…well…uhhh, carry the one…2005. Can you blame me for being giddy? ;)

Plus, look how smart she is! She came to us pre-trained :) See how hard she worked for a treat while we were at my bestie’s house (her daughter is a dog whisperer)…

There’s just one teensy leetle beety thing we’re working on…

If you hold eye contact with her for longer than two seconds she stops wagging her butt, squats down low, gets this wide-eyed look to her, and BOOM!!! She tries to reenact the last scene from Dirty Dancing with you. You know the one. Where Jennifer Grey runs and launches herself into Patrick Swayze’s arms and “flies.” Yea. Try doing that with a Great Dane. Hahahahaha…we end up like this:

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You may ask why neither of us is facing the camera. Well, the answer is because I hate dog slobber. Love dogs. Haaaaaate their spit. GROSS. I’m not one of those dog-owners who lets my pet lick my face with the same mouth she just used to squeegee her dingleberries. So I can’t be nose to nose with her…and me turning away just makes her try harder, lmao.

“Smell that, Jessie? That’s the open road…wait, not that. That was cow poop.”

There’s not much that’s more peaceful to me than hitting the road. Tonight, Jessie came with me.

If this photo doesn’t tell you all you need to know about our attention spans, I’m not sure what will.

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And myyyyy, how I love a good “cotton” candy, Texas sunset. I sorta forward-facing-limbo’d under a barb wire fence to get this shot, while Jessie kept watch from the car, hanging half out the window.

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