1. When we go to the woods with all our friends and their families, each family takes a meal or pairs up with another family to take a meal. The RPM family usually takes a breakfast so that Dan can show off his mad pancake making skillz, but this year we decided to volunteer for Saturday lunch. In the course of things, the family who was going to take Friday dinner had to switch, so I offered to do that instead.
Switching to Friday dinner was a happy stroke of luck. I had already decided that we were doing soup and sandwiches for Saturday, and I was disinclined to change the menu. We’d be showing up at 5 p.m., and others would be rolling in between 5 and 7 p.m. or later, and it just seemed silly to make changes in our plans. So: beef vegetable soup (which won rave reviews — or at least one; thanks, Brian!) and lentil soup (which definitely was received well), a deli tray, and whole grain bread and croissants, plus condiments. Easy peasy.
Here’s the awesome thing about Friday night dinner: aside from making sure the children ate at mealtimes the rest of the weekend, we weren’t responsible for feeding people after Friday night. It was kind of a nice break. Score one for leisure time!
2. I really have to give all my Cook Forest friends tons of credit for the patient and affectionate way all the children are treated, including my Kate, who loves everyone boundlessly and without boundaries, physical or otherwise.
I didn’t hear “I’m bored” once. I heard no fighting, although one night there was some ridiculousness about who liked whom (boy-girl like). My girls forgot they had DSes; they didn’t ask for them once. I know Flora had a couple of emotional moments (fishing was “disappointing” — I had to explain it wasn’t called “catching fish” for a reason; it took a bit to convince the other children to play glowstick tag one evening). The dog owners were happy to share walking duties with my girls, which was very sweet. On Sunday, the group went for a hike and took our three children so Dan and I could clean up and pack up as we were due in Monroeville at 2 p.m. (Thanks, everybody!)
3. Dan took M for a canoe ride on the Clarion River. Solo. (M kept calling it a canoe boat.) They had a picnic and everything! Maybe I’ll get him to tell the story here (Dan, not M). They had a good time, and I know my husband is going to treasure it for years to come.
4. I took a nap! I haven’t napped at Cook Forest in years! Everyone was hanging at the cabin (except M and Dan, who were on a canoe boat), and I just went into our room after lunch, popped in my ear plugs, and passed out for about 30 minutes. Erin (aka High Priestess of Boogie, my genius friend) had put together a treasure hunt for the children, and they raced about between two of our cabins looking for clues.
I needed a nap. Friday night we didn’t sleep well. The bed was extra, extra firm. It was my-arms-are-numb-from-the-elbows down firm. Saturday night we slept better, only by dint of being utterly exhausted, even with a nap.
5. We were in a spot with no cell phone reception and no WiFi, so I didn’t carry my phone much. Because I didn’t carry my phone much, I didn’t take pictures. Fortunately, my friends shared some images on Facebook (you can check some out on my page).
6. Also because we didn’t have WiFi, I used my Kindle exclusively to read ebooks. I finished Killing Ruby Rose, which while a fairly entertaining mystery, was atrociously written, and read This One’s for Me, by Maria Semple (who also wrote Where’d You Go Bernadette?), in its entirety. I really love Semple’s utterly flawed, completely wacko characters. Aside from a glaring medical error at the end of the book (I’m almost positive you can’t be on a ventilator and conscious*), it was a fun read. If you’re looking for a beach read this summer, This One’s for Me will fit the bill nicely.
All-in-all, it was a nearly perfect weekend. Friday was rainy, but Saturday and Sunday were sunny and dry, if a bit on the chilly side. The food was excellent (Annie, I need the recipe for that baked enchilada), the children were well-behaved, and everyone seemed to be in a good mood.
I can’t wait for next year!
ETA: I am incorrect; one can be on a ventilator and conscious. It’s not pleasant, and one can’t talk when intubated, but being conscious and on a ventilator was not the error I thought it was. I stand corrected (h/t @katrinaravioli).