Whoa. Can you say 12-degrees? Remember those days when the snot would freeze inside your nostrils when you breathed in through your nose? There’s a nice physical image for you. That’s what it was like out there this afternoon, for our first anniversary shindig at Ridge Road Park. In light of this, the first thing that absolutely must be said without further ado is THANK YOU! to all of you brave souls and your wonderful children who rallied today to come out and celebrate with us. For the sake of posterity, the first anniversary celebration just had to fall on our official first anniversary, however, for the sake of our communal health and sanity, all further anniversary celebrations will be held on the 6-month mark of Kids Unplugged’s anniversary, subsequently allowing us to have future parties in lovely June.
My very devoted husband headed outside this morning at 8 o’clock (the temperature was a balmy 8-degrees at that point) to start gathering and chopping firewood, loading his car with charcoal and digging out our camp stove. At 10 a.m. he and a friend, a fellow Kids Unplugged enthusiast with his own wheelbarrow-ful of wood and camping gear to tote, headed to the park to light grills and make the fires before the festivities were to begin at 11 a.m.
As my mother-in-law likes to say, “no good deed goes unpunished” and my absence at 10:30 soon alerted them to the fact that they had started a gorgeous, roaring fire at the wrong picnic pavilion. Thankfully, for everyone’s sake, it was their discovery and not mine and they quickly broke down camp and relocated to the correct pavilion to start firing things up a second time. They soon had several fires going around the octagonal fireplace in the center of the enormous pavilion where we’d set up a circle of picnic tables laden with bagels, s’more-making goodies, Coffee Labs coffee, and camp-style hot chocolate.
Parents soon began arriving with their bundled broods. Shortly after 11:00, when the cries of “my hands are cold” became a bit too much to bear, it was time to for a hike to get warmed-up and find some marshmallow-roasting sticks. The trail here is unblazed, however it is lined on either side by a low fence/wall of woven sticks that I believe was a scout project of past. It’s a very pretty and natural addition to the trail and obviously a great deal of work went into its making. The kids speculated on the number of hours it took as we walked–8? 1,000? We made it a good way down the trail and our bodies did start to thaw a tiny bit from the walk before we decided to head back to the pavilion for the cocoa that would hopefully be hot upon our return. A few more ambitious members of the group decided to forge ahead to see if the trail was a loop. A good time later they approached the pavilion having hiked to another picnic area located on the opposite side of the park. Needless to say, they were ready for something hot when they got back!
The rest of the time was spent huddling around the fires, eating s’mores and hot dogs and, eventually, semi-frozen Kids Unlugged birthday cake. My husband started a hip-hooray for the success of Kids Unplugged’s first year and concluded by saying, “So thanks to Gina for dragging us all out here today when we could be snuggling up in front of the warmth of our flat screen TVs.” Hardy, har, har.
When we got home, our girls spent the entire afternoon in the living room, fire blazing in the fireplace, buried among the quilts and blankets they used to make tents on the sofa and chairs while I popped them big bowls of popcorn and didn’t give them a hard time about getting it all over the rug. I think they earned it.
Next time–June. I promise.