Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Thing About Waterfalls

Okay, so it's finally summer.  We've had more than our fair share of rain so far.  It has hampered a few plans and even a little swimming, although my kids will swim even if it's cold or rainy.  My only rule is no swimming if there's thunder or lightning.  Still, it would be nice if the water was warmer and the sky sunnier.  It's been bumming everybody out around the area.

But here's the thing I'm remembering today: no rain=no waterfalls. 

On our first trip to the wine trail in Southern Illinois (read about that HERE), we did a few smaller hiking trails in Ferne Clyffe State Park.  We went there because:

A) The trails were easy and we had no real "hiking" gear and...
2) It was close to where we were staying and...
Third) I saw a little video on You Tube of the waterfall at the end of one of these trails. That did it.  I was sold.

The weather was absolutely beautiful for that trip last summer.  Sunny and not too hot.  But that meant no waterfalls.  We got to where the waterfall was supposed to be, but - you guessed it - no rain = no waterfall.

Fast forward to my Spring Break eight months later.  We went back down south.  I was hoping for good weather, since it was Spring Break after all.  It wasn't like we were going to make it to Florida or anywhere else sunny that week.  My kids still had school, even though the school where I teach had Spring Break.  We decided to go back down simply because we had the opportunity.  My parents kept the kids for the night, and we were off. We had dinner with my brother and headed back to our bed & breakfast.  But this time it stormed like a beast the night we were there.  We listened to the rain pounding on the roof all night.  It hit me the next morning that since we had no particular plans, it would be the PERFECT time to go back to Ferne Clyffe.

I can't tell you how uplifting this little hike was!  Once again, we did not have any serious hiking gear (as evidenced by my shoes here).

It gave us such an emotional boost to see this.

            Waterfall selfie!

So here's the thing about waterfalls.  You have to endure some rain first.  I'll let you draw the conclusion there.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pokemon Party (Although I Have No Idea What Pokemon is About.)

  About 15 years ago, my nephew was very into Pokémon (as were several of the boys in my classroom) when it was in its heyday. Many years later, it's funny that at the beginning of third grade this school year, my son picked out a Pokémon backpack and had no idea what the show concept was. He just knew he liked what he saw on that backpack.  He does know now what it's all about now, thank you Netflix. When his birthday finally rolled around in May, I asked what kind of party he wanted.  The answer, of course, was Pokémon.

           It's Pikachu!!!!

I didn't really understand what Pokémon was all about 15 years ago, and to be honest with you, I really don't get it now.  But I learned enough to put together a kick butt Pokémon party for my son and three of his friends.  Two years ago, we stopped inviting the whole class because:
1. Hardly anyone RSVP'd until the day before - kind of late to help with purchasing stuff for the party.
2. This gave me all kinds of anxiety that no one was going to show up at all until the day before the party.
3. You can do more with just a few close friends who you know are coming.
I found all kinds of good ideas for a Pokémon party on Pinterest. Oh, how I adore my Party Ideas Board on Pinterest.  You can follow my board HERE if you would like.  My son wanted to go to our local Children's Museum with his friends, so we did that first.  This was so much more economical than formally having a party at the same venue in the "party room".  At $5/person we paid $35 for the admission for the boys and my husband, daughter, and me.  We had held his party in the "party room" at the Children's Museum several years ago when he was in first grade.  Beware of the "party room" in birthday venues.  They are ridiculously expensive for a basically what is just a room with tables and chairs - more if you want them to provide the "extras" like the cake and goody bags. We also hit the free zoo playground that is right next door to the museum afterwards.

After the museum and playground, it was back to our house for pizza and cake.  But not just any pizza - Pokeball pizza!

I don't really know that much about Pokémon or understand the significance of the Pokeball.  I think  the Pokémon guys come out of it?  Maybe.  Anyway, the nice people at Papa Murphy's pizza were nice enough to copy the pictures I found on Pinterest of these pizzas.  I had bought a Papa Murphy's fundraising card from a former student, so I actually got two Pokeball pizzas for the price of one! 

Only having a few kids makes it easier to do a nicer goody bag.  I made these from yellow bags I found at Dollar Tree (2 for $1, so only $2 for the bags).

Inside we put a Pokémon t-shirt from Target (my son already had this one), some candy that may or may not have been bought on super clearance after Easter in these yellow cups I got at Dollar Tree (6 for $1), 

And these:

Oh, yeah.  You know what's coming next!

Nerf gun war!

This was epic!  At least that's what one of the boys said.  I don't know that I've ever heard such a ringing endorsement of a party activity before.

The boys stayed until about eight in the evening.  During that time, they also played basketball, baseball, soccer, and kickball.  They all went home sweaty, exhausted, and happy.  If that's not the hallmark of a good party, I don't know what is.  Apparently, it doesn't matter if the hostess understands the nuances of the theme.


Happy 2nd Anniversary AAB!

My wedding anniversary is only four days before my blog's anniversary.  This always helps me remember An Antisocial Butterfly (AAB) was born on June 18th, 2013.  It was a scary thing to publish those first few posts.  I'm a pretty private person and sharing personal things can be terrifying for me at times.  But this year brought me two of my most viewed posts, Just Like in Real Life (Why You Won't Hear Me Complain About Facebook) and The DNA of My Story.  I really loved both of these pieces and was glad they were read by so many people. 

My other anniversary (13 years of marriage) got me to thinking about what makes the longevity of something successful.  I try to make my marriage a priority in my life and feel like most of the time, I do a good job with that.  Time and effort are both key in making something positive last. 

My husband and I got away for a night the week before our anniversary. 

But when I looked back over the frequency of my posts to the blog, I feel bad.  I've neglected keeping up.  I'm not happy with the time or effort I've put into writing.  I've got to try to change that since writing does make me happy.  And that was the whole point of starting AAB to begin with.  Not money or reach.  Writing was the point.  Yes, life gets in the way of that, but without it, I'd have nothing to write about. 

So, more time and effort into the blog!  That's my goal.  Happy Anniversary An Antisocial Butterfly!  I promise I'll try to do better!