A Birthday Campout For Joe

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It was coming up quickly on Joe's birthday, and I was at a complete loss. He was turning 30-- a big year-- and yet he kept saying he didn't need a big deal made out of it. He gave me an easy out by saying we could just go out for a nice dinner and call it good. But I just kept feeling that something as monumental as **30** deserved at least a little more fanfare and OOMPH than just a little dinner somewhere. So I began brainstorming. Hatching plans.

And out of nowhere, the perfect little celebration idea took root. I'd surprise him with an impromptu, spontaneous camping trip. In the middle of the week. Complete with Noah and myself and s'mores and tinfoil dinners and everything. I'd get everything together in secret, wait for him to go to school on his birthday, and then frantically load the car and get it all tucked away and hidden... so that when he got home from classes, I could just throw him and Noah int eh car and begin driving-- not telling him where we were headed.

It worked out BEAUTIFULLY. Forget about my fears that A.) he'd figure it out B.) it'd be terrible weather C.) Noah would not sleep well in the tent (his first camping trip!)... None of that happened! Joe was completely flabbergasted and overjoyed once he finally figured it out (I made it all the way to the campground before he caught on!). The weather was GORGEOUS. And Noah? He was incredible. He slept like a dream from the time we put him to bed (a bit late, at 9:00 pm), until the morning.

It was a small little getaway-- Just from 4pm Wednesday night until 10am Thursday morning... But is was PERFECT. Tinfoil dinners, chocolate vanilla tinfoil cupcakes-baked-in-an-orange for dessert, s'mores, a crackling campfire... And the silliest, most kitschy CampResort you could imagine, complete with minigolf and a pool... So that we could step away from "roughing it" to have a little "resort fun" here and there. The resort is called "Camp Jellystone", and yep, it is totally Yogi Bear themed... It was a hoot!

But enough of the telling... On to the showing!
(If you've been reading my blog, you'll know that one of my biggest stresses is fining/making time to edit and polish my own personal photos. For this set, I MADE time for it. MADE myself sort them right away and edit them during Noah's nap. It felt GREAT! Hence, the massive quantity of images about to follow. Forgive me!! :))
First, the "Resort".... See how silly??

Then a bit of swimming.... As the sun set. It was glorious!

After swimming, we headed to our campsite in the setting sun to get the fire going and get dinner started...

Our campsite, and a VERY fascinated and happy little toddler, who didn't lose sight of his "lamby" the entire trip!:

Morning, and a beautiful sunrise and symphony of birds greeting us...

And how lucky am I to have such a good-looking, sweet, loving family?? My baby, my hubby.... Both the best things in my life... LOVE these shots of us, even in our non-fancy state.

And while I'm at it, let me say that tomorrow is Joe's and my wedding anniversary. FIVE YEARS. Five! So crazy to me, because it seems like we just met in some ways, and like we've never been apart in other ways. Joe centers me like no one else can, and his unconditional love makes me feel overcome with gratitude.

I love this man.


And what are we doing to celebrate our anniversary, you ask?

We are hopping on a plane tomorrow morning, PAINFULLY early, with our kiddo and my camera, and flying to sunny Southern California! And yes, I am actually going to do five photo sessions... But we loosely planned the trip around our anniversary and Joe's birthday so that we could bring Noah and go to Disneyland and make it a VACATION and not just a quick work-trip for me.

So for the next five days, we Southerlands are outta here... Gonna find some sun, some beaches, some Mickey Mouse, and take a zillion photos-- not just of my fabulous clients (Hi girls! Cannot WAIT!), but of my fabulous little family and Noah's first time at Disneyland.

So leave me a favorite memory of YOUR trip to Disneyland/World or CA to get me even more excited, m'kay? :)

Oh, man... it's 9pm. I gotta go finish packing! Yipes!


  1. First time to Disney was on my 17th birthday. Me and a bunch of giggling girls were there for a cheerleading competition! It was such a great birthday! One I will never forget! Teacups,Dumbo,goofy hats, cupcakes, friends, and so much more! You guys have a blast! I can't wait to see photos!! Happy Anniversary!

  2. i just wish i could be in so cal to hook up with you guys!!!!!! you will have a great time! make sure to hit in-n-out, and drive on congested freeways, go to the beach (OC beaches are the best ones near LA), and have a ball. oh, and el pollo loco. such good chicken!

  3. Thankyouthankyouthankyou for giving yourself the time to edit some of your own beautiful pictures and share them with us. Your camping looks wonderful and magical and perfect. Have the most wonderful trip, and if you decide to stay on the left coast a little longer, head on up our way!

  4. Happy 30th Joe and Happy 5th Anniversary to both of you! I didn't know you were going to be in our neck of the woods this weekend! I hope you have a fabulous time! I have to argue that the OC beaches are best- you can see dolphins at our beaches :)... at least if you are lucky. We've seen them about three times. Those lucky girls are going to get some great photos- I love these shots of your family.

  5. Going to Disneyland (CA), got in for free thanks to a relative of the Lowes; went on Space Mountain- hated it, had my eyes closed the entire time. Favorite rides? Star Tours and Pirates of the Caribbean. I also remember being really bored listening to the animatronic Abraham Lincoln in the Hall of Presidents (or whatever it's called). Stay away from that one. Have fun and Happy Anniversary!!!!!

  6. ooohhhh... so much fun!!! We LOVE Disneyland!! I don't remember the first time I went but my favorites now are when we take the kids and seeing it all through their eyes. It's amazing.... I LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about being there. We get to go again in October and can't wait.

    Love ya and cant wait to see your pictures...

  7. If you feel a pull to San Diego, head on down! We'd love to see you guys. Enjoy your well-deserved working vacation!

  8. We love Jellystone! We have one here in CO too! :) I love Disneyland anytime we get to go, and I am so jealous that you are going to be taking pics of BBC moms! :)

  9. I <3 your toes. :)

    I was playing with Ashley's p&s camera and did the same kind of photos, but realized one must have a decent looking subject to have any kind of hope of a good shot. LOL

    Hope you have/had a safe trip and get tons of great shots.

    Still admiring...just from afar... :)

  10. GREAT photos. I especially love the last set of just you and Joe.

    Disneyland, eh? The last time I went I was about to be a senior in High School. We had our stroller for Thabo stolen 3 times, we lost Brittany who somehow wondered off, and Mickey Mouse kicked off a good portion of my big toenail! Great trip :)

    My advice - don't leave valuables in the stroller, hold hands at all times, and wear closed toe shoes!

  11. I'm so jealous! I love Disneyland, when I was a kid we lived super close to it and we were lucky enough to have a friend who worked there and was able to get us discount tickets! Your going to love it.

  12. First time to Disneyland was on our honeymoon. They were just starting to build California adventures. Anyways we were on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and we were at the point where you go through hell, and the ride shut down. So we are the last ones on the ride and we have to sit in a hot, hot, room until and attendant came to escort us out of the ride. Not to clever but it was a chuckle.

  13. love these camping pics! looks like a super fun place to camp! and THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU for taking my maternity pics and doing a mini-session with my lovelies. you are amazing. have fun at disney tomorrow!!!

  14. Can I just say how honored we are that you spent your anniversary hanging out with us? I hope you had a fantastic time at Disney, and I can't wait to see your photos. See you soon!

  15. Em, those were fantastic shots! I am glad you didn't wait to edit them!!! What a fun and sweet little family -- I can't believe how much taller, hence older, Noah looks! eh gads!!!

  16. Love those pics! That looks like a super fun getaway!

  17. Where is Jellystone by St. Louis? It looks like it was such a fun camping trip- I'm so glad everything worked out perfectly for you guys!

    Disneyland memories? It was so long ago, but I remember loving Star Tours, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion (oh, and unlike Steven, I remember loving Space Mountain because it was the most exciting roller coaster Disneyland had to offer). I also loved the Beauty and the Beast window displays at the Emporium (I think we went the year it came out)- that is still one of my favorite Disney movies...

    DisneyWorld memories? Well, too many to say- you'll just have to re-read my blog entry on that :)

    Have a fun trip. We'll see you on the flip side1

  18. Wow, I bet Joe was in heaven! There is nothing more that boy loves than camping.

    So tell me more about these neat cupcake-in-an-orange things. They sound very cool!

    Have fun at Disneyland!

  19. So GLAD the camping was a success. Hope CA was too - I'd like to hear about it... :-)

    Love you

  20. You and your family are BEAUTIFUL!!

  21. What a fun fun trip. And, as always, AMAZING photos of it all.
    5 years! Congrats. I'm proud of you for getting out and celebrating. So cool that it coincides with photo trips so that you can write of your expenses.
    Last time (and I think first time) I was at DL my family went on the Indianna Jones ride together. When we got off we were the only ones in the huge huge tunnel of an exit and for some reason one of us started acting like a monkey, and suddenly ALL of us started acting like monkeys. This is NOT like my family. We are bunch of quiet serious faces most of the time so I will never forget how much we died laughing at each other. I hope you have an excellent time!

  22. Hey, Emily! Just catching up on you blog. Omgosh about Jellystone...I know where that is! ;) lol! We stayed there once when I was little. Do they still show Yogi bear movies?

    My family has been there in the past few years at Christmas for their drive thru light display.

    Looks like you had a fabulous time.

  23. I've been such an awful reader since I deleted my blog. My apologizes. I might put it back up soon, I'm missing it looking through all your wonderful posts. And though I may not READ ur blog so often as i should, rest assured when I need something cheery, I surf through here at all your bright photos!! These are too cute!!

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