Over the weekend Anthony and I decided we’d do one of the craziest things we could possibly do right now and host two of Isobel’s older girl cousins over for their first sleepover. Isobel had been begging to have a sleepover for months, and Anthony’s at the point in his shoulder surgery recovery where he can start the job search back up again. With a baby on the way and life about to change again, we figured it was now or never–or at least, now or not for a very long time.
One of the things Isobel really wanted to do with her cousins was go to a local park and have a picnic under the tree she picked out as being her “magical fairy tree.” This was a good activity choice because in addition to picnicking and playing fairies under the trees the girls could feed the ducks and geese at the pond and run around on the playground toys. We took separate cars because I knew they’d want to stay longer than was comfortable for me.
As for the picnic, that was all Anthony’s doing. (In fact, this weekend was 90% Anthony’s doing as I lacked the energy to keep up with three rambunctious cousins, but I helped however I can.) Normally I’d like to fix up some special sandwiches or at least a salad for picnics, and maybe some cookies because every picnic has to have a treat but all I could do was locate the picnic blankets, fill some water bottles for the kids, and pack along the binoculars, which became extra helpful when we wanted to look across the pond to see if the bathroom was locked (it was). I had gotten the binoculars at a thrift store for 8 bucks and although they mostly worked they were pretty junky. They were great for the kids to play with and I wouldn’t have stressed out if they somehow figured out how to break them.
It’s probably just as well I didn’t make anything for the picnic, as the cousins were pickier than Isobel. Anthony made a stack of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a stack of turkey sandwiches, sliced them in half and doled them out accordingly. The girls ate a surprisingly large amount of them. My Uncle gave us a bunch of tangerines from his garden and the girls ate quite a few of those, too. We brought grapes and strawberries, which disappeared, and before we left Isobel and the girls picked a handful of miner’s lettuce from our yard and brought that to be their salad. Isobel, who regularly chows down on miner’s lettuce when she finds it in winter and early spring, had to convince her cousins that the flowering plant was entirely edible, and though she munched away I’m not entirely certain her cousins had more than a hesitant bite.
Every picnic deserves a treat and for these girls we brought corn chips, a third of a bag of small, personal-sized Cheetos (leftover from the party) and for a sweet treat, sugar-roasted almonds. They would have preferred cookies but you work with what you got. Besides, we made cookies to eat before the movie at night so they weren’t entirely deprived.
That large bag of cereal you see tucked away in the picnic basket is food we brought to feed the ducks and other resident water fowl at the park. This is something kids have been doing at this park for years and years, and I know Anthony and I did it while growing up. We found that giving the kids cereal worked a lot better than stale bread because they’d usually get so excited they’d toss whole slices of bread instead of taking the time to tear it into smaller pieces. Not only is this extremely hard for the ducks to consume, it always causes a riot of angry beaks and a frenzy of feathers as 15 birds go after the one piece of bread. Cheerios are easier for them to eat, spread out over a larger portion of the animals, and made the duck-feeding last a long time.
I haven’t felt up to cooking that much lately, which is something I always deeply regret every time I get sick. We’ve been eating a lot of interesting meals consisting of things from the freezer. Anthony’s been taking over the lion’s share of the meal-prep work. Having him home has really made a difficult pregnancy much easier. That said, now that his arm is mostly healed we’re looking forward to him being back at work.
The sleepover made for a long weekend but the girls had an absolute blast and I’d do it all over again.