Thursday, June 8, 2023

Happy Special Birthday Celebrations!

Once we got the motor home parked beside Mark's Mother's house in the panhandle of Oklahoma, it was time to start celebrating! We celebrated two special birthdays together, because Mark and his Mother-in-law have the same birthday. Denisa's Mother turned 93, so we think that's a pretty special birthday. We celebrated by eating out with the two birthday celebrants plus Mark's 95-year-old Mother. We played cards and ate birthday cake and ice cream. It was a pretty wild birthday party when we had to stop in the middle of all that fun for a nap.

Mark turned 62 on this birthday, so he earned that very special Senior Lifetime National Park Pass. The next day we drove to Marion Lake because it was the closest place that sold the senior pass. We paid the $80 fee that gives him a national park pass good for the rest of his life. 

We've been purchasing an annual park pass for the last ten years, so we are glad that we won't ever have to do that again. More importantly, we get half-price camping at national park, Corp of Engineer, and most Forest Service campgrounds now. This is a very special birthday for Mark!

Then we headed to Kansas City to celebrate Mark's birthday again--and of course to see our grandchildren that will be showing up in lots of blog pictures for a while.

Our son and his wife cooked Mark's favorite meal, and that was very special. Our granddaughter wanted to make a special birthday desert for Grand-dude. Since Mark's favorite animal is the polar bear, she wanted to decorate a polar bear sugar cookie for him. We didn't have a polar bear cookie cutter, so Gram had to free-hand cut the cookies. We sang "Happy Birthday" and celebrated with sugar cookies. So Mark got another birthday party.

But the real reason for the trip to Kansas City was to celebrate another very special birthday. Carter was turning five, and we also got to see a game from her first season of soccer.

At this age they play 3-on-3 on a very small soccer field. The highlight of the game came as Carter was running towards the corner of the field chasing the ball. She suddenly stopped and yelled, "Hey! There's my Gram!" She pointed to Denisa on the sidelines, and made sure all her soccer friends saw Gram. It was an athletic moment that Denisa will cherish forever!

When we asked what Carter wanted for her fifth birthday, she replied, "that doctor's kit in the big box" that she saw at a store. She already has a little doctor's kit with all the plastic parts that we have used many times to take heart rates and blood pressure of all her stuffed animals. We decided to step it up a notch for a five-year-old doctor kit. So we ordered a real stethoscope, a real blood pressure cuff, and a real otoscope. We bought bandages, a syringe, glasses and an ice pack, and put it all in a red bag. Then we ordered purple scrubs and surgical cap, and a white lab coat. Now that's a deluxe doctor's kit!

Mark was in charge of the doctor ID and lanyard to wear around her neck. He developed a photo ID that had a front and back. That was one of the favorite parts of the doctor kit.

We think the birthday present was a success!

We spent a good part of the week taking vitals and bandaging up her stuffed animals, and any humans that dared to visit our clinic.

Earlier, they had a birthday party at home with 15 little friends. Our friend Mary provided a horse for rides in the backyard for that event. 

The family birthday party was held at the lake a week later. All the grandparents and uncles arrived from all over the country for this special birthday.

Carter has been riding the tube behind the boat since her fourth birthday. So we weren't surprised that she would brave the cool water temperature for a ride on her fifth birthday celebration.

Then she demonstrated that a five-year-old can even stand up on the tube while it's skimming across the water!

Our two sons were actually the first tube riders, and they confirmed that the early-May lake water was a little "brisk."

Luke's father-in-law was the driver of the boat, and he was speeding over waves and zipping them around curves to give these two experienced tubers some air under the tube. We didn't see these two guys standing up during their rides!

Meanwhile, we thought that two-year-old Eli was content to ride on Grand-dude's lap in the boat.

But he surprised us all when he showed interest in the tube. Then he got on for his first ride with Daddy and Uncle Blake.

Then he wanted a ride on the jet-ski with Mom and Grand-dude. He's growing up fast!

One of the favorite pictures of the day is of the tubers and the jet-skiers in the same frame!

Since we were all together, we even celebrated Mother's Day a little early. Denisa is always happy to spend time with both of her sons!

So we have been celebrating many special days since we parked the motor home! Even though we love traveling, we love spending time with these special people even more!


  1. Be sure to make copies of both sides of the senior pass because replacing it costs another $80. Not fun.

  2. I always enjoy reading about your family's get togethers! Best wishes to all of those who were celebrating birthdays. Special congratulations to Mark on achieving senior status in the eyes of the National Park Service and its associated agencies! I know many people complained when the cost went up to $80, but that pass is still one of the best bargains around. If you want to be amazed, keep a running total of the $$$ you save in discounts. We just returned from a trip to Maine, and saved $140 in camping and entrance fees the week we were at Acadia. The senior lifetime pass really is the gift that keeps on giving.

  3. ❤️ Love your family time blog and photos! Roger and Michele