Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Very Montana Roadtrippin' Birthday

Jacob's birthday landed on Thursday so we made it a weekend affair. He took the day off so spent his actual birthday at home while Zoey had a play-day at daycare (the day was already paid for) and I worked to make a livin'. He spent the day playing video games and trying to distract himself from his want of a cigarette by doing housework. So since we couldn't spend the day together on Thursday, we designated Friday as his birthday celebration day.

Like any great birthday does, Jacob's started with a trip to the DMV to renew his driver's license. He got the first appointment of the day so he was home before Zoey had breakfast. And even though he wanted to, he was not allowed to accompany me to the grocery store (or wherever I might have been going *evil snicker*).

I ordered his birthday presents from Amazon because that was the only way to find them. Unfortunately, projected shipping didn't bring them to my doorstep until April 30th (but they did end up coming just days after Jacob's birthday), so I wanted to get him something he could "open" (we have a serious wrapping paper deficiency in our house but tons of giant IT'S A GIRL gift bags). This is what I came up with:

 He loves it and thinks it's great and takes it everywhere. Yes, even to work. We joked that when we were young people were trying to make their land-line phones look like cell phones, now we're trying to make our cell phones look like land-line phones.

 Talking to his dad, which allowed me the opportunity to covertly put his cake together.

 He's not actually talking on the phone and driving, just playing around. It's illegal to drive and talk on a cell phone in Montana, we joked the cops wouldn't believe it if they saw it.

 Every time he jokingly plays with it he says, "Hello, hello?" like a 1920's newspaper reporter.

 I was happy Zoey knew what it was as soon as Jacob opened it. I was worried she'd think a phone was a small, black rectangle with a touch screen that you can also use to watch TV.

 "What do you want, I'm on an important call."

The designated hang-up spot until Jacob gets his wish and figures out a way to hang it in the car.

His other presents did arrive shortly after his birthday.

One of his favorite television programs, which they don't make anymore, is the Trailer Park Boys. It's a Canadian comedy, mock-umentary shot a la The Office, following the inhabitants of a Nova Scotia trailer park. We learned the movies were made after the television series so it must have been pretty popular in Canada. He's been looking for the movies so I thought it would be a fun thing to get him for his birthday. Both movies are very funny and - you wouldn't think it - but very clever.

Thankfully Jacob stayed on the phone long enough with his dad for me to complete his cake so we were free to do whatever Jacob's heart desired. If you know him at all, you know what he wanted to do for his birthday: go for a drive.

We didn't have anywhere particular planned, what he would have liked to do - going up the Beartooth Pass - wasn't possible since it's not open until the end of May. So we sort of made a giant loop around the outskirts of Billings.

 As my BFF, Derek, calls it, The Savage Lands.

The tiny town of Broadview.

We got home on Friday late afternoon and it was time to whip up the birthday dinner I had planned. I got the idea from a rerun of The Chew, an off-shoot of The View but with chefs talking about food instead of old, fat, bigoted women talking about things of which we don't care to hear their opinion. But anyways, now that you've probably lost your appetite....

Cheeseburger Soup and it turned out amazing. The name suggests it would be pretty awful, and I wasn't too keen on trying it, but it was quite good, if I do say so myself. Jacob enjoyed it also. And no fantastic meal is complete without an emergency run to the store for first-aid supplies. Once we determined there were no finger tips in the soup, Jacob enjoyed his cake also. Drum roll please.........

That would be a Mountain Dew cake with Mountain Dew icing. And in case you couldn't guess, yes, I decorated it myself (the cake pan is the can, get it?). :-D We were both a little nervous to try it but it was also very tasty; a sort of sugary lemon-lime.

 After we lit the candles and sang Happy Birthday to him. Zoey was grinning from ear-to-ear until I sang, "Happy birthday dear, Daddy!" and you could literally see the disappointment wash over her face. And in case you're wondering, yes, he did turn 12 this year. For some reason buying more than one package of candles didn't cross my mind.

On Saturday, Jacob wanted to do - what else? Take a drive.

 Super-exciting town of Bridger, MT.

 Jacob wanted me to take a picture of this sign and, as you can see, I did a stellar job. It says Pryor Mountains this way.

And here they are.

 We crossed the line into Wyoming where there is seriously a whole lot of nothing except train tracks, which are littered with random abandoned cars.

 Refer to train-tracks picture above.

 Close to the border where they mine limestone.

The little town of Frannie, WY.

The focus of the picture is in the center, the little black smudge being an oil-pumping thingy pumping oil from the ground. They're everywhere and remind me of grasshoppers.

Glorious Wyoming landscape. Take that as sincere or sarcastic, either way, you're correct.

Another oil pumping thing against an ominous sky. *Twilight Zone theme*

The population-656 town of Cowley, Wyoming. It sounds awful but it is the cutest, quietest little town. I decided we must live there.

Watering Hole #1 is at the very end.

Just entering Lovell,Wyoming. Jacob wanted to go up the Medicine Wheel pass but, as with everything else, it hadn't yet opened for the season.

I was ecstatic to learn that Mr. Roger's Neighborhood is now on hulu Plus and I thought this corner could not be more Mr. Roger's Neighborhood if it tried.

That horridly-colored building on the left is an old movie theater. To be frank, I'm not entirely sure this is in Lovell, but I do know it's in Wyoming. All of these small, mountain towns tend to blend together.

 We got out of the car and ran around at the Lovell Visitor's Center. It was a bit chilly and really windy so it kind of sucked. Zoey loves everything having to do with the outdoors so, of course, she didn't care, and once she found her beloved pine cone (or "popcorn" as it eventually evolves to) all was right with the world.

Since it was chilly, we spent a few minutes running around the car. She loves learning that there are other things around her besides her seat, the back seat, and occasional onslaughts of intense dog-breath. The only trouble is, she hasn't quite grasped the rule that you need to be bucked up when the car is moving. She's not quite down with the road-trips quite like her mother and father, complaining most of the way that she was "bucked up!"

On Sunday we didn't do anything out of the mundane. It was a quiet, relaxing day at home that consisted of organizing all of our crap into neat stacks around the house. But no matter what we did, it was

 all the way!! :-D