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Thursday, August 23, 2012

birthday, observed: Suzapalooza 2012

It is true that I really, REALLY love my birthday.

In the past this has meant sort of forcing those who love me into getting on board with celebrating it as a national holiday and setting them up for grand expectations that were near impossible to meet.  What can I say?  I am Leo.

I'm happy to report that as my 36th birthday approached this year, I was thrilled to plan yet another camp party (affectionately dubbed Suzapalooza by my friend Matt a few years ago) but this year I was more interested in making it an event that is fun for everyone with my birthday more being the excuse for all the fun.  (For the record, I think this makes me more mature than in years past and I have to say - and likely others would agree- it's a welcome change.)

Suzapalooza is all about awesome people,

Sandi's sisters Kristi and Trish and their beautiful mom, Patti


incredible food,

and, of course, dock jumping!!!

Mikayla, with her graceful long arms and legs
This year there were prizes for the event: most athletic, most original and most graceful.  My friend Kim, who professes to be the most indecisive person around, was our impartial judge.  You could jump with or without the frisbee and all the kids got a prize for jumping.  The adults, however, were forced to compete.  It was fierce.

Matt caught the frisbee between his legs - see it coming in the left hand side of the picture?

Ella, who last year was afraid to jump off the dock and now can't get enough of it.

Alex won most graceful for this one.  She did a handstand flip off the dock.  WOW.  I'm telling you, people brought their GAME.

Sandi's dad, Dwight, with his enviable pike technique

My niece, Michaela, did a great job!

I tell you, this is my kind of birthday party!

Maya looking long and athletic.
After watching the continual procession off the end of the dock, Beckett (age 1.5) felt he should be excluded no more.  In this picture he literally just walked off the end of the dock, unfazed by the detail of someone catching him. It just so happened Matt was very nearby.  The look on Ange's face is PRICELESS.
Matt brought this cool sports action camera to capture the dock jumping.  He gave us a preview of one of the shots with Brevan in the air (his grandfather threw him) and you get the other shot of Beckett launching himself into the lake while his mother has a panic attack.  I can't wait to see the rest of the pics.  Sandi wore it on her head as she threw the frisbee and its wide angle makes everything look super cool.

Dock jumping winners:

Alex- most graceful, with her handstand dive, won a s'mores pie Ange had baked
Kristi- most athletic, with a dive from up high balanced on the dock posts, won a jar of cashews
Sandi- most original (and I can't believe this), with her twisting jump that included flashing all of us watching, won a $5 Starbucks gift card.  It was Ange's idea (a good friend is always full of great ideas for other people to execute) and our judge, Kim, called it "Moon over Maine." 

No, I don't have any photos of it....

Mindy and Charissa came with Emerson and the twins.   Here I am with Drew in disbelief that this baby weighted 3.9 pounds in February.

I read somewhere recently that cousins are so special because they are often kid's first friends.  This is so true and so wonderful.

Maya and Braeden

Michaela, Maya and Braeden

Maya hugging Noah with a ferocity I hope wasn't too painful for him. 
 Maya's love can be painful sometimes.

I made my own cake this year as practice for making Tricia's wedding cake. Then Sandi decorated in a way that made me so happy.
 There is a lot of wind at Schoodic so we had to be creative. 

The kids have such a great time at Suzapalooza that this alone is such a gift to me.  Maya is the one that expresses it best:

Thank you everyone who made this year's Suzapalooza so much fun.  Thank you for being such an integral part of my life each day and for filling my life with love, laughter and joy.  It is sad when the sun goes down on this day and all I can do is hope we've squeezed every last drop out of it.

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