One More Time, Mom

My beloved Aunt Crazy Pants passed away after a valiant fight against terminal lung cancer (after never smoking a goddamn cigarette in her life). By the time cancer was found through an unrelated surgery, it had already spread everywhere but her brain and she was given six months to a year to live last summer. Well, being a feisty little bitch, she survived with cancer 370 days.

Beat cancer for five extra days. Suck it.

Family and friends gathered to give life stealing cancer the middle finger, celebrating ACP with her favorite cocktails of Gin Rickeys, Black Velvet and margaritas.

Gin Rickeys all around.

Sharing stories of peeing our pants over shit she would say or do (when she literally shit her pants – like during a shopping trip at Target with her mom once. I just got an eye roll (sorry Gma) and a belly laugh (you’re welcome ACP) from the sky), witnessing tears running down her leg from laughing so hard and generally remembering the spirit this woman, mother, daughter, sister, crazy fun aunt and loyal friend to countless people sprinkled throughout our lives.

To say there’s a hole in my soul doesn’t do it justice, as my aunt was like a mother to me and I take after her in many lovely ways.

What I do know is:

I will carry on her klutziness (I fell into her closet after getting out of her bed the day after the funeral).

We also ruin phones the same. She dropped hers in a toilet, I run my over with cars. It’s a special talent.

I carry her ability to get tongue tied at any given moment (I asked a male co-worker at a new job if “these are the size of rubbers you wanted” – I forgot the word band after rubber).

Did I seriously say that?!

I have the ease of her unabashed bluntness and no fear of confrontation (she deemed me the biggest bitch of the family before she passed. I know, so sweet).

Wanna hear it or not, we tell it like it is.

I will honor her by eating double what I normally do during trips to the Iowa State Fair.

Two for me.

Being a crazy aunt is something I’m already all over.

Or rather, they’re all over me.

I was born with her dramatic flair for life, so that torch was lit long ago within me.

Jazz hands for life.

While it’s important to remember that when someone may no longer be among us on earth, our relationship with them can still exist, it’s also important to remember the quality of life given during an especially grueling battle with cancer. ACP’s youngest son R. Nasty made sacrifices I can’t say many young adults his age – let alone any adult – would do to care for his dying mother. I mean before being diagnosed with cancer, she was already the most dramatic woman on the planet (like bitching about “having” to pack to go to Hawaii – or any other fabulous destination…yeah, poor thing), so you can imagine the sheer joy the magnification of her theatrics became.

Flair for fun dramatics.

R. Nasty moved in with his mom (all young men’s dream come true) being closest in proximity and able to make accommodations to do so, while his other brothers and extended family lived further away.

All other Bros and Hos live far away.

He answered every time she hollered with a patient, “yes Mother,” sauntered into her room after every bell ring (a sound that will surely haunt him for the rest of his days), removed an ice cube each time he accidentally put four instead of three into her water and endless other duties that come along with caring for a cancer patient.

The true meaning of ‘got your back’.

My point is, this dude is a fucking saint. Throughout all the treatment routines, doctor’s appointments, therapy, surgeries, etc, ACP’s absolute favorite time was watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with R. Nasty every weeknight. Even if she dozed off in the evening as she got more cancer riddled, she wanted to be woken up to watch Stephen Colbert with her son.

Wake me up before you go go!

In the evening on August 31, 2017 my feisty aunt was taken from home hospice to the hospital. That night, as the end was drawing near, the room full of family was clearing out and R. Nasty leaned in and said, “We’re going to watch Stephen Colbert one more time, Mom.” And that they did. She died at 3am on Friday, September 1st, 2017.

While we’ve partied in every way possible in honor of Aunt Crazy Pants’ love of life, I’d like to acknowledge the sacrifices her son made so selflessly. When asked about it he always says (and still does), “it’s my honor to take care of my mother.”

                 

I hope my cats step up to the plate like that for me when the time comes.

Yeah…I’m fucked.

Cheers to the craziest fun aunt I got to call mine. We all miss you something terrible.

Life already isn’t the same.

I love you.

CBXB

 

My Gma the Great

I’ve never been one to take my family or time with them for granted, so it was real bummer when my Gma passed away two years ago. Not only was she one of my best buddies, I know I inherited her brutal honesty, ornery streak and love of having my fingernails polished.

To celebrate what would have been her 94 birthday today, an ode to my Gma the great!

Gma

Always one to laugh at surprises…

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…you took to my photobombing like it was one of your most treasured prizes.

Photo Bomb!

You never let anyone forget…

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…when it was time to celebrate you bigger than the national debt.

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I learned from the best…

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…how to celebrate my life full of zest.

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Now seriously Gma, you taught me to party harder than Mae West.

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A love of leopard you instilled….

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…which is now being passed down to the next generation, who’s thrilled.

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It’s so fun you two met at a skating rink…

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…even if after 44 years you still had to steal kisses quicker than an eye blink.

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Although I took after Gpa avoiding kisses, rather craving a hard drink…

photo 5

…you always insisted on showing your love, making sure everyone was in sync.

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Beauty sleep and a hairnet was apparently all that you needed…

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…but truly it was your hair ‘dos that always succeeded.

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So it was with glasses and confidence that I superseded…

photo 3

…the grace and confidence that you always heeded.

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I wish I would have felt more impeded.

photo 1

The Iowa State Fair you never did love,

probably because you couldn’t wear foot gloves.

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It will never be the same, not bringing you a corn dog…

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…and discussing how I ate my way through the fair like a prize-winning hog.

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Circled blacked out dates always meant you had a companion…

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…you always loved attention bigger than the Grand Canyon.

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Attending every homemade Christmas pageant we made…

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…and most likely secretly prayed…

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…that I would never end up a lonely old maid.

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The first to pass of five sisters, who lived out their misters,

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…you loved being pampered more than a fever blister.

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Your nails were painted the day before you passed…

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…and Jell-O shots without you will seem so miscast.

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Regardless of view near or afar, life will never be the same…

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…without you as my shining rock star.

Love and miss you Gma.

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – On a Wing and a Prayer

There’s many reasons why humans over consume booze.

One of those 4,891,492 reasons is travel.

Last week, I was en route to Iowa to see Aunt Crazy Pants after her first round of chemo.

Fuck Cancer

She’s a jazz hander too!

I was also going to manhandle the twins while in the Hawkeye state.

I mean...

Princess B turning into a Queen.

That face.

Prince Charming.

An early morning flight makes for one tired cowgirl, as I can remember when I’ve stayed up until 4:30am but haven’t had to wake up at that ungodly hour since my mother was feeding me formula from bottles. Bleary eyed and in dire need of a mimosa, I couldn’t figure how the fuck to use the machine to check in my luggage.

Warning sign.

Warning sign.

After being thisclose to a meltdown an agent came over and assisted my sorry ass, saying the machine was acting up (but I’m pretty sure it was user error). Bags checked and I was off to board a plane that was at full capacity with 170+ peeps. Just as we were about to taxi away from the gate, I heard a brief clicking sound followed by an announcement by the pilot that our plane had just been hit by lightning.

Yes, you heard me right. My motherfucking plane was hit by lightning. The wing of the plane to be precise and while this occurs in the air all of the time during storms, maintenance was going to take a peek to see if there was any damage. Funny thing is, it wasn’t even raining.

Not even raining.

A beautiful day to be struck by lightning.

After deboarding that plane and hopping on another after an hour, as the aircraft was about to taxi away from the gate, the flight attendant came over the loudspeaker announcing “There are no more connecting flights to Des Moines today. You will be on your own for accomodations until tomorrow morning at 10am.”

Did I mention it was 9:30am when this was announced? So I’d basically have a 24 hour layover on my own dime. After five hours at the airport, being struck by lightning, boarding and deboarding two plans all before 10am, I ubered my ass home and hoped for good karma to come my way the next day.

Early birds

Early birds hoping for good luck worms.

Next day was a flying success! I made it to Des Moines and to Aunt Crazy Pants’s palace just in time to make her my world famously bland potato soup.

Giada Delaurentis I am not.

Drunk chef.

Those who know me well can vouch for the severely deficient culinary skills I possess, so it was no surprise to my mother when I called to ask her how you know potatoes are done boiling. “When you can stick a fork in them.”

Stick a fork in them. Fork Me.

Fork me in the goat ass.

Fortunately, wine helped the ho-hum porridge seem a little more gourmet and was a hit with ACP.

Well, the wine was delish!

Wine. Making dining fine since forever.

I was asking myself how my co-workers would function without me in the office and I got my answer early on Friday via an illustrated text message.

Reason 6,891,482 to inhale libations? Work environments that are bananas. Which is why it’s good to have a drinking buddy whom I left alone while in Iowa. Poor thing.

While my partner-in-work crime was cocktailing in solitude, I became the third wheel of my fave duo.

Trash sandwich

Trifecta of happy.

An impromptu family get together is always filled with shenanigans.

Family be

The family that parties together, hangovers together.

Especially when Aunt Crispie gets out her gigantic chalice and fills it with whatever liquor is lying around.

Aunt Crispie means business.

All business. Party business.

I was down with a glass of booze the size of my head because it’s what I drink nightly .

Bombed

The photobomber gets bombed.

You know what’s the best idea ever after mixing martinis, Aunt Crispie’s concoction and Skinny Pirates?

Fireball shots, of course.

FullSizeRender

Which lead to a photo shoot, naturally.

Don't be jealous.

Gisele and Derek Zoolander are for hire.

The rest of the evening followed as such…

Hmmm

…and I was in dire need of hydration the next morning.

#iwokeuplikethis

Pretty as a trashy princess.

I had to quench my liver because I sweet talked two of my cousins into joining me at the Iowa State Fair – my mothership. My most favorite day of the year (aside from my birthday and Christmas). The day I open mouth and insert whatever is covered in fried batter.

Fair bound baby!

Fair bound baby!

My cousin Smarty Pants has accompanied me to the fair more times than he cares to admit. Saying that he doesn’t love it is an understatement. I don’t think he necessarily hates it but last time he came with me, he read The Economist while I scavanged through the animal barns.

No reading material needed this year as I drug both of their asses everywhere and forced them to capture every Kodak moment.

Nope. Nothing compares.

Nothing compares to Smarty Pants and his favorite hog.

I traipsed them through the animal barns while cousin ConMan was bitching about having to take his 49th photo of the day.

Get in the picture and shut the fuck up.

Get in the picture and shut the fuck up.

I also made my two Iowa State Cyclone fans stop at the Varied Industries building to visit my beloved University of Iowa booth where I settled for a pic with a plastic Herky the Hawk mascot instead of the real deal.

Hawkeyes rule.

Hawkeyes rule.

Not knowing how long I’d be at the fair (typically a 12 to 14 hour day for me but we got a late start), I forgot that I was wearing my prescription sunglasses as the sun went down. This worked out in my favor as our last stop was a walk down the bright lights of Midway to ride the double ferris wheel.

An asshat in night vision goggles.

An asshat in night vision goggles.

A lady in line said that this was the last year for my fave ride but she couldn’t remember where she heard it. And I believe everything anyone tells me – including strangers. Can anyone from Iowa confirm this to be true?!

Lat year?

Say it ain’t so!

My sister texted to see if I was going to last until the 11pm fireworks.

You bet your ass I did. Asshole in her sunglasses at night. Until next year!

You bet your ass I did.

Until next year…I’m on a strict diet of celery and Skinny Pirates.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – Under the Weather Pussy

Now that I’m officially on my way to being a bona fide, living, breathing, crazy as hell cat lady after recently adopting two more felines, we’re all getting settled in our new routines at the mini manse.

Such as sitting on my face while I try to read before bed on Friday night.

Right at home.

Eddie making himself right at home.

While the start to my weekend low-key, I found myself really missing out on the fun I usually have making an ass out of myself at the Iowa State Fair. Luckily, Aunt Crazy Pants was able to be a substitution for me.

Aunt Crazy Pants doin' the ISF fair for me!

CBXB jazz hands for everyone!

Knowing the fair was hand crafting menu items just for me made it all the more difficult not to be there, typically eating my weight in battered and fried hot dogs within a mere 12 hours.

Classy ladies like me e

Oh the heartache.

However, I had way more serious matters to tend to. My sweet little baby bear has been feeling awfully ill lately and made his third trip to the vet in two weeks.

Sick man.

Make it stop already.

But no matter how unwell Ted is feeling, he can still be such a little bitch showing his obvious disdain for myself for taking him to the vet, the vet for accosting him in areas rather unmentionable and also because he’s just a plain old piss and moaner.

NOT HAPPY.

Telling me where to shove it with those eyes.

One of the many nicknames Tedstar has received is Teddy Krueger…which I was reminded of when I tried to help the vet (and the vet tech) hold his mouth open for an oral examination.

Teddy Kruger at his finest.

I feel like we have our Halloween costume nailed down for this year.

Hanging with fabulous friends helped boost my mood on Saturday evening, putting my anxiety and worry on a much needed back burner for a bit.

Friends.

Saluting saddness away!

And of course wine always help sugar coat any situation with angst (in my case anyhow).

Because wine makes everything better.

My version of water.

Also lifting my spirits this weekend was my niece Princess B, who decided to play in her mom’s makeup.

Going for the smoky eye look.

Totally achieved the smoky eye look.

Aunt CBXB mania.

And…totally achieving the Auntie CBXB look.

Speaking of looks, Prince B just about melts my heart every single time I glance his way. Especially when he’s just received a big boy haircut.

My version of McDreamy.

My version of McDreamy.

A relaxing Sunday on the lake seemed like the best idea ever, until I had one too many Wild Ginger alcoholic beers…

Sunday on the water.

This could have been tranquil.

…and thought that spending 20 minutes on a bouncing tube, making my body contort into all kinds of positions only a Cirque du Soleil performer should be aware of was a better way to take it easy.

Because this is a good idea.

No, I can’t move today.

Realizing that I may be forever walking with a cane due to my boozy boating decisions, I tried to unwind (and untwist muscles that I never knew I had) by soaking in a bubbly tub. Except Clark and Eddie had other ideas.

Body back.

Yes, one ended up in the tub.

I was able to wrap the weekend up knowing that Ted was catching up on rest even though Clark really, REALLY wanted to cuddle (even after 428 warnings from a grouchy sick pussy not to).

Sleep it off. Ted's new best friend.

Ted’s new best friend – whether he likes it or not.

As the week moves forward, we’ll be taking all of the good karma we can get as Teddy goes in to see the vet this Thursday yet again.

I’ll be wearing gloves up to my elbows this time.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

Goodbye to Gma the Great

I’ve never been one to take my family or time with them for granted, so it was real bummer when my Gma passed away a few weeks ago. Not only was she one of my best buddies, I know I inherited her brutal honesty, ornery streak and love of having my fingernails polished.

An ode to my Gma, HJ who recently passed away…

Gma

Always one to laugh at surprises…

Image

…you took to my photobombing like it was one of your most treasured prizes.

Photo Bomb!

You never let anyone forget…

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…when it was time to celebrate you bigger than the national debt.

IMG_4861

I learned from the best…

Image 16

…how to celebrate my life full of zest.

IMG_2618

Now seriously Gma, you taught me to party harder than Mae West.

photo 1

A love of leopard you instilled….

IMG_4900

…which is now being passed down to the next generation, who’s thrilled.

IMG_1349

It’s so fun you two met at a skating rink…

IMG_4888

…even if after 44 years you still had to steal kisses quicker than an eye blink.

IMG_4873

Although I took after Gpa avoiding kisses, rather craving a hard drink…

photo 5

…you always insisted on showing your love, making sure everyone was in sync.

IMG_3760

Beauty sleep and a hairnet was apparently all that you needed…

IMG_4858

…but truly it was your hair ‘dos that always succeeded.

IMG_4893

So it was with glasses and confidence that I superseded…

photo 3

…the grace and confidence that you always heeded.

IMG_4892

I wish I would have felt more impeded.

photo 1

The Iowa State Fair you never did love,

probably because you couldn’t wear foot gloves.

Image 12

It will never be the same, not bringing you a corn dog…

Image 42

…and discussing how I ate my way through the fair like a prize-winning hog.

Image 145

Circled blacked out dates always meant you had a companion…

IMG_4875

…you always loved attention bigger than the Grand Canyon.

IMG_4898

Attending every homemade Christmas pageant we made…

Image 55

…and most likely secretly prayed…

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…that I would never end up a lonely old maid.

photo 1

The first to pass of five sisters, who lived out their misters,

Image 19

…you loved being pampered more than a fever blister.

IMG_5709

Your nails were painted the day before you passed…

IMG_4724

…and Jell-O shots without you will seem so miscast.

Image 1

Regardless of view near or afar, life will never be the same…

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…without you as my shining rock star.

I love you Gma.

Megan

CBXB!

How to Look Fairlicious

Being a fashion conscious gal, what to wear to the Iowa State Fair every August is quite a dilemma.

And since fair season is upon us in America (Iowa’s starts today!), I’m assuming you waste brain cells on how to be a fashionably functional fairgoer, too (Right? RIGHT?)

Stuff

Straight out of the pages of Vogue, I know.

Always my own fabulous fair guide, I long to look cute while trekking between the livestock barns.  Prancing around cattle, sheep, horse and swine areas is extremely difficult – especially if you’re trying to avoid manure of any kind.

Tiny.

Tiny. The Grand Champion bull weighing in at 3,012lbs.

Serious.

Sorry if you have a big, sweaty ass but NO BUTT FANS, mmkay?

Skinny swine he's not.

Non-starving swine.

I want to look cute stuffing my face at corn dog stands (and doughnut, giant tenderloin, fried Oreo, cheese curd, funnel cake, fried butter, kettle corn, taffy, fried snickers, gyro and anything you could imagine on a stick stands).

Best breakfast ever.

Best breakfast ever.

Yes.

Hells yes.

Fuck no.

Fuck no.

I long to look adorable for the famous butter cow (don’t stand in the Disney World long line – just whiz up to the center, say excuse me (Iowans are suuuuper nice), snap a pic and get out).

Butter Cow

Yep. It’s really just a life-sized cow sculpted from butter.

I strive to be attractive while standing in line, alone (because no one in my crew will ride with me) to enjoy the double ferris wheel and see a sign that says “NO SINGLE RIDERS.” So it’s imperative I look fab for the third kid in a family, who is also always a single rider.

Sky Wheel

It’s best if you don’t see the dude who constructs this masterpiece before you ride, FYI.

Happy to be a very embarrassed 11-year-olds first date.

Happy to be a very embarrassed 11-year-old’s first date.

As I attend the best state fair America has to offer (in my expert opinion) it’s important that I am not only looking fairlicious, but I must also be able to conceal the unavoidable eight pounds slowly gained in one day (it can seriously happen).

So here’s what to wear to your favorite state fair (but seriously, you should just go to Iowa’s and call it a day).

Rule one: Cute but comfy shoes.

**I WILL NOT WALK WITH YOU IF YOU WEAR CROCS!**

Even feet used to wear and tear will feel the wrath of the standing, eating, walking, eating, running (to get one last corn dog before the stand closes for the night), and eating.  I never do sneakers unless I’m working out, therefore I have found that wedge flip flops work best. They keep your feet breathable in all kinds of weather and add a bit of support for arches.

Look semi-chic while side stepping the pig manure.

Rule two:  Wear a fabulous outfit with an expanding waist band to compensate for the endless overindulging.

**I WILL NOT WALK WITH YOU IF YOU WEAR A MUUMUU!**

I typically wear a dress that will not make me look 12 months pregnant after 12 straight hours of fair food. I find a-line dresses the best for keeping it cool and letting it all hang out (especially for times when you about knock the Iowa State Fair Queen down, due to chasing her through the Art building and then almost making her pass out from your own “I’ve been at the fair for 9 hours” aroma).

State

One authentic state fair queen and one poser.

Or I’ll wear a skirt (I loathe shorts) with a belt, sure to adjust to the eight new inches around my gut by the end of the day.

Grandpa's Belt

Grandpa’s belt comes in handy!

Rule three: Carry a multi-purpose bag.

**I WILL NOT WALK WITH YOU IF YOU WEAR A FANNY PACK!**

I find that a cross-body bag is the most useful because I’m constantly in and out of it for my phone (everyone wants that caloric Facebook update, right?), a drink of water (or Captain),  sunglasses (constantly in and out of buildings) and retrieving Pepto Bismol (every hour on the hour).

BJ Bag

The keeper of all things fair.

Rule four: You must be willing to look like an ass at any/all times.

**I WILL NOT TAKE YOU TO THE FAIR IF YOU REFUSE TO HAVE FUN!!**

Attempt to wear all

Flaunting my newest accessories.

Unabashedly carry every single item you picked up with you

Taking up an entire park bench due to the massive amounts of free shit we had to have and therefore lug around for hours, all the while stuffing our faces in the hopes a blue ribbon gets pinned on us for being the best fairgoers ever.

And that, my friends is how you remain functionally fashionable while being fairlicious.

But just remember…

You are what you eat.

You are what you eat.

Now go and have a corn dog (or four) for me.

CBXB

CBXB!

Trashtacular 90th Birthday Shenanigans

Can you imagine turning the big nine-oh? I can’t either (really, I can’t imagine my liver lasting that long). But my family certainly turned up the class when we were celebrating behind the scenes at my Grandma’s 90th birthday shindig, starting off with her heart bursting in pride at my inability to wash off rub on tattoos I’d received at the Iowa State Fair the day prior.

Tough enough to celebrate 90?

Tough enough to celebrate 90?

Of course we threw Gma an appropriate celebration complete with cake, cookies, punch, old friends and best (depends on how you look at it) of all  – family.

Nonagenarian

Nonagenarian in her birthday glory!

All five sisters are still alive and kickin' it into their 90s.

Party girls! All five sisters are still alive and kickin’ it into their 90s.

Whenever the seven of us are now in the same state, my immediate fam always feels the needs to take a photo just in case we use it at holiday time.

Might be another Christmas card!

Smile! Might be the Christmas card this year…but it for sure won’t be because the babies aren’t looking into the camera. Plus, why do I have two dark holes as eyes?

During the four-hour throw down, a few of us cousins snuck off to Aunt Crispy’s house for a quick cocktail.

You pose

None of the 90-year-olds even noticed we went missing.

The celebrating really started when we spiked the punch and got out the elaborate appetizers at the after party.

Party food!

Nothing says fancy like Anderson Erickson French Onion Dip and party sized Ruffles!

We took turns primping in the new hand mirror my sister gifted me…

Fairest in the land?

Definitely not the fairest in the land.

I cheated on Captain for the first time ever (hurt so good) and used Lady Bligh for Skinny Pirates.

Cheater!

You can catch me on the next episode of Cheaters.

Friendly, loving sign language was exchanged as I “made” family members sign Gma’s guest book, accompanied by a favorite memory with her.

All smiles forcibly signing the guest book (even though it's her own son).

Tough times signing the book (even though it’s her own son).

With the addition of B and B, we were sure to keep the after-party baby friendly.

This twosome

Party animals taking notes from Auntie CBXB.

As we turned their binkies into new wine glass decor.

Binki wine charm

Binky booze charms will be all the rage. Mark my words.

We then felt the need to forgo glasses and just pass the bottle, in old-fashioned, celebratory, heathen-style family fun.

Who needs a glass?

Who needs a glass?

Once we threw the stemware out, we felt it appropriate to just use our hands to eat left over cake.

Stuff the cake

Don’t forget to lick under your fingernails.

And what family birthday party is complete without someone taking their shirt off and using it as a turban?

Turban Times

Uncle T’s head was cold. Really cold.

Taking one’s shirt off also means you can just let it all hang out…all over the kitchen table.

Gut Strut

Bonding time over the gut strut.

You may think that all of this white trash birthday behavior would be enough to make one go mad…

Cry!

I don’t care about your gut Uncle T! This mirror won’t answer my question. AM I PRETTIER THAN SNOW F’ING WHITE?!

But I was still concerned with not being the fairest in all of the land.

I’m sure you’re wondering if my clan is available to attend your next family gathering. The answer is yes. But we do require chips, dip and booze. Lots of booze. Oh, and a piece of your square footage to lay our weary party heads when it’s all over.

CBXB

CBXB!