Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Baby R!

I feel like I need to change Baby R's pseudonym since she's not a baby anymore (sniff!). She had an extended birthday since Mommy had a major brain lapse and accidentally scheduled Bunko on her bday. So we had birthday dinner and cake on Monday and presents on Tuesday.

Her party was today. Contrary to the Halloween costume vascillation, the birthday party theme has been fairly constant since we first started discussing it - Minnie Mouse. She's added other ideas at times - and Thomas the Train, and... - but Minnie's been at the top of the list from day one. Thank goodness.

We were able to reserve the gym at our church for forty bucks, which was the same price as renting the park shelter for S's party this summer. The only problem was I bought tablecloths without thinking about the tables they were going on, but I pretended that the white was supposed to show on purpose.

Since last weekend was spent re-admitting Dad to the hospital, and Mom stayed with us through Wednesday, and I hosted Bunko Tuesday night, I didn't get any party prepping done until the very last minute. Like, less than 24 hours before the party. I was frantically trying to decide if I should just by pre-made cupcakes or try to find a way to bake and frost the cupcakes last night when I had an epiphany. If I made brownies and cut out Mickey shapes, I could stick a bow on them and call them Minnies. Luckily, the awesome Baker's Rack shop by our house had a Mickey cookie cutter.

I had a really cute Pinterest idea for favors, but zero time to implement them, so I went simple and just put M&Ms in cellophane bags tied with curling ribbon and a little tag that matched her invitation (mockup shown below).

An open gym with some balls was all the entertainment the kiddos needed, but I did have one game planned - Pin the Bow on Minnie.

Overall, I think it was a success. Now we turn our attention to Thanksgiving and a baby shower for my sister next weekend.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Election Follies

For the first time ever, most of the people I work with are extremely liberal. I'm not very involved in politics, so it doesn't really bother me. Though I'm registered as a Republican so I can participate in local elections during off years, about a third of my votes historically have gone to Dems and a few of my presidential ballots have been cast for Independents. This year I would have voted for the Constitution party, but they weren't listed, so I went Libertarian. I'm not a fan of Obama, and while I didn't love Romney, many say if I wanted change, I shouldn't have thrown my vote away on someone who certainly couldn't win. Maybe. But the beauty of our country is that we can vote for whoever we want. So I usually try to find who most closely matches my beliefs and throw my support their way. Unfortunately, the presidential election tends to focus on the two main parties, and lots of people don't really look into what the candidates' platforms are.

When I was in kindergarten, our school had a mock election. I remember voting for Reagan. My dad was very vocal about his position. My mom isn't a citizen so can't vote so usually didn't say much. I emphasize the importance of exercising the right to vote rather than touting which candidate I back. We have an app on our iPad that teaches about the presidents, so the girls know Barack Obama's name. He's familiar. S voted for him in her mock election on Friday. I didn't find out about the election until after school. I teasingly told her I still loved her. She wanted me to vote for Obama, too. I told her I didn't agree with his politics. She got upset that I wouldn't be on her side. I asked her why she voted for Obama. She said because she liked him. I asked her why she liked him. She couldn't really answer me. I told her it was very important to make an educated decision when voting. Our right to vote shouldn't be taken for granted, and we need to make wise choices. I promised I would do more research, but that I would probably not vote for him.

Tuesday morning, we left for school a bit early and headed to the gym where the polling station was set up. I brought a snack and a book with us to keep S entertained during the wait, but it ended up only taking about 20 minutes. We talked about the process and the lines and the computer ballot boxes and the people. She got an "I Voted" sticker, and felt very proud.

Wednesday morning, I told her Obama won. "Yes!" She was excited. I told her congratulations and was gracious. She said, "Don't worry, Mama. Mitt Romney can be president next time." So adorable. If only that had been everyone else's reaction.

I could not believe how many people were making rude comments on Facebook, getting into arguments and unfriending each other over it. I don't remember it being that way 4 years ago. I finally saw this posted and had to share it:

Ultimately, there's no point in fighting about it now. Let it go and move on. And as another friend posted:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Growing Family

Last Saturday DH called me while I was running errands with Baby R during S's dance lesson. "The neighbors are selling their 20-gallon fish tank in their garage sale. Ok if I buy it?"

I've only ever had one fish. It was a beta. I got it from my sorority big sis (we were the BETA gamma chapter - ha!). It lived in a typical fishbowl on the shelf of my dorm room above the heater next to the window. Not sure if I fried it from the heater or froze it from the open window, but it died overnight.

DH has a heart for animals. When I met him, he had a 65-gallon tank of fish, a bird, two cats and a dog.

I think big fish tanks look cool in doctor's offices and such. But everyone I know who owns one has a fishy smell to their house. I wasn't overly excited about the idea of having one. But it was cheap, and fish are good first pets for the girls. And DH knows all about it since he's had them before. And I was distracted by Baby R trying to push the cart through Hobby Lobby and not take out shelves of glass decor. So I said yes.

Sunday, DH went to the pet store and got pink, green and purple rocks, and a rainbow of plants. And four tiger barbs - two white with black stripes and two green. He set up the tank, let the bag of fish sit in the water to get adjusted to the temperature, and released them. The girls were thrilled! They both wanted the green fish. S named hers Peanut Butter, and R named hers Nemo. DH named his Popcorn. (Baby R had gotten a stuffed horse at Grant's Farm in St. Louis this summer which she named Popcorn but then changed to Mint.) Baby R didn't like that he took that name, so she changed hers to Popcorn, so DH changed his to Caramel Popcorn, LOL. I was very unoriginal and went with Jaws.

The next morning, DH told me not to turn the light on the tank and to tell the girls the fish were sleeping.

Uh oh.

 I try very hard to be open and honest witht he girls about everything. We've discussed the circle of life before. But it seemed too cruel to have their very first pets die less than 24 hours after getting them. So I went along with DH's fib. He planned to pick new ones up on the way home from work.

While getting ready, S kept asking why they were still asleep. Since Sunday was the first day after daylight savings ended, I told her the time change had affected them. (Though it had had an opposite result with the girls - ugh.) She kept commenting about it, so I told her they weren't used to our schedule yet. The pet store didn't open until 9am, so that was when they were used to getting up. That finally satisfied her.

Ultimately, we ended up telling them, and having a fishy funeral over the toilet with a little prayer. The girls handled it better than I expected. Daddy brought new ones home, but we lost most of those as well; down to only one. Hoping we can iron things out soon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Busy Thankful, Times

The last two weeks have been crazy busy. I recovered from my illnesses and went out the following weekend - two nights in a row. Uh, who do I think I am? Twenty-fiver-year-old me? Had a blast that Saturday at a friend's 40th bday bash at a bar/restaurant where a local high school was celebrating their 25th reunion as well. A couple of the grads play in a retro band, so they performed - mostly New Wave. It rocked.

We finally made it to the pumpkin patch, too. We went a little crazy with the pumpkins this year, but had a lot of fun.

Which led, perhaps, to my next physical ailment a few days later; a neck-to-toe rash. Thankfully it wasn't itchy, so I let it be for a week before going to the doctor. I had tried switching to Ivory soap, throwing out my shower pouf, not using lotion, and washing the sheets again, but nothing helped. It didn't get better or worse. Doctor's verdict: it wasn't bacterial, viral or fungal. probably just something in the air I had an allergic reaction to. The odd thing was the lack of itch, but I wasn't complaining. Got a script for steroids, and started them yesterday. Should start seeing results by tomorrow.

When I was a kid, Halloween was one day. It consisted of a costume parade around school followed by a small class party, and then trick-or-treating that night. This year, the holiday lasted about 7 times as long. It started a week ago last Wednesday with Trunk-or-Treat at the school. Then Friday we had a party at my office. Sunday my old roommate and his wife hosted our first kid party. We used to throw a  huge, elaborate party every year at our duplex in our single days. When we moved out, we passed the baton to another friend in the group. This was the first time in over 10 years that no one had an adult party. It was so great to do the kid one!

And, of course, this past Wednesday was Halloween Day. I was a room mother in S's class. I was nervous; I didn't want to embarrass her and be a dorky mom. Luckily, she's still young and still thinks I'm cool. We did the costume parade, then for the party, the kids were split into three groups - one played Pin the Nose on the Jack-o-Lantern, one played Hot (Potato) Pumpkin, and the third, which I led, put together a ghost with black crayons, a paper plate and crepe paper. Then they had a treat - pumpkin-shaped donuts from Krispy Kreme and juice boxes that the mom had wrapped in masking tape to look like mummies - so cute!

That night, we went trick-or-treating with S's BFF, P, and our other neighbor, A. S was dressed as Belle and R was a pumpkin. They had fun, but I think even they were ready for Halloween stuff to be done!

Before Trunk-or-Treat, we had S's first parent-teacher conference. It went really well. She's an excellent student. I had some questions I was supposed to ask her before our meeting: What's your favorite subject? Library. What are you struggling with. Nothing. What's easiest? Art. Who are your friends? Matthew, Jay, Kailah and Catalina. One of the things she told me as we talked was, "I love myself in kindergarten." What an amazing statement! So thankful.

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