edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

Not the Type for Birthday Hype June 28, 2011

Filed under: Outings — edamomie @ 7:11 pm
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O: Outings

Birthdays are the theme around our home in June. Some with birthdays early in the month get the full birthday energy attention and others, sibling #2 and Mom, work to keep the birthday celebrations going at full steam at the end of the month. I am pretty sure after talking with lots of parents that girls typically want more hype than boys when it comes to celebrating their birthdays. Boys are just more laid back about it.
 

After my 8-year-old daughter Ava’s birthday early June complete with 10 girls and a disco ball, I was all for keeping it simple for my 6-year-old son, Calvin’s birthday. Simple, but equally as meaningful. He shared his actual birthday with Dad on Father’s Day. We were supposed to be coming off a great night of camping with friends from his school and their families, but the weather didn’t cooperate. The campers in our family even wanted to bake a cake in a dutch oven on the trip. I was skeptical. Turns out that  pre-birthday eve, we went to the Mediterranean Cruise Cafe and roller skating in Burnsville at Skateville with just our family instead.
 

It's Gonna Be So GoodUpon the heels of the long-awaited release of Cars2 on June 24, we opted to have Calvin’s birthday celebration with friends too, a few nights later with a viewing of the movie.  I purchased tickets online for the AMC Theater (with a $1.50 service fee per ticket) for a 3:30 afternoon show for him, two friends, his sister and four grown-ups. One friend was dropped off at our house, the other we picked up. One of them had just seen Cars2 with his family the night prior, but did not mind a second viewing at all.

Friends at Fireside

Friends at Fireside


 

The challenge at the theater: concessions. I pointed to one cup, asking if it was a large. No, that would be small. Okay, so one small Sprite with three small glasses of ice only please. I went with a medium popcorn, Dots and Gummi Bears. When we’re seated, I divvy up the soda. It’s more difficult to share the other stuff so each one of them gets to be in charge of one item and share. I have seen the kids snack trays, but haven’t yet gone this route (value?). They consume nearly every last Gummi and Dot, the few of which end up on the theater floor only to be transferred to Nana and Papa’s shoes after the show.
 

After what seems like 30 minutes of previews, the movie begins. Cars2 is fast-paced with a jumble of concepts, themes, characters and locations all rolled into speed-talking dialogue, action and what would be good humor if they paused enough to let it all sink in. The local paper gave it two stars and called it a dull ride, which I had read prior to seeing it. It tapered my expectations. The boys enjoyed it. I constantly compared it to the magic that was the first Cars and found it missing. Ava agreed. There were some James Bond scenes (the opening), great scenery (Monte Carlo, London) and the irony of a rusty tow truck from Radiator Springs becoming the CIA’s most wanted spy.
 

The boys’ takeaway included the spy boats from the opening and Mater’s mistaking of wasabi for pistachio ice cream. Without much mention of Lightening McQueen, we left the theater to fill up our tanks. The neighborhood pizza joint off 66th and Penn, Fireside Pizza, was our destination. It is low-key, good for kids and families and accommodated our party of six grown-ups (two more joined post movie) and four kids. We let the boys have their own booth next to us. Calvin opened his gifts – 2 cars (from the movie of the same name), a StarWars Lego fighter jet and golf balls, tees and a Twins hat from his sister. He has never had gifts from friends at a party. Cool in his book.
 

They bubbled their milk, ran to the pinball/ gumball machine to burn through their quarters and remained in a constant state of motion above and below the booth seats. Mini pizzas for $4.50 arrived for each of the boys just in time. Our table shared a Kiss My Pizza (olive oil, spinach, tomatoes, garlic and basil with two white cheeses), a calzone and spaghetti and meatballs. Easy and good. We exchanged some other early birthday and belated Father’s Day gifts and such. When does one celebration end and begin at this time of the year? All in good fun.
 

From Cars to Fighter Jets

From Cars to Fighter Jets

I took both boys home. Thinking, as a parent, that could be a real treat not to have to deliver or pick up kids to/ from a party. Calvin said his goodbyes and shifted immediately to the subject of S’mores. Yes, since there was no special treat at Fireside, we can make S’mores at home. And ten minutes later when we arrived home he shifted into yet another focused gear: Legos. Normally, Calvin would have led assembly and making of treats, but he was too busy making his new fighter jet.
 

So two totally different kids’ birthday celebrations this year. I prefer the few friends/outing option, I must say. And if I expand upon that revelation, that would mean today, as my birthday, would be just the time for an outing of that type. I don’t mind the hype.

 

Teeing It Up at the Local Park June 22, 2011

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 9:34 pm
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A: Activities

Order on the Bench

Order on the Bench

Coming into Spring t-ball season, I’ll admit I was a bit of a naysayer. I recalled visions from two years prior when my then 6-yr-old daughter joined the collective team of girls for softball. The ages ranged from five to ten. They were all over the place. They spent four weeks of the season debating names before they settled on “The Kiwi’s,” but no kiwi I’ve ever seen has ever appeared as fluorescent green as their t-shirts. Games/practices were 7:00p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, one night of which my husband would always miss due to lawnbowling. I threw in the towel mid-way through the season. I never thought I would do that – I finish everything even if it’s painful.
 

Two years later, with a new attitude and fierce determination from a young, budding Twins fan, we signed up my son, Calvin, for t-ball. We had survived wicked winter storms to get them over to Pearl Park for their weekly basketball games –  one played Tuesday and one played Friday. I am so into efficiency, I’m thinking joint participation in sports – same team, same time – would have been a huge benefit of having twins. From soccer to t-ball I always push to bend the rules so that they can be on the same team. It doesn’t work any more – at six and eight, they’re too advanced. The Park Board is on to me.
 

The first night. The nearly all-boys team with gold t-shirts within two minutes decides they will call themselves “The Gold Team.” There’s one coach, but many parents are pitching in. It’s needed. The team is ambitious, but often keep their eye so closely on the ball that they forget which side they’re on. A runner on second base, spontaneous and glove-less, veers from the path to third to field a ball that his teammate has just hit. Entertaining for sure. Parents pop out to the bases to serve as base coaches, instructing each newcomer. It’s all fair, they cycle through by number high to low, then next inning low to high. There really seems to be no drama.

Following Through

Following Through


 

The second night. Calvin is tagged out on first. The coach explains Cal should go sit down on the bench, he’s out. Calvin remains on the base, close to meltdown. Other hitters continue to pass through first base…  Then he’s over it and marches to the bench to sit out for the rest of the time – like 30 some minutes. I don’t approach. Coach tries a few things, then, “that’s the rules, buddy.” I sense that Calvin’s not upset that he’s out, he’s more embarrassed because he didn’t understand the rules correctly.
 

After the game, juice boxes and sweet treats await. At this point, I’m talking with him and we’re away from the group. Three coaches/dads come over and try to entice him with snacks as I try to hold firm – you don’t hit (as in bat), you don’t git (as in snack). How cruel is that kid’s mom?

Tattitude

Tattitude


 

The third night and beyond? He loves it. He’s got a rock n’ roll guitar and BFF tattoo (left over from his sister’s birthday party) and the attitude to match. All the kids hit quickly off the tee, run and field the ball. They have actually improved quite a bit.
 

Calvin is practicing in between games/practices and the most recent Twins game he went to with his Dad was much more appreciated than games prior. Other than the miserably undependable weather (rain, tornado warnings, 105 degree day) forcing some cancels and one recent non-notification of a cancel on our night to bring snacks, the local t-ball scene and I are finally in sync.
 

What’s next? Swimming lessons at the local pool?  As long as there is one entire night dedicated to team photos, I’m in.

 

Character on the Course June 18, 2011

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 4:35 pm
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A: Activities

Prior to kids, it was easy for my husband to get in 18 holes of golf and for me, I actually had a weekly gig at Theodore Wirth Golf Course in Minneapolis for 9 with the girls on Wednesday nights. After kids, the time commitment and expense of golf, tapered our ability to play quite a bit. Golf just did not happen due to many other priorities. I accepted this for years.
 

There milestones in a parent’s life when the kids are maturing that allow you to get some of your former life and self back. And it’s even better if it’s an activity you can do as a family, as we recently discovered on a golf outing with kids 8 and nearly 6. And my perspective, I can focus my energy on improving their game and not fretting so much over mine.

Fancy Clubs at Troon, Scottsdale

Fancy Clubs at Troon, Scottsdale


 

Ava, my now 8-yr-old, got her first set of clubs at age 4. We started with some practice at the range during the first summer – it was probably a five time occurrence. We also played some mini-golf, a confidence builder. By age 5, we took her out on the course to ride with us a few times. After teeing off and putting on the first 3 holes, it became less fun (I assured her I could sympathize). We always rented a cart, even though the past me preferred to walk. We gave her jobs like ball washing and keeping score. This continued over the next few summers to present. Often, we’d gauge the mood of the kids and if weather looked good and spirits were positive, we’d call up Hiawatha Golf Course and see how quickly we could jump on there. We also checked out Braemar’s Executive Nine in Edina.  We never had an issue doing this.
 

We hadn’t considered golf lessons for either quite yet and have not wanted to force their play – just expose them to it, make it fun and hope they join in. On a March trip to Scottsdale, AZ, on our family vacation, I wondered how they would withstand a group golf outing in the desert with snakes and the like. My husband, Chad, had not a worry about this and scouted out Troon North Golf Course in Scottsdale. Just for signing up for their free membership, our entire family received a free round of golf (twilight hour play required), complete with fancy clubs for the kids and carts. (I am still on their email newsletter list and wish we could go again).

Journaling About Golf

Journaling About Golf


 

I was optimistic. I hadn’t picked up clubs in quite a while. The kids were a bit restless, possibly over-tiredness from vacationing. Whatever it was, talking in the back swing, sauntering up into your swing-range, all made it difficult for me to concentrate this round. The scenery and togetherness made up for it.
 

It used to be Chad and I driving the idea – let’s go golfing! C’Mon, it’ll be fun!  As of this last Thursday, our family now had a new member championing for golf: Calvin, my soon-to-be 6-yr-old.  He anticipated our two day trip to Luck to visit Grandma and made sure his clubs made it into the trunk, even if they were the ones inherited from his sister. After his dad played 36 on Thursday, Calvin had his work cut out for him, convincing us that we should go.

Father & Son, In Luck

Father & Son, In Luck


 

Calvin won out. We got a 12:45 tee time set at the Luck Golf Course in Luck, WI, finished up lunch and off we went. Ava, was a bit unsure if she really wanted to go. Grandma kindly offered to come pick her up if it got intolerable. Green fees are weekly rates until 5:00p.m. on Fridays and with a grown-up, kids golf for free. We got carts. We were all set. Ava took out her journal and began writing, her head not quite in the game. Prior to teeing off on hole #1, she wanted to speed-dial Grandma.
 

Calvin was ready to take on the course with a no whining attitude I was convinced would end mid-round. He insisted on hitting every shot, not just off the tee and close to the green. I admired the speed with which he ran from one short distance shot to the next. A few times, looking a little annoyed to have to remind us not to talk during his back swing.
 

At the conclusion of hole #3, Grandma conveniently pulled up and whisked Ava away. I’m not sure what was going on, but I know you can’t always force a good attitude on the golf course. The three of us happily continued on. It was a beautiful day with a nice breeze, no pesky bugs either. Calvin’s determination carried him through the next six and seeing some of my shortfalls might have been a boost for him.  The video I shot was one of two only. He asked me to take it, so he could work on improving his swing. And for the record, we challenged him to make it in on the #9 par 3 in 10. He did.
 

To top it off, uncle Jay solved the shared club issue with a set of hand-me down clubs in great shape for kids 6-9 versus the other clubs for kids 3-6. I’m hoping for more positive family golf outings this summer – for both kids and adults -because we know that golf is a game of patience that definitely builds character. See you on the city (and Luck) courses!
 


 

To watch: rotate your head 90 degrees counterclockwise.

 

Flour Tower: Minneapolis To-do List June 15, 2011

O: Outings

Sometimes I wake up on a Saturday morning feeling overwhelmed with a to-do list a mile long and a wish list that’s even longer. On this particular Saturday, I reminded myself to balance. I did a few quick chores around the house, got in some me-time then enlisted the family to come with me on an errand. This errand to downtown Minneapolis’ Depot to pick up my race packet for the race the next day ended five hours later.

BD Girl at the Guthrie

BD Girl at the Guthrie


 

To set the scene, it was a bright sunshiny day. It was my daughter’s birthday. Spirits were high. With some patience, we found a parking spot and plugged the meter for two hours, assuming we might linger a bit after the errand was done. We had parked mid-way between the Depot and the Guthrie, about a four-block distance. I went solo to stand in line for the packet at the Depot, and sent my parents and their grandchildren (g age 8 and b age 5) to Caribou Coffee. The streets were filled with runners picking up their packets – many of them were staying overnight pre-race at the Depot (Residence Inn) in hopes of being well-rested at the starting line.
 

A short walk from Caribou past MacPhail Music Center and the Mill City Museum, we came upon the Mill City Farmer’s Market in the breezeway between Mill City Museum and the Guthrie. We frequent this market about four – six times a summer, I would guess. I get the specifics for each Saturday via their Mill City Beet e-newsletter. Today there was live music and as always, aebelskivers – 3 for $5. We pass the honey stand (this time!) and beeline for the skivers: an order of apple (hold the messy blueberry sauce) and cheesy bacon (ladel on the ginger jam).
 

People lounge and eat their farmer’s market purchases on the steps leading up to the Guthrie from the market area. A group just leaving motions our party of five over to their table (one of about 15 in the area). One older, grandfatherly-like gentlemen has to tease my daughter a bit, but she is not sharing her aebelskivers. It’s her birthday after all. Turns out, it’s a great people-watching location in the shade, especially to check out the runners and bikers working hard to make it up the hill. This will be part of my race route tomorrow – it does not look promising.

Shot of a Shoot

Shot of a Shoot


 

We wander through the rest of the market, picking up some ricotta-filled croissants, leafy greens and radishes. At the end of this line is the entrance to Mill City whose first level is open and accessible to the public. There are restrooms, a D’Amico cafe, the museum gift shop and access to exterior balconies overlooking the preserved ruins of the flour mill that once fully stood on the site. We’ve visited this area several times before. Today we notice there’s a photography shoot going on – its a couple who looks to be celebrating a Persian wedding (I’m thinking METRO magazine shoot, for example, and the only reason I’m guessing Persian is due to the shoe booties with the curled up toe – Aladdin style).
 

We arrived downtown about 11:00a.m. and it’s now just before 1:00. I look at the group – they collectively need some direction. I run out to plug the meter for another two hours and Mom checks the next Flour Tower Tour which is conveniently at 1:00. I’ve had this on my Minneapolis to-do list for a few years. Today we decide to get our tickets.

Flour Funnel

Flour Funnel


 

We check out a bit of Mill City Museum prior to 1:00, then head into the elevator, complete with a built-in set of risers/steps for people to sit on while the guide takes us on a journey from floor five to eight, back down to three, up to four, then up to eight again. At each stop, you see a room set for theater as they creatively overlay historical video, details, music and voices of mill workers who talk about what it was like to work long shifts, breath the air full of flour dust (which btw is very explosive) and what it sounded like when the machine belt slipped off-track.

 

Golden View

Golden View

We exit on the eighth floor where we can actually see the bins that funnel the grains to the lower levels. We also learn about enhancements the mills made to include giant vacuums to suck up the flour dust.  Then we walk up a flight of stairs to a glassed-in walkway with a great view of the river. Ava, my 8-yr-old, spends a bit of time feeling woosy then we all head out to the open-air balcony where the vista improves and you can feel the wind in your hair and see the little people below.
 

After we’ve had our fill of fresh air, we step into the glass elevator to go down eight flights. I’m surprised at the speed and it makes me a little lightheaded. The kids are uneasy too, but they are sure they want a do-over.
 

When the tower tours ends around 1:30, we’re notified that the chef demo and tasting will be in the Mill City Kitchen at 2:00. No, Dad, really we’ll be heading out before then. Lets just take a quick look around… We discover the many iterations of Betty Crocker, check out Pillsbury’s ad campaign history and learn about the history of the mills and how they operate. My kids are mostly checking out the interactive town that moves flour from the river to the mills. They also like the water room that has a model of the river at the Stone Arch that kids can assemble and move parts to change water flow to push water through the wheels or funnels.

 

Chef Lucia Watson

Chef Lucia Watson

Oh look at the time. People are starting to gather for the 2:00 chef demo. Once I find out this is to be Lucia Watson of Lucia’s in Minneapolis, I convince the group we must stay. (I think they have cooking demos every Saturday, so keep an eye on the Mill City Beet for information). She keeps it simple and explains everything she’s doing – making the most foreign veggies seem common. One in particular my Mom keeps asking about is green garlic.
 

Lucia makes an olive oil, herb and feta mixture that tops a veggie pasta and lamb meatballs with greek yogurt and mint. The kids are attentive. Lucia points out that committing to buying staple items like milk and butter locally on a consistent basis is more helpful than the occasional purchase of local goods at the market. Must get into a CSA soon… But first, Dad, can you plug the meter again? It’s 2:45 and we’re cutting it close.

 

Lucia’s demo wraps up and soon after we locate Dad near the museum entrance. Is everyone starving? Yes. We head it out of downtown and just miss SunStreet Breads on 46th and Nicollet before their 3:00 close. Ava is fine going cakeless anyway because now we can go home and add a check next to Flour Tower.

 

Standing OVO-ation June 8, 2011

Filed under: Outings — edamomie @ 7:40 pm
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O: Outings

Of course you should go when the circus come to town! More specifically, make sure it’s the Cirque du Soleil (French)/ Circus of the Sun (English) — not just any circus. And in case you hadn’t heard, OVO (“egg” in Portuguese) is the latest Cirque du Soleil to come to town (the Twin Cities). I was not going to miss it despite all odds.
Ovo Program Cover
 

I worked through some major scheduling feats to pull off the first attempt to attend Ovo on May 25. I ran the kids here and there, got all dolled up for the VIP treatment and headed over with a friend who had scored the tickets. When we arrived at the mysterious location referred to on the ticket as the Mall of America (MOA) North Lot, it was empty which seemed strange for 7:45, just 15 minutes before show time. Upon more investigation, we learned opening night had been changed months ago to Thursday, May 26. There would be no cirque tonight and I was not up for more schedule switch-ups to make it back the next night.
 

Perplexed, I checked the email forward later that night. I emailed the MOA PR person who they originally came from, questioning. She was apologetic. The tickets themselves (accessed real-time from an email link) said the 26th, however the email from mid-April said Wednesday the 25th. She sent me a link to purchase tickets at 40% off (which any Joe public can access here). I did not yet have a birthday present set for my soon to be 8-yr-old daughter, Ava, so I got us our tickets for Tuesday, June 7th, what I thought was her last day of school.

 

Ovo Masquerade

Ovo Masquerade

On Monday, I learned that Wednesday June 8th was her last day of school. This meant she would be up late on a school night, making it hard to rise and shine by 6:30 the morning after the show. I was still optimistic. We arrived home post school and work on Tuesday evening and got our summer dress on and topped it off with eye-make-up and lip gloss. We parked at the MOA North Lot and took a shortcut through Nickelodeon central to our OVO Eat + Experience restaurant of choice: Tucci Benucch (one of nine of a list of restaurants offering special deals with OVO tickets, which I was cued into by the same helpful MOA PR person).
 

With 6:45p.m. reservations made in advance on Open Table, we bypassed the line. I had already looked at the menu to narrow things down prior to coming, knowing timing would be a little tight. I ordered our drinks, appetizer (free with entree purchase) and entree all at once. I asked him to bring the tab so we could more easily be on our way post meal. I went to fish out my credit card in my bright yellow slim snap purse I had just transferred over to and could not find the card. No ID either for that matter. I quickly scanned my will-call ticket print out. It said nothing about requiring ID, but I was pretty positive I’d need it. It also said to arrive 45 minutes to an hour in advance for will call. It was 7:10 and the show was to start at 8:00p.m. Panic! Ava assured me everything would be okay.

 

Outside the Ovo Bigtop

Outside the Ovo Bigtop

I explained the situation to the waiter and had a brief chat with Jack, the manager. They were understanding and gracious about the whole ordeal and I’ll just say we worked something out. We shared a few bites of the split Summer Vegetable Risotto and Toasted Ravioli and boxed up the rest. We arrived at cirque by 7:35 to no lines and signage clearly indicating ID required. Luckily they were super accommodating as well. We had seats in the third to last row ($27 each through the promo deal), which I had purchased after hearing from others who had attended that with the thrust stage and smaller-scale arena there was not a bad seat in the house.

 

It was 7:40. We perused the cirque items for sale and concessions and used our last cash for beverages. That particular area of the tent was not air-conditioned and given it was the hottest day in MN in 23 years, we weren’t going to stick around there for long. We went to entrance #6 and were directed by flashlight to our seats. The big tent was air-conditioned and the whirring fans were quite loud. No complaining here.
 

Cirque describes the performance as “OVO is a headlong rush into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement.” So at 8:00 we begin. There is a lone dragonfly with multiple one-armed balancing poses from quite a height, fleas working pyramids, red ants juggling kiwi and ears of corns, a firefly flinging spools (juggling) , butterflies spiraling, spiders with extreme flexibility and scarabs in the aerial act. This is all before intermission in the nearly 3-hour-long show.
 

The ladybug, a wingless housefly and a beetle buzz about the mysteriousness of the egg and flit in and out between the shows performance transitions. You will never hear any of the insects utter a distinguishable word other than “Ovo!” There is the constant of buzzing among the insects and cricket chirping. And then we begin the second half where the tour-de-force performance is the black spider (a tarantula, perhaps? who loses his coat of entangled black legs with bright red lights) who does an amazing act on a wire that moves back and forth while swinging side to side. Then he just adds a unicycle braced across his collarbone while inverted. To Ava I sounded like a broken record: Seriously? Amazing!

 

Unplanned Outfit + Cirque Coordination

Unplanned Outfit + Cirque Coordination

My only other cirque point of reference is “O” Cirque du Soleil in Vegas – the stage with water and diving acts. Other cirque connoisseurs I’ve talked with rated Ovo tops. I could envision Ovo being one of the best for kids because the insects draw them in. Apparently the costume designer chose to focus on mimicking the emotions insects evoke rather than recreating insect anatomy on the human body. Well-evoked, I thought as Ava shivered a bit at the thought of being that cricket, trapped and left to die in the spider’s web.
 

By the time we move on to the final act of the crickets, you want to leap out of your seat. There’s maybe 16 of them. They’re scaling the 8M wall (with climbing wall footings) and leap-running up the walls after a bounce into the trampoline below them. The trampoline runway also extends the length of the stage for the crickets to perform their series of no-handed back handsprings and full twists.

 

We were entranced until the very end. Did I mention the Brazilian samba music with 16 soundtracks? And the plants that open and emit flowery scents? The culmination of the costumes, acts and music proved to be a captivating show. By the 10:45 end, everyone sprung to their feet for several rounds of applause. (Spoiler Alert): And you barely notice that the large egg you’ve anticipated will open by the finale of the show, doesn’t. The audience doesn’t seem to mind either. They gave it a standing ovation.

 

You Know We’re Superstars June 6, 2011

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 6:30 pm
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A: Activities

On The Floor

On The Floor

Apparently, I have a fear of leaving the house when it comes to hosting my kids’ birthday parties. It happens every year. We start discussions months out – wouldn’t it be great to have a swimming party at Foss or a rollerskating party at the Roller Garden? Inevitably my daughter’s enthusiasm for completely transforming our home wins out. Most disappointing was the Welcome to the Jungle (think G n’ R) year #7, when Ava told her friends to expect a jungle. They got a Pin the Wings on the Fairy game instead.
 

This year for Ava’s 8th, we opted for a disco theme which neatly coincided with my husband’s new past time as a deejay. We sent out nine invites nine days in advance and asked that each guest submit one song request in advance of the party.

Making Fakes (IDs)

Making Fakes (IDs)


 

Planning a party at home takes 10 hours over 3 days (this doesn’t include dj set-up time). I noted the time spent, knowing I would be blogging about it. 3.5 hours for shopping and getting crafts started (day 1), 4.5 hours for cleaning, organizing, transforming and cake baking (day 2) and 2 hours for getting the food and crafts ready (day 3/ party day). The family room, with several pieces of furniture removed, served as the dance floor complete with a disco ball, stars, great colored track lighting and two huge speakers.
 

The scene was set. Wasn’t I going to keep it simple this year? Will I disappoint my soon to be 6-yr-old son whose birthday is in two weeks? I certainly couldn’t recreate an event at this scale again. I will think about that next week.
 

Right now, it’s 6:00p.m. and the girls are arriving. We get them started on the Make Your Fake (as in ID) activity. The spend some time drawing self-portraits, making up names and decorating their IDs. Later, in line at the “club,” I notice most own up to their 8 years and one girl lists her age as 18. Clever.
 

In the past I’ve made way too much food. This year I’m going with grilled cheese paninis, Knox Blox (blue hearts, purple stars, red and pink flowered shapes), smoothies and cake. I notice a considerable difference in manners from 7 to 8-year-olds and a lengthened time they can focus on activities.  They finish eating their sandwiches and get in line for the club. Dedications to Ava from her friends go out as the songs are played. For starters: We Are Who We Are by Kesha – you know, the superstar song, dj turn it up….  Then there’s On the Floor by J Lo, Jackson 5, Selena Gomez and 21st Century Girl by Willow Smith. A Bieber song elicits huge boo-ing so the dj quickly moves into Taylor Swift You Belong to Me for apologies.
 

Making Masks

Making Masks

They are all looking a little heated so the club takes a timeout. The delve into the mask-making and make-up activities. I think we’re about 7:15 along to an 8:00 party ending time. The masks, which I’ve pre-cut out of glittery felt and adhered to tagboard background along with a dowel rod as the handle, get adorned with feathers and sequins courtesy of a hot glue gun that only I am allowed to operate. Lots of work for Mom.
 

At the other station, Katie, who knows a bit about make-up, is applying three shadows of MAC pink, cream and tan to their lids and a pinky/orangy color of gloss to their lips. They are loving this! I am hoping parents don’t mind. I failed to ask for an all-clear on that when the girls were dropped off.

Made-up Right

Made-up Right


 

With masks and make-up, they head it back to the club for So Big by Iyaz (spontaneously choreographed by Katie) and Firework by Katie Perry, her brother’s favorite song. A few more tunes and the dj fades it out. Triple-layer Vanilla Cake and smoothies are served. The girls do the lengthy Happy Birthday song version that includes cafeteria lyrics. Eight candles are out with no presents to open this year due to no gift request. Ava is fine with this, but she does get some gifts post-party from family who stick around to do the Electric Slide after all the guests are gone.
 

It was a lot of excitement. Parents are exhausted. Ava is disappointed that two hours went so fast. Would we do it all over? Yes! For me, it was clear that these girls, at this time in their lives, seem to have positive images of themselves.  I want for them to be able to hold onto that forever in some way. They are superstars!

 

 
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