edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

Sky Zoning Out June 22, 2014

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 8:31 am
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A: Activities

Hyped-up Sky Zoners

Hyped-up Sky Zoners

It was time to get out of the house… When my son Calvin turned nine recently, it was his first official birthday party that we didn’t host at our home. Months prior to his birthday, he began pushing for a Sky Zone Trampoline Park off-site party with his friends. Everyone was doing it.

 

Calvin is highly persistent and stood over my shoulder one Sunday morning in April as we reviewed the Sky Zone website for party details and costs. There is a fair amount of information there, but you really do need to call to ask specific questions and check date and time availability. Calvin was standing by with my mobile. I made the call, narrowed in on a date (not realizing June 15 was Father’s Day — totally thought it was June 21), length of jump time and put down a deposit. I received a confirmation email, shared it with family and filed it away til early June.

 

Orange Sky Zone Socks

Orange Sky Zone Socks

When early June rolled around, we relied on Evite again. One mom alerted me to the fact that our date selection was also Father’s Day. Not cool on my part! However, Calvin was born on the occasion nine years ago. I polled a few mom’s (and my husband) and they didn’t seem to mind, so we kept the date. At least no other kid birthday parties would coincide with his!

 

The Sky Zone advisor I talked with upon booking recommended 1 hour of jump time. Calvin would not hear of it – – 1.5hrs was the minimum acceptable jump time in his book. So it was: 3:10 check-in, 3:30 jump time, 5:00 pizza time. 5:40 clear out.

 

Lego Pirate BDay Cake

Lego Pirate BDay Cake

With five guest yeses about a week out, I started to think about offering to carpool the boys from Minneapolis (our home) to Plymouth (Sky Zone’s location), a 25 minute drive. All of the parents took me up on that one. It would mean 2:00p.m. arrival at our home and 6:30p.m. pick-up. I quickly realized that Calvin’s easy no-frills party would still be work.

 

I started prepping the day-of the party at 10:00a.m. This included a run to Target, baking and decorating a two-tier cake, cleaning the house and packing up stuff to take to Sky Zone. All by 2:30. We went with a pirate theme, timely because his class had just finished their pirate lessons and party at school.

 

Sky Zone contracts pizza out to Davanni’s. Part of our party plan meant we’d get one cheese and one pepperoni pizza for up to 10 kids for our $200 total amount. To order a sheet cake to be delivered as well, they need seven days notice. I opted to make ours and bring in ice cream too (guidelines state that you may bring in baked goods and pre-packaged ice-cream).

 

Trampoline Dodgeball

Trampoline Dodgeball

The boys start arriving. Wow, they are loud! We have two carloads going up and the discussion is high-pitched and rotating between subjects of swearing, pants and grossness. We check in at Sky Zone where bright orange gripper socks and water during jump time are all inclusive. The party host, Austin, runs all of the waivers through (I emailed requests to parents ahead of time so they could fill out their child’s form online). There is some confusion if the online submission totally covers them, or if kids needed to also print it out and bring it with them. I’m still confused.

 

The boys, stickered with their 2 jump time segments (3:30-4:00 and 4:00-5:00), burst in to the zone. I wondered if 1.5 hours would seem like an eternity. In most people’s opinion, an hour is plenty. Nine-year old boys are not most people. The norm doesn’t apply. They went from trampoline mosh pit to dodgeball and back to sky high jumps.

 

Snarky Pirate

Snarky Pirate

After the boys were jumping for 30 minutes, I decided to brave it and join my daughter, Ava, and her cousin, Ravelle. After all, we did pay for a block of up to 10 jumpers. There were 9 of us. I wasn’t prepared for the high fun-factor and height these trampolines afforded, not to mention the workout and soreness days later even after a 10 and 20 minute segment. Picture Lego man jumping jacks from the LEGO Movie.

 

At promptly 5:00, it was time for the party room. The party host helped with set-up and had our beverages ready and pizzas on the way. Did the boys not expend any energy? They still seemed crazed to me. The girls and I hung tight together in the corner. What happened to the sweet little eight-year-old boys that had manners? Ava informed me that this was a new phase.

 

Super Soaker = Great Gift!

Super Soaker = Great Gift!

Post pizza, there was cake. Roughly, one could discern a pirate Lego theme (I made use of our numerous Lego figurines for this). One small section of the cake had literally fallen off at home, most likely because I baked a 9×13″ pan’s worth of batter in an 8×8″ square pan. I improvised with a pirate puppet to cover the mishap. It still tasted delish.

 

The boys were amped up and it was time for gifts. How can you go wrong with footballs, ropies and squirtguns? After more pants talk and pull-down attempts, we tidied up our party room and checked out at 5:38. They do run a tight ship there. I thought it was the perfect amount of time.

 

Somehow my husband got Ava and Calvin in his car and I had the four boys in mine. That was a long drive home. When I arrived and pulled up behind them, Ava inquired, “Mom, are you okay?” Ahh, she’s so sympathetic! Calvin and friends immediately tore into the gifts, launching the ropie into the tallest tree on the block. Finally, the parents arrived and chorralled their boys into their cars. By 6:45p.m., it was silent. Time to move right into Father’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

A Twisted Princess Birthday Party June 7, 2014

E: Eats; O: Outings

When we last hosted a princess-themed birthday party, my daughter, Ava, was five. For her 11th birthday, the princess party in pink evolved to the Twisted Princess party. In years past, I had always taken the lead as party-planner. This year, I turned the reigns over to her. She handled it like a pro!

 

Party Planning

Princess Punch

Princess Punch

She made out a plan for the party including games, food, decor and sleeping arrangements and the main event – a trip to the movie theater to see Maleficent on opening night. We discussed theme options at length. Disney movies like Tangled and Frozen were too little girl like. Plus, every girl would want to be more individual and show their own style thus the Twisted Princess theme. We were going to do full hair and make-up to resemble a randomly selected princess, but our make-up artist (my sister-in-law, Katie), was not available. So Ava opted to throw princess options into a hat for her and five guests including Goldilocks, Snow White, Rapunzel, Alice in Wonderland, Gretel from Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella. They did their own make-up in frighteningly fairy tale style.

 

Eat Me Cupcakes

Eat Me Cupcakes

We chose eats and drinks for the party based on our princesses. Apple Orchard Punch (Drink Me!) and stacked frosted two-tier cupcakes (Eat Me!) from Alice in Wonderland went over particularly well. Snacks on hand included mini shortbread cookies from Hansel and Gretel and caramel apple slices inspired by Snow White. I’m not sure where Pizza Luce enters into a fairy tale, but I let that one slide. For breakfast the morning after, we went with porridge courtesy of Goldilocks and pancakes just because. Rapunzel and Cinderella did not make the menu.

 

Party Day

Six Twisted Princesses

Six Twisted Princesses

Per the usual, I am cleaning, running to Target and the grocery store several times and hitting up Party City the day before. Ava and I make the red velvet and white cupcakes the night before, I frost and decorate them the day of. Party City has some great theme decor, but Ava has outgrown a lot of it. I land on a pattern (Sweet Stuff) that has stripes and polka-dots and walk out of there with a huge fancy balloon and six smaller ones so each girl can have her own color.

 

I pick up Ava and two of her friends from school around 3:00 on Friday. The other two girls join around 4:30. Plenty of time for a full evening of fun! Pizza arrives around 5:15 then we load up and head to Southdale Center for the movie. The ride over is full of who likes who (or more like who doesn’t like who) in typical fifth-grade girl fashion. We get our tickets and then because we have time, rush the mall. I wasn’t prepared to see these girls so crazed about shopping – – I could not control them! After breezing through Len, See’s Candies and Francesca’s, we wrap it up and head back to the theater.

 

 

Shopping-Crazed Girls

Shopping-Crazed Girls

Maleficent starts with a promise of Disney magic and Angelina is amazing in high cheek bones, wings and horns. Much wrath, life-like tree fighters and a mythological world evoked scenes from Lord of the Rings and Avatar. The girls agree it was a good movie, but it did not leave them raving about it.

 

We arrive at our house post movie and the girls engage in an art contest – there are creators and judges. The rules: no winners or losers, every entry gets a “best of” award for something. How very diplomatic of them! … I personally love that it’s quiet for a short while. Then my 8 year-old son, Calvin, descends upon them to control the tunes. Then dancing.  We break for cupcakes (which served as her birthday cake) and more punch. On to a movie and more make-up. I leave them to their own. I head to bed and they are up until at least 1:00.

 

The next morning, we have some groggy girls. Some have to leave early for family stuff, sports and other activities. I am worn out from all of the planning and party and per the usual, could use a nap now!

— Happy 11th Birthday, Ava! We love you!

 

 

 
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