edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

Flip This Room, I’m Eight! June 20, 2013

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 8:15 am
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Prep Process

Prep Process

A: Activities

I’m definitely the painter in the relationship. When my 8-year-old son and I embarked on a project to upgrade his room recently, it soon became clear to me that he was the big idea man and I was the worker bee.

 

By the time I caved and we redid his room, he’d been pitching me ideas for over a year. StarWars, Legos, football and more. He definitely knows how to plant a seed. A few weeks ago, as his birthday was closing in, I recalled a talk with a friend about the most fun birthday surprise they ever gave their daughter : a room re-do. They sent her away and teamed up as a family for an intense day to give her a new room. It got me thinking, birthday present = room rehaul.

 

Then, about a week ago, about two-thirds of his toys were in the hall after a cleaning and organizing spree. “Mom, I’m done with this stuff.” Wow — no attachments to this stuff, really? Good for him. Again I wondered how I could support this new leaf he was turning over. As we hung out in his room, he pointed out what he called “baby barf green” trim and a babyish rug. I considered that. His room painted 10 years prior to accommodate our unknown firstborn, was mainly blue with green trim. His sister arrived first, so I decked it out in pink accents. When Calvin arrived on the scene two years later, she moved out. I kept most of her stuff in the room (including the rug) and swapped out pink for navy.

 

Stripes - Let's Hope They're Level

Stripes – Let’s Hope They’re Level

Yes, I agreed, the rug was in pretty tough shape. A few moments later I found the perfect rug online at PotteryBarn Teen (PBT) on sale plus another 15% online place your order by end of day discount and decided the 5×8 would work even though the previous one was an 8×10. Calvin gave it a thumbs up too. Then it all fell into place.

 

With the rug and its colors as inspiration, we headed to Home Depot for paint. I super-decisively narrowed in on two shades of Martha Stewart Living blue. We brought paint home with us on Sunday and I started the scraping process. Normally, I would just do a paint over, however, our original version included some texture we threw into the mix. That needed to come off.

 

Paint dust. Calvin scraped for awhile too, but bowed out because of this substance. After two intense hours of scrapping the texture off, I was ready to vacuum to the wall/floor edges to inhale the dust. Then I laid out newspaper as floor protector from paint specs, consolidated the remaining room furniture and threw a drop cloth over it. Then I taped everything off with my 3M blue – ceiling, window trim, wall trim. I removed all the hanging items – hook racks, shelves and name letters. Very time consuming.

 

Stripes in Blue; Wall decor in Yellow

Stripes in Blue; Wall decor in Yellow

After six hours of prep, I was ready to bring out the roller. But not yet. I did the trim and edging first for each wall, then finally following up with the big roller. I did two layers of this. Calvin came in a surveyed my work. Sure is taking you awhile. This looks like the same blue it was. I don’t get it. It’s not any different. I insisted it was way lighter. However, doubts began to nag at me. I pulled out the sample color cards when the job was complete and sure enough, instead of giving the paintmaker the Heavenly Blue, I gave him the Stratosphere. The same paint we choose ten years prior. Seriously! I could not sleep that night.

 

Morning brought clarity. I liked Stratosphere. We still had our navy stripes to add (Azurite, technically) and I would do one wall all in navy. It was a plan. Calvin pressed on, how much longer? Will this mess be cleaned up by my birthday (2 days later)? Not long now I assured him.

 

Final Flip

Final Flip

I was motivated to get this done for many reasons – his stuff cluttering the hallway, the frames, etc for painting stretched across the dining table…. and his birthday coming up. On day two I taped out the two stripes (71.25 divided by 5 = 14.25) that would get a navy coat. I used my level religiously throughout – worked like a charm. I took the mini-roller and breezed through one coat before bedtime.

 

On day three, the stripes got a second coat and I moved on to the two-coat work for the navy wall. Calvin made a case to apply Stratosphere chevron to it, but I backed him down. Instead we focused on an accent color choice for frames and shelving. Yellow it would be. I stuffed the rolled rug into the car, ran into HomeDepot for color cards, back out to the car to match the rug and back in to get the right paint – Sahara Shade. Before bedtime, I applied a layer to each item.

 

Day four. Move in day. Another coat of yellow, some navy for the vent. Wait…. more nails, more screws, more putty (for the C-A-L-V-I-N wall art project) and progress. I washed curtains and ironed them (had I ever done that?). Yes, super fresh! Calvin moved his books back in, adhered his new dry-erase map and found a home for his new guitar. We reused frames, shelving and more. Proceeds from whatever we might sell of the PotteryBarnKids MVP bedding will go to new bedding/decor. He’s thinking football.

 

There’s definitely a more grown-up feel to my just-turned 8-year-old’s room (see the Vine video at jengilhoi). He’s pleased with it. I hope so because it’s only a 1 (at most 2) time occurrence to flip your room from birth to 18. Most parents I polled also agreed – one and done. Timing was just right for this change and Ava, my 10-year-old, has handled it beautifully. We were on track to redo her room in December (see the blog post), but discovered that her PB rug was in good condition, we couldn’t agree on color selections (no your walls cannot be black) and the top colors she wanted to lose were hot pink and baby pink which was everywhere, so it would be more expensive to replace. She’s waiting til age 12 she says. Thank goodness. That will buy me some time to rest up and save up!

Happy 8th Birthday, Calvin! — love, your worker bee   

 

Birthday Decadence June 11, 2013

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 8:16 am
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A: Activities

Peace, Love and Balloons

Peace, Love and Balloons

Celebrating a decade of existence is no small matter. Each year, we start contemplating themes early in May for my daughter’s early June birthday. There are always many variables — how many to invite, what to do, what to eat and when to have it.  This year, I suggested a few options – 1) invite everyone and keep it to a three-hour party at our house or 2) invite up to three girls and call it a sleepover.

 

Ava, my recently turned 10-year-old, first tried to compromise. She wanted to invite everyone for a few hours, then have a few stay overnight. I was not taking alternate options. After a few days of deliberation, she selected the slumber party/sleepover. We hadn’t ventured this route yet, but I figured it was time. The girls were mature enough to handle it (was I ready?).

 

10-Year-Old Silliness

10-Year-Old Silliness

Because the invite list was small, I did a quick text poll to the girls’ moms to find out which of two dates worked best. With that nailed down in less than 12 hours, we had a date, our guests confirmed and a general idea of activities.  We did a quick evite (as opposed to elaborate handmade invites in years prior) with a tentative schedule: 2:00p.m. on a Friday until 9:00a.m. on a Saturday; and activities: roller skating, pizza, pedis and movie.

 

The kids’ birthday parties each year always seem like quite a production. Maybe it’s because we never throw any adult parties. I do a quick run-through of parties past and notes to self from previous years – outsource food, simplify decor, clean and plan like crazy. Since food is snack stuff and pizza at a restaurant is easy, I opt to make a four-layer red velvet cake, Ava’s choice. For whatever reason, I always make the cake. This one was towering. The slimmest silver of it was plenty.

 

Sock-buns at the Roller Garden

Sock-buns at the Roller Garden

For decor, I hit Litin Paper no earlier than 10:45a.m. the day of the party for decor and balloons. I’m not stressed in the least. Odd. Then home by 12:45 to pull off a major house overhaul, decorate and head to school by 2:00 to pick up Ava and two of her guests.  She is really surprised by the transformation at home and seems delighted by it. I think she thought there was no way I could pull it off given the state of the house when she left for school.

 

We hang out til we can drop off her younger brother at class. Then we are on our way to Aunt Katie’s for make-up and hair at Ava’s request. We arrive at 4:15 and our fourth guest, Sophie, meets us there. The four girls all get a different look hair and make-up wise – – the common thread: sock-buns and glitter eyeshadow. We’re out the door by 5:30 for the St. Louis Park Roller Garden.

 

We arrive, pay admission and rental ($8 per girl) and take the floor. I swear at least 15 birthday parties are happening – – it is kids night from 4-8 after all. We all skate, including me, and snack on pretzels and soda. One boy who is kind of a terror on the rink, gets a stern talking to from Sophie. We unlace around 8:00 and head to Fireside Pizza.

 

Four Layers of Velvet

Four Layers of Velvet

I like this neighborhood joint (we went there for my son’s 6th birthday), but I forget that service is slow. About 50 minutes after we order, our pizzas and pastas arrive. I do hear some really good stories in the meantime — everyone has a story about the ocean, there’s some crude/rude humor, but no boy talk.  Maybe that’s for later?

 

I thoroughly enjoy the conversation. We’re home by 9:45, but too full for cake just yet.  So it’s on to presents then pedicures. Thank god there are only four — they each get a footbath, massage and polish. They all choose differently — fuchsia, candy apple red, purple and smurfy blue. They’re kicking back and watching the movie Hook during pedi time.

 

11:45p.m. rolls around and we’re ready for cake. Super late I know, but not letting this wait til the a.m. Calvin is still up to witness this. And so the song goes, the candles are blown out, the cake is cut, and the vanilla and strawberry ice cream scooped.  NOW, can it be time for bed?

 

The Morning After

The Morning After

Yes, it’s close for sure. Back to their sleeping quarters and time for some girl talk. I turn out the lights and fall exhausted into bed. The next morning comes quickly and I’m up with coffee. Enjoying 15 minutes before it’s time for a waffle breakfast. The girls seem a bit tired (12:45a.m. = reported bedtime), but in good spirits nonetheless. No sooner than they finish up their breakfast and pack up their stuff do their parents arrive for pick-up.

 

We take some photos and call it a party. We wave goodbye to our guests and take a moment to recap. Then it’s off to more adventures for the day, knowing we have the weekend to recover.

 

American Girls Learn the Hard Way: Beauty Hurts May 28, 2013

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 11:50 am
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A: Activities

American Girls Dressed in Yellow

American Girls Dressed in Yellow

It was another rainy Memorial Day Weekend with cousins – ages 7, 9, and 9 – in constant search of something to do. My 7-year-old son, Calvin, kicked off the weekend with an early birthday gift to his soon-to-be 10-year-old sister, Ava. It was an American Girl school desk with all the school box essentials.

 

He knew going in to the weekend he would be out-numbered as the cousin in the middle was Ravelle, age 9. Typical of each cousin camp weekend, he started out optimistic that he would be included in their play and ended up a bit burned out, frustrated by their undying interest in all things girly.

 

The complaints started to roll in around 7:00p.m. on Sunday eve of the long weekend, “what’s there to do?” We had already seen Epic, the movie, and went mini-golfing at Pirate’s Cove. They were on a fun roll. As we surveyed their slew of American Girl clothes, shoes and accessories, a bright idea popped into Ava’s head. “Let’s make dresses!” she insisted. Now was the how. What was on hand, what materials could we use? ….ah tissue paper from her early birthday gifts – in bright yellow, vibrant stripes and white.

 

American Girls with their Designers

American Girls with their Designers

They enlisted Aunt Katie and began cutting, twisting and creating fashionable looks with the paper. The four models – Kit, Kerstin, Piper and Mia (AG girls) – were fitted and styled from head to toe with the right shoes and accessories. An audience of 14 was called to the catwalk and required to sit in their assigned seats. Ava made the opening announcements and the Summer Fun Catwalk was underway.

 

The models emerged, via Ravelle’s hand, from under the pool table catwalk. For the grand finale, they all took one last turn and paused for the photos. Given the tight context of Ravelle’s space, she eventually bumped her head to which front-row Calvin pronounced, “Beauty Hurts.” Ensuing laughter prevailed as all the ladies agreed – yes it does! Here’s a little clip from the show, American Girl: Summer Fun Catwalk:

 

Happy Trails for Cross-Country Skiers March 6, 2013

A: Activities

Selecting Skis

Selecting Skis

An excerpt from the list of questions we pondered as we toyed with the idea of cross-country skiing with the family:

 

1. Hey, we’re Norwegian, shouldn’t cross-country skiing come natural to us?

2. Don’t we live in a climate ideal for outdoor activities, especially in February/ March?

3. Is it not safer than downhill skiing?

4. Are we not going stir crazy inside with no hope of winter vacation release?

5. Don’t we have some great trails nearby?  … Yeah, that place where Grandma Susie gifted us our membership last year that we only used in the summer: Wood Lake Nature Center

 

A few Sunday’s ago we answered yes to all of our questions. We considered heading to more serious trails – either Hyland Park Reserve in Bloomington or Highland Park in St. Paul – but landed on Wood Lake due to its simplicity, our novice skills and its proximity to our home.

 

CC Racers

CC Racers

The sun is brightly shining, the snow cover is decent and the temp is hovering around 30 with no wind.  We dress in our downhill skiing gear and set out for Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield, just a short 5 minutes away. The parking lot is packed at our 12:15 arrival time, only 15 minutes after opening. Everyone has the same idea as we do today. We hop in line to pay and discover it’d be much cheaper to get a full membership than pay for one time rental for a family of four. IF we go at least two times.  (an annual membership including rental for boots, skis and poles is $50.)

 

We measure for boots, select our sizes and head out to the skis and ski pole racks. We have some loose guidelines – skis should come to mid-palm when you’ve got your arm reaching for the sky. It’s lucky we don’t take someone out getting from equipment rentals to the trail’s start. Next time, I’ll give a lesson in transporting your gear.

 

We Break For Fruit Snacks

We Break For Fruit Snacks

We spend some time hooking our boots into the skis. A group of three girls from my 9-year-old daughter’s school plus one mom are there for the first time too. Good, we can all look like newborn calves together. At least we’re a one parent to one kid ratio.  We start off with two of the girls from Ava’s school intermingled with our skis.

 

Quickly we come to a fork in the road. We need to choose the long route (2.6km or 1.6 miles) or the short route (.6km). I can’t imagine how it would be worth it to get all geared up just to do the short route. We veer left. My 7 year-old son, Calvin, scrappy as ever, insists on being in the lead. Ava on the other hand, has a nice stride going and actually looks up once in a while to feel the sunshine and take in some nature.

 

Wishbone from an Extra Large Turkey

Wishbone from an Extra Large Turkey

The paths are easy to navigate and well-groomed. It’s no problem to pass. At this point, just under a mile in, I notice the Mom and other child in the foursome are not to be seen.  Loosely, it’s the six of us now, making our way around the marshy frozen lake. There are plenty of rosy cheeks, complaints for water (which we did not think to bring) and tired little legs.

 

We stop for a break at the half-way mark. Then it’s time to complete the circle. We all fall a few times. Sometimes when we’re just standing in place. The finale is the steepest hill of the course where you have to point your skis outward and inch up the hill. The downward coast after is well worth it. We reach the end, unhook our boots and carry in our gear. From start to finish = 1 hour and 25 minutes. We agree we’ll have to trek around again very soon and try to improve our time. Then we decide it would be fitting to head to Pizza Luce for slices and a brownie sundae. All that hard work deserves reward!

 

A few notes: I learned a few days later that the mom as part of the foursome overseeing the three girls, was a bit concerned. The two girls intermixed with us were supposed to take the .6km short route and instead took the long route. Having taken the short route, she was a bit panicked until she met up with the two older girls.
I’m also happy to say that within 1.5 weeks of the first outing, we made it out for a second spin. This time with water and snacks. We discovered more in the woods (due to comfort with our strides and a finer attention to nature’s detail). For example, we came across a tree sculpture that we adequately named Wishbone.

 

Lego My Eggo July 1, 2012

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 7:05 pm
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A: Activities

Lego My Eggo Invites

Lego My Eggo Invites

On the heels of my 9-year-old daughter’s birthday party, we rolled right into my son’s two weeks later. He was going to be 7 and had never had a friend birthday party with more than a few friends. Last year he opted to go to the movies and out for pizza (Cars II and Fireside Pizza). This year, in a new school where all of his other classmates were having parties, he decided he should invite a larger group and we’d host it at our house.

 

It can be a challenge to find a weekend in the summer to host a party. People have plans in Minnesota. We invited 10 boys, 6 were able to attend even though the invites went out about 12 days in advance. We settled on a Lego theme and based on the only time slot over the weekend we could find (10a-12p), we agreed that waffles would be served. The Lego my Eggo party moved into the planning phase.

 

I uncovered some Lego scrapbook paper and stickers I meant to use ages ago and printed the invite copy on vellum.  My son Calvin, eager to help with the assembly, cut the paper in the slicer machine and used the gliding tape dispenser to attach the layer of paper and vellum. Then the puffy Lego block stickers were adhered. We put the invite list together and gathered the addresses and left the final steps until the next day.

 

He was up early the next morning and wrote everyone’s name, based on his own spelling rules, largely on the only envelopes we had. I applauded the effort and tried to clean up the chalk-like smears on the flap side. I addressed the front side immediately and we headed to the post office to get them in the mail.

Waffle Strips for Dipping

Waffle Strips for Dipping

 

I had help with the party prep as my parents were visiting. Critical, in my view. The weekend prior, Calvin and I hit the Lego store at the Mall of America. He spent his birthday money on the Pirate Ship and I found a Lego party kit at 50% off. Three days in advance, we shopped for food and two days prior we reorganized the house to set up Lego stations.

 

The day prior to the party, my Mom found the perfect waffle-maker. It made 6 strips of 4 square-long waffles. The party was on a Saturday morning, which meant devoting all Friday night to the final details. I made 2 9″ chocolate cakes to layer and a pan of cupcakes. With the rectangles stacked, I trimmed off the cupcake tops, frosted them and attached 6 of them to the top of the cake. I was going for a Lego brick look. I sprinkled blue and yellow over the white-frosted cake and called it good.

 

Legographics

Legographics

We set the table and came up with a rough agenda, just to be sure we could keep the group entertained. We made one area where the boys could draw ideas for their Lego creation on graph paper, then see how it translated into a Lego structure (Legographics). In four other areas: boats, cars,  dinosaurs and houses, we set out some pieces that matched those items.  In another area, we had the large Lego flatboards so at the end, they could bring everything to contribute to the Lego City.

 

The boys arrived at 10a and tore into the party favors by their place setting – a birthday Lego guy, graph paper and Lego construction card (all in the kit). Calvin also created a one-of-a-kind Lego person for each of his friends. I started them five minutes prior to the party and kept them warm in the oven until we had enough for everyone. The waffles were super easy to make, about 3 minutes for each batch.

Group Present Opening

Group Present Opening

 

We called it a Lego Bar and accompanied it with a side of chocolate milk. With their waffle strips served up, they chose their fruit and syrup toppings and let loose with the Redi-Whip – a delight, no doubt. After clean-up, they started on the Lego assembly.  The graph paper drawing was a little advanced. One boy created a rollercoaster, another a train. All to contribute to the city. They were focused for a good 45 minutes.

Homemade Lego Cake

Homemade Lego Cake

 

Around 11:10, Calvin opened his gifts from his friends, in order by first letter in their first name. They all laughed at the silly cards. Then it was time to sing Happy Birthday and have a sliver of the Lego cake, its identity made more apparent by the Lego brick candles in primary colors. With 20 party minutes left, my husband whooshed in and made the best of their sugar high with some old-fashion Simon Says and party games.

 

Parents arrived at noon and we sent everyone off with their Lego guys and a plate of Knox Blox in blue and red. We pulled it off. Calvin set up his thank you card writing station, but progress is slow-going. We talked about the outing from last year as compared to this year’s stay-at-home party. He was on the fence for what he preferred. For the seventh, he shared fun times with a larger group of friends and we had lots of leftover cake and a fancy, new waffle maker to extend the celebration. However, until those thank you’s go out, I’m not lego’ing any eggos.

 

Happy Birthday, Babycakes! June 6, 2012

Filed under: Activities,Eats — edamomie @ 8:03 am
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A: Activities

Masks at the Maskerade

The kids’ birthday’s have always been a big to-do in this household. We even extended it to my daughter’s American Girl doll – see Happy Birthday, Doll!  This year was no exception. We put a tiny baby in the cake.

 

We began the planning months in advance. We recapped previous parties – the Poodle in Paris Party for BD number 6 as well as Disco Party for number 8 – still remain tops. Why don’t we outsource the fun to Chucky Cheese or the Club Just Jump? I would say it is part fear (keeping an eye on 12 girls in a public place is frightening), part control and part obsession with a theme. Plus it’s practically the only party I throw every year.

 

 For number 9, we decided to go the Masquerade/ Mardi Gras Party route. True to form, our original concept was based on one item. This year it was the mask. I found them at Litin Paper for $3 each in green (for Ava only), blue and pink. A theme was born. From there it expanded to New Orleans cuisine, jello shots, parade floats, glittery make-up and beads.

 

The party took place on a Friday night from 6-8p.m. Once, when I was young, I hosted a 3-hr-long birthday party and learned my lesson. Let’s keep the guests, the birthday girl and Mom happy by ending it on a 2-hr upswing. For these parties, the girls are always extremely prompt, which is another benefit to having it in the neighborhood. You hate to make parents suffer by traveling to a far-off party destination during Friday rush hour.

 

Mardi Gras Mealtime

Mardi Gras Mealtime

Thankfully my Mother-In-Law agreed to come into town the night before and be my sous chef and party prep for the day. There is always so much work to be done. I shopped on Wednesday for hours. The Thursday prior, right after Ava’s track meet, we worked from 8-11p.m. cleaning, setting the table, cooking the Martha Red Rice Recipe, shucking the corn, chilling the jello (purple and lime), baking the King Cake, making name tags and cutting/gluing stuff for party crafts.

 

 I phoned in instructions during the day. I wasn’t going to be home until 5:15, which was a bit unnerving. I remained super focused on 8:15 and tried to relax, remembering from years past that friends just have fun hanging out together. Although, you really do NOT want to throw what any girl terms a boring party.

 

 6:00p.m. Guests arrive. They immediately dig into the Mardi Gras parade float activity that’s comprised of a shoe box and some tin foil or wrapping paper for starters. The best part is that I spent an hour on Monday going though miscellaneous mismatched pieces of games and stuff to add to the doodads bin. Many of these discarded items of ours became the next finder’s treasure. Recycling! They happily hot gun glued them to their float that they would take with them at the party’s end. But for now, it was time to take a break.

 

Mardi Gras Make-up

Mardi Gras Make-up

6:20p.m. Dinner. Sous Chef Sue, joined by Sister-In-Law, Katie, and I teamed up to serve the Red Rice, Sweet Corn and Baby Reds. The rice dish was the more adventurous-than-pizza attempt, but all of them graciously tried it while most finished it – even with garlic, onions, celery and tomatoes in the mix. It was also had sautéed chicken sausage to give it a kick. It was a small taste of New Orleans at any rate.

 

6:40p.m. Activities. this is when a variety of activity options come in handy. Everyone flocked to the hair and make-up station just opened by Katie for all their eyeshadow glitter and hair weaving needs. Ava immediately and diplomatically formed a list for the line-up so the girls could play or continue to work on their floats until their name was called. I remained on hot glue gun duty, but slinked away to change the vibe from the mood-setting “Buckwheat Storms New Orleans” to actual danceable tunes.

 

7:00p.m. dance party/ floatation devices. This is party mid-point so I let them free-fall awhile so we can clear dinner dishes. Half of the girls create a conga line, half remain fixed on their floats, and a few are in line, mesmerized by make-up.

 

Semi Circle King Cake with Tiny Baby

Semi Circle King Cake with Tiny Baby

7:20 p.m. We reconvene at the table with some slice of an unknown treat in front of us. This is not the 3 layer cake I painstakingly bake and decorate each year. It’s a King Cake. According to Mardi Gras tradition you throw a little plastic 1 inch baby toy in the cake and bake it. Whomever receives it has to throw the next Mardi Gras Party the following year. I edited a bit.

 

When everyone was seated at the table, I threw a bit of a researched history into the mix about Mardi Gras colors and what they signify: purple (justice), gold (power) and green (faith). There were jello shots and gummi bears. And only when I had their full attention, I declared in hushed tones that whomever bit into this cake’s particular baby would have good luck for a year. One dear child said, even if I do get the baby, that’ll never happen. I know how she feels. Turns out Malaya finds that baby. She’s overjoyed and optimistic. I do hope luck is on her side this year.

 

Mardi Gras Judging Madness

Mardi Gras Judging Madness

7:45p.m. The float parade and judging.  This aspect of the craft just sort of evolved. I had no idea if the girls would even take to it, but we had enough fun paper, ribbons and random doodads to keep them intrigued I guess. I just thought they would take or leave them, but the concept of parading them to a juror was agreed upon.

 

Ava, who had started a float before the party but never finished, along with three other girls who really weren’t interested in doing their own, were the judges. Based on how I directed the construction of the craft earlier, they all had a theme for their float. Ava and her fellow judges gave fascinating positive critiques. In the end, of the 8 completed, they awarded 1-4 prizes.

 

8:00p.m. Parents promptly arrive. We choose to do a gifts-acceptable party this year, which for whatever reason seems to be the case every other year. I should have allowed another 15 minutes for this portion. It was really rushed, which was not the intention. Sure hope we can get all of the thank you cards straight! They took home their masks and floats.

 

8:07p.m. It’s over. Goodbyes have been said, hugs exchanged, doodads moved out on floats for good. Ava seems pleased and content. As am I. Until next year anyway. I’ll need to plan the party of the decade.

 

Board with Togetherness May 1, 2012

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 10:02 pm
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A: Activities

Game on!

Game on!

My mother was a baker and reader by trade. My father a fisherman and hunter. If I wanted to play a game, I relied on my aunts, my mother’s sisters. They came ’round on special occassions and summer time. Which meant the times where I could legitimately accuse Colonel Mustard of hanging his victim in the study without inside knowledge (due to playing dual hands), were few and far between.

 

I knew some odd and some standard pop culture games from Flinch and Farkle on the odd side, to Sorry!, Easy Money, Life and Monopoly on the pop culture side. Cribbage and chess escaped me until my husband taught my cribbage and my 6-yr-old son, Calvin, chess. Cards beyond Go Fish!, forget it.

 

On a recent trip home to visit my parents, the closet of games beckoned my little ones – now 6 and 8 – and their eager gaming minds. If Mom is going to limit Angry Birds on the iTouch, we’ll have to resort to board games. I could hear the wheels turning. Clue, Trival Pursuit, Connect4 were all contenders. In the end, Monopoly won out.

 

Sir, Your Pacific Avenue Luxury Home is Ready!

Sir, Your Pacific Avenue Luxury Home is Ready!

Ironic that my kids even convinced my parents to play. I had never witnessed Monopoly with so many tokens in play. The hat, shoe, horse, car and dog moved from property to property buying them up or paying to stay. My kids – my son in particular – was hooked. We brought the game home with us. Mom could track down another one at some upcoming garage sale to ensure the game would await them on their next visit.

 

Calvin took to Monopoly like an obession. Waiting and biding his time until the next challenger arrived. Over the course of a week, he played games lasting from 1 hour to 2.5 hours with four different grown-ups – Dad, Mom, Grandma Susie and Aunt Rose. He was devastated to call the game early due to bedtime. He did not yet have his monopoly on the coveted blue properties.

 

He beat me. My strategy has always been to buy everything I land on and mortgage it to the hilt later if necessary. His was to focus on only two or three property groups and develop them to the max with hotels. He’s showing super Kindergartner finance and real estate skills. After three misfortunate lands by me on St. James Place totalling nearly $3,000, he told me he’d give me a break. I didn’t have to pay. I told him I meant to follow the rules. I went bankrupt.

 

Other nights when he met more worthier opponents, he was desperate – on the verge of a breakdown. Making side deals to save his life. When he did lose, there were tears and frustration. Such determination. Such lessons in life – to try so hard and care so much, but still have to lose despite all of your best efforts. Gracious in winning and gracious in losing.

 

It’s tempting to bring him a bowl of ice cream after a loss and sooth it over with a there-there. I just try to agree, Yes, it sucks. If you want to be sad, fine. You can cry with me or on your own. But we’ll play again tomorrow. It led me to compare board games with electronic games. You can probably guess where I lean on this one. Consider the length of time invested – 5-10 minutes per electronic game vs. 2.5 hours for board game. The teaching that can happen, not to mention, viewing how your child thinks. I concluded that for family togetherness, learning to be a gracious winner and loser and helping kids build their critical and strategic thinking ability, board games have a monopoly in this house.

 

What are your favorites – board or electronic?

 

 
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