edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

Journal of an Average Adolescent April 30, 2016

Filed under: The Unknown — edamomie @ 11:58 am
Tags: , ,

U: The Unknown

Although each teenagers’ journey through adolescence differs widely, one thing is for sure: finding your place in this world…. well, it’s challenging. Just ask Greg Heffley, a teen comic icon brought to life in the Children’s Theatre Company production of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: it sucks.
 

DiaryofaWimpyKid_StepRepeat

Step + Repeat; Eye Roll

I lost count on eye-rolling reactions to sharp and subtle jabs, mean-spirited exclusions, brutal popularity rankings and labels that even the audience wanted to assign to each character. It brought me right back to my middle school days in a heartbeat. It was a tough playground. Scenes and the story surrounding the “cheese touch” were dramatically executed and harkened back to game playing as a passive aggressive way to show your true feelings toward someone.
 

Greg stumbled around in his exploration, dealing with seemingly insurmountable issues like a doting mom, an sports-aspirational dad, a little brother who embarrassingly called him Bubby, a terrorizing older sibling, Rodrick, and a swooning friend, Rowley, who Greg vastly under-appreciated in true teen style. The audience cringed and commiserated along with Greg every step of the way as his miserable little existence played out.
 

Yet, it was so sweet. Sitting on either side of me, taking in the show, were my kids. Calvin, my 10 year-old, who I could nearly slip right into Greg’s shoes in a few years and Ava, my 12 year-old, who could witness her current 7th grade situation and the realness of it.
 

We all loved the performance, but for different reasons. I appreciated that Greg possessed the innocence of his age as well as the fluid emotions and struggle to not only do the right thing, but define it for himself through a series of hard-knocks. Ava connected with trying not to subscribe to mainstream beliefs, but finding that values and judgements are next to impossible to escape in middle school life and its close quarters (which begs the question, should we be teaching more empathy in our schools?). Calvin, owner of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, thought it was sheer comedic fun.

DiaryofaWimpyKid_books

Stack of Wimpy Books

Sharing our reviews over a slice of pizza after the performance, we talked about the experience of the story from book to movie (see our 2011 review of Rodrick Rules) to musical. We unanimously agreed that the ever-changing set design, comedic craftiness — the backdrop a sheet of loose-leaf paper, the furniture, doors and props white with black piping and Greg and Rowley’s comedy strip creation process on paper played out onto a screen — were spot on. The exact comic strip, right down to the first one that echoes Greg’s onstage commentary about his mom buying the shamefully labeled “Diary,” when it really was just a journal, felt very true to the written series.
 

Highlights of storylines and performances included Rodrick’s masterfully delivered death threats, Rowley’s crush on teenage music icon, Joshie, the highly coveted “Mom Bucks” (monopoly money) and the reputation-ruining “Cheese Touch.” The characters creatively jumped off the Wimpy kid pages in posture, Greg with a hollowed out slouch stature and Rodrick with all of the slanky starkness of a teen in a darkened state.
 

The concept of Diary of a Wimpy Kid seems to hold the message that adolescence and all its challenges are normal — there are no exceptions nor can one get around it. You just have to go through it. So embrace it and pencil in a date to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Musical now through June 12. Your tweens and teens might roll their eyes, but this is one moment where you just say trust me. Well done, CTC and congratulations on 50 years!

 

 

Advertisements
 

Riding the Wave of Wellness February 14, 2016

Y: Yolo

Peak Performers MN

Peak Performers #MNRepresent

You only live once. I created the blog category, YOLO, to capture my family’s travel adventures. This post might not fit the bill as it’s about a cruise I embarked on SOLO (or without the family), but it’s story worthy nonetheless.

 

I admit to being a bit enamored with the idea of a cruise, but never quite enough to pull the trigger and book one. In November, due to the wellness business I’m building, I was invited to join my team on what’s called a Peak Performers Cruise (hashtag that). I thought about it for a half a sec and went for it. What could be better than working out daily on a cruise ship in the sun on the seas, visiting Cozumel and Grand Cayman and connecting with people impassioned by the same mindset and goals?

 

Cruise_02_8550

Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance

I could check “cruise” off of my bucket list if it was ever really on it, I reasoned. I could write some of it off as a business expense. I was most definite I could use a warm winter getaway from Minnesota. I pushed down the memories from other rocky journeys at sea, seeking whales off the San Diego coast and riding the water taxi to and from the island of Stromboli off the coast of Sicily. These ventures never made me queasy. It was more like the anxiety of what could happen at sea, inflicted by watching movies like Jaws and The Titanic.

 

The anticipation of relaxation and exploration overrode those feelings and I was focused on the positive in the months leading up to trip. Our team (Amanda, Karry, Jen) flew into Fort Meyers on Sunday, February 7, the day of the Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas’ #royalincident. On the two-hour drive up to Tampa to board our cruise ship our friend and driver asked if we had heard what had happened on the Anthem. I tuned it out as much as possible. In fact the Royal WiFi throughout the cruise was sometimes spotty and slow and shared among our team and our multiple devices, made weather and news feeds less accessible.

 

In hindsight, that was a very good thing. I chalked it up to a storm at sea near the Bahamas that got a little wavy, oblivious of the real magnitude of the event. The first night at sea, Monday, February 8, was unsettling for me. The ship was riding the waves and rocking us side to side like we were on the Avatar ride at Nickelodeon Universe, heightening our tilt degree with each wave crescendo. Everything creaked and groaned, the hangers clanged together. My senses were on high alert.

 

Cruise_08_8623

Day Five: Four Desserts

I don’t think any of us slept a wink and maybe drifted off to a light rest for an hour before dawn. I was overjoyed to see the sunrise. Today, Tuesday, would be a new day. The ship swayed and put everyone’s agility, balance and grace to the test. Don’t fill your coffee mug more than 3/4ths full to prevent scalding your hand. Don’t look down for too long – focus your gaze on the horizon or something steady in the distance to walk gracefully without looking completely intoxicated. …I feel a top 10 Cruise Tips List coming on here…

 

I inquired on several things as I gathered research to ease my anxiety: Is this your first cruise? If so, how did last night’s waviness compare? Were you queasy? If so, did you take anything (numerous responses here from Dramamine to patches on pressure points behind the ears and wrists)? Do you know the captain? Will he ever come on a give us passengers a comforting message about what is happening?

 

When the sun came out, I relaxed and was able to enjoy being on this massive, luxurious vessel. We hit the spa and fitness center every day. I had to earn my three royal meals after all. The food and beverages were never in shortage and dining at 6:00 was a main event. Most days, I ran on the treadmill. Running on it while swaying major degrees side to side was a challenge. The message, “Placing your hands on the sensors (i.e. bar handles) is not recommended,” kept popping up, but yet I held firm. My fellow treadmillers and I laughed at the slight insanity of it.

 

Cruise_05_8596

Cheers to Grand Cayman, Solid Ground

In more calorie-burning fun, we packed the dance floor at the top level of the ship in the StarQuest and danced to our heart’s content. I mean, why not have intoxicated people dancing, spilling drinks, standing on a moving platform surrounding the bar at the top-most level of the ship where it’s the least fulcrum-friendly? By the third night of this, the journey started to feel a little like the February 2 Groundhog’s Day we just came off of. Between the electric slide and the the wobble and all of the randomness, the cruise was starting to feel like a never-ending wedding.

 

Honestly, I don’t mean to sound negative. I was mostly just fascinated with cruise culture and how people (including me and our team) behave in this environment. A few things that struck me:

1. Everyone seemed to fully trust the captain (even after Anthem’s captain made a decision in complete disregard for 6,000 people’s lives, in my opinion). No one seemed concerned that when we departed Grand Cayman on Thursday, we knew we were heading into tumultuous waters (which turned out, really, to be only slight waviness compared to Monday night).

2. On day one, we were quite full after each meal and keeping things in check; by day five, our eating and ordering (up to four desserts at one meal) was insanely out of whack.

3. One of the main advantages touted with cruises — exploring new lands to get a taste of them, like the day trips we took to Cozumel (Weds) and Grand Cayman (Thurs) — really didn’t allow enough time to do them any justice. Although I will say being on land was a beautiful thing in and of itself.

 

Cruise_06_8597

Sandscript #EmpoweringAll

On the upswing, I gathered a lot of reassurance from my fellow cruisers. Tammara said to me in her sweet way, “Think of it as a little city gliding along the water.” Brilliant! I’m going with that. Unique to our cruise experience was the company commonness that brought all of us together. We were all there on a journey intended to relax, reward and inspire us to new personal heights in our wellness business. I so enjoyed striking up conversations with people anywhere I went, learning about their business and gaining new insight.

 

Today, on solid ground in Minnesota, I have new perspective that I’m grateful for courtesy of this experience. From a business viewpoint, I’m ready to expand on Empowering All — find us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter — and help others on their road to wellness. From a personal perspective, I don’t believe I’ll be eager to set sail on a cruise anytime soon unless it’s a 99% chance of sunny skies and smooth waters.

 

 

 

 

 

Paws for Celebration: Six Months of Puppyhood December 2, 2015

Filed under: The Unknown — edamomie @ 6:37 am
Tags: , , ,
Copper_Cone_Nov2015_8277

Puppycone of Misery

We recently celebrated our puppy’s six month birthday. There was cake (fit only for human consumption), beef and cheddar homemade gourmet dog biscuits by the Brown-eyed Baker in the shape of a bone (fit for both human and puppy consumption), an extra long walk and treats from Bone Adventure.

 

Copper, our beloved medium goldendoodle with an Instagram account, now nearly five times his bring-home puppy weight of 7 lbs; knew something was up on November 20, his half-birthday. He was so insatiable and would hear of no rest, even past 10:30p.m. We attributed some of this spunkiness to his neutering a mere 10-days earlier and the removal of the puppycone. Saying goodbye the the cone gave him a new-found freedom (since removal, he has thoroughly inspected it, swatted it and nearly tore it apart, signifying his dominance over it).

 

It might seem silly to celebrate a dog’s half-birthday, but his presence in our lives has held a lot of meaning. Having never had a dog before, the decision to get one was not taken lightly (see 2.5 years of research in The Perils of Puppy Pursuit). For our family of four, with varying levels of interest from main caregiver/walker (me), to nuturer (my 12 year-old daughter, Ava) to hyped-up player (my 10 year-old son, Calvin) to my nonchalant husband whose attention ebbs and flows, consistency in training has been a challenge.

 

Dirty Laundry

Dirty Laundry

Here’s the Six-Month Overview:

Months 1-2

In the beginning he peed a lot. And just wherever. I was happy we did not just recently do our flooring. We will be doing that next. It needs to go. It was a good two months before we could stop walking on eggshells for fear of a mess when he disappeared into the next room. Soon, we understood the random-pattern floor-sniffing, much like a crazed ant, as a key indicator to get him to the dog run stet.

 

At the onset, I was summoned at least once nightly by barking to release him from his kennel and take him out. Thank God it was summer. I honestly don’t know if he’d be with us if he required winter training. It was insane how quickly I jumped back into the newborn mom routine and sleep deprivation. That lasted a good month (or bad month, as the case may be).

Dognapping

Dognapping

 

I recall many a happy dance when he did sleep through the night. Even then it was only until 6:00a.m. For weeks we were in great stride with early morning walks. Sometimes I tried to go back to sleep 6:30-8:00, but could never seem to get quality sleep.

 

We started dognapping often as the breeder (Goldendoodle Acres) reported the goldendoodles need for up to 16 hours of sleep a day as a puppy. Most days a dognap could work, but catch me after the shrill ring of the doorbells mid-nap (a trained Copper-induced cue that he needs go out), and you would find a not-so-happy dog-owner.

 

Month 3:

A crazy thing happened at the end of June, just as we were thinking about prepping our small city lot for puppy. Our neighbors on both sides installed fences. In addition, we had our own chainlink fence on the street-facing side. It was a design nightmare of sorts and I spent months contemplating options to enclose the fourth side of our yard that faced the alley. It was clear that escorting him around to the side of our house to the 18 x 7′ enclosed dog pen 10X daily was not a sustainable effort.

Fenced In! ...Finally

Fenced In! …Finally

 

Finally, in October, I reached out to our neighbor’s fence company and found a contractor for the small fencing project. He was awesome. He completed the fence (6″ planks with 2″ gaps to allow some site lines) to complement our neighbor’s fence.

 

Because we completed the cedar fencing so late in the year, I had to give the wood just enough time to dry out, but not wait too long before temps dipped below 40 or for precipitation set in to stain the fence. Luckily, we had one of the nicest Minnesota fall seasons on record! Our neighbor’s shared the cedar stain brand/color they used and I was off to the races. It took me four hours of really intense work to complete the staining.

 

Months 4-5:

Official Dog Tag

Official Dog Tag

Now Copper runs free the yard, with just a quick open of the back door to let him out and a high-pitched treat call to bring him scrambling in. Liberating. It changed our lives just when patience was at an all time high (hauling a 22 lb dog to the dog run equals no fun).

 

Things were going smoothly until one day we called and he didn’t come. We heard meek squeaks coming from underneath our wrap-around deck. My dad had just completed some fancy lattice work surrounding it, leaving no space too large for little Copper.

 

How could this be? He was stuck under the deck. It became apparent that he’d been working on his project for weeks, clearing dirt in a non-visible area under one set of steps, much like Tim Robbins work in the Shawshank Redemption.

 

I lured him out to his neck with a treat, then grabbed his collar. Had he not had his walking harness on, which was completely necessary to grab, I might have had to dismantle the step to remove him. Jeez, Copper! Calvin said, shaking his head. When will this dog ever learn?

 

Present day:

Cal and Copper Cuddling

Cal and Copper Cuddling

Well, he’s learning. We’re all learning. One thing at a time. From late August – Sept puppy obedience classes at the Canine Coach to our recent investment in a bark collar (six month minimum age required), training a dog takes diligence, consistency and patience. The collar was immediately effective, making all the difference between a bark-through Thanksgiving dinner at my parents to a bark-free Thanksgiving meal at my house two days later.

 

Next up? Winter-weather exercise. We headed to the Minnehaha Dog Park last Sunday. No way would we let him off-leash there… we’re working up to it though. Just keeping him from destroying the backseat of the car after that visit and bathing him was hilarious challenge enough.

 

Through it all, I continue to remind everyone that all we need is just a little patience.

 

— Happy six month, Copper! We love your unconditional love and sweet little licks all over our faces. — love, the fam

 

Queen of Hearts for a Day November 1, 2015

A: Activities and I: Independence
 

My kids inherited the Halloween gene. While you might say that this proves true for every child — what kid doesn’t like a pillowcase full of candy? — the fact that they start scheming and envisioning their costume as early as June places them in the slightly obsessive category. They owe this debt of gratitude for the love of planning the costume and going to painstaking lengths to ensure its perfection, to my husband. And maybe my handy, if not limited, sewing skills.
 

Queen_Halloween_MakeUpThis halloween, my 12 year-old daughter, Ava, envisioned the Queen of Hearts three months before the spooky holiday neared. She found a DIY costume video from a teen pop culture icon, Bethany Mota (#SpookBook), on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland version of the Queen of Hearts character inspired by the actress Helena Bonham Carter.
 

Two months out, we made our list of stuff we would need: fabric: red, red lace and gold brocade; thread, black corset, red ribbon, black elastic, gold fabric paint, red jewels, a dowel rod, gold piping and gold foil for the scepter; funky black tights, black felt, hot glue gun and sticks and of course, the make up.
 

We hit Joann Fabrics for the first round of items. For the first time in 20 years, I actually bought a sewing pattern for the skirt (typically I just pull something out of my closet with a similar cut and improvise). The red skirt complete with interfacing, waistband and a zipper presented numerous challenges and creative differences. My Brother sewing machine needed a $75 tune-up. Halloween costumes of the past with glittered to sequined fabric had taken its toll. We used too thick of a thread for our satin fabric. Ava accidentally cut out a small chunk of the nearly completed skirt. We sewed in the zipper upside down. The list goes on…
 

Queen_Halloween_Skirt
 

The most challenging part was the red lace overlay. The entire skirt was a Project Runway #MakeItWork moment. We were three weeks in and Ava was starting to wane — this is a ton of work for a costume I’m going to wear for four hours! Let’s just buy a costume at the store. I assured her, we would see the project through. We were already $80 (+ $75 for repairs) into the project.
 

By five weeks in, we came at it with renewed energy on a quest to find the red tutu and black corset for less than $30 and $50, respectively. We ended up finding a $6 red tutu at Michaels and a $16 Bebe corset at NuLook Consignment. Perfect moment for a refresher course on our Halloween costume budget and the meaning of DIY. Ava was quite focused on executing the costume to every exacting detail she saw in the video. I stressed the importance of using things we already had on hand and reinventing our own version — creative and economical. We shared some very vocal creative differences again… and resolved them.
 

Queen_Halloween_Hare_Training
 

At seven weeks in (one week away from Halloween), we visited Spirit Halloween in search of my 10 year-old son’s costume. Ava was immediately drawn to the $59.99 Queen of Hearts costume in the bag. It was jumping off the rack, speaking to her. It would be so easy… She was practically begging me to buy it. I held firm if a bit incredulous she’d push to go that route after our efforts. I assured her that now was the fun part.
 

Queen_Halloween_Corset
 

And it was. We put all of the details together little by little throughout Halloween week. By Friday (the day before Halloween), it was pretty solid and she was fairly confident. Halloween day, I picked up black tights for $5 at Target and Ava’s aunt Katie (@Glamwhip), once again showed her awesome skills as a make-up artist. We had pinned away the night before (Pinterest Board: Queen of Hearts) and she came with all of the make-up and ideas ready to go on Halloween. I found my wedding crown and Katie used that in the glam up-do. Ava stepped into my velvet heels and the role of the queen.
Queen_Halloween_Tights
 

Ava’s friends came over around 6:00 on Halloween to enjoy hotdish, hotdogs (#mummydogs) and hotcakes (chocolate cupcakes); head out trick or treating, then just hung out at our house til 10:00. The make-up came off with some persistence (the heels had been shred long before in favor of her Converse) and the candy was counted. It was def a DIY Halloween filled with lots of good lessons on creativity and perseverance with a pricetag of $115, if that’s a factor.
 

Happy Halloween, everyone!

 

The Perils of Puppy Pursuit August 1, 2015

U: The Unknown  I was puppy-obsessed. The more the universe told me I had no business owning a dog, the more I pursued it. Two and a half years ago when my then 9 year-old daughter, Ava, started on her individual quest for a dog, I would hear nothing of it. Sure, I humored her by participating in dog quizzes nightly at dinner for stretches that lasted two weeks at a time. After a few of these, the pattern of irreconcilable dog differences began to emerge.
 

She wanted a tiny dog that looked good on her arm in the latest designer handbag. I wanted a medium-sized square in stature dog who was an avid-runner and a non-squirrel chaser. We also had to consider allergies. My son has mild allergies to dogs, which greatly narrowed our options. And the conversation, which I managed to stop for three months (and delay with other obsessions like pierced ears and a room redo) before it gained any momentum again in the spring of 2013.

Pitbull Mix  - Animal Humane Society

Pitbull Mix – Animal Humane Society


 

I’ll give Ava points for persistence. I thought the interest would pass. Around this time, our neighbors left on a week vacation and entrusted us with the care of their well-trained lab, Riley. Riley was incredibly easy and chill. By the end of the week, Ava was tired and unsure. I, on the other-hand, was surprisingly sold. I could envision me as the main caretaker of said dog with no expectations of the kids and their role.
 

This vision of me at the helm was critical according to other cautionary parents. Our long reviewal process and conversations with dog owners pushed this idea to the forefront as the key in dog-ownership. If we were to get a dog, I would assume responsibility and guilt-free joint ownership for the other three members of our family.
 

Once on board with this, we visited animal humane societies (notably in Golden Valley in April of 2013: see my related post: The Dogs Are Barking). Having never owned a dog myself (my husband had two over the course of his childhood), this visit was rather intimidating. What breed, or more specifically, what individual dog would be most suited to our family?

Corgi Bonding at Mpls Kennel Show

Corgi Bonding at Mpls Kennel Show


 

We continued the quizzes and my daughter logged long hours looking online and tagging her favorite pups. We took a break over the summer. She started up again in the fall of 2013. We hit up the annual Minneapolis Kennel Club All Breed Show and Obedience Trial in November 2013. This began, for Ava, a love of the Corgi and all its variations. We recommitted to ramping up the dog search again in the spring of 2014. The discussion remained dormant over the holidays.
 

During the spring of 2014, we landed on the basenji as an agreeable breed for Ava and me. We visited a basenji breeder in WI and met Harry late May of 2014. We liked Harry a lot. We made a date for the breeder to drop him off at our home for a weekend-long stay. A few days prior to the scheduled visit, the breeder cancelled on us citing the reason as becoming too attached to Harry and wanting to keep him for her own. Was this a taste of what to beware of when working with breeders?
 

Yes. While breeders are certainly avid dog-lovers, they do not necessarily pride themselves on their professionalism or customer service (of course, there are exceptions! I am just basing this on our experience with about 10 different breeders interactions). I was ready to take a summer break in our search. We did that and then some. Talks resumed in March of 2015.
 

We reflected on the path to-date and recognized the basenji, as a sight, not scent-hound, was prone to venturing off and never finding their way back to home base. So for this search go-around, we focused on low-bark invoking, highly trainable, hypo-allergenic breeds. I did more online searches and long email conversation strings. After an interview for an article I was writing for MN Parent and a simultaneous conversation with a dog-owner friend, both landed on the goldendoodle, I took it as a sign.

Basenji Bonding at Breeder

Basenji Bonding at Breeder


 

We had our breed. I did one last month-long push to reach out to breeders of goldendoodles in the Midwest. I even submitted a deposit to a breeder in Hutchinson, but had no returned email response until two weeks later, at which time we had already committed to the breeder we ultimately selected in Neenah, WI. We also talked with a breeder in Mankato and made arrangements to meet them. We were on their waiting list and had plans to visit over Memorial Day weekend, but received no confirmation. Weeks later, we received an email that pups were available. We had already moved on.
 

I committed to one last evening of research and inquires on Thursday, May 28. The following Sunday, I received a call from the breeder, Janece. Someone with the first pick of the liter ready July 8, had to back out of their commitment. I immediately sent in our deposit to GoldenDoodle Acres, our breeder of choice, on June 3rd on a wing and a prayer. It worked out. The universe wants us to have a dog. We have accepted the challenge.

 

Bases Loaded Going into the Tenth June 27, 2015

Filed under: Independence — edamomie @ 8:16 am
Tags: ,

I: Independence

10YO Coolness

10YO Coolness

The scheming and theming might be over. Upon Calvin’s calendar reaching double digits, having a party theme that looks like you tried too hard, in his 10-year-old words is not very cool, Mom. I could hardly find a plain enough Evite to send out for the party and it was made clear that the plates and napkins were to be solid colors only.
 

I thought once we hit Party City he’d warm up to some decor, perhaps a baseball theme since he’d really stepped up to the plate with the Brewers, Richfield baseball this season. Alas, he stood firm. I barely talked him into four solid color balloons. The cashier empathized, How old? me: 10; cashier: Consider yourself lucky. My son is 13. All he wanted for his birthday last week was a ride for him and his friends to the movie theater. Nothing else. 

Ticket Redemption

Ticket Redemption


 

Well, I reasoned, if it’s the end of an era, so be it. I’d just like to hold on to their littleness for awhile longer. Reflecting on previous parties from pizza and a movie (age 6), Lego My Eggo (age 7), Flip this Room (age 8, all about the remodel) and Skyzoning Out (age 9), we’d had a good run of theme-oriented fun. This year, we chose Grand Slam, a laser-tag, mini-golf and krazy kar extravaganza.
 

We set the party date for a Friday and offered to shuttle the boys from Minneapolis to Grand Slam’s Burnsville location with a 4:00p.m. drop off. All parents took us up on this offer and we were out the door by 4:20 and with shameless use of the I-35W carpool lane during rush hour, we arrived at Grand Slam by 4:40. Jim, headmaster at the complex, allowed us to check in at 4:45, prior to our official 5:00 start time. He also had great suggestions about the order of events from laser tag to mini golf to pizza, then krazy kars to arcade. I would’ve gotten these all out of order.
 

My husband and I played Win, Lose or Deal and then played mini golf with the boys, which was much better than sitting on a bench in non-participatory mode. I appreciated the boys’ age, the little monitoring required and the super-easy process at Grand Slam. All for $14.95 a kid (Package #3). Since we were transporting all of the boys, I opted not to bring the triple-layer, double-fudge cake into the venue. We saved that and the presents for our house.
 

Too Quick for Candles

Too Quick for Candles

The boys burned off some energy playing laser tag no doubt. As a result, switching gears to mini golf when they were ready for a more focused activity, worked well. The course was close-knit without much breathing room, but I appreciated the Pirates of the Caribbean meets The Truman Show vibe they created. Golf was followed by pizza and pop and all sorts of goofiness, which was really sweet, actually.
 

The boys ended the eve there burning through the six tokens included in their package. Some were lucky to hit jackpots and collect 250+ tickets spewing out of the machines only to discover 500 tickets would only get them a packet of gummi bears. I appreciated that restraint. It forced each boy to carefully select one meaningful item from the ticket redemption area.
 

I enjoyed a more subdued ride back to our house, with that one special item in each of their hands. When all the boys took their places at the table, we cut into the cake. I’m sad to report that I only got 5 of the 10 candles lit before impatience pre-empted my lighting (we would make up for this during the half-cake family b-day later that weekend). And yes, cake was served on solid color plates.
 

BD Swag Bag Items

BD Swag Bag Items

Cal decided that for this year’s party, he wouldn’t mind gifts. We had a rapid-fire opening of them and most all translated well to the front lawn from lawn darts to Nerf guns — and they all needed to immediately be tested. Calvin does like his gifts, but he also really enjoyed picking out each and every item that went into each invitee’s birthday swag bag. There were squishy basketballs, paddleballs, bouncy balls and gumballs (Ha! It’s a theme).
 

The parents arrived promptly at 8:30 and the house had quieted by 8:41 or something close to that. I found myself totally cool with the downplay of the theme and the mellowness that was my son’s tenth year celebration. It’s definitely a whole new era.

 

The Age of The Lateover June 7, 2015

Crafty Paper
I: Independence
 

The end of the school year is always a flurry of activity, so why not throw a birthday celebration into the mix? The celebration, in honor of my 12-year-old, Ava, would be very non-princess, very non-pink and very bold.
 

Unlike past birthday parties I’ve thrown for Ava including Disco Superstars (age 8), Babycakes (age 9), Peace, Love and Balloons (age 10) and Twisted Princess (age 11), this one would be notably different in many ways.
 

First-– we based the party theme around the Avengers, The Age of Ultron, devoid of princesses (unless you count the movie’s female superhero, Black Widow).
 

Second — it was a progressive party of sorts. We went from our house to the park, to the theater and back to our house. Change of venue kept the momentum up and me with less busy-work and entertaining.
 

Starry ShieldsThird – my daughter didn’t even ask for a sleepover, it was a lateover. This new term was brought to my attention by the guy sitting next to me at the theater and the father of another 12 year-old girl whose wife had shoed him out of the house during his daughter’s party. Basically it’s a late end to the party — in our case 10:00p.m.. — that pushes parental limits.
 

After years of birthday parties for Ava where I’m running a bit much, this year, the girls’ ages made it super simple, mind you never less loud.The party began at 3:00, right after the bell on the last day of the school year which included a Grand Slam field trip with their entire sixth grade class. When I picked up half of the crew at school, they looked ready for some down time. After the other half arrived via a rowdy bus ride, they all quietly watched about an hour and 15 minutes  of Once, before I summoned them away to sneak in a 20 minute activity making superhero shields.
 

Girly MonkeysI wasn’t sure how this would go over. It was borderline and risky, but either the girls humored me or had fun with the making of their bedazzled shields. We used cardboard cake plates as the base and traced and cut circles and stars in varying shapes using craft paper in blue, red, sliver glitter and black stripes (Michaels). With packing tape, we adhered a faux leather bracelet from a DIY kit to the back of each shield. Cap (Captain America) would be proud.
 

Weapons aside, the pizza delivery guy showed up around 4:45. He parked in the wrong direction and at a diagonal, like his life depended on this delivery. I thanked him for his superhero speed and in turn, the girls downed the two pizzas in about three minutes. Post pizza, they played with shields and musical instruments and harmonized to the Disney parody Thank You BP, then were ready to head to destination two: Veteran’s Park.
 

The new apparatuses for climbing and zipping at Veteran’s were impressive. I hadn’t visited there with the kids lately so it was nice to let them run wild for an hour while my husband (co-shuttler for the night) and I chilled on a park bench. I noted their advanced monkey skills at this age, climbing, swinging, jumping with agility.
 

After tMarvelous Birthday Cakehey numbered off diplomatically for who was to go in each car, we made the quick trek to Southdale AMC for the 7:05 showing of Avengers: The Age of Ultron. My 10-year-old son actually wanted in on his sister’s party this year as did my husband. The three of us sat together in the row behind the six girls. True to form at Southdale AMC and 20 minutes of trailers later, the 2:21 movie was rolling. It was a bit of a gamble taking 12-year-olds to see a PG-13 movie so I was a little concerned on the suitability. In discussions after, most gave the movie high ratings for action, pace, story, characters and humor. I thought the action in back to back scenes was a bit intense. I was not following some of the pending end-of-the-world drama either. It had me wondering about an additional suitability rating like CG-35. With this rating, you’d know going in that if you’re over age 35, your child (or a child) will need to explain certain parts of the movie to you.
 

During the car ride home I received the tweens’ explanation of the movie. I’m still not sure how good and evil got so mixed up within Ultron and why Bruce Banner grew exponentially as The Hulk, when in the TV show he went from 180lbs to 250lbs. One bright friend of Ava’s proclaimed herself the biggest nerd and relayed all the Avengers facts my 35+ mind could fathom. I was starting to catch on, but I couldn’t help but think that a 1.21 versus 2.21 film duration might have lessened the confusion.
 

The movie trailers and length put us home at 9:48, just in time for a rapid fire light of 12 candles (not possible), the birthday song, cake and ice cream. The girls’ timely parents all arrived, some yawning, at or very close to 10:00. I’m such an efficiency girl that I note all five guests were out the door and it was quiet by 10:17.
 

Cake Eating with AvengenceAva was exhausted, but happy with her party turnout and the reminder that school’s out for summer. She went to bed. I reflected on the sweetness of her last tween-year birthday, the age of 12 and the lateover while enjoying my piece of cake. Then I went directly to bed myself with no worries of preparing pancakes for six in the morning.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: