edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

An American Girl Birthday Whirl July 18, 2013

Filed under: Outings — edamomie @ 10:17 am
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O: Outings

BD Girls and Grandma

BD Girls and Grandma

What better way to ring in your tenth birthday than at the American Girl Cafe? My 10 year-old daughter and I had often times thought about going – – just the two of us — but never had. It had to be for a special occasion. Goodness knows we’re at the Mall of America quite a bit. So when grandma Susie brought up the idea for us girls to go, we jumped at the opportunity.

 

Mia and Piper, Ava’s American Girl dolls, were pretty stoked too. Ava’s cousin Amy, who’s a year older, has a birthday the day prior to hers. In total we were three grown-ups, two birthday girls and three American Girls. We had reservations on a Thursday in June for the seven of us.

 

AG Two-Layer BD Cake

AG Two-Layer BD Cake

When grandma booked, the AG Cafe sent her AG invites to send out to her granddaughters. She mailed them to the girls to make it official. Ava planned out the morning of the luncheon and made sure Mia and Piper were in their party dresses, hair loosely curled for one and a sock bun (new technique we learned) for the other, and on their best behavior.

 

We met our party at the AG Cafe. We had strolled by it many times, but could appreciate first-hand the decked out pink decor this time around. You really can’t get more girly. Our server greeted us and the birthday girls by name. The AG girls had their own chairs at the table too. We ordered a round of pink lemonade because it just seemed fitting.

 

Cake & Fake (Flower)

Cake & Fake (Flower)

We ordered off of the Birthday Bistro Celebration menu with pricing set for one appetizer, one entree and one dessert per person. The warm-artichoke spinach dip was a serious favorite, followed by the avocado chicken sandwich. I thought there might be more tea party like options, but they were clearly going for classed up comfort food (mac n cheese, chicken nuggets) that kids and moms (I would say parents, but I didn’t spot a single dad in the place) could enjoy.

 

The AG girls got some cool fake balloons form-fitted for their little hands out of the deal. We were served a yummy two layer white and chocolate cake on a cake stand and my personal favorite — ice cream in mini flower pots with fake yellow flowers on top. The birthday song might as well be continuously played there. Our server joined us in the tune, then cut and served the cake.

 

All of us girls had a special, fancy luncheon with two gift bags to boot that contained an AG t-shirt and scrapbook. Good swag considering a retail purchase of these items would run up to $25 total. It was a birthday celebration for the books no doubt. If you’re looking to celebrate with a special young lady in your life, I’d definitely recommend giving the cafe (and spa, if you have time) a whirl!

 

—  Happy Birthday to Ava (10) and Amy (11)!
check out the video below on YouTube or VINE at jengilhoi : https://vine.co/v/bltAKww9Wmx



 

Standing OVO-ation June 8, 2011

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

 

Lego of Your Santa Gift Expectations December 29, 2010

Filed under: Outings,The Unknown — edamomie @ 11:15 am
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O and U: Outings; Unknown

Despite what you know is good for your children, when it comes to Christmas, the rules don’t apply. This may have been one of the last years to use “the elves are watching” threats to my advantage and most importantly live vicariously through their belief that Santa still exists.  And I blew it.

Lego Calendar, T-shirt and Truck

Lego Calendar, T-shirt and Truck

 

My logic got the best of me. My 7-yr-old wanted a DQ Blizzard Maker. It was the only thing she asked of Santa. Rather than buy this cheap piece of plastic, I searched out other ways to recreate the experience. Luckily, when Christmas morning arrived, the explanatory note from Santa justified the ice cream sprinkle toppings, two special ice cream bowls and directions to the ice box where smoothie mix and ice cream awaited.  Santa said our blender would work just fine to create magical ice cream treats. She seemed happy and nary a mention of the missing blizzard maker have I heard.

 

My 5-yr-old asked Santa for Legos and Hotwheels. After comparing gift purchases with the family and learning that they were getting him every variation of gifts in these areas (from PJs and T-shirts to calendars), I decided to go my own route. I got him a castle. He was astonished on Christmas morning. Baffled. Didn’t Santa understand his wishes? What about sugar-plum dreams of Legos and Hotwheels? He wouldn’t go near the castle, he insisted it was a mistake and must have been meant for his sister. How spoiled, right? Regardless, I still felt bad.

 

Larger-Than-Life Legoed Woody

Larger-Than-Life Legoed Woody

After all, we had just visited the new unveiling of the new Lego store at the Mall of America two nights prior. There was a huge Legoed Toy-Story Woody and a clear Legoed wall with each circle half-open for reaching in for Legos by shape and color – a Lego collectors dream. Surely, there were many items there he envisioned getting from Santa.

 

Which brings me to the conclusion that the Santa gift is the all-important, most anticipated one for children who still believe. It’s our job as parents to make that happen. I should have swapped out some other stuff, insisted that a massive 1,333 piece Lego masterpiece arrive via Santa. I have regrets.

 

Lego Wall Mosaic

Lego Wall Mosaic

Later on Christmas Day as the sleepless night prior kicked in for my son, we had a talk about graciousness in accepting a gift, Santa’s gift in particular. He was a bit stubborn and held out, “why did we go see Santa and tell him our wishes if he was just going to get us what he wanted to anyway?” He had a point. A bit more discussion and he came around to see it to my advantage, finally falling into a deep post-Christmas slumber.

 

The battle of wood (castle) vs. plastic (legos)

The battle of wood (castle) vs. plastic (legos)

I am glad I didn’t give into making up some creative gift exchange/return clause for Santa gifts. I was close. The next morning, both kids happily played with their new castle from Wonderment. I am feeling better about it now  – choosing to believe that maybe Santa did know best.

 

 
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