Saturday, January 21, 2012

Birthday pictures

Three years and 363 days ago, Hannah entered out lives. And so today we celebrated her with a superhero and princess birthday party at our house. A few of her boy and girl friends came over dressed as princesses or superheroes and played some games, ate some food, and generally had a good time.

Our littlest princess
As usual, Lynda was hyper-prepared for the event. Each attendee would get a custom-made cape (for superhero boys) or cloak (for princessy girls). The kids could make their own emblem to go on the back that was then hot-glued to their cape for play while they were at the party or once they got home.

Hannah's cape.
Lynda has also prepared some other games, such as "Pin the Mask on the Superhero" and "Pin the Crown on the Princess." But not many of the kids were warmed up enough and comfortable enough to play those games. I tried to get the ball rolling, and played a bit. And Sarah gave it a try as well. But it didn't really catch on.

Not to worry though, there were lots of other choices ready to go. We also played a bit of Freeze Dance. We started with some old traditional songs such as "B.I.N.G.O." and "The Farmer in the Dell." But the kids didn't really start dancing until Sarah dialed up "Pokerface" on her iPhone. 

(Kids today . . . )

The cupcakes on our cupcake tree were a nice decorative hit. And they tasted really good.
This was in lieu of a cake and it was a good idea.
There were other games and activities for the kids as well, such as a superhero or princess coloring page. A few of the kids enjoyed this as well, but mostly only for a few minutes. We had to keep throwing new things at them constantly to keep them interested. 
Grace worked throughout to keep the kids directed from one activity to the next. She loved it and was quite good at it. (One of the parents thought that Grace had a future as either a life coach or a television talk show host.)
Sarah, predictably, was the most interested in the coloring station.
In the front room, Grace had set up a maze/obstacle course for the kids to crawl through. It was an initial hit with the boys while the girls were coloring.

Despite all of the careful planning, however, when given freedom to do their own thing, the kids went up to Hannah's room and dragged out all of her toys, destroying the room in about two minutes flat. And when they were done with that . . .

. . . they headed down to the basement and played with things down there. It took a few more minutes to locate and spread all the toys across the floor down there, but soon it was all done. It was a mess, but they were all having a fun time playing with each other like they do at daycare. (And it gave the parents a chance to sit down upstairs and chat.)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Parents Wordle

Most of the time, the papers that the kids bring home from school are just the daily detritus of their time away from us . . . worksheets, old tests, homework papers we first saw when they were blank and mysterious. And after a perfunctory scan to see that there are no important notes from the teacher, a report from the school nurse, or warnings of academic insufficiency . . . they are recycled or tossed into the trash can.

So, when Sarah pulled out a stack of papers this afternoon, I was prepared for more of the same. I flipped through and examined the old tests, to see what she had been getting wrong. I looked for old stories that I didn't know she had written. I check teacher comments to see encouraging things like "Good job!" "Well described!" and the like.

But then I saw a Wordle in the mix and a few of the words caught my eye--words I recognized such as "boo yah." "awesome," and "Mom." I asked her what it was and found that in her technology class last month they were asked to create a Wordle describing her parents. And I am happy to see the nice things that Sarah conjured to describe us.

(I know that I did.)

Monday, January 02, 2012

So, do I go to the Gray Havens now?

(In case you don't know what I'm talking about, review this post for some context.)

I made one major mistake when we loaded up the car and headed to Georgia two weeks ago.

I forgot Mr. Mustachio and in doing so, fundamentally failed in my role as Forkmaster. I had previously boxed Mustachio up and he was waiting, patiently waiting beside my keys and wallet every day. But as things that sit for so long often do, it became scenery and I quit noticing it. So, in the rush of getting ready to leave, it was abandoned like Kevin in "Home Alone."

Somewhere around Northern Kentucky, it dawned on me what I had done. But it was too late to turn around. So I began mulling over what I would say to my family when we gathered. How would I tell them that the transfer of the Forkmaster responsibilities would be delayed? Sure, like the Ring, the power of Mustachio had twisted our minds during the past year, and we all know that the Bearer of a Fork of Power is loathe to give it up. But would I be exposed as a feeble-willed Boromir, or would I stand up strong like Sam, temporary Ring Bearer though he might be. Could I give it up properly?

Once we got home, I began my preparations. I found suitable reference materials in LotR to explain my mistake. I wrote a warning note to those who next bear the responsibility. And I reluctantly let Mustachio move on.

You can see what I provided by visiting my Tumblr page, which is linked here.