Pirate Party

Since I was gone for a couple of weeks (more on that in a post later this week), we just now got around to celebrating Evelyn’s birthday. Evie had the idea to do a “murder mystery” party (you know, like most 8 year olds), but they strangely don’t make a lot of those for kids.

Sara looked around online and found a company that makes kid-friendly equivalents. However, there were like 8 princess ones, and Evelyn said, “absolutely not” to that idea. So instead, we ended up with pirates.

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It turns out, hosting a pirate mystery party is a tremendous amount of work. Not only do you have to prepare everything for the kit and come up with really awesome food ideas, you also have to deal with the fact that the company involved thought it would be a really good idea to have the scavenger hunt lead to rooms such as “the master bedroom” and “the main bathroom”. And you can’t just stuff all the mess in a closet or something because, hello, it’s a scavenger hunt, where do you think the kids are going to start digging first?

So, yeah, lots and lots of cleaning.

Of course, Evelyn also demanded a chocolate cheesecake, because it can’t be easy, right?

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Luckily we borrowed a truly authentic looking pirate chest for the grand finale (filled with Pirate’s Booty, natch). We gathered clues, solved mysteries, swabbed the deck, played pirate guessing games, and told pirate jokes, but when the kids found that pirate chest, they lost their freaking minds. I doubt real pirates, with real gold, were ever so excited about finding a treasure chest. Or, if they were that excited, I bet their screams were not quite so high pitched.

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Despite the tremendous amount of work, I don’t think I exaggerate to say it was the best party I’ve ever given. Everybody had a blast (even the adults), and it lived up to all of Evelyn’s expectations (something that, needless to say, is difficult to manage on the best of days).

I’m already a little nervous about what she’ll want next year…

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Another day older, and deeper in debt

So, it’s my birthday.

I had a rough plan of talking about how my birthday always makes me feel like posting a “year in review” post even though I really didn’t have anything important to say, but then I sat down and read last year’s birthday post and I already said all of that, except funnier.

So.

Not much to say. Good year. Well documented.

This is a weird thing to say, but maybe I do feel more grown up? Part of it is that I’ve noticed that the way I think about things has definitely changed. Definitely more into the long view, definitely feel like I understand the previous generation a bit more. Better understand what it means to be a parent, and how having kids changes how you approach life. Another part of it is that this is the first year in a while that I feel like I can see flaws in myself that I need to work on. The flaws were always there, but I can see them now. That’s growing up, right?

It also took me 35 years to figure out that boots and a hood are awesome and amazing things in the winter.

What can I say, I’m a slow learner.

Weekend in Pictures

blowing out the candles

jenga concentration

its going to fal

Ollie plays a pretty intense game of Jenga

tomatoes

(This is what was left AFTER we canned the salsa!)

sunflower boy

missing front teethI guess we know what she’s going to ask for for Christmas…

 

Because She’s Mommy

In preparation for Sara’s birthday today, the kids and I put together a little video, a la Sara’s Father’s Day video from last year. Though I am very partial to that video, and think that it is basically the best thing ever, the kids were *very* excited to show this one to Sara. They put in a lot effort, from coming up with the words, to recording the audio, to deciding which videos to include, to just keeping it quiet from Sara for so long.

So anyway, enjoy the fruits of their labor, and wish a happy birthday to a very excellent mommy!

It might seem crazy, what I’m ’bout to say,
Mommy she’s here, can’t get a break,
She works so hard, she might get an ache,
But if you’re feeling bad, she’ll kiss your face.

Here’s why:

Because she’s mommy…
Clap along if you think that mommy’s a good cook
Because she’s mommy…
Clap along if you think that mommy reads good books
Because she’s mommy…
Clap along if you think that mommy plans good trips
Because she’s mommy…
Clap along if you think that you like what mommy knits

Love my mom
I always
Love my mom
My love is too high
Love my mom
I always
Love my mom
I hope she never dies
Love my mom
I always
Love my mom
I love her so much
Love my mom
I always
Love my mom

I said, ’cause she’s mommy…
Clap along if you think that mommy’s a good cook
Because she’s mommy…
Clap along if you think that mommy reads good books
Because she’s mommy…
Clap along if you think that mommy plans good trips
Because she’s mommy…
Clap along if you think that you like what mommy knits

Because she’s mommy…
Clap along if you think that mommy’s a good cook
Because she’s mommy…
Clap along if you think that mommy reads good books

3 Performances

The kids have recently treated us to 3 fairly major performances:

  1. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – Evie recently completed a second year of “acting camp”. This year the play was, inexplicably, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Nothing says summer camp like Santa Claus! Last year, Evie auditioned with “Little Girls” and got Ursula the Sea Witch. This year, she performed “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and got Hermey, the elf who wants to be a dentist. She killed it, in typical Evie fashion. As with last year, she nailed all of her lines with feeling, and mouthed everyone else’s lines. She also got more “points” for the week than anybody else at summer camp. I’ll tell you one thing: after carpooling three kids to this camp all week, I’m happy for the break from listening to “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “We are Santa’s Elves”.
  2. Vacation Bible School – In the meantime, Ollie was off at vacation bible school, which culminated in a performance of various songs in church on Sunday. Ollie is not traditionally the “performer” in the family (see above), and I was very curious about how he’d do at such a thing without his sister around (though we did basically know every kid that was there). He did a pretty good job. He didn’t sing, per say, but he was obviously trying very hard with the motions and everything. I’m not sure he even noticed he was up in front of a crowd.
  3. Evie’s Birthday Performance – But the very best performance of all was Evie’s birthday performance. Evie wanted to have some kind of performance to put on during her family birthday party, so she wrote and directed something for her and Oliver. There were original songs, vaudevillian routines, and lots and lots of jumping on the bed. The kids took it very seriously, and practiced for weeks. Evie even put colored tape “marks” on the bed for them to hit during the show. The whole thing went off without a hitch, and I was so proud of them for doing such a good job all on their own. My favorite part is when Ollie sings, “Happy birthday to you!” and Evie says, “Who me?” and Ollie replies, “Yes you!” The birth of a comedy duo.

Hooray for Birthdays!

Today is Evie’s birthday, and, I don’t know, it just seems like a big one.

I think it’s because she’s getting ready to start 1st grade. That just seems so old. She really isn’t a baby anymore.

Sometimes it is very difficult to distinguish Evie from a teenager. However, she can be so helpful when she wants to be, and it’s so nice to be able to give her a bit of a longer leash. I can trust her to be out of my eyesight. She’s almost TOO helpful when it comes to her brother, jumping to do anything for him that he doesn’t want to do, to the point that he’s quite used to getting her to do his chores for him. (Don’t worry, they still fight plenty too!)

Evie has *big* plans for her birthday. The closer we got, the more elaborate they became. Every single detail of her day is planned out, from what we will eat, to what presents she’s going to receive from whom, to what we will do and when. It started relatively simple: “…and then I will come upstairs in my pajamas, and you guys will give me a present which will be an outfit for me to wear…”, but it’s gotten more elaborate from there. The last I heard was that she wanted me to wake her up by playing happy birthday on the accordion, after which she would take the keyboard into each guest’s bedroom to awaken them in turn by playing happy birthday.

We have to keep reminding her it’s going to be her birthday, not her coronation.

I have to admit that I’m so thrilled that Evie has turned into quite the bookworm. It just reminds me so much of myself when I was a kid, that I can’t help but feel a little…proud? Honored? Excited on her behalf for all of the wonderful books she’s yet to discover? I don’t know. But when she stays up reading late into the night, I can’t help but get a smile on my face.

Happy birthday sweetheart. I love you more than the whole, wide world.

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4 Years Old

You know, usually when I write one of these birthday posts, the first thing I do is go back and review the post from the previous year.

It’s funny how last year I said he had changed so much from the previous year, because this year I think, “Wow, he hasn’t changed much since the last post.” He still talks all the time, has little interest in dressing himself, still adores his baby and his sister, and loves to be goofy. I guess he’s just solidified into a real person now.

(Side note, did I really say he wasn’t cuddly? Because that was *totally* wrong.) (Side side note, has he only been going to the bathroom by himself for a year? Time does fly.)

There are a lot of things that Ollie is planning to do when he’s a 4 year old. I think he’s pretty sure he’s going to transform into an adult overnight. Certainly he is suddenly seeming much older to me. I’m not sure if it’s going to school, growing a little taller, speaking a little clearer, or just being a little more independent, but all of a sudden I can see him growing up.

He rode a pedal bike for the first time the other day. He can buckle 66% of his car seat buckles all by himself. He knows the words to songs. He makes honest to goodness jokes. He’s certainly the only just-turned-4-year-old I know who thinks so much about being a daddy.

So happy birthday, buddy. I hope you get all 5 pianos you wanted so your kids will have pianos when you grow up.

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