Monday, April 10, 2017

You Say It's Your Birthday

Well lookie here, I've got a blog. Perhaps I should write something on it...

Sometime in early January, Sabrina was home sick - sick enough to be bounced from school, but not sick enough to dampen 1 ounce of her energy - and as we willed the hours to go faster, Sabrina brought up the subject of her birthday party.  In April.  3 months away.  OK then.

That Sabrina had some very specific opinions about what her birthday party should be (skipping right over the fact that a party in and of itself could possibly be anything other than a given right) comes to no surprise to anyone who knows here, and probably anyone who has even heard of her.  In fact, she has the next several birthday parties intricately worked out in her brain, most likely until and beyond the time she becomes a legal adult.  Hey, she can have all the parties she wants, but at some point, she's going to be footing her on bill, dadgumit.  But since we're talking about a 9th birthday party, I'll let this year slide. 

She started listing off things she wanted: a bounce house (like last year), arts & crafts, a pinata, cake & ice cream, with a side of more cake, if you please.  Oh, and the theme?  Unicorn emoji rainbow cupcake, of course.  That's easy enough, right?

Since we were bored, I started tiptoeing through the internet, just to see what options were out there.  What was that bounce house rental place we used?  Oh yes, there they are.  And the house is available on the date we want?  Well, let's just sew that baby up right now.  Done.  And Oriental Trading has free shipping today?  I suppose they should sell me all the rainbow / unicorn / emoji crafts they have.  Done.   And look, here's a rainbow striped pinata in the shape of a number AND some adorable emoji paper plates on sale?  DONE.

In an hour, we were down to the cake, which Sabrina dictated to be rainbow inside, obviously, so I said I could handle that my own self when the time came.  We even wrote out the evite (we didn't send it that early, of course - that would be gauche).  Seriously, the easiest party I've ever put together.

So everything came to fruition this past Saturday, and I do believe we had a happy girl in these parts.  A large majority of the invitees accepted and showed up for sugar-fueled shenanigans.  They bounced, they crafted, they crammed cake in their gullets.  Perfect.

Until the vomit.

Oh, that's a sign of a good party, you say?  Not on my carpet it isn't.

Turns out 1 party-goer had been out sick ALL FREAKING WEEK - PROBABLY WITH THE FLU.  I didn't think she looked quite herself when she arrived, and just didn't have that "I'm at a party WOOOOO!" spark going on.  She ended up sitting on the couch in my living room while the party raged (as much as a bunch of 9 year olds can rage) outside, and then the next thing I know is that she's standing up, bending over, and throwing up right on the carpet.  Didn't even make a move for the bathroom until I scurried her in there.  She then told me she didn't have any fever that morning (!!!), so it was OK for her to come.  I think health class has a few holes in it.

I knew I'd have some cleaning up to do after the festivities, but I didn't think it would involve a total disinfecting.

A moment to rant, if you please.  Who sends their very recently / probably still ill child to a bounce house birthday party?  Do you enjoy spreading germs?  Is this some kind of reverse hive immunity thing?   Have you lost your ever-livin' mind?  Why???

It feels good to get that out (along with the germs I physically scrubbed out all afternoon).  I later found out that there were at least 2 other friends with strep in recent days, and a recent case of lice.  I apparently hosted some kind of latter day pestilence party, where parents would bring their kids over to visit another kid with chicken pox so they could get that business over with.  (Before you say anything, I know there's a vaccine, and my kids have had it, and I know just how old I am, thankyouverymuch.)  I will get over it (eventually), and I will not ask the parents to pony up to have my rugs sanitized, despite my deep desire to do so.  I will be polite until it kills me. 

But all that aside, little Miss Party Planner threw herself a mighty fine soiree, and I'm glad I could be the baker and bank-roller.  I imagine we'll have Number 10 all set by next month. 

Happy Birthday, Dimples.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: Checkpoint

Let's keep a good thing going.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

I'll start with the ugly one: buried a friend. Not my parents' friend or grandparents' friend. My friend. I'd prefer not to do that again.

Took my kids to Las Vegas.  Took my husband to Las Vegas.  Went on a car trip with 6 people in said car (to Las Vegas).  Made an actual Christmas list for myself.  Sent a kid to middle school.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


Last year: I'm about 6 months behind in my photo organizing (a perpetual annual goal), because the bazillion Disney photos terrify me.  But I'll get to it as soon as Christmas is down and the house is put back together.

I did manage to get this done.  Buuut, I'm now 6 months behind on THIS years' pictures.  So, lather, rinse, repeat.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope.  My niece did, but she's all the way in South Carolina, so not close to me geographically.  But an exciting little addition to the family, I must say.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

I really didn't want to visit this question this year.  Sadly, yes.  My friend, Erica @alldressedup, a very wonderful gift from the internet, passed away in April.  It still hurts to say out loud.  It probably always will.

My cousin, Mike, also died this summer, very suddenly and very surprisingly.  We weren't close, but he was family, so it's a significant loss.

And then there were way too many famous people who figured into my formative years.  Even though these weren't personal losses, well, they were personal losses and they make me sad.
2016 took too much is what I'm saying.

5. What places did you visit?

Las Vegas, Nevada.  St. Louis, Missouri.  Chicago, Illinois.  Kaukauna, Wisconsin.  Austin, Texas.  Many points in between.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Same as last year: More surplus dollars.  A boatload of patience.  More and closer friendships, both in person and across the internet.  I need some buddies.

Adding this year: Will power, fortitude, self discipline, and better ways to communicate.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

June 2, the day Sammy graduated from elementary school and Sabrina had to say goodbye to her favorite teacher.  July 27, they day we took Chicago by storm.  July 31, the day Elvis came to my great aunt's 80th birthday party.  August 22, the day I sent Sammy through the doors of middle school for the first time.  (And obviously the day of the answer to question number 1, but we'll try to keep it positive from here on out.)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I have no idea.  Did I accomplish anything?  Probably helping/teaching Sammy to study for his first ever semester exams and him doing really, really well.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Well, this one's on repeat, too: Letting frustration win, again and again and again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Coupla colds (one during the Las Vegas trip, but, eh).  Sabrina kicked my big toenail right outta my foot.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Let's see. The new comforter that makes my bedroom feel like a hotel.  A futon and TV stand to finish off the playroom.  The last 2 window blinds I need for the whole house, although they're yet to be hung.

The Hamilton soundtrack.

I'm actually proud of the things I didn't buy, but instead put on a Christmas list, both  account and giving other people some actual ideas for gifts to give me.  Not that anyone had to give me anything.  But they asked, so I did.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

This is a tough one to answer because as we wind up this year, it feels like nobody behaved very well, at least at large.  The Ladies Internet continues to be compassionate, insightful, and kind in so many ways.  Lin Manuel Miranda.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

We'll just chalk this one up to politicians.  Nuff said.

14. Where did most of your money go?

What money?  Day to day stuff.  Amazon Prime.  Taxes.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I can't think of anything that warranted 3 reallys.  Our trips were giddily anticipated.  Christmas morning because I thought I did a really good job this year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?

"Can't Stop the Feeling," Justin Timberlake. I can't stop that song.

Anything Hamilton.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? I wouldn't call it sad.  I'd say more cautiously concerned and slightly gunshy.

b) thinner or fatter? Like I'm going to get up and go measure. My clothes fit, so, eh.

c) richer or poorer? I think this one is basically a wash.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

This remains ever the same: Catching myself before I get annoyed with the kids, particularly for interrupting me.  Spending time with lady friends.  It bears repeating, I need more friend time.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying.  Now and forever.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2016?

After 2, it's becomes a tradition: we hosted a Christmas Eve dinner for my side of the family, whoever happened to be in town.  This year, it was my parents and my brother's family in from Washington state.  I made fancy prime rib again and my oven will not forgive me for a long time.  We went to Mass together and it was lovely.

We came home, cleaned up, somehow got the kids into bed, and let Santa do his business.  I watched the NORAD Santa Tracker a little too late and finally went to bed.

Christmas morning started off perfectly.  The kids adored their gifts from Santa, we had donuts and pigs in a blanket, and generally enjoyed life for about 40 minutes until Sammy started feeling poorly and went down fast with a stomach bug.  He didn't let that stop any of us, and we spent a nice day ay my parents' house, opening presents and eating while Sammy holed up in a bedroom with lots of movies.  He bounced back the next day, so even though Christmas Day wasn't what is would have hoped, he wasn't down for long.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?

Weird forever.  And so this answer shall stay.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I really like American Wife and Speechless.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2016?

What birthday?  OK, I had one, but that doesn't mean I have to think about it.

24. What was the best book you read?

I'm enjoying Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple right now. The Hamiltome.

25. What did you want and get?

A smooth transition to middle school for Sammy.  A more relaxed holiday work season for Chris.  Somewhat less little girl drama for Sabrina.  A fancy coffeemaker for me. (Somebody has to set the bar low.)

I did finally get the window blinds and futon I listed here last year in the not get section.

26. What did you want and not get?


And where is that rich benefactor?

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

We  just saw Moana this week, and I just loved it.  Big thanks to @Pamie and @Lin_Manuel.

28. Did you make some new friends this year?

I feel like I'm getting closer to some of the moms of my kids' friends (isn't there a better term for this?).  Must initiate more random coffee/lunch stops.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A jet pack.

Always, always, always: the ability to communicate anything to my children and have them understand instantly.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

I like what's in my closet and I shall wear it.

31. What kept you sane?

Laughter.  Texting.  The Ladies Internet, for sure.  Caffeine.  Prayer.  Same, same, same.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Hamilton kind of took over significant portions of my life, so I'm going to say Lin Manuel Miranda here.  Not in the traditional fancy sense, but in the I really want to be your friend and hang out sense.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Ugh.  I'm trying to stay upbeat, so we'll let this one lie this year.  I hope to have beautiful, positive things to say 12 months from now. Hopehopehope.

34. Who did you miss?

Everyone I lost and everyone I don't see often enough (which is most everyone).

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

You do you and keep working on who that is.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Finish Line

I was all cozy in my bed when I remembered that it's still November, and I have one last post necessary to call this finished.  So this is it.  Whew.  Just under the line.

I also have to make sure that elf has properly situated himself in a new location for tomorrow or small heads will explode. 

Good night.  See you soon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tree: Trimmed

A lovely little holiday tableau.  Very Norman Rockwell.  What you can't see is 3 type A personalities rearranging each others' ornaments as soon as backs are turned.

I found Sabrina lying completely underneath, looking up at the lights.  I'm so glad it's Christmastime.

Monday, November 28, 2016

At Least There's No Sap

A grand total of one thousand, three hundred, forty imported not-Italian twinkle lights.  Not counting the star.  Hand looped onto each branch by yours truly.  Total number of curse words emitted: 1, which is a complete miracle.  This isn't even my tree.

But it sure is purdy, isn't it?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Wrap Up

This isn't even everyone.

What a week.  What a weekend.  I am exhausted.  And oh so grateful.  OK, bring on the rest of the holidays.  But maybe tomorrow.  The couch is calling.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thoughts from the Day

Also known as phoning it in.

  • I do not have enough arm strength to lift a 21 lb., fully stuffed turkey out of a pan.
  • I will never make it out of the kitchen at one of these things.
  • There will always be plenty of desserts and no one will take any home.
  • Given the opportunity, my children will drink themselves into a Dr. Pepper sugar coma.
  • Something will always get broken.
  • I will always intend to take many pictures and end up with 2.
  • They will both be of the turkey.
  • I will always be glad I did it, but dad gum, I will be tired.
  • What am I making for dinner tomorrow, you ask?  Very funny. There are 15 more pounds of turkey in the fridge. That's dinner forever, people.
Happy After Thanksgiving. I hope we all get to relax tomorrow.