Monday, May 19, 2014

Adopt a Kitty, Find a Mouse

Lucy loves her birthday

This kid starts looking forward to her next birthday in the middle of her current birthday

And not for the gifts - because to be honest, she's never even asked for anything

Lucy looks forward to her birthday for the party
And who are we kidding, I look forward to her party...planning it, making the stuff for it, decorating for it, hosting it, the smiles on Lucy's face and her friends' faces....

I love throwing birthday parties
But even more than throwing the party, I love planning it with her
We talk about every detail from the cake to the games to the decorations and the food that we'll eat

Party's 1, 2 and 3 can be seen here and here 

Party #4 may have been one of the best yet - and the only one we forgot to take pictures of
It was a dinosaur themed party

The house was decorated with inflatable dinosaurs (including a T Rex as big as Sean)
The front door was covered in dinosaur decals
The cake was a forest full of dinosaurs and the cupcakes were frosted in green or blue (grass or water) and a dinosaur sat upon each

We played outside - Pin the horn on the triceratops and a dinosaur egg hunt (plastic Easter eggs hidden around the yard with a mini Dino inside each one)

The climax was the fossil dig

We filled aluminum baking trays with sand and buried in each tray fossils that we made from salt dough (I used Lucy's toys to make imprints in the dough) I also managed to find some small plastic dinosaur skeletons somewhere and buried those in the tray too

Each child then received a set of expedition tools: paint brushes to wipe the sand away, little spoons that were shovels, tweezers to delicately remove the discoveries they made and magnifying glasses so they could see the fossils better

The kids had a blast (at least I think they did)

They went home with a bucket full of dinosaurs eggs, fossils and a Danny and the Dinosaur book

I can't believe we forgot to take pictures

This year....well this year I thought Lucy would want to go big - not Vegas big (though she tried)
But we have spent the last year attending parties that have included the whole class (sometimes both classes) at gyms and arcades and bouncy house places (and they've all been great fun)

I thought that was what kind of party she would want - so all her friends could come
And I sort of dreaded that kind of party....we had had so much fun planning her last three parties.....

But we offered a "destination party" to Lucy
We told her we could go bowling, to the bouncy house place, to Gym Street - wherever she wanted
She thought about it for all of 2 minutes

No thanks Mumma
Are you sure honey?
Yeah Mumma I'm sure
But we could invite all your friends in your class....
No thank you Mumma -  I like it when you do my party here at home - I like it when you make stuff and decorate......can we just have my party here?

So it was settled
Small party at home with the friends she wanted there the most
And that's what we did

This year, Lucy started out wanting a Frozen party
We saw Frozen on Thanksgiving day
We saw it a second time the day AFTER Thanksgiving
We were singing the songs and reciting lines weeks before anyone else was
I'm not kidding you - we feel like we discovered this movie
And then everyone else discovered it
And Lucy lost interest in it because everything became about Frozen

So we nixed the Frozen party

Then she wanted a Lego party
Midway through planning that, she informs me she does not think a Lego party would be a good idea

Why honey?
Well Mumma, not all my friends like Lego's and I don't want anyone to not have fun
Oh Lucy....

Then she thought maybe an animal party - like a zoo party
But then she realized that not all her friend like animals the way she does

So we went back to a Lego party - but she was worried Jake and Katie would not have fun

Sometimes this child is so thoughtful it makes me stop in my tracks and realize that maybe, just maybe I have not screwed her up as badly as I think I have

Honey I love that you are thinking of your friends, but what kind of party do YOU want? What will make you smile?

Without hesitation she blurted out with a giggle and a chortle and a snort

A kitty party!!!! Mumma I really really really wanna kitty party!!!!!

So we planned a kitty party

I immediately found some hanging kitty decorations (including a happy birthday sign) with matching plates, napkins and balloons covered in paw prints

Our other decorations would be to simply bring out all Lucy's stuffed cats (of which we have waaayyy more than we should) and place them strategically around the house

Our first idea was that all our friends who came to the party would adopt a kitty
So we bought stuffed kitties (found on super sale at the craft store)
I made adoption certificates which were filled out the day of the party with the names each friend chose for their new kitty

Then Lucy and I made collars for the kitties - a piece of ribbon to which we attached bells and paper key chains for the kids to decorate at the party

Now as luck would have it the past few years, we've had pretty good days (weather wise) for Lucy's party
We figured since we were having it so late this year, we'd be okay again
So we planned outside games....including a bean bag toss, whiffle ball, sidewalk chalk and pin the tail on the kitty

And then there would be the big finish....the grand finale.......

The Great Mouse Hunt

Because what do cats like to hunt but mice

So I turned 130 plastic Easter eggs into mice

I cut 130 tails out of pipe cleaner and attached them to 130 eggs

I cut 260 ears out of adhesive foam

I glued on 260 wiggly eyes, drew 130 thirty noses AND 780 whiskers

Then I stuffed those eggs with stickers, bouncy balls, tattoos, paratroopers, frog hoppers, Rolos, Hershey Kisses and M&Ms

I stayed up until 3 am making those eggs....and the collars.....those mice looked amazing

I was so excited for the mouse hunt I could barely stand it

I planned which trees and rocks in the neighborhood I would hide the eggs in and under
I even had a couple little "nests" made

I counted and sorted out the egg mice by color and what they had inside them so each child would get the same number of eggs and the exact same prizes

This mouse hunt was going to be totally  kick ass

And then it started raining

For three days leading up to her party it rained and rained and rained and rained
And the day of her rained

So we shifted gears, moved around the furniture and had the party all inside...including an abbreviated  version of the mouse hunt

But no one cared

The kids (and parents) ate and laughed

They adopted kitties and decorated collars

We colored wooden cut out cats and put on tattoos

We danced with balloons to the noises we made

We ate pizza on the living room floor

And we hunted for mice as best we could with 8 kids in 1100 square feet of living space

And we had a blast

The kids left with new pets, plastic mice, a Pete the Cat book and who knows how many little toys, Hershey Kisses, and Rolos

And it was fun

It was so much fun

And now Lucy is five......

The mice!

See that bag? Sean drew, drew with his free hand, a dozen of those bags for me....coolest Dad/husband ever!!!!! The kids used the bags to collect the mice in then it was loaded up with all their treats before they left

Making kitties and collars......

Friday, May 9, 2014


Today’s post brought you by the letter F and Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop

Fear as a noun is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat

Fear as a verb means to be afraid of something or someone as likely to be dangerous, painful or life threatening

Everyone has fears - some rational, some not so rational

For example:
I have a fear of heights so much so that I can’t look down from the top (open) floor of the mall without my knees knocking  
I have a fear of identical twins/triplets/any multiple birth (ok so this is probably not a fear so much as it just freaks me out…so not rational)
I have a fear flying…more than flying, I‘m afraid someone is going to think I’m a terrorist so I focus on trying to look innocent which I think makes me look more guilty   
I fear the dark and small spaces….and if I am in a small dark place, well let’s just say I will probably pee my pants and cry until Lassie shows up with help
I also fear many of the same thing in the same place at the same time (like flocks of birds, swarms of killer bees, nests of mice, the Democratic National Convention)
And death….I am so afraid of death that my fear of it may actually eclipse death itself
Death is by far by biggest fear

But its Friday, talking about my biggest fear could potentially be a bit of a downer….and would most definitely unnerve me to the point that I’ll be rendered useless for the next 12 hours….
So let’s take a different approach

List your top 6 Fears

Cape Fear (1991)
 Let me tell you what, this movie scared the hell out of me
But it is one of the best movies I have ever seen
Riveting, suspenseful, seductive
It also cemented my love for Nick Nolte
I always had a crush on him but between Cape Fear and Prince of Tides, which came out around the same time, I was completely pushed over the edge
And given that he was a scoundrel in both films, I’m not sure what that says about me
And Robert De Niro
Oh my word Robert De Niro
To this day when I see him all I can picture is him doing pull ups in a jail cell…and it scares me

Fear Mongering
Thank you President Johnson – your daisy commercial was so terribly memorable - you will never catch me in an open field of flowers picking petals off a daisy
Thank you weather forecasters for every time you predicted snow, you worked everyone into such a frenzy we were leaving work early three days before the storm even started
Thank you Morgan Spurlock for Super-Size Me

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Published as a book in 1972, its Hunter S Thompson’s blend of fact and fiction
It is because of this book I never did drugs
I’m not kidding you
Yes, I’ve taken a few hits of pot before (which did nothing but make me sleepy)
But I read this book my freshman year in college
This guy I was in love with, Kelly, told me to read it he said it would change my life…..just like I had changed his
Here’s what I learned:
Never fall for a guy with a girl’s name
Any guy that claims you changed his life after a week is full of shit
There is, in fact, no solace in excess
Hunter S Thompson, and Kelly, might be two of the most narcissistic, self-absorbed self-indulgent men I have ever known
And just say no to drugs

Tears for Fears
Only like my favorite band ever
Songs from the Big Chair is one of the top five albums ever made
Seeds of Love is in the top ten
Nobody liked Tears for Fears more than me – and I had the poster(s) on my wall to prove it
I seriously thought I could somehow meet and get either Roland or Curt to fall in love with me and take me away to London to live in a castle….I actually still do….
To this day, if I hear the opening chords of Shout I immediately reach for the volume and turn it up to 11
Judge all you want but Tears for Fears got me through some tough Jr High/High School years
And a bad split with Kelly

Fearful Symmetry
I had this English teacher in high school, Dr Fred Jones, who was one of my favorite teachers
Primarily because he used to let me hide out in his classroom
But mostly because he didn’t foster the competition among his students as other teachers did
He didn’t push you to top your classmates or do better on a test than Eliza, Cathy, Jamie or Peter
He pushed you to open your mind to the written word…and yes, that includes the gospel
We read the Bible in his class
Which led us to William Blake who was obsessed with good and evil and had a strong religious and philosophical belief
Which led us to The Tyger and fearful symmetry
Which simplistically means without evil, there is no good, without dark there is no light
But there was is nothing simplistic about fearful symmetry
I’m pretty sure it is what keeps order in chaos
And honor among thieves
I like the nuance of fearful symmetry – it keeps me balanced

Fear Factor
News Radio used to be one of my favorite shows
It was one of the first smart funny shows I remember watching faithfully – second to Cheers
The cast was pure comedic genius and the writing was always spot on
Stephen Root and Joe Rogan were my absolute favorites on the show
And who are we kidding, Joe Rogan was stinking cute on that show
I thought I had finally found my type: a street smart, cavalier, conspiracy theorist, handyman who could seemingly fix anything
After News Radio was cancelled, I watched Fear Factor just so I could continue to see Joe Rogan on a weekly basis
But that show scared the living bejesus out of me
I was okay the first few episodes
But I wigged out after one of the episodes with snakes in a glass tank and the person having to stand in there with them
Never mind when it was some sort of bug or roach or whatever…..I’m getting chills just thinking of it
But, I loved hearing this:

“I’m Joe Rogan and this is Fear Factor. The stunts you are about to see were all designed and supervised by trained professionals. They are extremely dangerous and should not be attempted by anyone, anywhere, anytime.”