Friday, April 29, 2011

She likes her birthdays, every one

Egg-in-the-hole birthday breakfast

What kid doesn't love their birthday? It is pretty much the best day of the year to most kids. Tessa has been anticipating and talking about her birthday for weeks, and was so happy when it was finally here. Each year she is eager to have a party with all of her friends, and each year I say, "didn't we just do this last year? we really don't need to have a 'friend party' every year." But then I crumble against her eagerness, and agree to something simple. And truthfully the parties we do are simple--we always have them at home, with a few decorations, some games, some food and a cake. Not a huge deal, but it's still takes a fair amount of effort.

Then when I see how happy it makes Tessa, and the great time she has with her sweet friends, I am always glad we did it. This year we did a "Cooking Party." I made some simple, ruffled hostess aprons for the girls (and they got to personalize their waistband).

They made their own pizzas, built their own salads, and I planned to have them cut, bake and decorate sugar cookies...but we ran out of time.

In keeping with the theme, we played kitchen-gadget Pictionary, and the "flour game." (you know the one where you place a small object--a button--on the top of a precarious, bowl-shaped pile of flour; then you take turns cutting away parts of the flour, and the one who makes the pile topple and the button fall, has to retrieve the button with her teeth) Silly game, but it was a hit.

For dessert, I told the girls we were having pizza again, and they groaned when they saw the cakes. Some of them were pretty skeptical right up until they bit into the shaved white chocolate & coconut (cheese), the fruit-roll-up (pepperoni), and the carved marshmallows (mushrooms--not pictured, they were on the cake I didn't photograph before it was eaten). I'm not nearly as good at "trick" cake decorating as my bro and SIL, Mitchell and Erin, but I tried.

The other thing that troubles me a bit about throwing a party, is the present factor. I don't like guests feeling obligated to spend money and bring gifts, then I don't like the piles of toys left after everyone leaves. We don't need more toys, and I don't want my kids to expect all of that with every birthday and every party. I've tried in the past to avoid the problem by saying "No gifts, please" on the invitation. But EVERYONE ignored my plea. Thanks a lot, friends. :)

So this year I said, "don't feel obligated to bring a gift, but if you'd like to, we are asking for books only." It worked! A couple girls came without gifts--yea! and the others did in fact bring books! Am I a lame mom who doesn't want my kids to have fun? Hope not. I just don't want them to have too many toys and trinkets. There's a difference, right?

I think the birthday girl and everyone involved did have fun. Mission accomplished, another birthday celebrated. Of course there was more to come--we had her family birthday dinner on her actual birthday (4-11) a few days later...manicotti and cheesecake, Tessa picks those every year. (the girl loves her cheese; too bad she isn't supposed to eat it much due to her chronic ear infections/issues...but that's another story)

And then there was the most important event of all, since this was her special eighth birthday. But that deserves its own post...with pictures that weren't taken on a phone like those above (ugh).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hope your Easter was happy!!

What a great holiday...yummy food, pretty clothes, excited kids to play with, fairly minimal effort with big payoff...all on a Sunday with time to reflect on and discuss the reason we celebrate this sacred day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Generally a great weekend

I am still on a bit of a high from an uplifting weekend. General conference tends to do that. It's always great to spend so many hours of our weekend ALL home together, in the same room even. We all sit/lay in piles of blankets, pillows and beanbags in the computer room and soak it up. Of course, with this arrangement comes a fair share of playing, poking, bothering, juggling (toddlers), "my turn-ing," and general restlessness.

That can get exhausting, but we persisted, and most of the time everyone was at least in the room, absorbing something. Tom and I got a lot out of it, but I wasn't sure exactly how much the kids took in.

But later when we played Conference Trivia, quizzing each other with questions we wrote, I was pleasantly happy with things they did remember.

The best thing was on Sunday evening when we were cleaning up from the affair. I was revisiting a talk I wanted to hear again on the computer. And Tyler came right over and said, "It's so sad that Conference is over." Huh, it was hard to tell he felt that way given his attentiveness and behavior at a few choice moments during the weekend. But it made me so happy to hear him say it. Parents need little moments like that.

Still using old photos; this sunny, "warm" picture is not from this weekend...but I am happy to report that my kids are outside right now--playing, riding bikes--in short sleeves! This hasn't happened yet this year for us, so it's pretty exciting.