Archive for September, 2008
To properly celebrate Tess’s entrance into the wonderful world of the twos, I planned a birthday party for 25 adults and 25 kids at the fake river that runs through the middle of our little island. This is a great idea for many reasons:
1. Our Japanese apartment would only fit 54 people if we all stood up and did not move.
2. Entertaining 25 kids is hard, but water and inflatable toys, water bananas, and plastic balls seem to make everyone happy.
3. There is very little mess to clean up.
However, there are 2 huge drawbacks to this fantastic birthday plan:
1. I had to get all of the food, toys, drinks, and 2 kids to the river location.
2. There was a possibility (a fairly distinct one) that there would not be a picnic table available to put all of our crap on!
So on Saturday morning we woke up and immediately started preparing all of the food and all of us for the party. For those who care:
1. Seven Layer Dip
2. Cream cheese with raspberry and chipotle sauce
3. Mexican pulled pork with tortillas
4. Handmade chicken, shrimp, and veggie spring rolls with peanut sauce and thai dipping sauce
5. Fruit, veggies, sausage, cheese, and onigiri for the kids
We decided after much debate to have Todd and Riley take the bike with a few things in the basket because it was getting close to party time, and we didn’t want our guests to beat us to the party. I followed close behind with the stroller loaded down with Tess, just up from a nap, all of the food, the water toys, a diaper bag, swim clothes for the girls, wine, two blankets, and my purse. It was quite a sight.
Todd was able to procure a picnic table and a bench in the perfect location, and he had already taped the tablecloth down by the time I showed up. I sent him and Riley to get the juice, beer, tea, and a lighter that we had decided to wait until the last minute to get while I put out the food. It was 3:45, and our party started at 4pm. I pulled out platters, bowls, serving utensils like mad. I dumped in dips, spread out veggies and fruit, and iced the cake. I finished setting the table at 3:55 just when Todd and Riley returned.
During my frantic table setting, I had to convince Tess not to jump in the water completely dressed. She did not like it one bit, but she eventually came over to table, sat down, and waited for me to finish.
Our first guests arrived promptly at 4pm, and a great party began. The kids played in the water, ate, and then played some more. At six o’clock exactly the river fountains turned off, and the party was over. It took us 30 minutes to clean up, we were home by 7, and the girls were in bed by eight.
(the pictures are not in order. First come photos that our friends took at the birthday party, the second set are from Tess’s actual birthday, and the last four are from our camera phone at Tess’s party)
So Tess’s birthday was an outstanding success. First, she slept in until 7am, which I think is a record. However, after a quick cuddle from Mommy, she spent all morning in her new play house throwing the balls around. When Riley woke up, she immediately started opening the rest of Tessy’s gifts. Tess got to open the last one mostly by herself, and then Tess spent the rest of the morning in gold dress up shoes playing with her house and throwing the balls around.
The party at school was cute and short. I could NEVER do that job. It was like herding cats. One kid was in the corner crying, one kid was screaming crying, one kid looked like he was going to cry, and the two teachers were completely calm and in control. I would have lost if I had stayed another 2 minutes (and I had only been there for 10 minutes). I have determined that anyone who works with kids under the age of 11 is a saint. People who work with kids 11 and older are gluttons for punishment.
Then after school Todd had play rehearsal, which did not go well, but I will let him tell that story if he choses to bless us all with the tale. I picked up the girls, and we headed for “the balloons”, and indoor playground, where we ran into our neighbor, Sky, who is in the other BBP class next door to Riley’s.
Then I dropped them off with Joanne, and I am back at school for Back to School Night. I will update with pictures this evening or tomorrow. Tess’s classroom teacher took a couple pictures that she will email me.
Big news from Riley is that she is doing so well eating her lunch that she is getting a sticker for it everyday, and she took a nap today during nap time. That is the first nap in the early afternoon in almost a year!
Oh, about the twinkies. It has always been a perplexing conversation about who Tess looks like. Because she doesn’t look like me, and she doesn’t look like Todd.
Well this explains it.
Tomorrow is Tess’s 2nd birthday. I know she won’t remember it, and she doesn’t have a clue what is going one, but it is still a big deal to me. Really I think it is second child guilt. Riley had a huge party at Vicky’s surrounded by tons of family and friends and tons of presents. Tess’s will be as good, damn it.
So, I went to Toys R Us to load her up with gifts. I think I scored big. A pop up play house filled with balls. I think this might be Tess’s dream house. I also bought a new set of gold dress up clothes featuring the Disney princesses (which she has no clue about – Thank God!). I also came home with a drum that when you beat on it, a new letter appears. And finally, I purchased a set of stacking blocks that also act like a big puzzle. She loves puzzles. She loves beating on things. She loves dressing up. But I think the house full of balls should make her squeal. Here’s hoping.
After dinner this evening, I needed to make cupcakes for her birthday party at school tomorrow. She is having a little party at 12:30. Of course, I have a meeting at 12:30, and Todd has one at 12:45. I moved my meeting to 11:15, which I know sounds crazy, but she only turns 2 once. The worst part is that we have open house tomorrow night. So I won’t be able to have dinner with her or bathe her. I should be home before 8pm, so I am hopefully going to be able to put her to bed.
Luckily, we have a huge party planned for Tess on Saturday evening. We are hoping for some nice warm weather so the kids can swim in the river, and the parents can enjoy the evening.
Now back to Todd. Since I purchased the gifts, wrapped them, and made the cupcakes. I asked Todd to write “Happy Birthday, Tess” on the presents. I didn’t have real wrapping paper because it is ungodly expensive here, so I used IKEA easel paper, and I added some star stickers that Jon and Celia gave to the girls this past weekend.
This is Todd’s contribution to Tess’s Birthday celebration. Go to the gallery for September 2008 to see them really close up. Upon further inspection, I think you will all agree with my earlier conclusion.
I never sing this song at karaoke. I just end up screaming it. I do a fairly good 9 to 5 and Queen of Hearts. And I will dance to anyone singing Madonna, but I cannot do her justice to save my life.
Now onto real life. We have been getting ready every morning, working and playing hard during the day, and then we are all usually asleep by 9:30pm (ok, one day last week I fell asleep at 7:30, but that is unusual).
Tess is talking up a storm, and by a storm I mean she says things occasionally, but she says more words today than she did last week, so I am calling that progress. Tess turns two on Tuesday, and we are celebrating her birthday at the River with some BBQ next Saturday. It should be a great day considering the kids will be swimming and the parents should be able to enjoy a little big people time. I have no idea what to get her. We just got a care package in the mail from Vicky and Dan, which had a big barn toy that I bought for the girls. Not thinking, I gave it to them right out of the box. If I had only wrapped it, I would be set, but no! So off to Toys R Us I go!
Riley is loving school, and her teacher is a great photographer, so we have tons of great photos of her during the school day. They are so cute that it breaks my heart. I had my very first Back to School Night as a parent last Tuesday. We had this cute game where there were cards for each student in the class. Each card showed a height, weight, what they liked or did not like to do, and their favorite color. We had to figure out which was are our kid. I guess correctly the first time! Riley is 93 cm tall, she weighs 14.3 kilos, she doesn’t like to dress up, but she does like to color and draw, and her favorite color is yellow. At the end of the night we received a nice poem with our child’s hand prints in paint as a present to take home.
Todd is busy with school. He is codirecting the high school play, setting up the yearbook, and coteaching middle school tech classes. His main frustrations come from when Mario Cart Wii does something to annoy him and when the girls don’t eat the Big Family Dinner he has prepared. Other than that, he seems to be enjoying the start of this school year much more than last year.
Which is pretty much the way we all feel. No matter how difficult this is with all of the getting ready, pony tail holding, face washing, don’t forget the sunblocking, nothing is a difficult as being a newbie. Thank god for the second year!
Oh yes, and here are some ridiculously cute photos of the girls.