Sunday, 20 August 2017

It's My Party

Kate's 'I just woke up face' comes across as
'Not Impressed.'

Let's be honest. While Kate is obviously the star of the show at her birthday party; I play a key supporting role. It's kind of also about me. Am I organized? Am I creative? Do I give out good gift bags? Are the kids having fun? Are the adults enjoying themselves? Is this year's party as good as or better than a previous year's party? Well, last year Kate's first birthday party was marked by two cupcake fails and half of our guests were sick with a horrible GI virus, so the bar was set pretty low for this year's event.

My planning began back in January. It started when I picked up an Oliva book from our favourite conseignment shop. I loved the simple, yet dramatic illustrations and whitty dialogue and I quickly became obsessed with Olivia. As I started collecting every book in the Olivia series, it dawned on me that an Olivia themed party could extend my tradition of basing her parties off of popular children's books. Last year I decided to do a The Very Hungry Caterpillar themed party, I thought I was the first person to think of this idea, until a quick Pintrest search confirmed that pretty much everyone in the world does a TVHC party. As I easily found Olivia balloons, party plates and cups that read "Best Party Ever!" I also wasn't going to be breaking any new ground with an Olivia themed party, yet I thought I had some creative and likely unique ideas on how I would put it together.  

*Spoiler Alert if you have not read Olivia*

I wanted to copy some of the activities Olivia performs in her book. As we have a long hallway, I could tape some paper on to our walls for the kids to paint on the wall. I purchased a sandtable for making sandcastles. Finally, as Oliva was very good at wearing people out and could even wear herself out; we'd get a bouncy house so the kids could wear themselves out. I had it all planned out how I would set things up around our house. The only problem, as long time readers will recall, is that our backyard is a shithole. I started my annual quest to make the garden look slightly less like a shithole, and in doing so I pricked my thumb on some wild roses. The next morning I woke up with a painful, red, swollen thumb and ascending cellulitis. The ER doctor informed me that wild roses often carry a very potent bacteria. Asthetics aside, the other challenge with out backyard is that we didn't have the 15 x 15 foot space required for most rental bouncy houses, so I borrowed one that my cousin had purchased. It fit in our garden, but barely. Kids would have been literally bouncing off our house. It was a bit of a painful moment of defeat, but Husband convinced me that our house just wasn't going to work for the party I was planning. I was reluctant to agree, but I knew I didn't want my party to be remembered as the one where kids got hurt.  

As we had just recently been to a friend's party for her five year old, Husband reminded me that we're fortunate to live in an area with access to multiple reginal parks. However, while there are almost fifty picnic sites availble to reserve; there are only three that allow both a bouncy house and alcohol. Two essential items. So, we ended up at the exact same site that our friends used when they hosted their party. A bit of deja-vu for some of our guests. Since we weren't constrained by the size of our house anymore, we invited some more guests than we had the previous year, including Isabelle and Bob, three Day Care classmates, one of Husband's colleages and her two kids and one of my work colleagues who had invited me and Kate to her son's party. 

Long time readers may also recall my attempt to make my own The Very Hungry Caterpillar themed cupcakes last year. I have to admit my intention was less about saving money and more about proving how crafty I can be; but I spent the same amount of money on supplies to try to make my own cupcakes that I ended up paying for professional made cupcakes. This year I vowed not to waste my time and money. At least not in the kitchen... I tried to grow grass in our back garden... I would show before and after photos, but I think this is a situation where the 'after' pics look worse than the 'before'. I purchased 10 bags of dirt, a few bags of grass seed and a hand held seed spreader. I watered it every night, but nothing grew. So, I'm not a baker, nor a gardner, but I am a decent seamstress. I bought the red dress and black stripe leggings from Nordstrom's clearance rack, but I made the white collar for her 'Olivia' dress. It only took two attempts and three trips to Jo.Ann Fabrics, but I think I pulled it off. 

Is it really cheeky to re-use as a Halloween 
coustume, if it still fits?

The collar in progress,
Yes, the stars are supposed to be black.
Jane of last year would have obsessed over it
and gone to great lengths to find black stars.
This year, I'm letting things go...

Husband was dissapointed he didn't get to go the the gym
Party WOD
2 Rounds
Lug coolers, crates, tents and tables 200 meters 
For Time 

[NB Thanks to my aunt and uncle for watching Kate while we set up]

Sand table for creating sand castles

Painting Station

Food courtesy of Chip.olte

I left Husband in charge of decorating.
He forgot about these ballons and just left them in the tent.
It was a lazy accident, but I though it worked.

Cupcake success this year!

Yes, I borrowed the tent from my swim team...

At the time that I am finishing this post (almost one month later) I have not heard any reports of anyone getting sick and no one was hurt during the party! Although I don't think anyone really understood the Olivia theme to my activities, the kids all enjoyed them. They bounced, painted some pictures and got sand in their socks and shoes (sorry, Moms). I also had a small bubble machine and a bunch of bubble wands on hand. My cousin's youngest son appointed himself in charge of the bubble station and appropriately re-filled the machine and trays with bubble juice. I also had a few Hula-hoops that Kate picked up during our many trips to Jo.Ann Fabrics (they were keeping her occupied and only 99 cents..) that I brought a long, and surprisingly, they were a huge hit. I had done a lot of prep work in the weeks leading up to the party, so it only took Husband and I about 40 minutes to pack and load the cars the night before. I had vowed that I wasn't going to stay up until midnight preparing for the party and I didn't. I was up until almost midnight doing meal prep for the week as I knew I wouldn't have time for it on Sunday (the day of the party). We were exhausted when it was all said and done, but it was an enjoyable day. My favourite moments include Kate wanting me to go into the bouncy house with her (although I had to explain that I couldn't bounce as we usually do, as I was wearing a dress and didn't want to flash our guests) and seeing Kate run across the field to greet her best friend from Day Care. She seemed to enjoy the day and I don't know if I'm imagining it, but seemed to make her way around to interact with everyone who attended. She was the star of the show. I was happy to do my part in the supporting role.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Day in the Life Summer 2017

These were events as they occurred on 23 July 2017

Husband 42 years
Jane 41 years
Kayla 9 years
Tyler 4 years
Kate 2 years 

0335 My slumber is disturbed by the sound of Kate mumbling, "Mommy... MOMMY"
0336 I quickly hop out of bed and find Kate standing by the gate which prevents her from escaping her room.
0337 I direct Kate to go back to her bed as I use the bathroom.
0340 Finish in the bathroom and stand outside Kate's door. Holy shit! She's fallen back asleep in her bed on her own.
0343 I'm ecstatic about the fact that she fell back to sleep on her own and I'm nervous that she'll wake up again; hence I can't fall back asleep
0415 Still awake.
0420 Briefly check a few news stories on my phone. Stop as I acknowledge this isn't going to help me sleep
0430 Work on composing a few blog posts in my mind. Someday, these words will meet my keyboard.
~0500 fall back asleep
0602 Hear Kate cry at her gate "Out?" "Out!" "Out!!!"
0604 Grab her milk and release her from her room prison; bring her to our bed for morning milk.
0605 Husband has turned on coverage of the final stage of the Tour de France. Kate has been really into watching the bicycles (which she was originally pronouncing as "bad giggles" We had a bit of fun with that, but worked to correct her.)
0620 Wow, somehow I managed to get a short cat nap. I can hear Husband and Kate in the kitchen and I hear Kate asking "where's Mummy?"
0621 Time to get out of bed and she's now grabbing my hand demanding "Mommy, get down!"
0625 Discover that the blue light is on the Kurig, indicating that the water reservoir needs to be refilled. Give Husband shit about it, as if I leave the blue light on, I get treated like the worst person in the world.
0630 My Coffee is ready. I really need it.
0635 Prepare protein shake and starting logging foods for the day
0640 Try to encourage Kate to eat something for breakfast. She wants applesauce. Why not?
0700 Plan out meals for the week and make shopping lists. I was too tired to do this last night.
0715 Husband attempts to Face.time with his parents. I secretly wish he would do this after I've left for the gym
0716 No answer. (Phew)
0720 Kate wants to play in her room. I go with her to give Husband a rest so he can make his breakfast
0745 Take note that Kate hasn't peed since she woke up. Offer her some "coco water" [coconut water]
0755 Realise I should get ready for the gym
0800 While I am getting changed, Kate announces "pee-pee" I follow her to the bathroom, but am told "STAY MOMMY".
0802 Hang back in the hall and listen for her to finish. Go in to help wipe and dump/clean the potty.
0810 As I am getting ready to leave for the gym, Kate is suddenly very clingy
0812 Get in my car and drive off. I can hear her screaming from the garage.
0826 Arrive at the gym. The new Saturday coach is filling in today
0840 I'm liking this new coach as he's very creative and always is thinking up new activities. Today's was trying to row exactly 100 meters. If you were over or under, you had to do 2 air squats per meter (with a max of 16). After nearing hitting the max on my first attempt (107 meters) I hit 100 meters exactly twice.
0900 It's somewhat of a partner WOD as you had so share a bar with someone else, although you each have an individual time. I like partner stuff, as it pushes me to go heavier. I find someone with a similar ability. We work up to 60 kg for a deadlift and 35 kg for a 3 squat clean/5 push press/1 Overhead Squat combo. I would have gone heavier on the deadlift, while I think she would have preferred to be heavier on the other lifts. Compromise
0925 Finish the WOD. Glad we didn't go heavier than 60 kg on the deadlifts, probably could have done slightly heavier on the other bar.
0927 Husband and Kate arrive. She has two baby dolls, her Dress-Me Kitty and a blanket because it must be that kind of morning
0930 As Husband is doing his warm-up and I'm getting ready to go, Kate gets a major case of Daddyitis. "Daddy" she whines incessantly. "DADDY!" DAADDDDYYYY" He acts annoyed, but really must feel like a rock star.
0940 Driving home and she's still crying for "Daddy." I'm not resentful at all.
0955 Arrive home. Yes, I did an extra loop around our block as she was starting to fall asleep.
1000 I leave the garage door open while she's sleeping in the car and jump in the shower. Twice I think she might be waking up
1015 Take meat out of the chest freezer to thaw for tonight's dinner. Prepare her snack bag and grab my cloth bags for shopping.
1025 Chase Tyler back into the house and set alarm even though Husband will be coming home soon.
1045 Realise I've just spent about 15 minutes on Facebook when I was intending to log my WOD and foods. Decide to leave right now or else risk her waking up just as Husband arrives home
1105 Arrive at the Farmer's Market. Kate is stirring a bit. She wakes as I try to transfer her into her stroller. I offer her the Portette potty, she's refusing. She's fussing when I attempt to strap her into the stroller, but she also fussed when I tried to fold it up. She climbed in it, but refused to be strapped. Oh well, this can work.
1107 Chat with the hummus vendor as he confirms if I'll take my usual order. He remarks at how big Kate has grown and reflects that he recalls when I was pregnant. This is why I love the Farmer's Markets. [I later ran into this guy in later this week -I really should learn his name] I ask for a plain hummus sample for Kate
1110 Kate is not liking the hummus and is wiping it on her stroller
1111 Deviate from my usual course so I can hit the coffee vendor to steal some napkins to clean the hummus. Receive dirty looks as I looks like I'm jumping the queue.
1115 Come to the end of an aisle and find a discreet place to try to get her to use the potty. Get out the portette. She isn't offering any resistance, so I help her with her pants. As she is peeing, I look for wipes in the bag. Crap. I forgot to restock wipes! Good thing I still have some napkins and some hand sanitizer.
1118 As I'm repacking the potty backpack, I notice that Kate is directly eating out of a bag of strawberries. Have at it.
1125 We hit other vendors at the Market, Kate decides she wants out of the stroller so she can walk. It's good timing as the bags are getting heavy, so I can place them in the seat of her stroller
1130 Kate approaches a vendor who is selling grapes. She grabs an entire bunch from the sample table. I offer to pay for the grapes, but the saleslady refuses to take my money. I buy some peaches, even though I don't like them and probably won't eat them. Fortunately, these grapes are very small and don't need to be cut up
1135 We leave the market. I feel guilty as I parked in Target's parking lot (which has many signs forbidding market parking) while I'm not shopping at Target today.
1145 Arrive at a Sporting Goods store as I need more Ultra.Swim shampoo and conditioner. I'm out of conditioner and I had to ask the really hot guy on our team if I could borrow some from him.
1148 Browse through a clearance rack as I need more gym shorts and yoga tops. Not finding anything suitable
1150 I really needed to pee, so Kate and I go to the bathroom. There are two empty stalls. Kate runs into one. She tells me "Stay Mommy," but I help her push down her pants and put her on the toilet while I go into the other stall.
1151 She announces "all done" although she didn't pee. She jumps off the toilet, pulls up her pants and crawls into my stall.
1153 As I'm finishing, someone else arrives in the next stall and Kate tries to crawl into her stall. I probably should have explained that we stay in our own stall earlier.
1155 Quickly wash hands and rush out of the bathroom before the other woman comes out of the stall.
1157 Grab two sets of shampoo and conditioner so I won't have to make this trip again for a while
1159 Kate has wandered over to the camping section. There is a display of chairs in a circle around a faux camp fire and there is a grandfather and his two tweenager kids who are trying out the chairs. Kate decides she needs to sit in the chairs too. All of them.
1220 We're still in the camping section. The other family can sense that I'm desperate to leave and they get up from the chairs. As we saw a dog waiting outside the store when we entered, I start talking to her about seeing the doggie.
1230 I let Kate pick out a mini-Lara bar as we check out. She's distracted and forgets about seeing the doggie, who has left with his owner.
1235 Sigh as I get back in my car. 50 minutes just to get shampoo. Why couldn't I have borrowed some from the hot guy again?
1255 Arrive at Chip.olte. Inform Kate that we need to put pee-pee in the potty first. She echos "Potty First!" loud enough for some diners to hear
1300 Success on the potty and staying in our own stall
1305 The queue has dissipated during our washroom trip and we walk right up to the counter. The woman reminds me that guacamole is extra. Sigh. I know quac is extra, I can read the sign. It's even more confusing as I ask for an empty guac container...
1307 I received a free cup for water, although I'm really tempted to get just a swig of Coke.Zero as I could use the caffeine. Kate asks for water (even though I got a milk for her). I feel she is serving as my moral compass
1310 Sit down to eat and fill some beans and meat into the plastic container for Kate and top it with a bit of guac. She just eats the guac and then starts eating the rest of it from my bowl.
1315 Finally get her to eat some beans and chicken by dipping it the small amount of guac I was hiding under some lettuce and spoon feed it to her. Hate the fact that we're going backward with me feeding her; but hey, she's getting some protein.
1320 Leave Chip.olte and head for Whole Foods. Kate stops to pet two doggies in the 25 yard journey. I'm hoping that she doesn't notice the frozen yoghurt shop
1321 Of course she did, as she heads right in and adds a "C'mon Mommy!"
1322 I decide she can have yogurt as she ate a decent lunch. I wasn't going to get any for myself until I checked and discovered that 2 oz of sugar-free, fat-free vanilla with no toppings is only 10 grams of carbs. The saleslady gives me a weird look when I asked her to weigh the cups separately.
1330 Head to Whole Foods. Kate spots a mini-trolley and motions that she wants to sit in the main part of the cart. (The mini-trolleys have signs instructing you to not place your kids in the baskets). I'm a badass shopping cart mom, so I put her in the mini-trolley, especially since we only need a few items and I anticipate this will be a quick trip.
1331 As soon as I walk in the door, I'm busted by a check-out lady for having my kid in the mini-trolley.
1332 We go back to the front of the store to get a large sized regular card. I let Kate sit in the main section
1335 There is a guy giving away sample bottles of a new green tea. I take one as I didn't get anything to drink during lunch
1355 Check out at Whole Foods and head back to my car to drop off the WF purchases before going to Safe.way
1400 Potty stop first at Safe.way. Somehow she manages to wet her pants and I have to change her. Not counting this as a miss.
1405 Although we just had lunch and yoghurt, Kate still seems hungry, so I give her some crackers from my emergency snack bag. It does keep her occupied while I'm shopping.
1445 Head back to my car. It's a scorching 99 degrees out and Kate is saying 'hot' as soon as I try to put her in the car. I load all the groceries in the boot first and then strap her in. I leave the trolley in the parking space next to me like an asshole, as I don't want to leave Kate in the hot car even for a few seconds to return the card to the rack.
1446 I do realise I could have left Kate in the trolley, pushed in back to the rack and then carried her back to the car. I will try to be a better citizen next time.
1450-1515 Watch the temperature as I drive home, it hits 101, the drops to 92 as I approach the tunnel and is 79 by the time I pull into my driveway. Kate sings a few songs during the car ride. I tried to sing along, but was promptly told "Mommy, NO."
1520 Kate is so excited to see her Daddy when we get home. It gives me a chance to peacefully unload the car.
1530 My parents care calling to Face.time with Kate. I was hoping to start my meal prep for the week
1635 Finish chatting with my parents who will be visiting in a few weeks
1640 Husband offers to do my meal prep and get dinner ready if I take Kate to the pool. I suspect he was watching a movie while we were out and wants to finish it
1700 After changing into our swimwear, I grab some towels and place Kate in her push trike to head to the pool.
1715 Husband has sent me three texts asking how to cut my carrots.
1720 There is a girl about the age of 7 or 8 swimming in the pool as her mother is sunbathing. She swims over to Kate and offers her a plastic pool toy. Kate starts throwing it so the girl can swim after to retrieve it.
1735 Perhaps bored of the game, the girl decided to go into the hot tub and her mother joins her. Kate decides she wants to go over to the deep end and jump in [while I catch her]
1750 Time to go home. Kate and I rise off under the pool shower. I decide this can count as her bath for tonight.
1805 Arrive home and change out of our wet swim gear.
1813 Start working on dinner while Kate is sitting on Husband's lap. She is requesting to listen to "Musique." Specifically, "ABBA." She gets annoyed when a non-ABBA song comes up on Pandora. We are serious considering upgrading for the unlimited skips and no ads.
1830 Pack my lunch and Kate's snack bag for tomorrow
1845 Our dinner is almost ready. It's South Beach Chipolte Chicken Chili, which is too spicy for Kate. I heat up some breakfast sausages for her.
1847 She's more interested in the shredded cheese we've sprinkled on the chili. I'm pleased that she's actually sitting down to eat.
1900 We actually finish a civilised with everyone sitting on the table. I offer her some pineapple while Husband and I clean up from dinner.
1903 I notice that she is removing each piece of pineapple from the container and is placing them in line on the table. I feel I should be discouraging this... but it's keeping her occupied... so I keep cleaning...
1905 I look over and see that she has emptied out the pieces of pineapple and is drinking the juice directly from the container. I have to admit that she has seen me do this on a few occasions
1906 I hear pieces of pineapple hitting the floor. Time to clean up.
1910 I was going to suggest that we could take a walk around the neighbourhood, but Kate announces that she needs to poop.
1911 I attempt to follow her to the bathroom, but am told "Stay, Mommy!" She tries to close the bathroom door, but it doesn't close all the way. I can see that she makes it on to her potty. I go into her room to tidy her toys and pick out her clothes for tomorrow.
1915 She's still sitting on the potty singing to herself.
1920 Time to wipe/clean up the potty. Decide this is a good time to get her changed and ready for bed, albeit a little early. I make a note that we have completed the day without an accident.
1925 I go into the garage to get a pork tenderloin out of the chest freezer, so it can defrost for tomorrow. Kate follows me and starts playing with a toy race car set that she received for her birthday.
1927 Husband had started a load of laundry while Kate and I were at the pool and forgot to empty the machine. While Kate plays, we hang up the wet clothes.
1940 Bribe Kate to come in from the garage with the promise of milk.
1941 Kate announces that she needs to pee. Suspect this is a delay tactic.
1945 She actually does need to pee. Use the bathmat in the bathroom to re-diaper her.
1948 Head into her bedroom and Husband brings in her milk. She wants him to read her stories tonight.
1950 He reads three books, but she wants me to read "one more book" which turns into three more books
2005 Time to brush teeth. Husband has pre-loaded the toothpaste on her toothbrush as she has been drinking the toothpaste straight from the tube.
2008 Husband says good night and exchanges kisses with Kate before handing her off to me to snuggle on the glidder
2011 She shifts around on my lap for a few minutes; then announces "Bed",
2012 I place her in her bed and I lie on the mattress next to her bed.
2014 She requests to have her Kitty
2015 She requests to be tucked into her blanket
2017 I retrieve my phone (which I had hidden earlier under her bed) and discretely I finish logging my foods for the day and catch up with
2026 She seems to have fallen asleep. I quietly leave the room and latch her gate.
2030 Change into bed clothes and climb into bed.
2031 Husband starts watching Game of Thrones. I know everyone else on the planet loves this series, but I can't stand it. I tried to get into it, but I couldn't keep all the characters straight and the violence is just too much for me. Usually, I won't even stay in the room while it's on, but I actually don't have any food prep or kitchen chores to do. I have another project that I could be working on, but I'm way too tired at this point in the night.
2040 I was going to start writing some blog posts, but don't have the energy, so I check out the latest blog post from our nutrition coach as apparently, he has time and energy to write some posts.
2115 "Boobs!" Husband announces as there is a graphic sex scene on GOT. After a year of breastfeeding, I am happy to see he's returned to his default response to breasts.
2125 There is an intense battle scene a the close of GOT. I leave a comment on the Nutrition coach's blog. My iPad defaults my identity as Jane Allen. ...Awkward...
2130 Now Husband is watching Ballers. Another show I just can't get into. I can't wait until John Oliver comes back.
~2145 I fall asleep, which is pretty early for me, but I need to take advantage of as much sleep as I can in anticipation of Kate waking up in the wee hours of the morning..