an artistic birthday

For June29's Big 5, we wanted to celebrate by doing something different. That year, we attended eight bounce house parties and despite June29's declaration to have his at one too, we calmly (ok, selfishly) tried to convince him otherwise. November3 came up with the idea of hosting an art class party taught by his phenomenal teacher in her studio. I thought it was brilliant. Surprisingly, J29 liked the idea. Really, he did. The kids would learn something new and the parents could drop them off - all in the name of a birthday bash. Is there a better combo?

Click here for the juicy details...



movies based on books

Last Christmas, our good friends, N+G, gave June29 the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. It was his first big kid chapter book and boy was he skeptical. No colorful pictures? So many pages? Read one chapter at a time? This was new territory as far as books were concerned.

But, oh, how he relished it. He ate up the words with his expressions, drew in breaths of suspense, laughed outloud and questioned endlessly. The few pictures in the book he studied over and over. Many times I caught him watching me wide-eyed and incredulously, savoring every word. It made me realize that without the pictures in a picture book, there wasn't much for him to look at except words he couldn't read, so he studied the source. He studied me.

We didn't read the book every day. Sometimes we'd skip a day or two or a week. But every time we returned he remembered details about the last chapter we read. Details I easily forgot.

Finishing the book was an occasion in itself. He felt triumphant. Afterwards, we rented Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the movie. (The Johnny Depp version, of course.) I'd rather watch movie adaptations after I've read the book, and what better time to introduce this concept to him? 

Just like the book, he loved the movie even more. He talked in detail about how things depicted in the book were the same as in the movie, and how they were different. By reading the book, he imagined the possibilities. By watching the movie, those possibilities became real. Whether they were based on his reality or not, it didn't matter. It was cool just the same.

Now he wants to read another chapter book-turned-movie. And me? I'm happy to oblige.


[Thanks N+G for starting us on this new tradition.]



sunday morning

March 7. 8am-ish. Another lazy morning.

I imagine that this is the kind of post only grandparents and a traveling dad would enjoy.



desperate measures

I put November9 in an empty bath tub while I took a shower. Trapped him so he wouldn't get into trouble elsewhere. Then he turned on the water. Like a moth to a flame. So I asked or rather, begged, his brother to go in with him.

Me: Can you sit in the tub and keep DD company? You can still draw in there.

June29: But he'll bother me.

Me: It's okay. It's just for a few seconds. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease???

The magic word really does work! I didn't even have to bribe him. Cleverly, I positioned him in front of the faucet to block N9's relentless efforts. As an added precaution, I kept tabs often by asking J29 - actually, it was more like shouting - what DD was up to.

Me: What's DD doing?!!

June29: Um...he's throwing the toys against the window.

Me: Okay.

...washing my hair...

Me: What's DD doing?!!

June29: Um...picking apart the letter sponges and stuffing it down the drain.

Me: Oh. GOOD.

...washing my feet...

Me: What's DD doing?!!

June29: Um...pumping the soap and putting it all over his clothes.


Desperate times call for desperate measures. I like to call it strategic thinking. Nevermind that I ran soaking wet naked out of the shower stall just to grab my camera and take the pictures. Nevermind that I took the damn pictures just for this damn post. At least my hair doesn't itch anymore.



simple favors

For November9's red egg and ginger party, we made these simple favors for our guests. We wrapped boxes of ginger thin cookies in gold foil wrapping paper, spray painted small styrofoam eggs cherry red, then attached three eggs on top of each box with a hot glue gun.

A red egg and ginger celebration is usually held around a baby's one-month birthday. Guests are often given red hard boiled eggs and foil wrapped ginger candy as favors. The thought of hard boiling and dyeing eggs was a huge turn off, so we stepped outside the box and came up with a parting gift that honors this centuries-old tradition while modernizing it with a twist. Each favor also doubled as a place card - propped against a red egg was a red egg-shaped card with each guest's name handwritten on it (not pictured due to my forgetfulness.)

And the invitation...


Click here for more red egg and ginger invitation stories.