Friday, February 28, 2014

A Microphone and a Stage: the Perfect 13th Birthday Party

The day started off with a two hour delay thanks to yet another MN blizzard, but before I was even out of bed, my phone beeped, announcing an email's arrival, and school was canceled.

Not one minute later, Megan charged into our bedroom on the morning of her 13th birthday and hurriedly announced her stress about the day, and her plans for the party, and how will everyone be delivered?

Can you drive them, mom, pick them  up? Can you? Can you?

She fussed and pounded out texts and hurried around and I just wanted a few more minutes of blizzard gifted sleep.

I didn't even wish her a happy birthday.

When she first began planning her epic dance party, oh, something like four months ago, she talked of our large kitchen, and moving the table out and turning off the lights and playing music, and I knew this house wasn't big enough for her dreams.

Our living room is postage stamp small. It's filled to the brim with just a sofa and loveseat. The kitchen is large, but not for 13 13 year olds and their energy and drama and giggles.

So off to church we went, armed with balloons and some accidentally matching table clothes I bought years ago. It was, thankfully, the last day of Robb's 2 week stint of unemployment, and my daycare kids were napping.

 Somehow, all the girls from the 7th grade came, save one with family plans, and two from the 8th. they braved icy roads and a mean wind, but they made it.

They ate walking tacos and hovered around the chocolate fountain. Mitchell played DJ with Megan's compilation of YouTube music videos and took requests - his dream come true. Everyone got their mic and stage time for Karaoke which included my own three singing "Radioactive". I would show you a video of how gifted my kids are, but my phone had no more space for a video. Of course.

I did get this photo of my kids teaching everyone the levan polka and also numa numa. Good times. They just make me giggle with happiness.

There was only one instance of teen tears in the bathroom, which was easily fixed with smoothies made by my very own barista husband. The chocolate fountain went baserk at one point, spinning chocolate everywhere, but I did I hear something about "best party ever" and "how will I top this next year?" so I think I can safely assume the party was a success in the eyes of the giggly, dramatic, karaoke singing, pyramid making teens.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

What to make as party favors when your daughter plans her own birthday party

How my daughter is turning 13 tomorrow escapes me. I mean, I know the logistics of how these things happen and time passes, but as of tomorrow I will have two teenagers living under my roof, and that just sorta startles me. I feel 25 at most. But Mitchell was two when I was 25, so I'm quite obviously not that young anymore.

But here they are, tall and lanky, with appetites to match, knowing more than they do, and they live here with me and they are mine.

She has lists and made invites and texted me all the info and all I really have to do is go to the store and buy it all. She's got plans that way. She out-plans me. Every day.

There's a lot of pressure in all that planning. So I do what I do best with pressure. I make stuff. It's therapy for me, and when so much is never done and the parenting job is forever, I sit in the quiet of the day and finish something.

I finish 13 leather bracelets (Instructions here) that I hope the whole passel of 7th graders will like, but you never know, she says, and that's OK. You just never do know about that age. We will have something to give and that is good.

And the party will be awesome, because she is, and she planned it.  :)


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Renting, Contentment and Brass Hardware

We rented for about 7 years before we moved into this "new" rental in town, following 7 years of home-ownership. (We sold right before the big housing crash.) It was never our plan to rent, but then we found that farm, and fell in love. I prided myself in my contentment even though we didn't own and I couldn't change and paint and be as creative decorating as maybe I would have liked.

Meanwhile I enjoyed waving fields of corn, long walks down the driveway and views out every single brand new Anderson window.  The carpet was also brand new, as well as everything else in that house, save the charming old woodwork.

The winter was another story, but I was cozy and warm,  and I loved seeing the wind drift and dapple the snow in waves. The country was second best, coming from a childhood of growing up on a lake.

Yes, I was spiritual all right, "suffering" in my rental home and learning through the lack of a mortgage tying us down, that "this world is not my home."

Then we moved to town and I found out I had not really learned that lesson in contentment.

This house has acoustical ceiling tile in the bathroom, painted over wallpaper paste, and dark low pile Berber in two bedrooms. Oh yes, and peeling kitchen cabinets with brass hardware. Did I tell you Mitchell shares a room with my office? He's glad to have the computer so close, but the poor kid (ahem, teen) has no privacy as his room opens directly to the living room, and kitchen.

It's cozy and the utilities are cheap, the kitchen is massive and the garage is so heavily insulted it stayed a balmy 20* inside even when the temperatures dropped to a wind chill of -40*, but it has definite quirks.

And they irk me.

We have goals that we are making progress toward, but I'm ready to be in a house with quirks that I can do something about!

Yesterday my issue of Martha Stewart Living came and was a bit astonished to see this page spread on brass.

My kitchen with brass hardware (and cute little girl in tutu.)

I know it's not the same, and I can't paint my cabinets grey or replace my woodgrain laminate with white silestone, but my hardware is on trend! 

We are where we need to be, and if I can't be content with all the little annoyances of a house-not-my-own, at least I can be content with that. 

And with my brass kitchen hardware.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:11-12