Karate Party!!

We held Lex’s friend party this year at their karate dojo. The sempis (teachers) did a wonderful job and the kids had a blast!! The karate studio provides the space, and the table set-up, and I brought the rest.

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Happy Birthday Lex!!

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The cake. Lex wanted a yellow belt on the cake because he has a yellow belt, and the purple patch is similar to the patch on their uniforms.

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The kids started by finding their ninja names (using the letters from their actual names or initials). Some kids had more fun with this than others. Some, I think, thought it was too much work for a birthday party! :)

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Like my birthday banner?

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The dojo also had a birthday banner!

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Goody “bags” (wrapped books, with a cookie attached), cake, and presents in the back row. Fortune cookies, strawberries, gi cookies, Goldfish mix, and carrots in the front row.

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The party favors this year were books. My friend suggested it and I thought it was very appropriate considering the birthday boy and our family. I found two different easy-reader chapter books, both with karate themes, and bought six of each. I taped on a karate gi sugar cookie and wrapped it all up with a “black belt” ribbon. I hope the kids like them. In my opinion it’s better than cheap junk they just throw away anyway.

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Some “human bowling” aka Rolling Bombs.

Once the kids all arrived they went into the main dojo for lots of high energy games led by the sempis.

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The kids all love this game. If you get hit you have to go to the side and do push-ups or jumping jacks.

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Then some actual karate! They started with punches.

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Power punches!

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Then kicks.

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Then flying side kicks! For this they have to run down the blue mat then jump up and kick the pad that the sempi is holding. They were encourage to make loud kung-fu Hollywood style noise while running and jumping. Everyone loved this one!

After awhile of karate and games, the kids came into the small dojo for snacks, presents, and cake.

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The dojo provided free floating balloons and Alan provided the snack time entertainment.

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He is quite entertaining.

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It was a very fun atmosphere. :)

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Present time. Lots of Legos and books! :)

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Right here he’s opening karate nunchuck pens. Super fun! His classmates will have to watch out now!

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One of the kids gave him stick-on mustaches and everyone had fun with them! One kid said the mustache on Alan made him look more manly. :)

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The whole crowd, some with stick-on mustaches, others with balloon mustaches, and everyone full of silliness!

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One happy boy!! (The karate gi cookies with black belts left everyone with black tinted lips and teeth. Not the most attractive look!)

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In a throwback to the sawzal party, Alan decided to cut the cake today with a samari sword! Everyone had a good laugh. Then boring mommy kicked him out and used just a plain old knife to do the job.

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I cut very large pieces. One kid asked what kind it was, referring to brand name, I believe, and commented that the cake is much more dense than usual. I had to explain the whole “made from scratch” thing. :)

When they were done with cake they went right back to the big dojo for more fun! Time to burn off the cake energy!

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Time for some dodge ball, dojo style!

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They finished with an “everyone throw the ball at the birthday boy” game. Like the dojo version of birthday spankings. Lex laughed and laughed.

After two hours everyone was hot and sweaty, and full of sugar and fun! It was a great day! We sent each kid home with a little present and a handful of fortune cookies.

Happy almost birthday Lex!

10?!

Lex’s birthday is coming right up and I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around the number. I don’t know why, but 10 just isn’t sticking in my head. Eve and I were at the party store the other day getting supplies and I had her pick out eight balloons. I even grabbed a “8” balloon to go with the “Happy Birthday” balloon. I was just about to check out when it hit me that he is not turning eight!! Duh! We had to grab different balloons and sadly discovered that they don’t make “10” balloons. :( This double digits thing is going to take some getting used to.

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Lex goes bionic for his birthday! He built himself a bionic arm with a ball shooter on the elbow and various sensors on the fingers. He’s pretty pleased with his creation. :)

Today, the 17th, was actually my due date with him, ten short years ago….. big belly, but no baby. (I love my blog!)

Our day in photos

Happy Mother’s Day.  We spent the morning hiking, then enjoyed lunch and delicious ice cream for dessert.  I am a lucky mommy!

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Entertaining ourselves while waiting for Alan to get ready.

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We tried to get Lex in on the selfie action, without much success.

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It was a very steep path! We took several "large rock breaks."

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After walking a mile we came to the first trail attraction, very cool waterfalls. Alan taught the kids how to drink the cool mountain water.

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Looking upstream.

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Looking downstream.

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Family portrait. We brought the selfie stick!

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This picture makes me smile, especially the kids in the background.

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Wading downstream. The rocks were very slippery and the kids kept falling. I eventually made them come back to the flat area after one particularly scary (though totally harmless) fall that Lex took.

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They promptly decided to explore upstream instead.

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The kids ended up completely soaked. Fortunately they were happy and didn't complain once about it!

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They caught a few water bugs and Eve decided to carry them home, despite everyone's advice to the contrary.

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She carried them all the way back down the hill. They are now in the bathroom. Probably dead.

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She walked very slowly down the mountain, so we had plenty of time to stop and throw rocks into the ravine.

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After lunch and ice cream we decided to play some badminton.

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We are very bad at badminton!!

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Lex laughed so hard he fell down and couldn't get up again. I think he was a little hot and tired, like the rest of us!

I love these crazy people who made me a mother.  I am a very lucky momma, and a very lucky daughter! 

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and your mom and all the other moms out there doing their best with their own crazy families.  Happiness is.

Ticks and lice and nothing nice

Warning: reading this post will make you itchy all over. Consider yourself warned!

For the past many years I have kept my head buried pretty deep in the sand when it comes to the whole tick thing. When the kids were younger I’d check them, sometimes, in the bath, but that was the extent of my tick related efforts. This year, however, they are consuming my thoughts.

Maybe it’s because we started letting Daisy go outside a few weeks ago and within days we discovered a big, fat tick on her back. Alan and I spent a long time that night attempting to remove it, resulting in fur and cat scratches everywhere. Alan eventually managed to sneak in on her when she was sleeping and get it off. Thankfully! I was texting with my friend off and on during and she said to leave it alone, it will fall off, happens all the time, etc. I was so grossed out!! She sleeps in Lex’s bed and cuddles with the kids and blech!

The next day we got her a flea collar. She is now the dorkiest cat on the block, wearing not one, but TWO collars around her neck. Lucky kitty. A few days later we found another tick on her. Ugh!

Or maybe it is because the ticks are everywhere this year. Two days after the Daisy/tick incident I discovered a tick crawling up the back of one of my kiddos at school. He was laying on my lap being fussy so I started rubbing his back. A moment later I said, “what’s this bump on your back?” I pulled up his shirt and found a tick crawling up his back. YUCK!! I did not react calmly, instead I practically dragged this poor kid around by his shirt trying to get to a good place to dispose of the tick. At the Montessori school we respect all life and gently escort bugs and spiders outside, but this tick when straight down the toilet, despite gasps from the little kids!

A few days after that one of the teachers discovered something that looked like it might be a head lice nit in the hair of a child. The teacher showed me the nit, told me all about checking the child’s hair, and so that became the primary topic of conversation between the teachers for the next few days. So far (knock on lots and lots of wood!) we haven’t seen anything else or heard any reports from families.

However, between all these buggy incidents I am now totally paranoid! Every time I have an itch I feel the need to check for ticks, or lice – nothing nice!

Eve and I participated in a Girl Scout event this morning that had us traipsing through the forest. I insisted she and I both wear long sleeves, long pants, socks tucked in, and hair back with hats on. One of her friends said, “Eve, it’s summer time, you don’t need to wear long sleeves,” and Eve fired back “I found two ticks on me and do you know why they didn’t bite me? Long sleeves!!”

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Eve pulling garlic mustard plants with a fellow Girl Scout.

Are you thoroughly itchy now?! I am!! I hate bug spray almost as much as I hate sunscreen (well, maybe more) but this might be the year I try it again. Or maybe I could get us all tick anklets?

Happy summer! ;)

A Mother’s Day Present

I was helping Eve clean up her room before bed this evening and feeling kind of frustrated with her and her messy room. She has so much stuff and it’s just everywhere. I opened her closet and was putting away doll clothes when I noticed something tucked in the back corner. I said said to her, with the exasperation clear in my voice, “Oh Eve, why do you have a live plant in your closet?!” So weird and random and totally something she would do. She jumped up and said, “Oh Mom!” and at the moment I remembered her scurrying upstairs after school with a small paper bag in her hands, and realized, oops, I think I found my Mother’s Day present! She made me promise to forget all about it (yeah, this is me forgetting) so I could be surprised on Sunday. The exchange totally put things in perspective and reminded me how sweet these years are, despite the messy room. I am a lucky momma.

Saturday night update: I just went into Eve’s dark room to check on her (I do that when they sleep), and I saw a weird glow coming from that same closet. I opened the door and found that she had hung a flash light from a hanger so that it shined down on to the plant! It casts an eerie glow through the slats of the closet door, but I love the thought. She’s sweet and clever!

Puzzle repeat

Lex decided to do the Periodic Table puzzle again.  He set it up on his desk and has been working on it for awhile now… maybe a week or two or three.  Eve helped off and on.  They both say it is very calming and relaxing.  I agree!

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All smiles!

A day at the Brick Fair

On Sunday we went to visit the Brick Fair, basically a Lego expo, but not sponsored by Lego. People brought amazing Lego creations they’d made and had them out for display. There were also a bunch of vendors selling Legos and Lego related stuff. It was really a fun time.

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A cool scene.

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A “cake” that someone made to celebrate a First Lego League anniversary.

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A rotating restaurant.

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“The Great Ball Contraption” – This was super cool. A group of people built a long chain of contraptions that carry little plastic balls all the way around the loop. Alan took a long video of the whole thing. It was amazing to watch.

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No kragle here!

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A big city. They had fun little Lego pigs and Godzilla and Ninja Turtles and other silly things all throughout the displays. The kids had fun finding them.

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A map of New England.

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They had some pretty cool Lego artwork. This one is about 24″x24″.

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Extra, extra, read all about it!

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Eve makes such funny faces in all her pictures.

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The biggest bouncy house ever! I didn’t love how dark it was inside and how few windows there were, but the kids had fun.

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This coloring table was set up next to the bouncy house for the parents to color. :)

We left the show around 4pm and headed out to find some dinner. We ended up at the Portland Pie Co. and had a super delicious meal. We wanted to sit on the patio to enjoy the day, but the painfully loud motorcycles and stinky smokers that kept going by quickly changed our mind. We settled instead in a quiet back room and thoroughly enjoyed our meal. After dinner we walked up the street a bit further in search of dessert. Good thing ice cream was just around the corner!

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Everyone loves Ben & Jerry’s! Notice his shirt? It’s his First Lego League Team shirt. He thought it would be appropriate for the day. :)

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This wild one really liked her chocolately chocolate Chocolate Therapy ice cream! Then she ran it off for awhile.

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On the way back to the car we stopped by to say hello to the giant inflatable Lego man.

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A nice, old-fashioned “us” picture to end the evening. :)

Then we headed home, tired and happy.

If you’d like to see more pictures of cool Lego creations, check out the rest of the photos.

Happy May!!

Happy May!! It is here and with the new month came beautiful sunshine and flowers!! It is amazing what a difference the sunshine makes in my life.

We celebrated our anniversary a bit early last night by dropping the kids off at an open art studio “kids night out” and going to a new restaurant for dinner. I felt super mature ordering mac and cheese for dinner, so I added a glass of Cabernet to classy things up a bit. :)

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Alan and I had a nice dinner and the kids had a great time crafting. Eve made cool paper jewelry, but refused to let me take a picture of it.

Today the sun is shining again and the temps are in the 70’s! Life is good. Eve’s Girl Scout troop participated in Clean-Up Day and worked together to clean up one of the local parks. While she was doing that I took Lex to karate. Then we all went to school where they were holding a community-wide “yard sale” in the parking lot, complete with bake sale and book fair. Both kids brought some money and bought a few little things. From there we headed to the local ice cream stand that opened today! They opened at noon and we were there at 12:05! Happiness is. (I was going to take a selfie of all three of us eating ice cream, but we met some friends there and I got distracted. You’ll just have to imagine Lex and I also equally excited for our ice cream!)

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When we got home everyone was hot and tired so we headed to our corners. Lex bought a Lego book/kit from the book fair so he has been in his room building that and Eve headed outside to build a squirrel trap. Let’s hope it isn’t a very good one!

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I am planted in front of the computer writing cover letters and applying for jobs. I have five applications out there, so I hope I get some responses soon… but not too soon as I’m not totally ready for interviewing yet. I hope to finish my portfolio and get things ready for interviews this weekend so I can be ready if (um, I mean WHEN) the calls start coming in!