Expecting the unexpected

BECAUSE I’M MARRIED TO A SERIOUS SPORTS FAN, I’m accustomed to checking sports schedules before I schedule anything for the family. I dutifully verified that gametime for the Steelers / Ravens NFL playoff game was 4:30 pm on Saturday before I booked Peezer’s birthday party for an earlier time slot the same day.

(The fact that I even thought to do this is something Curt takes for granted. Not all wives would. He has trained me well.)

And I was feeling like a Very Good Wife, until Curt’s friend offered him four face-value tickets to see the game IN PITTSBURGH. Curt, bless him, hesitated, on account of it being the same day as Peezer’s birthday party. But here’s the thing with the Steelers and their rabid fans. Face-value tickets don’t come along that often. And here was a chance for Curt to impress the socks right off of Seth and The Boss. Oh, sure, they’ve been to regular-season NFL games and to Big Ten football at Penn State. But the playoffs? Our favorite team?

So it was in the spirit of teamwork that I offered to “take one for the team” and agreed to host the birthday party solo while Curt took Peezer’s older brothers to Mecca Heinz Field.

Now, we haven’t hosted a birthday party outside of our home in all the years we’ve been parents. But this year, I finally decided there was a certain wisdom in throwing money at this particular issue. I booked the party and decided to let someone else clean up the mess.

And I didn’t necessarily think it would be a big deal. A few kids, some cake – how hard could it be? Last year, I invited his entire class to our home for his party. Out of 22 some invitations, we had only seven RSVPs, and of those, six kids attended. It was a manageable size for a group of five year olds, but I was dismayed by the lack of responses.

Fully expecting the same thing this year, I encouraged Eli to invite lots of kids, so as to hedge our bets. We mailed 23 invitations. Imagine how surprised we were when every single guest replied and only one said they could not attend!

Me + 23 kindergarteners + a frenzied party venue, teeming with hyperactive children? When I confirmed the party details, I asked if I could tack on a box of wine for an additional charge. Alas, it would be up to me to get through the party without crutches.

The kids had a blast bouncing on the inflatables. Plus, sensing my desperation, more than a few parents stuck around, so I had extra arms to assist me with my hosting duties.

Something else extra that I hadn’t counted on, though? Extra party guests! Three parents brought extra siblings. One let me know ahead of time. Two didn’t. And I might not even have noticed except that (for fear of losing someone) I put name tags on all the kids. Then I noticed one I didn’t recognize. “Who’s that?” I asked a nearby parent.

“Oh,” she said, smiling, “That’s Emily.”

Thinking I’d totally missed something, I asked, “Who’s Emily? We didn’t invite an Emily…”

“Oh, no, that’s Mary’s sister,” she said. “I brought her along.” So, I informed her – and the other two parents – that there was a maximum number of jumpers allowed on the inflatables, and that with all our invited guests, we had exactly that many, so if the referees decided to enforce the limit, I’d have to ask their extra child to get off the inflatables.

And you’d think that would have been enough of a hint, but you would be wrong. As we transitioned to the party room for refreshments, all three of the extra kids all bellied up to the table, and we ran out of chairs and chips and cups, because there were exactly enough place settings for the invited guests. The “referees” were cool about it- they brought in extras of everything. And charged me, naturally.

And you would think THAT would have been hint enough, too, but again, you’d be wrong, because two of the three extra guests actually held out their hands for the goodie-bag giveaway at the end of the party! Luckily, I had exactly two extras, because what kind of ogre says to a doe-eyed three year old, sorry, Susie, no candy for you!?

Despite those minor curveballs, it was a fun party – Peezer loved every minute of it. We toted his gifts home and opened them and this week we will be mass-producing thank you notes. Mostly, though, I was touched that this room full of kids was there to celebrate my kid’s birthday. It was loud, chaotic, and crazy – but it was a big ole’ party, and Peezer was thrilled.

I may have scored bonus points for “letting” Curt take the boys to the football game, but I like to think I scored far more meaningful points with my youngest son.

Blow out the candle 

 

New Year, New Look

CHECK IT OUT! Soup Is Not A Finger Food has a brand-new look! And it's all because I was lucky enough to win a contest hosted by the uber-talented Marcy Massura. (You see what happens when you read blogs? You can win stuff!)

Anyway, I left a comment on her funny, funny blog, The Glamorous Life, which earned me a chance to win Marcy's mad design skillz in the form of a new blog header. For free! And not only did she do that, she also gave me some pointers on color schemes and organizing my space here and all kinds of other stuff. Because she's awesome like that.

Along with the new header, I've tried to tidy up the info over there, on the right. I added a new "About Me" page, too. (Link is below the ads.) I took away the blogroll, but fear not, I'm going to re-add it on a whole different page. Coming soon. I promise.

My hope is that with a fresh new design, I might become re-inspired to post more often.  Regardless, I love the new look and would like to thank Marcy for rigging the random number generator to choose me. Kidding! I'm sure my desperate plea and sorry state of my blog had nothing to do with it. 

Six Already

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY I will ever be able to say that I am the mother of a five year old. Six years ago January 5th, right after the holidays, we checked into the hospital and came home with this –

Happy_to_be_here 
A boy, our third, and we made certain knew then, our last. In fact, tomorrow, Peezer will turn the same age that The Boss was when we disrupted the symmetry of our foursquare family. And, he is older now than Seth was when we moved into this house, nine and a half years ago. This blows my mind. Already? How can this have happened so quickly? Why, wasn't it just yesterday, he was all

Peeze 

I know, right??

Tonight I am feeling wistful and a little bit melancholy. All these last firsts and last lasts! I've just scheduled the last sixth birthday party I will ever throw. (Thank the goddesses for that one.) We’ve already had the last last day of preschool, the last first day of kindergarten.

Peezeyleaves 

A few weeks ago, I sifted through several boxes of little boy clothes, sorting them by size. There were only a few 2Ts and 3Ts left – most have already been given to other kids. But there were quite a few 4Ts left. Some of them, Peezer only recently outgrew, and some had been worn previously by The Boss and also Seth. I’ll give most of them away, but there were a few items I just couldn't part with. These, I stashed in our “hall of fame” box for safekeeping. It contains choice items that evoke strong memories of cute, chubby, pre-sarcastic, pre-video precious little boys with wispy hair and rubberband wrists and ruddy cheeks and huge, genuine smiles and as many hugs for Mommy and Daddy as we could possibly handle.

Peezepsu 

Peezer lost his first tooth the other day. (Our last first tooth!) This was the first tooth he lost naturally – he lost three in a dramatic tumble down some stairs just before his second birthday. (We don’t count those.) He wiggled and wiggled and worked it all afternoon until it finally popped out, leaving a bloody gap in his bottom gum.

He tucked the tooth in an envelope and eagerly went to bed, anxious to see what the Tooth Fairy would leave in exchange for this bit of his baby self. I snuck in after he began snoring, placed two golden dollars where the tooth was, then slipped the tooth into the small vial that held its three surgically extracted counterparts from four years ago. And then I wondered:

Why am I keeping these teeth? I have all the ones Peezer’s big brothers lost, too. What am I going to do with them? Fashion them into a necklace? With matching earrings?? Mount them in a shadow box? Ask for them to be tucked into my casket when I go to the great beyond??  Seriously! It's weird! Why do we keep these wee pearly chiclets? I have no idea. But I was wistful when I stashed it and couldn’t bring myself not to, even as I wondered at the absurdity of being sentimental about baby teeth.

Peeze 5th bday 
Peezer's 5th birthday, same day, last year

Late last night, as I was frantically designing and printing birthday party invitations and emailing "hold the date" messages to Eli's friends' parents and booking the inflatable place for said party (first party we've ever hosted outside our home!) and ordering gifts from Amazon (and being thankful I paid for the Prime Shipping last year), I was cursing myself for the timing of this birth, which has managed each year to sneak up on me at the exact moment when I finally exhale from the post-holiday whirlwind. Tonight I bought cupcakes for Peezer's class (because you're not allowed to home-bake stuff anymore, and I can see their point). There's a cake in the oven now, destined to be our family's dessert after the Birthday Boy's chosen dinner of macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets.

Eli and mom first day of school 
This morning, in the midst of the frantic hurry-or-you'll-miss-the-bus drill, I took a moment to stand Peezer up against the back of the door where we've measured the boys' growth. I marked his height, then compared it to the marks there for his two brothers, and I discovered that he's about the same height as they each were at the same age. So I guess we're doing something right, or at least consistently, here.

Eli October 

Happy birthday Peezer! I'm so glad I get to be your mom!

Love,