Thursday, January 29, 2009

Don't worry: just because I'm neglecting my family blog doesn't mean that I'm neglecting my family, too.

Everyone is still getting fed, bathed and clothed. It's just that it seems like every time I turn around I have to blog about something that I cooked or baked. Honestly, there are only so many blogging hours in a day. And the fam does make it into my food blog for the vast majority of my posts, since I am usually tripping over them while I am cooking (but in a good way!)

The big non-food news this month is that Elizabeth turned 4!!! She wanted her birthday party to be at Pump It Up, and even though I and the rest of the parents of preschoolers in this town are way past sick of Pump It Up, we obliged to make our birthday girl happy.

Here she is getting ready for her party:

Jacob on a ginormous inflatable bouncer:

Caroline and Aunt Kimberly coming down the slide:

Elizabeth checking out her groovy princess cake:

Note the plastic "princess" frame on the top with Elizabeth's picture in it. Oh yes, that's the kind of attention to detail we've come to expect from the partnership between the Walt Disney Corporation and Publix . Elizabeth coveted this little beauty for months. Ordering it was a bit of an ordeal because she didn't quite understand the concept of "we'll paper the transaction now and close it later." She wanted to know why we weren't leaving with the cake. Oh well, no trip to Publix would be complete without a threatened meltdown over something!

Here is the birthday princess on her inflatable Pump It Up throne surrounded by her legions of adoring partygoers:

The present-opening part of a Pump It Up party most closely resembles a mosh pit. I don't think I've actually been in a mosh pit since that Ned's Atomic Dustbin concert in 1992, but whenever I go to a Pump It Up party the long-suppressed memories all come flooding back.

Better view of the zone of danger:

Anyway, Elizabeth had a ball at Pump It Up, and I think her little friends all did too. But the Pump It Up party by its nature does not give me the opportunity to summon my inner, much less talented Martha Stewart; choose a party theme; and then militantly maintain the theme by adorning the house with theme-appropriate paper products, balloons, clothing, accessories, and desserts, and banishing from the house anyone or anything that does not match my theme. Thankfully, I got to get my psycho Martha on the day of Elizabeth's actual birthday, which was a couple of days after the party.

There was never any doubt that we'd go with a princess theme, given that Elizabeth is enamored with all things regal. It is a good thing that being fancy comes naturally for Elizabeth, because she certainly does not get it from me.

I made her a castle cake.

Her present was the Disney Cinderella Castle playset, which conveniently doubled as theme-appropriate decor in the party room. It really bugged Jacob that the present wasn't wrapped. My explanation that it was both the present AND the decoration did not sway him -- in his view, the whole thing was just plain wrong.

I bought a couple of packages of M&Ms, picked out the colors that matched my theme, and scattered them on the table. Because I'm crazy that way. Here's Caroline stealing an M&M.

See? The M&Ms match.

I think Elizabeth had fun at both of her parties, which is all that matters to me. I can't believe that my baby girl is 4! Time flies by WAY too fast. Elizabeth has been playful, fun-loving, silly, friendly, impish, and affectionate from the beginning. There are no really words for how much joy that she brings to our lives every day. Happy Birthday, my sweetie pie!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Always Knew That Fluffy Was Trouble, or "Why We Will Never Own a Rodent," or "Why I Love First Grade"

We received the following class memo yesterday from Jacob's teacher (you can click on the picture if you need a larger view):

There is so much that I love about this letter that it is hard to know where to begin. First, you've got to wonder how long Fluffy has been planning his escape. Was it the very moment that he realized that he'd be living in a room with sixteen first graders? Then there's the dogged optimism in the face of adversity, as Mrs. D quickly points out that the ants are doing GREAT!! And the creative problem solving -- how do we get the children's minds off their missing-and-presumed-dead hamster? Well, we get a new gel-based ant habitat, of course! And there's also the fact that she turned the whole sordid mess into -- what else? -- a writing exercise to help the children work through their feelings. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Mrs. D!!!

While I am sad about Fluffy, I will definitely use this episode to fend off any further requests for a hamster. Jacob, and Elizabeth, to a lesser degree, have been begging for a pet for the past several months. Jacob wants a hamster, Elizabeth wants a kitty. Needless to say, we have enough precious, adorable, needy, non-compliant, completely dependent little beings in our house for the moment and will not be getting a pet any time soon. And when we do, it will most definitely not be the kind that can escape from a cage.

RIP, Fluffy.