Wednesday, August 31, 2011

sick day

Since at least Sunday, Caroline has had this strange cough, and I couldn't figure out whether to worry about it or not. Usually I can make a very quick judgment about my kids' coughs -- there are the "go to doctor" coughs: the deep, barky ones that sound bronchitis-y or croupy. Then there are the coughs that kind of sound loose and pflegm-y (sorry, hate that word) -- you just know that there is nothing that can be done for those and a trip to the doctor over it will do nothing but increase the risk that the kid picks up something worse. Caroline's cough was kind of in between - it was sort of hoarse sounding (it seemed to echo?!) but it didn't really sound like it was deep in her chest. It was a tricky one, that cough. So I just kind of watched and listened to it for a couple of days, set up the humidifier, gave her cough medicine, slept poorly, etc.

Then she broke out in a fever last night and was very pitiful. It's so sad to watch a usually exuberant child act all mopey and puny. We knew she couldn't go to school today (they have to be fever free for 24 hours to go to school) so I mentally rearranged the day around the inevitable doctor's appointment.

Caroline eating out of the bowl of food and water she asked me to bring to her inflatable dolphin

But lo! The fever did what fevers are supposed to do, and quickly, I might add, because Caroline woke up good as new and ready to make up for the 5 hours she lost to lethargy last night. She wanted to go to the pool, which I told her we could not do because she was sick, remember? -- but I agreed to set up an inflatable pool in the front yard.

This was definitely better than the sick day I was expecting to have with Caroline.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Which one does not belong?

Blue leotard, blue leotard, blue leotard, pink leotard, blue leotard, blue leotard.

Yup, mine's the pink. Mom fail. In the end it's going to be remembering all of these little details that kills me. And to think I'd tried so hard to get it all right. I knew Tuesdays would be brutal, with ballet for Elizabeth from 3:45-4:40, followed by soccer on the other end of town at 5, then soccer for Jacob at the OTHER other end of town at 7. So on Sunday I dug out the early July registration email about ballet from the 23,000 emails in my inbox and forwarded it to myself, so it was towards the top of my inbox. I scanned it to figure out the day of her class, the time, and the classroom. I packed the bag the night before with the full assortment of ballet gear and soccer gear. I even noted that her ballet shoes and leotard were probably too small and ran to the dance store after my morning dentist appointment to get new ones for her.

Yup, I was feeling PRETTY on the ball about things until a sea of blue leotards walked into the room where I was waiting with my pink leotard-ed girl for dance class to begin. This new ballet program is apparently a little more hardcore than the one she was in last year (we changed schools so she could take ballet with her friend) and has color-coded leotard guidlines by age group that the students/moms actually comply with (our old school had the same written guidelines, but the moms pretty much dressed the kids in whatever leotard they wanted).

Thanks to the power of Amazon Prime, a blue leotard was on the way within minutes of my realizing my egregious error. A happy ending! And we made it to soccer just 7 minutes late (albeit without her soccer ball, which had been packed that morning but somehow walked out of the bag). But oh, the possibilities for future Tuesday screwups are just endless - the question is not IF I will forget to pack something needed for Tuesday afternoon, it is: can my child perform the activity in question without the particular piece of gear that I forgot to bring? We'll find out . . .

Caroline's Princess Party

{NOTE: virtually all photos in this post are by Heather and Amanda, who most graciously came and photographed the party so I could discharge my other queenly duties during the party. I LOVE the photos and am very lucky to have such great friends!}

As I've mentioned, a princess party was inevitable for Caroline's 4th birthday. No other theme could possibly suit her quite as well. Once the theme was settled, I ordered some paper printables from an etsy seller recommended by Heather and Amanda, and at that point the party pretty much planned itself, as all I had to do was cut out a bunch of stuff (with the help of David and my parents at various points -- basically if you found yourself resting on my sofa for more than 5 minutes and were over the age of 10, I handed you scissors) and try to keep the darn house clean on the day of the party, which is always the hardest/worst part of having a party.

I guess I did make the tulle tableskirt for the dessert table. It basically involved tying strips of tulle around a ribbon fastened to the top of the table. As long as you didn't look at it too closely or breathe on it too heavily, it did the trick (the trick being "look 4-year-old-fancy").

I also took some pink spray paint to an old mirror that had been languishing in our storage room. Amanda had the really cute idea to hang a mirror behind the dessert table, which got me thinking about this old mirror that had been hanging in our bathroom when we bought the house, and the pink spray paint I had just bought in a fit of DIY enthusiasm. I figured I could hang the mirror over Elizabeth's dresser after the party.


These are some of the star cookies that Amanda and I decorated (we also did princess crowns for the goodie bags):

I give us a solid B+/A- (well, I'm sure the A- ones are Amanda's and mine are the B+s.). We definitely got the feel for "piping" consistency versus the "flooding" consistency. Just need to work on keeping a steady hand.

Cake pops:

I really struggled with these this time because I just could not get the candy melts to thin out as well as I wanted them to, which made dipping a challenge. I was glad that I worked on these after the kids were in bed because I'm pretty sure that I had a few choice words for those candy melts.

Tissue pom poms:

By this point we pretty much have these in every color and could rent them out (and David could teach a class on how to make them). I doubt when he signed up to marry me that he ever could have guessed all that would entail - studying Martha's pom pom tutorials, turning the house upside down looking for monofilament, covering floral foam with scrapbook paper - I seriously have the best husband ever!)

I was really worried about having enough activities to keep the girls busy. I started out by making the party 30 minutes shorter than the last one we had here - best move ever! We then set up various princess-themed activities designed with the primary goal of running down the clock making sure the girls had fun. Thankfully, we had the beautiful princesses Belle, Ariel, and Cinderella come to the party to help the girls with the activties and generally make the party magical for everyone:

No princess party would be complete without some princess costumes:

And of course, primping and spinning in front of mirrors comes naturally for Caroline:

Tiara decorating for the ball and princess mirror decorating:

Coloring Castle:

Hunt for the Crown Jewels:

Jacob and Elizabeth helped me dye the rice pink using this method -- we had SO much fun! There is something ridiculously fun and tactile about digging in dried rice; definitely a good rainy day activity!

Snow White's Sweet Shop, where the girls decorated their own cookies:

Our littlest party princess, Amanda's daughter MM:

Belle's Beauty Shop, where the girls could get their faces and nails painted by the princesses:

Cinderella giving a manicure to Rosemary, Heather's sweet little girl, while her sister Piper looks on:

And this one is worth repeating:

Once Upon a Time story hour:

MM, by now adorning some serious bling, reaches for the balloons:

Happy Birthday Girl:

Happy Birthday Girl Sister:

One of Caroline's friends kept calling Elizabeth "Big Caroline" which Elizabeth said "kind of freaked me out."

Blowing out the candles:

Snow White enjoying her cake and ice cream:

Elizabeth making her own royal fun:

Saying goodbye to the princesses:

Caroline and Elizabeth with Piper, Rosemary and MM:

With my baby:

I think that Caroline really had a ball at her princess party. She got to do all of the things she loves the most (pretend, crafts, dress up, dance, and eat sugar) with her friends and {most of} her family. I really cannot thank my sweet niece and her friends enough for playing princess for the day - it really made the party extra fun and memorable for the little girls (who were still talking about Belle, Cinderella and Arield the next week). And I can't thank Heather and Amanda enough for taking these beautiful pictures that will allow us to remember Caroline's 4th birthday forever.