Monday, June 3, 2013

Playing Catch-up - Birthday and NY Trip

I almost forgot that we were in NY in mid-April. Which, of course, means that M got to see his grandparents 3 times this year (so far). One time was when they drove to NC for M's 6th birthday, making it just in time for his birthday party. Then there was this April trip, a return visit for Grandpa's birthday. And the most recent trip we just got back from.

I have hardly any pictures from M's 6th birthday party. Which is pretty sad 'cause it was the first big party for him and he was very excited. See, M's birthday is in early February, the time when many kids come down with sniffles, coughs and all sorts of viruses. In the past, we had years when all M's friends were sick and we had to cancel, when Grandma was sick and we had to cancel, and when M himself was sick and we had to cancel.

But thanks to a very mild winter this year there was not a sniffle among M's little friends. And so the party was on. For various reasons (ok, just one overwhelming reason), we had to do the party at home. If you've been to our house, you know it's a small one. There's not one room with lots of running-around space. There's no dining room and the dining table in the kitchen is barely large enough for 4 adults.

That's why we had to limit the number of friends M was allowed to invite to his party. Still, we ended up with a list of 15 kids, mostly boys, and all 7 years old and younger. M wanted a Star Wars themed party. Well, ok, so I got this idea of setting up a padawan training camp for the kids complete with light sabers made out of pool noodles. Sounds perfect, right? Well, have you ever tried buying pool noodles in late January?!

That's why we ended up using heavy cardboard tubes which was not idea from the safety standpoint. Nope, nobody got hurt and kids had great fun. But it took all my vigilance and effort to keep things from getting too crazy. As a result, no pictures, except this one before the party started (M wanted to dress up as Boba Fett. Also notice Darth Vader poster on the wall)

I think next year I'm just going to host a party at a park, rain (or snow) or shine. And ask everyone to bring Nerf guns.  
Since the weather was so nice and the grandparents were in town for a few days, we did all the usual fun. We took Grandma on scenic walks and treasure hunts. And we tried to invite Grandpa along, but he said he'd rather nap.
Then just a couple of months later it was our turn to drive to NY to Grandpa's birthday. And again, we did the usual stuff. M and Grandma gardened, baked and played with Guinness, a super-smart and super-sweet chocolate lab Grandpa was pet sitting.
 And Grandpa got to talk to Chris (here seen holding a couple of birch logs for future craft projects).
 And Chris got to eat mother-in-law's food. Always plentiful, practically always delicious.
 And M got to spend a lot of time digging through his favorite space in the Grandparents' tiny house, the attic. There are all sorts of fascinating things there in addition to the regular assortment of seasonal clothing, my brother's camping gear, and dusty books that Grandma plans on reading "right after she retires". It's also a place where I keep some toys, games and books for the times when we're in NY and have nothing to do. There's also an old kids drum set there. M wanted it downstairs, but no way!!! We compromised by clearing some floor space in the attic and letting M go wild there with a song he titled "Loded Diper" (if you read "The Diary of the Whimpy Kid", you know).

 Fortunately (for our eardrums), M would get tired of the "Loded Diper" song and come down to either cook with Grandma or play the treasure hunting game, again with Grandma. The original game was too easy, even boring, so Grandma made some of her own rules. But she also came up with tons of little "treasure" rewards. So when it was time to leave, M had several small boxes of tchotchkes he collected.
 Fun times!

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