Arianna’s birthday party

Due to Cyndi’s flaky travel schedule, Arianna had her birthday party a bit early – last Friday night.  8 girls from school, the neighborhood and church gathered to giggle up a storm, decorate pillow cases and eat cake (heart shaped, with pink frosting and exceedingly generous sprinkles).  Six of them spent the night.  Imagine my surprise when at 8:00 pm they all stood up and said, “Let’s get our pajamas on and brush our teeth!” like it would be the coolest thing in the world.  Eddie looked at me and said, “Yep.  Girl parties are different.”

It would be too much to ask that they all went right to sleep.  That didn’t happen.  Most of them stayed up whispering, sneaking around and arguing over who got to hold the flashlight until almost midnight.  Then they all got up at 6 am! (Stinkers.)  At least one shocked mother complained about how she had to drag her daughter out of bed on schooldays.  I thought this wasn’t supposed to start for another couple of years.  But then, Arianna does have two older brothers to keep up with.

Gifts for the occasion included:  Barbie bride doll (with light up, flashing engagement ring), 2 sets of pajamas, a  back pack that looks like a stuffed dog, and origami book with paper (from the crafty friends), and a toy baby monkey.  The toy monkey givers made up for the “moves and makes sounds” feature on the monkey with a donation to the Jane Goodall Roots and Chutes foundation.  At least the monkey goes to sleep.  More quickly than Arianna does, I must say.

Tomorrow is the actual Big Day.  Arianna gets to pick the restaurant for a dinner out.  She did a timeline of her life to present at school, while they eat Birthday snacks.

So more tomorrow.
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First day of school, one week later

   In case you haven’t guessed, the last couple of weeks have been pretty busy. That’s why all these recent blog entries are somewhat out of their real order: Cyndi’s extended birthday followed by Arianna’s first time without training wheels, followed by Family Camp, followed by first week of school, followed by the beginning of hockey season for Adam(plays on the Bantam division Wild) and Dad(plays on the beer division Broncos), coincident with the end of cycling season for Adam and Dad. On Friday, we went to a Tiger’s game, where they whipped the Seattle Mariners(sorry, Morgy), followed by Friday night fireworks at the ball park. Mom and Dad started singing in church choir Sunday, while the kids started their respective youth group programs. The boys also started their church Lego team in August.
   What comes next is the start of music lessons for Aaron(he was taking clarinet lessons for about a year, but might switch to guitar or bass) and gymnastics lessons for Arianna(which she chose over more skating lessons). Also on the schedule is Adam’s 8th grade picnic and Arianna’s birthday and party. Whew!
   So anyway, the kids started school, and here is the annual picture in front of the school sign, which we really did take on the first full day of school last Wednesday. Over the summer, Dad went to a longer schedule, and, sticking to that for a little while at least, this means starting school earlier than last year. That’s why it is dark.

The wheels come off…literally

   I’ve been telling Arianna over the summer that she’s getting so good at riding her bike that soon she’d be able to take her training wheels off. So she decided the other week that Saturday would be the day. Here is a picture of her taking her own wheels off, as she insisted she do.
   How did the ride go? Well, let’s just say the wheels came off her confidence…we try about once every couple of weeks now, but it’s probably not going to happen until next year. Cyndi reminded me that Aaron was similar, until one day he came home from school and just did it.
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Cyndi’s birthday, back in August

   A couple of weeks ago, Mommy had a birthday. We’ve been pretty busy lately, so having the birthday was complicated. Here we go:
   On the actual birthday, August 23, we gave mommy our homemade cards and she got her first gift: a new raincoat, like daddy’s. That night, there was a choir party to kick off the new season, so we went over there to socialize, and they put candles on a cake they already had and sang to her(it was the choir, so it was good).
   A couple of days later, we had time to make a birthday cake. All the kids played a part in the production, and of course, Arianna had to do the ‘aigs’. You can see from the photo that we didn’t have enough candles, so once again(this wasn’t the first time), we did her age in binary: lit candles are ones, and unlit ones are zeros. Aaron successfully figured out how many candles we needed and which ones to light. Aaron can also count in hexadecimal. Yea, math! Because we wanted to eat it that night, we didn’t let the cake cool down very much. Later, we realized what the implications were: first, the candles melted into the cake(good thing wax is not bad for you) and second, the frosting and all the letters started drooping all over the place, so the cake looks like it was suffering from palsy. Oops, but it made Cyndi laugh. Aaron was the photorgrapher, which is why he is not in the picture.
   A couple of days after that, some of the gifts we ordered finally arrived. She got a new bicycle pump for her mountain bike, and a new set of sunglasses. Both were either busted or worn out(yup, Cyndi on a mountain bike…). So, I think it was nice to stretch out the birthday over a few days. Now we need to find time to celebrate our anniversary, seeing as to how we are back in the same state/same country.

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Family Camp 2007

   We just returned from Family Camp. We’ve been going for several years, since it’s inception. I think it started when we were picking up kids from summer church camp, and someone commented that “wouldn’t be nice to have a camp for adults and kids together, why do kids get to have all the fun?”

   So one of the adults coordinated this through the church, getting us a site every year at one of the places where the kids go to camp. It has been a real success each year, especially with a core group of families that always attends. We have service each day, arts and crafts, meals together, swimming, soccer, the kids run around loose in the woods, bonfires, tents, cabins, and lots of singing/music.
   Once again, I am very grateful for the guitar that Grandpa Paul gave me many years ago. This year, I turned out to be the lead musician, leading all the singing for the services and for the guitar karaoke on Saturday night. Between the impromptu rehearsals right before service and the guitar karoake, I got pretty good at playing guitar by the time we left. I must have played a hundred times.
   Arianna adopted a roommate for the weekend, Tessa, whom you’ve seen before in this blog. They were bosom buddies, spending just about every waking minute together, and all of their sleeping moments. This is part of the appeal of family camp: we can really relax regarding our kids knowing they are safe and sound with someone else’s family or kids. Tessa’s parents knew she was with us all the time and did not worry one bit.
   As far as Adam and Aaron were concerned, we really didn’t seem much of them except for mealtimes and service. They banded together with other church friends and a couple of new kids, playing four square, soccer, lacrosse(the new kid brought sticks), hours of card games, like Magic and Munchkin, and Risk. They tried a game of capture the flag in the dark, but were distracted by real karaoke Sunday night.
   Real karaoke was something new this year. Usually, someone brings a set of books of pop songs and the guitarists take requests to lead sing alongs around the campfire, which we did Saturday night. But this year, we tried genuine karaoke. Someone brought a computer, speakers, microphones, a projector and we borrowed a screen from the campground. This was a whopping success, which we managed to pull off right in front of the campfire. Karoake is always fun to do if you get enough courage, and but even more fun to watch and listen to. Even the kids ganged up to do a couple songs, including head banging to “The Hokey Pokey” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. Adam and Dad did the last song together, Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer.”
   Right after we left, we realized that we forgot the camera, so sorry, there are no photos to share. We don’t usually take the camera anyway, but we thought of the blog about 10 miles too late…