Wednesday, January 27, 2010
So the last birthday party of the season was for Sophie, 9 year old Sophie, seen below flashing me an "OKjusttakethepicturealready!" smile.
She and 15 of her closest friends rocked the bowing alley on Saturday and ate their collective weight in chicken nuggets and birthday cake.
Here are a few of the kids that I was able to corral onto the three lanes. The weird lighting you see is called Cosmic Bowling, and was ordered by another birthday party four lanes over.
Do you know what it's like to be in this lighting? Well, when one is sleep deprived and hopped up on caffeine it can make you think perhaps someone slipped you an LSD tab in your coffee because suddenly the LIGHTS ! They are following you AND making you feel nauseaus AND dizzy. At one point I turned around to focus on something else, ANYTHING else, and when I turned around all the kids were gone. Just gone. And while the dizziness returned I began dreading the 15 phone calls I would have to make to explain how I lost their child in bowling alley. But I found them. Whew.

Also present was Harry, seen below doing the robot dance.

And here he is taking a little rest on the lane and totally embarrassing his sister in front of her friends! The horror!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The celebrations are finished! We only have one more set of thank you cards to send and then the January celebrations are behind us and we can commence the season of hibernation, aka February, or, the month in which my butt and the sofa become reacquainted.

I spent yesterday evening organizing the 1500 photos we've taken since November. In an attempt to try to blog more regularly, I thought I'd share some with you. Here are some shots from Harry's birthday party.
We took Harry&Co. to a local slot car racing place called Buzz-A-Rama, which is heaven on earth for a five year old boys.
Here's Harry, during the practice race.Here's the proprietor, Buzz, who came to their track to whip the kids into shape and get them ready for the races.

It kinda looks like they're about to get frisked but this was just how one of the races started.

When it was time for cake, Harry&Co. retired to the party room in the back, a space formed by lining up vintage arcade video games into a general room shape. Once the cake was finished, the games were turned on and then the parents taught the children the finer points of video game strategy and reminisced about how they, too, were video game kings once upon a time. Sophie loved Donkey Kong 3. Just wait till I introduce her to Frogger. She's gonna love it.

Friday, January 22, 2010
Number 9
Happy 9th birthday to my wonderful daughter!

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Party City
It is birthday party season at This Charming Life and if there's one subject my kids know how to talk TO DEATH, it's birthday parties. Specifically, theirs.

Harry's birthday was on January 10th. Sophie's is tomorrow. Since, oh, January 1st, all we've discussed is party location, party theme, party activities, party attendees, people who can't make it to the party, people who still have not responded to the party invite, party invitations, party goody bags, birthday cake, birthday cake fillings, birthday cake frosting options, birthday candles, birthday presents, birthday outfits, birthday cards, birthday wrapping paper, party start time, party end time, and party food. Then, just when you think there isn't possibly one iota of birthday-related talk left in the world, the kids like to talk about NEXT YEAR'S PARTY.

This year we decided to give each kid a separate party, with their own group of friends and boy is it easier to go someplace and say "hi! can you entertain a group fo 15 kids on a Saturday afternoon if I bring the cake?" than to put one huge group of kids in a church basement and try to entertain them yourself, which is what we did two years ago.

This Saturday is the last of the January celebrations. I've only got 15 more goody bags to assemble, one more cake to pick up and two more days of non-stop bowling party talk before I officially begin hibernating until spring.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Man in Training
One of the Christmas gifts Harry received for Christmas was a LeapFrog Tag reading system.

We finally remembered to buy the batteries for it so he could use it and we set it up for him tonight.

We haven't heard from him much since he began playing with it. I think he likes the freedom of being able to read books without us but the one thing he did say was "This is great! Now I can read where ever I am, especially since I spend so much time in the bathroom!"

Monday, January 18, 2010
On Saturday John and I celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary.

None of our regular sitters could watch the kids so we spent the evening drinking wine and maky snarky comments about an awful 80's movie we were watching.

While it would have been lovely to drink wine in a fancy pants restaurant, I was glad we could spend the evening in and celebrate quietly, then drift off and sleep a solid eight hours, with no interruptions.

After eleven years, it's the little things that matter most sometimes. Sleep is definitey one of them!

Thursday, January 14, 2010
Heavy Hearted
So. Haiti. Wow.

I mean, really. WOW.

I'm not being glib. I simply can't peel my eyes away from the news and slideshows and interactive features that are all over the media. And I don't know else to say except WOW. I did not know the earth could move like that and create such disaster.

My heart is heavy for the people of Haiti, for fellow Americans who are living there, many for missionary or philanthropic purposes, for the victims, for their families. For those who are waiting for news of their loved ones and for the relief workers who have long, grim days ahead of them.

My complaints this week, about suffering with toys being all over the place and children who refuse to dress themselves in a more timely manner, being late for school and work and a cat that poops on the floor and broken heating systems and deadlines and never being on top of cleaning this house....well, I'll keep those small, petty, problems, thank you very much. Because THAT is not suffering.

To quote the President's email this afternoon: "It's in times like these that we must show the kind of compassion and humanity that has defined the best of our national character for generations."

Like every other blogger out there, I encourage you to give as much as you can to a reputable charity for this cause. Here are but a few:

Doctors without Borders
American Red Cross

Sunday, January 3, 2010
You Meet the Craziest People on the Subway Sometimes
New York City. There is no end to the variety of people you meet on any given day. Most are alright. They're like you, commuting to and from a job. Some like to tell you to Repent! The End is Near! Some like to ask you for money. Some like play a song for you, or read you a poem.
Some people seem perfectly OK.
Then they appear to be looking at something that only they can see.

Then they start talking to people that may or may not be there.

The worst thing you can do is make eye contact with anyone on the subway. It is the golden rule of subway riding.
Because then the person you are looking at might talk to you.
Or start gesturing to you. This person seems fairly harmless, though. Except now that I've made eye contact with him he acts like he knows me.

And once they act like they know you....
The crazy just bubbles up to the surface.

Friday, January 1, 2010
Happy New Year!
I had planned on spending a long, leisurely day on the sofa alternating between the Honeymooners and Twilight Zone marathons but SOMEONE decided the best thing to do on New Year's Day would be to trek to Manhattan to take the kids ice skating. It was hard to get up and get moving but I did it. And since exercise more is one of my resolutions, I'm happy to say that I got some, even though there was a perfectly good icebox cake in the refrigerator and plenty of Christmas cookies to last me the afternoon.

We went to Bryant Park for the free ice skating, where free = $12 per skate rental, plus $9 for a combination lock so we could store our shoes in a locker. See that building in the background? A long time ago, John and I used to work in that building. In the first summer of our romance, we spent many a Monday night watching movies on the lawn in the park.
Once we got our skates on and our stuff stored, it was time to go skate. Except the zambonis were on the ice so it was really ready....set....wait.So we went to look at the Christmas tree to pass the time.
Finally, it was time to skate.
Harry gave it a go, and we managed to get him around the rink a few times before decided he'd had enough. But Sophie was happy being on the ice. She hadn't been skating in almost a year.
After skating we walked around and did some sightseeing while looking for a place to eat lunch. The main branch of the New York Public Library is under construction, but the lions are still guarding the building.
Then we took the kids past the Lord & Taylor holiday windows.
I realized while we were standing there that we've never taken the kids to see the holiday windows. I think this will have to be on our To-Do List next holiday because it was fun for them. When I told them I used to go see the windows when I was a kid at Macy's and Gimbels, they said "What's a Gimbels?"