The Un-Crafty Mom’s Guide to School Party Planning – Halloween Edition

Step 1:  September-October

Pin every cute, adorable idea you see on Pinterest that is Halloween related.

Step 2:  Beginning of October

Narrow pins down to ones that can be done in 3 steps or less and with 5 or less ingredients.

Step 3: Beginning to Mid-October

Forget about it all.

Step 4:  3 Days Before Fall/Halloween Party

Frantically run to Michael’s only to find the Halloween stuff picked over, all in haphazard piles of broken pumpkins and melty witches.

See Christmas stuff already in place.  Freak out.  Grab all the pipe cleaners and construction paper you can find, and dejectedly get in line with the other procrastinators.  Hold back tears.

Step 5:  2 Days Before Fall/Halloween Party

Free form cut 30 pumpkins and 30 monsters out of construction paper at midnight.  Propped up only on the hidden candy you’ve discovered your husband hid from you unsuccessfully.   Try to make spider legs out of pipe cleaners that won’t support the weight of the Tootsie Pop body.  Cry.  Xanax.

Step 6:  1 Day Before Fall/Halloween Party

Awake lying face first on candy wrappers with construction paper glued to your cheek.  Get kids ready for school only to find it’s Spirit Week and they need special “crazy” socks.  Take a pair of socks and Sharpie the word “CRAZY” on the side of their socks.  Thank God for rainbow Sharpies. Wish you would have thought of this for Crazy Hair Day.

Step 7:  Day of Fall/Halloween Party

Throw said items in a plastic bag. Run in through the cold and rain.  Try to explain to 30 kindergarteners what to do without just doing it for them.  Run and hug the mom who just brought in a piñata.  Find a seat in the back of the class and enjoy the show.  Just stay away from the 5/6 year olds with a stick.

Girl Power

Sigh.  Finished my first Daisy Scout meeting today.  I only had 5 girls, but it was still pandemonium.  Lesson #1 of the Day:  5/6 year old girls are just as nuts as 1st grade boys playing baseball.  As usual, the scene I pictured in my head didn’t match up at all with what actually transpired.

The scenario in my head:

Five nice, quiet girls sit down, eat a quiet snack, do a quiet craft (neatly), and then sit in a circle to learn all about Girl Scout traditions.  Do the friendship circle to close and disperse.  (God, typing that I do realize what a total moron I am.  I mean, I do have one of these creatures don’t I?)

Actual scenario:

Girls running throughout our meeting place (the school cafeteria), constantly having to go to the bathroom, only to be found playing with water and paper towels.  Throwing a beach ball at each other, even when said ball never did get used for its original name game ice breaker purpose.  Diving right into the craft upon entry to learn Lesson #2 of the Day:  Glitter glue NEVER dries, but will get on EVERYTHING.  Which leads into Lesson #3 of the Day:  Bring paper towels to arts and crafts times.  Which leads to Lesson #4 of the Day:  YOU SUCK AT ARTS AND CRAFTS JENNIFER.  WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!  You bought a hole puncher that was too small.  You brought glitter glue for 5 year old girls to use.  You didn’t buy enough rainbow yarn for the necklaces and for the love, seriously girl, glitter glue?!

Then we dive into snack.  Everyone chugs juice boxes like they are going 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.  Cheez-Its are ravaged.  (OK, I’m being dramatic, they just ate the crackers and juice quickly, but it was NOT IN THE ORDER I HAD PLANNED.)

Then, what the hell, there are 20 minutes left, let’s just go to the playground and run around.

I did manage to cram 10 minutes of actual Girl Scouting into the last tiny bit of our meeting.  We did the friendship squeeze, learned the Girl Scout Pledge (crap, Promise, I will get this vocab down soon I swear) and got our hands to do the motto thingee (again failing at the vocab.)  They all seemed to like the squeeze thing, so it gave me hope that with a little control and organization, they may just like this whole thing.

Apparently, the guide books that told you to establish rules at the onset were on to something.  It’s like I’ve never met a kid before.  Yeesh.

Overall, the parents were nice, grateful that I took the helm and seemed ok with the fact that this first meeting was not the finely tuned, efficient machine I had envisioned in my head.  Thank God.

Thank God also for Pinterest (which just made me panic at my inadequacies and lack of planning, but which I think will prove helpful for the future), a great program and support system by our local Council and most importantly, for the mom who promised to be my second in command and who also seemed genuinely excited to help come up with arts and crafts after I professed how bad I suck at them. GOD BLESS YOU MY NEW BEST FRIEND!

SIDEBAR:  Are we noticing a trend in my volunteering?  Girl Scout Troop Leader who sucks at arts and crafts.  Boys baseball coach who can’t catch or throw a baseball.  Why can’t I stick to volunteering at what I’m good at?  Is there even a school age club for dirty books and napping?

Guess I have to stick to things outside my comfort zone, which is why I continue to make these seemingly awful decisions.  Cause let’s face it, if I don’t, I will end up the hermit cat lady who is dead for a month before anyone notices she’s gone. I will constantly strive to break out of my introvert shell to avoid this grime fate.

So to sum up, glitter glue + insane expectations = a humorous tale to make you feel better about your own lives.

Hope you enjoyed!

This is what an idiot looks like.  And yes, I do have glitter glue on the butt of this new shirt.

This is what an idiot looks like. And yes, I do have glitter glue on the butt of this new shirt.

9-11-2014

Every year I wake up on this day and think, I’m just going to ignore all the remembrances and try to live today like any other day.  And every year, I can’t help but get sucked into remembering what was arguably one of the worst days of my adult life.  I’ve written about my experience already, so i’ll just leave this memory of Jon Stewart, who, as usual, summarized elegantly the heartbreak of that day and the aftermath thereafter.

I’ll never forget, and I hope I never have to relive. SUCK IT ISIS!

Birthday Post #2

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So apparently I only write on birthdays.

8 years ago today, in a hospital in Washington DC, I birthed my baby boy.  Well, they surgically removed him, but hey, I was there, and it wasn’t a walk in the park that way either.

We started excited to get up and go that morning to head over to the hospital that was an hour away from our apartment.  We were told to call first to ensure no emergencies had happened that would push the surgery back.  We called and were told that my 11:30 had been cancelled as I had already had the baby via emergency C-section.

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Wait…what?  I looked down.  I was pretty sure I was still pregnant.  Nope, he hadn’t fallen out feet first since that’s the way he was positioned.

Turns out when you have a very generic name, thanks Irish husband, other Jennifers also give birth on that very same day.  Apparently, with the very same birthday as well.  Except for the year.  SHE was older.  But hey, once you verify same name, month and day, the year is just an oversight.  Didn’t matter, this kid was COMING OUT TODAY.  I was done being pregnant.  I hadn’t eaten all day and wanted to meet my son.

So they squeezed us in and by 3 p.m. Bear was born.  It was not fun.  Unknown to me at the time, I had placenta accreta, which meant that my placenta had attached itself to my uterine wall.  Bleck.  So, if my stubborn son hadn’t been feet first and unwilling to move, I would have been in serious trouble after delivery.  So kid, I owe you one.  You saved me that day.

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The birth was just the beginning.  I had spent an immense amount of time reading about MY pregnancy, MY body, MY delivery, and so on, that I kind of overlooked the whole taking care of a brand new person task that was now staring me in the face.  They pulled him out, he gave the best wail I’d ever heard, and my husband looked at me the same way I looked at him.  With wide eyed terror.  What had we just done?!  There was no going back now.  This little person needed us to keep him alive.  What the hell did we JUST DO?

I panicked, like all good mothers.  Realized that the idea of being a mother comes instinctively is total and utter BS.  I had no idea what I was doing.  No instincts kicked in.  I was totally and utterly knocked off my feet.  I guess literally too because the anesthesiologist must have gotten to go home that day, because the idiots left my epidural in for 24 straight hours, which at the time I did not realize was not normal because hey, I was new to this whole motherhood, giving birth thing.

So there I was, numb from the boobs down, trying to take care of my son and be mother of the year just a few hours in.  Mark and my mom were there, but there was no place to sleep, so each night they left me and Bear to drive the hour back to the apartment.  Go ahead, I can handle it I assured them.  I am SUPERMOM!  I can’t feel my feet, but I can take care of this baby by myself!  That was the first time I tried to handle motherhood all by myself and failed miserably.

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By the second night, I hadn’t slept a wink because I was convinced he would stop breathing at any given moment, and tearfully called a nurse at 11:30.  Will you…sniff hiccup sob…take him to the nursery…sob…for just a bit???  Sob hiccup…I’m not a bad mom…hiccup…I swear….hiccup…will you love him if he cries???  She assured me he wouldn’t be ignored in a corner, to get some sleep, and they would bring him to me when it was time to eat.  Sure enough, they did.  I slept a few hours.  He hasn’t gone to therapy yet for the separation, so I think it was ok.

On the third day, they kicked us to the curb and I was happy to go.  I had hubby and mom to support me 24 hours a day and the security and comfort of home waiting for me.

After some bumps in the road, he was breastfeeding well.  Until I got a raging UTI from the catheter being in so long and had to go on some heavy antibiotics for 10 days.  Pump and dump they say.  Sure, no big deal, I’m three days in, I’m a pro.  So, every two hours, I pumped two boobs empty, and dumped that precious tainted gold down the drain.  10 days later, all clear of painful peeing, I went back to nursing my 7 pound bundle of joy.  Who, by the way DID NOT drink the 12+ ounces of boob milk I had been pumping and dumping every 2 hours for 10 days.  I was in so much pain I think I would have fed anyone who asked just for some relief.  I could have seriously supplied much of a third world nation with the supply I was generating.  Needless to say, we got some backup supply while my body and I figured out what he actually needed.

So that was my first 2 weeks of being a first time mother.  How did yours go?  After all that, I wouldn’t trade a day of it.  My son is one of the smartest, funniest, most handsome boys I know.  I am blown away each day at his wit, brains, and thought processes.  He is crafting his own brand of sarcasm that will one day rival my own.  He asks questions that would stump Stephen Hawking, let alone get an answer from me.

We had a rough start at the beginning, but it was well worth the blood, sweat and tears.  He’s my hero.  And one day, we’ll live in his guest house in Malibu, because he loves his parents and wants to share his millions.  Right Bear??

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PS – Trying not to freak out, but I went back to insert pics tonight and couldn’t find anything before 2008.  MARK!!!!  The computer’s broken!!!

Happy Birthday You

To my husband on his birthday, an Irish blessing personalized by his very German, very un-poetic wife:

May the SPF always be applied,

May your pool never be cloudy,

and your wifi never out. 

May the middle seat always be empty,

and douchebags far away.

May your wife always be in the mood upon the dawn of weekend

and kids that sleep like rocks. 

May there always be a project,

with only one trip to make.

May your children always find you cool,

and never slightly dorky.

Though life keeps us going,

may it always be alight

with joy, love and laughter

with a fart joke made to order. 

 

Love you my dear.  Thanks for sharing over half your years on this planet with me.

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Missing You

Hi all.

Boy it’s been a month.  Wait, the table is sticky… Ok, that’s better.  I have been busy!  This introvert took up coaching 1st grade boys baseball!  Yes, it’s as idiotic as it sounds!  Can’t wait to tell you all about it.  I have one week left and then we can put a lid on that one.

Next, my husband and children got stalked and almost killed by a swan.  This story will tell what lengths one man will go to protect his progeny from one very pissed, very white swan.

Another one, I found some pics of my family that I want to throw out into the interverse.  I will probably be disowned.  Two notes about this post:  1.  Someone was ALWAYS pouting.  Why was this white, middle class family always pissed about something?  And 2. God we were tan.  Sunscreen was not our friend in the 1990s.

And for my last journey, I started a new diet.  My new expensive diet.  The one that has made me feel pretty awesome these last few months, but has only yielded a scale weight loss of 7 freakin pounds.  In the words of Cathy…ARRRGGHHH!

Oh, one more.  You may have seen the posts on my company’s 25th anniversary party.  This was just last week and there’s always stories when Drunk Jenny makes an appearance.  At a work function nonetheless.

Until then, I miss you.  I will be back, but I have some boys to whip into shape for 2-3 more games and a girl to get to one last dance performance before I can truly kick this summer off right.

See you soon.  You bring the wine.  I’ll bring the turkey burgers.  No cheese.  Whole grain bun only please.

Love,

Jen