Sunday, September 3, 2017

Birthday party planning

The girls said the funniest thing today. They asked where we were having their birthday party. I explained that we just bought them a stupidly expensive birthday present. Their birthday party was going to be in our backyard.

They tried to argue the party location, but I wasn't interested in the conversation. They received the present of their dreams. They would have to figure out how to manage a home party.

Shortly after we were sitting with pens and papers plotting the big event. They decided to invite everyone over to play games. We asked our neighbor if we could use her yard. Her house sits on a double lot, so we wanted to take advantage of the space to put a volleyball net. She said yes and the party planning continued.

At some point we decided to invite Erin to put her name on the invitation. Erin has the same birthday as the girls, although they hadn't thrown a joint birthday party previously. It made sense, though, to bring it all together as they share most of the same friends.

I kept bringing down the plans to things that didn't cost as much as they wanted to spend. I was still recovering from the iPhone invoice.

In the end we planned a really fun party and twenty middle school girls received invitations. As I typed that last sentence, I realized that I must have lost my mind. Twenty middle school girls?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday Night Lights

One thing our local high school does really well is ease the kids and their families into high school. For the past two years, we've gone to the middle school orientation. The girls have taken advantage of summer camps with the high school coaches. Last year they talked about going to football games. This year, they decided going to football games was going to be their Friday night activity.

It helps that they have friends who moved from middle school to high school this year. They hear about all the fun those friends are having in high school. They feel like they are at the game visiting their friends or watching their friends perform in the half-time show.

Sure they are middle schoolers still, but they feel like they belong at the high school. The reality is that if their birthday was a few weeks earlier, they would be in high school. They would be the youngest in their freshman class, rather than being the oldest in their eighth grade class.

They made plans with a friend who lives close to the high school. After getting ready here, they all went to her house so she could get ready. They walked over to the high school and hung out in the stands.

If social media was correct, they had a lot of friends there. I saw a lot of people I recognized in various feeds. Everyone looked like they were having fun, which made me smile. The photos I saw could have been any group of friends from any era. Friday high school football games remained the same, fun way to hang out with friends that it was when I was in high school.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Continuing a birthday gift tradition

We have a long tradition of buying the girls ridiculous birthday presents. One year they received a dog. Another year they received a playset. This year they received iPhones.

I know. I know. It's a crazy, expensive birthday present. The stars aligned so that their old devices didn't work any more at the same time as our contract was up for renewal. When they started negotiating for an iPhone, we set some hard terms. One term was that this was their birthday present. Sure, their existing devices were broken and unusable. Of course we were going to need new devices. iPhones, though? Before those came into the house we set out some tough terms.

One item negotiated was that the girls would sit through the entire process. They had to stay with Daddy while he finalized the contract. They had to sit while the representative transferred data from the old devices to the new iPhones. They wanted the iPhones so badly that they would have done anything. We should have negotiated harder.

They came home deliriously happy. They couldn't believe that we really bought them iPhones. When I looked at the invoice, I couldn't either.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Eighth Grade

The girls started school today. Specifically, they started eighth grade. Eighth grade? How did that happen. It seems like they just started preschool. Now they are finishing elementary school.

They were excited to find out who was in their classes when they left this house this morning. The brunette twin dropped out of honors math for eighth grade. This meant the girls wouldn't have many classes together as they were in two different tracks. Today they were picking up their schedules and getting their locker assignments. It was a short day, yet an exciting day.

They came home bubbling with news. They spent hours on their devices texting friends to see who was in which classes. They discovered that all their classes were in the new wing. It was the designated eighth grade wing. They were thrilled that they would spend their last year in the brand new wing. They said it was their reward for surviving two years of non-stop construction.

The big news was that the blond twin's honors math class was a high school freshman math class. She was going to get credit for it on her high school transcripts. The blond twin was officially a high school student.

They talked and talked and talked about the first day for so long that you would have thought it was a week's worth of class news instead of just 90 minutes. We were glad to see how excited they were for their last elementary school year. They had big plans, and even bigger dreams. It was a great way to start their last year in the elementary school district.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saugatuck Douglas area delights

We decided to take a few days before the girls head back to school and just relax. We went looking for a house to rent, which was harder than it should have been since we have a strange requirement. We need carpeting.

Why you ask? Well, when we take Holly with us, we need at least area rugs so the dog can go from place to place. Holly has a hard time walking across hardwood and tile floors. She slips and slides like she's on ice.

Our initial search provided many options. A couple of weeks later when we were ready to reserve a house, we were down to a few options. We found a lovely house in Douglas MI, which we reserved immediately.

When we arrived, the house was just as charming as the photos. One thing we didn't realize when booking was how close it was to downtown Douglas. To put it into perspective, downtown Douglas is about a mile long. It's an adorable commercial strip that has a grocery store on one end and a beach on the other.

We spent four days in the area, spending some time near or in the water every day. We visited the world-famous Oval Beach twice, hiked the Saugatuck Sand Dune to Lake Michigan twice and the girls paddle boarded twice. In between we visited restaurants and shopped downtown Saugatuck merchants. We drove to the Wild West Ranch to horseback ride and watch beautiful sunsets over a cloudy Lake Michigan.

It was delightful, relaxing and charming. We left with a wish list of things we didn't have time to do this trip. The good news is it's now a "to do" list for our next visit.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I want to start travelling

The brunette twin looked at me and said, "I want to start travelling. When are we going to go places?

I stared at her blankly. We are on the road three or four weeks a year. We have hiked Arches National Park, rode horses at the Kentucky Horse Park and smelled the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. The girls often confuse different trip details. I look at them and say, "You know your problem? You get around. You have been too many places to keep the trips straight."

I said, "What do you mean?"

She replied, "When are we going to go to Europe?"

Ah, that's what she thinks of as travelling. It seems that unless she needs a passport, she doesn't consider it travelling. We're close to heading across the big pond, but she'll have to wait a bit longer. We have a few more domestic locations to explore first.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mommy brain strikes again

We recently joined a local fitness club. One of the things I really liked about the club was that they have wipes in several locations so you can clean the equipment. Members seemed very good about wiping down equipment when they were done using it.

This morning when I was at the club, I went to the cabinet to get a wipe. The container was empty.

I walked up to the desk to talk to a staff member. I tried to explain that the wipes container was empty. He stared like he had no idea what I meant.

Finally I said, "You know. The baby wipes we use to clean the equipment."

He laughed and said, "Ok. I'll get more."

I was sure he called them something else, but it did make me laugh that he knew exactly what I meant when I said baby wipes.