Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Reckless Guide to Slumber Party Survival

I have hosted two slumber parties at my home in so many weeks. With two girls, I have held many, many more slumber parties over the years and could not begin to count the sleepovers with one or two friends. And then, I have taken fifteen girls camping in tents. Slept in a museum with another bunch. Counseled a group of ten for a week at summer camp. I have survived. Thus far. Barely. You can to.

As I have related our slumber party stories to friends over the past few weeks, several of you have commented in person that you are concerned for that moment when your little darling asks if she can have a slumber party.

Fear not, young mommies. Reckless to the rescue! While I would not consider myself an expert, I do have some words of wisdom and knowledge I can offer you on this subject. Learn from my pitfalls, avoid my mistakes, and use the lessons I have had to learn the hard way to host the slumber party that makes and keeps everyone happy.

The Rules
1. Never, and I do mean never, over-invite for a slumber party. You may think that if you invite fifteen kids over that surely at least four of them will decline your invite outright and that an additional six will only come for a late-over because you don't know the parents.

WRONG.

All fifteen will say yes. Parents you have never seen before will be dropping their daughters at the curb and booking it out of there at break-neck speed. You will completely understand why they didn't not hesitate to leave their eight year old daughter at a COMPLETE STRANGER'S HOME when you you discover this child wide awake playing loudly with Fisher Price Little People. In the dark. By herself. At four in the morning.

Invite only the ideal number of children. If you listen to nothing else, obey this rule. It is crucial. It will preserve your sanity.

2. Under no circumstances should you think it a fun idea to serve nachos, Dr. Pepper and gummy bears in the same evening. This combination apparently equates to vomit at 1:30 in the morning. I just learned this last Friday night.

However, should you choose to serve this combination of foods or a similar smorgasbord of gastronomical delights, be prepared to be awakened to the sounds of retching, the stench of puke, and a precious little child in tears wanting to go home. All kidding aside, I was so upset that this particular child was not feeling well in my home. She is a doll, and we would have her any time.

My advice here is to not be afraid to call the parents if the child wants to go home to her own mom and her own bed. And ix-nay on the second Dr. Pepper. Even if they are twelve and thirteen.

3. No caffeine. None. No hot chocolate. No colas. And don't forget to read the labels on Sunkist, Sun Drop, Cheerwine, and Barq's root beer. Read all labels.

Eight year olds will literally bounce off the wall and each other until two in the morning if you serve Coke. And since they hear their parents saying that caffeine gets them all hopped up, at your home they will pull out all the stops on this. Some of you may be saying that this is common sense. My kids don't really act like maniacs when they have a Coke because I have allowed them to drink Coke. However, if the children at your home for this slumber party are rarely, if ever, allowed to have a caffeinated beverage, they will be throwing the Cokes back like there is no tomorrow. Trust me. Serve lemonade, Sprite and sneak in some milk and water if you can.

As your child gets older, you can choose to deviate from this rule. However, you must follow it until the majority of the party guests are eleven. Even then, try to monitor the consumption.

4. Do not be naive and think you will actually get some sleep. Be prepared to be up for most of the night. There are some evil parents out there who will tell their children, "You can stay up as late as you want" before they bring them to your home. Ahem... Not at my house, you little disrespectful imp sweetie.

Until they hit ten, you have to warn them that everyone will be expected to stay in her sleeping bag after a certain time. I like midnight, but I do start a movie around 11:30. Midnight is a magic number that eight year olds think ushers them in as big kids. Generally, you will lose one or two as soon as you turn off the lights.

5. And while we are talking about movies... Do not show the movie they are all dying to see. They will stay awake for the whole movie. Choose wisely. Show nothing with even a tinge of scary or creepy. One kid will cry and ask to turn every light in the house on. For the younger set, my personal favorites are the Mary Kate and Ashley "You're Invited" Party series. Order early because these are getting harder and harder to find. Check Amazon and eBay. Or you can borrow from me if you plan in advance. If the kids are exceptionally bad challenging, pull out all the stops and put in Bambi II. It is guaranteed to make them beg to go to sleep.

6. Prepare to have a child who is afraid of the dark and wants all the lights on while the rest of the party is grumbling that they can't go to sleep because so-and-so is a big baby and needs to have all the lights on. Wiggle on down to Walmart or the Dollar Tree and purchase a small flashlight for each party guest. Let them take them to bed with them. They can make cool hand shadows on the wall, and the one kid who is afraid of the dark will feel secure in your home and not be called out by the one little monster you should have known not to invite child who is exceptionally outspoken. The novelty of the flashlight wears off fairly quickly. Make sure to remind the kids not to shine them in one another's eyes.

7. For goodness sake, don't put them to bed without a drink of water. You will get every kid visiting your bedroom threshold one at a time for the next hour and a half telling you that they are thirsty. It's a ploy to stay up later. Don't fall prey to this rookie mistake.

Send each kid to bed with a water bottle with her name on it. If you need a short activity earlier in the evening, you can have them decorate their water bottles with Sharpies and stickers. Be watching for the one child who wants to use the Sharpies to draw herself a mustache and color the entire bottle. I assure you, there will be one.

8.  Don't be afraid to send them outside if it is nice.  Actually, don't be afraid to send them outside even if it is not so nice...  For the younger crew, flashlight tag around 9:00 pm is a really exciting adventure.  Or a flashlight walk around the block or neighborhood.  They are able to get some energy out, and you are able to save your home from an hour or two of destruction.  Making giant sidewalk chalk birthday greetings for the birthday girl is an activity we recently enjoyed.  Treasure hunts with many clues hidden throughout the neighborhood are especially popular.  Have the last clue take them full circle back to your home.      

Scavenger hunts are great for the older set, but be sure to give them specific rules about the number of items they can get from each home and a list that is both lengthy and difficult.  Otherwise, they will be back in fifteen minutes...

9.  Before bedtime and before breakfast, have the kids do a "round up" of personal belongings.  I have never had a slumber party or camp out where something did not get left behind, but helping them straighten up and contain their stuff at least twice does prevent you from having to call every mom asking who is missing a pair of black shoes, Gap panties, a purple hairbrush, DS stylus, and navy soccer shorts. 

10. Get your striped shirt and whistle out because you are going to have to play referee several times throughout the evening.  Slumber parties are replete with drama.  You may have to encourage two or more parties to agree to an armistice for the sake of the birthday girl.  If one of the parties is resisting your well-intentioned mediation attempts, do not be afraid to threaten to call her parents for a pick-up.  The threat is generally all you need to secure peace.

11.  Sometimes you have a group of children who want to go to sleep earlier than the rest of the crowd.  Establish a quiet room.  This room is for the sole purpose of sleeping.  Explain to the girls that the people who enter that room are choosing to go to sleep and do not need to be checked on or visited.

When my twelve year old had a rowdy group of fifteen girls over for her eighth birthday, by the end of the night, we ended up having three different rooms: a ten o'clock quiet room, a midnight quiet room, and the true party animals room.

For camping trips, if you can have a quiet cabin and a not-so-quiet cabin (or tents), this works beautifully.  Make sure all your campers know in advance that they can't complain about noise if they choose the loud cabin nor can they complain about people asking them to be quiet if they choose the quiet cabin.  When they begin to tattle on each other, remind them of the choice they made.  

12. Send them home early.  Don't delude yourself into thinking they will sleep in after they have stayed up until 4:00 am.  They will be up at 6:00.  Do doughnuts, juice, and milk, and get them to packing.  Have them out the door with flashlights and goodie bags in hand by 9:00 am. 

Once the children reach 5th grade, you can extend the party until 11:00 am.  The older girls will generally sleep in if they have stayed up all night.  I give you no guarantees on this though.  Last weekend, two twelve year olds who stayed up until 1:30 am were wide awake at 7:30.  They didn't really get moving until 10, but they were awake. 



There's your basics.  You can do it.  One sleepless, chaos-filled night is worth it for all the smiles and giggles!



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Officially Five

I don't know about your kids, but as preschoolers all of my slightly irregular children have had a difficult time with the concept of the actual birthday versus the birthday party.  Bonus was the latest child to grapple with the difference between the day he was born and the day we had his party.  His actual birthday is March 20.  However, because of Spring Break, the fact that his sisters both have their birthdays in March, too, the beginning of the softball season, the addition of a roller derby practice schedule to the Reckless calendar, and his mother's general life principle of flying by the seat of her pants, we were unable to have the party until now.

And because he has felt like he could not be officially five until the party had occurred, I was unable to bring you all the fun of turning five until today.  Without further ado, my precious FIVE year old...


I'm not sure if he is supposed to look excited or what...

The one moment where everyone was getting along...

The birthday dessert at the restaurant he requested.  It's a girls night out or date night type restaurant.  I guess he's getting in the game early.  He did bring a date.  It was her birthday, too.  That's her elbow because she would kill me if I posted her picture.  She's nearly 30 years older than he is.   

I was so proud that he actually said, "You have to open the card first."

Clothes.  He did insist on wearing it to school the next day though.

The giant three layer whoopie pie birthday cake I made per his instructions

The birthday crew.  I want you to notice that Bonus is completely sandwiched by the ladies.  His buddies are shoved off to the side.  The adorable one in the hot pink sweater kissed him as she left the party.  He later denied this to his sisters... 

The event he talked about for months

They rode this at least five times in a row.  Apparenly, the girls got in and added the tokens.  He got right up there and slipped under the seatbeat right as the ride started.  Way to make your own tokens last, Bonus!


Bonus with two of his girlfriends.  Currently, he has three girlfriends, one ex-wife (the "marriage" to Kernsie's daughter and the "breakup" is a hilarious story), and one ex-girlfriend that Ryan stole in the Frogs class.  But he's not bitter.  Can anyone say Big Love?  I am going to have to watch this kid like a hawk... 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

If the size small shorts fit...

I could just scream!

I just wrote the funniest post about my new derby garb and how Bonus told me my butt was getting big.

And, then it was gone.

Crap.

So, instead of spending the next hour trying to retype it and recreate it, I'll just post the picture of me in my full protective gear and some of my new practice attire.

It's what you are all wanting to see anyway...


If it's too loud, you are too old...  And this is nothing compared to the tiger shorts...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Season Opener

Tonight is the opening night for the softball season.  With both girls playing I will be busier than all get out until the first week of June.  Bonus asked me when he would get to play baseball, and I told him he could play when Miss Noteworthy could drive him to practice.  Not really.  I told him next fall.  I have to get used to field practice, batting practice, WEEKNIGHT GAMES AT 8:30, and double headers on Saturdays for these two before I throw a third kid in the mix.  And then there is my own practice schedule, fundraising events, demonstrations, etc. for derby...  Who needs to sit down, right?  Apparently not me... 

This is RNR's first season to play, and so far, her favorite part is the pawprint socks and the fancy hair ribbon I bought her.  Anyone surprised? 

Ready for a grounder

Watch out for Knuckles...


I didn't think so.

I'm out, kids.  Gotta finish prepping for Miss Noteworthy's slumber party, and get my game face on.  Go Panthers!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ebony and Ivory

Brought to you from the mouth of Bonus:

"Percy Jackson.  That's like Michael Jackson.  Only it's Percy Jackson."

And then the whole car broke out in peals of laughter.  Bonus laughed, too, but he wasn't sure why...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Enough about me, I'll Do a Meme!

"Borrowed" from my dear friend over at a gracious plenty because I have nothing to say right now  (Gasp!  It happens!) and needed a little help from my friends...

Plus, it's Spring Break, and I am enjoying myself at the lake as you are reading this...  I'm probably sporting a little bit of a sunburn...

Fill in the blanks:

:: no matter what mood i'm in, i can always go for a: piece of cheese.  Any kind.  Even a "chingle" will do in a pinch.

:: my favorite go-to outfit would have to be:  blingy jeans, crisp blouse, heels, & hoops.

:: a good source of inspiration is: someone I love, literature, art, or nature.

:: am so glad my parents taught me: to laugh at myself.  An imperative skill for a complete dork.

:: a song i like to dance to is: Brass Monkey  (ok, that's a little embarrassing.  be kind.)

:: i wish everyone knew about:  deodorant.  Or the difference between "it's" and "its". 

:: the best thing in my makeup bag is:  Benefit's "that gal" and Smashbox lip gloss in Crystal Clear.

:: my dream spring break vacation spot is:   anywhere I'm allowed to sleep in and not be woken up to "Mom, he won't quit touching me."  Which is apparently never going to include my own home.  Or any location where two or more of my children are present.

:: this may be a surprise, but i am passionate about:  I have no surprises or secrets left.  If you don't know, read my profile.

:: a favorite book that changed me for the better: extremely hard to pick just one.  I guess I'll have to go with the Sunday school answer...   the Bible.  Beyond that, it's gotta be Les Miserables. 

:: one of my pet peeves is:  paying for shipping.

:: my favorite daily ritual would have to be: coffee.  More coffee.  Finish that off with some more coffee.

:: i am trying to be better at:  backwards skating.   

:: the most recent rad thing i found online was:   Wicked Skatewear.  Two shops in California.  I need this shirt.  Who is going to run over there and save me from paying shipping?  Thanks.  I need a small, and it should be personalized with Reckless Housewife #867-5309 on the back.  You are a doll. 

:: i can't live without::  oxygen.  Cop out, I know.  Don't you expect it yet?

If, like me, you are lucky enough to be at the lake, you are lucky enough...   

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"People are like lice..."

"...they get under your skin and bury themselves there. You scratch and scratch until the blood comes, but you can't get permanently deloused. "

That's Henry Miller from Tropic of Cancer, btw...

He and Ana├»s Nin made for some pretty steamy reading for me when I was in college.  But this post is not about steam.  No, no steam here.  Not today anyway.

This post is about lice.

Seriously.

We had a little unplanned visit from these most vile of creatures.

In a nutshell, it was not pleasant.

And, since I am me, I'm going to talk about it.  Because most people would only whisper about it to their closest of friends.  And, we know I am not most people.  I get embarrassed ordering a pizza onthe telephone.  I do not get embarrassed talking about my child's pediatric social diseases.  Unless I were to get them to, and then, mum's the word....

And this experience is now several weeks old.  We have treated and retreated for good measure.  All laundry has been washed.  We are entirely lice-free.  And only the one child ever had a louse on her.

I won't tell you which child brought this home with her because I don't want to embarrass her.  Okay, that's not true.  I would like to embarrass her a little. 
She has no problem embarrassing the heck out of me. 

We'll just say that my child with a penchant for clothing and accessories brought some new "friends" home with her and leave it at that.  And now you are laughing because you know that Miss Noteworthy (fka Miss Proper) could care less about accessories.  Can you imagine if I had to comb through that hair?  Her ponytail is as thick as my forearm.  That would have been a nightmare. 

Plus, who cares if I tell you anymore?  The louse hostess herself told the cashier at Kohl's.  (Can someone please insert the sound of brakes here?  That's far beyond my techie bloggy capabilities...)

Nice.

I was completely mortified (becoming a perpetual state for this mother) that she needed to share with the Kohl's lady.  As soon as we were out of the store and on the sidewalk I had this little talk with RNR.

Me: "Honey, it's really not a good idea to tell everyone we see today that you had lice."

RNR: "Why?"

Me: "Because it's information they don't need."

RNR: "But I did have lice."

Me:  "Yes, and while it is not your fault, and you did nothing wrong [that I'm aware of...], we still don't want to tell everyone."

RNR:  [confused look]  "I don't want to lie."

Me:  "I'm not asking you to lie.  The lady didn't ask you if you had lice.  She didn't ask you anything.  You just told her out of nowhere that you had lice."

RNR:  Well, I did.

Me: "Honey, it's weird to tell people you had lice."

RNR:  "Like when brother used to go around rubbing his nipples all the time?"

Me:  "Ummm.... not that weird."

RNR:  "Okay, Mama. I get it.  You have to write that I had lice on my school note though or else that's lying."

Me:  "Okay."

RNR:  "Can I tell my friends?"  (Like this is breaking news or something...)

Me: "I guess so.  The lady at Kohl's already knows."

And so, we had our little adventure with bugs.  It was time consuming, it hurt her little head, and we learned that mayo actually is an excellent conditioner.  I recommend purchasing the store brand, scooping about two cups into another bowl, slathering it on the hair, and covering with plastic wrap for one hour.  Follow with a forty minute shower. Where Bieber Boy tunes are sung the entire time.  Please rescue me.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Won the Battle But Not Yet the War...


As he will turn 5 on Sunday, I convinced Bonus that it was time to part with ALL of the remaining sippy cups in one fell swoop.  Which means I got half a cabinet and half a drawer back in my kitchen.  Small victories, people, small victories... 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Oxymoron of the day: Slumber Party

My little Rock N Roll Princess is now 8!  It's hard to believe another year has passed.  I had just recovered from last year's slumber party (read this: I gave up on trying to find the correct home for the items that were left here last year and threw those panties and socks in the trash.). 

And I found myself dreading the five little girls that would be arriving at my home for a slumber party.  Because I was exhausted before the party began, I knew there would be more partying than slumbering, and I had two hours of skating beginning at 8 AM the next morning.  And Mr. Incredible was exhausted too because he had traveled all week. 

I hadn't given my party planning the usual effort because of my own busyness (Miss Notewothy's birthday, derby, and the all-important, all-day hair appointment on the very day of the party....I'm not sure who scheduled that...). 


Out with the blond, in with the ombre...  What kind of name is that anyway?  Oh yeah, it's the $$$ word for brown...

Of course, the goodie bags were all made and looking quite cute.  The cookie cake was baked and decorated.  Gifts were wrapped and placed on the hearth.  Items for dinner were purchased and prepped.  The actual activities for the party were where I skimped.  Normally, I will prepare a craft or two (I know, you can't believe that I actually participate and initiate that type of behavior.  Complete necessity, I assure you.).  Last year we made fancy peppermint bath salts and sugar cookie milk bath.  We had the whole spa theme working for us last year.


Because there was no way I was going to buy those plates with the Bieber Boy on them... even though I have now paid for not one but TWO of his CDs...


Used the noggin and got everyone a cheap flashlight for outdoor flashlight tag AND bedtime scary shadows.  I love a dual purpose.


You gotta time the sugar high just so...  The coma needs to set in right at midnight.  It *might* need the aid of Bambi II around 11:30.

There would be no crafts this year.  This was RNR's "Never Say Never Dance Party."  All I had was RNR's wish to play Just Dance 2 and dance to songs by that Bieber Boy.  Other than the game disk and a CD, I was not appropriately armed.

Instead of crafts, I pulled out a huge box of sidewalk chalk and told them to go play in the street.  Literally.  Don't worry; I was with them in the road.  And this ate up the first full hour of the party until Mr. Incredible got the dogs grilled.  I'm glad this crew was still young enough to go for this activity. 




They did dance and play Just Dance, but those were short-lived.  Apparently, her friends are not as in to dancing and singing as RNR is.

One of the best activities I came up with during the unwrapping of gifts.  RNR's friends know she is a little fashionista in the making and loves to work the get-ups.  They all got her clothes and accessories, which thrilled her and delighted me (no toys to step on!).  And they all oohed and aahed over her new spring fashions.  So I got the idea to have them clean up my living room AND have a little fashion show of their own.  When the gifts had finished exploding, I told them to use the tissue paper that littered the floor to make outfits for themselves.  These are some pretty creative girls.  Isn't it amazing what 8,9, and 10 year olds can do with a little tissue paper and 2 rolls of Scotch tape.  I'd hire them....


She looks like a little Scarlett Johansson here.  Thanks for the cool shades!


True excitement over her new trench.  She had coveted mine for too long...

Possibly my favorite picture of the whole party.  RNR  rocking the Bret Michaels's do-rag and her sweet friend a little Swiss Miss 
On the Catwalk
Le Drama Mamas

All in all, it was a fun evening, even if the drama soared in a few isolated moments.  What's a slumber party without a little drama, right?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy 12th Birthday, Miss Noteworthy!

Yes, we will try Miss Noteworthy (I'll call her NW, and her name choice BTW...) for now, and today is her big day!  Cinnamon toast for breakfast, regular lunch for lunch, Pei Wei for dinner and sherbet in lieu of a cake.  That's her order for the day.


Aren't these plates adorable?

Birthday breakfast

Birthday lunch
Sweet card from Grandma

Monday, March 7, 2011

The First of the Flesh Wounds

When I awoke this morning, I tried to do what I normally do.  That is, reach over and hit the alarm clock so it will shut up.  However, that motion of taking my hand from under my pillow and reaching over to the nightstand was EXCRUCIATING.

And I thought to myself, "Wow.  I really must have slept weird."

And about fifteen seconds later when I *tried* to push myself up on my arms and failed, I nearly cried.

But, the real pain did not set in until I actually rolled over on my back and tried to sit up.

Bad mistake.

My abs told me to refrain from any quick movements.

I wasn't going anywhere for at least the next few seconds.  

When the pain subsided, I slowly made my way out of the bed and downstairs for the freshly brewed coffee.  As I sipped I wondered why my armpits were KILLING ME.  What have I ever done to them except wash, shave, and deodorize them? 

About half way into the cup, which is when I start to actually wake up, I remembered some crucial information.

I did about eleventy hundred push ups at derby practice on Sunday.  And leg lifts that lasted for a minute at a pop.  Plus, I skated hard four of the last six days.  And, oh yeah, I haven't worked out since June... 

Ouch.

You would be surprised how many movements you make in a day that use your lats, pecs and triceps.  Just about all of them.  Including bathing, dressing, driving, eating, and breathing.

I just keep reminding myself that bathing suit season is just around the corner...

I think the new bikini is going to go swell with the HUGE bruises on my butt and the permananent marker derby numbers on both of my upper arms.  Hot, I tell ya...



 

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Jig Is Up

Well, I can keep my little secret no longer.  Too many of you are commenting in person and on Facebook.  Heck, my parents even know.

I have joined a roller derby league.  I've been to two practices so far and skated many hours beyond those practices.  I think I am doing pretty well in the drills.  And I really love it.  However, my stops need SERIOUS work.  If I don't pass the Women's Flat Track Deby Association (WFTDA) skills test because I fall over when I do a t-stop, I am going to be REALLY ticked off.  I think I've got all the other skills no problem.

And yes, my derby name and number submitted to Two Evils is Reckless Housewife #867-5309

It still has to be approved...

Two hours of skating today, two hours of skating tomorrow, and 3 on Sunday.  It's going to be brutal.  I hope I can walk on Monday...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Driving Lessons

Dear Driver of the Champagne Colored SUV,

I know you are an extremely important man, probably too important to ever read this letter. I should have known that you own the road with the all demonstrative hand signals you were throwing.  And, dear sir, we are impressed.  Impressed, I tell you.  Why, we would all put magnets featuring your face on the sides of our vehicles if you would only hand them out.  I would be first in line.  I might even take extras to share with my good friends. 

I found it quite classy that you would repeatedly curse at me with your windows down as my three innocent children listened.  It was an uplifting experience for all of us.  And since these words were new to my children, it was a learning experience as well.  Why, sir, I thank you for the educational opportunity!  It became our own little homeschool vocabulary session.  We got to practice rhyming truck, luck, duck, and suck.  Apparently, you have already schooled your sons on this.  I notice they did not flinch.  It's fabulous that they are so learned before they have even reached middle school!

My favorite part was when you continued to shake your finger at me all the way across the intersection and beyond.  I wish I had a camera to record that for all to see.  You would be known worldwide, and I am sure you would like that. 

Sir, I am so sorry that I came to a complete stop before you did.  And that I was even to your right when I did it.  I understand that you are above all traffic laws and that I should ignore them in your presence.  I am so sorry I started to go before it was convenient for you.  I'll try harder next time.

And since you live in my neighborhood, I'm sure there will be a next time.  I will be on the lookout for you from now on because it is a privilege.  A pleasure.  You can be sure that I will be glad to give you the right-of-way.  There is no where I need to be that is more important than where you need to be.  You living in Fantasyland and all; it's just the right thing for me to do.  Plus, we both agree that I am number one.