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Kid-kid is Five!

Well, it happened.  The girl turned five…  and a lovely time was had by all.  LOL  Seriously.  It was.  🙂

Yesterday was her fifth birthday, and it was spent sewing, crafting, shopping, and visiting.  Getting ready for her party (which was today) and just enjoying being five.  She woke up, threw the blankets off, looked at her legs and exclaimed that they were super long!  After all, she grew!  She is five now, ya know.  😉

Today was just as nice…  okay, well… ALMOST just as nice.  It was a little busy and exhausting for me (I’m not actually over the ear infection yet, so it was a bit of a struggle, but I don’t think too many people noticed).  She had a great time at her party, playing with Parker and some of her cousins and extended family.  And I think everyone who came (including her great grandparents) had a really nice time too.

I’d love to be sharing some pictures from the last two days, but I’m still not well enough to be working through any of my photography edits.  However…  I do have one little iPhone capture and a video (both from yesterday).  Enjoy!  It’s off to bed for me, we’re going to be extras in a zombie movie tomorrow.  😀

Snow White and Mingo...  catching a few Zzzz's at The Bay.

Snow White and Mingo… catching a few Z’s at The Bay after our annual trip to Build-a-Bear to get Mingo a birthday outfit.

At some point I’ll start remembering to hold my phone the OTHER way when I take video.  Oooops.

Summer Birthdays Stink!

I don’t care what some folk try to say (generally in a reassuring fashion to a child), it stinks having a birthday in the Summer.  Seriously!

Kids who have their birthday during the school year get to enjoy celebrations at school with their classmates.  When they are young their teachers always make a big deal about their special day, when they are older their chums decorate their locker and arrange surprises during the day…  Kids born in the Summer don’t get any of that.  Heck, they’re lucky if they get to even have much of a party.

The girl’s birthday is tomorrow, and her party is on Saturday.  She’s going to be five.  Which, honestly, I can hardly even believe.

Before school let out we gave out cards to her school friends with her email address, asking them to drop us a line so we could invite them to her party once we had plans in place.  Only two of the eight kids she gave her address to actually contacted us with their mailing addresses.  Thankfully she’s got friends from the year before whom she still loves, as well as lots of cousins.  Except that only one friend has actually RSVP’d saying he’d be there… one friend, one cousin.  Like I said, birthdays in the Summer stink for a kid.  We’re hopeful that some people just don’t know what “RSVP” means, and that some people will just show up on the day.  We’re actually banking on it.

My birthday was always awesome.  Every second year it would fall on a school day, and on the alternates it would be during Easter break.  So half the time I was on holidays and half the time I got to celebrate at school.  It really was the best.  I absolutely loved it.  And even as a kid myself, I always felt bad for those kids who had their birthday during Summer vacation.  In theory it may seem like a great time to have a party, but as a kid?  Those parties pretty much always fell flat.  😦

sad and lonely birthday bear

lolz cat - why no one comes to mai party

Skippyjon Jones – preparing to party

Kid-kid will be turning five on July 20th.  And the two of us are both fans of theme parties.  Being a crafty momma, I love making things for her birthdays – both for her and her guests.  Which means it’s time to get working, lest we run out of time prior to the big event.  😉

This year the girl has asked for a Skippyjon Jones party.  Not familiar with our little skippito bandito buddy?  I’d highly recommend doing some reading.  Here’s a link to get you started:  http://www.wegivebooks.org/books/skippyjon-jones  Not only can you read the books for free, you can also help give books to programs that make them available to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them.  I’ve blogged about We Give Books before (see here, and here), and we still absolutely love it!

So…  ideas thus far:

  • Chihuahua window clings for all the mirrors
  • Bandito masks for all the party guests
  • mask, cape, and Chihuahua ears for Lily-Ann
  • Skippyjon stuffy gift for Lily-Ann
  • Skippyjon cake or cupcakes
  • have a pinata
  • Read the original Skippyjon Jones book

But that’s where my ideas stop.  We could definitely use a craft idea, and a game idea…  So I’d be up for any thoughts from the peanut gallery (or from los chimichangos).  🙂

Happy Birthday Marie!

Today is Marie’s birthday.  She’s 28, which blows my mind more than a little.  I still remember that little girl who joined our family over two decades ago…  who would play under the pool table, so unsure of herself and her new family.  That girl who grew to be the center of my world for a very long time…  whom I would make time to sing with every time I visited home after I moved out.  Her favourite song for a while was “There’s a big green monster under my bed”.  She’d giggle like mad as I did all the actions, and then we’d have to do it all again.  I remember her singing at my wedding…  I was fine all during the ceremony, the toasts, the reception, but her singing “You are my sunshine” had me fighting back the tears.  Then we had Lily-Ann, and there really was no choice at all.  It was a no brainer.  Lily-Ann is Lily-Ann Marie.  And oh those two get on each others nerves at times.  LOL  But it definitely gets better as the kid gets a little older, and can understand how special Marie is.

So…  anyway…  Today is Marie’s birthday.  And here we are singing the happy birthday song as my sister Riki carries in the cake:

One of Marie’s favourite jokes, and it’s one that is all her own, is to say your name repeatedly…  wait for you to give her your undivided attention, and for the room to go quiet, then both say and sign “flashlight”.  So, without fail, someone always gives her a flashlight for her birthday.  She loves them, and it only fuels her little gag.  This year the joke ended up being on us, as she’s sure that our gift is a cellphone:

Over all?  I’d say it was a successful party for someone who means the world to us.  🙂

Happy Birthday Marie!!!!

You make me crazy.  😉

The Girlie’s 4th Birthday Party!

Nothing but photos for you tonight.  I’m just too darn tired to do anything else.  LOL

 

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The icing on the cake!

The absolute best part of any kids birthday (as any photographer will attest to) is the icing on the cake, and all the super cute colourful photos that go along with it.  😉

Here’s a couple snapshots from Lily-Ann’s BFF’s fifth birthday party on Saturday.  Just proof, that messy is always best!  LOL



 

Happy birthday Carissa!  Don’t ever change.  🙂

Grampa’s 80th Birthday!

Today was Grampa’s 80th birthday party…  and it was a really lovely event.  There must have been close to seventy  people there throughout the few hours we had the room.   Only 51 signed the guestbook, but we had 35 seats set up, and we were filled to capacity twice as folks cycled out and new guests cycled in.  At one point many of us were standing, mingling, visiting, and the seats were filled even then.  🙂

One woman in particular I recognized, but didn’t know why.  After she finished the conversation she was in, I walked up and explained that I was sure I knew here, but couldn’t place her.  Turned out she used to work with Grampa at the Compensation Board.  He used to take me with him to work all the time when I was little.  So seeing Marilyn was very neat.  Turns out she still works there, and she remembered the little girl I once was.

I got lots of photographs…  people talking, hugging, reminiscing.  None to share just now though, as I’ve got a tired wee girlie sleeping soundly on my side.  And I’d rather cuddle with my girl vs. sitting upstairs alone transferring photos to the computer.   I’m sure you understand.  😉

So another very full day.  Another night where I am very much looking forward to sleep.

Click to read my original post about my Grampa’s 80th Birthday.

Kids-Only Birthday Party

Today, the wee girlie went to her first kids-only birthday party.  Damon and I went with her, fully prepared to attend the party but were told that we didn’t need to stay and that we could pick her up in a little under two hours.  So we gave her a kiss and told her to have fun.

The party was at the Children’s Discovery Museum… a long time pet project pulled together by several Attachment Parenting moms I know.  And I am so thrilled to see it doing so well.  It’s a great place for kids to go, have fun, explore, and to just enjoy learning through experience.

So Damon and I spent the afternoon tooling around Market Mall.  Mostly just window shopping, and chatting as we waited for the time to pass.  I do have to admit though, that I couldn’t help but pull us in the direction of Neural Net – Saskatoon’s only dedicated Apple Retailer.  It’s always fun to play on the latest MacBooks and iGadgets.

We tried our best not to lurk around the party, but I do have to admit, we did stroll by the CDM a couple times…  so we could casually glance in.  LOL

As a “high need” child, I was a little concerned about how the girlie’s behaviour would be perceived.  She can be a little much for some people to handle.  Heck, even I find her overwhelming at times.  She’s super smart, extremely verbal, and has no problem speaking her mind.  I think she’s awesome!  (which is as it should be)

When we walked over to pick her up, another woman was also standing in the group milling around the door.  She looked at me and smiled, saying “You’re Lily-Ann’s Mom.”  I smiled back and responded in kind, when she continued “She’s such a lovely girl, and so  polite.”  All I could think to say was “Awww…  Well thank you.”  I think she’s marvelous, but it’s always nice to hear things like that, especially from people who have nothing to gain from speaking up.

So the girlie’s first kids-only party was a success.  Still can’t believe she’s old enough for a kids-only party.  LOL  But I suppose she is.

To one of the most important men in my life…

I finally figured it out, what has been bothering me the last few days.  I’ve been really stressed and feeling overwhelmed – more so than I should be.  Sure I’m in the middle of planning the Green Party’s AGM, and I’m working on a number of other projects too…  but nothing that should have been causing the feeling of being crushed under too much that I was experiencing.

Last night I was running everything through my head, doing a bit of a check list.  What I had accomplished, what I still needed to accomplish, what I could work on the next day…  That’s when it hit me.  The overwhelmed feeling is about my Grampa’s birthday.

Okay, okay…  I know.  That’s a little odd.  But let me give you a little back story.

My mom was still a girl, just a teen, when she had me.  And I’ve always been so grateful for everything she sacrificed for me.  She was a single, teen, mom…  just being ONE of those things can be tough, but she was all three.   Because of this, my Grampa was the man in my life when I was really young.  Almost all of my earliest memories center around time with him, or at his house.  Even after Mom met Dad, and the three of us became a family, Grampa remained an ever steady, ever present part of my life.

Grampa took me camping, a lot.  He instilled in me a love and respect for nature.  An awe at the miracles that surround us, the miracles in the every day.  We fished.  We camped.  We rode bikes (well, I didn’t ride until I was twelve, so mostly I got rides on his bike).  We took trips.  We went to family reunions.  Grampa was always there.

In high school he remained as steadfast as ever.  Once a week he’d pick me up early and we’d go for “coffee” before classes.  I always had a hot chocolate.  Those mornings were sooo important to me.  And I knew that if I was ever in  a spot I could count on him.  He’d pick me up and give me rides to Youth, and drove to come get me TWICE on Sundays for morning and evening service.  He was my best friend.  It may not have been a ‘cool’ thing to admit, but if anyone ever asked me, I was always the first to tell them exactly that.  My Grampa was my bestie, my BFF.  I was popular, I had lots of friends…  but none of them came close to the love and friendship that he and I shared.

When Grampa married Joan I was in University…  and I’ll admit it…  I disliked her out of pure jealousy.  All the time that he used to spend with me, well, he now spent with her.  No, I wasn’t cut out of the picture entirely.  We still spent several days a week together…  but I was jealous.  I was a kid, and my best friend had found a new best friend.  Now I look back and am more than a little embarrassed about feeling that way.  I love Joan, she’s a member of the family, and I’m so glad that Grampa has her…  and that we have her too.

That was the beginning of our separation.  Slowly, as I grew up, the gap widened.  We spent less time together.  Our interests didn’t lead us in the same directions.  And these days (fifteen years later) I’m lucky to see Grampa once a month… and often that is just in passing.

So, the idea that my Grampa, one of the most important men people in my life, will be turning EIGHTY?!?!?  Well…  it’s hit me rather hard.  77, 78, 79… no problem.   But 80 is different.  80 is hard.

I’m in the middle of helping to plan his birthday party…  trying to track down people that he and I used to see all the time.  The Morin’s, the Lutz’s, people who’s names I’ve forgotten but who’s faces I remember…  people who were adults, who I  smiled at and waved to from the other end of the Church that my Grampa and I helped to build (both literally and figuratively).  I’m hoping to find them all, so they too can help celebrate the man who has meant so very much to me, who has ALWAYS been there…  who I know I can still count on no matter what.

No.  Not all our memories are blissful and happy. Like the time we drove to Wisconsin for a family reunion…  Grampa, two of my younger cousins, and myself.  Then came home with lice from one of the motels we stayed in on the trip home.  It was SOOOO gross.  They were HUGE.  And I was a TEENAGER!  It was a nightmare.  But even that I can look back on and laugh – because we were in it together.

The fact that this man, my Grampa, is now going to be 80 scares me.

I remember, during one of our “coffee” dates.  He suddenly fell silent and took my hands into his.  “Tobi”, he said.  “I want you to promise me something.”  The mood instantly changed, and I’ve never forgotten it.  It’s something I’ve carried with me my entire life.  “When I die, I don’t want a funeral.”  I remember being totally taken aback.  I was 16, and my Grampa was talking to me about dying.  “Promise me you’ll plan everything.  Throw me a party.  I don’t want anyone to mourn.  When I  die, I’m going home.  It’s something to be celebrated.”  I made that promise, and at the time it was really just my way of trying to get him to stop talking about it.

Grampa has never been old, and I can’t imagine him ever being old.  He’s always been active.  Even when his pain got the better of him, he’d just find a new way to keep being active.  He’d give up one thing, but would find something else.  He’s been a member of a gym now for about six months.  Goes a few times a week, and is better shape than he’s been in for some time.  He’s not old, so I don’t know what that number scares me.  That number may be old, but my Grampa is not.

So…  here’s to my Grampa!  One of the best men I know.  To another entire lifetime.  To him never getting tired, never slowing down.  To him, and all he’s given me.  To the love we shared, and continue to share (despite growing somewhat apart).  He’s amazing…  and I look forward to celebrating him with our family and all his friends this February.

Will he get a chance to read this?  Not as long as it’s solely available online.  He sold his computer after a few months, claiming he didn’t receive enough email for it to be worth the trouble.  LOL

I love you Grampa.

a scrapbook layout I did using photos from grampas last birthday

Bill Guskjolen’s 80th Birthday

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=173829629326890

Friend of Bill’s?

Hope to see you in February at his birthday party.

See the link above for all the details.

Grampa’s Birthday!

So here’s yesterdays picture.  Grandpa with his birthday cake.

We love you Grampa!!!

Grandpa and his birthday cake

Grampa's Birthday

In his late 70’s, Grampa is as dashing as ever.  Must be those good Norwegian genes!  😉

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