The “13 Doesn’t Succ…” Succulent Party

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It rained all week and then suddenly on Saturday, the day of Bug’s thirteenth birthday party, the sun came out, the rain dried up and it was a brilliant lovely summer day. Pretty much perfect for an outdoor succulent-themed birthday lunch!

(Of course we had a back up plan. We would have went ahead and had a birthday lunch inside and crowded everyone into our dining room. I would have pan-fried the hamburgers three at a time and it would have been a smokey mess but we could have pulled it off. I’m just so glad we didn’t have to.)

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From the outside everything looked perfect. It was sunny and warm day in January. The napkins I found stuffed in my party box were the perfect color of orange to match Bug’s neon orange shirt that she picked out last minute. The adorable little succulent plants fit perfectly into their little terra cotta pots. The cupcakes were the most cute! The hamburgers were delicious and the avocados were even the perfect amount of ripeness to make a big bowl of tasty guacamole. The puppies were happy guests in the side yard petitioned by a puppy gate. Everyone was happy.

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I, however, was not as happy. A shame, I know. It’s just that I’m think I am ready to retire from party-throwing. I know. Nobody believes me. And maybe I’m just all talk. Come May when it’s time to throw Joon’s “baking challenge” birthday party, I’ll probably be rearing to go again. But right now I just feel like I’m done. I’ve spent way too much money on these parties over the years and it’s starting to get to the point where the wonderful creative aspect of party-throwing is not outweighing the financial and operational stress of making them actually happen.

It’s finally come to that. Maybe 2018 was a rough year for me and I’m finally growing up.

I love parties. I just don’t love who I become during party prep count-down time AND I don’t love how much money I spend. Unfortunately I’ve set the bar pretty high and the kids have come to expect this kind of festivities but I think it’s time to train them out of it because this can’t sustain itself. At least not for a while while I recuperate from losing my laptop and camera in Italy.

But you are not here to discuss my mental health and my party planning retirement. You are here to look at the details.

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Details! The green bar, the green lemonade, the sunny day, the succulents everywhere… It was all lovely

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Bug and I fell in love with the idea of succulent cupcakes. They are all over Pinterest these days. I didn’t really put a lot of effort into researching the how-to steps to make them though because Joon has become the baker in the house and I figured between the two of them, (Joon is the baker, Bug is the decorator) they would probably pull it off. I bought the Russian tips and let it all sit on the counter for a week until the day of the party.

Well, as luck would have it, the girls let me down. Not terribly but they kind of expected me to pull it off for them like I usually do and they were off in the bathroom somewhere doing their hair. So maybe you could say I let them down. Chalk it up to a miscommunication.

So there I was a the eleventh hour trying to figure out how Russian icing tips work. The kit I bought was super complicated with widgety plastic parts that for some reason with the last minute stress of it all turned into a rubic’s cube mystery operated by Greasy Fingers Mc-frustrated. Nothing worked and the cute little succulents of icing turned into smooshy blobs instead of leaf-like peaks. The color was perfect (because Bug, the color expert added the food coloring) but the shape was just a mess.  Of course it was 101 degrees in the kitchen because that is how our house works when the sun is out (pretty windows have an ugly side effect) and that probably contributed to my stress.

I grunted and screamed and pretty much turned into a Tyrannosaurus rex for twenty minutes. Poor Payam hovered nearby but there was really nothing anyone could do to calm me down or fix the situation.  I muttered through it and in the end the cupcakes turned out pretty cute. And since no one was comparing them to the Pinterest pin I had in my head, nobody realized they were a collassel failure.

Typical Brenda. Freak out and nobody knows.

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Payam cooked the hamburgers. Joon had perfect hair…

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And the party went off without anyone knowing that I was officially throwing in the towel. Last party I vowed.

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A funny thing about Bug and Joon. Bug loves to draw (of course! She’s just like me) and many of Bug’s friends like to draw too. Joon does not like to draw and many of Bug’s friends don’t like to draw either. So the party kind of split into two groups: the drawers and the game players.

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Joon LOVES any kind of game. The more active the better. I never realized how much I hated games until I met someone who really loves them. There are just so many games I am bad at!  Pretty much anything to do with math or being on the spot gives me anxiety. So that rules out all games except Pictionary. I love Pictionary because I love to draw. Sadly nobody else really loves Pictionary as much as I do.

When the party started out Joon was kind of moping around because it was a day for Bug and all of Bug’s friends were there. Joon didn’t get a chance to invite any of her friends, an oversight on my part. She was sad and bored.

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But then when Bug went off to a corner with her drawing buddies some of her non-drawing buddies got bored and wandered inside to find Joon who was standing by to save the day with TWISTER! and CARD GAMES! All the gamers were so happy and so was Joon. And that’s how that worked out.

It’s funny though because Payam came to me and said, Why are there two groups? Why are Bug and her two lone buddies off being anti-social to which I turned to him and said, Let them be. That was me. I always hated parties because I hated games and I just wanted to be off in a corner drawing. So we let them be.

 

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And that was that! Thirteen didn’t suck so much. But being the party planner did so maybe this is my last party. At least until May. And then THAT will be my last party.

Middle School Anxiety Day 1

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Middle School is off to a roaring good start and by roaring I mean the very loud gut-wrenching vocalizations of an angst-ridden tween who is losing her mind. I’m not so sure Bug would appreciate me making fun of her here on my blog but she is always telling me to write a graphic novel so we’ll just put these sketches here and say that they may not be the whole story. I’ll give her a chance to make fun of me too. SHE has plenty of material to do so with.

I really was that horribly embarrassing parent on orientation day. Me being me, I decided to walk the dogs before orientation which was at 10am. I left at eight-ish.  Plenty of time right? My walk usually takes 45 minutes and then I take a shower (because I am the walking sweat machine). Then we’d walk to school her and I. No big thing.

Well…one thing lead to another and five minutes from getting home from walking the dogs I get a frantic call from Bug. “WHERE ARE YOU MOM?! I’M GOING TO BE LATE! I NEED YOU TO DO MY HAIR!!” fret fret fret, freak-out, freak-out, freak-out. So I rushed home, jumped in the shower, barely dried my new hairstyle of a hair cut and quickly braided her hair. We walked as fast as we could to school and then stood in line for an hour.

My wet hair was dripping all down my back and I was sweating because it’s been hotter than dog’s breath lately and it’s terribly HUMID. All the water was cumulating in the swell of my back where my butt sticks out. I can’t help it. I have a bubble butt. Bug was beyond embarrassed. If she has more acne than usual on her forehead it’s because of all the face palms. I tried my best to ride the wave of embarrassment by pretending that nothing was wrong. I greeted all her friends and their parents and we had the usual parenting social hour which you know is the worst torture ever for budding young middle-schoolers.

We survived orientation and we were both pretty excited about middle school. We went back-to-school shopping and bought about a thousand surf-related t-shirts. She got a new back pack. All was going well.

But I sensed it wasn’t so smooth-sailing when she called me twice from her Dad’s to make sure I would be there Thursday morning to do her hair if her dad dropped her off early. Poor kid. She was fretting over everything. She made a special notebook with folders and her schedule clipped prominently inside. She made sure she went to bed early two nights before so she would be in the habit of getting up early and then called me in a panic because her dad was NOT getting up early on her practice going-to-school-days. I told her not to worry. Her dad would indeed get up in time on the day he actually needed to get up early.

This is what it’s like when you have anxiety.

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Today she showed up extra early. Almost an hour before school started. We took pictures with her dad and then went inside to do her hair. I went over her list of things she’d need for the day. Did she have her notebook? Did she have her lunch? Did she have her schedule and ID card? Wait What?!! OH NO SHE DID NOT! She forgot everything at her dad’s house and there was no time to go all the way to his house to get them!

Oh crap.

Much weeping and wailing went down while we packed another lunch, printed out her schedule from online and sat down to practice her new combination lock she would need for her locker. Oh my goodness, you’d think figuring out a combination lock was something out of National Treasure with secret compartments and dead sea scrolls. Turn the lock three times to the right, then two times to the left, then one time to the right…

Mom, stop screwing me up! I don’t think in pictures like you do!”

Albeit, I was trying to explain how the levers worked inside the lock with hand movements. I guess imagining the internal mechanisms of a lock don’t help everyone like they do me.  In the end I just let her muddle through it and somehow on the seventh or eighth try (after two freak-out melt-downs) she figured it out.

Hell-LAY-lujah.

Kids, man. They just don’t want to be helped. But if you don’t help them YOU ARE THE WORST.

She did want me to walk her to school though which surprised me because I’ve been preparing for the parental rejection years since kindergarten. I know I’m embarrassing for her. I embarrass myself!  Surely she doesn’t want me walking her to school. But she was nervous. The whole lack of a schedule and an ID card was nerve-wracking. So I walked half way and then her friend showed up. Her friend is the exact opposite of her. Cool as a cucumber and not one bit worried about anything under the sun. She shrugged off Bug’s worries as if they were mere dandelion seeds flying in the wind. No schedule, no ID card, no problem! It’s the first day of school nobody expects you to know what you’re doing. Today is a free day!

I love her friend. I’m super sad she’s moving to New York in two days. I think we both need her.