Joon’s Racing Unicorns Birthday Party at that amusement park that I hate.

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This latest birthday party for Joon is probably the first party since Bug’s 2nd Birthday  that I have not gone all out. I know! It’s possible. Who knew?!!  Let me just say that it was difficult for me. I had to sit on my hands.

When Joon said she wanted to have her birthday party at the local mini-golf/bumper cars/video arcade amusement park I was legitimately sad. I HATE the local mini-golf/bumper car/video arcade amusement park like the DMV. It is NOT my idea of fun at all. It’s pretty much my worst favorite way to spend the day, right next to bowling or going to the dentist/obgyn.

And that is why Payam and I get along so great. We are opposites and basically Joon is a mini Payam. She likes just about everything I don’t like and vise versa. This goes for food, amusement, songs, clothes…  just about everything. But you know what? I love this kid.

So I put aside my overbearing party planning hat and let her do her thing.

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We started the day off right by making garbage pancakes while wearing unicorn pajamas, like you do. We played dance music and Queen (her favorite band) on Alexa very loud and Bug and Joon chair-danced while they ate.

A side note: Joon is very musical kid. She makes videos on Musically all day long. She’s great at editing, singing, lip syncing, flossing and hair flipping. She knows every lyric to every hit song by heart and she can sing it on key even if another song is playing in the background. Her favorite thing to do is to sing an ear-worm infecting song at the top of her lungs and watch everyone else start humming it against their will. It always works. She’s also a pretty good dancer. What can I say. She’s a walking party.

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So naturally, a loud obnoxious place like Boomer’s (the local mini-golf/bumper-car/arcade) is just her speed. Lights blinking, bells ringing, loud music, kids running everywhere hyped up on sugar without parental supervision..it’s like home sweet home for Joon.

My contribution to this crazy train? Nada. Well except maybe some packaging for slime party favors. I didn’t even make the slime.

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I mean, what else could I do? It’s not like I could Martha-Stewart decorate the underground prison room that they call a “party room.” It was so depressing. Fluorescent light, painted cement walls, plastic table cloths. It could drive a person like me to drink except the wine and beer they sell there was the cheap stuff that I can’t stomach. I just disengaged. There was no Brenda-party-planning-extraordinarre fixing this.

BUT JOON LOVED IT! Because she was with her friends and when you are eleven that is all you really care about. Party favors schmarty favors. Just give us some candy and show us to the laser tag line!

Which by the way, I need to point out that Joon made her own slime party favors  You know me and slime. I hate it. Joon loves it. I just made sure she and Bug were making it at the table on some cookie sheets to collect the mess and walked away. I couldn’t even be in the same room. I had to cover my ears when I heard the sounds of that stuff popping and slurping. All I could think about was how much trouble it would be to get out of the rug. Thankfully, Joon knows how much I hate the stuff and she was very careful and no rugs were harmed.

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But back to the party. Joon was in her element. Her friends seemed to have a really good time too. They didn’t even seem to notice the squad of eighteen-year-old boy hoodlums walking around with face tattoos. Shudder.

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They rode the kiddie rides again and again.

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They raced the go carts. They were magical birthday racing unicorns. I should have made them all unicorn horns but the go carts people have really strict rules about hats and hair and anything that could get in the way of a safe drive.

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Then we had cake in the prison room. Something funny I have to give Boomer’s credit for are these candles that are strung together by a ribbon of paper. You light one and then they all magically light up at once. It was quite impressive! I really have to research a DIY on that.

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We sang, we hugged, we took pictures in the crappy fluorescent light. We ate crappy pizza and bonded over how bad it tasted. Cardboard with cheese, yay!

I hung out with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend all day and I have to say that I really like them! How can you not like a guy who plays Dance Dance Revolution with their kid? It’s pretty cool when the ex’s can all get along and celebrate how much they love their whacky kid.

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We celebrated Joon. She really is a sparkly unicorn of a girl. She is so optimistic and full of life. She wants to have all the fun all the time.

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I love that she and Bug are such good friends. They have their own language of inside jokes. Of course they have their moments when they bicker over what’s fair until my eyeballs are bleeding from rolling so far back into my head BUT they get along most of the time. Joon helps with Bug’s anxiety. She forces Bug to do things she would never do otherwise just by showing up and being competition. She forces me to do things I wouldn’t do otherwise. Joon definitely brings an appreciation of unabashed fun to this family.

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Love you Joon! Shine on sparkle unicorn.

Another Trip to LA: Minefaire and Chinatown

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It seems like ages ago we went to LA for Minefaire. It was snoresville but we did have a great time in Los Angeles afterwards. I always love a day in LA for adventure. Traffic not so much but adventure, yes. Everything there is charmingly different from Orange County and it always feels like an infusion of much needed variety.

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We don’t have graffiti where we live. If so much as the tiniest tag goes up on a wall or a fence it is gone the next day, no questions asked. I guess that is a good thing but I do love street art, especially really good street art. Sometimes I just want to paint my house purple in rebellion but I’m all hot air.

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Minefair and Minecon are not the same thing at all. Payam bought these tickets for the girls a long time ago before we even knew there was a difference. I’m sure to die-hard gamers it was pretty cool but to me it was just a giant conference room  filled with computers where kids were zoning out. We can do that at home. The store was pretty cool I guess. If you need another stuffed creeper, which we don’t. I did find a reason to have a pumpkin headed snowman of course. Gotta throw that in for seasonal decorations.

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The funny part was that we went to Minefair ON Payam’s birthday. Driving to LA in horrible traffic and then hanging out with gamers is not exactly his favorite thing to do but I guess he loves his girls. I add myself into that group because of how much I love adventure in LA, even if it does include a lame convention for a game that I’m not that into.

Bug is into Minecraft and she’s really good at creating these really cool houses and buildings. She’s thinking she might want to be an architect when she grows up and I am heartily encouraging that. I wanted to be an architect too way back in the day but I got discouraged by all the math.

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The best part of Minefair was going outside and eating street food. I love fresh tacos made on an industrial-sized cookie sheet over a propane tank. I am ever amazed at how ingenious street vendors are. And to think I wouldn’t rent an apartment because it had a hot plate and not a real stove! I should have taken some lessons from these guys.

I especially love the fresh fruit in cups. Coconut, mangos, cantaloupe, cucumbers…a squeeze of lime and some chili powder–yum! I always worry about getting food poisoning because surely things can’t be that clean but we never do. Street germs are good I guess.

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After our lunch in the street we decided we weren’t ready to go home yet so we took a quick trip to Chinatown. We love ducking into the little shops and discovering new things.

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I feel privileged that I get to follow Bug and Joon around and take pictures. They are getting prettier and prettier every day. I feel like I have my own models constantly walking around with me just asking me to take their picture. I need to take my real camera out more often. Whenever I do I always have such a good time with it.

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After Chinatown we rushed home to go to a violin concert that Bug’s new violin teacher was starring in. Her teacher is really really good. Like ripping up the violin in a floor-length red velvet dress good. The girls sat there mesmerized, not even bored at all.  Sadly I have no photos of that. I wish I could have but I was shy to take my camera into the theatre.

I didn’t even tell you that we hired a private tutor for violin lessons for Bug. She’s getting serious about violin and unfortunately her class at school is kinda stuck and not progressing so she’s forging on ahead with private lessons. I’m really proud of her. Of course getting her to practice regularly is a challenge but that’s really what this whole thing is about anyway. I’m really happy that she is not giving up on something that she is good at.

After the concert the girls and I stopped by a grocery store and bought Payam a cake. He didn’t go to the concert so it was our little surprise.

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Which he wholeheartedly deserved.