Tag Archives: party

Bawling, Basketball, and Birthdays in Japan

Continued from my earlier post Our First Overseas Adventure:  Japan 2000 (part 4). 

“3/9/00  Milly*, Lulu asked me today when you are coming.  I told her August and she asked if that was soon.  G8r is in Okinawa for a couple of days.  He called and left a message on our machine when I was volunteering at Lulu’s class.  When I played it the kids heard it, and Lulu started bawling…I want my Daddy.  She is so sensitive; I am starting to dread the teenage years already.  Bye, SR”

“3/25/00 (e-mail to Milly)  I was just going to e-mail you about the (UF basketball) game when I got your message.  We saw the last 5 minutes of the game here.  Jay was going bezerk – yelling all over the house.  Kinda like G8r…except when they were down he would say, ‘It doesn’t matter; it’s just a game.’  And I said they were playing in a tournament, then he really got into it.  He was so excited when they won.  We had Mr. DL’s birthday party today.  He had a really good time.  I made him a train cake and he got several train things, all which he loved.  On his way to bed and as he drifted off, he kept say, ‘Tet you take; tet you choo choo, Momma.’ (thank you for the cake and train.)  It was so cute.  G8r got to call from the ship 2 times yesterday.  It was neat; Lulu started bawling again after she hung up with him.  He is so business-like when he is on cruise, though, even in his e-mails, unless it’s about baseball 🙂  Love, SR”

Lulu is now 14 and a wonderful teenage girl.  I couldn’t have asked for a more loving, wonderful daughter.  What was  I worried about?  She was just missing her Daddy!

  • Milly=my wonderful mother-in-law

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Fall is in the Air

I think it’s officially fall here in Virginia.  It seems like on October 1, the temperatures dropped 15 degrees over night.  I’m not used to the cooler temperatures this soon.  I remember when we lived in Florida, it was in the 80’s until October 31, the (my) official mark of autumn there.  Last night, I actually grabbed another blanket after I got in bed.  I’m going to have to change the thermostat from a/c to heat.  I don’t love the cold – at all!  My fingers and toes can be cold even in the middle of summer.  But I do love the fact that Halloween will be here soon. 

When I started seeing Halloween items in the store in August, I didn’t like that.  And now there’s Christmas stuff out there.  I like to enjoy one holiday or season at a time, before I start seeing decorations for the next in the stores.  They started putting Halloween candy in our military grocery stores a month ago.  And it’s right at the front door when you walk in!  If I start buying that stuff now, it won’t last until Halloween!  Are they insane?  No, I guess that means more sales for them.  But I resist the temptation each week I do my shopping.  I am so proud of myself. 

But, now that it’s October, it is finally time.  I am going to pull all of my Halloween boxes down from the attic this weekend.  I love Halloween.  I love to make costumes and then help the kids dress up and put on make-up.  I love the excitement that’s in the air.  And this year, it’s on a Friday!  Oh, the parties that will abound.  We are going to be here in Virginia for Halloween night.  Our Swedish friends arrive a few days before, and we are going to show them American trick-or treating.  Two years ago, when we lived in France, we spent a two-week school break around Halloween with them in a large house in the country in southwest France in an area called Dordogne.  It was beautiful!  Since the French don’t trick-or-treat, we decided to do a scavenger hunt for the candy.  The kids all dressed up in costumes and searched the large yard with clues in English, French, or Swedish.  It was my husband’s idea so that they would have to help each other.  They had a ball.

The couple, who speak English better than some Americans do, is around my husband’s and my ages, but their oldest child is the same age as our youngest.  It has not, however, affected the great friendship that we have formed, even the children.  They share French as their spoken language, but I think there is a children’s language used there also.  They have a lot of fun together.   

The day after Halloween is when the big party takes place down on the farm in Florida (where my husband’s family lives).  I have heard about some of the Halloween parties held there when he was a child, so I am expecting big things.  We are still debating on what costumes to wear to the party.  We’ve thrown around a few more ideas, but nothing’s lighting any fires still.

For now, we’ll just put away the flip flops and shorts (boo hoo!) and start thinking about carving pumpkins and making pies (pumpkin and apple and pecan…yum yum!) and snuggling up with a blanket and a good book.

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Eeny Meeny Miny Moe

My children are not going to be professional athletes, that I know of, but it is so much fun to watch them play.  Yesterday, both of my sons had events at the same time.  I hate it when that happens because I have to eeny-meeny-miny-moe which one I go watch.  With three in sports it happens often, but I still don’t like it.  Since I didn’t have a lot of time yesterday (getting ready for the house to be taken over by six 14-year old girls for my daughter’s birthday slumber party), I decided to watch our oldest at his cross country meet since it was a bit shorter in length.  Since they don’t play on a field where you can sit and watch, we crossed back and forth through a large field of knee-high grass as he popped out in different areas of the course.  It was a bit warmer than we expected; the temperatures have been dropping into the 70’s this past week, so it has been much better for running.  Yesterday it must have been back up towards 90 with 100% humidity (it felt like it anyway); I was sweating just standing out there.  So I know my son had to have been feeling a bit sluggish.  He didn’t PR (better one of his previous times and make a Personal Record) but was the 2nd to cross the line on his school’s “B” team.  He came in ahead of 2 or 3 boys he’s been trying to pass with each race, so it was exciting to see him happy in achieving another goal. 

After we left his meet, my husband dropped me back at home to finish preparations for the party.  He went on to watch the end of our youngest’s football game.  When he came home, my son immediately told me the bad news; he often starts with, “I’m sorry to tell you, but…”  His team lost by a touchdown, but then the good news came.  On one of the last plays of the game, he caught a tipped ball while playing on defense and ran it back 70 yards for a touchdown.  I immediately felt regret for wanting to get back to clean and decorate for the party but was so glad my husband was there to see it.  I almost wish I could have been there just to see my husband’s reaction as he is still on crutches from his hip surgery.  I can almost see him half running, half hobbling along the sideline cheering at the top of his lungs.

Act 3 came around 5 pm with 6 giggling girls at our kitchen table.  Since my daughter loves crafts, they sat around giggling and talking and giggling some more while knotting hemp into bracelets.  Then they made English muffin pizzas for dinner after which we partook of cake and ice cream.

Luau Flower Birthday Cake

Luau Flower Birthday Cake

It was interesting to see the interaction among the girls.  I know how my daughter is around me and our family.  But I got to see another side of her as she spoke (giggled) with her friends, each of whom had a different personality from the next.  The spectrum ranged from one girl who was somewhat quiet and serious to another who was very bubbly and talkative.  Our daughter is somewhere in the middle, so it was neat to see how she interacted with the different personalities.  Last night there was a lot of (did I already mention?) giggling.  She is often stressed over school work and tests, so I think it was a nice break from all the seriousness in life. 

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Répondez S’il Vous Plaît

Even though it’s French, I think most people knows what RSVP means:  call the phone number on the invitation and say whether you can attend the event or not.  And the most important part of that is “whether you can attend the event or not.”  I have been sending out birthday invitations for my children’s parties yearly for over 15 years and then there are those for adult parties as well.  I can probably count on one hand the number of people who have actually RSVPed – to all of the parties.  I have gone so far as to call everyone on my invitation list to see whether or not they were coming as I had to know in order to plan for the event.  Why do people blow this off?  Why do they assume if they don’t call, the host knows they are not coming?  Or that they think, we’re close friends, so they know I’m coming? 

My daughter is having several friends over this weekend for a sleepover for her luau birthday party.  We sent invitations out several days ago, and yesterday my daughter came home and told me we had forgotten to put our address on the invitation (oops).  I usually go through the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, When, and Why) but this time forgot the Where.  After thinking a short time, though, I said that maybe this was a good thing.  If they were coming, they would need to call to get directions and then we’d get the RSVPs.  That still leaves the ones that don’t call because they can’t come.  But we still have 24 hours before the RSVP deadline, so we will see.

The French are big into dinner parties.  We got invited to many while we lived in Paris and even continue to be invited to some as we have met French families that have been transferred by their military to the area we live in now.  It’s funny how, no matter who is hosting the dinner, it feels exactly the same as another.  We are invited to arrive around 7 or 8 pm.  We go inside, greeting our hosts with handshakes or kisses to each cheek.  We are taken to the living room to drink apéritives and eat hors d’oeuvres.  And every few minutes the host walks around the room with one of the plates of food for each person to take some.  After an hour or so, we all go to the dining room, where we eat anywhere from 3 to 5 courses, each thing being served one at the time.  The wine does not stop the entire meal.  If your glass is close to empty, it is refilled.  By the time dessert is served, it is nearly 11 pm, and I am tipsy and tired.  But ususally we sit and talk some more, sometimes at the dining table, but usually back in the living room, with coffee or tea, probably to help with the tipsy and tired so we can make it back home.  But since I drink neither, I sit there stifling yawns hoping my husband will drive home. 

Foreigners love to practice their English, but sometimes they are uncomfotable not knowing certain words, so we end up speaking French for the evening.  My husband loves it.  I like it that I can practice my French too, but after an evening that starts when I am usually winding down for the day and getting ready for bed, I am pushing the full meter and don’t want to see, hear, or speak French for a while afterwards.  We’ve been invited by a French couple to a wine party next week.  My husband says that I don’t have to go (I’m not a big wine person).  But it would be weird; other couples have been invited and he would be there alone.  I know he’d be fine, and he’s just trying to make it less stressful for me, but I would feel badly for the hosts wondering why I wouldn’t come.  So, I will go and practice my French and sip some wine and hang out with my hubby (sans enfants – hey, there’s a motivation).  But first, I need to be sure he already RSVPed.


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When any of my children have a birthday, I want the day to be special for them.  I always make the cake; sometimes I’ve spent hours in the kitchen with food coloring and icing bags and end up with red- and blue- and black-stained fingers.  I’ve made Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Spiderman, Batman, Strawberry Shortcake, Blue (from Blue’s Clues), and many others.  Sometimes, I let the kids help me mix the cake ingredients and then just use the Betty Crocker premade icing to slather the cake with when it’s done baking.  For my oldest son’s birthday this past year, we created a scavenger hunt to his birthday present.  It was a surf board, and it was so big, it was impossible to wrap and say, “Guess what we got you?”! 

This week is my daughter’s birthday.  She is our only girl, so it’s fun for me to do the girly present shopping this time each year.  Her birthday is always right after school starts, and it gives her a nice way to get together with friends she hasn’t seen since the end of the previous school year.  With a lot of our military moves in the summer, however, she sometimes feels she gets the short end of the stick with birthday parties because she often hasn’t had enough time to make many friends when her birthday rolls around. 

When I was a kid, I don’t think it was as big a deal to have friends over for a birthday.  Most of mine were spent with my family.  Today, I think some people go overboard with the parties for their kids, spending hundreds of dollars.  And then there’s a goodie bag that each child must have to go home with.  I thought the whole point was that the birthday child got presents.  Don’t get me wrong; I follow the lead and have a creative bag made up with each invitee in mind.

This year, my daughter wants to have a luau themed party.  Even though it’s not summer, per se, it’s still pretty warm outside, and it’s what she wants.  I want the day to be special for her.  Next summer we are moving again; it should be our last one.  But she will still have to contend with the fact that she won’t have made many friends before her birthday, once again.  So bring on the blue and purple and green food colors!

Hau`oli Lā Hānau!

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