Monday, May 24, 2010

Party of Two


That party. Was crazy.
The day started early, and the humidity was high. I was sweating before 8 am. The weather looked dismal, but I managed to keep my shit together when it started sprinkling at 9 am and ran out and threw a tarp over the massive pile of limp, damp canvas in my backyard. The caterer arrived and set up the tents, and I sent my February self a quick 'thank you' for getting those, because they were perfect. My mom, panicked as much as I was, started scrubbing the tray from the bottom of the toaster oven. I ran out to get ice, and shotgunned a Red Bull in the blissful quiet and A/C of my car, my mind racing with the logistics of what still had to be done and what I absolutely didn't want to forget.
Back at the Casa de Cumpleanos the first folks arrived a few minutes before 11, which was perfect, because I was sick of waiting, plus they were people I really, really like. We looked at the sky and decided we were going to hope for the best and up went the bounce house.
It was everything I dreamt it would be, and so much more. And so freaking cool! The thing went up in 3 minutes, was nowhere near as loud as I expected it would be, and was massive. The company I rented it from dropped it off the previous evening, and I wanted to sleep in it. Really, how great would that be?!!!
The totally fantastic cake, designed by my friend and TM'er over at A Sweetshop Named Desire, arrived.
Jenny wanted 'Blue, blue!'. Can you see the details on this thing?! Little flip-flops! PRECIOUS!!
More people arrived and enjoyed the selection of salty snacks. They were also pleasantly surprised by the Canadian beer selection. Hey, it was my party, after all. Jellybean parked in front of the Cheese Doodles and couldn't be budged. Until...
The sun peeked through the clouds, and we had a rain-free party!

For those of you cloistered or otherwise totally child-free, Boots the Monkey is Dora the Explorer's bestest buddy. Some of the kids were a little unsure, some lost their minds with excitement, and some ran and hid in the bounce house. Jelly wasn't too sure about him at first, but definitely warmed up...
And was very sad to see him go.
The multi-talented performer came back and did face-painting and made balloon animals, err, creations (I'd never seen a balloon water gun before, but she did it, and made some very happy little boys swords).
The timing of everything was perfect. As a PM I tend to be a little, uh, aware of how things flow and what everyone should be doing and all those good things. The caterers arrived with the food right on schedule, and man, was there a lot of it. After lunch I enlisted Jenny's fan D. to run the cotton candy machine, since I found the whole thing kind of sketch and knew I'd manage to somehow set fire to my house if I was allowed to actually touch it.
SUCCESS!! D. is now a certified carnie.
My friend S. took some BEAUTIFUL pictures of Princess von FattyBottom.
I fulfilled a lifelong dream and stuck my whole hand straight in. I feel it was very environmental of me, since I didn't use a paper cone, right?
Hey, I considered sticking my face in, so this was much more sanitary. At least one kid had to have a sink bath, so I consider the whole thing to have been a major win.

I had a lot of fun. I had so much fun I almost forgot to cut that beautiful cake! Seriously, I was like, 'Holy crap, it's 1 o'clock, I need to focus'. Jelly, like all toddlers, hid under the table and cried while we sang Happy Birthday, and I finally just stripped off her clothes and fed her cake until she begged to go play.
So, for something that could've gone wrong in a million different directions - everything was great. Not perfect, because there were a few hitches that I won't whine about here. But darn near. Most importantly, Jelly and her friends had fun, a few of my friends who I adore and who love and support us had fun, and some of my family could be here to share our day.

And if you think THESE pics are great - I got her 2-year photos done Friday morning. Here's the sneak pic Shannon at Lifelong Impresssions teased me with. Man, these are going to be so freaking awesome, you have no idea. She worked her tail off to get the best of Jelly. I can't WAIT!

I hope you had a Happy 2nd Birthday, Jellybean girl. I love you!

Now mama has to hurry and leave for Boston in 15 minutes to get some sleep.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm In So Much Trouble

Who loves the spotlight?

This kid.

Monday, May 17, 2010

When You're In My Heart, You're In My Family

Can't talk, parents and brother will be here in 4 hours. House a mess, laundry incomplete, weather horrible. Must go drink tequila shots immediately.

Also, if you ever question spending $573,278.04 on a ticket for a toddler to see something like Nickleodeon's Storytime Live - DO IT. I don't have words to describe what my heart did when I watched Jenny's face during that damn stupid show. Also, I cried. No, seriously, it was so overwhelming to make a little girl THAT HAPPY that I had tears in my eyes, and Cousin J made fun of me (with good reason).

So our next big adventure is the impending visit and all the fun/excitement that brings, then the big 2nd Birthday Celebration, then I have to go to Boston for work (blergh), and then it's Memorial Day Weekend (undecided), then - CAMPING! With a TODDLER! I know, right?! And that will bring us to mid-June, when we head up to Canada. Two days in a car. With a toddler. Yes, I make all the sensible choices.

Lots more pics and fun stories to follow soon.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Status Update: Jellybean Mama would like more time to blog

You know, I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure hummingbird food isn't the best thing for the rosemary plant...

Once again I had some really stellar ideas for blog posts as I lay in bed awake at 11ish last night, but managed to have them chased away by a nighttime visitor. Who shows up at midnight and hangs around until almost 2am?! And what did I get in return for my graciousness (changed a soaked diaper), politeness (pretended not to notice when I was kicked in the ribs and ear repeatedly) and calm demeanor? (managed not to scream 'A-hole!' when I finally tossed her back into her own bed). Nothing. Nothing except a grumpy kid who didn't want to wear anything with polka dots on it and somehow managed to smear 75 cups of peanut butter everywhere when I'd only put a mere suggestion of it on a toasted bagel.

Jelly. Dude. Seriously. I understand that the pollen is making you crazy, because it's making me crazy also. However, YOU. MUST. DEAL. Mama is having a very difficult and stressful time at work right now. Being able to function, at least at the level of a slack-jawed yokel, is necessary. I cannot take sick/nap time right now. While I understand your ploy to be served quick 'n easy Totino's pizza every night is working out in your favor, it is adding extra guilt to my overloaded stress plate. I had another trying-to-sell-the-house/moving dream last night, where I was living with the guys again. Urk. My poor little brain is just banging on the walls trying to get out.

Happily, I am going to have the house cleaned PROFESSIONALLY again tomorrow in advance of my parent's impending arrival Monday (yay!). Sadly, The Ta has to go out of town again the week I'm in Boston next, and the Most Awesome Caregiver has plans, so I'm scrambling to find someone to keep the Bean for a night. (boo!). It's Raleigh Restaurant Week next week (yay!) but the weather is all crazy so I'm freaking out about the 2-year pics and, you know, that little party I'm having (boo!). Also, I lost a stupid library book. This is why we can't have nice things, Jelly! That, and you like to pour random items on the couch.

May in the Carolinas means Strawberry Season, so that's kind of awesome. Jelly and I went and did some berry picking for Mother's Day, which was lovely. I almost barfed from over-indulging in shortcake, but the homemade strawberry lemonade was H-E-A-V-E-N-L-Y.

This weekend is the big Triangle Mommies Yard Sale, my COOKING CLASS, and *finally* the Nickleodeon Storytime Live Dora Thingie Extravaganza. Finally. I am excited about ALL those things. And then my parents and brother arrive Monday! Huzzah!

I had to break down and get a new carseat for Short 'N Wide. The spare that our caregiver and The Ta share has been outgrown. After much deliberation I went with the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1, mostly because I don't want to have to buy another one, somewhat because I liked the style and colors, and largely because - CUP HOLDER! SWEET!! Uh, I mean, safety ratings and positive parent feedback. So I'll let you know what I think of that. I can tell you I already miss the velcro on the Britax straps, and the Graco has not even been put in the car yet.

Ohh, and we tried out the toddler pool. It's totally brilliant. I wore an Old Navy t-shirt and capris (Jenny insisted I get in with her, fully dressed). Jenny opted for a more au naturel look...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jellyfish Season

Jennifer Jillian, aka Jellybean, aka Jellyfish
Likes: Candy, dogs, parties, spinning in circles, and long walks on the beach
Dislikes: Owls, robots, cats, having her diaper changed, and grilled chicken

You will all be very happy (and insanely jealous) to know that I finally grabbed my shoulders, shook myself a few times, and then sat myself down for a stern talking to. Well, not really, but I DID crawl out of the slump I was in and am feeling a little better this week, so that's something. I am pretty sure it had something to do with lack of sleep and work stress and JR's impending party and the weather all crashing down, none of which is resolved EXCEPT THE WEATHER!! Beautiful, sunny warm weather! Hello there! And I'm also pretty sure that a slump could happen again in a second, so I need to be wary. My new trick is to force myself to put things away all the way, so we'll see how longs that lasts.

The best part was - I had someone come clean my house! Yep, I admitted to myself that my home was disgusting and I was never, ever going to do the kind of cleaning it was crying out for, so I got a deal on Twongo (sign up for it if you aren't already using it, it's freaking awesome, although don't judge it by today's deal because well, usually the things are more real-world useful). A very nice woman spent four hours scrubbing toilets and wiping down appliances (she got the glass-top stove clean! ) and it cost me $50. WELL worth it. Did I mention I hadn't vacuumed the stairs the entire time I've lived here? 2+ years. Embarassing. But since I had someone coming to clean, that meant I had to pick things up a bit, which was just the motivation I needed. And since I was picking things up and finding lost mail and to-do lists, I figured I should go ahead and take care of some of that. So I called and got my home owner's insurance up-to-date (they randomly stopped doing the payroll deductions in February, and of course I had not opened that letter yet), ordered the party favors, put away every speck of clean clothing in the house INCLUDING the winter coats that were sitting on my bar stools, and packed for my next business trip.

Then, since I was feeling so freaking awesome, I scheduled to have someone come powerwash the house later today, got myself on a lawn care schedule to tame the (dande)lions, had a sleepover at The Ta's, and took Jelly to the lake TWO days. In a row. Sadly I had a minor setback when I had to endure almost 4 hours at the car dealership this morning rectifying a wee brake issue (apparently, it helps to have them) and got wildly extravagant with two beautiful new one-size-fits-the-Vibe tires, but I still feel like I can handle what life has to throw at me. This week, at least. Hey, it's the devil's arithmetic ladies - one day, plus one day, plus one day. We can do it!

So you know how sometimes, I try to cram too much into the weekend and come Monday morning, I’m exhausted and stressed? That was NOT this weekend. This weekend was glorious. I made the wise decision to NOT try to do too much on Saturday (go to the zoo AND the lake), and instead Jelly and I hit the beach. She loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. She could not stop talking about it when we got home - 'Water! Dig! Sand! Swim!'. So Sunday morning we got up and did it again. Except this time, I had picked up water wings. So. Freaking. Adorable. The kid is fearless in the water, and I guess had decided at the ripe ol' age of almost-two that it was high time she learned to swim. So she did. She threw herself in the armpit-deep water with wild abandon and started kicking and hollering. I tried not to have a thousand heart attacks or hover over her fluttering my hands nervously, and instead stood and yelled useful things like, 'Chin up! Close your freaking mouth! We don't eat sand! Flail your arms around more!'. She was a rockstar.

Where you goin', Jenny? 'De beach!'

Does this kid look happy or what?

The only downside - the 30-minute car nap instead of the 2-hour home nap.
After the lake we went to a friend's house for dinner and a movie - 'Religulous' and a cookout, which were both pretty great. I learned that our friend Jellybean abhors cats, to the point where she shrieked and ran in the other direction. If the cat had been an enormous, slobbering dog, Jelly would have embraced him with both arms. Definitely NOT a cat person. My friend has this gorgeous raised bed garden area (basically a house foundation, complete with little wood fence and steps) that I was very covetous of, that made me renew my vow to come up with a garden solution for the little grey house. The evening was lovely, and Jenny was dressed like a white-trash hillbilly, which made me dizzy with hilarity and cuteness.
You can't see it, but she's got a Care Bears tattoo on her right upper arm.
A toddler in a wife beater!! And camo pants! Why is this so funny to me?!

Happy May, Happy Monday, and may you all find incentive to get done what needs to get done.