Thursday, May 17, 2012

Birthday Magic

It takes a lot of magic to create happiness, and a lot of money and effort to make magic; every good fairy knows that. Pixy dust doesn’t grow on trees (it’s some sort of weird lake underneath one, according to the latest shows). Planning for a visit to The Most Magical Place on Earth made me think of magic, and for some reason that made me think of The Prestige.
So may I introduce our Disney World plans; a grand show unto itself.

The Pledge

Planning for the trip began in January. There was some internal debate about whether to do a Disney cruise, or yet another beach trip, or shingle my house in gold plate (approximately the same cost). Since Jelly is about to turn that special age of four, when a girl’s heart turns to whatever her daycare friends are talking about, she has been asking for The Mouse for what seems like a hundred billion years. So be it. I did my research, I plotted my schedule, I booked the character meal reservations – and I paid. I convinced myself that I’d be able to put it out of my head for 5 months. I lasted almost 2.

The Turn

It began innocently enough.  I thought I might want to do a little research, check out one of the AllEars or DisBoard forums. That led to poking around for some trip odds and ends that were deemed OMG DON’T  LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THIS. Rain ponchos. Glow sticks. Segways. Then I decided she needed a couple little gifts for while we were there. And maybe a special outfit or two. Before I knew it, I was stockpiling those free stickers I was always getting from the Disney DVD Club and trying to gauge how many non-$12 bottles of water I could get in my checked bag. And as each day dragged slowly by, desperately clawing its way through the end of winter and the early days of spring, I lay in bed and thought… ‘this is how she’ll look when we do this’. ‘This is what she’ll say when she sees that’. I got tired of saying 'We'll see' or 'Maybe' so I told her I was planning a Birthday Adventure, and she wouldn't know what it was until the day of. One of our favorite car games the past few weeks has been making up silly things it could be; a hot air balloon ride, an underwater car, dinner with a king. I'm pretty sure she thinks it's a beach trip. I hope she's not disappointed.

The Prestige

I have gone back and forth on the reveal. There are a billion stories and videos of how parents told their loved ones they were going to The World, some touching, some lame, some tragic (the kids who are burst into tears, unhappy ones, because they really aren’t going to Grandma’s or camping or whatever the double-cross is). For a long time the plan was to take Disney-themed cupcakes into Jenny’s class, and present her with the customized birthday ears. A week ago I discarded this idea – I decided it was stupid to drive her to daycare for just three hours, when they wouldn’t let the kids have the cupcakes until after nap anyhow.
So a few days ago I came up with my new plan. This afternoon I spent $100 on balloons at the party store; #4 balloons, and foil balloons, and Princess and Toy Story and even an awesome Perry balloon. And the BEST ‘floating Mickey’, taller than Jenny.  I got Mickey plates and a cup and napkins. Everything is currently in my pantry, and tomorrow morning while she’s watching cartoons, I will make Mickey pancakes and then call her in. The video camera is on the table.
I don’t expect the screaming and jumping up and down and tears like you see from other kids; Jenny is too young and too cool for that noise. I think it will hit later – likely when I’m not able to get away, strapped in an airplane seatbelt – I need to prepare myself now for the non-stop talk that is going to blast me all the way to humid Orlando. Sunny/rainy, Star Wars-weekend-crowded Orlando.

The Transported (Wo)Man

I woke up at 5am this morning and wanted to throw up. I am so freaking excited/nervous/freaked out about the whole thing I basically twitched all day. Thank God I never got married, I would never have been able to stand it.
So after the fancy pancakes and the obligatory ½ lb of bacon, we’ll get on our new shirts and head to the Fast Park and Fly.  We’ll get on a plane (hopefully) sometime around 1:30. We’ll land in sweaty Orlando and skip happily to the Magic Express bus. It will whisk us away to the All Star Movies (Toy Story building requested) Resort. And thus will begin the Great Disney Birthday Adventure, Friday May 18 through Tuesday May 22.
Monday she turns four. I can’t even start to believe it. Wait til I get around to posting some of her 4-year pics (look for those around November. When she’s five). You won’t believe it’s the same kid. She’s still funny and tender to all animals and stubborn and a little loud sometimes. She still cracks me up with randomness and kid drama, and she still wants me to lie in bed with her at night for a few minutes before she goes to sleep. I marvel at the depths of emotion I feel when I smell her hair or see her draw a picture of herself, hand-in-hand with me, big smiles and bright colors.

Happy Birthday, Jellybean, my great big almost-four-year-old girl. I can't wait til tomorrow.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jelly Parties All the Time

Oh, hey, look, there's a blog here! Whaaa, it's February already? Who knew?!

Well, the good news is, since I'm not on Topamax this go-round, despite the crazy hours at my crazy job, I am not horrifyingly depressed without even realizing it! Cool, huh? I am actually keeping my house (relatively) clean, happily cooking away, planning lots of ridiculously fun things, and generally you know, being fairly stable. Relatively speaking, again.

Since the housing market is still in the crapper I made the official decision to put off moving for another year, which means I have to figure out what to do with Jelly in the fall and for reals start to think about packing/moving. She is still very happy at the daycare, but it's a combined 3's/4's room and is definitely not a Pre-K program. We went and toured another location that runs a true Pre-K, and she LOVED it - has asked daily when she is going to start there. So I'll check out a couple other places, but it's a strong contender. In the meantime she's got a boyfriend, Evan, who is 5 and absolutely adorable.
He had a bowling birthday party recently - all family members, and Jenny.
And, also, a little weird in the shudder-omg-someday-I-will-meet-in-laws-who-matter way.

She is keeping me busy and is as hilarious as ever. When people ask what grade she's in (yes, she's THAT TALL), she likes to say she's 3 1/2, 'but almost 3 3/4'. The birthday extravaganza this year will be - wait for it - a surprise trip to Disney World. 4 fun-filled days (Fri evening-Tues morning) of the most expensive mind-blowing preschool activity a 4-year old could dream of. I decided to bite the bullet and do it because, well, it's not going to cost a whole lot more than what I usually spend (I have air vouchers and a Disney Visa Rewards that I've been collecting since she was born), and four is my favorite age. I freaking love four, that's what I taught when I did daycare. Plus I've never been, so I'm totally excited as well.

Otherwise it's pretty much business as usual - planning our first camping trip of the year for next month (if this weather ever warms back up), getting Fresh Beat Band concert tickets, booking another Easter in Cincinnati; basically packing every weekend full of zany antics.
The Chinese New Year Festival.
Jenny can't stop saying, "I know Kung-Fu!" like Keanu Reeves, it cracks me up.
Her latest thing is the living room sleepover party - I haul the spare room mattress downstairs, shove everything out of the way, and scatter various pillows, sleeping bags, and stuffed creatures everyone. She adores it - I usually last a few hours and sneak up to my bedroom.

It's interesting to see how she's changed as she's shot up and out of 4T, then 5T sizes; she can now follow directions with five moving parts ('go here, get this, complete this action, return item, come back') which I think is pretty impressive; she can undress/dress herself, turn on/off light switches, knows the Pledge, still sings damn Christmas carols, and is increasingly aware/interested in time concepts; how long, what day etc. I finally hung a damn calendar in her room.
We did swimming lessons again - she didn't wear floaties! I didn't have to get in the pool!

Knock on wood we've been pretty healthy, except for Saturday when she barfed because she ate two pieces of pie at the diner at lunch. She had a cold that spread to pink eye and an ear infection, where I learned one of her tubes is finally on the way out. Annual dentist appointment is next week, we'll see what he says about the finger-sucking. She got her hair cut kinda short, and it's hella cute. I kinda wish she would ask for pierced ears.
Hard to believe she'll be four in three months!