Saturday, March 4, 2017

New Van

The chaos of buying a new car also happened the same day as the chaos of throwing a silk-screening-birthday-fail ... I mean party...

We had decided about 2 weeks prior that we needed a new van, ours was quite old but since it was relatively new to us we still owed money on it. It's a reliable about-town car but we didn't want to rely on it to get us to Colorado (or California in October), meaning we were paying car payments AND airline tickets and rental car fees every time we want to go somewhere. We researched available used vans around town, got a lot of online reports, and Joe had already scheduled a friday off so we decided that would be a good day to go look. Looking for us usually means buying, and sure enough we found a vehicle we were happy with at a price we were happy with and boight a van!

But nothing easy is ever easy... That Friday was a half-day at school (which was also the reason I had picked it to have the party, instead of on a Saturday), so we had to leave to pick up kids, I had to return to sign more papers, the kids didn't want to go sign papers so they stayed at the neighbors,  the papers took a lot longer than they should have because the computer kept auto-filling withother people's information, blah blah... We finally had keys in hand at 3, the party was at 5, and I still hadn't decorated or frosted the cake! This is also why I didn't have extra games in place, I was busy buying a van, which should only have taken us until 1:00, not 3:00.

At any rate, the party's over but the van is still here, so I'd say it was worth it ;) it's a 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan, black, has about half of the bells and whistles (electronic doors and hatch? Yes. Installed DVD players? No.), and we can now drive ourselves all over the country in comfortable peace of mind!

Patrick's birthday, Part Deux

Since Patrick's birthday fell on a wednesday we had his birthday party that friday. I ordered pizza (easy) and made a simple 9x13 cake (also easy) and planned a silk-screening party (ridiculously difficult). I bought a slew of cheap, colorful shirts so the guests could pick what they liked, then cut out a bunch of shapes on my silhouette so they could have a lot of options to design their shirts with. As they made their choices and placed them on their shirt, I took them to the garage where we had our workspace set up to do the actual silkscreen, and I would help them blob on and squeegee the paint through the screen.
This all sounds relatively simple, but multiply it by 6 age-9 guests, add 3 even younger siblings, divide it by 2 adults, and add paint - your final sum is utter chaos! It wasn't helped by having 6 color choices because with 6 guests I figured we would overlap and two people might pick the same... But when has my figuring ever turned out? They all chose different colors, so I had to go by who wanted lighter colors of ink first, and (of course) those were the kids who finished placing their designs last. Terrible. We got all the shirts done, but all the jostling in the garage (of COURSE they wanted to play basketball in there and not just watch! Why didn't I think of that?) meant I sent everyone inside who wasn't actually doing a shirt. Because the shirts were the actual activity I didn't HAVE any extra activities for while they waited (they were SUPPOSED to be watching), so poor Joe was inside wranglings hyped-up party guests who ran around, led by one friend in particular who turned his show-off mode up to full blast, turning everyone into CRAZY people. They sat still for about 15 minutes total - 5 to do a shirt, 5 for pizza and cake, 5 for gifts... 1 hour and 45 minutes of screaming around my house.
Silk screening is good with a much higher ratio of adults to kids.
Silk screening should be done with fewer kids, period.
Younger siblings should make their shirts ahead of the party so as not to add to the chaos.
Silk screening should be available in ONE COLOR ONLY - this is not the time to up the creative ante.
Side activities should ALSO be in place; possibly something that requires them to pretend to be asleep or act like a dead animal so they stop running around.
Find out who the crazy kid is, and DO NOT invite them.

It was so chaotic I didn't even get a single picture during the party! In that regard it reminded me of Patrick's party 2 years ago where kids started throwing knives and blocks of ice ... I was trying to help them not die, so pictures were the last thing on my mind. (I'm pretty sure my party planning skills for kids need work!) Happily, we will now be instituting a family-party-every-other-year rule, so I have zero planning until late 2018. PHEW!