Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Floor Music and Harps

The planning of a birthday party is fun. The first discussion on a theme leads to the first list of friends to invite and ideas for food. Searches in Pinterest result in pins to a board titled with the year or the theme of the party. Amazon baskets fill up and Etsy conversations begin.

The planning of a birthday party is fun.

It's fun.

Remember, it's fun.

It's supposed to be fun.

Why doesn't Michael's have unicorn sticker-only packages? And, why is The Greatest Showman the greatest movie going right now and there are no The Greatest Showman party supplies? I mean, red and white striped anything should not be hard to find. Really, where is the gold glitter -- all unicorns need gold glitter. We are going to make unicorn and ringmaster headbands. We will blend these two themes into one magical greatest show.

It's supposed to be fun.

Remember, it's fun.

It's fun.

The planning of a birthday party is fun.

We've designed the invitation and sent it off to a professional designer I found on Etsy. Turn-around time within the week and then I'll print and mail. The party isn't until the end of the month so I have nothing but time.

The food stuff will come together easily -- because while I'm starting with unicorn party mix, Greatest Showman party mix, marshmallow 'barbells', cotton candy, fairy bread rolls, unicorn dip, unicorn parfaits, unicorn cupcakes and circus animal cookie cupcakes -- we will end up with well, not all that. Maybe we will. Right now, I'm thinking this is tres facile and all I have to do is bake and frost cupcakes, lay out the makings of unicorn parfaits, dip marshmallows in chocolate and place them on the end of red and white striped straws (which where in the world can you find them?!?), mix up the party mix (have to buy circus peanuts, baby pretzels, pastel colored mini-marshmallows, pastel colored mini-M&Ms and bugles), and roll up the bread rolls that will have rainbow sprinkled cream cheese or frosting (who will really eat those?!?!).

It's supposed to be fun.

Remember, it's fun.

It's fun.

The planning of a birthday party is fun.

I really do enjoy planning and pulling off a good birthday party. I've even partnered with my dear friend, Tammy, to have her daughter be the slime maker and provider the day of the party.

Will we make the unicorn stained-glass hanging pieces of art? Will we play a hula hoop toss with pastel colored hula hoops and a spray painted traffic cone? Will we make the headbands?

Not sure, but it will be a fun party with a house full of squealing 8, 9 and 10-year-old girls (the invite list is sitting at 26 -- two classrooms, gymnastics teammates and other friends) making slime and hopefully, eating unicorn bacon (rainbow striped candy -- from the Pinterest board).

So, when you have a weekend that isn't full of activities, you can drive around to begin the shopping for the party. And, you can get your pedicure with the gift card you won (paid way too much for) at the school festival silent auction. And, you can run into Trader Joe's to buy the fun groceries.

You can also fit in a visit to the library where it's Symphony Day. The San Antonio Symphony sends musicians out to the libraries to introduce the patrons to different instruments. This occurs about once a quarter at our library. This weekend was the first time we were able to make it over. The principal harpist played about seven pieces for the audience. She shared with us how she came to play the instrument -- started as a pianist -- and how much a harp weighs and costs (70 to 80 pounds and about $20,000).

I had left my phone at home, accidentally. Don't think I was doing some non-electronic, no technology weekend. I truly forgot it at home and had some heart palpitations for minute, but then, relaxed to sit and listen to the harp.

It was nice. I wasn't distracted by looking up unicorn headband-making supplies or creating a shopping list. I wasn't creating the party timeline and food prep schedule. I listened. I even heard an Irish song that might work as Camille's floor music.

Yes, we are having to select a piece for Camille's floor routine for next season. When you enter into Optionals (and please, no one have me explain what that really means because I only can say, more money) you don't compete on the floor with the same routine and same music as everyone else. I still have the level 3 Compulsory (see there's a difference) floor music burned into my memory.

It's exciting to choose a piece, right? Except we, the Adams, have no idea what to select. I was told by some of the very informed gymnastics parents to go to youtube and search for floor music. The requirements are simple -- instrumental, no song so recognizable that someone could sing along with it and have a build-up component (think they run and do all the flips down one diagonal of the floor).

When we did our search at home, we found loads of hip hop instrumentals -- Snoop Dog, Run DMC and even Eminem. We loved it all. Our coach, not so much.

She ended up recommending four pieces to Camille. She picked one. It's violins, I think. No harp. We don't know the words. I don't think there are words.

Oh, well, we can use words at The Greatest Showman Unicorn birthday party. We will have karaoke and by karaoke, I mean, we will be playing the soundtrack from the movie and the girls will be signing along to it. We won't go invest in some fancy machine or even quite figure out how to hook up a mic to the outdoor television.

We will have fun. It's a birthday party for two soon to be 9-year-old girls who still love to play with Barbies and American Girl dolls. They think anything we come up with for the party is fun. They will wear t-shirts custom made for them -- one with lyrics to This is Me, the other with a unicorn. They will have fun with their friends playing and with their favorite high school friend making slime. It may be the last home birthday party we have. It may be the last time we have a theme.

For that, there are no words.

But, it will be fun.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Yellow-Stained Shirts and Root-Stained Hair

At times, work takes over life and my fourth parts disappear. I find myself logging into my work laptop and doing work things in the evening. My purse and work bag become heavy with papers and notepads related to upcoming projects, and with my crushed fourth part dreams.

Fourth parts are for television watching and writing and reading (I have a stack from the library right now that I've not even opened). Fourth parts are not for typing up documents. I am not a document-typer-upper on a regular basis so when I'm doing it at home, I know something is really wrong and way off.

So while my fourth parts tend to fall to the wayside when I'm busy at work, you know what doesn't disappear? My family. My home. My friends. 

I have a tell when it comes to being busy at work and trying to keep it at work. At home, the littlest, tiniest bits of things become super-magnified requiring my passionate attention. I'll catch a news story or hear a podcast that riles me up and suddenly, I'm very interested and find the need to discuss and discuss the topic. G is not a fan and knows it's my tell. (That's almost 22 years of marriage, friends.) He knows to avoid the discussion because he knows I want it to turn into a heated debate. He doesn't participate and walks away. Then, I talk to myself and to the television to work through the issue.

I become obsessed with cleaning, de-cluttering and organizing stacks of paper. I have a desire to create outlandish dinners and make baked goods as if I'm participating on the Great British Baking Show. (You should see my Sweets for the Sweet Pinterest board. I have recipes with multiple steps that require refrigeration of dough and three days worth of preparation. One day.)

The behavior is wrapped up in procrastination and avoidance, but in my mind during these times, it is practical salvation.

I pride myself on the ability to separate work from home. I fully believe that once at home, you are at home. I occasionally check work email at home, but log in and type up notes, nah.

I know it's bad when I'm running errands after the girls are in bed or when I'm working on something needed for the next day into the late hours of the night. During this time of too much work finding it's way into my fourth part hours, Valentine's Day arrived. I was at Target late looking for a final gift for Camille while letting her Valentine's shirt soak in vinegar and baking soda at home. The shirt she waited all year to wear, when I pulled it out from the closet, had yellow stains on one of the arms. Tried to wash it out one evening in anticipation of the 14th. I applied various stain removers over the next couple of evenings. In the end, I went old school hoping the Martha Stewart-recommended concoction would work. It did not.

That's hard. I know there are bigger issues that I need to worry about with my child, but telling her she couldn't wear the magic sequin heart shirt she'd waiting to wear since last year was no fun. I wondered had I been more focused on what was most important versus logging in to finish a document, would that shirt have been ready? If I spent more time researching how to remove a stain or finding a place that could clean it, could she have worn a favorite shirt?

At work we've been taking lots of Franklin Covey classes, including Five Choices. It's all about lining up your priorities, identifying your big rocks and focusing on the important, not urgent. We are to be in Q2. Again, most days, most weeks, most months, I'm sitting and eating bon bons in Q2. The last few weeks, I'm in the quadrant where you are putting out fires -- important and urgent. It's not a good place to be. There is no sitting and there sure isn't any eating of bon bons. It's rushed and frenetic.

In preparation for upcoming work events, I needed to take care of my hair, nails and face. I ran out of time for nails, but found time for hair. It wasn't the ideal hair taking care situation. My hairdresser is out on maternity leave so I had to find a sub. The recommended replacement comes highly recommended. But, there wasn't time for a full color. And, friends, I need color. I punted and agreed to a cut and blow dry figuring my root spray could cover my sparkles for a day or two.

Enter a root stain. It's a quick painting on of your hair color to all your roots. It sits for about 10 to 15 minutes and you have covered the grays -- temporarily. Nice. Easy. (Wait, isn't there a product with those two words?)

Except, you need to schedule a real hair color session and not just think the root stain will last for more than about two weeks.

I had been so good for a few years pre-scheduling hair and wax appointments. Now, I remember only when I have a mustache and an inch or two of gray creeping down my hair from my part. (Tomorrow, I need to schedule a hair color, but I do have a wax scheduled in the next week or so.)

It's not only my hair that needs taking care of during this time of work creeping into life. Camille's bangs are getting way too long and Caroline's curls are looking a bit ragged on the ends. I can do some bang cutting (don't look too closely) and can cut off tangles on the curl ends, but these girls need hair cuts. Thankfully, Spring Break is around the corner so appointments can be made.

Spring Break will not be a trip for us. Camille has gymnastics. We are hoping we can go for a day trip somewhere or take a staycation at a fancy hotel here in town. Even without a trip, our break is filling up with hair cuts, doctor's appointments and projects to finish up around the house. I plan on taking a day off from work and I won't be typing on a document on my work laptop. I really want to break that cycle I've been in where work bleeds into home life.

My girls, Chris and G aren't the only people in need of a Spring Break around here. I'm hoping for one, too. The days of walking the beach in Port Aransas may be over, but I can find a cocktail, a pool and some Outfield on Spotify to give me a break to remember.

A break without work brought home. A break from work that focuses on the important.