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Evolution Of A Party Girl

Party Planning has always been in my blood; here are the lessons I’ve learned… My first foray into the social scene was elementary school. As early as the age of five, I was planning parties. This took the form of helping other little girls select their birthday party themes and planning daily luncheons. I was always inviting friends home for lunch, much to my Mother’s chagrin and surprise! Yes, I am old enough to have gone to school when you actually went home for lunch. We would combine and share our lunch and treats or on the way back to school we would to stop along the way and grab dessert at friends’ houses (we’d stop anywhere for a hostess cupcake or Twinkie). This was how I honed my potluck and progressive party planning skills! In addition, I learned the importance of favors. The best ones usually were the sign of a great party and would get talked about in school for days! Lessons:•    When you can’t do it alone, do it together – the party must go on!•    Favors make your guests feel special and show you care. They are a keepsake from time shared together.Junior High opened a whole new world and new opportunities to plan parties. Dances, the first boy/girl mixers and the beloved sleepover! These types of gatherings were where I learned the importance of music and a good theme. They seemed to unify the group and set the mood for the party. When it was done right, partygoers had a great time, when it was done wrong everyone left. Preteens are not polite guests and their feedback is given freely and honestly. This sharpened my skills for these party elements quickly. Lessons:•    When picking a theme take into consideration your audience (all of your guests).•    Take time to plan music for your party, it has incredible power to relax, excite, inspire and transport people to another place mentally. High School was an excellent training ground for home parties. We had them every weekend! This was great practice for learning to be a good hostess (even if it wasn’t your house). Making sure everyone was happy and had a drink was the job of the high school hostess. At these parties there was no sit down dinner or hors d’oeuvres being passed and the focus was on conversation. We talked for hours and played games,...

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A Precarious Invitation

I asked my daughter to bring in the mail the other day. She comes running in jumping up and down with a huge smile across her face. “Mom!!  It’s a birthday invitation for me! Can I go, can I go, please?” Under normal circumstances, I would say yes in a heartbeat, but my daughter’s circumstances are anything but normal. I am now faced with a decision. Do I tell her “no” and deal with her bitterness, her complete melt down, her not understanding why all the other kids can go but she can’t? Her screaming at me “I HATE MY NUT ALLERGY! Why do I have to have it?” Do I take the easy way out and just say no? Or, do I do what I have done in the past for the sake of my daughter and some form of “normalcy” in her life. I call the mom of the birthday child and let them know about her allergy. I ask what they are serving. Did she make the cake or buy it? If she made it, what brand? If it was ordered, where from? I need to check the ingredients. If it’s not safe, I ask if my daughter can bring her own cake or cupcakes. I ask what ice cream they will be serving. If it’s anything with nuts, I have to ask her to either change the ice cream, or my daughter will not be able to attend. I find out what is in the treat bags. What candy they will be having. What snacks are they giving out? Then comes the really fun part. I get to ask the mom if I can arrive 15 minutes early to go over EpiPen training and tell her what to look for in the case of a reaction and when she should call 911 and give my daughter the shot. I tell her that it’s possible for my daughter to begin throwing up violently, shaking, develop hives, and stop breathing all while her birthday child is happily eating cake.  I let her know that it takes about seven minutes for my daughter to stop breathing. Then I wait — for the inevitable pause on the end of the phone line.  Drama huh? Not really. Not when it’s a daily thing. I feel like as a mom I’ve become a little callous. I may be a little rude to...

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Family Fun and Other “F” Words

The word “fun” sounds like fun doesn’t it? It conjures up images of good times, easy and carefree. Saying “fun” often starts the process of having fun. Someone mentions the word and we immediately gravitate towards the person who spoke it, wanting in on that action. You get what I’m saying right? Remember this train of thought. Remember fun activities that, pre-motherhood, were enjoyable and relaxing,such as the beach, vacations, and barbeques? I’ve recently discovered something this past year or so: putting the word “family” in front of “fun” changes the meaning of it entirely. Fun at the beach, pool, or vacation is still there to be had; you just may not be the one having it. These days, fun has completely transformed itself, sometimes calling to mind another “f” word of an entirely different meaning. Why? Because I start thinking about all the preparation I need to do for the fun to take place. My mind instantly creates a list of things to do in order make it happen: packing bottles, binkies and sippy cups. Sunscreen: waterproof and paba-free. Waterproof diapers for the pool. Snacks and naps (where and when). Milk, pack my organic vs. use regular on location? So you can see how planning “family fun” can turn into a logistical nightmare. The prep work these events require would put some Thanksgiving dinners to shame. I’m a fairly organized person. And not lazy. Actually, I don’t think I could be lazy if I wanted to as a mom. It just doesn’t work that way, does it? And, of course, there’s the fact that I want my family to have fun. I want to expose them to interesting and unique cultural events, as well as the good old fashion classic American favorites. My parents did that for me; they’re some of my most cherished childhood memories and now I’d like to pay it forward for my family. The good intention is there, but it’s still hard for me to find the fun at some of these family fun events (there, I said it!). I’ve prepared in advance for every possible scenario I can think of, and when we actually go to this fun activity (transporting always being an adventure in and of itself) I find myself putting out fires the entire time. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. And that’s okay. I get it: I’m a mom...

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