Aug 17, 2010

Jill G. Would Be So Proud :)



Jill Gradeless is the queen. I love her. She lived in Indiana when we lived there. Every single thing Jill touched had a theme, tulle, matching colors, sequins and was truly amazing. I longed to be like Jill.... I still do long to be like Jill. I have moments when I am close to being like her. Like when I sanded my table and chairs, spray painted them and then re-stained the top of the table. But Jill will tell you, in a heartbeat, that me attempting to be like her means me needing her to be on the phone with me through the whole project. Me, calling, 24/7 is Jill's most favorite thing :)

Anyway, today was Natalie's 8th birthday and I think Jill would have been proud of me. Usually when I decide to do parties for someones birthday I do games and good food but I never, ever do anything involving that D word....decorate.. or that T word...theme. But something came over me while thinking about Natalie's birthday and I decided to decorate and consider a theme. I do not want you to think I have betrayed you. I honestly will never do it again but I just had to know what it felt like to be one of those people who needs everything to coordinate.

First Natalie and I sat down at the computer and browsed through way too much of the Family Fun website. We printed off everything she loved....yes, it was pretty much everything. Then I sorted through the ideas and decided what I loved :) I LOVE flowers and when I saw the enormous tissue paper flowers attached to bamboo sticks I knew they had to happen....( this feels so surreal telling you about crafts on my totally not crafty blog :) Luckily, I have the most amazing OCD 16 year old who loves to make everything perfect and should have been Jill's daughter and she very willingly took on the tissue paper flower project. I found huge packages of purple tissue paper on clearance at Target for .74 cents so the flowers were purple...(don't you dare loose focus when I say these things...repeat after me..."Jenn Baird is not a craft queen or a bargain shopper she JUST got LUCKY :)" Everyone helped with the flowers at some point and we ended up with 18 or so of them and their job was to line our sidewalk leading to the front door and they performed their job perfectly.

Our next project had to be worked on the night before the party and that was the fairy bower.....I am not sure why they call it a bower...I should google that huh? I found some tulle at Wal mart for .97 cents a yard and bought 5 yards, but it was not enough. Thankfully I had some old sheer curtains, and a huge piece of yellow see through-ish fabric in the basement and between all three pieces and some clothes pins Madeline, Amanda and I created the fairy bower. It took time, inspiration, and okay, a little of Natalie sauntering through our process and declaring, "that is not it." I discovered if you cut apart a cheesy hawaiian lei and let all the flower petals fall off they look amazing on top of a fairy bower. And Amanda thought three of the tissue paper flowers needed to be pinned up with the tulle and such. So it was a group effort that at times had us doubting but when I settled into my bed at 11pm last night I was content and when I woke up at 4 to take Miriam's friend to the airport and looked at it again I was, thankfully, still content.

Natalie had seven little friends come to her party, six girls and one boy. We painted rocks, glued jewels on boxes, frosted and put way too many sprinkles on cookie flowers that were on sticks and some mini cupcakes, popped balloons, and hunted for jewels and candy. I think it will take days for the house to recover but at least I knew better and no glitter was involved in the party....learned that lesson in1998.

I do not have a set rule about the occurence of birthday parties for Baird children. Some years they need a party and some years they don't. I know some people say only a party every other year for their kids. Some say only a party if the month before your birthday had a full moon on a Sunday. Some people say only a birthday if your favorite color is orange. I did not make any rules because there is always an exception and someone...cough, cough...one of your kids.... is always patiently waiting to call your attention to the date, and time that you made an exception.

I remember my first boy/girl surprise birthday party when I turned 12 in Southern California. It made all my dreams come true. I hope my kids have at least one birthday moment that they feel like the day truly was different than others and that they will remember. I am not sure if this is natalie's or not but the other kids and I sure had a fun time preparing for it.

Aug 9, 2010

Wingaersheek Beach



About a month ago Miriam decided that for her 18th birthday she wanted to load up our big white van with kids and spend a day on the beach. She convinced Amanda that she wanted the very same thing for her birthday. And she presented her plan to me. So we talked about the precious 15 seats in our van and how they should be filled. We talked about a day. It had to be a Saturday because most of the teenagers invited all work during the week. I hate to take guests into the unknown so I chose Crane Beach as our destination because I have been there several times and I know how to get there. I know what it looks like. I know they have showers and bathrooms. I know it is beautiful. There is hardly anything to worry about when you go somewhere you have already been and know what to expect.

But on August 6 the day before their party I learned that Crane Beach was having their annual sand castle building contest. Something I definitely want to see someday but not with 13 teenagers planning on a beach party. There are tons of people that attend the sand building contest so I knew we had to change our beach plans. And that meant choosing a beach I had never been to before. I am okay heading into the unknown all by myself, or with my family, but when it has to be done when I am trying to entertain 13 other people it stresses me out. Because my number one, totally realistic, priority, is that you have fun.....I always forget that important part that really you decide whether you are going to have fun or not I instead assume it is my responsibility and I take it way too seriously :)

I got online and googled, "top ten beaches in Massachusetts" and started reading. Information can give you power but can also cause you to think about things you may not have thought about otherwise, like beach parking lots filling up before you get there, leaving you stranded with no beach to go to. I finally decided on a beach called Wingaersheek Beach because I called and talked to the people there and they said if the parking lot was full when we got there we could always go into town and catch a trolley to Good Harbour Beach. I do love to have a Plan B. We had already set our time to leave and it could not budge because of paper routes that needed to be done. So we just had to hope that by 10:30, which was our estimated time of arrival, the beach parking lot would not be full.

Saturday was a beautiful day and from exit 5 on the Massachusetts Pike clear up to exit 13 off of Route 128 it took us almost exactly 2 hours. The parking lot was not full. But they did make me pay $35.00 to park my big 15 passenger van. I tried to give them my sweetest smile and use my Jedi mind tricks to persuade them they really did not want to do that to me but they were not going to budge. So I consoled myself with the fact that I could not take 15 people anywhere else for 4 and a half hours for $35.00.

There were three choices for getting to the beach. All numbered. We chose door number three. It was a short walk and we discovered that door number three was just perfect. Numbers 1 and 2 were all more crowded and seemed to be considered more the main beach. Usually when you go to the beach you look out and you see only water. But this beach was in a sort of inlet so you looked out and saw land across the way. That was the only part that disappointed me. I do love to gaze at the ocean. There were huge boulder rocks along part of the shore and water was around them. We had a huge spot around us with no people occupying it. The kids immediately went out to explore. We were all so surprised to see that the water was super clear. You could see your feet. The bottom was sandy and so amazingly clean. We could walk around most of the boulders and have the water come, at the most, up to our thighs. So we climbed on boulders, jumped in the water, and had a great time. The water was very, very cold but hey, that's Massachusetts ocean for you :)


I sat on the beach reading while the teenagers played and played. They kept talking excitedly about the tide going out and I knew from looking at the rocks we had played on earlier that it was going out because there was now no water around the rocks we had been climbing on and jumping off of. But the kids finally got me curious enough to get up and actually walk around the rocks and look and I could not believe what I saw. Usually when the tide goes out it goes straight out from the shore and it was doing that BUT there was a huge, super long sandbar showing that was parallel to the beach. Sadly, you had to be there to get the whole effect. But it looked like a, "Moses parting the Red Sea" moment. This sandbar went clear out and there was water on both sides of the sandbar. People were all walking out to the end of this bar where the waves were crossing. We looked like zombies walking aimlessly to no end. When you got out to the end and could keep walking on this sandbar that still had water on it and it looked like you were walking on water. It was very cool. There was a lifeguard standing out at the end of the sandbar because the actual shore was quite a ways away.

So Wingaersheek Beach was a success. There are always things that could be better...like not having to pay so much to park at the beach :) Can you tell I am still haunted by that memory of handing over $35.00? And the only other bummer was returning to the car to realize they had parked a million cars super close to my 15 passenger van, clearly, not realizing you can not turn those huge cars on a dime :) But luckily I am trained in 1,000 point turns and we got out fine :)

The picture on the left is Madeline and Amanda and the picture on the right is Miriam and Madeline.

Aug 1, 2010

Breaking Things.

Have you ever broken a bone? I have. I broke my nose twice. I don't really think breaking your nose counts towards anything though because it does not involve a cast, an x-ray, or crutches....at least mine didn't. When it comes to broken bones the only child I have that that ever came close was Zach who fractured his distal clavicle twice, ended up with surgery, and a metal plate. But none of his experience involved a cast or crutches either.....it did involve lots of x-rays though :) What I am trying to say is that considering that we own a trampoline, have owned it for 16 years, have no rules for the trampoline, no safety net for the trampoline, and considering that we have seven kids, our visits to the ER and our total number of casts has been very, very low....well actually non existent. So this weeks events were bound to
happen....sometime.

It happened Friday morning. Natalie has had a hard time finding friends who can have play dates this summer and Friday morning all the "Play Date God's" smiled on us and her little friend Spencer was able to come over for a few hours. They played and played and played. I never heard a peep from them until Natalie came crying at the sliding glass door with her arm hanging limply from her side. You know how sometimes you wonder about the nature of an injury? Sometimes you think ER or not? I knew immediately what I should do:

We drove Spencer home.
With tons of tears involved got Natalie out of her swimsuit and into some ER worthy clothes.
Grabbed fruit snacks.
Called someone to come and pick up Tatiana and her two friends.

Then we drove into town to our little hometown Emergency room. It was not very crowded. But I knew the minute I got there and had four different people direct me as to where I should go first that the efficency of this trip was not looking good. I am going to be so bold as to say that I could run a very efficent emergency room if given the chance. At least I know enough to know that you should probably do all your paperwork at one spot.

Natalie is a very anxious child as all the Baird children...except Madeline have been. Baird kids do not like the unknown. And a broken arm was definitely unknown to Natalie. If you need numbers I would say the unknown caused her to have tears flowing down her little cheeks about 75% of the day on Friday. She could hardly walk because of the pain her arm caused her so she had to sit in a wheel chair....that made her cry. She cried so much in the x-ray room that she made the technicians cry....they felt horrible for the pain they had to cause her to get the skeleton pictures. She cried when they put her in a hospital gown.(Any outfit with the back wide open for the world to see is bound to make you cry.) She cried when they wrapped her in two hospital gowns to go home in. She cried when anyone just looked at her arm with their eyes...let alone their hands :)

I have that "mom feeling" about the whole experience. You know the feeling....the one where the mom thinks something is not quite right? Yeah, I never let that feeling go. So next week I will be on the phone, a ton, calling orthopedics guys, and calling the x-ray guys, and the pediatrician guys, and if I am bored I can always put a call into the Obama guy just to chat about healthcare since I will most likely be in the mood.

I know you are fighting the urge to comment on the fact that the trampoline was involved in the accident but in the trampolines defense I want to tell you that Natalie was not jumping she was accidentally pushed off the trampoline by Spencer. It was, "part of the game" :)

We are going to have to decide what to do about her upcoming baptism on the 20th. Last time I checked a cast from your armpit down to your fingertips, baptism outfits, fonts full of water, and the word immersion don't all go together very well.

She is sad, sad, sad about the fact that she has not been to Six Flags yet and now her chances are not looking so good. She is sad about the fact that she can not hold books in bed while laying down. She is sad that I have to help her in the bathroom. She is sad about not swimming for awhile. But life is full of disappointment. And we have already had the chat about what would have been worse than breaking an arm.....you know it is all about perspective:)