Four Birthdays and a Wedding

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To say that this weekend was busy is an understatement. I will admit to some shock when I was looking at my trusty google calendar and found it a mess of color blocks. In addition to it being the last week of school with 2 early release days, we had committed to attending 4 birthday parties and a wedding.

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what a difference a schoolyear makes!

There was a time when I would not have attended any of these events. When even just being around people was unpleasant and having to interact, painfully excruciating. I see our (disclaimer: I say “our” when it is really Katie’s social life that is rockin’) busy social life as an indication of my improved mental health and a return to “normalcy”. These days, when I tell people, “I’m back!” I really mean it and I feel great!

Besides, who doesn’t love birthday parties? The kids have fun and get tired. There is cake and a chance of excellent free food. Some parties (my favorite kind) even save me from having to cook a meal. Between mom’s group/baby playgroup friends, a church community that is ever expanding, and school, there are a lot of birthdays to celebrate. I wouldn’t say I recommend being this busy every weekend but then again, the laundry can be folded some other time. After all, it has already been sitting on Katie’s bed for more than a month.

We were also privileged to be invited to my ex-brother-in-law’s very intimate, simple yet classy and heartfelt wedding. Because of the deception I underwent at the hands of my ex-husband, I felt I could not trust any of his family. Even worse, I was afraid they would try and take Katie away from me. Pat and Ally were the first ones to reach out, and kept trying to include us when I gave excuses like “too busy”, “too far”, “not a good time” or even when I simply ignored the invitation. They didn’t give up on someday having a relationship not only with Katie, but also with me. And you know what? Persistence pays off and thanks to them, Katie will know that side of her family. Which is in part why I was determined to swallow the awkwardness, embrace the weird and be part of their special day.

But of course I employed the help of my Fairy Gothmother to be extra pretty 🙂
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Doing the right thing is really really hard. I only hope one day Katie will see that I did this for her: so she won’t be wondering about the other side of her family and she can form her own opinions about and relationships with them.
When I see her face, I am glad I didn’t take away moments like this no matter what I feel.

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The male guppy named Flower Princess

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Meet the newest member of our family: a blue and yellow male guppy named Flower Princess (FP). I should clarify that our receipt said he was male but I haven’t really done the anatomical investigation to confirm the gender.

FP is the result of months of persistence (Luke 18:2-5). Katie has wanted a fish ever since she met O’s 2 betas: Cinnamon and Superman. She has wished for one for both her birthday and Christmas last year and the desire has only grown since she found out that both her cousins M and K as well as her BFF Wubby had some.

I think pets are good. Fish are the perfect pets for us since
1. They do not have hair (I am allergic);
2. They teach responsibility; and
3. They are inexpensive (and if it comes to it, easily replaced).

I had been dragging my feet re: getting the fish for a while now because I was hoping the desire would wane. But as Katie received a starter 1 gallon fish tank for her birthday (Thank you A and T!), it was time to get our feet wet.

The Brighton Petco people were helpful in setting us up and pointing us to the right purchases. Katie was talked out of getting numerous fish because of our small tank (1 inch fish/gallon rule) and into getting a guppy instead of a goldfish (goldfish poop more) or tetra (better in groups of 5).
20130629-011937.jpgrinsing gravel

20130629-011951.jpgletting the tank run for 4 days

20130629-011920.jpgta-da! A new home for Flower Princess

Setting up the fish tank has been a lesson in patience. It involved 2 trips to Petco, once to buy gravel, plants and tap water treater and another to get fish and food. There was stuff to rinse, stuff to dry, stuff to acclimatize, stuff to assemble and a whole lot of waiting. My daughter and I are not very patient people and there were moments of frustration and threats. But in the end, we have a new friend who is happily swimming. She gets to feed it tomorrow and can’t wait!

Petco
304 Western Avenue
Brighton, MA 02135
617-254-8800

Help from above

One of the hardest things to do when you are raising a child on your own is making your paycheck fit. Fortunately, I have a good job and we live simply so that it provides what we need. However, my kid is into dance (ballet) and music (piano) both of which are, in my opinion, beautiful and worthy of pursuit. Unfortunately, these lessons also require $$ and time — both precious commodities for a single parent.

I had the pleasant surprise to be a recipient of an act of kindness yesterday when a good friend contributed to our lesson fund in lieu of a birthday present AND gave me an additional check from one of her friends who wished to remain anonymous. I instantly said a prayer for these kind people. It is more validation that God is watching out for us and that I am never alone.

Thank you Rubi and your anonymous friend. If Katie ends up playing in Carnegie Hall or dancing in a Boston Ballet production, I promise you complimentary tickets 🙂 God bless!

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Birthday party at Build-a-Bear Workshop

Katie and I decided on a Build-a-Bear Workshop (BABW) party with a small number of friends instead of our usual park play date. BABW is a place where you choose and stuff an animal plushie. I booked the party at their location at Faneuil Hall, around the time the store opens (10:00am). Booking was done online, and I received a call 2 days ago confirming the number of guests and the $ budget for each child.

We were met at the door by Sean-Patrick, our engaging and delightful party host. He gave Katie a special badge, kept track of each child’s name and the name of their chosen animal, engaged the kids, stuffed their bears, and made taking turns fun. My favorite part was when he had the kids pick their plushie’s heart and an extra one for Katie’s bear so that hers had hearts from her friends!

The kids all seemed to know which friend they wanted to take home. Some even had chosen a cheaper bear so they could dress it up. Katie chose a pink and purple bear she named Elizabeth. She also brought along her old BABW friend, Hello Kitty. One of her friends chose a camouflage bear eventually named Army. Another child’s bear was simply, Bear. All her friends and Sean also signed an autograph bear which is still unnamed.

At the end of the party, the kids had a picture with their creations and each was given a cardboard “cub condo” complete with a stuffed animal birth certificate. Katie rang the store bell and everyone sang happy birthday. We then headed outside with a cooler of juice boxes, pizza from Pizzeria Regina, and more Keyks cupcakes. I even remembered to bring candles and a lighter.
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Many thanks to the parents who came and helped me by saving and setting up a place for us outside, serving the kids, taking pictures, cleaning up and being kind enough to take home presents and our cooler. You guys are so great! Everyone went home happy 🙂

Build-a-Bear Workshop
6 North Market Bldng, 6 N Market St, Boston
(617) 227-2478

Pizzeria Regina
226 Faneuil Marketplace Boston, MA
(617)742-1713

Keyks
333 Acton Rd, Chelmsford
(617) 855-5395

6

For her 6th birthday, my daughter had 2 requests. The first one was “Please pick me up from school and take me to the beach

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Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Walden Pond was the nearest “beach” and katie spent a good afternoon splashing and playing with sand. Her teachers thought it was a great way to spend a birthday. Her classmates, in a sugar high from Keyks cupcakes, all wanted to come along.

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The second request: “I want to have dinner with my whole family” was a bit more tricky.

Katie’s father and I separated when she was a little more than a year old. At that time I didn’t think I wanted us to have anything to do with him or his family ever again. But if years of therapy has taught me anything, it is this: there are no ex-parents. No matter what happened between us, if she wanted to she would be free to get to know him and his side of her genetic make up.

My friends think this is heroic of me but let me tell you, it ain’t heroic at all. It is AWKWARD and WEIRD. But it has only gotten less so over time. And hey, single moms need all the help they can get– this at least was a dinner that I didn’t have to pay for or cook.
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the birthday girl with her Boston family

Happy 6th birthday to my light and joy!
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Song of the Day: Cups/When I’m Gone by Anna Kendrick

the actual magic starts at 1:15.

Anna Kendrick rocks.

Warm fuzzies at year’s end

Kind of crazy considering am a single mom working full time, but I volunteered to be room parent for Katie’s kindergarten class. I didn’t do much, just attended some meetings and did a lot of emailing. One thing I did want to do as a room parent was to rally the troops and get something for the teachers.

Katie’s kindergarten teacher is just soooo awesome. Every day during morning meeting she has the kids say compliments (aka warm fuzzies) to each other. I figured this would make a great companion to our year end present for her and her assistant. Still waiting for the rest of the index cards to come back but here is how they will look like before they get put in a photo album with their class picture.

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Kids are so sweet.

Index cards and pretty paper go a long way.