Monday, November 23, 2009

What Happens at N1S's, Stays at N1S's

It's party time! That's what Lady Di announced to Number One Son last week. LD thought N1S might like to host a get together for a few of his friends on Saturday night. And by night, she meant 3pm to 7pm.

So N1S got his guest list together and invited four friends for food, fun and video games. And as far as N1S was concerned, the fun and the video games were one in the same.

With a stack of pizzas, a tote of chips and a wheel barrow of pop bottles, we seemed adequately prepared for a fun afternoon.

Lady Di set out the snacks while the pizza cooked and set out the Pokeno game for the boys. You may ask, "How can Pokeno possibly compete with the Wii Mario Cart?" The answer is, you play for money.

Now hold on! Before you call child services, we're not running a bawdy, underground gambling house for fifth graders. We just didn't have any good prizes for winning so we used pennies. We only had one boy object based on moral grounds, but he quickly changed his mind and agreed to try gambling just this once. Although, I don't know how you could call it gambling since I was the only one who provided any money. Anyway the Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew and Cheetos went a long way towards buying the boys' reticence to the gaming commission.

The boys played 'four corners, bingo and blackout' and the winner of each game would get a cup of pennies with the intention of counting up at the end of the game to see which boy had the most. Well, towards the end, one boy hadn't won a single game and therefore had an empty cup. When he made this known to the group, two of the other boys just said, "Here, you can have mine.", and dumped their winnings into his cup. Needless to say, by this time the boys were becoming much less interested in pennies and more interested in the pizza smell coming from the oven.

I don't know if we overestimated what five fifth graders could eat, or we set out too many snacks during the game, because the boys only finished off a pizza and a half before diving for the Wii remotes. That left us with about a pizza and a half left. But I won't ever complain about leftovers.

With all of the boys in the house, we didn't want Sweet Pea to feel left out, so one of N1S's guest's sister came to play with her.

They did their best at attacking the pizza too.

The rest of the party was spent playing Mario Cart and Guitar Hero and trying to see who could shout over every one else. I thought a group of fifth grade girls were loud but these boys could keep up with them any day. They were laughing, cheering, joking and each one wanted to outdo the other. And N1S was right in the middle, going along with the group. Readers to this blog will know of some of the challenges N1S has had with friendships and peer interaction. But this night couldn't have gone better. Nobody was teased. All participated. And everyone had fun.

Even though the above picture turned out blurry, it is still my favorite one. One of the most important wishes for a parent of a child with Asperger's is for their child to be included and feel like he really belongs. N1S did well in choosing his friends. I know he won't always fit in everywhere, but the times he does fit in makes my heart swell.

By 7:30pm the parents came to pick up some pretty exhausted and somewhat hoarse kids.

So if you look past the junk food, video games, belching contest and gambling, N1S and Lady Di hosted a pretty good party.

Now Sweet Pea has informed us that she is ready for her girl party.

Time to buy ear plugs.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tender Is The Night

I recently experienced a tender moment as the kids were getting ready for bed. I have no idea what was wrong with the kids, but it just happened.

After supper, Lady Di thought it would be fun to play a family game before bedtime. The kids, of course, were all for that. With suspiciously little arguing, we decided to play Trouble. But after multiple trips up and down the basement stairs, we could find no Trouble. So LD brought up the game, Sorry. I braced myself for loud and vociferous protests and debate from the kids. I was greeted with tranquil acceptance.

I felt their foreheads to make sure they both hadn't come down with a fever that was causing them to act so strangely.

But their heads were cool so we kicked off game night. Now when I play board games I really don't care if I win or lose. I just like to tease, mock and get the kids all worked up every time I happen to move my little green Hershey Kiss playing piece a square or two ahead of theirs. My favorite thing to do is to start singing, 'I Am the Champion' to Queen's tune of 'We Are The Champions". But tonight, they just let me sing and dance and promptly sent my Sorry Guys back to home a hopeless number of times.

The beginning of the game started with Number One Son getting every good card available and Sweet Pea receiving the exact opposite. With her luck, I was half expecting SP to draw an Old Maid or an Uno Draw Four card mixed in with the Sorry cards.

But as these games always do, eventually everyone's positions on the board evened out and everyone got to send everyone else home at least once. But in the end, N1S couldn't get the right card and Lady Di snuck in the back door and won. Again, I gritted my teeth and squinted my eyes to prepare for "No Fair!", and "You Cheated!" followed by an airborne board and a snow storm of cards.

But no, only a long "Awwwwww", feigning disappointment and both kids searching through the remaining cards to see how many more turns it would've taken for them to win. They even helped put the game away.

Whose kids are these and where are N1S and SP!?

Bedtime snack was a rice krispie bar without any measuring or comparing to make sure each kid had the same number of krispies.

Then after brushing their teeth, the most incredible event of the night occurred.

SP asked N1S if he wanted to read her a bedtime story. And he said, "Sure."

I know everyone has good days and bad days, including myself. But tonight was definitely a good day for the kids. A lot of things went right. A lot of good choices were made. It all added up to a fun-filled, memorable night for us.

After cleaning up the snack dishes I went upstairs to peek in on them in N1S's room. They were taking turns reading the Dr Suess story, Sneetches.

Then I went to SP's room and I found out what she had done with her free time this afternoon.
Apparently, she had constructed a bath robe hammock for all of her stuffed animals.

Yes, this was a very good day.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Alms For The Poor

It sure has been awhile since my last post. For some reason, I just haven't had the desire or energy to blog or facebook or anything computer related. We've been busy but that's no excuse because we are always busy.

I finally took down all of the Halloween decorations and have started on the Christmas lights. I wanted to get the roof lights done while the weather was nice. I have a few outdoor trees strung also, but will not turn them on until after Thanksgiving.

Last weekend we were able to enjoy both kids in the children's musical Alms For The Poor. We were lucky enough to have two great-grandmothers, two sets of grandparents, two sets of great-aunts and uncles, one aunt and a couple of cousins in attendance for at least one of the performances. The kids really appreciated the support too.

They both did a wonderful job. Sweet Pea was one of the beggar children dancers. Her team opened the show depicting children playing in the street. SP played the bully child. In her dance she got to take a doll from another girl, kick some jacks on the ground and roll her eyes and with her hands on her hips when the jump rope girls wouldn't give her a turn. She got to use lots of frowns and sighs and all kinds of bratty actions. She did such a good job I wasn't sure if she was even 'acting'.
Here she is frowning.

And here she is fighting.
Lady Di did a good job on SP's hair. Her hair took up so much of the stage they almost had to write in another part just for her pony tails. SP is in the back row, second from the left.

Number One Son played the role of Tellie, a boy living on the streets. He also did a great job considering he was fighting a bad cough with on and off fever. We had to give him an orange juice IV every morning just to get him well enough to sing.
Once again, the kids made message boxes for the audience to fill with notes and candy during intermission. So it was just like another Halloween haul.

This was SP's first play and N1S's fourth. The children's director also wrote this story and music for her eleventh production.

The kids had a wonderful time working hard to put on the show. N1S reconnected with friends he made from previous shows. I hope both kids will want to do it all again next year. Hopefully, when they are both healthy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dead Man's Party

I hope that every one's night of fright was filled with sweets, scares and only a few tricks. We had a cool night but the wind died down just in time to provide a perfect evening for Lady Di and the kids to fill bags with candy. I was put on house duty and doled out treats to around sixty ghouls and goblins.

This year, we tried a new mix of Halloween candy. In addition to Snickers and Butterfingers, we added Pringles Stix, Animal Crackers and Grips Chips Deluxe packs. The parents of the younger trick or treaters appreciated the Animal Crackers. I was surprised to see the Pringle Stix going faster than any of the chocolate. I don't know if it was because it looked like something new, or because it was the longest package in the bowl. Regardless, at the end of the night, we were left with only ten Snickers and two Animal Crackers. Which just happened to be exactly what I had calculated to be my cut for the evening.

The kids used scary and pretty costumes to help them in their candy begging.

Sweet Pea picked out a harlequin mask and went as a Mardi Gras diva. She had no idea what Mardi Gras was, but she still accepted each compliment with a 'Thank You'. She just liked the mask at the store. Number One Son wore a skull mask with a camouflage hat. An old graduation gown from the dress up box in the basement, completed his costume.

And for those that were unable to view our house decorations this year, here is my annual pumpkin round up for this season. We only carved nine gourds this year.

I started with this 'Boo' pumpkin because it was rotten when we brought it home and I didn't want to spend too much time carving it.

These two are N1S's 'rock star' and SP's 'rock star groupie' pumpkins. I think SP was going for a pumpkin with H1N1 but I wouldn't let her use pumpkin guts for the vomit. But with the little blings she put on the pumpkin, it looks like she's screaming to her favorite rock song. So much so, that you can see the little 'white mint' in her mouth. N1S's might be Ace Frehley.

The kids also carved these two by themselves. It looks like SP's eyebrow got a little too involved with her eye on this one.

These two were a couple that I carved. I don't think they turned out too bad.

And this one was my favorite. At the pumpkin stand I had to buy it because it's shape was almost exactly like a skull. So I tried to carve a skull face and didn't butcher it too badly.

That is pretty much our Halloween. Now comes the task of disposing of all of the candy the kids carted home. I'm sure I'll find a way.

Stuff About Me

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.