Big! Day! Of! Fun!

When the Captain turned five, I wanted him to have a Big! Day! Of! Fun!, and I think we did a good job. He still talks about all the fun stuff we did that day, and plans to basically relive the entire process every year until he’s 70, or when he breaks a hip, whichever comes first. In any case, it was a great day and a fun time.

This year, Gal Smiley is turning five, so we have big big plans. We started by giving her all kinds of ideas for birthday activities. Since she’s a very visual person (and has a memory like a sieve), I drew pictures of all the potential fun stuff — bowling, mini golf, painting craft at a pottery store, and so on — and she added some ideas of her own. Then we looked at the big sheet of drawings and she picked out her favourite package.

In the end, all she really cared about was a) wearing pyjamas and b) eating popsicles. So you know, not exactly a tough order.

Although her birthday isn’t for a couple of weeks, we are having her party this coming Saturday, due to scheduling issues on the upcoming two weekends. She’s SUPER excited.

The really crazy thing, though, is that one of the girls we invited to the party is having her birthday party the same day, but at a different time. Her party is at a place that required a booking, so they couldn’t change the date. We didn’t find out about her party until after we’d already sent around Gal Smiley’s invitations. We talked about changing Gal Smiley’s party, but she was so excited and due to the issues with our family schedule, we would have had to push it off for three more weeks.

So in the end, the other girl’s mother and I decided what the hell, we’ll let them go to both parties and TOTALLY FREAK OUT. Talk about your big day of fun! Gal Smiley and her friend will now be going to her party from 1pm to 4pm, then Gal’s party from 4pm to 7pm.

Good times, good times. Did I mention we have our first gymnastics class at 8:30am the next morning? Whee!

Anyway, on to birthday party craftiness. I am not really that crafty, but I try. Here’s the invitation I made up:


I printed this out as a photo (17 cents each at the Superstore) and then glued them onto a plain white piece of bristol board to make a little postcard. Then Gal Smiley scrawled each guest’s name on the back for delivery.

On Saturday, we’ll start by greeting the guests and having rocket popsicles:


Then, we’ll be doing this craft — gluing various sparkly things and ribbons on to mirrors.


I bought the mirrors at IKEA and pre-painted them white. The mirrors were $4 a piece — a little pricey, maybe, but I liked the fact that the frames were so big, so there was so much space for the kids to decorate. This one is my test run/sampler — it’ll be going to one little girl who couldn’t make the party. The sparkly bits and ribbons all came from Michaels.

Next, we’ll be having dinner of hot dogs and fruit, and dessert of sheepy cupcakes (these are a batch I made for Little Miss Sunshine’s birthday last month):

Sheepy cupcakes

Then we’ll open presents and put on some temporary tattoos. If there’s time, we’ll have a bit of a dance party.

By 5:30pm or so, we’ll crash on the couch in front of a movie — Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus.


I LOVE this movie, because it is so wonderfully hilarious. Barbie is a princess (of course) and a champion figure skater (of…course?) and has a fluffy baby polar bear friend (naturally) and her own pink pegasus to fly around on (don’t we all). It’s every girl’s dream life! We chose it because we have seen it before, so we know it’s safe (i.e. nothing scary) and also, we figure most of the other girls haven’t seen it.

Anyway, there will be popcorn, chips, and some candy during the movie, and if anyone falls asleep — hey, they’re already in their jammies! When pick-up time rolls around, all the girls can just be carried home (they all live on our street) and popped right into bed.

On their way out the door, the girls will each receive one of these loot bags:


These are from the Etsy shop The Ole Bag Lady, who I love love love love love. She makes cloth bags for gift giving and they are lovely and inexpensive. The bags I ordered for the party are her “Going to Grandma’s” bags, which are quite large (about 12 by 14 inches), are fully lined, and have cloth handles. I figured I’d be spending a few dollars each on gift bags, so why not get something environmentally friendly and reuseable? I think these would make great bags for dance shoes, lunches, art totes for the car, or even for a change of clothes for going to Grandma’s for a night. I bought a variety of patterns — Gal Smiley is not much of a girly-girl so she picked out a monkey one for herself, and I bought a boyish one for the Captain. She gave me a discount on my bulk order, and added a couple of freebie gift bags, too. AWESOME. I will definitely shop there again.

Each bag is labelled with a tag with the girl’s name on it,, and decorated with sparkles in various shapes. Gal Smiley and I made these one afternoon — it was a fun activity and a good way to help her feel involved in the party preparation. Plus, she LOVES to use sparkles.


Lastly, inside each bag is a Webkinz. They were on sale 2-for-1 at the Boomerang, which is great, and also we had enough cash in our Boomerang account from selling some baby toys that it covered the half-price cost. Win-win!


Whew! I wore myself out just typing up this post! I don’t know how we’re going to find the energy to do it all in real life…and another party too.

I know. It’s crazy.

But I think it’ll definitely be a Big! Day! Of! Fun!…assuming we can handle all that fun. Whoo hoo!

Musical Notes

I’ve become a little obsessed with the song “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay. Yes, I realize I am at least what, a year? a year and a half? behind the pop culture times. I have embraced my squareness. So should you.

Anyway, I was watching the video on YouTube and holy cow, why didn’t anyone tell me that Chris Martin is so beautiful? That Gwyneth Paltrow is one lucky lady.

In other music news, after listening to Viva La Vida about 30 times in a row in the car, I took pity on poor Little Miss Sunshine and moved on to the next CD in the loop, which was The Best Of Cyndi Lauper. And yipes, did you know that the song “She Bop” is about masturbating?

You probably did. After all, I think I’ve proven that I’m a little behind the times, pop-culturally-speaking.

I am not that surprised that I did not understand the true content of the song as a teenager, because I was a very innocent, naive, goody-goody of a teenager who was completely unaware that things such as “master-what-now?” existed. I’m a little embarrassed now to have sung that song at full volume in front of my grandparents, however.

I am amazed, though, that this song was a major radio hit. Where were the stiff-upper-lip Victorian puritans of the 80s? Why didn’t they protect me from such a grandparent-related humiliation? Censorship has failed me.

And in other music news, Tuesday night’s American Idol featured the song “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire, one of the grooviest songs of all time. I got really excited when I heard the second line of the song mention the “21st night of September,” because September 21 is Gal Smiley’s birthday.

(I know FameThrowa is rolling her eyes right now and saying through gritted teeth, “I have told you about this song on at least THIRTY SEPARATE OCCASIONS.” However, what she doesn’t realize is that my supernatural ability to completely block out Dora The Explorer has the side effect of also blocking at least 80% of the other stuff I hear. It’s WORTH IT.)

Anyway, I’ve decided to make “September” into Gal Smiley’s official life theme song. I played it for her this morning and while I was shaking some serious booty around the kitchen, I asked her, “Isn’t this the danciest song you’ve ever heard?” And she said, “I don’t think it’s the danciest, but I do think it’s THE LONGEST.”

You can decide for yourself.

It’s like 1972 around here

This morning Sir Monkeypants put on a music mix over breakfast, as he often does. One of the songs he selected in this morning’s playlist was Be My Yoko Ono by the Barenaked Ladies. It’s a sassy song about how they don’t think Yoko should be blamed for the Beatles breakup.

Captain Jelly Belly asked me what the song was about, as he often does, so I started to explain about this band called The Beatles. The kids actually know of The Beatles, because songs like Yellow Submarine and Here Comes The Sun are regulars in our morning music mixes. I explained how The Beatles were one of the greatest bands ever, but then they broke up, and some people thought that it was Yoko’s fault.

Suddenly, Gal Smiley burst into tears.

She was sad that The Beatles had broken up. Actually, she was more than sad — she was distressed. Beside herself with grief. She wanted to know WHY, WHY did they fight? WHY did they get broken? WHY wouldn’t they make any more music?

I tried to explain that The Beatles had made hundreds of songs before they broke up, and there were many more of their songs left for her to discover and love.

She didn’t care.

I tried to explain that even though they didn’t make music together anymore, they were probably all still friends and got together at Christmas. (I didn’t think it was a very good time to bring up the fact that two of them were deceased.)

She cried even harder.

I tried to explain that once they had broken up, the four of them still made music, good music in fact, and that maybe, just maybe they’d reunite one day.

No dice.

Eventually she was getting so hysterical that Sir Monkeypants took her off by herself and rocked her in our rocking chair and somehow got her to stop crying. She calmed down enough to go to school but she was still sniffling and sad as she left.

As Sir Monkeypants said, “I guess we’re all upset about the breakup of The Beatles, but some of us have had more time to get used to the shock.”

Heaven help us if the Barenaked Ladies ever break up!

Dream Car

Way back before we had kids, Sir Monkeypants and I invented a car game called “Dream Home.” We’d each take turns describing one feature that our Dream Home would have. It started out grounded in reality — my dream home had straight stairs and a finished basement; his had four bedrooms and one of those big bathtubs. Eventually we let our imaginations fly, and I added things like a conservatory and an indoor pool, while Sir Monkeypants wanted a room just to hold his bikes and another one for all his computer equipment.

Eventually we spun off this game to create Dream Car (mine has a mini-fridge and a bathroom; his has various engine-related special modifications that I listen to politely but don’t understand at all).

Recently Sir Monkeypants has revived Dream Car, both because he’s thinking of replacing our second car in a few years, and because he and Captain Jelly Belly can’t stop watching Top Gear.

The other day we were playing Dream Car in the car (of course). The kids are really into this game now, and they crack us up all the time.

(And then we have to spend the next 20 minutes explaining what was so funny, Daddy.)

Gal Smiley says that her Dream Car is big enough to have a whole house inside, so when you need a snack or to use the bathroom, it’s all right there! She would like it to have an “automatic” mode so she doesn’t have to actually drive it around, and she would like a giant mural painted on the outside of herself and her three favourite stuffed animals. Also, it can fly, and it would constantly play rock music at top volume (preferably The Killers or Tegan And Sara).

Captain Jelly Belly would like his Dream Car to be a Mini Cooper, but with giant monster truck wheels so it can drive over anything. It’s the fastest car in the world (while Sir Monkeypants claims that his Dream Car’s speedometer goes to INFINITY, Captain Jelly Belly says that his goes to AND BEYOND). It can crush anything and it is very good at fighting and keeps Captain Jelly Belly safe under all circumstances because it cannot be damaged by guns or fire or big rocks falling on it. It has a special little seat for his stuffed monkey Big Wheel, and Big Wheel also gets his own tiny Nintendo where he can play Star Wars Lego, but all the characters are monkeys. Even though it’s a Mini, there is room inside for anyone in the whole world who would like to come for a ride, and there is a special machine that constantly doles out chicken nuggets and french fries. Oh, it is filled to the top with all manner of Star Wars toys, each described in great detail.

I don’t really think I need to explain what was so funny!

Happy Birthday, Gal Smiley

Dear Gal Smiley…

Yesterday you turned four years old. As Maria Von Trapp might say, you’re practically a lady. Out of nowhere, you’ve decided that you actually like girly things, after all. Sure, your favourite clothes are still your brothers’ hand-me-downs, but you also love the little tutu you wear for ballet class and the sparkly necklace you found in an old jewelry box of mine last week. Yesterday you got some Polly Pockets for a birthday present from Princess Charming, and you played with them all afternoon. Dolls! With clothes to change and pretty pink fruit drinks! Then you spent some time playing trains and cars with your brother, too. You’re the best of both worlds.

You’re not a joiner — you prefer one-on-one time to being in a group. You get oddly self-conscious and withdrawn in public situations — although you are very excited to go to your ballet class, you do not actually participate in ballet class. And when you’re mad, or cranky, heaven forbid we try to cheer you up or talk to you or hug you. You want to be LEFT ALONE, you will come out when you are GOOD AND READY, and not one second before, thank you very much. I totally get that about you. I’m exactly the same way when I’m stressed or angry — I just need to be alone to fume for a while, and then get over it. I also don’t like being the centre of attention. We’re on the same wavelength.

In almost every other way, however, you’re a child of your father. You have his same beautiful smile and big brown eyes. You have his generous nature — you do not hesitate to give up a toy to Captain Jelly Belly, if he wants it, or to trade with your friends if they think you have something better. You even let Little Miss Sunshine play with your most beloved stuffed animals. You are kind and empathetic and giving. When I’m sad, you’re the one who will run over to give me a big hug — the best, tightest, most unreserved hug in the world — and tell me that everything is going to be alright. You never seem to want or expect anything in return.

You don’t mind school but you’re one who learns by doing, not by listening, so sometimes school just isn’t active enough for you. You’d rather be outside, learning about caterpillars by holding one in your hand, learning to do a cartwheel on the grass in the backyard, learning about tools by helping your dad repair the swingset. You’re not interested in anyone helping you get dressed, or feeding you, or putting on your shoes — you can do it all yourself. The day you finally manage to buckle your car seat by yourself, I know you will beam with pleasure and pride.

You’re brave enough now to get up in the morning and come into our room to wake us up, even though it’s dark and cold. However, you still like it when someone, anyone — even Little Miss Sunshine — comes with you to the bathroom. I guess you’re just preparing yourself for future restaurant and club outings with your gal pals.

You often tell us that you’re a big girl now, not a baby…but I can tell you like it when I tell you that you’ll always be my baby. You love your Daddy very much and always ask for him to be the one to put you to bed, but I know that in your heart you’re a Mommy-girl. Nothing makes you happier than when we are wearing the same clothes, top to bottom.

I love you, my little big girl. Happy birthday!
Love, Mommy


The following bedtime conversation with Gal Smiley explains why my mother-in-law calls her a “jawabdari” — a sort of wiseacre, the kind of person who always has an answer for everything and a solution for every possible scenario.

Gal: I wish I had a TV in my room.

Me: But, you’re about to go to sleep. If you had a TV in your room, you couldn’t watch it now.

Gal [rolling eyes]: Not for now, for the morning. So I can turn it on as soon as I get up, and then I don’t even have to move, I can just watch TV!

Me: Sounds like a good plan. But sadly, there is no special plug in your room for a TV.

Gal: I have lots of plugs!

Me: Yes, but a TV takes a special kind of plug, a little round thing. Your room doesn’t have one.

Gal: How come your room has one?

Me: Well, when we built this house, we asked the builders to put one in our room. But not your room.

Gal [thinks for a minute]: I know! Let’s build a new house! And we can put TV plugs in my room, and Captain Jelly Belly’s room, and Little Miss Sunshine’s room!

Me: How very generous of you.

Gal: And, our new house will be right next door. And it will look just like this one, only with TV plugs in my room.

Me: Okay.

Gal: AND, you can’t go in the house when they are building it. It isn’t safe. So we should go away on a trip. For a LONG time. We should go to Nanny’s house for six months.

Me: Oh, dear.

Gal: And when we come home, the new house will be finished! I would like to move my things over first. Because I have a LOT of things.

Me: Naturally.

Gal: And my new room will be just like this one, only with a TV!

Me: QED. Now, go to bed.

Beep Beep Beep

Last night I was awakened from a deep sleep just before 2 a.m.

Something is beeping…a fire! We’re having a fire!

No wait, that can’t be right. Our upstairs smoke alarm, along with a siren, chants “Fire! Fire! Fire!” over and over again in a cheerful male voice, with undertones of, “Hey, dude! No need to panic, but what say we all join hands and put our spirits together to take care of this wee little fire problem, eh?” Well, maybe not that “eh” part. I don’t think fire-alarm-dude is Canadian.

Something was still beeping, though. I woke up a little bit more.

It’s coming from our room. Is it Sir Monkeypants’ alarm clock?

Definitely a possibility, because Sir Monkeypants was sleeping soundly next to me, completely unaware that any beeping was going on, which is typical for those rare days when he actually does set an alarm, leaving me to crawl across him and shut the stupid thing off, then kick him repeatedly until he wakes up and does get out of bed.

But no, that didn’t seem to be it.

The new baby monitor, then. It’s supposed to beep when it loses its signal. Is the power out?

There was a thunderstorm outside, and in my neighbourhood, a thunderstorm usually means at least one power outage. Sometimes the power is out for a few hours — I’ve become complacent about it. But that wasn’t it; my plug-in clock was still working.

But I really do think it is the baby monitor. It’s beeping. OH MY GOD. One of the kids’ alarm clocks is going off!

I flew out of bed and raced into the hall. First stop, Little Miss Sunshine’s room — all quiet on the baby front.

Next stop, Gal Smiley’s room.


She’s lying fast asleep, sideways on her single bed with her feet hanging off of one side and her head nearly hanging off the other. Her head is barely an inch away from her clock, which is beeping loudly right in her ear.

As she peacefully sleeps on. Her father’s daughter, that one.

I was able to go into her room, press all the buttons on the clock to snooze it out, then feel around in the dark for a few minutes trying to figure out how to actually shut the thing off permanently…without waking her up or disturbing her sleep in any way.

This does not bode well for the coming school year, in which she has to be up and out the door by 7:45 a.m.

Nor does it bode well for us ever seeing her before noon on weekends, once she turns 13.

Of course it took me ages and ages to get back to sleep, all the while Gal Smiley and Sir Monkeypants slept on. Must be nice to have a beeper filter!