Happy 9th Birthday, Alexis

And suddenly, she's nine.

We are officially halfway done raising this amazing little person.

We're halfway there, but really most of our work is already done. We have given her most of the parts that she needs to build the bridge to the person she will be as an adult. It's up to her now. She gets to decide how she will use those parts, which ones define her, which ones she's going to discard, all of it.

I hope she decides to continue to be one of the most empathetic people I know. We have taught her to try to see other people's perspectives and to respect their views and feelings. Right now, she uses that part daily in her interactions. She's the "nice kid," and I hope she will be the "nice adult."

She's cautious, this kid. She carefully thinks through consequences before doing anything. I hope she hears me when I tell her to throw caution to the wind once in a while. Caution can be an asset, but balance is good. Risks are good. Sometimes.

Her heart is filled with joy. She came that way, really, but we have worked hard to teach her that it's okay to wear that joy on her sleeve. There's something about Alexis that makes the people around her smile. I hope that's still true when she's an adult.

She was also born independent. We've gone to great lengths to reinforce that instinct because independent women are successful women. At the same time, we've tried to teach her that sometimes you have to ask for and accept help. Balance is key, and I hope that part serves her well.

Happy 9th birthday, Alexis. We're so proud of the person you are and can't wait to watch you grow into the person you will be.


The "I'm Too Old For a Theme" Party, Part 2

While Alexis definitely ended up with some sort of wicked 24-hour birthday party hangover, fortunately she managed to have a lot of fun first. The fun started nearly a week before the party.

I spent a fair amount of time asking the kid if she was ABSOLUTELY SURE she didn't want a theme. I pointed out all the pros to letting me get carried away with the planning and preparation. She rewarded me by saying, "Mom, only babies have themes at their birthday parties."


I still disagree with her, but the conversations led me to start trying to figure out ways to decorate without a theme. A few minutes in the party aisle in Walmart and I had a plan. A beautiful, cheap, rainbow plan.

You guys, I bought a whopping $6 worth of streamers and then pulled off some magic. I started the magic days before the party since time is at a premium these days, which gave Alexis time to doubt me. Seriously. MY child doubted MY ability to pull off some crazy party decorating.

Mind you, right after she doubted me, she said, "Who am I kidding? You're my mom. Of course you can make it work."

So I had no choice but to figure out how to make this work.

I feel like photos don't quite capture the awesome that is the streamer rainbow, but trust me, it's fantastic.

The doubt came in because Alexis was around when I was trying to figure out how to get the hula hoop to stay hung level from the disco ball. I couldn't cuss like a sailor since she was there, so it took a lot longer than it should have. (Cusses make everything work better and faster, you know.)

It was worth every second of effort.

(For the record, the hula hoop is tied to a hook hanging from the ceiling. One end of each streamer is taped to the wall then wound through the hula hoop before having the other end taped to the wall a few feet over. It was super easy once I got the hula hoop in place.)

But that's not all!

I also picked up a few packages of balloons so that I could do this.


I know. It's just some balloons hanging from the ceiling.

But then I turned the light on.

It looked positively fantastic in person, if I do say so myself. And, clearly, I do say so myself.

The wanna-be tween was positively giddy about the decorations at her "I'm Too Old For a Theme" party. Thank goodness.

Now how do I talk her into letting me do a fun theme next year? I'm not sure I can conjure up magic twice.


The "I'm Too Old For a Theme" Party, Part 1

When I titled a post before the 9th Birthday Extravaganza "The Calm Before the Storm," little did I know. I mean, seriously. TRUEST WORDS EVER.

The party mostly went as I expected it would. There was a lot of screaming, all of the talking, and generally an amazing amount of fun. While I did have to play referee in a few games of Girl Drama, mostly the clan of noisemakers got along fabulously and had a great time.

But then the clock struck midnight.

Midnight was the beginning of The Storm. It was the point when I finally realized I was going to have to be the mean mom and pop into the room where the girls were all supposed to be sleeping to ask that they please kick the herd of elephants out. There really was no other explanation for the amount of thumping and stomping that was shaking the entire house. There HAD to be a bunch of elephants hanging out with them.

When I requested that the elephants go out for ice cream or something, I was met with two very distinct reactions. Half the noisemakers said, "Yeah! Let's sleep!" The other half was all, "You're kidding, right?"


I divided and conquered. I told the half that wanted to sleep to follow me and I turned over a second room to them so they could have peace and quiet. The other half was left to talk as much as they wanted.

Alexis was a sleeper.


It was shocking.

But, she had participated in a cheer event that early in the afternoon before partying her butt off, so it made sense that she was tired. The child may not need much sleep, but she is very good at admitting when she does. And she did. She and the other sleepers were out cold within seconds of settling in the living room.

And with that, I went to bed. With Mila snuggled up at my side, I dozed between interruptions from the parade of girls who couldn't sleep, had a question, or wanted to talk to their moms for a second. They all went right back to bed without much of a discussion, so I couldn't even tell you what order they happened in. I just know that the 2:30 parade participant was the worst.

At 2:30 in the morning, a tiny little voice cut through the silence of the night and whispered the words nobody wants to hear, "Mom, I threw up."

Alexis. All over the couch.

By the time Alexis was done telling her tale, Mila had joined the party and was demanding to eat. Thus, I dispatched the husband to scope out the scene. I'm glad I did, too, because it wasn't pretty. Eventually everything was cleaned up, all the girls were asleep, and we were about to doze off, confident that the scene was a result of too many sweets and not enough sleep.

It wasn't.

I don't know what Alexis has, but it hit her like a runaway semi at 2:30 in the morning and hasn't let go since. The poor thing rolled through her day feeling about as great as a newly minted 21-year old the day after their birthday bar crawl.

Here's to hoping she can shake it over night tonight.

But, hey, at least she stayed well long enough to have a ton of fun at her party.