Peace in Party Decor

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LM2 turned 6 this year (where did the time go? I don’t know, but I thought I put it in my freezer next to the pistachio ice cream) and with the upcoming birthday, he wanted to decorate the house.

I’m not really into this. Cheap party decor…..hmmm. While I loved decorating my house, I’m not one for clutter. I don’t love hanging things on the windows or the walls. I like my house stark. I like a little echo. Like a museum.

In spite of my personal preferences, LM2 came to me 5 days before his birthday and said, “Mom, can we decorate for my birthday? Please?”

Well, that face. That little, perfect face, you know how this went…

I realize we could have made things to hang on the walls. I could have bought a pack of streamers for $3 and called it a day. But, no. We went to Party City (which seems to have gotten a little facelift!) and I let him choose a theme. Then we went bonkers. We purchased:

  • a birthday sign
  • 12 ceiling danglers
  • a balloon centerpiece
  • a tablecloth
  • cups
  • napkins
  • plates

ALL in Minecraft theme….

This little guy felt like the most spectacularly special guy in creation. And you know what? He just might be. All our kiddos are, aren’t they? Birthday weeks are special. Especially at this age. I can’t tell you how much joy and peace it brought to go a little nutty at the Party City in Exton.

He really wanted a whole bunch of balloons. I tried to explain that when balloons fly away, they end up in an ocean or some other body of water– and that hurts the wildlife. But LM2 had me on this point, too.

“What if we get a balloon, like, on a stick, and then it can’t fly away?”

What happens when you can’t think of a solvent argument for your almost-6-year-old? You buy the balloon on a stick for $2.50.

We giggled and went home and decorated and giggled some more. LM2 enjoyed his decor for the length of the weekend and then he asked if we could hang the decorations in his bedroom. I said yes to that, too. And I reminded myself to remain peaceful about it. Because a little clutter is just fine when it’s someone’s birthday, amiright?

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Tea Time

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Our little lady received a tea set from her Grammy a few months ago. It is a completely random set that isn’t a set at all— it’s more a hodgepodge of tiny ceramic pieces, all taken from different sets. My mom told me that long ago, my grandmother (her mother) used to sneak away to the local thrift shop and grab another piece to add to the set whenever she had the time. Now we have this crazy mixture of cups and tea pots and sugar canisters: peach pieces, white ones, flowery patterns, and some with tiny people hand drawn on the sides with the tiniest little paintbrush.

When I try to describe how much LM3 loves her mix-match tea set, I will fail because there are no words! This tea set is the most interesting, exciting, fun, and joy-filled thing our little girl has been playing with the last few weeks.

She places animals and dolls around a small box, which she flips upside down so it behaves as a table. She fills the tea cups with tiny Scrabble pieces, pretending they are ice cubes (because her pretend/invisible tea is too hot to drink).

She invites us all into the living room throughout the day to join her party. Sometimes, Barbie even gets an invite, but not too often. This party is more for animals and baby dolls: Llama Dama, Ta-ti, Pretzel, Dolly Parton, and Koalie the Koala.

This activity brings such peace on my heart. Whenever I take the time to sit and stare, or participate in the tea party, I feel a calm wave wash over me. I look at the tiny ceramic pieces (some of which we’ve broken, others of which we’ve lost) and I think of my grandmother, who prayed and prayed that someone would love this mismatched tea set in exactly this way. And I feel her presence, even if only slightly, and I breathe into the peace of that.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Playdates

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This week we managed to schedule and execute a playdate for LM1. Since LM1 and LM2 are so close in age, I was happy to see LM2 got “invited” to join in some of the fun, too.

We don’t do playdates very often. Life seems to get busy and “playdate” is never at the top of the list.

BUT WHY IS THAT?

We scheduled the playdate and OFF THEY WERE! Kiddos in flight!

Can I just tell you, I became Fly-on-the-wall-Mama for my sweet kiddos. Listening to the fun, silly, creative games they came up with was FANTASTIC. It brought such peace on my heart, I can’t even begin to describe it.

The kids had a handful of different things happening. All creative play, all building and dismantling, all giggles, and all kinds of rough housing. Were there foam swords for fencing matches? Yes, I’m afraid so. Was there an indoor snowball fight with the fuzzy balls Nana found them for Christmas? Why, yes, of course!

All of this is to say that coming off of the covid years, the return of playdates is not only important from a social standpoint, but apparently from a spectator standpoint as well.

The kids ate popcorn and orange slices and laughed their little tummies off. Did I understand any of the jokes?

No.

Was I welcomed to participate in any of the jokes?

No.

Did I enjoy hearing their laughter from afar?

You bet your sweet bottom, I did.

What brought you peace this week? Maybe phone a friend. Maybe share the peace!

Peace from Roald Dahl

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I picked up a copy of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a few weeks ago at our local library. I was so excited to share this tale with the kiddos. It’s fun to read a really long book over a few days’ time and build up the anticipation over what will happen at the end.

LM2 was especially into this one. He liked the children and the little details about those who won the golden tickets. There’s also something indescribably strange and fun about four bedridden grandparents in a tiny house that tickled our fancy, too. (I don’t know why, but this detail fascinated me as a child, too.)

The children didn’t really question the oddities of the story. They could only revel in its magic. They couldn’t get enough and with short chapters, they seemed never satiated. What FUN to read a story such as this.

The best part, by far was the ending. I’d forgotten how Dahl wrote little poems for each of the golden ticket winners and Mike Teavee’s warning song is so powerful, I wanted to type it for you below. These words resonated with me and with our kids. See if you have the attention span to read the entire poem. It’s beautiful and real and important. Perhaps it goes without saying, but the truth in these words brought me peace. And they do it again and again every time I re-read it. Enjoy!

The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEWER let
Them near your television set–
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
The loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotized by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink–
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK– HE ONLY SEES!
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY…USED…TO…READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ AND READ, and then proceed
TO READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be!
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and–
Just How the Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole–
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children biting you with sticks–
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something good to read.
And once they start– oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

p.137-141

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!