Saturday, January 31, 2015

Eion's Birthday: The Final Chapter

Not having discovered any additional invitees, it was the birthday party day. E's plan went off without a hitch. We picked up the boys and started with present opening, because they felt they might need to use them during the party. And clearly, they were right. What party is complete without a Minecraft torch?

Then they were off to play xbox, make youtube videos of themselves playing xbox, and, eventually, head out into the street for an epic sword battle. Then pizza and cake.

Which didn't turn out so badly after all. That stirring the frosting worked. I will never hear the end of this from the oldest child. Ihatewhentheyareright.

It was getting dark so the outdoor beatings had to come to a stop but the boys found plenty to do indoors. When I called for the boys to head home, there was much gnashing of teeth so I ended up taking everyone home later than planned. As we drove, Uptown Funk came on and the car broke out into a sing along/dance party. It was one of those rare afternoons for a Mom when it all goes just right. (And I got the taxes done and made Indian food.) One last happy birthday to you E.

Because I Know You Really Care, I've Left Turbotax After 19 Years

That's kind of a lie - it might be less than 19 years but I have been using them pretty much since we got married. I had my tax return all set to go in Turbotax this year and I was balking a bit at the cost. $36.99 just seemed high, I am cheap after all. So a quick google search found that H&R Block, provided your return is not too complicated and you know what you are doing, was only $9.99 including state and e-filing! Not to mention, they are an Ebates partner and you get 10% cash back, which is all of $0.99 but every penny counts people.

I had to enter all the information again but it wasn't too terrible. We have a remarkably simple tax return - pay a bunch of cash to the IRS.

Just thought I'd share for all you other frugal, self filers out there!

I'm No Baker

After the disaster that was Eion's first birthday cake this week, and seriously, will this birthday ever end?, I had a number of Monday morning quarterbacks, ahem, Morrigan and Tim, letting me know all I had done wrong in frosting the cake. Betty Crocker, they assured me, said I just needed to whip the frosting first and all would be well.

Seeing the cake currently cooling on my counter, I HAVE MY DOUBTS. 

How the f dash dash dash am I going to hold this together? It is all coming back to me now, the wisdom of the store bought cake. I'm not even sure this was cheaper. Check back in a few hours and you can witness the full glory of the completed masterpiece. Hopefully 9 and 10 year olds are not harsh critics.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Eion's Birthday, Part II

It was a bit concerning when we picked Eion up and told him about the travel clinic. He teared up and said he had already cried three times that day and we were making him cry a fourth. Turns out he cried about assignment A, then assignment B. The third time was just a rehash of the first two indignities.

B good news for the birthday boy - no shots needed. He had all the immunizations needed for Central America and only needed oral typhoid. He, and Morrigan, also lucky, were thrilled. On the not so lucky front were the rest of us but it wasn't too bad.

E was pleased with his gifts, including the book, which I thought was iffy. He opened it and said he was going to read it right away. Wonders never cease.

After dinner, we enjoyed the unattractive, yet tasty cake. Eion was not bothered by the unsightly portion, he just wanted to eat it.

It was a pretty good day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Happy Birthday Eion, Part I

More than once there were doubts about my sanity making it to this point, but we have reached Eion's 10th birthday! Notes on the festivities thus far:

I told E he could have any kind of party, within reason, he wanted. We planned a glorified playdate with two close friends for Saturday. Pizza, cake, and video games - just want he wanted. Perfect. 

Well until...

He arrived home yesterday and informed me Friend X had bought him a birthday gift. That's funny, I remarked, as Friend X was not one of the invitees on the very short list. "Hmmm, " Eion replied, "I must have invited him at school." Not quite as perfect. So only days before the party, I fire off an apologetic, last minute invite to Mom of Friend X, fessing up to the whole situation. Eion is "pretty sure" he didn't invite anyone else. Good grief.

And then there is the cake. He wanted chocolate with chocolate icing. No problem! Morrigan and I whipped one up last night. All was well until the assembly. The frosting started ripping apart the cake and entire sections had to be held together with icing. Temporarily held together anyway. Several portions had vacated the main cake by this morning, sliding off like a mudslide. It will be a challenge to find an appropriate angle for photos.

He's happily at school, sharing cupcakes with the class. We didn't have the heart to tell him that after school, we are all getting vaccinations for our trip to Costa Rica. Some really short sighted Mom made the appointment on his birthday. Hopefully the unattractive, yet tasty, cake will smooth the whole thing over!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Surprise Weather

Friday, all the weather predictors claimed we were right in the path of a front, bringing us freezing rain and all sorts of nastiness. And right on time, the snow started late morning and the schools announced they would be letting out early. We lit a big fire and prepared to hunker down for the day.

But miracle of miracles, it stayed just warm enough that we only had rain, which was good news for Maggie, who did not have to miss a fun birthday party!

The rest of the weekend was nicer than anticipated as well, leaving humans and poultry quite pleased.  As for the chickens, because it is always about the chickens, all the girls are laying now (yeah!) and we are averaging five eggs a day. In even better news, they have decided to lay these eggs in the coop, rather than in the bushes like they had been the past few days, leading me on a daily, real live Easter egg hunt.

This week looks to be full of cake, as it is Eion's 10th birthday! Unfortunately for him, his birthday is also the only day I could get an appointment at the travel vaccination clinic. We won't tell him about that until later...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Updates and Changes

As one of the editors for the yearbook at E's school, I became somewhat panicked this week upon discovering there were large sections of the pages due February 9th that were not even close to being completed. So it was off to school, camera in hand, to take the needed pictures to fill out the book. While there, I spoke with the principal, who told me how Eion had not been sent to her office for all of 2015. Really friends, that is almost three weeks. In a row. Hallelujah.

Then that night, I went to an orientation meeting for high school. HIGH SCHOOL. I went to a school where my graduating class was 100 people. This school has close to 2,000 students. Not that Morrigan is nervous. She declined to attend the meeting, stating, "I already know everything I need to know." Glad she is so confident. I am a wreck.

As it turns out, she was somewhat correct. All the graduation requirements and suggested courses she needs have been covered by her middle school guidance counsellor, who was there and reassured me, and several other parents, that it was all going to be OK! Miss M is on track for AP Calculus, AP History, AP English, and AP Biology.

Beyond that, I found out they could do Health online and opt out of gym by doing something called YFit, which seems to be logging your hours working out. Where the hell was this option when I was in school? Nothing irritated me more than wasting a period in which I could have been doing something interesting toiling away in gym class. So she had three electives to fill. One is, much to her dismay, Spanish IV. I promised her that after that, she could quit foreign language. If she were smart, she'd tough it out through AP and pass out of college credits. But no one said middle schoolers are smart.

For the last two, she chose Theater Arts and Business and Marketing. A nice mix of fine arts and some practical learning, I thought. When I was pursuing the course catalogue later, I noticed that if one wanted to be on the yearbook staff as a sophomore, and who wouldn't, you needed to take Journalism freshman year. When I pointed this out to Morrigan, I was told that she didn't need to be like me and not everyone wants to edit the yearbook. Sheesh, I was just trying to help.

But we have the first step in High School under our belts.

Then there is poor Maggie, who had to have two teeth yanked today. Eion wanted to come, until he found out he would not be allowed to watch the actual extraction. Then he was good to stay home. Maggie was brave and did great. I tried to pay several times while she was in the back, in an effort to secure a speedy exit. Naturally, they didn't even start the checkout process until Mags, mouth full of cotton, was sitting waiting for us. My heart just broke when I looked over and she had a single tear running down her cheek.

But don't despair, a few hours later and she has rallied completely.

After a week of downright gorgeous days, reaching 60 degrees!, we are expecting some freezing rain,  the worst of all worlds. It will trap you at home but it is no good for sledding and playing. Hopefully all the forecasters are wrong and this system will just pass us by. Until next time, from the world of very exciting events, I bid you farewell.