Stars of the Week….Dylan Edition

Dylan is a big star this week to0! He is turning TEN. A milestone. Double-digits. I’ve been a mother for 10 years. My life changed for the better 10 years ago. I really could go on and on and on….but, let’s get back to today.

Today was a special day. I took Dylan and 5 of his friends from school to Dave & Buster’s. I had an absolute blast. What a GREAT group of friends he has. I wanted to invite more, I really did, but it wasn’t in the budget. In fact, I guess I should start with how I robbed Dave & Buster’s today.

It is approximately $120 to have a party with 6 boys at D&B’s, where they each get a $15 game card. I had a better idea: Find a “Buy $20 of Game Play, get $20 of Game Play FREE” coupon. Better yet, find 3 of these coupons and split it between 6 cards and you’ve paid only $60 for the birthday party! This was a rock solid plan. The funny thing is, not only did I end up with 6 gift cards, I ended up with THREE of them having a $40 balance. Plus, it was half-price Wednesday. Can you imagine how many credits we had to play with? I not only confused myself, but the Manager, his employee, and by the time it was all said and done, I had paid $54 total. The boys went on to win piles and piles of tickets and they all walked out with bags full of fun stuff. It was a great time.

For me, the best part was driving them to the party and driving them all home. On the way to the party, they were all talking about the awesome game of football they played at recess. Sam threw a “beautiful” pass to Dylan for the touchdown. They relived every moment of that football game at recess. They paused only to sing the “Save Big Money at Menard’s!!!” song as we drove by Menard’s, then pick up where they left off. They are getting so big, they are so into sports and talking about Nike Elite socks, all things completely boy and such bruisers….so close to the teenage years.

On the way home, the talk was completely different. They all had won some kind of stuffed animal. One of Dylan’s friend’s gave him an Indianapolis Colt’s bear he won from a claw machine. Several of them, including Dylan, shared their cards with each other and helped each other win points. They were so kind to each other. They were so genuinely happy in each other’s presence. This really brought tears to my eyes.  One boy, the strongest, fastest, most incredible athlete (who NEVER boasts or thinks highly of himself for his amazing abilities) opted for a stuffed white unicorn from the gift store with his points that he won. I was just in awe of the lot of them being completely themselves in front of one another, which was this: They have one foot in the pre-teen years, and one foot in the “I’m only ten, I’m still really little” very present year. They are so very young and so “old” at the same time but, more importantly, they are just good, GOOD kids. This was a beautiful day. Dylan was a star today, not because it was his birthday, and not because he took his friends out to a cool place, but because he was really shining with all of his friends.

Stars of the Week….Erin Edition

This has been a big week around here! Erin waited all school year, two months to be exact, to be Star of the Week in her classroom. This was HUGE. She was sent home last week with the coveted “rainbow can” and a special assignment to fill it with things that start with the letter “G”. We promptly found a giraffe and a green toy. Those two items sat in the can all weekend, until Monday morning when we decided we needed just one more “G” item. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! Keep in mind that we spent all weekend working on the Wellness Center (which has also been dubbed The Wine Room). This means that the rest of the house was neglected….in a massive way. I couldn’t fathom coming home to the mess after the kids went to school, so I told my husband that he could find me in the Wellness Center with a fire extinguisher blowing out the flames because I had lit a match to the rest of the house. He promised me he would defecate in the (piled high and overflowing) sink on his way out the door to work just to perfect the theme we had going on. Anyway, I am rushing around trying to get Erin’s lunch packed before we leave for school. As if the kitchen wasn’t cluttered enough, I knocked a giant cup of water over on the counter and just left it there dripping everywhere because I didn’t have time to clean it up. I was still busy trying to get her lunch together. I went to the refrigerator, opened it up, and a bottle of salad dressing fell out onto the floor, splattering everywhere. That was neat, too. So, on our rush to get out the door I had a flash of genius. “Erin, we could rename Audrey (the caterpillar) GUS – Ga Ga Ga GUS starts with GEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and you could take him in the can!!!!!!!!!!”. She thought that was a SUPER idea!! So, I haul Erin, myself, her backpack, her lunch, and the can out into the pouring down rain, along with a Costco-sized bag of Goldfish for the “G” snack, and no umbrella. I hate umbrellas and I never, ever use one. I felt sorry for Erin when I saw all the other parents with umbrellas, or better yet, their kids had their own umbrellas, and wondered what my problem was. I used to think I was simple, but Monday morning I thought I was just plain dumb. Plus, she started to get a little sad and start to cry on the way to school because she didn’t want to call Audrey “Gus”. I toughened her up and told her it was just for the day and she said, “Ohhhhhhh kayyyyyyyyyy”. Mission accomplished. I got her off to school without (much of) a hitch.  She had a fantastic day and I’m sure it was mostly because she got to be the Line Leader, one of her all-time favorite passions. Her day was smooth sailing until I picked her up and she wanted to hold my keys for me while I drove. She cried her eyes out when I took them back and THEN refused to sit with her in the backseat. I can’t do anything right….can’t drive without keys, can’t sit in the back and drive. I’m a horrible mother.  That little Honey Badger finally fell asleep on our way home. She knows not what she does. It’s absolutely exhausting being Star of the Week.