Friday, December 30, 2011

New Stuff

In events that had little to nothing to do with Christmas, a couple of people (if you consider Ranger people), had new things come into their life today.

Our birthday present to Davan was a new bed.  Here was her old one:

It would appear that there is nothing particularly wrong with it.  Davan wasn't interested in a larger bed. Although we did offer her a double bed, she declined, not wanting to take up that much space in her room with something as boring as a bed.  Davan likes the drawers under the bed.  Due to them, she doesn't actually have a dresser in her room, which would also take up valuable space better suited to swinging and the like.  She had the most comfortable mattress in the house.  That was due to, years ago, us shopping around for a mattress for her first single bed, which we spent a good couple of weeks doing, but then, sadly, when we were looking at a top of the line mattress, we just shrugged, said, "What the heck," and bought it.

So, why get her a new bed?

This bed, which you obviously don't pick up in the picture, stinks.  We're talking some serious funk here.

At some point, either Davan, who occupied this bed years ago, then moved to her loft bed for a while, or an exchange student, a couple of whom occupied this bed during the time that Davan was in her loft bed, dropped food down the side of the bed that was up against the wall and then did nothing clean up said food.

When we were in our previous house, we'd noticed that the back room, where this bed resided, was pretty musty smelling and we worked on fixing that situation.  We aired, Febrezed, used pre-vacuuming powder on the carpet, pulled the bed out to see if there was anything lingering under it...and some things seemed to help, but the musty smell would always come back.

Well, when we were getting ready to move, we took the bed apart and discovered the large patch of mold.  I scrubbed it, bleached it, put it out in the sun for days...and we hoped that would take care of it.  It was the perfect bed for Davan here with the drawers and all.

However, it was not long after moving that we realized that the problem was not solved.  At first, we thought it was just the condo that had been closed up so long that smelled a little off.  When the weather changed and Davan didn't have her window open very often, it seemed to get worse.  Eventually, I had to face the fact that her bed still had issues.

I put an air freshener under her bed.  That just layered a chemically cinnamon smell over the top of the musty-nes.  I aired out when she was out of the house.  The smell lingered.

Recently, I realized that the smell was the worst up by the head of her bed, even though the part of the frame that had taken the brunt of the rotting food was at the foot of her bed.

I'd been worrying for a while that this wasn't healthy for her.  We'd been going to go small on her birthday this year, considering the trips up to Vancouver we're doing this winter not to mention the negative flow of money that tuition for boarding school next year may bring.  But, I decided that a new bed was in order.

Davan was excited, even though it's a fairly practical gift.  She had a bit of a hard time deciding.  We'd gone to look at options prior to the Colorado trip, but she still wasn't sure.  Yesterday, though, we went up to IKEA and she chose.  She chose such a simple (and inexpensive bed) that we threw in new bedding and a bedside table (also quite inexpensive) as part of the deal.  I posted the old bed on Freecycle (we didn't feel right selling it, even if we could have gotten away with it).

This morning, the old bed was picked up, we threw open all of the windows during a break in the rain, and Davan and Anthony got to work assembling her new bed.  (I did other housework and left them to it.)

We were all pleased with the results.

Ranger, who was more than a little concerned about her bed leaving, was happy to be invited up on the new one.

We're all happy with the lack of unpleasant odor.

That wasn't the only new thing for Ranger today, though!

Isn't she sweet in her new collar?  (Thanks, Mom.)

And, while Licorice has had nothing new today, here's a picture of her just 'cause she's been complaining that she gets no play on the blog.

She was dozing on the arm of the chair, but had her paw out on the side table to keep herself in balance, I guess.

Sleep tight tonight, Davan.  Enjoy the mold-free environment.  (Aren't we just great parents?)

So Many Roadblocks

As nice as our visit in Colorado was, we nearly didn't make it out the door to get there.  We left on Davan's actual birthday - Friday the 16th, which was because she actually wanted to be traveling on her birthday.  She likes road trips.  Turns out, she didn't like road tripping so much that day...but we'll get to that.

Things were going fine up until midday on Thursday.  I wasn't packed yet, but we'd bought all of our travel food as well as gifts I was giving and laundry was done.  I still needed to make copies of keys for pet sitters, pack, wrap my gifts and finish up ripping CDs to load up the MP3 player.

Davan and went out to get the keys made at the kiosk in our nearby Fred Meyer's.  We came home to find that a) the keys didn't work and b) Ranger had gone through the stocking Davan had put together, eating all the food therein, which included a large dark chocolate bar.

At first, Davan was mightily angry at Ranger, but, after I asked her about any chocolate that might she might have eaten, called the vet and was told to take her in right away, Davan got really upset about having endangered her.  I think she'll be a lot more careful about it in the future.

I took Ranger right over to the vet where she was scheduled to stay for a few hours.  They gave her an injection to make her throw up and then gave her some very expensive charcoal to sop up any chocolate she didn't throw up.  They also have her IV meds to make her pee a lot, as the caffeine, which  is, apparently, what's dangerous to dogs in chocolate, will be reabsorbed if it sits too long in the bladder.  She was supposed to come home at 2pm.

I got on with my to-do list.  Davan went out to replace her eaten treats and then got on with her to-do list.  I was out working on the key issue again at 1:30, when I got the call that Ranger was still getting sick to her stomach and they wanted to keep her until 7pm.  Bummer.

We kept going, with the strong hope we'd still make it out the next day.  At 4pm, the vet called again, saying that Ranger was still not keeping fluids down, even though she was very thirsty and wanted very much to drink, but she was also pretty upset unless someone was sitting with her petting her, so they wanted to send her home.  Davan and I went to get her.

Saying she was thirsty was an understatement.  Ranger wasn't even very excited about seeing us, she wanted out the door and to find puddles to drink.  I paid the bill to the tune of $325 (yikes!) and we headed home, nearly constantly pulling Ranger away from standing water.

Thus began a long and difficult evening.  Ranger, indeed, wasn't keeping anything down.  Even tiny amounts of water was too much.  And, when she did throw up, it was black from the charcoal.  She mostly did her throwing up on the wood floor, but we'll have a spot in our room to remind us of that lovely evening for all time.  It's pretty faded, as I scrubbed at it, but it's still there.

Anthony and Davan went to see the Zoo Lights, as they'd planned for months, so I was left home alone with the dog, which was mostly rounds of taking her out to pee (once I didn't take her out for 40 minutes, but she peed on the floor, so 30 minutes was pretty much the max time inside), which consisted of walking her until she dropped her load while pulling upward on the leash to prevent her from licking the ground, even when it was just wet without a puddle, in her extreme thirst and cleaning up her puke.  And, the one time, pee.  Fun, fun, fun.

We were supposed to walk over to Peacock Lane after Anthony and Davan got home from Zoo Lights, but I was just not up for it - not so much the walk, as it's close, but dealing with crowds.  And I still needed to pack.

Ranger finally started laying down for periods of time around 8pm.  She'd been pacing and whining up until then.  We all finished out packing.  Anthony decided to camp out in the living room with Ranger, rather than having her sleep on Davan's bed or in our room with the carpet.

We all went to bed around 10, still planning on leaving in the morning, but also knowing we might have to put it off if Ranger were still puking and/or if we didn't get enough sleep to drive on.

I woke up around midnight to the sound of someone tossing their cookies in the bathroom.  It was Anthony. He'd been awake with stomach pain and nausea since we'd settled down and it culminated in him puking.  Who knew Ranger was contagious?  (Just kidding, of course.)  Ranger, meanwhile, had settled right down and was still sleeping.

I offered to switch with Anthony, but he said I should go ahead and sleep.  I did.  Mostly.  I woke up at 6am and came out to the living room to find out what was what.  Was Anthony up to traveling?  I was pretty sure Ranger had slept all night, being a seriously light sleeper and not having heard her go out.

Anthony had thrown up that once and then gotten some sleep.  He was okay with going ahead and driving.  I gave Ranger a little food and water, then took her out to walk and to pick up bagels for our driving breakfast.  Luckily, she seemed totally recovered.

Back at home, Anthony and Davan loaded up the van, including a drop cloth on the floor by Ranger's seat just in case.

We loaded up and off we went.

Davan was clutching the box of bagels.  She was very excited about the bagels, as they were to be our first in three months.  The gluten free trial was a bust.  We had no improvement in the areas we'd hoped it would help with.  This was our first day of eating gluten once again.

Ranger was pouting.  Not really - just looking out the window.  As you can see, it was still dark at 7:40 when we pulled out.

But we didn't get far.  The fully loaded MP3 player, with a playlist of Christmas books and Christmas songs personally designed by Davan and I to last all the way to Colorado plus several alternative books in case the Christmas books didn't pan out and for the trip back home and some general music...didn't work.  The player said there were no playable songs.  No playable playlists.  We were less than a mile from home.  We turned back.

Turns out that I'd overloaded it and it had no free memory to actually play anything.  It took awhile with the computer having been totally shut down and Windows Media Player not able to handle the situation (I had to just use Explorer to remove a couple of orphan folders and then all was well - but it wasn't the first thing I tried).  Then we left again.

By then - 8:15, it was light and we were really on our way.

I did most of the driving, as Anthony was in pretty bad shape.  He wasn't able to eat much all day and was pretty much looking like he'd been run over with a truck by afternoon, but he was a trooper and we did our usual long first day.

Davan also ended up being sick, but not to her stomach.  She sat in the back, blowing her nose all day and feeling fairly miserable.  At least she was able to partake in the birthday bagels and Newman's O's.

Ranger?  Ranger was just fine.

We stopped at a Motel 6 just inside Wyoming, where we'd stayed once before and had found it to be adequate, if not, you know, nice.  But that night?  Well, that night was pretty miserable.  They were pretty full and we discovered that not only did our upstairs neighbors sound like a herd of elephants every time they so much as shifted, but our next door neighbors, who checked in at 11pm and spent about 45 minutes getting settled in, sounded like they were standing by our bedsides having their conversation, rather than being in the next room.  We didn't get much sleep - particularly Davan and I.  Anthony got more, but mostly because he was so tired from being sick and being up puking the night before, I believe.

Even with all that, Anthony felt much better the next day.  This was good, because I was wiped out by sleep deprivation.  Davan was, too.  I drove some, but Anthony drove most of that day.

We were even more glad than usual to arrive in Colorado Springs at my parents' house in the mid afternoon.  It was not our best road trip ever.  Nor was it Davan's best actual birthday by any stretch of the imagination.  

Oh and, our Christmas books?  They ranged from mediocre to terrible (in which case, we did do some skipping of books), so they didn't help to pass the time as well as one might have hoped.  We might have been better off just switching to a non-Christmas book, but we kept trying and, besides, we did want to hear our Christmas songs, interspersed with the books.  If I had it to do over, I'd have probably set the playlists up differently...At any rate, I really don't recommend anything by Mary Higgins Clark.  Sorry to the fans out there.

However, we had made the trip.  Things looked up a lot after that.  :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Home Again, Home Again

We are home from our Colorado trip.  A good time was had by all.  I'll talk more about the trip later, but for now, I'll share with you a video Davan made.  She made it on her own as a Christmas gift for the rest of us.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My New Toy

Call it an early Christmas present, if you will.

In my family this year, we're each filling a stocking for one other person.  This will the the main event present-wise.  We're going to Colorado to spend Christmas with my parents, so the five of us drew names.  That's quite a feat as we're a fair distance apart, no?  Even further apart if you consider that they've been in Cayman Brac for the last couple of weeks.  I cleverly did a search for an online name drawing program and, voila:

So, we each have one other person and it's all a secret.  Davan got a budget to spend, plus any personal money she wants to add.  Everyone has to figure out the actual stocking for their person, too.  We're having fun with it.  I know I'm enjoying just focusing on one person.  It makes me feel more generous toward that one person, rather than figuring out things for everyone.

The rule also, though, is that if you find something for a person other than the person you've drawn and just need to get it for them, you may.  So, we'll probably have a few non stocking presents to open, as well.

Anyway, the point of this is that, on Saturday, the three of us went shopping.  We were going out to my MIL's house for afternoon coffee for her birthday and headed out to Gresham early to hit a strip mall.  (Yeah, I know - horrors and all that.)  We split up and each did the shopping we needed to do.

Anthony came back to the group saying that he came across something that interested him for me, but he didn't want to just get it for a present because he wasn't sure of sizing.  After a little hemming and hawing, he told me what it was.  I was interested.  In fact, I've been interested in this item for a few years now.

So, we went back to that store and walked away with a purchase.

Vibram Five Finger shoes!  I've been wanting to try them for years, but, well, had a hard time justifying the cost.  However, now I'm running a lot and these were on clearance for about 40% off.  It was a bit of a risk because maybe I wouldn't like them, but if I did, well, then they'd save some wear on my main pair of shoes, which is a good thing.  And they're supposed to be good for you.

So, this morning, I slipped my toes into these bad babies and went for a run.  I did this in spite of the fact that I was pretty much down for the day with a bit of the stomach flu yesterday and in spite of the fact that it was a whopping 31 degrees out.  Why?  Mostly because I was so excited to try them!

Also, though, I was doing a short run this morning.  I let myself sleep in due to the whole sick yesterday thing and woke up feeling better, but not great.  And Lovely was due to come in a little over a half an hour.  So, I knew I was only going out for a half an hour or so and one should start slow with the whole minimalist running shoe thing.

I was expecting that I'd be slower.  I was expecting that my feet would be cold - after all, they're minimal and I don't have five finger socks.  Other than that, I wasn't sure what to expect.

I liked them!  I wouldn't run every run in them or so super far yet, but I liked them for two miles.  I wasn't slower at all and my feet weren't cold.

I did find that I really didn't want to run on the sidewalk.  I'm more of a street runner anyway, but I can run on the sidewalk fine usually.  Not today, though - today I really didn't like the sidewalk at all.

I also found I noticed some sensitive areas - a spot on my right ankle that bothers me sometimes, for example.  I felt it today, but more in a working it way than in a hurt way.  It was odd, but not bad.

After the run, I'm feeling my calves a lot!  It was a good workout for them.

All-in-all, I do like them.  I'll probably only do one or two runs a week in them at first, at least, though.  I think they're good for strengthening and stride work.  I'll want to do more distance than would be prudent due to the muscle work.

Okay, off to see how this stomach of mine reacts to breakfast.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I've been running regularly and (mostly) with a plan for improvement for about three months now, I believe.  Prior to that, I ran about, oh, maybe 6 - 8 miles a week.  Now, after doing my 10K, I'm taking a break from my training plan, but still running and averaging about 20 miles a week or so.  The plan from here is to just run as I can/want to through December, then start a half marathon training program in January.  I'll be doing a half marathon in early May.

This is all fine and good.  I'm slow still.  In fact, after watching Hood to Coast last night, I was poking around, looking at their web site and discovered that I'm really too slow to run the Hood to Coast unless I have much stronger people on my team.  You, as a team, have to be able to average 9:45 miles.  Now, I could probably do that for 2, possibly 3, miles, but not for three legs of 4-7 miles each.  Not that I was really thinking I could do the Hood to Coast anyway.  I have this little fantasy that someone would ask me to join their team because I know it's about 50/50 to get your own team in on the lottery system and I'm not all that excited about captaining a team anyway.  However, now that I know how fast people are supposed to be, who'd want me on their team even if they were desperate?

Any-who, that was a little digression here.

The point is that I'm still slow, but I'm relatively happy with my running (Hood to Coast dreams aside).  My mileage is certainly improving.  I actually have two running speeds now - working hard and working really hard.  Okay, maybe three, actually, I also have killing myself, which is an all out sprint.  However, it used to be that I only had one speed and that was working really hard while barely moving faster than a walk.  So, this is an improvement.

Anthony took up running right about that same 3 months ago, maybe a later.  He spent a whole month or so walking half the time.  He's never gone out for longer than a half an hour.

This morning, we each went for a run.  I did 3.88 miles according to my GPS.  I was out (minus a bathroom break at Freddie's) for 43 minutes.  Anthony did about 3.8 (he doesn't have a running GPS, so that's from Map my Run) and he was out for 34 minutes.

The plan is for both of us to do the Portland Marathon in October 2012.  Guess who will log more running hours with more intensive and specific training.  Guess who will finish first by a long shot.  If you picked different names, then we're on the same page.  It's kind of depressing.

Of course, it's only fair to mention that Anthony has a huge aerobic base compared to me.  He's been doing centuries on his bike for something like 6 years now.  Even on the days he doesn't work out, he rides into and home from work for about 40 minutes total riding.  So, it's not like he's not doing anything and getting results.

Still, from past experience, even if that were the case - him doing much less than me period - he'd still be faster.  Sigh.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Getting in the Spirit

We decorated last night.  There was a little bit of debate about if we were even going to, as we're not going to be here on Christmas.  Oddly, it was Davan who said that she thought maybe we shouldn't decorate.  As she has since pointed out, she was in a strange mood that day (DAP - Day After Party).

Last night, though, the time was right.  We got out the decorations and went through them as we decorated.

We ended up with a pile of decorations that we opted not to keep.  This was a little surprising to me, as we'd gone through them when we moved and narrowed down quite a bit - combining everything into one box, down from two.

Anthony hung lights.

We don't get Christmas trees anymore.  A few years back, we didn't get one because we were going away for Christmas, but Davan still really wanted to decorate, so we came up with the solution of hanging lights and stringing the ornaments off of them.  Davan said, "It's like being inside the tree!" and that's how we've done it ever since.

We kept more than enough to make things festive.

I won't bore you with close ups of every little thing.

Davan read by the light of the strands.

She's reading A Dog Named Christmas.  Like I said, we're really getting in the spirit here.

It was decided that we should have peppermint hot chocolate (soy variety) while watching the Christmas Glee episode.  At the last minute, I decided cookies were a necessary part of that festivity and whipped up some raw chocolate cookies.

It came to our attention during Glee that Davan, while we know she has watched The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, didn't actually remember it.  So, I found it on You Tube and we watched that, too.  

Yup.  All Christmas-y around these parts.  Guess I better get going on my secret Santa stocking.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Things Could Get Pretty Strange

In the last couple of weeks, Davan has made a decision that could change our lives pretty drastically.

As you probably remember, she and I took a little trip up to Vancouver so she could attend the pre-selection tour for the National Circus School in Montreal.  This was so she could try to attend their camp this summer, which is a two week program for 13-17 year olds.  They also have a one week program for 9-13 year olds.

Any-who, as you probably also remember, she put together an audition packet for Circus Smirkus, which would have been a 10 week performance tour deal.  She got the news that she was not invited to in person auditions on Thanksgiving.  She is still applying to their advanced camp, which is a two week camp.

So, as of a couple of weeks ago, this is where we stood - waiting to hear about camp from the National Circus School, knowing she wouldn't be doing the 10 week troopers program at Circus Smirkus and thinking about a new audition video for the 2 week advanced camp at Circus Smirkus.

Then, she watched this video and this video.  She burst into tears, hugged me and said, "Mom, I don't want to leave you, but that's where I really want to be!"

Davan had considered the high school a couple of years ago, but had recently decided that she didn't want to leave home.  That was that.  She just wasn't ready to move away.  Those two short videos blew that all away.  Mostly.  Actually, she still doesn't want to leave, but she really does want to do this program.

So, we've started working on pulling together what she needs for her application.  We decided that we'd:

A) Take things one step at a time.  Right now that step is just getting her application stuff in.  Next, it'll be the audition.


B)  She'd apply even if she didn't get a recommendation from the pre-selection tour.  One can, but one does not have overly good prospects of making it.  However, seeing as how it's a $50 application fee (plus, of course, another trip to Vancouver), we decided the experience would be good and it would be worth a shot.

I've put together some homeschool transcripts (she's supposed to have official transcripts, but I'm winging it a bit) and she's taken a standardized test for 7th grade (she's in 8th now, but 7th is the last year completed) to back up my claims on her abilities.

Meanwhile, we got this email:

Dear Candidate,

We are pleased to inform you that your application caught our attention during the recent Pre-Selection tour. Following our preliminary assessment, the National Circus School would like to invite you to apply for acceptance to the Circus and High School Studies (CES) program. You could register to the official Entrance Exam, in Montreal, February 18, in Toronto, February 2 or in Vancouver, February 3, 2012. The candidate who has succeeded the first part of the test will be invited to continue with the Academic test that will be conducted in collaboration with your actual academic institution in March 2012.

There is more, but you don't need to read the whole thing.  Davan was so excited to get this that she walked on air for days.  The letter did go on to say that if she didn't want to go to the high school at this point, or her parents said no, that she was welcome to come to camp.  As camp was all she was hoping for originally, this was pretty cool for her. 

I was so pleased for her after the rejection from Circus Smirkus.  Whew.

While we're taking this whole thing one step at a time; first application, then audition, then hearing if she's accepted, then deciding for sure if she'll go, we can't help but have lots of conversations that start with, "If you go away next year..."

It makes my heart hurt when I think of it too much.  I don't want to hold her back and we'd make it work,'s such a huge change for us to go from homeschooling to boarding school - maybe.

What a ride.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Happy Birthday Davan (Sort Of)

Davan had her birthday party this weekend.  So, "Happy Birthday, Davan!"  However, it was this weekend because we were being very flexible about her party date.  Her actual birthday isn't until the 16th, but, considering how the last two birthday parties went, we wanted to stack the successful birthday party odds in her favor.

(Warning!  This turned into a super long post, which wasn't what I had in mind when I started out, but there you go - a trip down memory lane, followed by a birthday party report.  At least there are a lot of pictures.)

Some of Davan's past birthdays have been pretty darn good ones.

The first, or zero birthday, while maybe not good per say, was certainly memorable.

For her second and third birthdays, we had pancake breakfasts so as to avoid nap time.  There were plenty of attendees.

At the third, all the young party goers got to decorate their own cupcakes.

Davan chose a kitty cat birthday for her 4th.

We'd moved by her 5th birthday and she wanted a fancy princess tea party.

For her 6th, she just wanted a day with all her special adult people.  Anthony and my mom took the day off so that they, my step dad and I could all spend the day with Davan, doing pretty much whatever she wanted all day.  That meant a lot of playing dolls with her.

The 7th birthday was celebrated at Chuck E Cheese with her two best friends of the time.

Yeah, they were both a lot older.  But still amazingly young looking, no Ami?

For number 8, she had a big bash with nearly every local person we know in attendance, kids and parents alike.  It was quite fun and we did it open house style.  Sadly, I can't seem to find a single picture, although I know we took some.  I do know that her present was a room remodel:

For 9th, she did a two party event.  One was with her friends from Girl Scouts, involving lunch, presents and playing.

And the other was an afternoon at Safari Sam's with her best friend that year.

10 was Disneyland!

For her 11th, it was another 2 party sort of deal.  One was with several of her homeschool friends.  We went to see a school Do Jump show, then went back to our house for lunch and games.  We didn't officially call this one a birthday party, kind of was.

The main event that year, though, was a day with Anthony and I.  We were supposed to take her to Safari Sams and actually play with her there, but it was a heavy snow day.  We spent the day at home, instead.  This involved an obstacle course.

Later, there was also a living room jungle gym sort of set up.

And, in between, several contests of various sorts.

Fun was had, even thought it was different fun from what had been planned.

Her 12th birthday ended up being quite fun, but it was a bitter disappointment at first. She invited her two best friends to go sledding for the day and then to come spend the night.  One couldn't make it due to family plans.  Then the snow was very poor that year and the sledding part got canceled.  The other friend then had to cancel at the last minute due to illness.  It ended up being another day with her dad and I and didn't involve sledding.

However, I guess I felt so badly for her, that we kind of went all out.  We started off with another obstacle course.

It ended with her presents.

This was the one from her dad and I.

Then there was a picnic breakfast.  As you can see, Davan adapted well to the new circumstances, even though she was pretty disappointed.

Then we left the house without the camera.  We went swimming, out to lunch at Noodles and Co, to Safari Sam's for the afternoon and finished with dinner at the Paradox, which was her favorite restaurant at the time.  We came back home for snow related crafts (because of the original plan) and dessert.

The next year, for 13, she went back and forth, but settled on just inviting her current best friend to have a private lesson at Do Jump, go out to dinner, to the Do Jump professional show, then home for a sleepover.  It started off well.

But, sadly, Emma sustained a (turns out mild) shoulder injury during the Do Jump play part of the festivities.  The more pressing issue turned out to be that Emma was sick.  She went home, where she went to bed and slept the rest of the day.  Davan was bummed.  Emma did do a sleepover later and we did finish out the planned events with Davan that night.

So, this year, after two years of disappointing birthday parties, we were really wanting this one to happen.  Davan decided on having four friends go to Safari Sams (yeah, she and her active friends still love the place), then come back for dinner and a sleepover.  We sent out options for dates for scheduling purposes (December can be a challenging month for a birthday) and found the one that worked.  One person still wasn't able to join in until evening.  One person ended up leaving mid party for a soccer game, then returned.  All-in-all, though, it went well.  Everyone came for at least part and fun was had by all.

The festivities started out at 11am with the first person to be picked up, then, once all were in the car, they went off to Safari Sams.  Anthony did the chauffeuring, as I stayed home to finish the cake and to be here for dinner prep.  I sent the camera with him, but he came home empty handed in terms of pictures.  Luckily, he wasn't empty handed in terms of kids, 'cause I'd have a lot of 'splaining to do if that were the case.

They settled in for a little game playing until our soccer player returned.

Then it was dinner time.  We had veggie fajitas and Mexi nuggets (tator tots with seasoning).

Davan had a lot of plans for the evening, but not many of them happened, it seems.  Each guest had brought, at Davan's request, a playlist of their 14 favorite songs and there was some listening, while also doing other things.  There was a book exchange (rather than gifts for Davan).  Mostly, though, they romped.

Our condo being on the second floor, they did a lot of romping in the basement, where they played flashlight sardines both Saturday night and Sunday morning.

After some sardines to work off dinner, we had cake.  Davan had requested (and helped me make) a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.

Even though it was dark and about 38 degrees out, they all tromped to our nearest park (about four blocks away) to play for an hour or so.  I went over with the camera to see if I could get some pictures and found them doing this:

I couldn't believe they were warm enough in their hoodies (all except one) to just stand around, but was assured they'd been running around plenty.

They all did cartwheels across the field while I was there, but it was hard to get a picture of in the dark.  I left them to it after only a brief visit.

Back home, they retreated to Davan's room for the book exchange and I don't know what else.  Music listening, game playing, hanging from the ceiling?  Probably all of the above.

Around 11pm, they trooped out to the living room to commander the TV.  Anthony and I retreated to our room to read a little and try to sleep.

Once they popped themselves some popcorn and warmed up hot (soy) chocolate, they were relatively quiet and we did fall asleep while they watched a couple of episodes of Glee.  One party goer might have been a little young for Glee, but I hope that anything she shouldn't get went over her head.

When they were laying out sleeping bags and taking turns in the bathroom, it was, sadly, a little loud again.  From 1am - 1:45am, I lay there and listened to them.  I told Anthony that for the first time since moving in, I wished we'd gotten a large place with a master suite at one end of the house and the kids' rooms at the other.  I had a rough time falling back asleep and, then, sleeping soundly with the guests, even though they were all sleeping, so it was a pretty darn tired day for me on Sunday.

Anthony and I got up at 7:30 with Ranger.  The kids didn't get up until 9.

After some morning trapeze swinging, with help from friends,

it was time to feed them all again.

Hashbrowns, pancakes, cuties and juice were on the menu.  Anthony was our pancake man.

Ranger spent most meals doing this to various people:

Licorice wanted to just hide away.  She's asking to get into our closet here.

When our last guest left around 1pm, I was glad the party was over, although it had been fun having all the kids around and seeing Davan have such a good time.  I was tired, though, and really glad I didn't have to figure out feeding them all again.  We did three meals in all - plus snacks.  If they were all my kids, they'd just have to get used to what we eat, but we tried to make it special for Davan and food the others would like.  It did go well, but I was glad not to need to do another meal.

Davan had a blast and was sorry to see everyone go.  She was pretty tired, though, and it showed (although not really in a bad way) the rest of the day.  We took it easy and she hit the hay early (as did we all!) and is recovered today.

I'm glad I don't have to worry about her birthday again for another year.  :)  Except, of course, that the actual day is still coming up and I'm sure we'll at least have to have some special foods...