Friday, March 13, 2015

Cade's 6th Birthday

Let me just give you some insight as to how this blogging thing goes lately...
Day 1: I turn on the computer. That's as far as I get.
Day 2: I turn on the computer. That's it.
Day 3: I turn on the computer and open Lightroom.
Day 4: I turn on the computer and put my memory card in. A few hours later I remember I'm supposed to be uploading pictures. Upload pictures.
Day 5: I turn on the computer.
Day 6: I turn on the computer and open Lightroom...I think you get the idea, and I'm wasting valuable time. It obviously takes me awhile to actually manage to sit long enough to edit pictures and write a blog post!

This was the year for Cade's birthday. Cade's 2nd birthday party was the last big party we threw before we left for Korea, and that was the last time that he had his own birthday party. At the time, we didn't know that it would be our last big party or that we would be moving in less than six months, and we remember it often.

Our first year here, we piggy-backed on a party with three other boys with birthdays in February to celebrate Cade. Heis still the only male staff kid in his class, so we've struggled with who we would invite if he were to have a party.

Last year, in preschool, the school was not very supportive of connecting parents or students outside of school, so we struggled with how to make those connections, and as a result, Cade didn't have a birthday party.

This year, Cade was excited to finally have a birthday party! I brought cupcakes to his class on Friday. I let the kids pick out cake mixes for their classroom cupcakes during the summer. Apparently, I was so thrown off by the fact that he had chosen blue cupcakes that I neglected to read the package. It clearly stated that it only made 12 cupcakes, and Cade has 15 kids in his class. So, these kids lucked out and got some small blue cupcakes stacked with chocolate frosting!

His birthday was on a Saturday, and we were able to celebrate at school on Friday afternoon, so after cupcakes at school, I rounded up three excited Kindergarten boys! Cade had decided that rather than having all of his classmates over to celebrate that he just wanted to have a two or three, so that he could have a sleepover. He was very careful about who he chose, too. When talking about the boys in his class, he kept saying things like, "oh, he's too crazy. he can't be around a baby." This kid!

Eventually, he decided on two, and we sent out the invites well in advance to ensure that they would be available. As it turns out, Kindergarten boys are not quite ready for a sleepover. One of the boys was willing to try it out, ensuring that we could call his mom if he needed to go home early, but the other (or maybe his mom?) wasn't up for it. Either way, we decided that rather than making anyone feel uncomfortable, we'd just have the boys picked up late--around 9:00--so it was the Kinder version of a sleepover, complete with movie and popcorn.

As it turned out, one of the boys would no longer be attending YISS after that day, and so he had the entire class over to his house the day before for a "play date." Eric and Kennedy took him over there after school, and the play date ran really late into the evening. They left around 7:30 (which I thought was really late!), and the kids hadn't even had dinner. This is one of the culture clashes between Koreans and Americans. Most Americans see value in sleep and early bedtimes for their young children, but Koreans don't really have this same value. So, I'm sure there were many kids at the play date for another hour or two, making our 9:00 end time not really seem that late in the scheme of things (it wasn't even a school night!). Oh well.

Eric took the boys home in a taxi while I took Kennedy and Reece home, since we couldn't fit all of us in our little car. Eric had a few Lego games in mind, but one of the boys wasn't really up for any games. He wasn't much of a negotiator, either. It's always interesting to have other people's kids in your house. It didn't take me long to switch from "fun, party mom" to "teacher mom" with this kid!

After they had built the new little sets that we'd gotten for the goody bags, they each made their own pizzas (per Cade's request!). It was clear that one of the boys had never made his own pizza. He struggled a bit with his crust to sauce ratio and ended up with a heavy, soggy pizza, but he ate it anyway.

After dinner and a little more Lego building, it was time for our classic birthday "cake"--brownies and ice cream. Then, Cade got to open his presents and soon they were settled down to watch The Lego Movie, complete with buttered stovetop popcorn. Eric and I were exhausted when 9:00 finally rolled around and dads arrived to pick up the boys!

On Saturday, Cade continued celebrating by opening his gifts on Facetime with family, seeing the school musical Mulan, Jr., and having dinner at his favorite Thai restaurant. It was a great weekend celebrating our 6 year old!

This weekend, we have already had another challenging birthday party excursion (remember this one?). We actually managed to make it there without too much trouble, though we were 20 minutes late and I did make a major traffic violation right in front of two police officers (picture the biggest city intersection you've ever seen and our little Kia driving right through it in the moment that traffic in all directions appeared to be stopped--actually you probably shouldn't picture it!). On the way back, Siri neglected to realize that even in the most remote spot in Seoul, you can be driving down the road with a highway on top of you and another road below you, so she kept telling us to turn onto roads that we could not access. Just when I was starting to think that we were never going to get home because we'd returned to the same intersection for the third time, we ended up in a place that I recognized, and we were able to get home!

Tonight, we're headed to the fancy dinner that one of our student's parents host every year. She's a senior this year, so this is the last year for it. The last couple of years, they have been inviting children, but Eric and I have enjoyed the evening out without them. This year, we'd arranged a babysitter, but unfortunately doctors discovered this week that his mom has a brain tumor(!), so he won't be able to babysit for us, obviously (they successfully removed the tumor, but they can use our prayers). We're going to attend as a family of five this year, so that should be interesting.

My original plan was to get all of my Christmas pictures posted this week, so that I could have those done before the next big round of pictures. This time next week, we will be packed and preparing to jet off to the Philippines early (early!) Sunday morning. I'm so excited for some warm weather and beach time, especially since it's only four hours away and a one hour time difference! Who needs daylight savings time when you can just travel to another country? (And Reece will have been in more countries in his first six months of life than Eric had been to in his first 20 years! #expatlife)

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