Be My Valentine

My least favorite holiday of the year has come and gone.  I survived the kids parties, and had a typical relaxing evening at home with my hubby.  What more could a mom of three ask for?  Well aside from the overall cancellation of the holiday so I never have to do all this crap again.  You know that would be nice, but it’s probably not in the cards so I may as well focus on the positive things from the holiday.

Despite the mumbling and grumbling I did during the entire weekend as I tried to get them put together, the boxes actually turned out really cute.  Brendan’s was a little more fragile than I would have liked, but he loved it all the same.  There was a whole lot more I wanted to do to Cameron’s, but I just ran out of time.  The funny thing is, I’m more picky about how these boxes turn out than the boys are.  Cameron would have been satisfied with a picture of Om Nom glued to the lid of his box, but I created a little figurine out of clay.  Brendan would have been happy if I’d put Avengers stickers all over a box for him but I created Thor’s hammer instead.  Such is the life of the perfectionist.

Bren BoxCam Box

To be clear, when the kids have things they’re supposed to be creative on I generally let them handle the project themself with little to no guidance.  But the Valentine boxes are now something that I take pride in creating for them, and they have a lot of input into what theme and things they want, but I will admit to doing 99% of the work for them.  And every year I complain about the amount of time and effort that it takes, but then I look at the finished product, and the look of sheer joy on my boys faces and resolve to out-do myself the following year.

With the boxes made, the Valentines signed and candy attached, we were finally ready for the big day.  Getting the boys to school on Wednesday was quite interesting.  Cameron had his box, a bag full of Valentines, a gift for his teacher, and a package of juice boxes.  Meanwhile Brendan had his box, 2 bags full of Valentines, a gift for his teacher, and three packages of cookies.  And of course, Wednesday was the day that I woke up with Matt and Kaylee’s cold.  So I felt like a truck had run over me, and I had to try and remember to get all of those things into their bags (where possible) and arrange to have them carry the rest.  It was not my most stellar morning, but thankfully I’d pre-packaged everything the night before so it made getting it all into the backpacks much easier and we managed to remember everything.

Cameron’s party was at 10:45 and would last about 45 minutes.  They had pajama day in conjunction with their party, so Cameron wore his Superman pajamas to school that day.  Kaylee, wanting to be just like big brother, insisted on wearing her blankie jammies as well.  (her blankie jammies are a pair of pajamas she got for Christmas.  The pants are made out of fleece, and when she opened the box she thought it was a blanket.  She’s called them her blankie jammies ever since)

The first thing they did was play picture bingo with the kids.  Since I was the first parent to arrive, I got volunteered to be the bingo caller while the teacher finished setting up the party.  The problem was, I couldn’t figure out how to accurately describe the pictures to the 4 year olds.

“Uh okay it looks like a picture of two mice with a heart over their heads.”

“What?  Which one?”

(holding up the itty bitty card with the picture on it)

“Oh, you mean the bunnies!!!”

(looking at the picture closer…it’s definately mice, they have the little bald tails…but the ears are awfully long)

“Yep, you’re right the one with the two bunnies.”

Cameron ended up winning the game, which I felt a little bad about since I was the one calling the pictures.  But none of the other parents seemed to notice or care.  After bingo we moved onto a couple of “learning games.”  The first one they had to count the number of candy hearts they had of each color and put the numbers on a chart.  Probably not the most well thought out game as the kids spent more time trying to eat their hearts than they did counting them.  Cameron actually showed quite a bit of restraint in this game, he actually didn’t ask to eat any of his hearts.  His only problem was that about halfway through charting his stuff he realized he had about 6 more hearts still stuck in the box.  So I had to help him rearrange and refigure his chart.  It worked out though, and I rewarded him with one heart before we put the rest into his Valentine box to take home.

The second learning game had two tables covered with large paper hearts that had been cut in half.  One tables hearts had numbers on them, the other had dots.  The kids were told to go find a heart with dots and count them, then match it to the corresponding number on the other table.  There were 25 hearts all together, and 10 kids.  It was pandemonium.  Most of the kids didn’t get the concept of the game and just randomly put hearts together.  Parents were in the mix trying to help their kids understand.  So we had 10 kids, 10 parents, and 1 teacher all talking at once (and this wasn’t counting the half dozen little brothers and sisters who were running around the classroom too)  After 10 nightmarish minutes, the game was finally over.  I can only hope that his teacher learned not to do that game again.

So where was Kaylee during all of this?  Kaylee grew bored of watching the festivities about 30 seconds into the party.  She and another little girl had wandered over to the kitchen set and were quietly playing house.  She could have stood there and played with that kitchen set for hours.  What I’m failing to understand is we have a kitchen set at home, and we have a huge bucket filled with fake food and dishes to go with it.  We have a cash register, a high chair, a stroller, plates, cups, pans, anything you could think of…and she never plays with them. But she was happy as a little lark playing with them at the pre-school.  I can’t complain too much though, it kept her occupied and out from under foot.

The last game was Pin the Lips on Ms. Valentine.  This one was pretty funny, because the walls of the classroom are painted in a dinosaur theme, and have huge dinosaurs painted on them.  They put Ms. Valentine on the wall right in the middle of a triceratops.  So when the kids missed the poster, more oven than not they pinned the lips right onto the triceratops butt.  Which in the eyes of the 4 and 5 year olds was the funniest thing on the planet.  Though I will admit my mind went the same place, and I got a good chuckle out of it too.

Finally it was snack time.  They had every sweet and goodie you can imagine for the kids; cupcakes, cookies, brownies, candy, the list went on and on.  Since most of the parents have smaller kids at home everyone brings extras so the little siblings can snack right along with the pre-schoolers.  Cameron and Kaylee loaded their plates up with snacks and began to chow down.

These parties only happen a couple times a year, so I don’t really worry about all the garbage they eat during them, but I do have to say that whoever thought of doing the party at the end of half day pre-school definately wasn’t thinking about regular meal times.  Snack started around 11:15, and with as much as my kids ate lunch then consisted of practically nothing.  I got them to eat what they could at home, but didn’t force the issue too much.  Eating cupcakes for lunch once in a while never hurt anyone.  (though I can tell I’m getting old, because the thought of eating nothing but cupcakes for lunch made my stomach hurt)

Cameron VdayKaylee Vday

As for Brendan, well I’d love to tell you about his party but I can’t.  New security measures in the elementary schools in our area meant that only the parents who volunteered to assist with the party would be allowed to attend it.  And by the time I got to the sign up form, the volunteer positions were filled.  I was disappointed, but nothing could be done about it.  Brendan was very excited when he came home from school that day and talked about the party off an on for the entire evening, so at least it sounded like he had a good time.  It does make me wonder if they will cancel the Halloween parade and limit the atendees for that party next year as well.  I hope not, because then I’d miss out on getting to see Cameron participate in the school parade, and that’s one of my favorite activities in the year.

As for Matt and I, we did our typical evening stuff on Valentine’s Day.  No candies, no flower, no big meal, just your average everyday evening in our house.  We did our taxes, and played some board games after the kids went to bed.  Now that’s what I call a successful Valentine’s Day.

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