Sunday, January 08, 2017

Andrew's 8th birthday Star Wars room reveal + winter wonderland!

We had the day before Andrew’s 8th (I can't believe my boy is EIGHT!) birthday planned out for months.  When it finally came time to live it, I couldn’t believe the day was actually here!

At 10am he was picked up by my dad to go spend the day and have a sleepover at my parents’ house.  As soon as I locked the door from them leaving, I ran upstairs and started taking everything off the walls in Andrew’s bedroom and putting his furniture as much into the center of the room as possible.  It was the day that James and I were changing his entire room theme from Superheroes to Star Wars!

At 11 I took the girls over to my friends’ house (where Andrew had been on Boxing Day) as she had offered to take them for a few hours so James and I could focus as much as possible on getting Andrew’s room painted.  It turned into them staying till after dinner because they were doing so well at her house, and it helped us out immensely because it meant we could just focus on the room and not have to take any breaks.  Well, that’s not entirely true since James spent several of those hours sleeping...but in his defence I really do work better alone on such projects, and since I have always done all the painting in our relationship (and I’ve done quite a lot of it!), I have a system for how I do things.  (On the contrary, in 18 years together I don’t recall James ever picking up a paintbrush!)  We only have one big paint roller, so ultimately only one of us could do that part of the job, anyway.  James helped with the cutting in before the main painting started, and had also got a lot of the room prep done while I was dropping the girls off (and having a quick latte with my friend!) before coming home to get going on things.

I finished the last bit of the painting just as it was getting dark outside, which was perfect timing because once it’s dark it’s so much harder to tell if you’re doing a good job or not.  James made both our lunch and dinner, and basically each time I wolfed down my food and got right back to work.  After we had our supper (a little on the early side) I put back everything that I could, and started deciding where certain pictures and shelves should be put up.  When I went to pick up Margaret and Emily at 6:30, James got to work putting up the pictures and the shelves so it would all be done before it was time for the girls to go to bed.

It all worked out perfectly and by the end of the night Andrew’s room was basically done.  All I had to do in the morning was clean up the garbage, get the paint stuff put away, and put the last finishing touches on the decorating.  I knew I still wanted to get him another shelf for the wall by his closet (that I got at Ikea a few days ago and it ties in perfectly!) but overall I was so happy with how it all turned out.

I was so nervous leading up to the ‘big reveal’, just anticipating his reaction and wanting to be able to capture it on camera.  My parents brought him home at lunchtime (after picking up the Star Wars themed ice cream cake I’d ordered for the big day!), and after he opened his presents from us (he got a Stormtrooper pillow and a Poe figurine from Emily, a Rey bobblehead from Margaret, 3 chapter books from James, a Garbage Pail Kids book from me, and a Kylo Ren watch from me and James.  And at my parents’ place he had opened a gift from us as well - a William Steig book (one of my absolute favourite children’s authors), a cozy blue hoodie from Old Navy, and one of those little wooden man figures from Ikea (not sure how to describe it but he’s always wanted one, and he painted it within a few hours of getting it!)  I feel like we went a bit overboard with his birthday this year since his room should have been gift enough, but we couldn’t help it, and everything he got is either useful, educational, or for decorating his new room.

Once all the present opening was done, I went upstairs and asked my parents to come up because ‘I needed to show them something’ and I had Andrew stay downstairs with James.  Once I had my camera ready to record, I called him up and everyone else joined him.  He walked into the room and at first was like, ‘What?’ and then he realized everything was different and he was blown away!  He was like, ‘Whoooooa, thank you!  I can’t believe this!’  He especially loved how we hung his light saber on the wall above his closet doors, the glow in the dark stars around his door, and the way we’d put the shelves up beside the new canvas art, one side with characters from the Light Side and one from the Dark Side.

It was amazing to have been able to pull all of that off, and feel like it all came together so perfectly.  My mom made the curtains, which look awesome.  It was quite the feat that we  managed to make it all happen, and Andrew loved it.  

After the big reveal James and I quickly prepared a spread of nibblies and we ate and then my parents went home to rest for a few hours.  The plan was that we would order Thai food at 5pm and they would pick it up on their way back to our place.  Only it had started snowing an absolute BLIZZARD earlier in the day and hadn’t stopped AT ALL the entire day.  Since we already had snow stuck to the ground, it started sticking right away, and it was treacherous out there.

My mom and I basically decided just before it was time to order the food that as much as it sucked to postpone the dinner, it was probably best they not attempt driving in those conditions.  They live on a hill so no matter which way they drove, it could be very dangerous and slippery both for leaving and for coming home.  But my dad decided they were going to attempt it, so we ordered the food and they left right away since they didn’t know how long it would take to drive to the restaurant.

They got there OK, although the roads weren’t great, and had to wait a while for the food.  Then they got about a block along to our place and got stuck in traffic because a bus had jack knifed and was blocking the road.  Eventually traffic got moving again, but they wound up in the same predicament a few blocks later.  What would normally be about a 10 minute drive ended up being at least 45, possibly an hour, and was very scary because the road conditions were so terrible.  My parents were frazzled by the time they got here, and didn’t want to stay too long for fear the road conditions would be even worse for driving home.  Despite that, we did enjoy the dinner and Andrew loved his cake (I was pretty impressed with the design, as well!)  My parents had also brought over a few presents for him to open: a Spiderman umbrella, a children’s dictionary, and a cool new version of the Battleship board game.

Luckily their drive home wasn’t nearly as bad as getting here, as it had mostly stopped snowing by that point and traffic had calmed down.  

After the kids went to bed, James and I did stay up till midnight but new year’s eve is always a little lost on me because I’m so focused on it being Andrew’s birthday.  I went and had a bubble bath while James played some xbox, and then we reconvened just before midnight and did the countdown together.  We had a little toast to the new year with a shot of whiskey, and then James went to bed.  I felt a bit down in the dumps, I think just the let down from the holidays ending.  It feels like there’s so much going on and then boom, it’s all over with.  But it was a good day, and maybe in some ways there was also some relief to have the holidays behind us.

It’s been nice having James home since the 24th of December, though, and we had this whole week with him home since the new year.  It’s going to suck having him start back at the office tomorrow.  It’s back to the grind for all of us.  And just like that, the holidays are done!

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