Saturday, April 17, 2010

Vacation or kid's birthday party... you pick!

I was talking to my friend Claudia the other day about my addiction to social media. She loves Facebook but has not embraced Twitter or blogging! She was asking me about my blog and whether I've written lately. I shook my head in shame and said I hadn't written for a while. She gave me a great idea for a blog post so today's content is brought to you by Auntie C!!!

For the month of April, little E has a birthday party to go to every single weekend. It's a really great thing for a few reasons: 1. It gives me a little break of a couple of hours on a Saturday where I don't usually have one. For some reason, I've been finding the time useful to do more work!! (When I really should just be getting a pedicure and massage!); and 2. More importantly, it means that my little guy has made friends. This is a huge deal for us in the Ingle house because after Christmas E started being really upset a lot and saying he had no friends and that no one wanted to play with him. So for me, each time that birthday invitation has come home in his school back or been left for him in his daycare cubby, I've just about broken down in tears I've been so happy for him. I haven't minded the slow decline in my bank account to fund all the gifts I'm having to purchase!!!!

But what I really wanted to write about was not the fact that E is coming out of his shell, it's more about the parties themselves and the pressure I feel as a mother to always throw the biggest and best parties of anyone! It seems to me that gone are the days of having a few little friends over to the house to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey and bobbing for apples! Now it seems that each year, we have to throw the shindig of the year. I could quite easily fund my entire trip to Vegas this September with what I've spent over the past 4 years on E's parties. (And I mean flight, hotel, limo to the airport, food, shopping, shows!!!!) And now, I've become my own worst enemy because I've set the bar high and the expectation is there each year to see what the party will entail and what the theme will be.

The pictures above show his last 4 parties (from top to bottom):
1. When he turned 4, we rented the entire ice rink at the Cambridge Centre mall for a skating party. The thing about this is that my mentality was "hey, we have the whole ice, let's invite everyone we know"!!!! So all of a sudden we were preparing 20 loot bags, instead of 6 or 8 and we were feeding 20 kids plus 30 or 40 parents. It was a great party and we all had a blast.

2. When he turned 3, we hired a company called Reptilia to come to the house for a reptile show. They come from Vaughan with a crate full of creepy crawly things (tortoise, lizard, big snake, alligator). We had 10 kids and their parents in the house! Again... a fantastic party, complete with personalized, themed lootbags courtesy of me, and a ton of food!

3. When he turned 2, we rented the caboose of the Waterloo-St. Jacob's train and took all of our friends and a clown to St. Jacob's and back. The train itself was fun (Evan was addicted to Thomas at the time), but we decided to have a clown to entertain the kids on the journey. Everyone had a great time!

4. And finally, when E turned 1, we had a party at Gymboree. Again, it was one of those "heck, we have the space rented, let's just invite everyone we know" situations!!!! Evan was really into a specific dumptruck at the time, so everyone took home a "lootbag" which was actually a dump truck filled with little toys and treats!

So, you can see that I really could have paid for a vacation or some special Tiffany jewelry or something with the cash I've spent on 4 birthday parties! Don't get me wrong... I absolutely LOVE throwing these parties. E LOVES them and so it's all worth it. I just wonder if I should be taking things back to basics and giving him an appreciation for all of the simple things we used to do as kids. I guess that'll have to wait until birthday #6 since I've already promised to have a superhero come to the house for #5!!!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Karma x 2!

As you all know, part of my life is devoted to doing some pretty cool stuff for a pretty cool company called Mabel's Labels. I was lucky enough to start working with Mabel's several years ago when I first started freelancing after Evan was born. For the past year, I've been working on a contract with them doing mainly project management, including helping with the launch of all of their fabulous products in full colour (check them out here... they're super cute!).

But the real point of my quick blog today is to tell you a pretty cool story so here it goes! One of the founders of Mabel's Labels is Julie Cole (check out her awesome blog here... she's a mama of 6 and has lots of interesting stuff to say!). She once sent an email to someone that was intended to go to me. Turns out, Julie Cole has 2 people with the same name in her email address book! Now this may not seem strange to you if your name is Lisa or Julie or Mike, but for someone named Karma, this is crazy! So, long story short, Julie Cole has now introduced me to my new friend, Karma Brown! (So, not only are we both Karmas, we're both Karma Bs!!!)

I'm not sure how crazy it is for the "other" Karma, but for me, this experience has been surreal. After all, I've spent almost 40 years of my life as the "only" Karma! But now, the "other" Karma has become my close Twitter friend. And not only is she super nice, with a super cool name, she has an amazing life story that relates perfectly to my last blog post about inner strength. She is an inspiration for sure. Check out her story here and you'll understand what I mean.

So, I definitely think karma was at work that day that Julie Cole made her email mistake!