In addition to needing an activity, the other reason we (I) took out the Whomping Willow was because I had invited like thirty friends over Saturday night for an outdoor movie party. Having a party is like having a baby or buying a house in that there is never a good time, but oh, it is so worth the effort. In this case "effort" refers to the twenty-four hours immediately preceding the event when you snip at any child who even considers leaving a shoe/string cheese wrapper/six-foot long piece of toilet paper in the middle of the floor and the embarrassing trip to the store for two cases of beer, forty-eight juice boxes, and a single bag of tortilla chips. We are the best hosts ever.
The other fun thing about this party was that I got a little overzealous and specific on the Evite, promising such activities as "sprinkler fun!" and "tie dye!" which was slightly foolish because we all know that two cases of beer and forty-eight juice boxes are MORE THAN ENOUGH fun for our friends. Nevertheless, we pressed on. I researched tie dye techniques and dragged the kids to Michaels for supplies and blathered on for minutes on end about how much white tshirts are at the craft store versus target ($3 for ONE at Michaels versus $6 for a BAG OF EIGHT at Target; no one in my family was sufficiently impressed with me for figuring this out, possibly because I said "I need to go look for shirts" about eleven-thousand times on Saturday morning and they were about to wrap me in rubber bands and hang me upside down from the fence).
BUT WOULD YOU JUST LOOK AT THAT ADORABLE TIE DYE STATION I CREATED IN OUR YARD? I have a PhD in engineering, I am supposed to suck at this stuff. (The chair was originally positioned just so next to the shelf, which held all the supplies, and there was less trash everywhere, but I didn't think to take a picture until after the horde of children descended upon it. It was INTENSE for about thirty minutes in which I helped what seemed to be three-hundred children with their shirts. James sprayed my friend Cindy in the face with blue dye. Charley helped--I saw him crouched on the grass over the instruction booklet, showing people how to do different folds and informing them sternly that they had to leave their project wrapped in plastic for six to eight hours before rinsing. My hands are rainbow colored and likely to stay that way until Mary can vote.)
Other things the horde of children descended on include:
Not pictured: water spraying bottles and large automotive sponges used for water fighting, which was a HIT among the older boy contingent.
It was kind of a blur. But then it got dark enough to start the movie and everyone gathered on the porch for a showing of "Bolt." I passed out bags of popcorn and then cups filled with M&Ms. One of Charley's friends exclaimed, as I handed him his M&Ms "THIS DAY JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER!"
When everyone was settled I went into the kitchen to find ALL OF THE FRIENDS sitting around our tiny island, laughing and drinking and eating the grown-ups only cupcakes my friend K brought. And it was so lovely, having all of these wonderful people in one place. We talked and laughed late into the night. I also fell in love with my house a little bit more because the kitchen was SO wonderful and cozy. We don't need a glorious twelve foot long slab of granite when a pine Ikea island was so lovely?
It got dark and the porch looked cozy (aside: the weather was AMAZING. In the eighties with a gentle breeze. This is UNHEARD OF in August. We are all conditioned to expect to be full-on sweating outside in August, even after dark. Hats off to you, Wonky Jetstream of 2014!).
And then the movie ended and sticky, happy, tie dyed kids started trickling back into the house and heading home. The last person left around eleven and Ryan and I collapsed onto the couch. The next morning Charley and I rinsed out and hung the last of the tie dye projects and then sat on the porch (still enjoying the INSANELY BEAUTIFUL WEATHER) talking about how much fun we'd had.
Wes woke up around nine, still wearing his swimsuit, with his feet COVERED in tie dye. He looks like he is wearing Mardi Gras socks. Also, he wore his tie dye shirt for three days straight until I made him change for back to school night.
We all had a lovely relaxed Sunday, which is unusual as Sunday is usually the day we set aside to bicker publicly all morning at church then plug the children into the TV for the rest of the afternoon like Wang Lung supplying his obese uncle with opium to prevent him from wrecking the family name in The Good Earth. I think we have to force ourselves to have fun once in a while because MAN have I been a nicer person since Saturday. Not sure when we'll do another get together, but we do still have plenty of beer and juice boxes.