Attack of the Night Ninja

night_ninjaWhen the boys were younger, they were quite vocal if they wanted to come into bed with us (for example, if they had a bad dreams).  They would stay in their bed and yell for us until we came and either brought them to our bed or cuddled into their bed with them.  As they got older, they would get out of bed on their own, come to our room, and wake us up if they had a bad dream or needed something.

NHL now sleeps through most nights without a problem, but lately JSL has displayed a special skill.  Under the cover of darkness, he becomes a Night Ninja: able to sneak into our room and slip undetected into bed with us.  On more than one occasion, B and I have woken up to find an invader in our bed and no clue how he got there.

It would be bad enough if he just snuck in, but he also pushes us away from him and towards the edges of the bed.  We’ll often wake up aching from being kicked and pushed off of our own bed.

Have you ever had to deal with a night ninja?

Pirate Party at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores

Awhile back, we were trying to decide what to do for JSL’s first birthday party with friends.  Should we go to a bowling alley?  Play mini-golf?  Maybe head to Chuck-E-Cheese.  Then, while buying some fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics, we spoke with some lovely ladies doing a demonstration in the front of the store.  They mentioned classes they were giving on cake decorating (as well as other crafts).  Then, they mentioned that they did parties also.

Looking at the options, we spotted a pirate party.  This piqued our interest as well as JSL’s.  After all, JSL is a BIG fan of both pirates and crafting.  The more we heard about it, the more we knew that this was the best kind of party for JSL and his friends.

We got there the day of the party and a Jo-Ann Fabrics employee named Alex was setting everything up with her assistant (also named Alex).  Slowly but surely, kids began to arrive and the party began.

First, the kids got to paint treasure chests.  JSL painted his gold.  NHL went for silver and some other colors.  Some kids went a very colorful route.


With the treasure chests painted and set aside to dry, it was time to make some treasure to go in the chests.  After all, no self respecting pirate has an empty chest.

I knew that they were going to use modeling clay for this so I wasn’t surprised when they brought this out.  What did surprise me was when they brought out glitter as well.  The kids rolled the clay in the glitter, twisted the clay to mix the glitter in, and then shaped it.  Pearls, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and gold coins began to take shape.


Eventually, all of the treasure was formed and set aside.  (Pro tip that Alex told us when we started the party: Always write the kids’ names on the plates.  Otherwise you’ll never be able to tell whose craft is whose.)  The table was cleaned and all hands were washed.  Now, it was time for the most fun craft of the day: cupcakes!

We had been instructed to bring unfrosted cupcakes and had plenty in our cupcake carrier.  Alex, meanwhile, had just about everything a kid could want to top a cupcake with.


There was squeeze tube frosting in a rainbow of colors, glitter gel, and sprinkles of every shape, size, and color.  Just being near the box was enough to give one a sugar rush.  The kids got frosting in the colors they wanted, frequently changing to get new colors on their cupcakes.  Glitter gel was applied on top and then sprinkles upon sprinkles were added until the cupcakes could take no more.


We lit a candle, sang happy birthday to JSL, and he blew out his candle.  Then, the kids dug in.  Those cupcakes which they lovingly spent time decorating were gone in seconds.  And they enjoyed every moment of it.  (Nothing makes a cupcake taste better than decorating it yourself.)

After this, we had a second round of treasure chest painting.  The chests had dried so the kids were able to add some additional details to them.

Before we knew it, it was time for the kids to leave.  JSL said goodbye to them all.  They left with their treasure chests and treasures.  They also left with a pirate bandana, rubber ducky, and snacks that we had brought with us.


JSL and his friends had a fantastic time and the staff at Jo-Ann Fabrics had a big hand in this.  We left with NHL saying he wanted to have his birthday party there as well.  Whatever we do, our thanks go out to the staff at our local Jo-Ann Fabrics for making JSL’s party so memorable.

Disclaimer:  I wasn’t paid, compensated, or otherwise encouraged to write this blog post.  We paid for JSL’s party and just wanted to share a wonderful experience we had.

Happy Birthday JSL!

JSL-Turns-SixToday would have been JSL’s birthday, but we cancelled it.  You see, he’s growing up too quickly.  We decided we liked 5-year-old JSL too much to give him up.  So we’re hitting the pause button and he’s staying 5 forever.

Rats, I seem to have misplaced the pause button. I know I had it here a second ago.

Well, it looks like JSL’s having his birthday after all.

This past year has been a big one for JSL.  He started it off in pre-K and not knowing many of his letters.  He is ending it a Kindergartener (but soon to be first grader) who not only knows all of his letters, but knows how to read and write stories as well! He’s also become adept at simple addition as well.

JSL has shown that he’s got a huge imagination.  He can entertain himself for a long time playing with toys on the floor or magnets on the refrigerator.  He makes up storylines and characters and acts out what they do.

He’s also turning into quite the little geekling.  He loves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, all things Disney, Transformers, playing on the computer/iPad, or reading books.  He also loves riding his bike around the block with me.  (I walk currently, but I’d love to get a bike to ride.)

I’m so proud of my not-so-little-anymore kid.  Happy birthday, JSL!

JSL The Story Writer

StoryLast Friday, B’s parents took JSL and NHL to dinner.  When they got back, JSL showed us a story he had written.  Yes, in addition to learning how to read, JSL’s been learning how to spell and write.  He put it together, along with some inspiration from Lulu And The Brontosaurus (which B had read to him recently), and wrote his own story.

Here is what he wrote (with creative spelling intact and only his name changed to "JSL"):

JSL and the Brontsarus

One day JSL went to a frorist for a brontsarus but the nit came and JSL go to slef and wen JSL wok up he fawd a brontsarus but the brontsarus riley fawd he and they trd into fres.

And here’s the grammar and spelling-corrected version for those who find Kindergarten creative spelling hard to read.  (I did leave the giant run-on sentence intact, however.)

JSL and the Brontosaurus

One day JSL went to a forest for a brontosaurus but the night came and JSL went to sleep and when JSL woke up he found a brontosaurus but the brontosaurus really found him and they turned into friends.

I’m so proud of JSL for writing his first story.  This is definitely one project of JSL’s that will be kept for years.  I can’t wait to see what other creative works he comes up with.

The Times That Bond

Super BunnyThere’s nothing I love more than playing with my boys.  When you get right down to it, I’m still a kid at heart and playing with my kids allows me to let my inner child run free.  (Letting my inner child run free in other situations, such as the office, just leads to weird stares from people.)

Last night, after both boys were in their PJs, NHL went to play on B’s iPad.  JSL, meanwhile, decided to play with me.  We crawled under my slanket (yes, I still use that after 3 years) to shut out the light and played with some of his stuffed animals.  I took his "super bunny" puppet (a plain, white rabbit puppet that I make "fly" by virtue of the fact that I hold it off the ground) and began to make it speak.

Super Bunny and JSL had a few conversations and then JSL decided to let Super Bunny on a sad fact of life: He is just a puppet.  No matter how much JSL pointed out that I was making him speak and move, though, Super Bunny just didn’t see it.

The funniest moment came when JSL decided to show Super Bunny that he was a puppet.  He reached for the section where you put your hand in – the read of the puppet.  Of course, Super Bunny reacted by moving off – offended that JSL would try to stuff his hand back there.  After all, that’s disgusting!

In the end, JSL and I had a blast and he went to bed happy.  We even confused B when JSL walked up to her to tell her that you should never put your hand up someone’s rear because you don’t know what’s in it.  Sadly, however, Super Bunny has yet to come to terms with being just a puppet.

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