Tag Archive | chuck e cheese

The best I ever had

Here’s the song reference.

Nine years ago, I married the love of my life, the song in my heart, the light of my eyes.  Without him, there would be no Dailymomprayers.  It is something of a family joke that our priest obtained dispensation for our marriage to take place on All Saints’ Day figuring, having met the two of us, that we would probably need the intercession of the entire communion of saints along the way.  I’m of Irish descent.  He is of Italian descent.  Our kids got both, and there are certain stereotypes about tempers that are funny because they’re true.  And yet, here we are, still very much in love and still building our family by the grace of God.

Last night, after I had finished writing the blog post, Manie looked at me and grinned.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, the conversation that ensued will probably make you smile, but not surprise you.

“So what do you want to do tomorrow?”

“I don’t know.  It would be nice to go out to dinner.  When I talked to your mom this morning, I asked her if maybe we could come over for dinner.”

“I feel awful.  I didn’t get you anything.”

“I didn’t get you anything either.  I didn’t even get a card!”

“I’m a rotten husband.  Come on, there has to be something you want.”

“Yeah, a nap.  Really, it would be nice to go out to dinner.”

“We should probably do something with a play area.”

We left it at that, and curled up to watch the end of Apollo 18.  The movie was forgettable, but the company was terrific.

Although he was off today, Manie went into work for an hour to get a couple of things off his desk.  By the time he came home, Bugaboo and Beanie had finished their breakfast and were attempting to coordinate a raid on the Halloween candy.  The secret to their lack of success was their inability to agree who would be the mission leader.  I suppose I need to work on teaching them to cooperate, but it’s so terribly convenient when their bickering over who gets to be in charge keeps them out of the pantry.  While the girls were having their breakfast, Deedaw called to see if we might, perhaps, like to come over for lunch.  That sounded like a terrific idea, so I offered to run to Wegmans and bring lunch.  Nonno was in the hospital again last week, and is still a little weak and weary from it, so I didn’t want to put Deedaw to a lot of trouble cooking unless she was looking for a diversion.

Deedaw liked the Wegmans idea, so when Manie came home, he helped me get Mr. Man and Baby Guy some waffles to eat and clothes to wear, after which we bundled the bambini into the van and headed off to acquire the makings of an anniversary lunch.  Suffice it to say that sushi, cream of crab soup, salad and a roast chicken were involved.  We had a feast indeed for the Feast of All Saints; it was good to see Nonno and Deedaw laughing.

After lunch, we trooped home and settled the tiny people in for a desperately-needed nap, then sprawled ourselves across the loveseat (he) and the couch (me) to relish a few moments of quiet relaxation.  We talked for a while about things we needed to do later in the week, had a desultory discussion of some long-range plans, then enjoyed a warm silence for a bit.  I was pondering, with great wonder, the miracle of our little family, recalling the years before the children came, when we prayed and prayed to be entrusted with even one little life on this earth,and our joy when He answered our prayer with Bugaboo, then answered it again thirteen months later with Beanie, twenty-two months after that with Mr. Man, and fifteen months after that with Baby Guy.  For the record, there are presently no buns in the oven, as it were.  As I considered, smiling, that vow we made, nine years ago, to welcome new life joyfully, I realized there was a pretty good opportunity for a somewhat unorthodox prayer of thanksgiving to our mighty and merciful Lord.

“Hey, I know where I want to go for dinner tonight.”

“Okay . . .”

“Let’s take the tribe to Chuck E. Cheese.”

“Perfect.  We’ll have fun!”

And so, there we were, planning our anniversary dinner at the Rodent Redoubt, thanking God for blessing us with the children who made us want to do such a thing.  He and I agree that there will be many years for the quiet, intimate dinners at fancy restaurants, but the Temple of the Rat years are precious and few.  So, for now, we trade neckties and pearls for strings of plastic beads and mouse stickers . . . and count it as the most extraordinary of blessings, worth savoring and cherishing.

Afterwards, when the kids were loaded into the van for the ride home, Manie and I paused for a moment.  We looked at each other, started giggling, wrapped our arms around each other and chorused, “Best . . . anniversary dinner . . . ever!”

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You have blessed our marriage with love, laughter, strength, and grace.  Your design, from the beginning, was that two should become one in flesh and spirit, and we praise you for Your wisdom.  Thank You for blessing us with children, and for the wisdom to recognize the beauty, wonder, and brevity of their childhood.  Please help us teach them that all blessings come from You, and that a stalwart, humble faith in You, coupled with reliance on the guidance You left in Your book of love letters to us, will provide them with everything they need to love as they should.  What You have joined, no many may put asunder, Lord, and we thank You for joining us together forever.  Please mold us into an example of Your will for married couples, and grant that our hearts may turn always to You, whether we face exhilarating joy or exhausting grief, with a psalm of praise.  Keep us ever mindful that marriage is so important to You that You performed Your first public miracle at a wedding, and keep us ever mindful of the sanctity of the sacrament You created.

Take me down to the Party City

Bugaboo will be five years old in just over a week, so our house has been full of excitement and joyful anticipation.  Our family custom for celebrating another year is that each child gets to choose some place to take a few friends for a celebration.  Mr. Man had his first opportunity to do so back in April, and opted for the Rodent Redoubt; Bugaboo has chosen our local roller rink for her birthday bash.  Since she and Beanie first clipped on little-kid roller skates about three weeks ago, and at least four other party-goers (including Mr. Man) have never been on skates before, it’s going to be a merry sort of mayhem.

Since we are down to the last few days before the festivities, and next week’s calendar leaves very little breathing room, we headed to the local party supply store yesterday to locate some appropriate party favors.  Deedaw, finding herself with a rare free morning, decided to meet us there, and we had a grand time roaming the aisles of a store all four tiny people have proclaimed (each in his or her own wee way) better than Toys R Us.  If you ever need to occupy an infant and a toddler for half an hour, take them to the party supply store.  There are so many shiny, glittery, and light-flashing things, their little heads will be on swivels.  Even Baby Guy was heard breathing oohs and aahs!

Bugaboo finally decided on a bag of skating-themed toys, Scooby-Doo fruit snacks, and Tinkerbell treat sacks, along with a big assortment of glow stick jewelry (because, really, what’s roller-skating in these modern times without a glow stick or two adorning your person).  She was delighted, and neither Deedaw nor I had any desire to hide the smiles her happiness brought to our faces.  After the party store, we headed for the clothing store a couple of doors down so she could pick out the (also customary) brand-new outfit to wear to her party.

She is wearing last year’s birthday outfit in the picture. It’s actually a shade too small, so it will be handed down to Beanie after the next laundry day, but I love it on her.  At any rate, after a suitably tulle-adorned dress had been located, we decamped for lunch at Big Lellow M at Deedaw’s invitation, where a good time was had by all.

Here’s the song reference.  Hey, I grew up in the 80s, and I’m kind of a dork.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for a sunny morning spent with Your blessings and Deedaw, preparing for a celebration of what You created over five years ago and brought safely into the world almost five years ago.  Your blessings are, indeed, fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14), and we rejoice in every moment You grant us with them.  Please help us always to remember that we are created to love and serve You and each other, and never let us miss an opportunity to celebrate the gift of life You have given each of us.  Open our eyes to the blessings in each day, and help us jump for joy at every chance You send us not only to party with our friends, but also to bring comfort and relief to those whom You have blessed differently (Ps 25:16).

I’ll meet you on the potty line

This morning featured a little more craziness than normal, partly because the ambulatory members of the tribe were aware that a trip to the Rodent Redoubt (Chuck E Cheese, for the uninitiated) with friends was in the offing, and partly because I was on the telephone for nearly an hour and a half catching up with news from our extended family.  Breakfast was a little rushed, and most of Mr. Man’s ended up on the floor.  He has developed the somewhat disturbing habit of pooping as soon as he sits down to eat.  Given that we are still working on teaching Smudgie that an unattended plate is not an open invitation, this creates a bit of a logistical problem.

As I was throwing bottles into the diaper bag, I inquired of our younger daughter, “Beanie, we’re going to Chuck E Cheese today.  Will you remember to use the potty today, or do I bring extra pants (I’m not completely stupid — they were already in the bag)?” She enthusiastically replied, “I’m going to use the potty!”  Bugaboo helpfully offered, “Remember, Beanie, you can’t use the men’s room.  You’re a girl.  And you can’t use the kitchen, either.”

Ah, the wisdom of an older sister.

Into the van we piled.  I was relieved when I saw our friend, Breanna, had already arrived, as this would make the process of ordering while keeping trap of the pipsqueak posse significantly easier.  Her three-year-old daughter, Miss P, is buddies with Bugaboo and Beanie, and her one-year-old, Miss J, is still closer chums with Baby Guy than Mr. Man, who tends to be a little on the loud and rowdy side.  Our other friend, Joanne, whose three-year old granddaughter Miss L rounds out the girl-power group and whose one-year old granddaughter Miss V is the apple of Mr. Man’s eye (he learned to say “pretty” because of her and Miss S, who is also part of our playgroup), was slightly delayed.

Breanna and I herded our troops in, obtained the requisite handstamps, and procured enough pizza, beverages, and tokens to ensure a fun morning for the entire crew, including the adults.  We all still get a kick out of winning a few tickets to add to the communal pile.  Having staked out a couple of tables with diaper bags, sippy cups, and Baby Guy’s car seat, we decided that since Miss P is having just as much fun with potty training as her pal Beanie, a potty run before loosing the horde was probably advisable.

Bugaboo took charge, leading her sister and her friend to the ladies’ room, chattering a steady stream of instructions about which entrance to use and the inadvisability of disrobing before reaching the facilities.  An astonished Breanna stood next to me, shaking her head.  Both Beanie and Miss P are generally a little reluctant to head for the head, but the two of them tagged right along with Bugaboo, all of them giggling at this unexpected bit of independence.  When Bugaboo emerged alone a few moments later, I reminded her that the right thing to do would be to wait for the other two girls to complete their business, and with a nod, she disappeared back around the corner.   All three little girls emerged a few moments later, and were promptly granted a handful of tokens each with which to wreak their bits of havoc.

When the pizzas arrived, we again dispatched the wee trio to the ladies’ room, and again they went merrily down the hallway together.  Mr. Man thought this looked like such fun that he decided to attempt a solo run to the men’s, which I decided was probably a bad idea.  Luckily, he was easily redirected with a slice of pizza — and somehow, at Chuck E, he doesn’t poop when he has food before him.  The girls returned and settled in to have some lunch.

Joanne arrived shortly thereafter with her two granddaughters, to Mr. Man’s delight.

As the kids’ energy and our token supply began to wane, we sent the girls off for one last bathroom break before we headed for the ticket muncher and prize counter.  This time, Miss P emerged alone, and informed me that Bugaboo was having a problem.  I ran down the hallway (my speed was because Bugaboo happens to be the one child who has actually fallen into the commode) and around the corner, where I found Bugaboo attempting to comfort Beanie, who was most distraught over the toilet paper roll whose end had somehow fallen into her boot.  As a result, she was trailing quite the impressive cloud of white tissue behind her.  After I freed the offending paper and assured her that she was not, in fact, being chased by a ghost, the girls headed off to count tickets and select treasures with their friends.

Baby Guy was tired of Chuck E Cheese and everything else by this time.

Joanne and Breanna headed off, trailing a cloud of little girls (Mr. Man was still trying to cadge an extra game of skee-ball from one of the employees), to the ticket muncher.

We pool all of our tickets and split them among the kids; Mr. Man, Miss V, and Miss J each get some stickers and a whistle or a piece of candy, and the older kids share the rest evenly (Breanna, Joanne and I use our mad skill game skills to augment the horde’s hoard).

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for the company and love of our friends.  Thank You for Your blessings’ dawning comprehension that many scary things are less so when we have a friend or two with us.  You instructed us to love one another as You have loved us; help me teach this to Your blessings, and to remember it myself.  Friends are gifts from You, and we should treat them accordingly.