Monday, February 3, 2014

The Usurper's Rise to Power

Today we celebrated Amelia's first birthday. I already told you about the day she was born, plus some, so I won't get all repetitive here. This past weekend we had family and friends join us in celebrating her day of birth a couple days earlier than the actual day. On this day in history, though, February 3rd, the future challenger to the Overlord's throne was born, and today we're going to talk about how we buttered her unsuspecting sister up by going out and having some private family fun.

Officially 1 year old today!
Apparently, my mentioning the birthday party that we had on Saturday inspired a bit of fun conversation in our secret Nerdling Moms group on Facebook. Mostly we talked about cakes, and shared a billion pictures of all the cakes all of us have ever made for all of our kids. Then we advanced into talking about birthday parties in general. One of my friends, Susan, told us about how she is absolutely drawing a blank on what to do for her daughter's upcoming 5th birthday. Housing the party off-site from her own house is a must, because she can't accommodate the number of guests she expects. In this bit of back and forth on suggestions and frustrations, she mentioned this place that I had never heard of, and now I'm going to tell you all about it.

Amelia's cake, by the way, was Daniel Tiger's face.
One of the biggest drawbacks about living in Ohio is that three months out of every year playing outdoors is pretty much not an option. It's cold, and when it's not snowy, it's slushy. Even if it's neither snowy nor slushy, it's still too cold to spend more time outside than it takes to lean out my door and collect the mail. We might as well be hibernating. In fact, I wish we could. Unfortunately, there are these things called jobs that people have in order to make money to pay for those things called bills. I don't work, but I still have these two little monsters to care fore every day.

Those two little monsters, by the way, love to play outside. When it's warm, I pop them in the double stroller and walk them either a mile to the park or a mile to the library, depending on my mood. The park is where it's at, though. They love to climb and swing and run around like lunatics. Especially now for the Usurper who only learned to run around like a lunatic about a month ago. Unfortunately, all that energy gets locked indoors during the winter. We can't go to the park because of the above-mentioned cold, and snow, and forget it.

My husband and I have talked about the significant lack of indoor activities for kids, particularly playgrounds. The nearest thing is the McDonald's Play Places, and those are steadily becoming extinct, I think mostly due to the increase in stupid people throwing lawsuits at the company because of their own stupidity. You know, like the coffee. But we (my husband and I) have talked about how awesome it would be to start our own business, if we could afford the start-up costs and get a loan, and build indoor playgrounds, because to the best of our knowledge they do not exist.

This brings me full circle back around to my moms' group conversation. Did you know that indoor playgrounds DO exist!? Neither did I! I knew about indoor giant inflatable parks, thanks to my friend Jen. But straight up playgrounds? No idea! Until this morning.

To make the Usurper's first birthday special for just the four of us, we took the girls to this awesome indoor jungle gym and party center known as Rockin' Robin's Amazone, in Medina. Mucho many supreme thanks to my friend Susan for informing me of its existence and dropping me a link. This place . . . is AMAZing! I think it's also the only place within a hundred mile radius that houses an entire video game arcade, the likes of which I haven't seen since Aladdin's Arcade in the mall, ages ago. They also have laser tag! It's like a freaking nerdling paradise up in there! And the girls LOVED it. And it only cost us $12 for as much time climbing and sliding as we wanted!

The prices are equally AMAZing! They have a large selection of snacks, pizza, and beverages to choose from at wonderfully reasonable prices. There are also a handful of special bundles and packs that include tokens to use in the video arcade. They had quite a fun selection of merchandise, too. I think my only complaint there is that they were lacking in baby and toddler apparel. I totally would have bought both my girls a shirt if they had them in their size.

She's never going to remember this day, so I took lots of pictures to show her. I know she had a lot of fun, though. Her sister did, too! On the way home, we stopped by Toys R Us to spend the gift card her Papou gave her for her birthday. Based on the things she didn't get, we finally made our decision to blow some money on a toy she's going to outgrow and got her this Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Crawl Around Car:

She likes this toy so much that every time her sister gets in it, she actually yells at her. Serious, flat out, screaming. I'm sure if she knew the words she'd be saying, "Lilah get out of my car!" And she has this adorable way of scrunching up her face, squeezing her eyes shut, and squealing in outrage. I need to get that on video some time.

Her second favorite toy was a gift from her Uncle Benji and Aunt Sarah: the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Song and Story Chair. Fisher Price has seriously been pumping out some really awesome toys lately. They aren't obnoxious noise-makers either. Except for the fact that this chair went all possessed this morning at about 6:00 AM, waking me up and forcing me to grumpily crawl out to the living room to shut it off. Virgil, our cat, was sitting on the back of the love seat staring at it in fascination, because it was just playing itself.

They really hit it out of the park with this toy, though. Two of Amelia's favorite things are sitting on chairs her size and books. She might not be able to actually read them yet, but she just loves flipping through the pages of every single tome she can get her grubby little hands on. And it's for that reason that we concluded that she has been upgraded from a Level 0 Human to a Level 1 Wizard. All I have to do now is put together her character sheet and build her a spell book. My fellow D&D nerds will know what I'm talking about, and yes I do seriously plan on putting together a toy spell book for her.

This leads me to the next best ingenious idea my husband and I came up with as a potential starter business. Starting with our own children, we plan on making them character sheets to update every time they have a birthday. Next year on this day, Amelia will level up to 2, and we'll edit accordingly. Lilah is already a level 3 something-or-other. We think bard because she's in ballet and loves to sing, horribly off-key, just like her mommy. Though that's an awfully cruel class to stick my kid with. Poor bards. Always with the negative reputations.

Over all, I'd say Amelia's first birthday party weekend was a roaring success. We had a larger domicile in which to accommodate all our guests. People enjoyed themselves immensely, as far as I could tell. The cake was delicious, though the Usurper didn't get to eat any. The food was spectacular, thanks to my wonderful husband. The presents were just perfect. Her big sister's unpredictable, unexplained emotional meltdown aside, we had a good weekend. And I'm awfully proud of myself for this little last minute corny idea that I had and put together.

And I'm grateful to everyone who put up with my craziness.


  1. I'm not sure where my first comment went, so I may be repeating myself, but I'm glad you made it to Amazone and that the girls had a great time and Amelia had a great 1st birthday. Also...I work for a personal injury lawyer and there is another side of the story on that coffee lawsuit. There is a great documentary called Hot blew my mind how the public has been poisoned against the victim in that lawsuit. There is a reason the jury awarded her more than she even asked is just crazy. Liability could have something to do with the disappearance of play places indoors, but I have to wonder if lack of profit from the lost space would also play a role. I never take L to them because I am kind of a germaphobe and I always remember the time (when I was a kid) when a kid's diaper exploded in the ball pit. Haha, gross.

  2. Glad you liked Amazone! That place rocks - I am so jealous that we didn't have a place that cool when I was a kid! Also, I love the "leaf me a message" thing - very cute idea! I did something kind of similar for Max's first birthday - I got a notebook and decorated the cover and asked people to write him notes, and a few did. Come to think of it, I don't think I ever read them to him yet! Must do that. Unfortunately Em suffers from second child syndrome and I didn't think to do the same for him... poor guy.