Saturday, August 20, 2011

Birthday for an "almost" teen

It's been a while since I've blogged... I've been feeling guilty about it.

We're now a few weeks into our new school year and things have been busy.

This week we celebrated Sydney's 12th birthday. She is definitely on
the cusp of the teen years. It's been interesting to watch how "playing
with friends" has been slowly morphing into "hanging out with friends."
It used to be, "Mom, can so and so come pay?" now it's "Can so and so
come over today?" A subtle change that signifies a much more
significant one.

My kids have both gotten to the age where they want to plan their own
parties. This year Sydney recruited a friend to help her plan her
party. I was really nothing more than cook and crowd control. The
party was actually a nice mix of planned games and not so planned time.
One of Sydney's gifts this year was Just Dance 2 (for the Wii) We gave
it to her just before her party and the kids had a great time playing
this at the party. There are some songs we have to deem "off limits,"
but for the most part, the game is great fun and great exercise.

One of the things I LOVE about celebrating birthdays here in Ukarumpa is
the fact that you don't have to have to go to the coolest new place,
have the best goody bags, or spend a fortune on food.

Sydney wanted my favourite black bottom cupcakes, some chips, and bean
dip. That and some Tang to quench their thirst was all they needed.
Simple and easy. Well, I did bake the cupcakes from scratch and make
some of the chips-- right now our store actually has Fritos and Dorritos
(thanks to a recently arrive US grocery shipment), but they are super
expensive, so I supplemented with some homemade chips as well.

The other thing I really like about birthdays here is the lack of
pressure to give the best or most expensive gift. In fact, many kids
don't even give gifts. Those that do, it's often very simple things.
For example, a couple of kids gave her a package of candy from our
store. Others have a stash of small gifts brought back from their home
country. We have a drawer full of small items we brought back.from the
US. When a birthday comes, the kids can shop in the birthday drawer to
find a gift. I love the simplicity of it all.

This year is big for Sydney because she is in grade 7, which means she
moved to the "secondary campus" (this is the middle and high school
campus of UIS). For some, this transition is a tough one. For Sydney,
it's been fun to watch her blossom. She is absolutely LOVING middle
school and it really seems to suit her. With the switch to middle
school, she has also entered to world of youth group-- for Sydney, this
is yet another chance to hang out with her friends.

Sigh... she's growing up way more quickly than I want her to.

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