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Creating a Dream of a Teen Birthday Party

By the time one’s child hits 14, it’s safe to say that I have experimented with every kind of birthday party idea known to man.

In the past, we have celebrated in many ways:

Putt Putt, clowns, magic shows, little ladies tea, roller skating, (or was that my son?!), movie and dinner night, beach trips with special friends, a luau, oh the list goes on.  So this year I shouldn’t be surprised when my daughter tells me:

“Momma, this is the MOST IMPORTANT BIRTHDAY EVER!!! You have to make it special!!”

And I can’t help but to ask: “Wasn’t last years birthday supposed to be the most important birthday EVER?! Hmmmmmm.”

So I struggle with new and creative ideas.  Finally, it hits me:


We had a

Movie on the lawn birthday party!20130926-084306.jpg

This is our outside patio area that has 1000,000 plants, pots, arbors, two pergolas and way too much furniture.  Yes, it is actually my driveway but I had it stained and built a pretty fence with an arbor to make it feel like a patio.   It’s a real pain to take all that stuff off so you can pressure wash the sucker but it is supposed to be the “most important party and all..” so I did.

The blank blank blank pressure did NOT work.

Of Course.


 I decorated with various folding tables and fun table clothes.  If you’re like me and can’t sew a stitch, Stitch Witchery is fabulous!!   Fabric glue is a good friend of mine as well. I ordered the cupcakes but really could have saved money just making them myself.  They were cute but……not sure if three dozen cupcakes were really worth 60 smacks.  I also used lime green burlap which was totally cheap and cute.  With a movie night, we had to have LOTS of candy – which we did and ohhh.. don’t forget the popcorn.  This produced a problem because who in the world has a popcorn maker these days?  I asked a friend of mine who has a big fancy commercial one who eagerly said:

“Sure!!! I’ll pull mine out of storage for you tomorrow afternoon!”

And so I must ask: do you see the cute commercial fancy smancy pop corn popper anywhere?  Errr ummmm.  Nope.  Never heard from my friend again.  Oh wells, I thought about the jiffy pop so the kids could pop their own.  This woulda been nice had my grocery store had it…which they did not.  Sooo, in case you’re wondering, movie theater microwave popcorn will do in a pinch.   I got the cutest EVER pop corn boxes from Hobby Lobby.  They were adorable 🙂20130926-084332.jpgFinding a projector so we could actually have a movie on my lawn produced a problem as well. And despite Izzy’s dad’s best efforts to talk us into “Just bring your living room television outside, the kids will never know the difference…”  I was determined to have the real thing but who in the world has a projector?  After much searching, Uncle George to the rescue! Now, how to work the joker….

I have to admit I was a lil nervous because the Honey was out of town and Uncle George lives 30 minutes away.  I didn’t want to blond out and not know how to work the projector and watch in horror as 25 ’14 year olds’ run around throw soggy pizza at one another because they are so bored.  I tried very hard to pay attention to Uncle George’s instructions on how exactly to run the projector.

An hour before the party, a tiny rush of teenage hormones emerged when the only movies I could dig up were The Flintstones or Barbi and not her Mean Girls. Luckily, things calmed down after an hour of intense searching.  Mean Girls was found in my bathtub.  Phew!  And don’t ask!


You can’t barely see all their lil bodies but there they are.  All sprawled out on sleeping bags.  They were so cute and quiet and very patient with me.

Because I ummmm completely blonded out.

Even after intense projector lessons, I still had a blond moment, ok several blond moments. You know, just simple start up issues like no volume and at one point somebody bumped the projector and the movie was playing in the trees and not on the sheets I had draped on the fence, etc. I had my neighbors husband come to help.  Twice.  Maybe three times. But hey, we got her running.

This was one of the cutest parties Izzy has ever had.  Thought I would share a few tips:

Ask earlier than one week who has a projector and if you’re a single momma like me, make sure to find one who is not technically challenged and  is near by. Alert him he is on call 🙂

We ordered 10 pizzas which was wayyyyy too much and really, they were so excited and jacked up on candy, they didn’t want it.

Make your own cupcakes.

When lighting the fire pit/chimnea, make absolute sure that you do not use two outdoor fire logs (one will do) or a massive fire explosion inferno could occur.  Luckily, all the kids were too busy watching the movie and not witnessing Izzy’s freak mom wildly running through the yard with the garden hose;   trying to put out the enormous flames.  Later, It was a little unsettling when the the fire became so hot, the bottom of the very old chimnea busted out and fire embers rolled across the patio.  It’s amazing how confused kids at that age can get. For instance, what part of “the bottom of the fire pit has busted out and that are red hot fire coals all over the ground.  Please put your shoes back on so you won’t burn your feet?” is so completely hard to understand?

Hmmmmm.  Not one of those jokers listened to the crazy woman with the melted mascara holding the garden hose.

Luckily, the only flesh burning occurred when a sparkler hit a girl in the eye ball.  (Which was fun to explain to her mother) Thankfully, she can still see.

After most of the kids have left, a few neighbors and I sat outside on lawn chairs and watched the Flinstones.  It was. Very. Cool.  Not the Flintstones but to have a giant movie playing in your back yard.

By midnight, everybody is gone.  The fireS are all put out; excessive food is given away and I find my sweet adoring, thankful daughter sitting on the kitchen floor surrounded by all her gifts.  I look down wearily at the wrapping paper, colored tissue and my daughter with many gifts surrounding her.  She gazes up at me lovingly and says:

“So what are we gonna do next for my 15th birthday party?  You know that’s going to have to be VERY special…..”

Errrr. Ummmmmm…………

Reconsidering The Gardasil Shot

Ok, so the first comments I have ever received from posting my blog post on twitter were angry ones. But to be honest with you, I was so excited to actually get a comment, I was ecstatic!

Then I read these ‘said’ comments that were posted on my blog. Even more frantic comments came through on my twitter.  They are from hurt/devastated/angry mothers whose child has taken the Gardasil shot, had a bad reaction and consequently,  have died.  Good grief.  At first I thought to myself: Don’t we all take risks when we do anything?  I mean seriously, people die from bad reactions to Tylenol for Heavens sakes.  Is it just a fluke thing, something none of us can control?  As I sat up in my bed watching the Monday night’s The Bachelor and all those young girls make complete nerds out of themselves, I clicked through each link I had been sent from the grieving mothers.  One by one I read desperate and devastated mothers explain their stories of how their child went from happy, healthy and alive to sick, worn down with pain and sometimes dead.

I felt my stomach tighten in a knot  as I watched a girl dressed in a white brides dress skip through the Bachelors house and happily accept her rose. We all want to see our daughters happily skip along in that wedding dress, don’t we?  With so many opinions, how do we know what is right for our child? I have many, many friends that have given their child the shot and there were absolutely no side effects at all. But Then, I think of myself and what kind of mother I am.

After all, I am the mother who has never ever taken her daughter to have her ears pierced.  It’s not that I don’t like pierced ears, I love me some sassy bling.  But… You’re not stabbing my daughters ear lobe with that knife like thing.  I’ve told her all along if that’s what she wants to do, she can wait until she is 12 and her daddy can take her.  I will have no part in doing something that causes her even the slightest bit of pain.

I’m also the same mother who just the other day when her 17 year old son started showing his tail in the movie theatre and refused to answer my texts of his whereabouts, (he thinks I’m too over protective – sheesh!) I simply informed him that he had 60 seconds to return to me or I would personally go up to the manager of the movie theatre, explain that my son is most likely being mauled by a sick and perverted pedophile and could he please close down the entire movie theatre where we could go from theatre to theatre to save him from the clutches of this deranged derelict that has kidnapped him.

(Wouldn’t that the only reason he’s not answering my texts?  He’s being strangled/beaten/molested?)

Think I’m being a lil overzealous?

The kid returned to me in 53 seconds.  Not 60.

My children have good reason to fear that their single momma will follow through on her threats.  When pushed, that is.  If they forget, I can always remind them of the time they disobeyed me at Disney World’s private island Castaway Cay when they sneaked out a lil too far snorkeling.  Boy howdy doody were they surprised to hear a loud whistle blow and then their very own names called out on the giant mega phone: “Jake and Isabelle, you have gone out too far.  You’re mother is waiting for you on the beach.  Please return to your mother immediately.”  Every kid on that cruise ship watched in horror as my two children trudged through the water, their snorkel masks dragging the oceans waves and back onto the beach. The rest of their day was snorkleless.  Harsh? They broke the rules.  Period. Oh yea, my kids know the rules: don’t mess with the single momma.

So, with all this said, here is my take on the Gardasil shot:

It just isn’t worth it.  At least not to me. I can’t take the chance that my child might be the one who has the bad reaction; that maybe they wouldn’t be returned to me…ever. I think everybody has to do some real soul searching and figure out what is right for their children. This is simply what I have decided for us, my teeny tiny family of three. (Small but mighty!)  I included the links that I read through.  I think this is all of them.  If there are any more, feel free to send them to send and I will post them.

After reading those gut wrenching links, the only shot I’m considering is one like this lil guy below. 🙂

Is The Gardasil Shot Safe?

A few months ago, I took Jake for his annual doctors check up.  She checked his eyes, ears, nose, you name it, she checked it. She asked about his studying skills, driving skills and social skills. This brought us to the subject of  “it.”  “It” Meaning: Jake is 17 years old and is on the verge of becoming VERY social.

ERGO:  The Gardasil shot is a very important vaccine to consider. For those of you who are un teached in the tween/teen world, it’s a vaccine that helps guard your child against HPV.  HPV is very dangerous, non curable and causes 70% of all cervical cancer.  The vaccine was first approved in 2006 for girls ages 9-26 then later approved for boys. Personally, I was all for it.  Several years ago, a friend of a friend of a friend got snagged by …well you know….HPV.  She was completely devastated.  Even though I didn’t know her that well, I felt so bad for her.  She went into a deep depression, swore off any chance of having a relationship and she was mad.  Very, very mad.

And I don’t blame her.  It was one bad decision that will stay with her for the rest of her life.

So, that day, several months ago, sitting in the doctors office, I said “YES” to the Gardasil shot.  Unfortunately, Jake said “NO” to the shot.  This was not surprising.  When it comes to shots, my son Jake is the biggest chicken I have ever met.  He has no qualms about sprinting out of the examining room through the office waiting area, down the hall and out into the parking lot in 22 seconds flat – just to avoid a shot.  Over the years I have used sweet talk, bribes, threats, and full frontal body force just so my child will receive his yearly inoculations.  I’m 5’1, it ain’t been easy.

His doctor advised me that it was the safe thing to do and I should go ahead with the shot.  What could Jake possibly say?  It is for his own safety! It would be tricky, I mean I think the boy only outweighs me by about 20 pounds, BUT… I can still sit on him if needed to pin him down. But then, a small glitch in my plan.  It comes in 3 different shots.  Could I manage to hold down my 17 year old 3 times in the next 6 months?  As I observed the terror in his eyes and watched in dismay as his feet began trembling; stirring up dust bunnies on the examining room floor, it was then that I made a choice.  I’d have to go home and discuss it with Jake; inform him of the dangers of HPV and reiterate the fact that “mommy can’t hold you down to the shiny metal table with blunt force forever….one day you will have to grow up and take it like a man.”

So we have ‘the talk’ and after several vivid and colorful pictures via Google images showing Jake just exactly what HPV can do to a person, my child is prepped and ready for his 3 shot series.

And then she called.  She, meaning my mother.  The conversation went a little like this:

MOM:  “The Gardasil shot?  You’re not giving that poor child that shot, are you?  Why, haven’t you read the papers?!!!?  Sissie, how could you???!!!”

As if I’m stabbing my child with a doubled sided razor sharp carving knife directly through his heart…..

MOI:  “Errrr.  Ummm.  No, I haven’t seen anything in the paper.” (As if I even read the paper.)  “Why?”

MOM:  All exasperated and out of breath: “Don’t you EVER watch the news?  When will you ever grow up and take responsibility??!!”

MOI: “Errrr uummmm.  Well, I thought that’s what I was doing by planning on giving him the Gardasil shot.”

MOM:  “Well, if you had bothered to watch the news or read the paper, you would know that the Gardasil shot leads to brain tumors!  Are you trying to give your child cancer?”

MOI: “HUH?????????”

So I’ve sat on my duff for about six months now, trying to ask around to see if any of my friends had ever heard such dastardly things about the Gardasil shot.  I’m trying to help my child, not hurt him.  I call Izzy’s pediatrician.

“Hi my name is Sissie Dale and my daughter is 13 and my son is 17. I was wondering if Dr. Whozit believes in and recommends the Gardasil shot?  My mother has told me it will give them brain tumors.”

After waiting 17 minutes, (it’s a very busy office and I can’t help but to wonder if its because she is extremely busy doling out 100’s of shots filled with brain tumor juice????)  Finally, she returns to the phone.

The outcome? My daughters doctors office claims the shot is completely safe and highly recommended. Plus….no reports of brain tumors.  Next, I called My son’s doctors office just to double check that they haven’t changed their minds in the last six months.  The outcome? Completely safe and recommended.

I ask my friends whose children have received the shot and whether or not they are fainting, having seizures, developed Guillain Barre syndrome and are so weak they are having trouble holding their pencils at school? The outcome?  Nope.  All is well and HPV safe and… not a brain tumor in sight.

Still, I’m anxious. I go on line and try to study up.  Instantly, I am bombarded on this one site where hysterical mothers are claiming:

Fainting on day of inoculation and skin infections, 18,000 reports of Guillian Barre, lupus, seizures, paralysis, blood clots, brain inflammation and many more.

Turns out, only 10% of girls who get HPV will it turn out to be cervical cancer so why risk all the other side effects such as the ones above?

I’m panting like a dog and fidgeting at my computer this morning when Jake sits next to me with a message.  “Mom, all this is unfiltered garbage.  Look up the CDC.  (Center for Disease control.)

So that’s what I do:

CDC says: “Gardasil continues to be safe and effective and its benefits continue to out weigh its risks.”  What can a mother do?

I’m going to get my children…the shot.