The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Birthdays & Broken Toys October 5, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 5:42 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

My birthday is this week. One of the little girls in our church turns four today and is having a big birthday celebration. As a result, I’ve been thinking about gifts and children’s toys. Considering I’m twenty years older than my little friend, I don’t anticipate receiving the party and gifts like she will be.

The only gift I’ve received this year was a cute little notebook in the shape of a purse and two cute candle holders from my secret sister. Being the youngest in the whole thing, I tend to get gifts that, well, clearly point out that age difference. 🙂 But that’s okay, it makes me smile inside every time, knowing that whoever my secret sister is understands I’m still just a kid in many ways.

Thinking about kids’ gifts, though, I came to realize that there are two days in every typical child’s year that tend to be much more tragic than any other day: the day after Christmas and the day after their birthday. Those are the days that most of their toys tend to break. That is, unless you have an extremely particular child who never breaks anything. (If you do, I’d like to meet your child because that’s not normal.) Many even consider the day after Christmas National Whiner’s Day due to this.

Last month, I had the privilege of watching two birthday children the day after their birthday party. By lunch time, a crown, a drumstick and a drum had busted. Who knows what other new toys I missed as they were dismembered while I was off making pb & j sandwiches for lunch? The mother of these kids likes to claim that they are “curiously destructive”. I like that term.

That brings me to ask a few questions about children’s toys:

(1) Why is it that the annoying ones are the ones that never seem to die and the other toys just fall apart within a day’s time? I think toy makers intentionally do this to parents and childcare providers. Batteries seem to last longer on the obnoxious toys (and, thankfully, we can never seem to find replacements once they do).  As for the trinket-type toys, they break by the end of the day from either being stepped on or torn apart by children who wonder why they don’t make the same obnoxious noises as their other toys. I’ve decided that someone needs to make sturdy, non-obnoxious toys before I have kids.

(2) Why is it that people always think that they’re giving kids something fun when they give them a cheap $.25 toy that’s going to make them cry when they break it the next day? I have to confess, it’s easy to do. You think to yourself, “Oh, little Johnny will like this” even though you’re simultaneously thinking, “This toy is a piece of crap with a price tag.” Sadly, it’s too easy to let that sentimental side convince you that, while you know the toy is going to break soon after the child receives it, the smile on his or her face is worth that measly $.25. But is it really? Maybe, if you’re not the one who has to deal with the broken toy later.

What do you think? Are toys made sturdy enough for kids? Or do we just buy the cheap ones because they’re inexpensive?

Did you have a favorite toy when you were a kid? Was it prone to breakage, or did you know to keep it out of harm’s way?


Birthdays Just Aren’t the Same Anymore June 16, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — michellehuegel @ 10:23 am
Tags: , , , , ,

While growing older has its benefits (driving, independence, etc), after a certain point (maybe 21?) birthdays just aren’t the same anymore. As a child, I looked forward to my birthday almost as much as Christmas – sometimes more, because it was a day all about ME. For some reason, Mom and Dad kept reminding us kids that Christmas was actually about Jesus (then why did we get the presents?!).

Often I’d get a party, always presents, cake, my favorite dinner, and bad singing. For my 24th birthday, most of the accoutrements were there, including the bad singing, but in a grown-up version. Presents weren’t of the wrapped variety (not that I’m complaining per se, because they were what I asked for!), and the hoop-la almost non-existent.

BUT, all that said, I actually did have a lovely birthday (June 9). My husband took me out to eat the weekend before with our 4 1/2 month old son Cai, always an interesting experience, and then took me shopping for a couple new dresses. After about 5 stores, we found two dresses, 2 shirts, and several outfits for Cai. Baby clothes are so irresistible!!

My little brother and my sister’s boyfriend picked out a box of chocolates and a book for me, a sci-fi novel which looks right up my alley even if it is the 11th in the series… (no, they will never live that one down!) The chocolates were several gourmet dark varieties, which more than made up for me having to go buy the first 10 books in said series before I can read the one they gave me.

The one thing I really wanted for my birthday was a haircut and pictures with my son. Due to an extraordinarily bad string of luck on my birthday and the next day (locked out of house, hubby took stroller to work, picture outfits left in locked house, stylist not working, and so on), it was Sunday before that birthday wish came true. But, the pictures turned out lovely and I doubt that 10 or 20 years from now I’ll even remember that it wasn’t on the day of my birthday. Besides, who doesn’t love celebrating for a whole week??

Yesterday my parents finally gave me their gift (they’re not really known for punctuality) – a BlueAnt bluetooth headset I’ve been drooling over for months. It talks to me!! Yes, there is officially a new voice in my head. Josh said that now my other voices will have company… It’s almost idiot-proof, although we did have a disagreement yesterday about who I wanted to call. BlueAnt thought I should call my sister (Speed Dial 8), but I wanted to Redial my husband. Since we got that straightened out, our relationship has been pretty smooth.

So although the days of themed parties, brightly wrapped gifts, and a day all my own are over, I think the trade is worth it. A husband and son who love me all year round, family that still takes time to find out what I want and choose something I’ll love, and less emphasis on the fact that every year brings me closer to wrinkles and gray hair.

Happy (late) Birthday to me!


Parties May 18, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 2:15 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This weekend I had the privilege of being involved with two separate parties, one I planned and the other I only attended. The first was my parents’ 50th birthday party, and the second was a bridal shower for one of my close friends from high school.

There were aspects of both that I truly enjoyed. It was great seeing the joy on my parents’ faces as they saw friends and family come celebrate with them, for instance. But it was also great to be able to win the door prize at the other party, a bag of kitchen towels, dish cloths and scrubbies. Both parties I was able to just sit back and enjoy the interactions between the other guests.

On the other hand, there are downsides to both roles in a party. For example, it was draining to have to do the planning, decorating and cooking for my parents’ party. I enjoyed it, but it was draining (on both my energy and wallet).  At the other party, I found myself like I typically do at parties: not knowing what to do with myself because I didn’t have a specific “job” other than just being there and enjoying the company.

Looking back at both parties, I’m not entirely sure which role I would rather take. I love to entertain, and I like being in charge, but it’s stressful to have that much weighing on your shoulders. At the same time, however, it’s nice to enjoy the work that others have put into a celebration as well. I guess that it is important to have a balance between the two now and again.

Which role would you rather take: the person planning the party or the person attending the party?