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Drama party

28 Sep

Léa has been doing drama for a few years and it has become one of her highlights in the week. Last month it was her birthday, and going from a superhero party (don’t ask me where it came from) to a hamper party (which excited her – and me – as much as going to the dentist) to no party at all, I finally had a lightbulb moment and thought of a drama party! It turned out to be the easiest party to organise and probably the one that she enjoyed the most.

The idea with our drama party was to put into practice everybody’s acting skills. Most children are drama queens anyway, so it was  a matter of putting structure around these theatrical little people.

We started with a few rounds of charade to get warmed up.

Stella acting ‘going to bed’,

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Léa acting ‘catching a big fish’,
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Rachel acting ‘a hook’,

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and Kiera wondering how to act something that seemed to scare her 🙂

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Our second short game challenged them to line up first according to height, then in alphabetical order of their first name. All that without being allowed to speak! They struggled a bit with all the ‘Ks’: Killian, Kaira, Kiera, Katie!!

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They clearly needed some fresh air by then. We went outside where they had to act according to how they feel about words I told them.

Here they are expressing their feelings about ‘bananas’: one happy chap, others…not so much,

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their feelings about monsters (not sure about Léa here),

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and their feelings about birthdays.

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We then moved on to acting different emotions. Rachel and Kaira being sad,

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Kiera, Dayna and Léa being tired,

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Killian and Matt being angry (my boys are familiar with this feeling as you can see by their great acting face),

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Cass and Kaira being bored (to death for Kaira it seems),

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and Katie showing surprise.

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After some well-deserved refreshments, the part that Léa had been looking forward to for weeks and weeks was a showcase of a short scene. She wrote a script of an argument scene between four people (a convenient writing assignment for school taken care of). The kids were then split into 2 teams and each team had to prepare and perform their scene in a different style.

Here they are preparing their lines (so professional).

Team 1: Léa, Kiera, Kaira and Rachel

Team 2: Dayna, Stella, Katie and Cass

Team 1 was given the style Downton Abbey – british and aristocratic (Yes, Léa might have watched an episode or two…).

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Team 2 was given hip-hop style – the yoyo-dude and what’s up-sister style. They definitely looked the part!

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They really had a lot of fun all together, a real creative and teamwork outlet for a 10 year-old birthday party.

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‘Tis the season…

14 Aug

The season of birthday parties has started. And by ‘season’, I mean ‘curse’ (probably an exaggeration…).

My youngest has turned 7 in June. That in itself is a curse. What’s up with that? It would be a totally depressing time if ‘having no kids under 7’ did not come with some advantages.

Here are 3 benefits from having kids 7 up:

1. This birthday party was a total pleasure to organise because I didn’t have to organise it. A couple of weeks ago, my 3 children went into their room and became very quiet. Like an other parent would think, I assumed they were up to no good and prepared myself psychologically to what the extent of the damage might be (they hit each other with bats, they dissected a dead rat, they made a homemade explosive device… who knows? The possibilities are endless!). No! They sat down and organised Matty’s party all by themselves: the theme, the cake, the games, the program of the day.  Is this what comes with children older than 6? Bring it on, I say!

2. It seems that my friends are desperate to give us more board games. I think they know I barely handle them but they want to challenge me  – who needs enemies with friends like them, right? We received 2 ‘family games’ this birthday. And you know what? It ain’t that bad. I developed a hatred of board games over the years simply because my one child is unable to cope with the frustration of losing. It makes the experience for everyone an absolute nightmare. But I’ve noticed great improvement. It gets better. It does!!! We’ve played Go Fish, Rummikub, Monopoly, 30 Seconds and Mille Bornes (a French card game that brings me right back to when I was 10, camping with my cousins!!) and we all came out almost unscathed! Be encouraged!!

3. Having kids older than 7 also means that if you play it right, they can be your mini-slaves. “Can you bring me a glass of water”,  “Please won’t you fetch my phone. It is … somewhere in the house” or “Let’s see who can carry the most logs of wood… and while you’re at it, fill the fireplace with them!” have become recurrent phrases in our home. And they can do it, without breaking the glass, come back empty handed or with a splinter in their hand. Almost every time.

4. I couldn’t come up with a 4th benefit.

Let’s be honest: while the 7 and up stage brings its fair share of exciting moments, I miss not having to carry any of my babies anymore.

Take 2 – Surprises work better when people show up!

19 Apr

So after being left in the dark, in the stairways, behind a closed door, disappointed and forlorn, we heard footsteps from below. Recognising the mother’s footsteps, Claude quickly opened the door and we shoved ourselves into the living-room for a Take 2 -Real surprise!

Things I learned from this video:

1. The dog is very important (Just kidding. I already knew that!)

2. Man, but I have big teeth! I never took Phillip’s teasing seriously but he’s got a point!!!

3. My mother is more resistant than I thought! Fair enough, it’s not like I came back from the dead, but coming all the way from the bottom of Africa unexpectedly, I thought she would be more flabbergasted!

4. Last but not least, it was so flipping nice to surprise my mum like that!!!! I love surprises!!!!

Surpriiiiiise!!!! NOT.

18 Apr

Well it only took me a month to get back into the swing of things after my little escapade in France and around.

After struggling with YouTube for a day or two, I managed to upload the first of the two videos I want to post. Here is the story of the first one.

On the Friday, Lea and I finally arrived, with only one hour of delay. Claude, secretly, fetched us from the airport. After ignoring my mum’s frantic calls, panicking about the whereabouts of  Claude (Frejus is a very dangerous town. Who knows what can happen to a fully grown man in the middle of the afternoon downtown??!!), we finally parked at the back of the residency to avoid being spotted from the balcony. We walked like spies on a mission, clucked like excited chicken as we climbed the 3 floors to my mum’s flat, knocked on the door and…

 

 

I went to his office and all I got was this lousy picture…

8 Nov

I need to back-flash a bit here to the end of October.

Phillip’s birthday happens to be a day after Killian’s one and, just to reverse the routine, I will first post about Phillip’s birthday before devoting my attention to Killian’s. I have to confess that more often than not, my husband’s birthday gets neglected, or at least overlooked and poorly planned. I have an excuse, some kind of valid justification why it is so (The humand mind is amazing when it comes to self-justification). Yes, after planning my last kid party for the year, I have no more mental energy to think carefully about what I should do for Phillip’s. The truth also is that my introvert husband would happily choose to spend his day with me and me alone (maybe the kids, on a good day) and the real bottom of the truth is that he tends to get reflective and self-examining (yes, even more than during the year, can you imagine…) on this day – which tends to make me feel guilty, assuming that his pensive self is caused because of my lack of attention to his special day. I imagine him thinking “What have I done wrong that my wife does not love me?” It is one of my worst feeling, to think that I’ve let my husband down…

This year, as I said, has been just about the same as every other year. How can I not learn?? However, this year, just after he left for work, I frantically scratched and searched my (thin) baking cupboard and whipped, mixed and baked some muffins, told threatened the kids to write a simple but beautiful message for their one and only father, and as early as 10 o’clock, we headed to his work and surprised him there. I guess sometimes the simplest efforts are the best ones. Under his oh-my-word-I-feel-so-self-conscious skin, I know he was quite happy and touched by this. From this whole outing, I managed to get 2 very blurry pathetic pictures to illustrate that special moment. The first one is in the office with the sparkles (The rest of the people are behind me, so it looks like it’s just him in the office but don’t be fooled) and the second one is taken when he is still in the entrance of their office, feeling too awkward to go in.

That is the office. I’m sure there’s a lot of confidentiality involved here but the photo is so blurry that not even Sydney Bristow will get any secret trading code!

Stuck in the passage, awkward, self-conscious and overwhelmed 🙂

And here are the letters from the kids.

Messages from the kiddies

From Matty (dictated): Dear Papa, You are the nicest papa in the world. I love you because you always play cricket with us and you’re always nice with us. I also like it when you are torturing Mama because then we can join in. I’m a little bit upset when you need to go to work and when you have a meeting in the night because I won’t be able to see you in the night. Happy Birthday, From Matt.

From Killian: I love being with you. you our are my best papa.

From Léa: Dear Papa, Happy happy birthday! You are very special to me. I love it when you play cricket with us (although saturday wasn’t that fun). I am very sorry that we didn’t make this morning very special. I told myself last night to say happy birthday to you and then I forgot! I love spending time with you better than anything else. 38 is so old, although it is not everyday you turn that age! So I wish you a very Happy 38th birthday! Lots of love, Léa.

What I liked about these letters is that they show a small window into their heart. Killian’s heart bursts out of love for his dad. He is his hero but his message is short for his spelling is poor. I would never guess that Matty doesn’t like it when Phillip gets home late. For him, everything looks juuuust fine. As for Léa, her guilty conscience for not having done the right thing was too overwhelming for her.

Another birthday gone. Another year to plan the next one.

When I’m big, I want to be a gladiator…

8 Nov

Killian never really said that but I’m sure that he at least thought it! After being stuck for 2 years – almost 3  – on the pirate party, it came almost as a relief to hear him shout for a gladiator party!! We studied the roman time during our school time and it has been a fascinating time period for the kids AND for me!! So I was quite keen about the unusual theme… until I realised that the challenge of living in developing country (emphasis on -ing, as opposed to -ed) is that if your theme is not Spiderman or Hello Kitty or Pirates, there aren’t many available accessories in the shops (which is probably better given that anything with a brand name attached is so expensive!)

After being postponed by a week because of whooping cough threat (!!), and after many days of countdowns from Killian, finally he could have his roman gladiator party. So we made do with a few wooden swords, an old pair of short and some leathery fabric that I bought to complete the look and Killian’s outfit – as well as Matty’s –  was ready. Léa wore a white roman dress (i.e. a white dress that my friend Laure left here because it was torn. It looked almost roman) with a brown belt and was armed with a bow and arrow. She would have fitted the Robin Hood party-theme very well but she thought she looked great and so did I!!

Game wise, I printed some roman pictures and cut them into puzzle pieces. Each cut picture was put in a ziploc bag and each team of 5 children had to find 3 bags, hidden in the garden, assemble the pieces AND name what was on the picture.

Working out the acqueduc, or the arena or the roman soldier.

Then, each gladiator had to attend the training school, called a ludus (I bet you didn’t know that!). The training course was an obstacle course in the garden, with weight training too!

Weight training!

Then, the part that Killian had been begging for the past few weeks: the gladiator games!!!! We formed an arena with giant sparkles (except that in the sunlight we couldn’t see them!!), and separated them into 2 teams again. We invited the emperor and his assistant (akaPhillip and Doug) to watch the games and decide who was the best gladiator. The aim was not to win the fight but rather to entertain the crowd, show courage and skills, and die bravely. These gladiators-in-training showed amazing talent and we were thoroughly entertained!! We had some fighting on their knees, some without an arm, some even had to hold their swords in their mouth for lack of any other limbs. All fought showing no fear and all were rewarded for being the best **something**.

Matt, sword in the mouth, and Sebastian hopping on one leg.

Some tragic deaths 😉

Brother against sister. No mercy!

Skilled gladiator! (Laure, thank you for your dress!!)

Hardcore, yet pensive birthday warrior…

My cake disaster was saved by 2 lovely ladies (Kirstin and Kirstin) who helped me turning what was supposed to be a roman soldier into a shield. When Killian saw it, he gasped (of joy) which is all that I needed 🙂

A fun group of gladiators!! Well done!!

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