Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday: It all started with some vests

Dear Em,
I just watched a video on Facebook of URI RAs in at a bowling alley in costume. They had an entire acapella performance to go with their costumes. It was truly amazing.

Once upon a time, I was an RA. When I started, we didn't have staff bowling. After two weeks of training, we had a staff cruise night. Traning was an intense time of learning & preparing (& fun too), & the RA cruise was a great way to unwind. We dressed up & mingled with all the RA friends we had made that summer.

My last year as an RA, it was announced that the RA cruise would be replaced with RA bowling. I was bummed. I'm not really a bowler. I mean, I'll go with friends, but I mostly feel ehhh about it. And what about dressing up n a cute dress & taking pretty photos? My staff wondered how we could bring a little more fun into bowling night.

It all started with some vests. I'm not sure where we even found them. I mean, what store was selling cheesy black vests in bulk? I'm not sure if we were going for Grease's T-Birds or tough bikers, but we bought the vests & decorated them with puffy paint. We gave ourselves nicknames that we painted on the front of the vests. Then we bowled. We bowled & we laughed at ourselves...because no one else was wearing funny vests. No one else was dressed up at all. It was a great night. The Barlow staff had found a way to make bowling fun.

I returned to RA training the next year as a Graduate Assistant Hall Director. Not willing to let go of finding something fun to do while bowling, I told my staff about our vests from the previous year. My staff was so amazing & so fun. They jumped right on the idea of dressing up. We made tshirts & bought neon visors (where did we ever find those). We wore boxer shorts & knee high socks. We looked ridiculous...& we laughed at ourselves because, again, no one else was dressed in silly costume. We got a lot of stares that year, but we got the Director of Housing to wear one of our visors & had TONS of fun. It was a good night.

The next year, there were whispers from all over about dressing up for bowling night. My staff went with a theme that was easy to put together but had a lot of shock value...we dressed like we were heading to the shower. There were towels (I wore a strapless dress under mine) & shower caps & loofahs. It was amazing. Guess what?! We weren't the only ones to dress up that year. There were other staffs in their own themed outfits too. It was so freaking fun!

My last year at URI RA training, my staff & I all dressed up as Hillbilly's. We had so much fun getting our costumes together. As we walked outside to join the others at the busses, I think my mouth dropped open. All the staffs were walking out from their costume! Even the Hall Directors dressed up. The costume themse were thoughtful & funny & amazing. That night bowling was truly fun (& hilarious)!

It's been a long time since I participated in RA bowling night, but once each summer I see photos posted on Facebook. Costume bowling night is so much bigger & more elaborate now. It's pretty amazing. It puts a smile on my face as I think of all the RA staffs that came before. I think of the amazing staffs I got to work with & how they made bowling fun. Sigh, it pretty amazing what a few cheesy vests & some great people can start.

I love you so,

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Oh yes it's 80s night...with a photo booth

Dear Em,
I was a child of the 80s. I grew up rocking to Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, & Madonna. I loved the movies Big, Flight of the Navigator, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, & Karate Kid. I wore neon colors, jean jackets, & side pony tails.

Of course now I look back at the fashion choices & want to die laugh, but sometimes it's fun to bring back the embarrassing fashion choices (& laughter) just for one night (not for entire seasons like the fashion industry seems to want to do right now). This past weekend we threw a bachelorette party for one of my dearest friends, & we decided to bring back the decade that we were born in...just for one night. Because 80s night couldn't possibly be complete without a photo booth, I put a little something together.

I used:
- 2 1/2 yards of heavy white fabric
- Neon pink, yellow, & orange puffy paint
- A paint brush
- 3 paper plates

I laid the white fabric out on my lawn outside. Next I poured a big glob of pink puffy paint on a paper plate. I mushed my paint brush around the paint to completely saturate the entire brush. Then with flicks of my wrist, I splattered the paint all over the white fabric until the paint brush didn't have enough paint to make anymore splatters. I repeated with the other two colors. It took me less than 15 minutes to complete the whole project (thank goodness I wasn't wearing shoes, because my feet were also splattered with paint by the end).

With this particular photo booth, everyone mostly brought their own props. There were neon & lace leggings. There were jelly bracelets. There were head & wrist bands. There were neon sunglasses & mesh gloves. My favorite was the neon colored fanny pack. The neon splatters were the perfect backdrop as we captured these precious moments.

Ha! It was such a fun & ridiculously hilarious night. I loved reliving the 80s, just for a little while. And if we ever decide we need to relive it again...I have a photo booth for that.

I love you so,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our World Travels

Dear Em,
I always wanted to hang up a world map somewhere in our house. It didn't feel right with the theme of your room (nor do you have any extra wall space), but I've been casually thinking about where else a map might fit. After updating the entryway, it's become such a fun learning/storgae area. It's the perfect place for our World Map.

I bought a map from Amazon & attached foam board to the back before nailing it on the wall. The map came laminated, which I didn't really expect. The shininess of it makes it hard to look at in certain light. I think eventually we might replace it with a canvas map print, but this was a much less expensive solution that works for now.

We placed blue pins at the locations we've traveled to. It was a glaring reminder that most of our travels have been within the USA, & most of those travels have been on the East Coast. That realization has made me long for international travel...sigh, maybe next year?

I love being able to point out locations on the map when you ask me where a place is. I love that when I read or hear about a place I'm not familiar with, I can look it up on our map.

And I'm looking forward to adding blue pins with you & Daddy.

I love you so,

Monday, August 25, 2014

kayaking 2014

Dear Em,
This summer is freaking flying by. During our trip to Lake Winnipesauke, I realized it was the first time you & I went kayaking. Daddy & Uncle Jared went a few times without us to go fishing, but I didn't fit it in until our weekend getaway.

Kayaks are a little slow for your preference. As we were paddling along, taking in the gorgeous New Hampshire views, you asked us if we were there yet. You begged to jump out of the kayak & swim, & then told us that you were done with the kayak & would swim the rest of the way. Ha!

The Sea Doos were definitely more your speed.

We have a few weeks left of summer. While there won't be any more Sea Doo rides for you, I'm hoping we can squeeze in another kayak outing or two.

I love you so,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

TBT: Hickfest

Dear Em,
This year's Hickfest was our 6th Hickfest. The first one we had was actually our very first BBQ at our house. It pushed me to get everything in our house unpacked & organized before we had everyone over (I think our Family room couches were delivered days before). We invited all of our friends & family, & more than 50 people came. Daddy & I spent half of the day giving house tours to our family & friends who were just seeing our home for the very first time.

Technically, it was your first Hickfest. I was 4 months pregnant.

In 2010 our family had grown, & we had a little cow-baby to join our fun. We got a little more costumey & got mullets & cowboy hats & boots to add to the ambiance. You napped periodically while the party went on outside.

2011 was the first year you actually went to the fair & a couple of your very first rides. You were fully mobile by then, & much of Hickfest was spent making sure you stayed in the yard like a safe little cowgirl.

Hickfest fell on a rainy weekend in 2012, & it conflicted with two other events. We held a very small gathering on Friday night, skipped the costumes, & ate the crabs & lobsters Nonnie & Papi cooked. Not our typical Hickfest but relaxing & amazing in its own way.

With more of our friends having kids, 2013 was a fun year for you. You had tons of kids to play with. We brought back the costumes & even added some Duck Dynasty & Nascar decor. It was such a fun party for our family to share with all of our friends little families (plus, we found out more of our kids would be having kids).

I can't believe we've had 6 Hicktastic celebrations with our friends & family in our backyard (man, time goes by so quick). I love how it gives us a chance to get together each summer & catch up...congratulate the newly married couple, snuggle the new baby, look at how much each little has grown since the previous year, & squeal excitedly about the news that a new baby is on the way. I enjoy those fun moments in our backyard so much & hope we will continue to celebrate them for so many more years to come.

Plus, who doesn't like putting on a mullet at least once a year? Business in the front, party in the back.

I love you so,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hickfest 2014

Dear Em,
We live in the North. New England accents abound. New England is known for it's rich history & its fine Universities. Rhode Islanders often dress in collared shirts (sometimes with the collars popped)...except for a few days each summer.

You see, there's this thing called the Washington County Fair. When the fair comes to town, all of a sudden we are transformed into a whole new world. There are men wearing sleeveless tshirts. There is a ton of country music. There are confederate flags. There are mullets...seriously! Mullets!

The first time I went to the Washington County Fair, I think I walked around with my jaw dropped open. I have no idea where all these people come from, but somehow they come out of the woodwork once a year. I know we live in Southern Rhode Island, but once a year we feel like we're living in the full blown south.

You know the phrase "if you can't beat them, join them"? Well, we've decided why not join them? Well, once a year we throw a party that we fondly call Hickfest to celebrate all of the southern stereotypes. We invite our friends over for food & yard games & general hick-like shenanigans. And for those of our friends that are brave enough, they can head over to the splendor that is the Washington County Fair.

I think this year was my favorite. Our yard was filled with family & friends & littles.

And of course there was a photo booth (I freaking love photo booths). You were so stinkin' cute with your "cowgirl" boots, overalls, & mullet wig. You were over the moon excited that I matched you with my own overalls & pigtails.

I think this was your favorite year too, especially because you got to stay up way past your bedtime for sparklers & fireworks.

We're very much conservative New Englanders, but I'm glad that once a year we get the chance to go a little bit country. It's such a fun & hilarious time we're fortunate to share with so many of our favorite people.

I love you so,
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