DIY Graduation Party, Selfie Station

The church bells rang as I took this picture!
Church bells rang in celebration!

Polaroid-Inspired Pics

A Selfie Station is a fun idea for any celebration. Set it up and say, “Cheese!”

Selfie Station How To

  1. Gather supplies: hot glue gun, large piece of foam board or tag board, Exacto knife, photo props (At Michael’s, we found a kit with die-cut graduation props), container to stand props in, large sheet or towel, pushpins, markers.
  2. Assemble props by hot-gluing props to dowels. Stand in a container.
  3. Cut a “window” out of the foam board. Decide if your giant photo frame will be landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) and, using Exacto knife, cut out a large “window” in the middle. Leave a larger band of foam board along the bottom.
  4. Personalize the bottom of your giant photo frame.
  5. Set up a backdrop. Hang a sheet or towel as a backdrop. Keep the sides in place with push pins. (Tip. I tapped each pin with a small hammer, making the backdrop extra secure.)
  6.  Hand write or print out a Selfie Station sign. Place the sign along with props next to the backdrop.
Hot-glue dowels to back of die-cut props.
Hot glue dowels to back of die-cut props.
Fun photo props.
Fun photo props.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut out middle of foam or tag board, leaving a larger space at the bottom for personalization.
Cut a “window” out of the foam board, leaving a large space at the bottom for personalization.
Using pushpins, secure asheet or towel as a backdrop. Set up photo area.
Use pushpins to secure a sheet or towel to the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let guests know where the Photo Booth is with a sign.
Set up the Selfie Station by the backdrop, including props and a sign.
Me and my Muhlenberg grad.
Me and my Muhlenberg grad.
My college girlfriends' daughters and mine.
My college girlfriends’ daughters and my Plus One. How fun!

 Related Posts on a DIY Graduation Party: 

Party Prep, Step-by-StepCookie Favors, Mason Jar Centerpieces, Outdoor Decor

Cancun Chaos

Are we headed to Cancun on Spring Break or a Girl Band named "Big Hair & Denim"?
College Girls.  Are we headed to Cancun on Spring Break or a Girl Band named “Big Hair & Denim”?

 Who can forget Spring Break?

My son and his college buddies recently returned from Spring Break in Cancun, a tourist destination known for beautiful beaches, turquoise water, and American students having a lot of fun.

When I told my college girl friends where my son vacationed, they all remembered our Spring Break in Cancun.  How could we forget it, especially our last night there?

Here’s the lowdown on the slowdown that  caused Cancun Chaos! 

Who:  Approximately 200 college students.

What:  Departure of a charter flight back to the U.S.

Where:  Cancun International Airport.

When:  8 pm (late ’80’s–could you tell from the hair?)

Why:  Good Question!

What Happened?

Shortly after arriving at Cancun International Airport, the shops brought down their gates.  Then, some airport employees left.  Then THEY ALL left!  Two hundred college kids were like, “What just happened?” and “Where’s our plane?” and “Holy Moly–we’re locked in!”

Apparently, our flight was cancelled or postponed or whatever!  So, the airline workers went home.  Guess what we didn’t have?  Cell phones (gasp!).  I remember being tired and angry.  If we’d known the flight was cancelled, we could have either stayed at our hotel another night or hung out with my childhood friend, who also happened to be in Cancun.  Ugh!

We had no way of letting anyone know we were stuck and no way of finding out when we might leave.  It was chaos!  Those who had bought Mexican blankets were in high demand.  The rest of us climbed on top of X-Ray scanner belts, pretended to be airline attendants and, basically, got delirious wondering if and when a plane would arrive.

And then?

Around 8 am, airline workers unlocked the airport doors.  They weren’t in a hurry and they didn’t apologize.  What did they care if a couple hundred American students had practically eaten their sombreros in desparation?

At 9 am, a charter plane arrived. What I don’t remember is if we all cheered upon takeoff or immediately fell asleep!

Open air market.
Open air market.
Hair and high-cut swimsuit--so Eighties!
Lots of hair and high-cut swimsuit–so Eighties!
Tanning in turquoise water.
Tanning in turquoise water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shout out to my childhood friend
Shout out to my childhood friend.
Hanging out on the X-Ray belt and, yes, crawling, through the machine.
Hanging out on the X-Ray scanner belt and, yes, crawling, through the machine at Cancun International Airport.

 Hon, do you have a ridiculous travel experience?  I’d love to hear about it.

Freezing Air, Fumes and the Fire Department

Beverly_Engine_3_2006

The current cold snap in the Northeast reminds me of a another cold winter, allegedly the “coldest winter in the history of Massachusetts.”

The current temperature outside.
The current temperature outside.
Microwave Popcorn
Microwave Popcorn

What do microwave popcorn, the fire department and freezing air have to do with each other?  Hon, I’ll tell you, and apologies to my friends that have heard this story before.

Time:  Wintersession at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Junior year of college.

Setting:  Kitchen of the house I shared with five other girls.  Only one of my roommates and I stayed for Wintersession, so it was just she and I and our cats in the house that cold, cold month.

Definition:  Let me define “cold, cold.”  Winters in Amherst were probably warmer than winters in Alaska, but when you went outside, it felt like the fluid under your skin froze. My expressions froze in place.  That’s better than botox!

Snacktime:  My roomie, Pam, and I shared a bowl of microwave popcorn. What was at the bottom of the bowl?  Unpopped kernels, of course.  I thought Let’s pop the unpopped kernels on the stove. I put one (ONE) unpopped kernel in a pan of oil on the stove and waited to hear it pop.  It didn’t!

Kabloowie:  I lifted off the top of the pot and a ball of fire shot up into the air.  Kabloowie!  I knew you weren’t supposed to put water on a grease fire and the flames were contained in the pot, so the only thing to do was turn the stove off and put the lid back on.  Black smoke filled the kitchen, then the house.  There was screaming. There was panic. There was a call to the fire department.

Fumes:  Pam and I ran helter skelter around the house.  We opened all of the windows, grabbed washcloths to cover our faces and ran to our car.  Then we realized our cats might run out of the open windows, and we were so worried about our cats that we ran back into the smoky house and, somehow, found the cats. (I can’t remember if we had two or three cats. I just know who cleaned the litter box and WHO DIDN’T! But, I digress.)  Arms full of felines, we ran back to the car and waited for the fire department.

Fire Department:  The fire department folks told us over the phone that they weren’t coming.  We were to wait until the smoke dissipated.  That’s it?

Freezing Air:  There was nothing to do but sit in the car and wait.  We turned on the radio and this is what the announcer said, “Tonight is the coldest day in the history of Massachusetts!  Ever!”

We waited a long time.  We were cold.  When we finally ventured back in the house, we found the kitchen cabinets sooty and the pot completely charred.  But, other than a smoky house, everything was fine.

Even the cats.

Lesson Learned:  Don’t EVER try to pop unpopped microwave popcorn kernels. Not even one.  It’ll go up in flames!

Autumn Haikus

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My triplets plus one pumpkin picking.
My triplets and Plus One pumpkin picking, ages 10 and 3.

Colorful and crunchy leaves make me nostalgic for the time when my children were little. If you read my recent post, 19 On the 19th (Happy Birthday To My Triplets), then you know I’ve been strolling down memory lane since September.  Every year, we would

drive to the a country farm,

ride in a wagon,

pick pumpkins,

decorate our house,

carve pumpkins,

jump in leaf piles

and, of course, go trick-or-treating.

Topping off the holiday season was the best entertainment around, the elementary school Halloween show. Soon after Thanksgiving arrived and we feasted with extended family at our home.  Heaven!

I recently came across my big kids’ third grade Autumn Haikus.  I couldn’t wait to share them with you, along with a photo of each kid, all grown up now.

Autumn Haikus H

"Baby A"
“Baby A” and me.

Autumn Haikus T

'Baby B"
‘Baby B” and Hubby.

Autumn Haiku M

Tween Daughter, Me, "Baby C"
Tween Daughter, Me, “Baby C”

Do you and your family have favorite Fall traditions?  Hon, I’d love to hear them.

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Gutter Mouth Part 1(or the Top Ten Excuses and Lies of a Gutter Mouth)

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My family wasn’t a cussing family.

That’s not to say tempers didn’t flare.  There was plenty of hollering in my home, accompanied by stomping feet and slamming doors.  I just don’t recall swear words worse than damn and hell.

Then I went to college, where curse words found a way into my vocabulary.  Along with everything else I loved about college, I loved the freedom to speak any which way I liked.  The summer after freshman year, my mom heard my newfound trash mouth and commented on it.  I tried to curb my gutter mouth while at home.

I recently encountered a different kind of Gutter Mouth, a man who is either a pathological liar, a con artist or both.

This winter, part of a plaster ceiling started crumbling, a sure sign of a leak.  Enter Al who from now on in will be referred to as G.M., a so-called gutter expert from our town.  He came recommended by a neighbor who also lives in an historic house and has introduced us to some wonderful people.  My neighbor’s recommendation was all I needed.  I’d come to find out later that G.M. had been flagged on a local online network as someone to avoid.

G.M. started work on our leaky gutters in December.  He said the job would be done in a few weeks.  After showing up a couple of times, climbing a ladder and assuring me that he was going to fix everything and more, he asked to be paid up front.  Stupidly, we did.  We thought that since he lives in town and has a kid who graduated with our kids, he was as good as his word and the contract spelling out the work and cost.  After we paid him, he never showed up again.

The next six months we tried to pin him down or get a refund.  Finally, under threat of the sheriff’s office, he taped a check to his door.  Hubby made sure it didn’t bounce.  It didn’t and now we’re through talking trash!

Top Ten Excuses and Lies of a Gutter Mouth:

  1. It might rain.
  2. It rained yesterday.
  3. It’s too cold.
  4. It’s too hot.
  5. I’m at the beach.
  6. There was an emergency at the beach.
  7. I’m in D.C.
  8. I’m busy with “the wife.”
  9. My son’s sick.
  10. Check’s in the mail.

Moral of the story:  Don’t believe a Gutter Mouth, don’t talk like a Gutter Mouth and, for goodness sake, don’t pay the balance until the job is done!

Mother’s Day Moment

Hon, please indulge me. It doesn’t have to be Mother’s Day for me to say how grateful I am to be a mom, how proud I am of my kids or how much I love them.  But, what I want to do today is spend time with all of them so this post is the prologue to the story of the last 18 1/2 year of my life.

(I can’t take credit for all of the photos. Some are mine and some aren’t.)

Baby A's tiny hand in mine.
Baby A’s tiny hand in mine. This was the first day I was allowed to hold her. She was 10 days.

Baby A was only 2 pounds 9 ounces at birth and stayed in the NICU for 6 1/2 weeks. Despite being tiny, she could breath on her own (the tube in her nose above is a Gavage feeding tube). The nurses said she screamed loudly and a lot, which demonstrated how developed her lungs were. One nurse took to carrying her around on her shoulder to calm her down. As I scrubbed up before entering the NICU to take my smallest triplet home, one of the nurses, referring to my baby, said, “When is that mother going to get here already?” The mother bear in me came out when I answered, “I’m here!”

Baby A at 3 1/2.
At 3 1/2.
Baby A is the teenager with red hair.
As a counselor at a sleep-away camp.  Here she is with some of her campers.

Proud mama (and papa) moving our firstborn into her dorm room for freshman year.

Baby A starting freshman year of college.
Starting freshman year of college.

 

Baby B swaddled and sleepy.
Baby B swaddled and sleeping. He was small but healthy.

Baby B was the largest triplet at 4 pounds, 12 ounces. In the NICU he was considered a “feeder and grower” and was able to come home after 10 days.  His colic lasted until he was 6 months. In an effort to deal with the colic, we switched to a non-dairy formula causing him to smell like a potato! He was such an affectionate baby, he’s meld into my body when I rocked him. As a toddler, he was the ringleader of the games “Let’s Smear Our Room In Vaseline,” “Let’s Step In the Diaper Rash Ointment,” and “Let’s Shred All Of The Audio Tapes Our Parents Made Of Our First Words!”

"Growl, I'm a tiger!"
“Growl, I’m a tiger!”  At his 4th birthday party.
Baby B on move in day,
On move in day of freshman year at a university.

Proud mama (and papa) attending an ROTC Army event at our son’s university and seeing him in his dress blues.

Dress blues.
Dress blues.

 

Baby C in her isolette.
Baby C in her Isolette.  The nurses said her beauty “glowed” from the inside out.

Baby C, 4 pounds 4 ounces at birth, was allowed to come home after 12 days.  She had no problem sharing a bassinet with her brother and the two of them would contentedly stare at each other. But when Baby A came home from the hospital and I laid her down next to her sister, Baby C howled with displeasure as if to say, “Who is this baby and what is doing here?  I had to either lay them head to toe or put my son in the middle.  Hon, I am here to tell you that birth order dynamics are thrown to the wind when it comes to multiples. Baby C established herself as the “oldest” (that’s a euphemism for bossiest) even if she was born third.  She had the world’s best belly laugh and, if I could have bottled it, I’d be writing my books on an island in the Caribbean right now!

Pony ride at 3 3/4.
Pony ride at 3 3/4.
Bed's made up and saying goodbye start of freshman year of college.
Bed’s made up and saying goodbye start of freshman year of college.

Proud Mama (and Papa) have known our daughter was artistic since she was 3 years old.  Her self portrait is stunning!

Self portrait, oil paints.
Self portrait our daughter painted of herself with with acrylic paints.

 

Our Plus One the day after she was born.
Our Plus One the day after she was born. She was happy and calm right from the start.

Hon, do you know what was strange about holding an 8 pounds 6 ounce newborn? She was the same size as our triplets were when they were able to sit up! Our Plus One was an easy, go-with-the-flow child who was happiest when she was surrounded by her family. Many people have asked if she was accident, to which I replied, “No, she was very planned!” More people have said, “Wow, that’s a lot of kids” to which I replied, “Four was always my lucky number.”  And countless people have said, “You had triplets and then another one?!” to which I replied, “She’s G-d’s gift to me!”

Our fourth as a toddler.
Our fourth as a toddler.
No fear on the trapeze.
No fear on the trapeze.
Leaping at ballet class.
Leaping at ballet class.

Proud Mama (and Papa) shed tears at our youngest’s “Moving Up” ceremony, but still celebrated the start of a new chapter in her life.

"Moving Up" from elementary to middle school.
“Moving Up” from elementary to middle school.

 

Boston Bound

Qunicy Market, Boston, MA
Qunicy Market, Boston, MA
Triplets, age 10, about to go on a Boston Duck Tour (land and water tour)
Triplets, age 10, about to go on a Boston Duck Tour (land and water tour)
street performers
street performers
Quincy Market, Boston, MA
Quincy Market, Boston, MA

This is how I am bound to Boston.

Fall semester, senior year of college I lived in Brookline while I interned as an assistant buyer at Filene’s.  My husband went to MIT.  My brother got married in Boston and lives right outside of the city now.  An emergency room doctor, he and his family happened to be in Manhattan yesterday.  My sister attended Boston University and my niece graduated from B.U. a year ago.  My college age triplets have friends who attend universities in Boston. Our dear friends were watching the marathon two floors up from the bombing.

And I just read L.A. Byrne’s blog post, “Running For Boston” about her daughter who runs and her son who attends Boston College.

The horror. The unspeakable.

Tragedy.

The Line In The Sand

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St. Patrick's Day Parade
St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Saturday March 16, my college-aged daughter, her friend visiting from Seattle and I planned to spend a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.  Another college friend from Westchester would meet us there.  But, we didn’t do our homework.

We guessed the St. Patrick’s Day parade would be the next day, March 17, but we were wrong. The horde of young adults wearing green was the first sign it would be an unusual day.  The second sign was that most of them were drunk.  And it was 11am.

While waiting for an uptown bus, we made small talk with other passengersA line in the sand was drawn.  On one side were the sober people and on the other side were the St. Patrick’s Day revelers.

Cast of characters we met that unusual day.

Vinnie:  Vinnie from Long Island was also going uptown.  Seventy-seven, married and a grandfather, Vinnie was going shopping on Fifth Avenue.  We said we were going to the Met.  “I’ve lived in New York my whole life and I’ve never been there.” (Hard to believe but WHATEVAH!)  Fancy shops on Fifth Avenue came and went.  My daughter, her friend and I exited the bus.  Guess who was right behind us?  Vinnie.  We checked our coats at the Met.  Guess who was right behind us?  Vinnie, again!

First Army Dude:  We caught the tail end of the St. Patty’s Day parade.  An army battalion marched in front of us and I saluted, “Thank you!”  My daughter’s eyes rolled back in her head and her friends cracked up.  One of the army guys called out to us, “You need more to drink!”

Daniel:  Daniel, an intoxicated twenty-something, rode the same bus downtown.  He bragged about his job at J.P. Morgan Chase, his intelligence, how he didn’t finish college and how he reports directly to the CEO, Jamie Dimon.  (Hard to believe but WHATEVAH!)  In a bizarre coincidence, he knew our guest’s sister from Seattle.  Daniel swayed as he sat, got loud and mean and then passed out.

Second Army Dude:  Just as Daniel passed out, an Army dude boarded the bus.  He told me Army statistics, how old his son is and then flashed a pearly white smile, “Now is the time to tell me I don’t look old enough to have a twenty-eight year old!”

Drunken College Guy:  Getting to Penn Station with minutes to spare, we ran to the track along with a crowd.  Immediately, Drunken College Guy spotted my daughter and her friend.  DCG proceeded to slur, “Where do you go to college?”  “Skidmore,” they answered.  “More what?” DCG slurred.  “Skidmore, you know, College,” they said.  “More what?”  DCG slurred again.  (For real?  WHATEVAH!)

We had never met so many “interesting” people in one day.  It had been fun, but we were ready to go home. Then the conductor came by and informed us that we were on the wrong train!  Oy! The right train and the wrong train must have been on adjacent tracks.

We ended up at Newark Liberty International Airport, took an Airtram to the main terminal and got picked up by my hubby.

Thanks, hubby, for the ride and for understanding that you may end up at the airport even if you’re on the sober side of the line!

Material Girl Metaphor

pumpkin picking
pumpkin picking
Bethany Beach, DE
Bethany Beach, DE
Magic Kingdom, FL
Magic Kingdom, FL
kids and puppy with our old babysitter (and now dear friend) and her baby
triplets before they left for college, kid #4, puppy and our old babysitter (and now dear friend) and her baby

Last week, I lost a necklace.  I put my hand to my neck and realized my necklace wasn’t there. I was 99.9% positive I had put it on that morning. As I searched around my seat, my coat, the parking lot and my car, the percentage fell to 75% sure. In fact, I was hoping to be dead wrong, hoping it was lying on my dresser. When I got home, no luck. I felt like I was losing my mind as well as the necklace. I admit I freaked out a little. Okay, not really a little–a lot. (Losing my perspective is a whole other blog post.)

I know the necklace is only a material thing, not that important in the scheme of things, but I was upset. I thought about the people who have lost their homes and worse in Hurricane Sandy and I was sad for them. Did that help me gain perspective? Not in the moment, not really.

I felt the necklace was a metaphor (Hon, I’m really into metaphors.) for other things I have lost, such as three children who all started college this September and a job I’ve worked at for twenty years that is about to end. I believed that when the triplets went to college, my head would open up, fresh air would rush in and my brain would be rejuvenated. Needless to say, that hasn’t happened.

Back to the necklace search. Losing my necklace reminded me of another time I lost a different necklace. A couple of years ago, before trying something on in a store, I put that necklace on a chair in the fitting room. It was almost closing time so I had to wait until morning to try and find it. If one of my daughters put a necklace on a chair instead of in her pocketbook, I wouldn’t be happy. I was the one who wasn’t thinking, I chastised myself. I rushed to the store in the morning and recovered my necklace. Lesson learned.

Last week, after feeling like I was losing my mind, my daughter and I returned to the scene of the crime (okay, it wasn’t a crime, but I kept saying “scene of the crime” so there it is). We retraced my steps and found the necklace in the parking lot, jump rings and clasp in tact. Yay! And how? How had it fallen off my neck?

I found my necklace but I’ll never be that mom in charge of a constant-house-full-of-children again and I’m not sure what jobs I might find in the future. What I’m really not sure of is when that hand is reaching down from heaven to open up my head so I can clean out the cobwebs in my brain.

I think I’ll stay away from percentages but hopefully, I’ll find a new purpose, a new job and a new perspective in the new year.