Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Birthday Girl!

This girl is such a force to be reckoned with, and considering she has been looking forward to her birthday for the last 364 days, she was damn near out of her mind by the time it rolled around.  That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by her positive attitude and relative lack of tantrums throughout her party.

We had some close family and friends over on Saturday to celebrate with a pretty low-key party (for me anyway).  She does not have any little friends here yet, but since she starts kindergarten in the fall, I anticipate next year's party will be very different.

She kinda wanted an Ariel Little Mermaid theme, but she did not really seem to care too much about that, so I chose to not either.  :)  We just went with "birthday" theme and it was fun.

She insisted on wearing her floaties in her knee-deep water.  Cool with me.
As far as activities go, she wanted her pool, and she wanted to play croquet.  These were her big two.  It was the first time we got out the pool for the year (and in our new house), so that was exciting, and for some reason she really love croquet even though she is terrible at it.

I always do a pin the something on the something at parties, so this year we used the laminated princesses I made 3 years ago (seriously) and Vi and I drew a new castle.  We free-handed this castle a few hours before the party.  I am proud.  As always, huge thanks to my family for playing along with the games.  

Vi stuck with what she loves and once again asked for funfetti cupcakes, pink icing, and marshmallow and jellybean toppers.  I also put on Ariel princess toppers I made at home for my one tiny pretend adherence to a theme.
She loved her presents, and she is clearly a spoiled rotten child.  I am going to write a post later about Slipper and Mrs. Moo (yes, she is still alive and kicking)  but suffice to say for now that this was the favorite gift, followed closely by all things Barbie and Doc McStuffins.

Our little angel threw a fit when she unwrapped this lovely gift from Joey and Megan.  "Ugh - I don't want a guitar!!  It is not even pink!!"  I was so embarrassed.  I don't know what to do with her.  Btw, she loves it and uses it a lot.  I think she was just so inundated with pink toys that this was off-theme and therefore unloved in the moment.  BUT, no excuse for that behavior.  Cringe-worthy parenting is the only kind of parenting I am good at.

Love Emily and Matt for becoming our Oxford family additions!!

So many checkups were conducted with her new Doc McStuffins doctor kit.

Vi loved her FaceTime chat with Penelope.  They both get huge smiles when they see each other.  I love it!!

We had a long day of fun, but my little angel did finally poop out on me and smother me with cuddles.  She is a handful all of the time, but she is so passionate and vibrant.  She is smart, quick, funny, and incredibly creative and imaginative.  I am worn out by her energy and stubbornness, but I know that that part of her personality will eventually turn into her greatest strength (once she learns to control it and that she is not the only person on the planet that matters).  I have high hopes for 5 - I think it will be her best year yet!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Shakespeare's First Folio

This year is the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, and the Folger Shakespeare Library is doing a tour of the First Folio to celebrate.  So cool.  Even cooler, Ole Miss was chosen to host one of the traveling folios, and I was SO excited.

An actual First Folio.  Here.  In little Oxford, MS!!

I found out when I was excitedly telling my co-workers about this that most people have no idea what the first folio is.  So, quick history lesson:

Shakespeare died in 1616, and in 1623 a group of his friends and colleagues printed the first ever collection of his works in one book.  The folio contained 36 plays and many plays that had previously never been published, only performed.  So, without this folio, we could have lost such great works as Macbeth and Twelfth Night (and many more).  Anyway, in 1623, around 750 copies were printed (all a little different since printing back then was done by different typesetters).  Today, around 200 of those original 750 still exist and are kept in various museums, libraries, etc.  Back in 1623,  they sold for 1 pound, but today a validated folio is sold for over $6 million, making it the most valuable book in the world.

So basically, I am a huge nerd and though I have already seen a folio in England, the fact that I could take my kids to see it here in Oxford was just too exciting for words.

At the museum, the book is surrounded by alarms and you are watched by a guard as you look at it.  You cannot photograph it with a flash (obviously) and you have to do a practice photo off to the side so the guard can verify your flash is really off.  If you so much as lightly graze the glass with the side of your arm, alarms will go off and they will evacuate the room.  If the alarms are set off too many times, the Folger Shakespeare Library will remove the folio.

So. Serious.

When we saw it, it was open to the "To be or not to be" speech in Hamlet, which is the most recognizable Shakespeare line, so that makes sense.

I was impressed with the kids - they were bored once they realized that it was just a book in a glass case, but they did understand the importance.  Brian and I could have stayed for hours, and they did not understand how more than 5 minutes was needed.  They did get stickers, though.

The University was excited to host the folio, so they set up a month of events and plays and lectures to celebrate Shakespeare.  We took the kids to see the lecture called "They fight.  Shakespeare and Swordplay" because it was put on by the drama department and professional stunt coordinators.  I figured that would be more exciting for the kids than a straight lecture - and they LOVED it.

They got to see different fighting styles from the time (like did you know "cloak and dagger" refers to a style of fighting where you literally use your cloak as a weapon in one hand and a dagger in the other?) so fun.

They even let the kids hold the swords and shields at the end.

I have loved Shakespeare ever since I first read my mom's old copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream as a kid.  I never understood why people couldn't make sense of it, I guess the iambic pentameter and language just clicked for me.  My favorite courses in college were Dr. Carroll's two Shakespeare ones, and I traveled to Stratford and London with Dr. Carroll to study with the Royal Shakespeare Academy.  SO amazing.  I did not have a blog back in undergrad, so here are some photos from my actual hard copy scrapbook.  Such fun memories!!
We saw Twelfth Night at The Globe!

We got to meet and work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and go backstage for their production of Much Ado About Nothing in Stratford.

Cheri and I in Canterbury Hall, our dorm room at the University of London.

Cheri and I in Oxford (the real one, not the one in Mississippi).

Cheri and I on the streets in Stratford - it was such a beautiful little town!
I am incredibly happy that working at Ole Miss has provided me the opportunity to share some of my passion for Shakespeare with my kids at a very early age.  I hope they appreciated it, and that it sparks a life-long love for them as well.  (look how tiny they are standing on the steps of the Lyceum!)