A Paintball Party

We have a newly minted 12-year-old.

With Big Kid's birthday falling on Memorial Day, we knew that many families would be traveling for the holiday weekend. Since he and many of his friends graduated from elementary school last week we decided to do a big birthday/end of elementary school party, thinking that this will probably be the last traditional kid-and-cake party for him. 

After much brainstorming, we decided on a paintball party. The last day of school was a half day so that afternoon 19 boys gathered at Phoenix Paintball for three hours of combat. But first, the deets.

Paintball parties aren't cheap so I looked to cut costs whenever possible. I found the Free Invite online for free and asked my design guru (aka as the newspaper's copy editor) customize it. 

Paintball party motifs are few and far between, so we decided on camo (Party City). The party favors were a conundrum. What do you give a seventh grader guest? I thought that we would not go wrong with candy. Boxes of Skittles (Dollar Tree, where I also found the napkins) look like paintballs, right? 

Not really. The paintballs actually looked like Lemonheads.

Since we were outside in a field and it was windy, we went very light on decorations. But I wanted to do at least something, so we tied a giant 1 and 2 balloon to the picnic table -- this is the best photo I have of them from earlier in the day.

As for food, we brought water bottles, Gatorade, mini chip bags and of course, it's not a Skelley party without cookie cake. One thing we learned -- boys like Gatorade. The Engineer had to run to the grocery store half way thru the party and replenish.

Because it was the end of school and we were transporting half of the guests, I added a little decoration to our cars. 

No serious injuries were incurred except for the birthday boy who took a paintball to the gut at close range. That wasn't pretty but after it stopped hurting, he wanted to show it off. All of the boys liked sharing their "war wounds." 

The paintball party was a big success and the guests had a blast (pun intended). If you are looking for party ideas for boys age 10 and up, this was definitely a memorable party and honestly, one of the easiest ones we have ever hosted. And if you are in North Alabama, Phoenix Paintball was great to work with -- definitely recommend.

As for his actual birthday it started out, as is tradition, with his favorite chocolate donuts. In the morning his Aunt Dana took him and Little to the pool while I finished up my work for the day (thanks, Aunt Dana!). Then we were off to play put put. In 90 degree weather. That was an adventure.

Her ball was right on the edge and she was attempting to blow it in.

The  put put complex is the same place that we held Little's Birthday Softball Soiree and also has batting cages. As it is baseball tournament time, Big worked on his batting.

 Big chose Smashburger for dinner which I was definitely okay with (as he has chosen Dairy Queen for birthdays past). These two on the right are virtually inseparable.

via Team Skelley on Instagram

Snapshot of Big Kid at age 12: I am not one to rhapsodize about my boy, as I am his mom and of course I think he is awesome. But I do want to record how much he has changed in the last year. He has matured so much. While he still struggles with his temper, he controls it much quicker than he used to. He is a happy, jovial boy with a funny sense of humor and a gregarious nature. Big is intensely competitive and probably will always be. We have to continue to help him channel that in a positive way. He is a natural athlete and an impressive shortstop, but so hard on himself when he misses a play. He is liked by (most of) his teachers -- he is a bit of a jokester -- his coaches and his youth leaders. I hope that he is always respectful (and that I hear about it if he is not). He's a smart cookie. Sometimes I worry that school has come too easy for him and when that is no longer the case, he will struggle with good study habits. Well this year, he completely bombed a science test but spent the rest of the grade period busting his butt to bring his average back up. And he did, I was very proud of him. He's a good egg and I love him.

Happy birthday, CDS.

Summer Movie Bucket List

Happy Memorial Day! 

This is the day that we remember the service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the safety and liberty of our country. My thanks will never be enough, but I will try to teach my children that our freedom is not, and never will be, free.

The Rocket's Memorial Day issue is always one of my favorite projects each year. This is my fourth now and while I sometimes grow tired of doing the same special sections (ask our special section editor, she has to listen to me complain) Memorial Day is never one of them.

It is also Big Kid Birthday -- 12 years old! More on that soon. 

I tried a Summer Bucket List a few years ago and while it went over well with Team Skelley, it honestly stressed me out, which is on me, I know. Some people aren't as anal retentive uptight um, task-oriented as I am and for them the summer bucket list is simply a loose guide to potential summer fun. Not me, I had to strategize how we were going to cross off every entry on the list or summer was ruined. I exaggerate, but only slightly.

So I have learned to set my goals more reachable. Since we are a family of movie fans, this is our Summer Movie Bucket List. 

Captain America Civil War
Out now

Already seen it and it was EPIC.

Neighbors 2
Out now

Two thumbs down. Not anywhere close to as funny as the original.

XMen Apocalypse
Out now

Not my favorite XMen, but still a fun afternoon at the movies.

Central Intelligence
June 17

The kids are clamoring to see this and you don't have to twist my arm to see a movie with The Rock.

Finding Dory
June 17

Finding Nemo is Little's favorite Disney movie so she is especially excited about this.

Independence Day Resurgence
June 24

YES! Gotta show Big Kid the original first.

The Secret Life of Pets
July 8

There is a basset hound!

July 15

I am hoping this is good, although it isn't possible to improve on the original. Big watched both Ghostbusters 1 and 2 on vacation this spring so he is a newly converted fan.

Star Trek Beyond
July 22

I really want this to be good. I absolutely loved the reboot but the last one was a little bit of a letdown. No one can out-Khan Ricardo Montalban.

Jason Bourne
July 29

The Engineer and I are excited about the first Bourne in almost a decade.

In addition to the theater flicks, we are hoping to do multiple movie nights at home to introduce the kids to such classics as A League of their Own, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Princess Bride, among others.

Different incarnations of Team Skelley will see the movies above based on their content -- my eight-year-old will not be seeing Jason Bourne, of course. I am also hoping The Bestie might come along for one of these as she is also a big movie buff. And I am sure Gramma will jump in on this too -- there are already Angry Birds plans with her next week. Cool theater, green apple slushy and a great summer flick? Sign me up.

Joining in with:


What's up? The last day of school

May is always super busy for Team Skelley, both at home and work. Let's take a look back.

What I'm reminiscing about: This one was easy because today is my son's last day of elementary school. We went to an elementary graduation cookout Sunday at the home of our friends and celebrated with all of Big's friends and their families.

First Day of Elementary School

Last Day of Elementary School

First Day of Second and Sixth

Last Day of Second and Sixth

I am trying not to get too sentimental and maudlin because I think (hope) middle school will be a great experience for him. He's ready.

What we're eating: I will be completely honest with you: ballpark food. Big's baseball tournament started Monday and it is double elimination. So if you are looking for me, check the tent in the parking lot at the park because that is where I will be living. He plays shortstop and here he is throwing a kid out at first. This was the best I could do Monday night.

What I'm loving: About a year or two ago, Big Kid and his friends aged out of toys, which made gift giving a little more tricky. Most of the time now, we give (and he receives) gift cards. To try to still keep it fun, we started tucking them in singing birthday cards. But we have exhausted that idea so we came up with something new for his buddy's birthday this past Saturday.

I stuck a gift card in a mason jar full of the birthday boy's favorite candy, which was Sour Patch Kids. He had to eat his way to the gift, a worthy challenge for a twelve-year-old boy.

What we've been up to: The kids have taken a newfound shine to doing chores. I am suspicious. Actually, they are looking to raise cash for some big ticket items -- Little, a pair of roller skates and Big, a new baseball bat. 

What I'm working on: We have special issues coming out the wazoo. Our Memorial Day special issue went live today and I think it is one of our best yet. The Redstone Arsenal 75th anniversary has gone to the historian so I am now tackling the Armed Forces Celebration Week special issue. Lord.

What I'm excited about: Last weekend we stopped by our neighbor's yard sale and Little fell in love with her son's bike that he had outgrown. I fell in love with the price tag. So now, Miss Girl has a very nice bike with gears, which she needed as her kindergarten Hello Kitty bike was too small.

What I'm watching: Big and I have a date to see the new XMen movie. I am hoping it is better than Neighbors 2, which his dad and I saw this past weekend. Great Googly Moogly, that was a bad movie. We liked the first one but I do not recommend the sequel.

What I'm reading: I am on an Emma Scott kick right now, finishing both Love Beyond Words and Unbreakable last week. I started Rush, and I am already digging it. If you are looking for romantic suspense, these are your books and they are all free on Kindle Unlimited right now! I also finished Lauren Layne's Good Girl and really liked it. I was starting to feel that I had fallen out of love with Layne's books after not caring for her last few releases, but Good Girl was highly enjoyable.

My verdict: four out of five basset hounds:

Check out my Goodreads page for more reviews.

What I'm listening to: Confession: I am a closet eighties soft rock junkie. I love anything by Christopher Cross, Barbra Streisand, Gloria Estefan, you name it. So when this came on the XM Love station yesterday, I was: YES. Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes and James Ingram? How can you go wrong?

What are we wearing: See end of school pictures above. Shorts and tees. As for me, clothes-wise nothing that would knock your wig off, I am just happy to finally have my summer wardrobe back out. If you are looking for a new mascara, I am liking Benefit.

Today, I am wearing the latest in paintball party couture, ala JCrew (more below).

What I'm doing today: Hosting eighteen boys at a local paintball range for Big's birthday. Hold me closer, Tony Danza. Pictures and post to come.

What I'm looking forward to next month: It is a big birthday month in the Team Skelley clan. Combine that with Father's Day and we will be celebrating.

What else is new? Okay, this is a little self-serving but I had to share my news with you guys. Friday night, my Work Boo (AKA our special section editor) texted me this:

I'm tater. It's a long story. 

My response was so eloquent, it is obvious why I make my living as a wordsmith. What she was trying to tell me is that I won 1st place in both "Best News Feature Story Coverage" and "Best Feature Story Coverage" in the 2016 Alabama Press Association awards. Altogether so far, the Rocket picked up 25 APA editorial awards and the top ones have not even been announced yet (fingers crossed). Those will be announced at a banquet in Destin, Florida, next month.

I am almost as excited about the Rocket also winning 1st place in the social media category. I feel like Oz pulling back the curtain, but about a year and a half ago I took over the newspaper's social media accounts. We have never placed in that category, which makes this doubly sweet. Every staff member won multiple awards and I cannot express how proud I am to be a part of the Rocket team.

But it wasn't just me receiving accolades Friday, Big Kid also was awarded the Presidential Excellence Award during his sixth grade awards banquet. All the kids dressed up and I tried to get him to wear a button down shirt but no dice. I should be happy that he at least wore his church shoes. I am so proud of him.

So there is big stuff happening around Team Skelley! Thanks for dropping by and have a wonderful Wednesday.

Joining in with my gal Mel over at:

This post uses Amazon affiliate links. For more information on how they work and what compensation might be received, visit Amazon Associates Central.