Sunday, February 20, 2011

Build a Bear Birthday Party was a Success!

The Build A Bear Birthday Party was a lot of fun. We had 16 out the 19 kids show up. We decided to drop the limit to $20 from $25. It made a difference on how much it cost and it did not reduce the number of bears the kids could pick from by much. Most of the kids picked the Heart Bear (six of them). We had bunnies, Koala bear, one dog, a cat and a mix of other bears. Not all the kids picked $20 bears. Some picked $12 bears and love them just as much as the other kids love their $20 bears. It's not the price that counts when it comes to Build A Bears.

The staff was amazing. They really like what they do, you can tell. They made the party for the kids. I was impressed by them and so were the other parents. Many people stopped and watched the party, kids wanted to join in. People were quit surprised when they found out the party did not cost extra, we just paid for the bears the kids picked. I think a bunch of kids are going to be having Build A Bear parties now. From what some of the parents told me they loved the party and think that there kids loved it as well.

I know the kids loved it. They hugged their bears and had great big smiles. As soon as the party was done there was a rush to the clothing and accessories. Many of the parents had been wandering through the store looking at the outfits as the party went on. Some had outfits picked out before the kids were done. It was funny watching the parents trying to negotiate for the outfits they wanted. For the most part the parents relented and let the kids "help" pick out the outfits, and others the parents got to "help" the kids. In some cases the kids got to pick exactly what they wanted.

Many parents were surprised when we gave them $5 coupons for Build A Bear. We knew that as soon as the kids had bears they would want clothing. We had warned the parents but I don't think they expected to find all the cool stuff. Some of the parents came back after the party to buy their own bears and outfits.

I think Build A Bear can become addictive and it is easy to go from one bear to a collection with lots of outfits and more. I think it is more important for my kids to keep their bears special by not buying a lot of them. We have decided the only way our kids are getting more bears are as gifts from Grandma or if they are invited to Build A Bear parties. Three are enough. Now they can get different outfit instead. They are okay with that. Though my daughter keeps seeing new ones she would like to get. Mind you she sees a lot of things she wants to get everyday. What kid doesn't?

If I could go back would I do the party over again, yes. Would I change anything, no. Will I have another one, yes if my son wants one but the rule is one Build A Bear Birthday party each. The funny thing is it's the adults that want to have an adult only Build A Bear party. Why because when the kids are with us we always buy for them. If we had an adult party the adults can do something special for themselves, and have fun. I guess my husband is right, everyone needs a bear to hug once in a while.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Build a Bear Birthday Party that took a life of its own

My daughter asked if she could have a Build a Bear Birthday party. She is turning 6 so sure that sounded like a great thing to do. We knew we needed 6 kids, but in a pinch my husband or I could get a bear. We invited one of her friends, and her sister, and one of my son’s friends. My daughter asked if she could bring a friend from her class. Sure, but our rule is that if you invite one kid from a group you have to invite everyone. No kid should feel left out.

It did not seem like a big deal inviting her kindergarten class to her birthday party, last year we invited her class and only had 4 kids from it. We figured we would have maybe ten kids in total. Last count 19 kids. That is 19 kids each getting a bear from Build a Bear! The limit is $25 per kid that is almost $600. Even if we dropped the limit to $15 it’s still just under $400. OMG! That is much more than the $150 we usually budget.

The strange thing is that we are still letting the kids have a limit of $25. They get one bear. The parents can buy outfits. On top of that we are making cupcakes. Each child is getting a bear, a cupcake, a drink box and a gift bag with toys (we spent about $60 on that already).

Can we afford this, not really! I just started working a part time job and my husband is looking for work. What we have done is saved every penny we have for months so we can do this. Why, because we love our daughter and we committed to the party months ago. We did not expect the number of kids, but we will deal with it. What gets me are the parents of kids we don’t even know asking if their kids can come to the party. Nope, sorry the party is limited to her class and one friend outside of school. That is it. We also had parents complaining about us not buying outfits and lunch for all the kids. They were quickly told that if they don’t like it they don’t have to bring their kids. This party is for the kids, not the parents and the kids are more than happy to be able to pick out and make their own bear.

At this point we have 19 very excited kids counting down the “sleeps” until her party this Saturday. Some kids have been looking online and have already picked out their bear. Others have just been talking about it at school. It has become a major event for all the kids. They are all so happy and excited that it makes us feel good about the party, even if we wished it was not going to cost so much. On top of that we have had several parents take us aside and thank us for doing this. They could not afford to do this for their kids, and they really appreciate that we are willing to do this and include their children. Things are hard for a lot of people, and to be blunt we live in an area full of poor people just like us. It’s only money after all. Making 19 kids happy, giving them positive memories and maybe a much needed bear friend is worth it. After all you’re only a kid once.

Build a Bear Birthday Party was a Success please read all about the party.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dec. 21 2012 a self fulfilling prophecy

It is still February 2011 and already Dec. 21 2012 is being felt. 2012 has begun to dominate casual conversations. People are already thinking about having to plan, organize and get things ready for the upcoming event. For the last 20 years or more scientists have been warning us of the consequences of industrialization, pollution and overpopulation. No one really paid attention, so why now. What makes the unknown 2012 disaster real, and not the scientific facts we have had for years. Why are people treating hypothetical 2012 disaster as a fact?

I think because there is a date. The same date comes up in many different cultures and histories as an important date. I think that if the early scientists trying to get people to change had provided a dooms day date, even Dec 21 2012, people would have listened more. But I don’t think they would have changed what they were doing until the deadline started looming. It’s not like the knowledge of Dec. 12 2012 has not been around for a long, long time. Only as the “deadline” comes closer are people reacting.

Is it possible that a natural disaster will occur on Dec. 12 2012, yes! But nature for the most part is unpredictable so a natural disaster can happen on any date, or not happen. People on the other hand are a strange mix of predictability and unpredictability. I think 2012 is going to become a self fulfilling prophecy, not a natural disaster. It is more likely that people will be the cause of any disaster, not nature. Fear can be a powerful force. The date is almost two years away and people are already changing. People are already building survival shelters, stocking up on food and other necessities. Others are planning to move to other countries they feel are more likely to survive a world disaster.

As the date comes closer things will become even more stressful, fearful and dangerous as people start to panic. Terrorist’s activity will increase; both the local and foreign terrorists. It does not matter their message, just the feeling that they have a very tight deadline to express themselves and terrorise people. What better time to strike, when people are already afraid and feeling out of control. Besides, if they are going to die anyway on Dec. 21, 2012 they might as well die for their cause, whatever it may be.

People are already talking about what they are going to do when the riots start, as if it is a foregone conclusion that there will be rioting the closer it comes to Dec. 21, 2012. Many people have already started to act as if there will be no consequences for their actions, or lack of actions. Why does anything matter if we are all going to die on Dec. 21, 2012? So why should they go to school, get jobs, practice safe sex, eat right, and generally take care of themselves? Other people are trying to get jobs so they have the money to be ready for anything on Dec. 21, 2012. They want to survive and are trying to figure out what they need to do.

Personally I just want to be away from any major city (including the one I live in) to try and avoid all the panicky people and the things they do in fear and the need to feel in control. I know what people can do in situations like this. I have seen the riots on TV, I know my history and tales of cities burned to the ground as people panic. In the end the disasters’ will have been created by people’s fears, or by people taking advantage of others fears. Like any self fulfilling prophecy we did it to ourselves.