So much for thinking the rest of my summer was light. This was a jam-packed weekend.
We kicked the weekend off with a long overdue date night (actually I kind of hate the phrase date night, so we’ll just call it a night out).
First we checked out the newish restaurant Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant on Church Street. It’s a beautiful space with two big bars and tons of tables. It’d be a really fun place to take out-of-town guests.
We had entirely too much though. Our waiter Luis was awesome. His MO was to be on our side — “No, no, no. Don’t get that. It’s not worth the money. Here, look at this one. For just a couple dollars more, you get so much more.” I don’t think he steered us wrong all night. There was lots of Spanish-style cured meats and cheeses, a tuna ceviche (obvs), skewers of chorizo, chicken and steak, and grilled veggies topped with manchego cheese. Good, good, good.
Then, it was summer blockbuster time.
Maybe I went in with such low expectations, but seriously, “Cowboys and Aliens” was awesome. It’s everything you want in a big summer movie. It was fun, just the right amount of campy and lots of well-placed flesh (Daniel’s and Olivia’s). It was definitely a dude film but since I don’t love chick flicks that much anyway, it works for me.
Seriously, though, I kept thinking that a bunch of guys got together in a room with a case of cheap beer and just brainstormed. “Wouldn’t it be awesome if the cowboys were suddenly surrounded by Indians?” or “How can we convincingly get a lot of explosives into the hands of cowboys in the late 1800s” and of course, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if Olivia Wilde came out of a fire naked?”
We spent all weekend trying to come up with other amazing unlikely combinations. So far, our frontrunner is Robots and Ghosts (which I contend must have been a Scoopy Doo episode at least once), but it’s a work in progress.
Saturday morning, we got up and split ways. DadJovi and E headed to the Orange County History Center for some Star Wars celebration. I have no idea how there seems to be a Star Wars event every weekend in Orlando, but there is. E. got to make her own lightsaber, drink blue milk (I’m guessing that’s inspired by Luke’s dinner with his aunt and uncle in Episode IV?) and there was even a parade featuring Chewy, Stormtroopers and Ewoks. Yes, the Star Wars brainwashing continues.
Here’s how it works: you get in line and starting at 10, they start distributing free tickets for the various events throughout the weekend. A lot of the performances are held inside (thankfully) but most of the arts and crafts, some shows and the interaction with the musical events all occurs outside. In July. In Orlando. It’s hot. Very hot. And the meltdowns are common.
And we’ve been down that road ourselves in the past.
That’s why I went alone to get the tickets for the 1 p.m. Justin Roberts show. After getting our tickets, I went home, and we met up for lunch, then headed back for to explore a bit before the Justin Roberts show.
Our first stop was the Mr. Richard concert that was just starting. If you don’t know Mr. Richard, then clearly you either don’t have a 3-year-old or you’re not one of his Mommy Groupies — no, seriously. Apparently moms dig this man and his silver ponytail.
OK, fine, I like him too. E. has mixed feelings on him. She’s finally in a phase where she does like him, so she was excited to hit the stage with the other kids above. She’d been up there for about 20 seconds when some Mean Girl, who was probably about 7 or 8 (no, she’s not in the picture above. I may want to beat the child but I won’t cyberbully her the way she bullied my kid) tells my excited 3-year-old, “You can’t dance here. I’m dancing here. You need to leave.”
The bottom lip immediately pouted out and big, fat tears started rolling down her cheeks. So we left Mr. Richard behind and tried to distract with her big sticks and loud noises.
Then, it was time for the main event — Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players. No joke, the program billed him as “the Paul McCartney of kids’ music.” Wow, nothing like setting the bar low, huh?
I actually really liked them. The tickets were free, but I gladly would have paid for them. But I think it’d been a long day for E. already. Sadly, about half-way through the show, she was ready to bail. Kids. Why can’t they always perform as expected?
But no rest for the weary! We had more plans. After a tiny bit of downtime at home, we headed out to My Super Sweet First Birthday Party.
No, seriously, our friends had THE most amazing party for their daughter’s 1st birthday. If we didn’t love them so much, we might hate them. They have a huge family and since it’s dangerously hot outside, they opted to have it at a hotel ballroom. Genius idea.
And they did it up.
There were revolving floral centerpieces shaped like animals …
And, most impressively, Conner, the world’s most talented balloon artist. You see his Hello Kitty above. That was nothing. He made Tinks, Ariels, Mickeys and Minnies, Spiderman, the most amazing alien hat/gut I’ve ever seen and monkeys. Lots of monkeys. Once he made his first one, it was a hot item.
E. was the first person to stump him, though. When I saw how impressive he was, I suggested to her that maybe he could do something from Star Wars. When I asked him, he said, “Sure, I can do a couple things. What do you want?” I fully expected E. to suggest Yoda, an Ewok or maybe even a lightsaber (there were lots of swords at the party). Nope, what does my girl bust out with? “I want Boba Fett.”
Conner was stumped. Finally he figured out that he can make a Darth Vader or Stormtrooper mask. So I told him just to swap out the white and black balloons with green and brown ones. Voila.
If you live in the Orlando area, I can’t recommend Conner enough. His name is Conner Edson and he works for the 407 Entertainment Group. He worked his fingers off for 4 hours straight and had a great sense of humor about the whole thing.
Next year for E’s party, it just might be us and Conner with us shouting things like “make me a bicycle, clown!” (name that movie!)
Phew. I’m tired of writing. I can’t imagine how tired you must be of reading this. Anyone still here? Bueller? Anyone? Can’t say I blame you for bailing. I would have … and it’s my blog. Oh well. It’s my blog and I’ll ramble if I want to.