Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tornado's Fetch Birthday

Saturday, my baby boy turned nine years old. I am four short years away from having a teenager. And I still feel like I'm a teenager myself sometimes. For two years, Tornado has been requesting a Fetch! Ruff Ruffman birthday party. Last year, we had a small family party since we were in Seattle at the time. So this year, Fetch! it was.
For those of you who do not know, Fetch! is a show on PBS Kids. It is part animation/part real kids' game show. It is full of interesting challenges and science projects, right up Tornado's alley. We used dog (and cat) themed decorations. We considered having it at the Humane Society but decided against it. Instead, guests were instructed to bring gifts or donations for the dogs and cats, and Tornado and I are going to volunteer one day soon. Recently, I visited the facility - not really the wisest thing for me to do. I usually end up bringing living creatures home with me when I go to animal shelters. My eyes were brimming with tears the whole time I was there. I can't take it when I pass a dog's cage, and he sits up straight - like he's trying to impress me enough so I will take him home. I have to touch every single animal in every single cage so none of them feel left out. (except the mean, growly ones...just like there are mean people in the world, there are mean animals, too; they can be nice if they want my attention) Anyway, Tornado is very excited about dropping the gifts off and spending time playing with some of the animals. And I absolutely will not build a animal refuge on our land where many animals can play happily, not behind iron bars and on hard concrete. I have not thought about this at all. :0
salad and baked potato bar...Tornado's favorite kind of meal
The kids ate their meals out of (clean/new/food-safe) dog bowls. Even Papaw joined in on the fun.
Fetch! party ware does not exist, and I did not find a lot of ideas from others online. I did find a couple of blogs that wrote about Fetch! parties that were held for their kids. So in case you have found us by doing your own search, here are a few of our ideas. (names have been deleted to protect the innocent/guilty)
We divided the kids into the Blue Team and the Red Team. I made t-shirts by hand drawing an outline of Ruff Ruffman and photocopying it onto iron-on transfer paper. I know it could have been easier, but since I'm not very "computer software-y," I hand wrote their names backward. (I wasted one shirt by forgetting to write it mirror-image, silly me.)
Ryan was in charge of the whole game show. He built this dog house entry way. Tornado was quick to point out it was black, not orange like on the show. Ryan made a video of the opening credits of the television show. There was an electrical outage on the animation, then Ryan cut it off to a scene of him waking up in a dog bed with a dog collar around his neck. He barked and drank water and ate food out of the dog bowl. He was trying to show that somehow the electric surge caused Ruff to take on Ryan's body, therefore Ryan was going to have to take over host duties for the night. Can I tell you how much I love my husband for thinking of this and putting on a dog collar, all in the name of love for my son and for me? Unfortunately, Tornado was very upset by the Ruff changing into Ryan thing, and he told us so repeatedly. He actually probably thought it was funny and interesting, but it's just one of those things he can't process very well. (Perhaps I'll share more of that another time.)
the contestants...pretty rough (cute!) looking bunch, huh?
Ryan's poster of the Fetch 3000 - "an amazing machine capable of tabulating scores, disposing of annoying cats, and blending the occasional smoothie. Yes, the FETCH 3000 can even turn a dog...into a star." (taken from He drew pictures of things Tornado likes, like mazes and of course - tornadoes, and highlighted the dog tattoo he often has on his arm (which comes from Amy's frozen kids' meals). If you can't read Ruff's quote, it says, "Wow! This is my kind of kid. I like this kid already."
Tornado, pulling the first challenge out of the mailbox (that he colored)
Balloon race...the three challenges all had to do with air, based on the scripture Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Here they are making a "zoom vehicle" that goes, on its own, from one end of the string to the other. Their instructions were to use straws, balloons, paper clips, rubber bands, tape, or anything else to make it work.
Little "G"...trying not to smile because he doesn't really like me yet. Lori, I think he looks a lot like B.T. here.
Challenge Huff and Puff..."use tape, paper, paper clips, scissors, and straws to create an object that can be moved to the finish line without touching it with your hands."
"B" created a very impressive I knew he would
"N" very cleverly used not one but three straws to move his object along.
Challenge Hang Time...they cut out these little pre-printed helicopters and thought of ways to perfect the design for a better launch.
"E," working on his helicopter
Dash, dropping his copter from up high on the ladder
S's "senior pic"
I made cupcakes with these handmade toppers. Party favors were bone shaped sugar cookies with frosting tied up in this cute black and white dog and cat material I bought at Hobby Lobby.
I never make cakes because it usually ends up in disaster (He didn't even have a birthday cake at his 7th birthday party. I had messed up on his artist's palette cake, and it was time to leave for his party at the art studio - and I had no cake to take. Fortunately, I had ice cream cups, and we ate my misshapened, too-embarrassing-for-public cake at home that night.) Anyway, Tornado ALWAYS wants a cake...cupcakes just don't say "birthday" to him. He cried at his 6th b-day because he had cupcakes and not a "birthday cake." So...I ventured into making a cake and even piped a Ruff Ruffman outline and his name in chocolate; it turned out fine, which was a relief.See...I don't always get a smile like this out of Tornado for pictures. That's how happy he was about having a cake...these b-day cake smiles are some of my most favorite pictures of him ever.
Later...Tornado, opening some presents he received...crayons, sketch books, markers, books, beach towel, money, etc. His big gift from us (and all of the grandparents) was not wrapped as we didn't quite decide which one to get...but he opened a picture of - a trampoline, which we're getting soon. It took a lot of convincing to 'ol Dad, who wants to buy a motorcycle but is too worried for his kids to have a trampoline. :) I'm very excited about it (as are the kids...Dash woke up this morning, asking if it was time to put the trampoline together)! Now that the birthday parties are complete until February, I'll get back to blogging again this week. What I will NOT be doing is putting all the leftover food away and washing dishes because my mom and Ryan's mom did ALL of that for me...they seriously did so much, helping me get ready and clean up. (And Dad did some last minute errands for me!) THANK YOU!!!


Cary said...

Great party, Jen! (As always) That cake looks delicious.

Erin said...

What a great idea for a party-- all of the little details: amazing!! You are definitely a teacher:) What you said about Tornado being upset by Ruff changing into Ryan really reminded me a lot of B.T. He doesn't process those things very well, either. We took him to James L. Dennis/ Children's in April and we think we're looking at Asperger's syndrome, but he's too young for a definitive diagnosis at this point. We go back next year for an I.Q. test and full team evaluation. Anyway, I think B.T. would have enjoyed such a party, with all of the exploring and problem solving:) I'll keep this in mind for next March! And yes, "G" did look A LOT like B.T. in that picture:) Thanks for letting me peruse your blog-- it's awesome getting to keep up with you since we only get to see you a few times a year! Give the kiddos hugs for us and tell Ryan we said hello!

Anonymous said...

Wow Jenny, what a party!! Lucky kids you have! Very creative and inspiring. You have to tell Ryan I was reminded of his farm book he made for our children's literature class all out of felt when you talked about his poster and his animation and the fact that he put on a dog collar! Over achiever! Make sure you save that video forever. It might come in handy some day! Have your kids seen that awesome book he made? They would love it I'm sure!

Pam Rohde

Orange Juice said...

how cool is that! I LOVE that they are eating out of doggy bowls!

Anonymous said...

Now, that's what I call a birthday party!! Oh, hi!! Ruff Ruffman here.
You're way!! But I say WAY! Blossom, Chet and I are flattered that you had a Fetch Themed birthday party. Why they have not made official party plates with my handsome face on it is beyond me!!

Anyhoo, Season 4 starts this fall on your local pbs station! Happy Birthday, Tornado!! What a cool name!

Ruff Ruffman, aka Jim Conroy

Annette said...

WOW! You posted this while I was on vacation. I am absolutely impressed by all of your planning. Tornado's smile for the cake says it more cupcakes!

BTW, I thought I was already a follower, but today I noticed my little tree picture wasn't there. So I am now following.

May I ask how you crossed off names? I'd like to know for our own use.