Monday, December 16, 2013

Milestone Celebration - American Redoubt Style

Please forgive the photos - some were taken with the phone and the action shots were really hard to get!

December has brought with it a wonderful milestone for our family - Master Hand Grenade has turned 18!  Although not a big "party" family (we prefer quiet, homey celebrations), we decided that an 18th birthday warranted a party that was nothing short of spectacular and so we pulled out all the stops.

For a number of years, our older children have gotten together with a large group of other Christian young folks from the area (an area of about 100 square miles) to fellowship, play and dance.  During the summer months, the group gets together once a week in a park about 45 miles south of us to play Frisbee and volleyball and have a bible study.  They play hard, bring snacks and retire to a covered picnic area to study the bible and sing worship songs.  They are a wonderful group of people, comprised of kids as young as 12 and young married couples in their mid to late 20's.

Master Hand Grenade stringing the garland

Some well-placed ribbon and a little plaid seat
From time to time, the group gets together for a dance.  Not a modern, nightclub type dance, but an old-fashioned group dance that includes everyone, from the youngest children to the oldest grandparent.  They "line-dance" - dances popular generations ago, like The Virginia Reel, The Posties Jig, The Scottish Polka, Hunting the Fox, Whip the Willow, The Patty-Cake Polka and the Grand March.  Set to Celtic music, the dances are fun, fast-moving and all-inclusive.

The community center is dressing up

In honor of Master Hand Grenade's 18th birthday, Sir Knight and I decided to host a dance in our local community center.  What fun we had!  We set the date for a Friday night (the 13th, no less!) and sent out invitations (via one of the other kids' Facebook account) and set about with our preparations.

The morning of the party, the children and I headed into town to decorate the community center for the dance.  We didn't do anything too fancy, just wholesome and sweet.  We draped lots of burlap garland about, along with plenty of plaid ribbon, plaid throws and bows of fragrant evergreen.  We covered tables in festive table-cloths and placed electric candles here and there.  We had borrowed a sound system (complete with microphone for the dance caller) that hooked directly into our callers sound system (run on a MacBook) and were ready to go.

Father and daughter Do' Si' Do-ing

Bow to your partner.....
In the late afternoon, Maid Elizabeth and I headed to our nearest Costco, picked up 10 pre-baked pizza's, a sheet cake, bottled water and a few snacks and were homeward bound in record time.  By the time we got home, the children were dressed up out the door before we could turn the truck off!

We opened the community center at 6 in the evening and the first few people were already waiting outside.  They helped haul in the pizza's and other goodies and get the last minute details taken care of. By a quarter after six, the crowds began to arrive.  Our caller walked through the door at 6:30 and was calling the Grand March within minutes.

Dear Julianne of Providence Lodge and her Handsome Husband (She's going to kill me for this photo!)

Brother escorting sister - Master Hand Grenade with Miss Serenity

And the younger set - Princess Dragon Snack with her best friend
Wow!  What a night!  We had kids, families and even grandparents present.  Most of the folks knew the dances, although the few that didn't know them had nothing to worry about.  The experienced dancers were more than happy to show the inexperienced people the moves and the dancing commenced.  Dance after dance after dance were danced, people grabbing food and water when they were able.  Master Calvin danced the Grand March with his older sister while Master Knight and I helped lead the way.

Dancers Down!

Master Hand Grenade with his partner (Our Caller is the young man in the red)

Nothing but smiles

Taking a well-deserved rest and watching the action

Could there be a better 18th birthday party?

During one of the intermissions, the caller put on "swing" music so that a brother/sister duo could show us what swing dancing was all about.  Soon, a husband and wife joined in and in no time, the dance floor was once again full, with couples trying out their new moves.

We had a wonderful time, dancing with our children, our friends and all of the other neat people that we had an opportunity to meet.   I have to say, we sure know how to celebrate in the Redoubt - we are truly blessed!

Happy Birthday Master Hand Grenade!  What an honor to have been chosen to be your parents.


  1. What a wonderful event!! Congratulations to him.

  2. Happy Birthday Master Handgrenade. Love sent to you from Montana

  3. Looks like a fabulous time was had by all! Wish I could have been there! Happy birthday Master Hand Grenade! May you have many more!

  4. Happy Birthday, Master Handgrenade!

  5. What a sweet time!! The best birthday ever and thanks for sharing it so we, out here in internet land, can live vicariously through it! Happy Birthday Master Handgrenade..........

  6. Enola,

    My family would like to wish Master Handgrenade a Happy 18th Birthday. He's grown into a mighty fine young man, God Bless!!

  7. Happy Birthday from Nebraska! MH, you have grown into a fine young man, and I applaud you for having so much fun with family and friends.
    That is what life is all about.

  8. I had been wondering (and worrying, actually) because it had been so long since you posted, if you were busy or if you were dealing with a crisis at home. I am relieved (and a happy) to see that another shares a December birthday with me. Back in the "dark ages" when I was in college (the first time) I learned to Square Dance. What fun! For anyone who thinks they "can't dance" the caller tells you what to do! I will be old and senile and still remember what to do when someone calls "Sides face Grand Square". I wore my Grandmother's Square Dance dress (she was born in the 1890's) when I danced in college. Master Hand Grenade, you will remember your 18th Birthday as one of those "best days" of my life days!" Give your folks and your siblings a big hug now! God bless you all and thank you for sharing such a wonderful family event. natokadn

  9. Congrats to MHG on the milestone!


  10. Master Hand Grenade,
    Happy Birthday, I trust you will have many more. You and your family have such a Blessing to me.
    Love and Blessings to you and yours.
    Merry Christmas, RangerRick
    North Idaho Redoubt

  11. 18? Happy birthday to Mr. Hand Grenade.

  12. Happy Birthday! Sure looked like a lot of fun!! We did a square dance for my daughter's homeschool high school graduation and it was fun as well!

  13. Happy Birthday, MHG! What a fun party that looks like!

  14. What a wonderful event. I am regretting that my own children are crazily spoiled by media and privilege in Fairfield County, CT. I remember the teenage dances in my town were held in a barn with a "caller". My daughters are so jaded now. I have to say the crazy over the top parties are not birthdays or confirmations but rather Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. This is just my current predicament with a 14 y.o. girl. I don't mean to criticize my Jewish friends at all, as everyone has their faith and I think in the end we want the same things - but where I live these parties are a bit over the top.

    My daughter came home from her first one asking if she could have a "Sweet 16" like that. I said "no" but you can maybe have a wedding like that if we like the guy; -)))

  15. That looks like WONDERFUL fun! Thanks so much for posting the photos for us to enjoy from afar. I have seen several posts on the Virginia Reel, and I think I would love to learn some of those dances - but don't know that many people here in Kansas do the barn dances any more. Happy Birthday to your son! :)

  16. Sounds like an old-fashioned, wonderful evening! I've never done anything like that, other than local cowboy/rodeo dances, and it sounds so fun. Guess what? If anyone is near the Willamette Valley in Oregon Saturday, Feb 22, 2014...Oregon State University is hosting a Small Farms Conference, and in the evening, there is a HOEDOWN! At the Benton County fairgrounds, with local food, local beer, music, square dancing (NO dancing experience needed). Cost $15/person. Google it to find out more. I was already planning to be at the conference, now if I could just get my husband to think this is a fun idea, too....

  17. Madam, your description of the event (as well as the pictures) have made my evening! There is still hope in the world!

  18. Wow, I'm late!! I don't get to the computer much in December, so it's four months late, but I can't let this one go by.

    Happy Birthday!! You are, indeed, a fine young man.