Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Superhero Birthday Party

When I asked Brooke and Harrison what they wanted to do for their birthday party this year, without hesitation Brooke answered that she wanted a superhero bounce house party and that she wanted to invite her friends. Harrison wholeheartedly agreed. I'm glad they made the planning part easy for me.

They had 12 kids in their preschool class they invited, plus another 8 kids from our neighborhood, and then family friends on top of that, so there was the potential for us to have 25-30 kids at their party. We of course knew not everyone would be able to make it, but we still decided it would be a good idea to do two separate parties. A kids' party followed by a family and friends party. The kids' festivities started at 1 and family started showing up at 4. It made for a long afternoon, but it was great to only have to plan for one party, plus we never had more than 20 people here at one time.

Harrison knew he wanted to dress up at Spiderman and Brooke was pretty sure she wanted to be Wonder Woman. They also love Batman, The Avengers, and all the DC Super Girls. Rather than try to incorporate all of their favorite characters, I decide to keep it simple. Black and white, primary colors, pop art.

We rented a Justice League bounce house, but I knew we would need a couple games on top of that. We spent the weeks leading up to the party building a city out of empty boxes, gray kraft paper, and card stock rectangles. The kids got to Hulk Smash the boxes. It started out a little crazy, imagine 12 kids all punching and kicking boxes at the same time, but once we got everyone settled and ready to go one at a time, it went really well. They all took turns knocking down the boxes and then building the city back up. We also did Spiderman game where the kids got to spray bad guys with their web (silly string), and a coloring station for anyone who wanted something less active. The only kid who colored was Brooke. :) Mostly though, the bounced.

We kept the food really simple. Fruits, veggies, cheese and crackers, and some snack mix during the kids' party. Then we ordered pizza during the friends and family party. I usually order cupcakes from a local bakery, but I knew I wouldn't have time to run out there the day before the party, so we got cupcakes from Kroger and they were delicious.

Overall it was a great party. I wish I would have documented some things better. I snapped a few pictures with my iPhone and I adjusted the settings on my camera and gave it to Rob to take some pictures. In hind sight, giving your camera illiterate husband your DSLR while it's on manual may not be the best idea if you want pictures with the correct exposure. If that's my biggest worry from the party though, I'd say we're lucky. We managed to have 15 kids in our house, most of them unchaperoned, and we survived. 

It was so much fun celebrating our little superheroes, and we're glad we had so many of ours, and their, friends and family join us for the fun.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Happy 5th Birthday, Harrison and Brooke

My big kids are 5 years old! Their big day was yesterday, and we had so much fun celebrating. Donuts and presents for breakfast. A park trip and ice cream shakes with Grandma and Grandpa. Then we spent the afternoon and evening playing on their new slip and slide. I'm pretty sure our water bill is going to be astronomical this month because we definitely ran our water for over 4 hours yesterday afternoon. When it's your birthday and almost 90 degrees out, we'll let the water run all day.

Today has been a nonstop barrage of questions. Can you open this? Can you help me with this? Can I play with this? Their birthday party is this weekend, so they'll be riding the birthday wave well into next week. We let them invite school friends to their party this year, so we will have a house full of 5 year olds come Sunday. It's sure to be a ton of fun and a whole lot of crazy.

Part of me is in shock that it's already been 5 years since I had that "oh shit we're parents" moment while in the hospital, and the other part of me can't remember a time without these two crazies in our lives. They are so very different from each other, but they work perfectly together. I am truly blessed to be able to spend my days with these two. Happy 5th birthday, Harrison and Brooke! Your dad and I are so glad we get to be your parents, and we're excited to see you grow and mature even more over the next year. We love you!

Friday, May 12, 2017

PreK Graduation

The weekend is here! My sister and nephew are flying in for the weekend, so we are looking forward to an extra special Mother's Day Weekend. Before we dive into that fun though, I want to talk about my the big kids and how they are no longer preschoolers! They are officially done with Pre-K and ready for kindergarten.

Last night was their graduation ceremony, and we started out the day unsure if they were both going to make it. Brooke rolled into our room around 4am complaining of an upset stomach and a fever. Sure enough she was running a 101 degree fever. After lots of toast, a banana, half an apple, berry La Croix, and a dose of ibuprofen, her temperature was down and she was feeling like her normal spunky self. Off to school they both went.

Unfortunately around 12:30 I got a call from the school saying she wasn't feeling well, so I went to pick her up. She was so upset that she didn't get to stay for the rest of the day. She cried while we rounded up her belongings. She didn't want to miss any of the last day of school and was so sad to be leaving her friends. Thankfully a 3 hour nap, a few episodes of Paw Patrol, and some shells and cheese were just what she needed to feel well enough to make it to graduation.

They both got to sing their song and walk across the stage to receive their PreK diploma. They have been practicing what they call the "parents cry song," for the last few weeks. Seeing 40 5 year olds sing a song on stage might be the cutest thing ever. In addition to their song, there was also a 10 minute slideshow of pictures taken throughout the year. Their song didn't make me cry, but seeing them with all of their friends and knowing that they won't go to school with most of them next year did. I was definitely a little misty eyed by the end. There are 6 elementary schools in our district, so their friends will be all over the place for school next year. They had some really sweet kids in their class, and I'm so glad that they, and I, got to know them through the year.

Don't even get me started on how much we'll miss their teachers. We love their preschool and will definitely be sending S and C there in a couple years. For now though we are done with preschool and on to elementary school. I am hopeful I can keep them engaged and learning over the summer. If you have any suggestions for activities or programs to follow over summer break, I'd love to hear them. Right now I am equally excited and terrified at the thought of 3 months with no one in school. Time to stock up on sidewalk chalk and bubbles. Summer is upon us, and we're ready, almost. 

Congratulations Harrison and Brooke! We're so proud of the work you've done in school and are excited to see what next year holds for the two of you.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Happy Friday

Happy Cinco de Mayo!! We are having some girlfriends over tonight for Mexican food and LaLa Land. Tacos, street corn, and maybe probably margaritas are on the menu.

My little people have figured out how to crawl up onto our kitchen chairs and table, and now nothing will ever be safe again. I find myself trying to remember how I handled these situations with Brooke and Harrison, but I don't feel like they were into as much trouble as Scarlett and Clark seem to get into. In actuality, it's probably just been long enough that I have chosen to forget.

Have you see the Jimmy Kimmel monologue where he talks about his son's heart condition? If you haven't it's worth the time to watch the whole thing.

I don't know what the answers are to fix our nation's health care issues, and yes there are issues, but if we're considering taking away people's coverage, it's not the right solution.

Rob and I started watching Schitt's Creek this week, and oh my goodness, it's HILARIOUS. Anything with Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara is a win in by book, but it is even better than I was expecting. If you're looking for a new series to start, I highly recommend it.

We have started talking about taking a family road trip when the babies are a little bit older. Maybe 2 or 3 years from now? We have family all over the country. STL, Reno, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver. We would love to take 2 or 3 weeks and drive route 66, visit family, see the grand canyon, visit some national parks, hit up Disney Land. Are we crazy? Quite possibly, but it's something fun to think about doing as a family. These websites seem like great jumping off points for planning a fun route 66 itinerary. Road Trippers  / Driving Route 66

After being on the fence about it for the last few months, I think we have decided that Harrison and Brooke will be going to kindergarten next year.  They have their preschool graduation next week and they got to do their welcome to kindergarten night this week. They are both getting really excited about next year. Harrison still needs lots of redirection, but he's so eager to learn that I feel like he will be just fine next year. Now we just have to decide for sure if we want them to be in the same class or separate classes.

Our vacuum broke a couple weeks ago, and I broke it in the dumbest way possible. I bumped it into the corner of a cabinet while vacuuming the floor, and the plastic cracked. It's a 10 year old Dyson that still runs, but they don't make a replacement part for the piece I cracked. Major bummer. I've been looking into what type of vacuum we should get and I landed on the Dyson V8. I borrowed my parents V6 a couple weekends ago and I really liked how light it was while still doing a great job cleaning. UPS dropped off our new vacuum yesterday and after charging it for what seemed like forever, I put it to use. It cleaned up way more dirt than I thought was possible, awesome and gross at the same time, but the major win is that Harrison and Brooke want to vacuum the floor now. This vacuum may pay for itself in saved time and productivity over the course of one month if these two keep it up. Please keep it up!

Image may contain: dog

This sweet puppy is available for adoption at our local shelter, and I love her. We do not need another dog, and we definitely won't be getting one, but I definitely considered trading Jules in. ;) Just kidding. Kind of. If someone I know wants to adopt her and allow for visitations, that would be awesome.

I hope you all get to have a margarita, or 3, tonight, and I hope your weather is better than the crap weather we're supposed to have. Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Typical Tuesday

I haven't done a day in the life post in ages. The last one was almost 2 years ago, before H and B started school, when I was just barely pregnant with Scarlett and Clark, when we still lived in our old house. With only 3 remaining days of preschool for my two big kids, I decided I needed to document what our current state of crazy looks like. This was our day on Tuesday, 5.2.2017

6:47 Scarlett starts banging on the wall signaling me to get up. I have them stay in bed until 7 regardless of what time they wake, so I take a few minutes to wake up and check my emails.

7:03 Usually both babies are awake, but this morning it's just Scarlett. She and I head downstairs for a little one on one time. It's short lived because Brooke is up at 7:10. Harrison comes strolling out of his room at 7:25 and I hear Clark on the monitor 10 minutes later. 

8:00 Breakfast time. Berries, bananas, frozen waffles, cereal. School mornings are always a quick and easy breakfast. While the kids eat, I make myself an iced coffee, steal a couple hand fulls of berries, and make Harrison and Brooke's lunches. This time is also when I empty the dishwasher, or load it if I was too tired to handle the dishes the night before.

8:30 The hustle to get us all dressed and out the door begins. I have to remind Harrison every 5 minutes to stay on task otherwise we will not make it to school on time. On school mornings my version of getting ready involves washing my face, brushing my teeth, throwing my hair in a messy bun, jeans, t-shirt, open cardigan, and chucks. 5 minutes for me and 25 for the 4 littles.

9:05 I always try to get us out the door at 9am, but it's always 9:05. 

9:20 Harrison and Brooke have been dropped off at school. Scarlett, Clark, and I run a few errands. Target, grocery, bank, and a salsa run. I didn't have a chance to eat breakfast, so we grab a couple breakfast sandwiches and an iced coffee while we're at the grocery store.

11:15 We are done with errands and as much as I try to keep the babies awake on the ride home, Scarlett falls asleep for the last 5 minutes of our drive.

12:00 The babies eat lunch while I put away groceries and clean up from breakfast.

12:22 Milk and nap time. They usually fall asleep while nursing, but that's not the case today. They are finally both asleep by 1pm.

1:12 I sit down to eat lunch, answer emails, and work on the computer.

2:10 The babies are still sleeping so I grab a quick shower.

3:00 I wake the babies up from their nap and we go pick up Harrison and Brooke.

3:20 The kids snack on raisins and Snap Pea Crisps, and then we head to the basement to play and straighten up. Lately we've been spending our afternoon's outside, but it was windy and cold on Tuesday.

4:35 I walk upstairs just in time to see the dog vomit on the floor. Thank goodness for a carpet cleaner. Once I handle that mess, I start getting dinner ready.

4:54 Dinner is in the oven, so the babies and I have a dance party while we wait for it to bake. Enchiladas and cilantro lime rice are on the menu this evening.

5:37 Harrison starts eating salsa by the spoonful while I get everyone served. This kid is my spirit animal #givemeallthesalsa

6:21 Bath time for all 4 kids. Bubbles, splashing, and squealing, and a few tears ensue.

7:01 Rob gets home from work just in time to be greeted by 2 naked babies running through the halls. We tag team getting all of the kids ready for bed. Most nights I am on my own, so having Rob home tonight is a real treat.

7:30 Story time with all the kids in our room before the babies go to bed and Harrison and Brooke get big kid stories in their room.

7:54 Clark is having a hard time falling asleep, so I bring him in our room for some Motrin and snuggles. His teeth have been bothering him a lot lately. We snuggle for a while, but's it's still too light in our room for him to fall asleep in our bed.

8:21 I take Clark back to his room and lay him down. He screams at me for a minute or two, but is quickly to sleep. Rob already has Harrison and Brooke in bed with lights out.

8:54 We straighten up the kitchen and pick up anything the kids left laying on the floor. Then we sit down to watch a couple episodes of Schitts Creek.

10:04 Rob heads to the gym and I work on this blog post. I'll let the dogs out and go to bed close to 11.

I planned to end this post here, but Clark had other plans.

11:23 I finally head upstairs to go to bed.

12:15 Clark wakes up screaming and doesn't settle back down. Rob spends 30 minutes trying to get him settled down. He won't go back to sleep. We bring Clark into our bed. Then back to his bed. Then we rock him. Then we trying letting him cry. Then back to our room again.

2:15 Clark still isn't asleep but he finally lets me lay him down without protest. He and I are both finally back to sleep by 2:30.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Harry Potter Baby Shower

One of my favorite couples is expecting their first baby together this summer. Carolyn used to work for me way back when. Before I was pregnant with Harrison and Brooke and when her daughter was just a few months old (I've known her fiance for even longer). Our work relationship grew into a wonderful friendship and our older kids are BFFS, Between work, kids, and everything in between we've been through a lot together. She was in the army when she was pregnant with her daughter and as you can imagine, being stationed overseas doesn't exactly allow time for a baby shower, so she never got one. This time around it was a definite must for her and her little man to be showered. Never one to shy away from the chance to throw a themed party, I jumped at the chance to host.

Their nursery is Harry Potter themed which gave us the perfect theme for the shower, but I literally know nothing about Harry Potter. There's magic, they play quidditch, and Emma Watson and stuff, yeah. That's about as far as my knowledge goes. Thank goodness for Pinterest. Rob was on my case for the weeks leading up to the shower trying to get me to watch the movies or ready the books (we own all of them). I promised him I would read the books with Harrison and Brooke in a couple years when they are old enough.

The weeks before the shower were spent making floating candles, scouring Etsy for all things HP, making a diaper cake (which H and B though was hilarious), and trying to keep the shower a secret. We pulled off the surprise, she cried because she cries about everything, and almost all of the decor was able to be used in the nursery.



Wooden Teething Blocks / Chocolate Frogs / Cupcakes / Initial Letters - Handmade