Monday, March 31, 2008

A Parrot-y Pirate-y Party

Yesterday was THE BIG COMBO BIRTHDAY PARTY. I wrote that in ALL CAPS to convey that this was a much anticipated and much prepared for event. Every time I throw a party, I'm really happy with how it all turns out. However. The days before said party are always....well.....overwhelming.....because I'm controlling and bossy.....and maybe a little bit of a perfectionist where parties are concerned. Poor Big Al. He had last week off and he spent the whole entire week "working for the man" this case...."the woman." Me. Having a party is always the best way to get household loose ends - tightened. You'll notice my sign on the lawn....I felt bad about threatening little children, but we just re-seeded the lawn! It's a mess thanks to a rough winter and pesky squirrels. I didn't want all of our lawn-nursing to be for nothing because of 14 kids and a two hour party! It worked. No one walked on the lawn. And hey - at least I stayed with the theme of the party!

For the entertainment, we had the Happy Birds ( come with their menagerie of wonderfully beautiful and talented birds. This went well with our pirate themed party! The kids absolutely loved the show - and so did the parents! R. invited six friends, and N. invited six friends - so it was a nice sized group. Not too big, not too small. The show started inside with one baby bird (a darling little bird named Sunshine) and her handler - Julie. While this was going on, her husband Ed set up outside on the deck where the bulk of the show would take place.
The show was so cool! These birds were amazing. They spoke, did neat tricks, played games. Really entertaining. The birds really were...."happy" birds! Julie and Ed were very professional, yet very sweet and funny with the kids. However, it was very clear that these birds were their babies and they were very careful with them - giving the kids clear instructions on what was and wasn't okay for them to do. The kids were all really respectful and just totally taken with the show which was great. I don't know if I've ever seen so many little kids (some 3/4...some 5/6) captivated by anything for such a long time!

All the kids got a chance to have a bird on their arm, but the birthday kids got special treatment - kisses from the birds and other neat tricks! Another thing I really appreciated, is that Julie made sure to give me very specific photo opps in addition to some great candid ones that I got on my own. She must be a scrapbooker, because she really seemed to understand the importance of "the shot!"

The show lasted about an hour, and then it was time for lunch and cake. What might Petsmart, Costco, and me all have in common? Well....this cake. I ordered a chocolate cake with white frosting and ZERO decoration from Costco. We got the pirate ship and treasure chest from the aquarium department at Petsmart, and then to Safeway for a frozen Sara Lee pound cake which I carved into an island. All I had to do was ice the pound cake and top it with brown sugar to look like sand, mix up some blue frosting and make waves with it on top of the cake and then use my scrapping stickers to make a cute black flag with the boys names on it. Totally easy and very cute! If anyone would like to see a much better picture of the cake, just let me know. I didn't post it because I forgot to take a "blog" picture of it - (one without the kids' names on it)

All in all it was a great party. The kids all had such a nice time and I think the parents did too. The entertainment was great and as always...I had lots of fun decorating! Of course in all the commotion, I forgot to take a picture of the table which was decked out in a treasure map table cloth, pirate head decoration and a big parrot dressed up as a pirate surrounded by treasure!
I can't even tell you how surreal it was to have such magnificent birds right there on my deck!
One thing is for sure - this party was scrapbooking GOLD!

N.'s actual birthday is next week and we promised to take him bowling that evening. I'll be making special cupcakes for him to bring to school and then a bowling cake (by request) for that night. Besides the Pac Man cake, the Pirate Cake, the Surfboard cupcakes for next week and the upcoming bowling cake....I made these (with a little help from Oriental Trading Company) for R.'s birthday celebration at his school just before Spring break.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Make a Wish and Blow out the Peeps!

Easter was a two for one holiday for us. R. turned 4 on Easter Sunday! It was a fun and FULL day. The kids woke up early as usual, and were delighted with their Easter baskets from the Easter bunny.

*****See that baby bottle candy in R.'s hand? I HATE those. I am fundamentally opposed to those baby bottle candies. But every time he sees them in the store, he wants one - and every time - I say NO. I figure we'd let the "Easter Bunny" get him one. This way, *I'm* still sticking to my guns. Get it?
Even baby Jack got an Easter basket - and even though his was the only basket that didn't contain anything edible, he still managed to put every little Easter toy into his mouth.

After R. opened his birthday presents from Big Al and I, we all enjoyed a big Easter breakfast. After that, we got dressed and ready to go to R's favorite place (and I realize that I'm outing myself here): The Boardwalk. So the five of us along with my Mom and sister piled into the van and headed to the beach. We got there right when they opened and managed to get on all of the boys favorite rides before it got too busy. It was a warm and beautiful day! Oh how they love the Boardwalk. They were so happy to be there and had a great time. They were cooperative too! What a bonus! The baby was a total angel - totally content in his stroller.

You know, I still get a kick out of taking the kids to the Boardwalk. As often as we go, it's still so fun for me to reminisce about all the many days I spent at the Boardwalk with my family when I was growing up! We're so lucky to live where we live. Not because of the funnel cakes - but because of the beautiful beaches and beautiful weather.

<------Look. Don't accuse me of taking their picture like this to show off their Boden shirts. I TOTALLY wasn't doing that. Oh my gosh, wait 'till you see the two Boden outfits I got R. for his birthday. He was just beside himself...well...I was anyway.

After the Boardwalk, we went home and insisted that the exhausted and sun kissed boys take a nap. Later on, my mom and sister came over for Easter ham and my mom's famous potato salad. R. was more than willing to open a few more presents from his aunt and grandma, and then.....the cake.

R. was thrilled with his cake, and so was I. A few weeks ago, I asked him what kind of cake he'd like for his birthday. Without hesitation, he said that he wanted a Pac Man cake. It's his favorite game to play on the computer. I was *so* excited to make this cake. It's a fun throwback to my *80's* era! I LOVED to play Pac Man when I was a kid. On Friday nights, we'd go to the pizza "parlor" and play Pac Man. Anyway, this cake was well.....a piece of make and it turned out super cute (I think.) Of course, what made it was the vintage Pac Man wrapping paper that I found online. It was still in it's Hallmark flat wrap and the price tag was still on it. $1.00. Inflation! Twenty years ago, one of those flat Hallmark wrapping paper packs was $1.00. Now they're about $4. Crazy.
Anyway....Happy Birthday to the funniest, silliest, smartest, most clever, most mischevious, warm hearted little monster I know. I love you.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter!

I know. I agree with you. This is indeed the most precious baby ever born. Okay - well, he's the cutest baby born this year. Alright - well, this picture is at least the cutest picture you've seen today, right?

I love having a baby. I'm enjoying this little guy so much. He's wonderful and lovely and perfect. I can't believe he's just about 7 months old already. So thats.....lets see.....about 900 days from when he'll call me a shithead for the very first time. Aw, Milestones. They just grow up so fast, don't they?

Okay, so I admit that the green-topped carrot as a prop might not have been the best idea. He (of course) couldn't keep it out of his mouth, and despite what our bunny rabbit and guinea pig friends would have us believe - they don't taste very good!
And here he is enjoying his new favorite pastime - blowing raspberries!

Go Sox!

Last weekend was N's first real T-ball game. Much to our surprise - the whole team did amazingly well! It was actually....a GOOD game! The practices paid off as they really seemed to know what they were doing. Even the coaches were pleasantly surprised. The kids were adorable in their uniforms and excitement was in the air. N. got three outs in one inning and I literally cried I was so proud of him!
Silly, I know. I was there with my team hat on, SLR around my neck, video camera in hand and watching in awe as he just....played the game! He just seemed so much older and wiser....watching the game, knowing what to do before he needed to do it, catching the ball and knowing exactly where to throw it, tagging kids out and then giving his coach a big 'ol high five with a big smile on his face. A jock. Still so sweet, but part of him is just such a big boy now! He's lost 6 teeth and his two front grown up teeth are about half way down. I can see that he is going to look so much older once they're completely in. It's weird! He's almost 6 years old. How did that happen??? Wasn't he a curly headed, juice- swilling, toddler with a serious Blue's Clues obsession like.....5 minutes ago? Time sure flies. He's such a good boy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Yesterday after I picked N. up from school, he claimed that he was STARVING and needed a snack before we went to the park. I didn't want to go all the way home, I forgot to bring something along as I usually do, and the baby was sleeping in his car seat. I didn't want to have to wake him up just yet. I told the boys that they could get fast food chicken nuggets and some juice. No fries. So that's what we did. We went through the drive-through and each kid got a 4 pack of chicken nuggets and some orange juice to eat on the way to the park. From the back I hear:

N: "BOO. HOO" (not crying, he said the words "boo. hoo."

Me: "What's wrong?"

N: "So sad"

Me: "?????"

N: "This isn't a happy meal, it's a SAD meal. A very, very, SAD meal. No toy......just some sad, sad, chicken."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Another milestone in the life of an American boy. T-Ball. And so it begins.

So far, N. likes it quite a bit! He's got an amazing arm on him and is great at catching the ball as well. Great coordination. He's really looking forward to "pee wee" football this Fall when he'll finally be old enough to play. He's counting the days!

Anyway, he's had a few t-ball practices and is looking forward to Opening Day this weekend.

Guess who has TONS of time on her hands (right) and volunteered to be the Team Mom? Yes......yes....I did. Ordering uniforms, hats, embroidery for the hats, organizing snacks, trophy's, coach gifts, parties, etc. Talk about jumping right in! Honestly....I did it because it's good for me to do things like this. I know this will sound crazy to those who know me well....but I'm really, really, self conscious and am not what one would call....a "joiner." People seem to like me (strangely enough!) but I really struggle with self doubt, and doing new things really brings it all to my internal surface. I'm SUPER good at hiding it thanks to years of practice....but still. I have three kids. Kids who are and will continue to be active in sports and other things. I need to do stuff like this! And so I am. At least I'll get to make some baseball themed cupcakes when all is said and done.

There are twelve kids on the team. Eleven boys, and one girl. Bless her adorable little heart. She reminds me of a little "Mam" I know!

Big Boy!

As of the 6 month check up: 19 lbs, 29 inches long. It must be all the "banana-cado" (banana and avocado) his favorite pureed combo of the week.

Look at his complexion. Baby's amazing. It's no wonder I have a hard time keeping my lips off of his cheeks for two seconds.