Archive for the ‘The Rest’ Category

Children’s Book Themed Birthday Party

Friday, August 25th, 2017

We celebrated Lincoln turning three and Finnegan turning one with a children’s book themed birthday party last weekend. I feel slightly guilty that I made them share a party when the big kids got their own celebrations for each of their first five years. But between the bathroom disaster (ongoing) and E’s work schedule, this was really our only free weekend for a party. I don’t think either of them minded. Honestly, the guest list would be exactly the same for both parties anyway. When you’re the 3rd and 4th kids your friends are the younger siblings of the big kids’ friends.

I didn’t start planning this party until late June, so when I was looking for a theme I needed something that wouldn’t need too many custom-made or hard to find items. I had done a Nursery Rhyme Baby Shower for Caroline and it was pretty easy and totally adorable, so I expanded upon that to include all children’s books. It turns out most children’s books are already about food, so the menu was the easiest part:

Book worms – gummy worms

Green Eggs and Ham – green deviled eggs

Very Hungry Caterpillar – cheese & sausage plate, fruit

The Runaway Bunny – veggies

Dragons Love Tacos – taco bar

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – chocolate chip cookies

The Giving Tree – apple slices

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs – meatballs

Uni the Unicorn – unicorn pops

The Big Hungry Bear – strawberries/berries

Paddington Bear – marmalade sandwiches

Don’t Forget the Bacon – BLT sandwiches

Eloise at the Plaza – tea sandwiches

Where The Wild Things Are – wild thing claws (Bugles)

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great – sparkle cupcakes

Captain Flynn and the Pirate Dinosaurs – pink pirate dinosaur punch

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

I keep all of our dust covers in a box because the kids just ruin them. They came in hand as decor!

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

Taco bar serving trays were super cheap and from Amazon.

Wild things claws = Bugles

When it came to decor, I already had almost everything I needed. A few banners from Oriental Trading Company and a whole lot of photos added to the many, many books. Many of the books I used both as the theme and as actual decor are my books, from my own childhood. Some of the others are favorites from bedtime for Evan and Caroline. We were lucky enough to meet Mo Willems a few years ago (one of my favorite posts of all time!) so most of his books are signed. The whole thing just felt so special and personal, even if it isn’t the most dramatic theme I’ve ever done it was perfect!

Ladybug balls from Amazon.

All our Mo animals – Elphant and Piggie, Pigeon and four Knuffle Bunnies – came from a recent promotion at Kohl’s. I went to two different stores to find them all.

Bookmarks, bubbles and temporary tattoos for party favors.

Please excuse the unpainted spot on the wall, we didn’t quite get our construction finished before the party. At least we had a ceiling!

I made the photo display for Finnegan with a hula hoop, spray paint, ribbon, fake flowers and hot glue. The outside pictures are his monthday photos for the past 11 months and the center photos are from his cake smash session.

We are very lucky to have so many friends who have so many kids, because the kids are really what makes the parties fun. I also love that some of them have been coming for so long now that they get excited ahead of time thinking about cucumber sandwiches!

The cheeseburger pinata was from the party aisle at Target (and the theme is from Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, where cheeseburgers fall from the sky). I’ve had it in my dining room for months now and it always made me smile.

I also bought some of those magic quick-fill water balloons at Target when they went on clearance. They didn’t exactly go with the theme but Lincoln LOVES water balloons. And it was super hot, so the kids enjoyed getting wet and dried off quickly.

 

All four of my kids had book shirts from Out Of Print Clothing. I bought Evan shirts from their site when he was a toddler, which Lincoln still wears and Finn will wear. Evan wore Caps for Sale, Caroline wore Harold and the Purple Crayon, Lincoln got Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus and Finnegan wore Where The Wild Things Are. To be honest, Finnegan already owns like 5 other Wild Things shirts that were hand-me-downs but they’re all long sleeved and it was too hot so I bought him another. You cannot have to many Wild Things themed articles of clothing.

This bounce house I bought Lincoln for his first birthday remains one of my best decisions to date.

My kids are currently obsessed with painting rocks, so I put out supplies and lots of the big kids did rock painting. I sealed them all this week and we hid them at Mystic Seaport for others to find.

After water balloons and bounce house and painting and pinata and lots of eating and running around, we wrangled everyone inside to sing Happy Birthday to Lincoln, because he thinks people singing Happy Birthday is the BEST THING. We sang for Finnegan too, but he just wanted to eat the candle.

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

Thank you as always to my parents, who were pretty much the only reason this party happened. Their help with cleaning and prep is invaluable. And thank you to everyone who came, it’s so wonderful to know that my kids have a village of both actual relatives and by-choice relatives to love them. Lincoln and Finnegan are both sufficiently celebrated!

 

 

 

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Friday, August 11th, 2017

I HAVE LIGHTS IN MY KITCHEN THAT WORK. They’re actually insanely bright, daylight bulbs and I want to just live in my kitchen now. I mean, except for the fact that it’s filthy and the walls aren’t finished. BUT, LIGHTS!

Sunday:

Mystic family time

Miniature figure heads

This puzzle is really hard

Monday:

Mommy, take my picture

Finn wanted a picture too

Shirts for the book themed birthday party!

Tuesday:

Rainy day seaport camp drop off

Wednesday:

Batman on a dog sled

Super into his ice cream

CLAM STRIP APPRECIATION CLUB MEETING

Thursday:

Basically my life in one photo

Climbing the rigging!

Friday:

“Moby Dik”, obviously

Out walking again

Saturday:

Hemming my husband’s uniform pants, like a good wife in 1950.

Nature center collection

Even more walking

I have one more week to get my life and house together before Linc and Finn’s birthday party. I can only do that once the sheetrock gets out of my dining room. Pray for me.

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Lincoln: 3 Years Old

Monday, July 24th, 2017

 

I wasn’t going to do a birthday video for Lincoln because of his speech delay. He’s very hard to understand – even his siblings and I have trouble with his language on a daily basis and we “speak Lincoln”. He also doesn’t have words for a lot of things he might want to say, and I didn’t want him to get frustrated and have a break down because he couldn’t communicate. I didn’t want to make him cry just so I could have a video of him answering questions.

But Linc has made HUGE progress with his speech, thanks to months of Birth to Three services and our amazing therapist Jill. He’s had his hearing checked (perfect), a physical (nothing wrong), and he’s been accepted into the early preschool program this fall so he can continue getting direct speech services as well as work on some of his sensory stuff and be ready for regular preschool when he’s 4. I know that in the next 12 months he’s going to grow and improve SO MUCH and eventually I’m going to miss the days when every new word was a celebration and hearing him say “happy burse day” makes me jump for joy.

So we made the video. I shortened my list of questions a little, he asked to have Evan sit with him, and I did a lot of translating. You probably won’t understand what he’s saying. But turning three is a big deal and milestone that we won’t let a speech delay stop us from documenting.

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Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Plugging on, while I have two kids passed out and two kids watching Lord of the Rings, which should keep them entertained for approximated 4832 hours.

Sunday:

Matching father-son kayaks

THIS is a vacation

Moana needed help with the wifi’

Monday:

Pretty serious relaxing

Rain delay

Dreaming about Disney World

Tuesday:

It’s tubing time

Big helper

Really excited about watermelon

Wednesday:

The only photo I took, but at least I got everyone in it.

Thursday:

Busy baby

Headed to swim call

Dinner at the club

Friday:

Actual thing my dad got for Father’s Day

MY CORN DON’T TOUCH IT

Saturday:

Waiting for his waffles

Boating is exhausting

Finn screams the whole time on the boat unless he’s nursing

We’ve been go go go go all week – basically just to keep us sane and out of the house and not sitting here in the heat wanting to strangle each other – so having an at-home day feels SO PRODUCTIVE. I cleaned things! And put away laundry! We finally called my mom for her birthday! I did a bunch of stupid adulting paperwork! I might even have time to finish setting up my bullet journal because I am determined to get organized so my life doesn’t collapse this fall when I have 3 kids in school and/or activities.

Literally as I typed that the baby woke up, so now I’m done being productive for a while.

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It’s Pregnancy Season And I’m Not Pregnant

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

I’m at Target to pick up diapers and I’m pretty sure every other woman in the store is pregnant. I pass them everywhere: in the grocery aisle, in the baby clothes, wandering home decor. It’s 87 degrees with 95% humidity outside and all the pregnant women are wearing tank tops and pushing toddlers in their carts stocked with goldfish crackers and beach buckets and ice cream. To me, they are all glowing and adorable and lucky to have so much to look forward to. But I know they probably feel enormous and uncomfortable, cursing themselves for a summer pregnancy, crossing their fingers that their toddler will take a nap later (or at least eat their goldfish for lunch while zoned out in front of Disney Jr so mama can lie on the couch under a fan).

My last baby is almost a year old now. I am far enough removed from being a pregnant woman at Target that I silently think “enjoy those moments” but still close enough that I know better than to say it out loud. A woman is not going to suddenly realize being hot and swollen and sore and tired and nauseous are all such blessings just because a stranger says “it goes so fast” or “I miss those days”. I am close enough to being a pregnant woman at Target that I know that is not entirely true. I do not miss those days. I do not miss being hot and swollen and sore and tired and nauseous and wondering how, exactly, I was ever going to manage a newborn when I couldn’t manage to put on pants every day. Not only do I not want to a pregnant woman at Target, don’t actually want to be pregnant at all.

And I’m not. I will most likely never be pregnant again. (I would say NEVER with 100% certainty but I know better than to tempt fate like that.)

What I do miss is being in that season of life. It doesn’t matter if those pregnant women at Target are technically older or younger than I am in years. They’re still at the stage where they will have a newborn. That’s a stage before the one I am in. New life is in their future, the moment when they meet a new little human they created. I don’t long to be pregnant again, but I do feel nostalgic for that particular flavor of joy. It’s not baby fever – I am thoroughly immunized against that particular strain by four children who all insisted on growing up – but it’s like a bruise. You don’t really notice it until you bump into it by accident, in the checkout at Target, and then it’s a dull ache that says “you’re not in this club anymore”.

I suspect these feelings are just biology, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling them. So this is me acknowledging it, writing it down in words, trying to explain it to you so I can explain it to me. Instead of being sad, I will let myself drift further towards the stage of life where I become the person who says “Oh it goes by so fast, treasure these moments” to pregnant women in Target. I will recount stories about my newborns in absolutes: “Oh my baby was such a good sleeper” “oh my baby loved being swaddled “oh my baby hated tummy time”. I will forget how much being pregnant sucks and only think of it fondly. And when gray-haired grandmas at Target look at my four not-babies and say “Enjoy these moments, it goes so fast”, I will smile and nod and say “It sure does.”

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