Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

Evan: 6 Years Old

Saturday, April 11th, 2015

Six is a lot of years. It’s one-third of the way to 18, which I immediately regret both thinking and typing. But there is no denying Evan is a big kid, well on his way to being a full grown human who barely even needs me. He’s way too busy watching Star Wars while building Star Wars Legos while playing Star Wars Legos on the iPad to even notice I’m offering him food.

Evan actually asked to be left at Kid’s Quest for his birthday. That’s the child care half of the arcade at the casino – for the low low price of $11/hour you can gamble while they entertain the crap out of your kids. It’s an excellent strategy for the casinos since kids aren’t allowed on the gaming floors. And they are REALLY GOOD at entertaining the kids. Which is why Evan asked us to leave him there for his birthday. I basically begged him to hang out with us as a family instead, starting a long slow descent into me being his super uncool mom.

I felt sort of guilty all weekend that Evan wasn’t getting a Big Party. It was what everyone (both family and not family) expects and what the kids are used to when it comes to birthdays. But now that he’s in school and has a whole list of friends I’ve literally never met I figured we could switch over to “fun activity that in the future we can invite a few close friends to join us in doing”. After he opened his presents on Sunday night he declared turning 6 was the best birthday ever, so obviously my guilt was unnecessary and he still felt special for his special weekend.

Evan is a super nice, fairly sensitive kid who is a total people pleaser. I’m focused on being more mindful of that trait and working with his teacher to make sure she keeps it in mind when he’s struggling in class. Last week she had to call me because he was sitting in a chair refusing to do the ONE worksheet he needed to finish before he had free choice for the rest of the day. She said it happened the week before and he had literally sat, pouting, head down for 2 full hours. I asked her if it was possible he had made a mistake (he had) and was just upset with himself (he was) and if she could maybe offer him a hug before she gave up and punished him (she did). It turned out that was all he needed: he bounced right back to the happy, sweet kid who wants to do a good job and I got nice notes the rest of the week assuring me he was behaving perfectly.

So what I’m saying is having a kid that’s old enough to be upset for ACTUAL REASONS instead of things like “cut their strawberries to small” or “asked them to put their shoes on” or “changed their diaper” is pretty cool. Even if you do hear a lot more fart jokes.

Here’s how we celebrated the big S I X.

Dinner at Margaritaville, because what kid doesn’t love watching a giant blender fill up with tequila? (No, that’s a serious question, the kids love that part.)

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Arcade games:

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MOAR BABY GOATS:

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Cake and presents:

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Evan’s birthday interview:

(Please ignore the Caroline and Lincoln background noise, they were actually really quite compared to their regular volume.)

 

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Happy 33 To Me

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Hey, it’s my birthday, I’m gonna party like I’m responsible for keeping 3 small humans alive on my birthday. So maybe a glass of wine after they all go to bed.

That song was actually really popular on my birthday the year it came out (which I believe was in two thousand and OMG I am old) so I think of it as my birthday song. Just like probably 1/3rd of girls who were in college in that year probably do. I am nothing if not part of my generation.

33 is not a big or special birthday. I don’t have anything big or special planned and we will probably not celebrate in any memorable ways. But a bunch of small things have come together recently that lead me to believe 33 might be the age which I am officially an adult. And not only that, an adult who is pretty good at adulting sometimes.

I have a skin care routine. I realized those spots on my face weren’t just big freckles and I bought two different kinds of cream that have the words “anti-aging” in them and I reliably both put them on AND take my make-up off. I’ve never done that more than two days in a row before, but it’s been a couple weeks so maybe it stuck this time. Plus I expanded my makeup routine from “mascara and sometimes foundation” to “expensive mascara, primer, foundation and eyebrow gel”. I am probably the only one who can tell, but I FEEL more put together.

Along those same lines, I also a) have a standing appointment for a hair cut/color maintenance and b) wear earrings. Both tiny things that I always felt like I was never going to manage and yet now I have and do and it makes me happy every time I look in the mirror. Earrings! A lack of noticeable roots and split ends! Like a real grown up!

In the less superficial department, I also used my phone as an actual phone several times this week. I returned a call to get the kids set up for summer camp. I answered an unfamiliar number that ended up being Evan’s teacher. I moved my hair appointment. I called Nikon to find out what I could do about my broken camera. I called the camera supply place to find out if they could rush-ship a new one. I called and made the dermatologist appointment I hate making. Ok, that last one is a lie, I didn’t call yet. I hate the medical care on base and I have to see them to get a referral to a real derm and I hate the dermatologist in general because having my skin examined closely by ANYONE is horrifying. But I also don’t really want to die of skin cancer, so I’m definitely calling on Monday.

Other adulting skills I’ve mastered this year: Mailing things without standing in line at the post office. Going to the grocery store and not buying mostly ice cream. Taking out the trash. Talking to my kids’ teachers without feeling like I’m about to get in trouble. Recognizing when buying the more expensive version of something might be a better choice than buying the cheap thing. Making school lunches. Not staying up too late (most of the time).

My goal for the next year is to be an adult about my own self. I need to make wiser choices to be healthier. I need to stop eating my feelings. I need to use that wine-drinking time after bedtime to maybe do some push-ups. I also need to buy myself a pair of jeans that fit – just ONE PAIR – so I don’t have to wear yoga pants to yoga pant inappropriate locations, like dinner at restaurants with real silverware or all the birthday parties the kids are invited to this month. I can beat myself up over the size of my pants and losing baby weight afterward (because I am not sure I will ever be adult enough not to do that) but at least I can do it from the comfort of pants with a button that actually buttons.

So it’s not like I’ve discovered the secret of life or become wildly successful or been a perfect human/wife/mother but this year was pretty OK and I hope next year is even OK-er. Maybe on my 34th birthday I’ll be able to say I’ve successfully learned to spell the words “apartment” and “apparently” right on the first try. It’s good to have goals.

 

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Caroline’s Undersea Wonderland Mermaid 4th Birthday Party

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Last year, right after her princess party, Caroline asked for a ballerina party. I was really excited about that, since a winter ballerina party could be Nutcracker themed and there are SO many adorable possibilities there. Luckily I didn’t do much (any) planning early, so when she changed her mind and asked for a mermaid party instead I didn’t have to undo anything to throw a mermaid party.

I didn’t do as much as I have in the past (her winter fairy party was my favorite and also was CRAZY involved) but since the kids are bigger and more able to entertain themselves I just threw a bunch of balloons on the floor and they took care of the rest.

My theme was Undersea Wonderland, since obviously that’s where mermaids live. I had the very talented Becca from Jumping Jax make a custom invite and printable decorations for me. She is fast, creative and afordable (she also did Evan’s pirate party) and I highly recommend her.

Most of my party supplies came from Oriental Trading Company, as they usually do. This year, they gave me a budget and sent me a bunch of awesome stuff for free, although I ended up ordering twice as much stuff as they offered so I gave them a big pile of money anyway. Story of my party-planning life: budgets are not my strong point. But Caroline has an excellent party, everyone ate all my food and I would definitely say this was another successful birthday.

Decorations:

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Mermaid treasure

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Sparkle jelly fish made from Oriental Trading Co lanterns

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Real life: pen on the wall of the stairs and my husband’s dirty socks in the railing

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These giant balloons are my favorite birthday tradition

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Glitter EVERYWHERE, but I love how these look

Food:

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Undersea Wonderland 4th Birthday Party

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These are my gooey vanilla sparkle cookies, just renamed.

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Ha ha ha ha School of Fish

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Mermaid wands

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Octopus rolls were an unexpected hit! It’s just crescent roll dough sheets cut into shapes with edible eyes stuck on.

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Seaweed dip = spinach dip

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Crabwiches! Eyes glued to toothpicks, sandwiches are ham and swiss

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Sand dollar sugar cookies (same ones I made for Evan’s pirate party). Caroline cut these out herself. HERSELF. Like, my sister supervised but Caroline rolled and cut the dough entirely herself.

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Cheese triangles as shark teeth

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I bought a special starfish cookie cutter for these

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Puff pastry cut into stars with cream cheese frosting filling, sprinkled with a little gold sugar to make them bumpy

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Oyster cookies! I used two different kinds of Pepperidge Farm cookies (one is shortbread, one is coconut) and the same frosting I used on the cake

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The “pearls” are chocolate candies from Oriental Trading Co.

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IT IS NOT A DAVIS PARTY WITHOUT CUCUMBER SANDWICHES

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I broke my own rule and made a cake. The cake itself is from a box, but I made cream cheese buttercream frosting.

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I spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME looking for a mermaid to go on top…and found this one on our Christmas tree. It was Caroline’s ornament from last year.

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The sand is graham cracker crumbs, the writing is a sparkle frosting pen, and I even bought special teal food coloring to make the frosting ocean-colored. Caroline picked the candles.

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Rock candy from Oriental Trading Co

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These were WAY cuter on Pinterest, but as much of a mess as they are the kids loved them and they looked cute on the tray

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I sent E to buy “mermaid beer”. This was the best he could do. It was delicious though!

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Blue punch mixed with Sprite = sea water. We also had pink mermaid punch, but I somehow forgot to take a photo.

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Straws from Oriental Trading, flags from Jumping Jax

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HERE’S A TIP. Don’t make sea glass candy. Melt Jolly Ranchers on parchment paper instead. Dust with powdered sugar. DONE. I mixed it with my jelly sharks because I ran out of bowls.

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Fish sticks. Obviously.

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Ocean Jello. Man, there was a LOT of blue food coloring at this party.

Fun:

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Party favors

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Make the sand/seashell ornaments

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It needed some adult supervision but they all came out really cute

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My sister drew this for me approximately 30 minutes before the guests showed up. She is very talented.

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Waiting her turn…

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The kids LOVED this game

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Cake eating counts as an activity

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So does mermaid punch

Cake time!

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Happy 4th Birthday Mermaid Caroline!

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Thank you to Oriental Trading Company for some of the supplies! I got the 4 balloon, the other balloons, the straws, the lanterns, the pearl chocolates, the necklaces, the wands, the straws, and the rock candy from them. Plus other stuff I’m forgetting and/or forgot to take pictures of (like the green crepe paper that turned my bookcase into a seaweed forest.

The shells and craft supplies are from Michael’s. All the fabric is left over from her previous parties, as are the lights and the crystal curtain behind the food table.

Caroline’s mermaid costume was her Halloween costume. It’s from Chasing Fireflies, a super awesome place to get costumes. Evan also wore his shark costume for part of the time, but we had to take it away when he started attacking guests. True story.

You can find links to most of the inspiration and products on my Pinterest board here. Not everything from my party is Pinterest-worthy. It’s not professional or super fancy or perfect and after 5 years of throwing parties for my kids I am TOTALLY OK with that. We had a wonderful time. I had a ton of family here and they were all so so so helpful. I could never have gotten even half this stuff done without them. An hour before the guests showed up I handed Baby Linc to my sister’s new fiance and abandoned them. He did great. Better than great. I hope I can convince him to come back for Caroline’s party again next year.

Thank you to EVERYONE who came and everyone who helps and everyone who made Caroline’s day so special.

As always, ask me if you have a question on where something came from or how I made something. Apologies for the weird colors/lighting on the photos, it got dark at like THREE O’CLOCK so this were taken at a crazy high ISO under overhead lights.

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My Week(216) in iPhone Photos

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

BIRTHDAY WEEK! Today, Sunday, the day after Caroline’s party, I’ve finally managed to think about the fact that Christmas is 4 days away and I can’t even FIND half the gifts I bought the kids (no for real, WHERE DID I HIDE THEM????).

Sunday:

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Swiiiiiiiiiiing

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I only burned myself three times and the beer was an effective painkiller.

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I REJECT YOUR BABY BATHTUB! GIVE ME REAL WATER!

Monday:

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Proud of his gold star from the dentist

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Wraps make good blankets when you use the stroller

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You brought me to a casino AGAIN?!

Tuesday:

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School uniforms don’t have sock and shoe requirements

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WHY U PUT ME IN THIS CAGE?

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NOM TULA NOM NOM

Wednesday:

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She insisted on the jaunty hat

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Screw you candy thermometer, you are USELESS

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He’s disappointed none of those things are food

Thursday:

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Daddy chat time

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Outtake from my attempt at a santa baby picture. I have 30 more like this.

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SHUT UP.

Friday:

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Cookie time with Aunt Carolyn

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I do not want to talk about what is happening here.

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Two fancy ladies at The Nutcracker

Saturday:

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Two selfies in a row is ridiculous, but the birthday girl is too cute

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A shark playing Pin The Tail On The Mermaid

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In the Rainbow My Little Pony game, EVERYONE WINS

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Caroline: 4 Years Old

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Today my baby girl is turning fourteen. No wait. FOUR. She’s turning four. But sometimes it sure feels like she’s turning fourteen, with the sass and the attitude and the confidence and the hilarious things that come out of her mouth. She wants a pink unicorn for Christmas – a REAL unicorn, not an imaginary unicorn. And not a purple one. A PINK one. I told her maybe Santa didn’t have room in the sleigh for a unicorn so she could maybe ask for something smaller and she agreed toy ponies would be OK for now. She’s accommodating like that.

She has asked to take tap dancing lessons now that she is four. I’m not really looking forward to all the tap dancing practice that is sure to follow, but since she stomps around “tap dancing” in her sneakers anyway it really matters very little if she’s signed up or not. Caroline loves to perform and if you ask her she will sing you a completely improvised song about a mermaid who looses her baby and then finds her again and lives happily ever after, complete with an interpretive dance, since everything includes an interpretive dance. Getting her coat on involves an interpretive dance. Brushing her teeth involves an interpretive dance. Screaming about how I ruined her life involves an interpretive dance.

Caroline is VERY excited about her birthday  plans. Tonight she and I are going to see The Nutcracker at Mohegan Sun. It looks fancy, with an orchestra and a chance to meet the dancers. I’m just as excited as she is, since I really really want her to love it. I have a very magical memory of going to see The Nutcracker when I was little and I’m hoping this can be a tradition for us on her birthday. Then Saturday we have her mermaid party. I feel less prepared than I have been in previous years (being trapped inside by the cold limits my water-based games and activities) but between a zillion different kinds of sugar to feed the kids and plans to fill the house with balloons I think the kids will have a good time. And if not Caroline can do some more interpretive dances for them.

Happy Birthday to the craziest, happiest, sweetest, bravest, most adorable little pixie mermaid ginger I know, Caroline Noelle!

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Please enjoy Caroline’s 4 year old interview. Last year’s interview is here. I let her watch it just before this year, so she answered some of the questions the same to be funny, not because they’re true. She’s too stubborn to argue with though.

I asked her this morning how she liked being four, and she said “How about I try on all my shoes and see which ones fit me. Cause I’m four and four is BIG BIG BIGGER.” Sounds like a plan.

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