Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Here is the card we sent to family and friends this year!

Kinda hard to see because I scanned it - in a hurry!

Hope it was a sweet day!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Party {2012}

Today was Grace's pumpkin party at school!
I got to be the parent volunteer today which was fun - because I got to help plan the pumpkin party - but I also got to observe Grace in her school setting for the first time!

She was very quiet. She listened and did everything the teacher said.
I did notice that a lot of the other kids were "friends" because their parents were friends.
So it broke my heart a little to see Grace sitting by herself while the other kids were horsing around and playing. I can't help but see myself in her. 

Grace got to be the flag holder for the flag salute and she even introduced me to her class. 

After several educational activities - writing, coloring, cutting, etc - it was finally time to party!
The moms brought SO much food!
Pudding that looked like Frankenstein, gummy worms in Oreo crumbs that looked like dirt, popcorn balls, just to name a few. I am not kidding. There was SO much food!! So much of it was really cute or really clever or really realistic looking. Unfortunately, most got thrown away. 

Some of the kids were scared of some of the items but most got to town eating their special pumpkin party snacks without hesitation.

Grace didn't eat anything. To say she is picky...well that is an understatement!

Overall, the pumpkin party was a success!

Grace and her classmates. I still need to learn LOTS of names!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Halloween Spirit

The girls were REALLY into Halloween this year...which was a lot of fun!
It's just too bad the days pass so fast with SO much to do that sometimes you barely get to enjoy it.
Luckily, we'll have pictures to look back on!

 Grace wanted a scary pumpkin.

Charlotte was thrilled with a kitty pumpkin!

And while I did make my yearly Halloween sugar cookies, it was a sad attempt. I usually make well over a hundred. This year I could barely choke out 20. I just didn't have the time or the energy. These babies are extremely time consuming...even when you have very "efficient" helpers!

This is it. These are all that I made. I couldn't even muster up putting eyes on the ghosts or writing RIP on the tombstones. I left the tombstones to Grace who happily obliged.
Pathetic but at least we had a few to munch on!

Monday, October 22, 2012

All Aboard!

On a recent visit to Boise we got to experience a different kind of pumpkin patch.
One accessible only by train!

So fun for the girls to ride a train. To watch the country side whiz by!
Horses, pheasants, hawks - all viewable from our seats while sipping hot chocolate and coffee!

The overalls from Grandma were just the ticket too! The perfect place to store our toys all while keeping us warm and not to mention cute!
Thanks Grandma!

There was an assortment of pumpkins and the girls got busy choosing the perfect one! A fun little tradition at one of my favorite holidays with some of my favorite people! Thanks Mom and Dad for making it happen! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip with Grace (and Charlotte!)

Grace's class had their very first field trip!
I got to tag along as a parent volunteer and Charlotte got to be dragged along by default.

I don't know why but I felt a strong desire/obligation to make Halloween outfits for the girls. 
I don't know where this came from or why a t-shirt with a pumpkin on it from Target wouldn't suffice but it wouldn't.
On Monday, a quick trip to the fabric store sealed the deal!
I got to  work Monday afternoon - field trip being Wednesday morning - and although I made every mistake possible while making Grace's skirt, I somehow saved it (AKA ripped it all out and started over) and sailed through making Charlotte's on Tuesday.
With a little fabric leftover, I decided to jazz up some t-shirts from Target (found in the boys section...did you know boy toddler sizes run bigger than girl toddler sizes? I didn't!! I could have easily gone down an entire size for both girls. Live and learn)

Anyway, getting out the door Wednesday morning was - for some reason - an ordeal.
I don't know what they were upset about but neither wanted to pose for pictures. 

But luckily the big slide at the pumpkin patch cheered them both right up!

A trip through the dustiest corn maze ever!

Charlotte, the youngest by far, joined right in with the big kids. 

We hit the petting zoo...

and hit it hard! I think the kittens were by far the favorite pumpkin patch activity!!

Then it was off to roast marshmallows!

 Snack time was interrupted by the cutest Halloween kitty ever!
It almost made me want a cat!

Before the morning at the patch ended, all the kids lined up for a class photo.
Charlotte, feeling like part of the class, tried to join.
When I pulled her down from the hay bales, she threw a FULL on temper tantrum.
Full monty!
On the ground. Rolling in the dust.
The only clear picture I was able to snap of the class was this one...

and I cut out one of the kids.
Luckily, I was able to hijack a few from Facebook!

And with that, our pumpkin patch field trip concluded.
Fun times!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Missouri {2012}

I've been trying to get to Missouri for years!
Yep...that's what I said!

Missouri. For YEARS!
One of my closest childhood friends moved there almost a decade ago. When a friend of Court's got married in Columbia, MO (same town where my friend lives) we couldn't wait to go!
And then morning sickness hit with a vengeance. 
This was back when I was pregnant with Grace. 
Then when my friend was in neighboring Oregon so I planned on visiting her in Portland.
Morning sickness hit again - this time with Charlotte - and I was unable to go.
So after doing all the math, the last time I saw my friend was in 2005 - at my wedding!!
It's been nearly seven years!
So when Court told me he had a meeting in St. Louis, I jumped at the chance to tag along with the girls!

And tag along we did!!

I really didn't know what to expect about Missouri. I think I pictured tumbleweed and twang.
But boy was I wrong! 
It was really pretty. Clean and lots of traditional architecture.
I think the first word of I think of when I think of Missouri is trees!
Lots and lots of trees. Boy did we time it right with the changing of the leaves.

We all stayed at the same hotel and when we were all finally checked-in and ready to meet up, we discovered our rooms were NEXT DOOR to each other in the hotel!
When does that ever happen by chance?!?!?!?

This was the first time meeting my friend's darling daughter so
I just had to bring her something REALLY special!
I made her a doll house tote!

Then, it was off to dinner where we got our own private room!
The girls could all play and the parents could just relax. It was the perfect setup!

Even with all that space, they just wanted to be in the stroller with their iPads!

The next morning, we did a little sleeping, a little eating and a little swimming!
Then it was off to the zoo!

See what I mean about the fall foliage!

We rented a double stroller but all three skinny minnies fit in it! 
They didn't all stay in it, but it worked great!

We came upon this elephant just in time to see her doing some tricks!
It was pretty neat! The girls LOVED it!

No trip to the zoo is complete without a stop in the gift shop!
All the girls were treated to a stuffed animal of their choosing.
As you can see Grace is just thrilled about it!

It was so special catching up with my friend, finally seeing where she now calls home (kind of) and having our children meet!
It was also a lot of fun watching our girls all play together. Grace and E really hit it off! Grace has already asked when we are going to see her again!

It all went by too fast and in all that whirlwind of toddler activity and reminiscing we didn't get any pictures of the adults. 
I guess that means we are just going to have to go back and visit again soon!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Charlotte's Hot Air Balloon Birthday Party

Her party was months in the making. 
Literally, a project here. A project there. All done in little 15 minute snippets because time is not something I have an abundance of at this time of my life!

Charlotte was born on a Saturday two years ago - in the middle of the annual balloon rally here in town. Had Charlotte not been born that day we likely would have attended that balloon rally.
As Charlotte's birthday party fell on the Saturday of the balloon rally this year, I thought it appropriate - and fun - not to mention darling - to have a hot air balloon themed birthday party!

Then, I found these invitations and I was off and running!

A quick preview of what's to come!

No matter how much prepping I do before a party - or how much help I have the day of - I am still running around like a crazy person trying to get it all thrown together. And I always manage to forget something critical. No. Matter. What.

The cake table. 
Originally, I had planned to have the cake table outside under our covered porch. At the last minute I decided it was best to have it inside. So while this wasn't my original "vision" it still worked out!

I learned to sew just a few months ago JUST so I could make a tablecloth like this!
True story.
I couldn't justify buying a pink, ruffly tablecloth knowing full well that I would likely never use it again. Then when I got to thinking about actually making one, I couldn't justify all the time involved in making JUST one tablecloth.
So I made a changeable ruffly tablecloth!
Each ruffle attaches to the tablecloth via velcro! So I can mix and match the ruffles. Add ruffles.
All with minimal work AND cost!
Win! Win! Right?!?!?

Ok...moving on to what sits on top of that pretty, pink, ruffly tablecloth....the cake!!

Long story, but I ended up getting two cakes both with ruffled butter cream! And I am SO happy I did!
We ate the pink cake in it's entirety on the night of the party and had lots of leftovers (the lavender cake) for the rest of the week! I think I will do this from here on out!!

Hats off to those of you that can make and frost cakes the day of a party. I don't have the nerves - or the undivided attention - to make that happen!

I found the topper here and had it made to look like Charlotte.
Little blonde pig tails. A dress to match her party dress. Even the little hat looks like Charlotte's birthday hat! I just love little details like that!

The pink cake had chocolate on the inside and the lavender had strawberry cake on the inside. I usually don't stray too far from chocolate cake because it's my fav but the strawberry was REALLY good!
I am in love with Frost Me Sweet! It makes the two hour round trip drive to pick up the cake SO worth it!

Charlotte's darling party hat was made by Jessica at Prop Shop Boutique
She is amazing and a doll to work with! After seeing her creation, it inspired me to make hats for all the kids! No where near what Jessica is able to create but fun to make nonetheless!

Desserts included cake - of course - pots of ice cream, decorated marshmallows, 

French Macaroons, 


the cutest sugar cookies EVER!!
Check out the hot air balloons? Don't they look just like the invitation?

And the numbers? And Charlotte's little name? And the clouds? 

Darling and delicious! 
Hayley from Hayley Cakes and Cookies recently graduated from college and is starting her own cookie business. Would you not kill to be able to decorate a sugar cookie like this?!?!

Finally, it was time to get the girls dressed and ready!

I searched and searched for a birthday outfit for Charlotte.
Then I found some black and white hot air balloon fabric and then I found a perfect pattern...

and this is what I came up with!
(I made Grace's dress too! Pattern from the same shop!)! It's your birthday!

That's better! There's the birthday girl!

Now she's getting excited!

So glad I got a few pictures of Charlotte in her birthday hat because I forgot to put it on her when we blew out candles. I know! I am STILL kicking myself!

As guests arrived, I had each child pose in his or her own hot air balloon.
My little photo prop didn't turn out nearly as wonderful as I'd hoped. I'd seen lots of inspirational pics on Pinterest but I just ran out of time. Those big balloons are very delicate and thanks to a local helium shortage (for real!) very hard to find someone to fill. I wasn't willing to risk fancying up the balloon to make it look more hot air balloony. 
I took pictures of each of the children (with my iPhone - yep I was the mother who didn't have a media card for her camera on the day of the party! So lots of these pics are taken with my iPhone (UGH UGH). But my brother saved the day and got me a media card on his way to the party! THANK YOU JABB! I owe you one!!) and then sent them their picture in the thank you note!
Just a fun little reminder of the fun we all had at the party!

I did have time to make some silly props though!

The weather totally cooperated as did the temperature of our pool.
It literally felt like bath water.
The kids loved it!

What it's all about right here.
Fun. Family. Together. 

Snack time for the kids!
Cocktail hour for the adults!

My only break the whole night...and I didn't even have a glass of wine!

Next up? Piñata time!!

So I learned a thing or two about piñatas.
First, if you make your need to tape the sucker up REALLY well!
I used only masking tape and the piñata made it through about two whacks.
Next time I'll be using duct tape for sure!

The second thing I learned and should have known - let the little kids go first. They don't know what to do with a piñata and when they do make contact they tap it ever so gently. The big kids know what they are doing. They are coordinated and strong. 
Second kid. Second whack.
The piñata was dust.
I guess that is what I get for making a piñata in the shape of an actual two!

Now that the kids had their tummies full of candy it was time for dinner!

The weather was gorgeous so I set up tables outside. One for the kids and a couple for the adults.

And after all that effort I didn't get one picture of the tables. Not the little bags of utensils or the hot air balloon treat bags for the kids. Not the hot air balloon center pieces. 
I am KICKING myself!

Once dinner was over, it was time to move indoors.
Time for cake!

Still can't believe I didn't put Charlotte's party hat on her before she blew out her candles!

The lavender cake was smaller so easier to carry across a room of dodgy kids so that is why Charlotte blew out candles on the purple cake. Why did know one tell me my hair was doing this crazy wave thing?!

Charlotte opened gifts and after each one gave the giver a hug and said thank you!

All the kids were so good and so patient as Charlotte opened her gifts!

Half way through, I let Grace open a special present. She had been such a trooper leading up to Charlotte's big day and had been so sweet to Charlotte the whole week!

So glad Court was able to capture Grace's reaction! She was absolutely thrilled to receive Jasmine!

Almost six months ago, Grace had spotted this Jasmine doll in a toy store in Seattle.
It wasn't a day for a special treat - we really try to limit the special toys and such to special occasions - so I had to drag Grace from the store in near hysterics.
Since that day, I'd been looking and looking for a Jasmine. You know, for a rainy day!
I couldn't find it anywhere. For months.
And I started to feel so sad for Grace because I know what is like to see something, want it and know that you might not never find it again. 

Luckily, Disney is in business for the sole purpose to make money so eventually I found one!

Grace was ecstatic!

One of Charlotte's favorite gifts: rocks hand painted by her cousins!
They know how much Charlotte loves rocks so they made some extra special ones just for her!
So thoughtful!
They have been carefully placed under Charlotte's pillow for safekeeping!


And an extra special big hug for Charlotte's great Aunt who blew everyone away with her handmade Hungry Caterpillar quilt! So awesome!
Not sure if Charlotte even knows this is hers. Grace hijacked it and has it on her bed!
Damn older sisters!!

And with that, our darling Charlotte turned two.
We are so grateful and appreciative of the family who shared this day with us!
Hope you all had as much fun as we did!

A long winded post - I know - but I can't end it without a slew of thank yous .
For hauling around tables and chairs, for buying all the adult refreshments, for running last minute errands, for grilling all the food and remembering all the little things that I always seem to forget on party day.
We are a good team!

Mom & Dad:
For making the trek. For support. For entertaining the girls so I could get stuff done.
For cleaning dishes and waking up early - on your "vacation".

For comic relief. For perspective. For being ready, willing and able to help with any detail.
For putting everyone else first.

John Andrew:
For saving the day with a little pit stop at Wal-Mart!

There are only so many times we are all together. Thank you for prioritizing and for making little Charlotte's day so special.