Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's the little things...

I'm surviving a week with my husband out of town.  Two weeks actually.  But for the second stretch of time, I'm going to take the kids to my parent's B&B in Cedaredge for a change of scenery.  Wow... you don't truly appreciate someone and all the help, support and grounding they give until they're gone.  I miss him!

Although the house is a mess, the neighbors are mad because my kids were shouting in the yard at 6:55am (yes, I know... too early - please don't lecture me), there's an ant infestation in the kitchen, and I've got about 6 loads of laundry to wash, dry & fold tonight, I'm choosing to be happy about the little things.

Tonight it was these little salt & pepper shakers that made me smile.  I found them in the clearance bin at Anthropologie, which makes me even happier.  Two little love birds...  

Two pairs of love birds actually. 

Ha ha... get it?  Oh dear.  Please forgive me. I need some sleep!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pirate Birthday Party

A few months back I stumbled across this old ship at a thrift store.  Since we were in a pirate phase at our house, I couldn't pass it up.  A couple weeks later I was at Target looking for invitations for another event and found pirate birthday invites in the clearance bin.  Add in a refrigerator box, a mom and a grandma with wayyyy too much creative energy, and that's how a pirate-themed 4th Birthday Party is born!

We had a great time getting ready for this party.  My mom was visiting and she helped me to create the centerpiece - The Dragon Wind - a fairly elaborate ship we fashioned from a refrigerator box:

I have to admit that it got more complicated than I intended... we got a little carried away.  But we had so much fun - it was a family affair! Finley helped us paint the waves, and my boys played in it for several days before the party.  The mast is a pole from a broken sun umbrella, and some old, torn sheets that I had been using as a painting drop-cloth.  Inside the ship, we used our bathroom step-stairs so the kids could get up to the 'lookout'.  Add in some flags, portholes, an anchor cut from cardboard, and a duct-tape steering wheel, and you have heaven for a troupe of little boys.   

Just in case you decide to make your own refrigerator-box creation, the hardest part was reinforcing it because the top tended to sag in.  We decided that if we ever make another one, we would get two boxes and just double them up.  Also of note - duct tape doesn't like being in hot, direct sunlight very much.  We were having a crazy Colorado heatwave, so we learned this the hard way!  If you can build the ship out of the sun, and then let the tape sort of "cure" or stick to the cardboard for a while, that helps.

Sadly, my son decided to jump on the boat at the very end of the party, so it ended up looking like this:  

The other main party activity was a treasure hunt.  We had a couple maps (one they found in a bottle floating in the 'ocean'), a plastic treasure chest (that I picked up at a thrift store, months in advance), and they hunted for various jewels, marbles, gold coins and other baubles that hopefully looked like "treasure" to little ones!  My mom even wrote a picture book all about the treasure hunt led by "Captain Quick Jack Finn" (aka Finley) that we read to the kids as we started the hunt.  They ran to and fro finding the treasure tied up in the tree, buried in the sand box, hanging from the curtain rod in Finn's room, and various other places around our house.

I have decided that cupcakes are the best way to make fun cakes if you know nothing about cake decorating - like me!  Anything I try with frosting is generally a disaster... but this treasure map cake was fun and easy, and didn't take me very long. You can see the instructions here.

My main priority was giving Finley a party that he LOVED.  I think we succeeded!  He was so excited to give each of his friends an eye patch, a pirate bandana and an eye glass (which was actually just a pipe my dad cut into 12" pieces).  He even drew  his own treasure maps for each child, that we included in their favor bags.  Today we sat down and he worked so hard to write thank you notes to his friends and family members.  Happy Birthday again to my amazing little boy! I had such fun celebrating your precious life!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Birthday from Dr. Seuss

Tonight at story time, Finley requested Dr. Seuss's Happy Birthday to You. I was glad that he did, because in all the chaos of his golden birthday celebrations yesterday (4 on the 4th!), I forgot to read it to him! 

If you read aloud very much, you might agree that opening a Dr. Seuss book is heavenly.  The words roll off your tongue, the rhymes are all perfect, and they always combine just the right amount of story and silliness.  Justin and I have noticed that although we were both read to a lot growing up and many of our favorite and most familiar books overlap, our family-specific lexicon of Dr. Seuss books is completely different!  Many of the Dr. Seuss books that he grew up with, I've never even heard of, and vice versa.  As you can see from the inscription, this is a book I heard every year on my birthday, and loved growing up!

Tonight, Finley had a running commentary and all sorts of questions throughout the book (which, if you know him, doesn't surprise you!).  My favorites were his frequent gasps of amazement, and his comment about this page:

"Wow!  Mom, I think those animals must be extra-strong, extra-fast, and extra-careful, because they don't even fall in the water!"

I can't believe I have a four-year-old.  He challenges me more than I ever anticipated was possible, and some days I want to send him to boarding school for a couple of years... but in moments like tonight, I am blessed beyond measure to get to be his mommy.

Pictures of Finley's outrageous pirate birthday coming soon...