Jack is 7!

Jack is now officially 7!  We had a pretty fun day on his birthday…

First things first, we had to open presents.  They were pretty heavily Star Wars themed again and Jack immediately got to work building some Legos and skating around on his skateboard.  I’ve been giving the non-birthday sibling a gift the last few birthdays and I found a Queen Amidala costume for Casey that she loved.

We went to a Memphis Redbirds game in the afternoon.  The Redbirds are a AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.  Pat signed the kids up for  Rocky’s Kids Club and they got to go on the field before the game and make a high five tunnel for the players to run through.  They also got to go on the field after the game and run the bases.

But the best part was that the big “Happy 7th Birthday Jack!” that showed up on the Redbirds scoreboard.  They showed it after the 2nd and 7th innings.  The first time, Jack wasn’t really sure what to make of it, but he loved seeing it the second time.

It also happened to be Nickolodeon day at the park and there were all kinds of shenanigans with slime going on in between innings.  All the kids were invited to go get slimed by the slime-a-nator.  The birthday boy had absolutely no interest in that, but his sister begged to go get slimed.  I thought she might change her mind after seeing other kids get hit with the slime but she was determined to do it.  A big bucket of cold slime crashed down on her head when it was her turn and she loved it!

 

On the way home from the game, we stopped at Baskin Robbins and let Jack pick out an ice cream cake.  He found one with a golf ball and bag on top and assured me that he liked mint chocolate chip and we came home to light some more candles.

Jack’s Bowling Birthday Party

Sometimes Jack gets the short end of the stick with birthday parties.  He gets parties, but they don’t get quite the time and effort that Casey’s do.  Of course he hasn’t noticed a difference so in the end it seems to work out for us.  Casey is still asking what kind of crafts we’re going to do at Jack’s party though.
One year we thought we wouldn’t have a big party until all my friends convinced me to have a little playdate party for him.  This is the one where Tugger ate the cake and I had to make a last minute call to a friend to pick up a cake.  Last year we had just moved into the area and didn’t really know anyone.  On Jack’s birthday we went to a Hail & Farewell for Pat’s office and the Captain’s family got him a cake and some sweet people who didn’t even know him brought presents for him!  
This year we were trying to work around friends being in and out of town, so we decided to have an early party.  Jack originally wanted to take some friends to a baseball game but the schedules didn’t work out.  When I suggested bowling, he thought it was great.  So we invited three of his best friends, I grabbed some Star Wars themed plates, napkins and balloons at the store and we planned a party.  
It also happened that Jack’s party was in the middle of Vacation Bible School week for us and after I spent a morning with incoming 1st graders, I was not feeling ready for a bowling party.  But I pushed through, got some brownies and ice cream made, blew up some balloons and Jack was happy.  
As soon as the boys got here, an epic Star Wars battle began and there was a lot of energy in this house.    I was kind of afraid to take that energy to the bowling alley by myself, but once we got to the bowling alley they all settled down and started focusing on getting strikes!  I really had fun watching the boys bowl.  (But I’m going to have to join in next time I go!)

After 2 games of bowling, we headed back to the house to make pizza and eat cake.  Jack was so impatient to open his presents that he didn’t even want to blow out the candles on his cake.  Then he didn’t even eat a piece of cake until after all his friends left.  He was too busy putting Legos together!

Nana bought some great cake toppers for Jack’s Ocean City birthday celebration back in May and Jack wanted to use them again.  General Grievous and Anakin Skywalker battled it out on top of the brownies.
I think Jack was pretty happy with his birthday party.  He really liked bowling so we’ll have to go back a few more times this summer.  And I was happy that everyone seemed to have a good time without me trying to recreate anything from Pinterest.  I didn’t even have party favors – gasp!  
Only 2 more days until someone officially turns 7!

Jack’s Birthday

Thankfully, Jack didn’t ask us to get up early to try to surprise him this year for his birthday.  Last year we were at the shore and unwrapping presents by 6am after his “surprise” party.

Instead, Jack decided to try to recreate the sleepless night before he was born minus the contractions.  He was obviously very excited about his birthday and wasn’t sleeping well.  I ended up in his room at some point, tossing and turning with him.  Then he woke up at 5:30.

So it was a rough start to the morning but once he dug into his presents, he was much better.  This year I bought only things that he wanted instead of buying things that I thought he would like.  It worked out pretty well as he was very happy with everything.

We had a special birthday lunch for which he chose the menu.  He wanted pizza and when I asked where he wanted it from, he told me Domino’s with a little attitude as if there were any other place from which he would want pizza.  And then he wanted a watermelon, feta and mint salad.  It was really good and he actually ate it.  He asked for a blueberry upside down cake for his cake.  I was very happy to oblige with a cake that required no decorating.  (He was sitting beside me during packing a couple weeks ago while I was looking at some recipes which is why he picked these certain things.)

We had a birthday lunch because for the afternoon and evening we went to a pool party at the Captain’s house.  It was a Hail and Farewell for some of the officers at Pat’s work.  The kids were in the pool for a good 4 hours.  There was also a little impromptu surprise birthday party for Jack while we were there.  He got a few gifts from some very nice people who barely knew him and a big cake.  He thought it was great and was very excited about his toys.

It was a pretty good birthday considering we got our household goods less than a week before and knew very few people here.  

6 Years Old!

Jack turned 6 yesterday!  Here’s a little bit about 6 year old Jack and some old pictures.  Birthday festivity recap to come in another post.

He loves to play.

He still loves Star Wars.

He’s really into Hot Wheels right now.

He likes math and is doing really well at reading.

He’s smart and coordinated and imaginative.

He builds amazing Lego creations on his own and also follows the directions so intently for the sets he gets.

He loves sports, especially hockey, and was pretty sure that he was a better goalie than the Flyer’s backup goalie this year.

He can be painfully shy with people he doesn’t know but he’s being brave and shaking hands and looking people in the eye as we meet a lot of new people in Tennessee.

There’s a lot of food he doesn’t like but he does like some of the strangest things like pesto, cantaloupe, and feta cheese.

He loves crafts.
He likes to be funny and make people laugh. 

A Princess Leia Birthday Party

On Saturday we held Casey’s birthday party for family and friends.  She decided on a Princess Leia themed birthday party.  And why not, since her first movie quote was a Princess Leia line (directed at Han Solo) – “Why you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy looking nerf-herder!”  It took a while for me to decipher that about a year ago when she said it, but once I did all I could do was laugh.

Since there apparently aren’t a lot of 4 year old girls who request Princess Leia parties I had to be a little creative with my theme.  Casey greeted the guests at the door in her Princess Leia ensemble – dress, belt and Princess Leia buns headband, but I don’t have a picture of her in complete costume.

I visited a lot of websites and blogs for inspiration but it was actually Walmart’s party aisle that gave me the decorations I needed.  We went with some black and pink colors and found some generic Princess paper plates.  I put a black tablecloth on the dining table and sprinkled it with pink stars.  I found some blue and black sparkly tulle one day and thought I would drape it somewhere and decorate.  Turns out I didn’t get much tulle in one roll – enough to decorate two chairs and the top of the china cabinet.

I wanted to have some crafts and games for the kids to do while they were here.  I found a cute paper craft on this blog and used her idea to make my own pieces.  I set them up at the table so the kids could make R2-D2, Yoda and/or Chewbacca.  I also printed out some coloring pages from starwars.com.  

 Then we played a rousing game of Pin the Bun on Princess Leia.  Jack was able to peek through the back and see what he was doing so he managed to get perfect placement of his bun.  I thought about playing Princess Leia Says but the kids were distracted by the toys and they were all playing so nicely.

For lunch I made Thai Chicken Wraps and Mediterranean Veggie & Hummus Wraps from Rachael Ray.  Instead of grilling the chicken I made a Teriyaki Chicken in the crockpot the day before.  The kids were welcome to eat these wraps but I also made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and peanut butter and banana rollups…just in case.

I made the same chocolate cake that I made last week and ordered a special princess Leia topper from it from an Etsy store called CrumbyArt.  She did a great job crafting Princess Leia into fondant and it was better than any form of Princess Leia that I could make or would want to make out of a cake.  I also made some cupcakes and decorated them to look like Ewoks.

Casey was very excited about her party and as I was frantically trying to finish everything up in the kitchen in the minutes before it started she stood by the door and asked me how many minutes until her party started at least 50 times.  When everyone got here she crafted, she colored, she pinned the bun on Leia, she played, she ate and she definitely blew out her candles.  She had a great time with her friends and with Nana and Pop Pop who came to celebrate too.

I figured that the kids were old enough to watch the present unwrapping and Casey was very excited to do that.  She got some great gifts from her friends and made sure that she thanked everyone.

For party favors I went with notebooks and markers.  The boys got Star Wars notebooks and Superhero markers and the girls got pretty pink notebooks with Disney Princess or Fairy markers.  I printed out a cute Leia picture and label to put on the bags.

At the end of the day, Pat thought it was a good party because there was good food, good cake, a happy birthday girl and it didn’t cost too much.  And that was my goal.

Happy Birthday to my Princess!

Casey is 4!

On Friday Casey turned 4.  I think Casey and 4 are going to get along pretty well.  She’s so happy that she is four that she’s been telling random strangers how old she is.  Three seemed like a long year but I think she grew up a lot.  She was ready for 4 before her birthday came if that makes sense.  But it is a little crazy that it’s been four years since I headed to the hospital!

Auntie Jenn came into town to celebrate with us.  Casey had school and then it was time to open presents (after delaying her for 10 minutes so I could wrap mine).  She was very excited with her gifts.  I should have downloaded the video that Jenn took because I think it was pretty funny.  Casey is getting good at saying “Oh my gosh!” as if she is 14 and not 4 so there was a lot of that.

She added a couple of princesses to her collection, an Ariel dress, some Friends Legos, a scooter and a crazy peace sign sweatshirt that is her new favorite piece of outerwear.

The highlight of the day was really the cake.  For me anyway.  I found a yummy chocolate cake recipe and it was delicious.  

We went outside after cake to check out Casey’s new scooter in the dark because it has wheels that light up.  (The neighborhood scooter collection is very varied – one makes chalk marks, one makes sparks and Jack’s is different too, so I felt Casey needed wheels that light up.)  It was actually pretty cool.

Happy Birthday Casey!  A Princess Leia party is coming up this weekend.

Star Wars Birthday Party

We had a birthday party for Jack on the 3rd and invited all of our friends.  My goal was for a simple but mostly homemade party.  A lot of the work I wanted to get done a couple weeks before the party didn’t happen because I was sick and then we went on vacation.  Thankfully, my goal of simple allowed us to get everything done on Saturday and Sunday morning.  
Jack originally asked for a Darth Vader cake.  I was going to buy the Wilton cake mold but I procrastinated.  Every cake I looked at on the internet looked so elaborate and I really didn’t want to put a lot of effort into the decorating.  While I was looking around the blog world one day, Jack saw some Star Wars cupcakes that had little plastic toppers.  I was going to order some but then I found some free printables (at Skip to my Lou) and as soon as he said he liked them, I printed them out and cut out the circles.

Jack asked for strawberry cake with chocolate frosting so I found some recipes.  They both turned out pretty to be pretty tasty!

I made lightsabers out of foam pool noodles and some duct tape.  Actually, Pat made the lightsabers.  I envisioned a big lightsaber battle in the back yard but mostly there were occasional duels.  These were also the parting gifts for all the kids along with some Lego shaped candy that I found at a candy store.  You can build with it and then eat it!

Lightsaber Arsenal

 A couple hours before party, I texted everyone to bring bathing suits.  It was really hot so we set up the slip’n’slide.

The boys were having fun with Jack’s car wash

Pat worked the grill to cook burgers and dogs.  I picked up some fresh corn on the cob from the farmers market, made a broccoli salad, sliced up a watermelon and made some lemonade to complete dinner.  Simple, easy and delicious.  Especially since Pat did the grilling.

 We also had a pinata.  I wish I could capture how Jack says it.  It’s very enunciated – pin – yata.  I guess I have no pictures of it.  Jack wanted a Death Star.  My original plan was to find a soccer ball pinata and paint the white spots grey.  But the party store had a disco ball that happened to look like a Death Star…maybe just a little bit shinier!  Pat filled it with Star Wars fruit snacks and the kids took turns pulling strings until it spilled its goodies.  (I originally had no idea that you have to fill your own pinata.)

We sang a little happy birthday tune and Jack blew out all his candles.

He then proceeded to eat his cake like it was his first birthday instead of his fifth!  He said it was too crumbly and that’s how he had to eat it.

And I couldn’t not post this picture of Casey and her beautiful smile as she gets ready to eat her cupcake.

I was tired (and so was Jack) by the end of it but I told Pat it was my favorite birthday party that we’d had.  The next morning Jack said, “I’m really lucky that all my friends got me such great presents!  We’ll have to send them thank you notes.”