Friday, September 21, 2012

Parker's 4th Birthday

The night before Parker's birthday, Parker confided to me that he was very concerned about turning four, because he really liked being three. He was really worried about such a big change. He really doesn't like change, at all. After he fell asleep, I hung streamers in his doorway, and put a happy birthday banner in the hall outside door, so he'd see it when he woke up, and we blew up balloons and put them all over.

After down the streamers and threw them away after evan ripped one. woke up, boys saw balloons": "it's a party!" "daddy said happy birthday to me when it was still night time!" preschool TONS of rain. good day. his class sang to him, making him feel so special. gave em all little sunglasses. wanted salami sandwich for breakfast, settled for cereal for breakfast, salami and ham for lunch while watching lion king and letting mom lie down for a bit. made chocolate cake... two layers with homemade fudge frosting and strawberries... same as last year, but better! great afternoon. boys played very well. applebees for dinner. "i'm the birthday boy" all day. made him feel special. he and evan shared a chicken tenders kids meal, and were very good. parker loved when they sang and gave him ice cream... although evan attacked and ate most of the ice cream. amazing.

last night, before birthday, parker had been concerned about turning four, because he really liked being three. now he's glad he's four, but he's going to stay four every day. he's not growing up. he's going to be a big boy forever. i told him he can be four for a whole year, then we'll talk about it.

mommy, i'm so glad i'm four today! I'm so glad i'm your four year old! And, before his birthday, he threw away the Nuk! All by himself YAY! And, he's super helpful...because he's four! Love it. But, if we tried to say he was four before his birthday, huge protest: no, i'm still three! mr. literal.


You know why there haven't been any more blog posts all summer? Because we've been BUSY! So busy! The boys had swim lessons over the summer, and we were at the beach at least once a week. Playdates, parks, picnics... We had an amazing, busy, super-fun summer.

And now we're in school! Parker's LOVING kindergarten, and Evan adores his preschool teacher, and is already learning so much!

It's amazing to me how Primary in church and preschool both work so well together to help children. I think it's because we need that balance of both secular and spiritual learning. I noticed with Parker, he had a hard time sitting and focusing during circle time at preschool, until he started Sunbeams in Primary, and sat in a class at church too. Evan, after his first week of preschool, showed an improved capacity to sit still during Singing and Sharing Time during Primary at church on Sunday. I think that should tell us something! There's no point in learning anything without the Spirit, but to ignore all else but religious education isn't helpful either. When we can show discipline in all the aspects of our lives, it strengthens us in the others. Maybe. It's just a thought.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Parker's 5th Birthday Pirate Adventure

Saturday..Party Day!
 Madeleine woke up happy, and so excited, enjoying the energy and excitement of her brothers, even though she had no clue! She actually had so much fun all day, really enjoying watching the kiddos. One of her new favorite things? Climbing UP the slide... she can get about halfway up before she gets nervous, and slides down on her belly.

An amazing friend came over on Saturday morning to help me with the cake. I stuck the toys and octopods on, and that's pretty much it! She did the rest, and did a great job. Well, I made the frosting too...but she sent me the recipe...Hooray for friends!
 Parker and Evan love Disney's Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and I'd gotten him some of the toys for his birthday. I confiscated them for the cake, but he didn't mind!

 (Parker was so excited to build the puzzles his Grandma Nordquist sent him... I'm pretty sure he was putting them together even before he ate breakfast!)

Voila a pic of the invite Parker's friends all received... I heard one of the kids tell his Mom when she picked him up, "It really was a pirate party!" Because we kinda took the theme overboard... all of our games were pirate related, ARG!

Front door...

When the kiddos got to the house, they each got a "spotting scope" paper spyglass. They then had to find a treasure map, which would have the first clue for our pirate treasure hunt. Each clue would lead to the next, but before getting the clue, the kids had to complete a "pirate challenge" other words, play a pirate-themed game. 

 Our pirate crew, waiting for everyone to arrive. They're saluting, saying "Aye, Aye Captain!" Which we made them say before doing anything. So cute. You can see the goody bags over the "waterfall," and the palm tree in the background.
 The treasure map with the first clue peeking out...

 Parker and Evan think that this dress of Madeleine's looks like a Captain Hook dress, so even she was dressed pirate-esque!

The first clue led to the waterfall, and the kids had to play "Pin the Hook on Hook." It's not the best picture, since I pulled it from a video, but you can kind of see. We had Captain Hook on a metal door, and the hook had magnets on the back. Next time, I'll make sure the magnets are stronger, since the hook kept dropping. The kids got "gold doubloons" for each task they completed. We put them in their goody bags to take home with them. The waterfall had a clue with a picture of a bed on it, and the then the kids found a picture of a palm tree on Parker's bed in his room (we would sneak away to hid the next clue when the kids were in the other room; that way, they wouldn't accidentally find the clues out of order!)

 At the Palm Tree (thanks Wendi!) we played "Cocunt Toss" I have 3 collapsible buckets numbered 1-3, so I set them with 1 closest, then 2, then 3 from the edge of the carpet. The kids had to stand on the carpet and toss "coconuts" (regular balls) into the buckets. They got 1 doubloon for getting a ball in the 1, 2 for 2, 3 for 3. Eventually, the kids realized that they'd get the most doubloons by just dropping the balls in the closest bucket. It was so funny. They were great. 
 The palm tree had a picture of a doorknob on it, and they searched all the doors until they found a picture of a fence. So, shoes came on, and we tromped our way outside! It had rained that morning, and I was really glad it cleared up and dried out enough to do our outside games!
 You can see the pirate crew and the little clue on the fence. The fence had a picture of a pirate ship, and they had to find that picture somewhere else... 
 The ship picture was on this lovely tub of water, where we had boat races! I'd spent far too long folding little paper boats. Each pirate picked a boat, got a straw, and had to blow his or her boat across the water. They each got to have a turn independently, and then they challenged each other to races. 
 You can see the boats, and spyglasses in this picture. I love all the costumes too. Hooray for parents and kids willing to play along!

 That's concentration, there! 

 Let the races begin! It's good they're little, so they fit side by side! They were great sports, too. The winner got two doubloons, the last boat captain got one. 

 The clue on the "lake" was a picture of a couch, so inside we went for a game of musical ships.
 Who needs chairs when you have a printer and paper? The kids had to walk around (running by the end) the circle of ships, and stand on a ship when the music stopped. After getting out, the kids sat on the couch, and we had a dance party. As the kids were eliminated, they each got a gold doubloon (which really eliminated any fits or fights!) and the last pirate standing got two doubloons. A lot of the kids actually wanted to keep their ship paper...why not?

 "Long-john Tom" was the music controller for this. I'm so glad he got out of work early and could be there!

 A picture of a slide was hidden behind a pillow on the couch, and so the kiddos went outside again for a few rounds of "Captain Says" while I set up the cake, fished the ice cream out of the deep freeze (oops! It ended up being too frozen for most of the kids to eat...oh well) and lit the candles. How does a pirate play Captain Says? Well... it's like Simon says, but the kids have to say "Aye Aye Captain," before following commands like: Walk the Plank, Swab the Deck, Climb the Rigging, Hit the Deck, etc.

 And, the goody bags! Which I spent far too much time on, I'm sure! They kept their spyglasses and the doubloons they earned. There are some chocolate "treasures," a coloring page with crayon "doubloons" that Parker and I had fun making with chopped and melted crayons, bubbles, and a Jake and the Neverland Pirates memory matching game.
  I made the little boxes for the game out of fingers are still sore from folding thick paper! But, I think they turned out pretty cute. I laminated the games too, so maybe the kids can play more than once! I forgot to clue them on colored paper for the back, so they're a little plain, but I hope they'll still be fun! 

Parker's assessment of the day? "Wow, my birthday was more fun than I thought!" Considering the fact that he's been looking forward to it and planning it since January, I consider it a big accomplishment!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Parker's Birthday

Cuddle brothers! Evan was so excited all day, I think he thought it was HIS birthday as well as Parker's!    
 One of Parker's favorite things is to go out to eat, and he LOVES Applebees! So, we inflicted the family restaurant with our motley crew! The kids had a blast. Who doesn't love menus you can color, and juiceboxes?

 Madeleine loved drinking from my straw. I think she went through 3 or 4 straws, since she'd snatch them from my fingers and crumple them. She behaved surprisingly well!
 Evan's photo shoot: Evan decided to take pics of the family, so he took this one of Parker and Thomas, and then the one of me. The others he took were mostly of his fingers, and ketcup bottles.

 Parker insisted that we take a picture of the take-home he would remember the experience.
 Sundae's to share! Parker was so sweet about his birthday, and wanted to make sure there was enough of everything to share with Evan.

I'd post pics of present-opening that we did Friday night, but Thomas only took video... But, we came home from dinner, opened presents, then sent the kiddos to bed!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

 This one's me :) with my little bow stuck on my mom was pretty frustrated they'd done that