Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pirates and Princess Night at Chick-fil-A

Daddy took the girls to dance class this evening and Clark got to have some quality time with Poo Pa, Uncle Stevie and Uncle Albert. Since Clark had dinner with the guys, the girls got to have another dinner-date with Daddy at Chick-fil-A.
They had lots of fun at the Pirates and Princess night where kids could dress up. The girls didn't have their princess outfits, but it looks like they had plenty of fun anyway.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Now We Are FOUR!!! (and How to Party on Budget)

I think Aunt Linds gave him the extra cupcake.

OK, they were four almost 3 weeks ago and I'm just now getting around to sorting through the images and trying to get some posted. But it isn't because we didn't LOVE celebrating.

This year we had our first real birthday party with friends from school. I found a local church that operates a company that does a bounce-house-type party (and also inflatable rentals). It's called NothingButBounce and the church is Friendship Church and it was a lot of fun. It isn't anything fancy, but what four-year-old needs fancy?!?! They just want FUN. There were four inflatables that the kids could jump in, on or slide down. There was one that was sort of a baseball game and another was a basketball game. You are allowed to bring in your own food and drinks, so it is certainly a great option if you are looking for ways to hold a party without spending a fortune. We were also lucky enough to get a half-off deal for the party which made this an even more-budget-friendly option.

Our theme was Toy Story and we had cupcakes and ice cream, a few decorations and some balloons (the mylar balloons from the Dollar Tree are STILL floating in our dining room). I'm a big fan of the cupcakes from Sam's Club and we had them again this year. The price is great and they do a nice job on the designs and offer a nice variety of popular themes. I'm also a big fan of the whipped icing, though Daddy would prefer buttercream. The under-five crowd didn't seem to care, as long as there WERE cupcakes. :)

We had only been to one other birthday party prior to ours, but had decided early-on that the kids would not open gifts at their party.  Maybe it won't be such a challenge when they are older, but right now, they don't really have any sort of gift expectations, so it seems like it makes it easier to keep that part in the background.  I also think that this age still has a little trouble understanding when some kids get presents and others don't so we thought the gift-opening could wait.  Ironically, they still had not opened all of their gifts a week later because it is that far off of their radar!  They would ask if they could open one and then spend quite a while playing with whatever it was and never thought to ask about another gift.  Talk about lucky!

And it also gave me a chance to pack up quite a few toys that we no longer need to keep.  Since we were bringing in a new round of entertainment, it seemed fitting that we work on clearing out other toys and pass them on to someone else.  I'm thinking that we might need to move to a gift-free option next time.  I am one of those moms who has learned that the disposable gifts are the best kind.  Crayons, coloring books, note pads, stickers, Play Doh, etc are all fun things that the kids really love and then I get to throw it all away when we are done.  Not particularly earth-friendly, but definitely clutter-free-friendly when you realize that none of these things will be around for long.

We feel so blessed that they had such sweet friends come and celebrate with them for their birthday.  I'm sure the other kids were a little weirded-out that I asked them to sing the Happy Birthday song three separate times, but that is another issue I have considered for quite some time.  They all had lots of fun and many were a little upset when it came time to say good-bye to the inflatables and the fun of jumping around everywhere.

Happy 4th Birthday Kendall!

Happy 4th Birthday Emma!

Happy 4th Birthday Clark!

Emma and her buddy, Gracie.

Hey batter, batter!

Guess who had a BLUE cupcake?!?

Happy Birthday Kendall!

My boy loves ORANGE!

Happy Birthday Clarkie!

Licking icing off of the candle and has yellow icing in her nose.  Good times!

Happy Birthday Emma!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Growing up fast

The kids have been getting (at least) weekly visits with Poo Pa, Uncle Albert and Uncle Stevie lately, as well as some regular trips to spend time with Auntie Karen and Uncle Tom. They enjoy these special visits and we are happy that they live close-by so that the kids can develop a great relationship with family members. We are so thankful to be within 3 miles (or less) of both homes!
Auntie Karen and Uncle Tom got these shots while the kids were visiting the other day. They were fascinated to watch Uncle Tom back his truck into the garage! And they got a big kick out of diving head first into the pillows on the bed too.

A few weeks ago, Auntie Karen picked them up from school a little early to take them along to the airport. Uncle Tom was returning from Florida and she thought it would be a fun surprise to have the kids greet him. They had SO much fun and she got these two cute pics. They really loved watching the planes taxi down the runway and Emma screamed when she finally saw Uncle Tom coming through the gate.

And I love these pictures taken last weekend when Emma spent some "special" time with them. They made blueberry muffins and took a trip to the Oak Ridge Children's Museum.