Friday, July 26, 2013

Chick's Six! {Photoshoot pics and Giveaway}

Chick and I went on our photo shoot date last weekend (we went late on purpose, but not necessarily sooo late on purpose...her birthday was in January).  At any rate, we had a great time.
We went to Legion Park & Arboretum in Everett.  It was lovely there, and the weather was perfect.
Chick picked her first outfit: jeans, and a cute top (and a backpack that criss-crossed in front...that was important). We took the most pictures in that outfit, I think, but she hadn't warmed up as much. So most of my "favorites" are in her dress.
At any rate, when it was time to change her clothes, she got to play on the playground for a while.  There was another cute, little 6-yr-old there and they became fast friends.  Sadly, the girl was from out of town and just visiting for a party. 
After that we finished the pictures (and she was "loosened up" so that her personality was showing through much more). 

Here are my favorites:

DSCN8905 (640x512)

2.DSCN8928r (512x640)
3.DSCN8974 (512x640)
4.DSCN9015 (427x640)
5. DSCN9023 (512x640)
DSCN9026 (512x640)
6.  This is so Chick....
7. DSCN9034 (512x640)
DSCN9035 (512x640)
8.  This one makes me think that she's stepping into Narnia or Wonderland...
somewhere magical.  It feels "fairy tale" to me.
9. DSCN9039 (512x640)
10. DSCN9040 (512x640)
11. DSCN9046 (512x640)
12DSCN9047 (512x640)

DSCN9074r (640x512)

14. DSCN9095 (427x640)
After the pictures were done we headed to Coldstone Creamery and got some ice cream. 
Chick got cotton candy ice cream with white chocolate chips and oreo cookies.  In a cone.
I got cheesecake ice cream with strawberries and graham cracker.  I think hers was better....
This being Chick, there are a lot of "outtakes."  Chick likes to gallop, and make faces, and make the letter "K" with her body....  We also found a cool pattern in a tree, and beauty in everyday objects.  Love that kid.


Ok, since I'm not above shamelessly fishing for compliments, this is a giveaway!  Leave me a comment on this post telling me which is your favorite, and why, and you'll be entered to win something fabulous.  Something made by me (which is why it's fabulous...even if I don't know what it is yet).  The contest ends on Wednesday, July 31st at 11:59 p.m.


Let them eat Cake

Owl and Otter loved their little cakes (and their first real taste of sugar).
Owl was hesitant at first, but Otter jumped right in. 
After a while, though, Owl decided that it was good, and decided that she needed to eat it faster...
so she picked up the whole cake and started eating it like that.
Both girls finished the whole 4" cake and were both totally messy in the end!
cake photo compilation_resized

Owl and Otter throw a party


Well, my baby girls are one year old.

Of course a lot has happened in that year, and so much has changed.  In their eleventh month they started sleeping through the night (both of them!  Consistently! All night!).  They started playing happily a lot during the day.

At their one year check-up they were finally on the growth charts!  Otter was up to 15 pounds and 27.5 inches.  Owl was 15#7oz and 27.5 inches.  So they were both right around 3rd percentile for weight, and 10th for length.  It was a great gain since their last check.  Good enough, in fact, that they've started growing out of clothes that they've worn for quite a long time!!  So exciting!  We've never had any big growth spurt that required a big closet clean-out...until now.

I threw a family party for them.  The theme was pinwheels, using a vintage-y color palette.

I think I over-booked myself with party preparations, though, and was feeling the lack of sleep at the party.  I usually feel like parties are something that I can do to show love to my kids, but this time I think it would have been better to have spent time WITH them rather than FOR them...but it's done, and I think it was fun in the end. 

Plus I had been so busy with preparations that I didn't have time to take pictures of decorations beforehand, or guests during the party.  Which is sad, since I enjoy taking pictures of party stuff.  My brother was nice and took pictures for me.  Some are a little goofy, though I'm only putting the BEST of the goofy pictures on here : )  (Thanks, Ev.)

Anyhow, here's the invitation:

pinwheel invitationsBLOG

The bulk of our prep time was spent trying to clear out and fix up the back yard a little, which probably wasn't even noticeable (really, our yard still isn't as nice as the average yard). 
Aside from the yard stuff, the rest of the time was spent painting crates and canning jars, making pinwheels, and cleaning the labels off of Frappuccino bottles.  I watched Psych a lot while I worked on party stuff.

DSCN8350 (640x365)
Here's the table before the food was all brought out.

DSCN8367 (640x427)
I bought a cool water dispenser that looked like a giant canning jar.  I love it.  Word to the wise, though: don't serve cucumber water.  I like it, but it was quite poorly received, was cited as the cause of someone feeling sick, and has been the subject of continued teasing from my oldest brother.  It did LOOK pretty, though...see how it matches the tablecloth?
DSCN8371 (640x427)
My AMAZING visiting teachers, Heidi & Jen, came over the night before the party and frosted cupcakes.  They also made all of the mini pinwheels that are on the cupcakes...super cute! 
The babies got individual 4" vanilla cakes.
I'll have a separate post with pictures of them eating their cakes...
I've heard that it was the most entertaining and fascinating part of the whole party.
DSCN8372 (427x640)
DSCN8407 (640x427)
This picture shows the lights the best--they were swaggy and had fabric scraps tied on. 
I was happy with how cute they looked.  There were also lights with scraps out on the deck railing.
This picture also shows the table with all of the food on it. 
Pink lemonade, chocolate milk, fruit salad, pizza, decorated apple slices, roll ups, veggies with dip, and of course the cakes.
DSCN8375 (640x427)
Thank you, Jude, for preparing the apple slices!

DSCN8462 (640x427)
 The favors were baby food jars with painted lids and custom hangtags. 
They had Jelly Bellies and yogurt-covered raisins. 
The jars all came from the twins' food in the past few months.

DSCN8460 (640x427)
The cake!  Neapolitan layers with Swiss meringue buttercream frosting that was tinted pink at the bottom and graduated to white at the top.  Chocolate sprinkles on top, and there were pinwheels sticking out as well.  It was pretty in a very understated way.  I felt that it was just "ok" tasting...the frosting wasn't sweet enough, in my opinion.

Cupcakes were the three cake flavors, but one flavor per cupcake.
DSCN8461 (640x427)
DSCN8409 (640x427)
 The babies were both very cute: they were so happy!  I think they knew that the party was their special time.  They got passed around and held without being fussy about wanting me or Dave, and were generally charming  : )

DSCN8353 (533x640)
Grandma N with a happy Owl.
Grandma was probably sleep deprived also...she took the older three kids for the couple of days before the party so that I could get some less-interrupted work done.  Thank you, Grandma & Grandpa!
I'm so grateful for everyone that was able to come celebrate with us!

DSCN8354 (640x427)

DSCN8576 (427x640)

DSCN8471 (640x427)

And of course...presents.  We designated Chick and Moose as the present openers (Monkey was off playing with her cousin).

DSCN8513 (640x427)
DSCN8518 (427x640)
Moose took his job very seriously and showed us every card.
DSCN8500 (640x427)
Otter pop.
DSCN8522 (640x425)
They loved their presents : )
DSCN8548 (427x640)

All in all, a fun time celebrating two special girls!  They are so sweet (and tolerant), and are a great addition to our family.  And hooray!  We made it through the first year!

DSCN8579 (640x427)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Splash Week

The older girls did splash week at the Y last month.  They both did well, and I think it was a good refresher before starting their summer-long once-a-week class.  {Chick has issues with getting her face or ears wet, but she's starting to get braver.}

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the week:

DSCN8331 (640x480)

DSCN8325 (640x480)

DSCN8307 (640x427)

Monkey seems to be doing really well with swimming, but the sweetest thing is that she looks over to see if I was watching her for her turn, and gives me a smile.  She makes my heart happy, she's so sweet!

DSCN8300 (640x427)

DSCN8295 (640x427)

Chick was seriously NON-STOP smiles when she swam during splash week (as you can see).  She's struggling a bit more now that she's in her once-a-week class.  Her teacher is expecting more of her (and rightly so) and she has a problem with getting her head/face/ears wet.  When she really tries then she does fantastic, but she often doesn't want to try.....

Moose is taking a parent-assisted class this summer, but didn't take a lesson during splash week. I'll take pictures sometime.  He's getting more comfortable in the water...sometimes too comfortable since he doesn't really know his limits.  He's doing well, though.

Friday, July 5, 2013

"Enchanted Forest"

It took a long time to actually get here, but look what came in the mail the other day!
Someone that works for Revolution Dancewear said that my design is one of their most popular costumes : )(It would probably look better in a cleaner home and without the stocking feet and shoes...but we were excited to test it out).

DSCN8276 (640x427)

DSCN8279 (427x640)DSCN8278 (427x640)
Today is the deadline for this year's contest...alas I didn't have time to do even one little sketch.  Maybe next year. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Birthday for Moose

Little Moose is getting pretty big lately.  Literally, he wore a pair of pants, I washed them, and the next time he wore them (maybe a week or two later) they were WAY too short.  He's also acting older a lot of the time...much more mild.  He's phasing out naps, which means that a lot of the time he's a bear in the afternoon from no nap, and the rest of the time he wants to stay up too late because he took a good nap.

At his 3-yr check-up he weighed in at 41 pounds, and measured 41 inches!  Both 97th percentile.

Anyhow, he's still a helper.  All you have to do is use the word "help" and he's usually happy to do it.
He also is a sucker for back scratching.  It's my secret weapon during sacrament meeting.  : )  He'll usually calm down and lay on my lap for as long as I keep scratching. 

A funny thing with his talking is all of his Y's are pronounced as L's.  So "you yell" would be "lou lell."  It's awfully cute.

Anyhow, his actual birthday was not too eventful.  Mr. Fox brought home a giant decorated chocolate chip cookie/cake, which was great since it wasn't my sugar day (I'm doing a challenge, and I only get sugar once a week, which I was saving for the day of his party).  Moose chose pizza for dinner, and he got to open his presents.  He got a fireman raincoat, a big mixer truck, a Tonka story book, and a "life-size" Super Why puzzle.  It was a nice, relaxed birthday.

DSCN8112 (427x640)

DSCN8122 (640x427)
Super Why has a HUGE head.

His party was on the Saturday after his birthday, and he invited his two older sisters, 5 local cousins, and the two church friends who are closest in age to him.
DSCN8133 (640x427)

It was a construction-themed party, and was super fun for me to put together.

I let the kids help with some of the preparations, which is hard when compared to "pinterest perfection" but I'm trying to overcome that.  Especially because they love helping with projects and the parties are FOR them.  Anyhow, I think the kids had a good time, Moose got a special party that was all for him, and we all got to have fun looking forward to it and planning it.
DSCN8126 (640x427)
Each child got a hardhat and personalized tool belt upon arriving.
DSCN8140 (427x640)
They got to use stickers to personalize their hard hats.
DSCN8144 (640x427)
Once everyone was attired, we went downstairs for legos and blocks, as well as "Pin the hammer on the builder."
DSCN8132 (427x640)
DSCN8142 (427x640)
Then we had a snack break.  My rationale was that I wanted to give them some real food so that later the sugar wouldn't have as much of an effect...but I wasn't very careful in my food selection and it ended up just being more sugar (applesauce muffins, apple slices, and milk).
DSCN8137 (640x427)
DSCN8134 (640x427)
DSCN8151 (640x427)

After snack time, we headed outside for a demolition game.  They were each given a tape measure and were supposed to measure how high to position a "wrecking ball" (painted tennis ball on a string) to knock down buildings (stack of boxes).  It was a bit convoluted, and stacking the boxes on uneven ground was difficult, but the kids liked using the tape measures & swinging the ball (who doesn't love a little demolition, right?)
DSCN8165 (640x427)
I don't have any great pictures of the game playing (I think because my brother took almost all of the pictures taken during the party, so I'm IN them, and therefore don't LIKE a fair amount of from this game were especially honest).  But you can see the kids measuring in the background, and me stacking up boxes...I think Ben (gray t-shirt) was getting the ball ready to swing.

DSCN8180 (640x427)
Moose had a hard time containing himself when we were so close to the presents!
After the demolition game, the kids hunted for construction-themed stickers in a pile of sawdust.  I should mention now how awesome Mr. Fox is.  He was able to provide us with some great supplies for the from work : )
DSCN8185cropped (427x640)
By the time we were halfway through the sawdust game I finally accepted the fact that I needed to be less structured.  I KNOW that three-year-old parties should be basically a glorified playdate, but I just couldn't help myself.  So the kids were a bit inattentive when it wasn't their turn (of course) and were interested in other things besides the games (of course).  So at that point I stopped fighting it and they roamed free.  They played in the sandbox and on the swings.  Some kept digging through the sawdust in search of stickers. 

DSCN8203 (640x427)
The cuteness here is overwhelming.  seriously!

After a few minutes we also opened up a nailing station with Mr. Fox (who really is fantastic).  They got goggles to wear, and to add to their tool belt.
DSCN8217 (640x427)
DSCN8235 (640x427)

DSCN8224 (640x427)

DSCN8213 (640x427)
DSCN8211 (640x427)
Love this guy!!!
DSCN8216 (640x427)
Mr. Fox is better with kids than I am, I think.  He's just so laid back and mellow.  He's super awesome.
After a while of the kids playing at all of the various activities in the backyard, we started having accidents...not from the nails, but from falling off of the swings, of all things.  So we took that as a cue to go in for cake.

I was happy with the cake.  And so was Moose, which was the important part.

DSCN8135 (640x427)
I'm all in favor of cakes that are MEANT to look sloppy!

DSCN8258 (640x427)
The inside was hazard stripes, and I am so so so happy with how it turned out!
Much easier than it looks, and I love that "surprise" factor when you cut open a cake like this.
After the cake and ice cream, Moose opened his presents.  He was given nice gifts, and has enjoyed playing with them all since then. : )

DSCN8581 (427x640)
Pretty much all of the party ideas were found online...
Except for this Honey Bucket door : )
My brilliant mind came up with it all on my own. 
I think we're going to leave it painted that way.
The kids were given carpentry pencils and a piece of sandpaper to draw on for the last couple of minutes of the party.  They also got an inflatable hammer as they were leaving, to round out the contents of their tool belts {tape measures, goggles, stickers, sandpaper, pencils, and hammers}.  And I'd like to give a shout out to my friend Heidi, who actually bought the hammers for me!  Just because she's nice!  I had a hard time finding little toy hammers that would work, and I considered hammer cookies, but couldn't find an appropriate cookie cutter...and what is a tool belt without a hammer?!  When I told her of my dilemma she surprised me with the inflatable ones (but there aren't any pictures of them...I think because they were right as the kids were leaving).

While I'm at it, thank you to Heidi and Jen for staying to hold babies as needed! My Mom was scheduled to come tend the babies, but got sick a day or two before the party.

And thank you to Evan for playing photographer.

And thank you to everyone who came!

DSCN8243 (640x427)

I sure love my not-so-little three-year-old!!

DSCN8195 (640x427)
Moose.  so very Moose.