Thursday, March 26, 2015

Party Details {Rory’s Second Birthday}

I decided pretty early on that I wanted to do a Mickey theme for Rory’s birthday party this year. I never did that for Riley and really wanted to use it for one of my boys. Since Riley has moved on to other things and since Rory currently loves Mickey, I figured this was the perfect birthday to focus on the mouse. 

I used my trusty PicMonkey site to make the invitation, finding inspiration for the wording and for the design on Pinterest. The chevron background I used is actually one of the patterns from Rory's first birthday, with the colors changed to reflect this year’s theme.

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With Kenny out of town most of the week for work, I decided to do a lot of the decorating early, on Thursday afternoon while Rory was napping. I put out new birthday subway art, a front door sign, and an updated birthday banner, all made using PicMonkey and Gimp last month. Nopsi blew up and hung up all of the balloons in bunches around the house, as well as helped me with the crepe paper backdrop behind the table. I strategically placed the boys’ Mickey stuffed animals and toys in the dining and living rooms, and I even got more use out of some of the colored balls from Riley’s first birthday. Nola and I also baked mini Mickey head sugar cookies to give out as favors, which I packaged in clear treat bags and tied closed with ribbon.

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I put together a very special photo element this year: a collage of pictures from Rory’s second year in the shape of a giant Mickey head and the number “2.” It took me right back to my scrapbooking days, spread out on the floor and hunched over trying to figure out where each picture could go. Made my back hurt, but the collage turned out really cute. And it’s now hanging in the little one’s room.

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I also made two fun centerpieces. Two buckets spray painted red, Mickey heads made out of foam balls spray painted black, yellow tissue paper, and two different kinds of ribbon. I really loved the way they looked on the table.

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The centerpieces were on either side of the birthday cake. I baked the cakes (two 8-inch round and one 13x9) on Wednesday and had them ready to go for Kenny and Grandma on Friday afternoon. We found a simple but cute design online and went with it. The cake was a double layer in the shape of Mickey’s head, entirely covered with piped stars of icing in three different colors. I used white icing to write “Happy Birthday, Rory!” on the board, and I even wrote his name in Disney font. I think the cake turned out really cute.

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Since the party wasn’t during a meal time, I didn’t have to make a ton of other food. We set out veggie sticks, goldfish, M&Ms, and fruit. I also made “hot diggity dogs,” cheddar bacon ranch dip with wheat thins and pretzels, and a peanut butter cream cheese ball with vanilla wafers.

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The house looked great; everything came together quite nicely. Researching what to do for decorations was initially very overwhelming, but I didn’t overdo it. I just picked a few key things and stuck with the three colors (red, yellow, and black) as much as I could. I was very happy with the finished product!

Then, as if our week hadn’t been insane enough, Kenny and I decided to attend the first 2015 NORC dinner the night before the party. Grandma graciously agreed to stay with the boys and let us go out and enjoy dinner with our friends. Even though we were both really tired, we had a great time at R’evolution. We sat with Ashley, Greg, Tony, Amee, Tim, and Meghana. Dinner was SO good. The picture below was just our appetizer courses!

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Our waitstaff was fabulous; Anthony even took us on a tour of their impressive kitchens and wine cellar after dinner. The night was just what Kenny and I needed after a very long week and a busy weekend ahead.

Party recap coming up next!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

School Days: PK4 Zoo Field Trip {Riley}

Riley went on his very first school field trip last Friday, to the Audubon Zoo. We are Audubon members, so he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the destination since we can go anytime we want. But he was ecstatic about how they got there: on a school bus!

Riley has talked about riding on a bus for a couple of years now, and he finally got to experience it. All of the kids were so excited about their special day of bus riding and zoo visiting. There were practically permanent smiles on their faces.

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We went straight to the elephant pond first thing to take a class picture. Don’t they all look so happy? Happy and then silly; a good combination. And I loved all of the parents lined up with their cameras and phones out.

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I was one of the chaperones of the field trip. As it turned out, lots of the PK4 parents/grandparents wanted to witness this milestone in their kids’ lives. We all met in the school parking lot and followed the bus to the zoo. Riley and his friend Aiden were assigned to me, and we ended up hanging out with Sandra, her son Samuel, and fellow classmate Angelinne most of the day.

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We went to see the leopards, sun bears, and white tiger first. They got to touch a tortoise and then we moved on to the monkeys. We ran into all of the teachers resting on the deck by the orangutans.

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On our way to the big climbing tree, the kids spotted one of the resident peacocks. After playing on the tree for a bit, we went to Monkey Hill and then swung by the giraffes. We even spotted the zoo’s new ropes course. Impressive.

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Our last stop was the swamp exhibit, where we found Dana, Claire, Lindsey, Ava, and a few other kids. They all made their best monster faces in front of the swamp monster display, climbed through the Kid Trap net, and posed on an alligator.

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We made our way back to the front of the zoo and, after a quick stop in the gift shop, put the kids back on the bus and followed them behind the zoo to the Fly for a picnic lunch. It was about an hour and a half past their normal lunchtime, so they were starving. And it was hot.

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Refueled and rejuvenated, most of the kids took off for a big hill just behind our picnic spot to run off the energy they gained from lunch. They had a good day.

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The chaperones could check their kids out right after the picnic. Dana and I gave Claire and Riley the choice of riding on the school bus one more time or coming with us to get a treat. They chose to do the latter, so we went to Tutti Frutti for frozen yogurt. Love these two.

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Riley and I got back home around 2pm, a little sunburned and a lot tired but with great memories. I would definitely call his first field trip a rousing success.

There was no rest for me that afternoon, though. Rory’s party was the next day, so there was a lot to do. Party details post coming up next!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rory’s Two-Year Check-Up and the PK4 Leprechaun Lunch {St. Patrick’s Day}

I took Rory for his two-year-old check-up with Dr. N on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day. I got another wear out of the shirt I made for him, and I got lots of compliments on it.

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The nurse had the nerve to take Rory’s temperature (normal), as well as weigh (28.5 pounds) and measure (34 inches) him, which freaked him out and made him cry. It wore him out so much that he started to fall asleep on my chest. Sweet boy.

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But I made him get down and play with Tiger and his cars until Dr. N came in. She checked him out and we discussed his persistent cough that has been plaguing him for a few weeks. Most of him checked out just fine, but she did hear some wheezing, so she said we unfortunately had to give him breathing treatments again. But at least he didn’t have to get any shots!

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Even though the first one was not fun, Rory has done SO well with the treatments. It got to the point where when I tell him it’s time for his treatment, he walks over to the spot where the machine is and sits right down to wait for me. I put on a Mickey for him and he watches it patiently until the treatment is done. Such a good boy.

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Once we were done at the doctor last Tuesday, I brought Rory to Nola and Nopsi’s house and headed to Riley’s school. I volunteered to help set up for the PK4 Leprechaun Lunch with their big buddies. Fellow moms and I decorated the lunch tables with green tablecloths and shamrock centerpieces. It looked very festive and I think the kids liked it.

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I packed Riley an all-green lunch in honor of the holiday, and he was so excited about it. He even ate all of the healthy stuff before having his green jellybeans!

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I love being able to participate in things like this at Riley’s school. He had a great time eating lunch with Eleanor and seemed to love having me there, too. He kept calling me over to his table to ask me questions and tell me things. Silly boy.

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I was also able to bring a special something for Riley to give to Claire. Since it was her actual birthday that day, he asked if he could bring her a flower. So stinkin’ sweet. I unfortunately didn’t have time to go to the grocery, but I picked a pretty one from Nola’s backyard for him to give to her. I think she liked it!

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After school, I picked up Riley, grabbed Kate on our way back, and we all went to Nola and Nopsi’s house to play. We had a fun afternoon outside enjoying the nice spring-like weather. The kids looked so cute in their SPD shirts.

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Recap of Riley’s very first school field trip coming up next!

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