Saturday, October 29, 2016

Happy Birthday Connor

Connor is 5 now!
 I asked Connor some questions about himself. Here are his answers (with my comments in parentheses).

Connor, according to Connor (Age 5)

Favorite color: red, for fire

Favorite game: Guess Who (the old-school game)

Favorite tv show: Transformers Rescue Bots and PJ masks. "Transformers isn't better than PJ Masks and PJ Masks isn't better than Transformers. They're both the same like."

Favorite book: A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems

I really like to wear: my shark shirt

I love: cake

Favorite animal: cheetah and armadillo. When asked which animal would win in a one-on-one battle: "Armadillo, 'cause it can roll into a ball and has armor all around and under him. And then when he jumps into the cheetahs face it just Boom! Bonks him in the face."

favorite stuffed animal: octopus
(He just got this for his birthday. I made it.)

Favorite breakfast: cereal, cookie crisp or frosted flakes

Favorite lunch: chicken nuggets or a hot dog

Favorite dinner: corn dogs

food you don't like: onions

what are you really good at: drawing

Best Friend: Ellen (she moved away a few months ago and Connor misses her)

Are you going to get married when you grow up? Yes
To whom? Maddie (a friend from church who we see all the time at playgroup, the library, etc.)

What do you love to do with mom: go on bike rides

With dad: build things, help him with projects. But I couldn't help him with his thesis, cause I didn't know any words I could write.

With Dallin: play legos and swing outside

With Bennett: running away from Bennett when he's chasing us with a lightsaber and we have to run until we get to the secret base.

I would describe myself as: a painter.


What do you want to be when you grow up: a painter. (He changed to this answer about 2 months ago. Before that, his answer was an animal doctor.  Before that, it was librarian. He asked if he was allowed to change his mind on what job he wanted to have as a grown up. I told him he could still change his mind lots of times and that he has many years before he REALLY has to decide.)
***

Connor loves to learn. He loves to ask a lot of questions (which is very tiring at times) because he likes to understand how things work. He likes looking at maps, and he asks me to draw him maps of the roads we're driving on to follow while we're driving. After using several poorly drawn maps, we gave him some free ones from the Lafayette visitors center as a birthday gift. He is so excited to start marking all our favorite landmarks in town.

We also got Connor a bigger, surprise present. Here is a video of him opening it.
video


We love our Connor boy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Connor's 5th Birthday

Connor's birthday in October is always at a busy time of year when all our weekends are filled up with Halloween parties, piano recitals, etc., so his birthdays are usually a family-only affair. This year, he really wanted to have a party with some friends, and we made it happen. The only time that worked for us was a weekday morning, which meant that his 5 year old friends already in Kindergarten couldn't come, but it worked out really well for the preschool crowd. Connor wanted an animal themed party. That's a pretty easy theme to throw together at the last minute (which is what I did!). 

When the kids first arrived, they decorated paper animal masks (found at Hobby Lobby).


Then we played a few games. Monkey bean bag toss.
I drew the monkey free hand on poster board, added details and color and attached to a large cardboard box.

Then they played an Elephant peanut race.
The kids had to push a shelled peanut with their nose across the floor to the finish line. This was actually harder than I thought it would be.

For the next game, the kids each had a straw to be their elephant trunk. They had to suck air through the straw to pick up foam packing peanuts with their "trunk" and move it into a bowl.
You could make this into a competition to see who could pick up the most peanuts, but these young kids just enjoyed the process and worked together to fill bowls. And they were all so quiet with straws in their mouths! This game was a win!

Then it was lunch time. I used our sandwich shape cutters to make elephant and penguin shaped bread.
 Everyone got to make their own sandwich.

Sides: animal crackers (obviously), tiger tails (cheetos puffs), apple boats (I'm not sure why, but that's what Connor called these apple slices), watermelon, and lion hummus.
I love the way the lion turned out.

Connor helped me decorate the cupcakes to look like monkeys and pandas. 
Connor placed most of the candy eyes on the monkeys, which is why it looks like they're all looking up surprised. We used m&ms, mini oreos, chocolate chips and sprinkles to make the rest of the details.

He looks very serious here, but I promise he was super excited to eat the panda.

I forgot to put these out with lunch, so they became a party favor to take home: tiger cutie oranges!
So simple but pretty adorable.

The decorations were also simple but I loved how it looked. I taped strips of green streamers to the ceiling to look like jungle vines. Connor cut out some paper leaves to attach to a few of the vines.

 The easiest part of decorating was using all the stuffed animals we already had at home and putting them on any surface that would hold them.
Like on on the ceiling fan, the couches, the TV cabinet...
and the curtain rods.

 Connor wanted me to take a picture of him coloring in a new coloring book he got as a gift at his party.

 We had a fun time and played pretty hard. So hard that Connor wiped out on the couch not to long after.
Snuggled up with his octopus.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Dallin's Superhero party

Dallin just turned seven! We had a birthday party for him with some of his friends. We suggested a superhero themed party and he was on board. If it was completely up to him, I think he would have chosen another Star Wars party. The best date for it happened to be the same Saturday as General Conference (at 12pm in the Eastern time zone), so we made it a morning party. We embraced Dallin's love for pancakes and made it part of the theme: it was a Superhero Pancake Breakfast Pajama Party!
I made the invitations on Picmonkey.

The Star Wars bunting from his last party got an update. I flipped it over (so all the Star Wars characters are still intact) and attached superhero/Avengers images. 
I went with paper cutout this time and taped them on with scotch tape, so this decoration is super temporary.
I cut out the Avengers characters from some Valentine cards we had leftover. Who knew a $1 box of Valentines would be so useful?

(You can see Yoda's ears poking out from behind a few of the flags. I mean to tuck them behind, but then I almost enjoyed seeing him hiding there.

Mckay and I dressed up for the party.
Mckay was "Marathon Man." He has the super ability to run 26.2 miles in just over 4 hours! 

I was "Super Mom." Teething babies drooling all over my shirt won't stop me at all!

We started right out with eating breakfast. We had banana muffins, an egg and ham casserole, fresh fruit, and pancakes in various superhero shapes.

I made spiderwebs (for Spiderman), the Batman logo, Captain America's shield, and The Hulk's face.
It was fun to try out different pancakes shapes. I don't think the "art" pancakes taste as good as regular pancakes. Maybe because they're thinner and not as fluffy, or maybe because the batter is overworked which makes them tougher. The kids didn't seem to mind at all though. They loved the cool shapes.



Making a lot of the food ahead of time really helped when having a morning party at 9am. I made all the pancakes the night before, then froze them on baking sheets. In the morning, I popped them into a warm oven (about 200 degrees) in a single layer on the pan until warmed through. The egg casserole was mixed together and sat overnight in the refrigerator, then baked in the morning. The muffins I had made a few days before and warmed them before serving. All I had to do the morning of the party was cut fruit and warm food. It was pretty easy!

After eating, it was time for superhero training. First, to be a superhero, everyone needed a costume. I had simple white capes for the kids to decorate with fabric markers and stickers.

I also sewed some easy felt masks.
Mask pattern found here.

 Everyone put on their cape and mask and listened to Mckay's training.
They played several different games with balloons.

Some of the balloons had signs on them. (Words bubbles found here.)
Using their best "splat," "pop," "bam" and "pow" moves, they had to get all the balloons onto the other team's side.

They played a round where they all threw balloons at Mckay and he had to dodge them. I think they all enjoyed that one the most.

 Then Dallin opened his presents.
He got tons of cool Star Wars and superhero gifts.

I printed these cool cupcake toppers (found here). It was way easier and cheaper than anything I would have found at a store.
As an added bonus, this was easy to do at home the night before when I remembered I hadn't planned any cupcake decorations. :)

Dallin had to blow really hard to get the candles out.

After everyone left, Dallin immediately asked to open the Legos he got. 
They spent the next several hours like this.

Dallin had a blast. I'd say this is another successful birthday party in the books!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Children's Museum

We figured we should get together with Neil and Ashley again while they were still on this side of the country, so we met at the Children's museum in Indianapolis a few days after Christmas.
Dallin and Connor thought this tie fighter made out of balloons was pretty awesome.

 We started at the "Treasures of the Earth" exhibit. The kids explored a shipwreck.
And put together pieces of a terracotta warrior.

Riding on a train.

 There was a Ninja Turtles exhibit that included some ninja training activities, like moving through the alley rope maze. The kids really liked this one.
 The "big kids" (*cough* dads) liked it too.
We call this extreme babywearing. And Neil is channeling his inner Catherine Zeta-Jones, a la Entrapment.

There was a winter wonderland exhibit with a rink for "skating" with socks on.
 The kids were being so adorable spinning around together, holding hands.

All of my phone pictures of them are blurry because they were moving so fast.

And speaking of blurry phone pictures:
Neil and ?? (Charlotte?) zooming down the yule slide. I slid down with Bennett on my lap, racing with Madoc.

Micah and Ashley (with either Amelia or a purse in her lap)

 Mckay and Connor

Sadie and Dallin
Dallin loves Sadie. He loves all his cousins and had so much fun with all of them, but he really loves Sadie and hardly left her side the whole day. There was more crying in the parking garage as we said goodbye to them, this time for good. (Until they come to the midwest again in the summer.) We love when our family comes to visit!