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!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas 2015

For Christmas 2015, we stayed in Indiana. We missed being able to spend time with our extended family, but it was nice to avoid traveling in the holiday weather. And it was fun to be in our own home and do our own things.

Here's the picture we used for our Christmas card (I finally sent some out for the first time in 4 years!)
And this picture was on the card too because it's so great and Christmasy.

 I had lots of fun activities planned for the season, so I made a checklist to keep track of them. 
(It's pretty much the same as the summer bucket list I've done in the past.)

We continued the tradition we've done for the last two years by reading a different Christmas book each night before bed. (I've wrapped each book in years past but I was too environmentally-conscious  lazy this year.)
This book is Humphrey's First Christmas and it's one of my favorites. We have slowly grown our Christmas book collection through Library book sales and such over the years and we almost have a full 25 days of books. We supplement the difference with borrowed library books.

 One of our planned activities was to watch the big Purdue Christmas tree being set up inside the student union.
They have to bring this HUGE TALL live tree in, which requires taking down the double doors and door frame just to get it in the building. Then all these ropes, wires and pulleys are used to attach the tree to supports and bring it upright.

It was really neat to watch.

There is a BIG gingerbread house near the tree, big enough to walk through.

 Dallin's school had a First Grade Christmas Music program.

Each of the 1st grade classes learned two songs. We recorded some of each song that Dallin was in.
video


video
I kind of wish Dallin had learned Christmas songs people actually know. Some of the classes learned more traditional songs, like We wish you a Merry Christmas or Good King Wenceslas. I can't even remember what Dallin's songs were called. Something about snow. Or olive trees.... ?

There was a free sleigh ride with Santa event at a nearby shopping center.
Dallin and Connor thought it was so much fun. Mckay and I both loved this Santa because of the way he talked to the kids. After he asked them what they wanted for Christmas (pretty standard Santa question), he said, "Those sounds like great toys! Just in case I can't find those things, is it all right if I bring you a few surprises?" And the boys, of course, said "YEAH!" I like that he was realistic and didn't promise a $300 Lego Death Star to our kids. 
I love how Connor was dressed for this sleigh ride, with his furry hat, aviator sunglasses and Batman mittens. And his red turtleneck.

Neil and Ashley and the Crapo cousins came to visit us our their way to Columbus, Indiana for Christmas with the Shoafs. They arrived EARLY in the morning, went back to sleep and then woke up to eat breakfast with us. It was technically still a school day for Dallin, but after waiting days, bursting with excitement at the thought of getting to play with his cousins, we thought it would be mean to send him to school after spending only 30 minutes with them at breakfast. So we let him stay home.
We played games, Fruit Ninja, let them run of some energy at our mall play area, and then home for some more games.
And then we went out to dinner. For future reference: when you're going out to eat with a large group (especially one with 8 kids) don't go to a restaurant that's new in town at 6pm without calling ahead. We waited a long time for a table. After dinner, the Crapos went straight on to Columbus and we went home. Dallin was crying the whole way home, saying how much he missed his cousins and asking why they had to go to visit their Grandma Shoaf. He asked if he could call Sadie. He has has such a tender heart.

We went caroling to some friends and brought them cookies. I made gingerbread wookie cookies and ninjabread men.
It was like baking a delicious army.

I made pajamas for the boys to open and wear on Christmas Eve. I sewed the pants and used freezer paper to stencil a graphic on each shirt.
Foxes for Dallin and Bennett, monsters for Connor.

 On Christmas Eve, some friends (the Wrights) invited us over for dinner and a presentation of the nativity story.
Dallin played the part of Joseph and Autumn was Mary. I think Mckay was an innkeeper in the picture above.

I was an angel and Bennett was a sheep, but there's no picture proof of that.
 Connor was assigned to be a wise man, but he really wanted to be a sheep. So we turned my faux-fur lined jacket inside out and Connor wore that.
 The Wrights made chimes and we each took a note and played several Christmas carols.

I didn't take hardly any pictures on Christmas. It was full of excitement, legos, Star Wars toys/clothes/shoes, waffles, and tired parents who were up half the night wrapping gifts and assembling a toy box. I did get this picture of Bennett, snuggling with the big, super-soft teddy bear he got.
Mom and dad Easton got us a chest freezer. I've very glad to have more freezer space now. For Christmas dinner, we invited the Thomases over. They are another Chem.E. family who also stayed in town for Christmas. Our boys love playing with their son, Drew. We ate food, played games, ate more food, watched Christmas movies, and ate some more for good measure.

 Dallin and Connor wanted to play our new game, Ticket to Ride, one more time before bed. They didn't last long though and feel asleep on the floor.
This was such a blissful moment for me. Playing a game with my love, my sweet children sleeping nearby, surrounded by gifts from loved ones and watching "White Christmas"... It was practically perfect.