Monday, March 31, 2014

Star Wars Birthday

Dallin loves Star Wars. He wears his Darth Vader shirt all the time and is always asking to watch the movies ("A New Hope" and "Return of the Jedi" are his favorites). So I was not surprised when I started planning for Dallin's fifth birthday and he asked for a Darth Vader cake. I went beyond the cake and planned a whole Star Wars themed birthday party for him.

The invitation:
I love how this turned out. Dallin recognizes that this is a Star Wars font. He doesn't know letters of the Alphabet yet, but he knows a Star Wars font when he sees one...

The inspiration for the invitation and a lot of the other party ideas came from Homemade by Jill and the Star Wars party she threw for her 5 year old boy. Something about Star Wars must really resonate with the 4-5 year old crowd.

I made a few simple decorations to go with the theme.
Tie fighter balloons hung over the piano.

And to keep with my tradition from years past of making themed bunting, here is my Star Wars bunting.
It's made from felt. Dallin can keep it as decoration in his room now that the party is over.

It was a little time consuming to make, but the skill level is easy and felt is cheap, so this banner is a definite win.

One day while working on this project, Dallin helped me put some of the storm trooper heads together by putting the black felt pieces in the correct place. Can you tell which one Dallin did?
Stormtroopers really weren't meant to smile.

I dressed up for the party.
I was "Mom Solo." And Connor was "Con Solo."

We were hoping that with it being spring now, it would be warm enough to have some party festivities outside. On the morning of the party, we woke up to snow on the ground. So it was an all indoor party! We had a backup plan in mind so everything worked out great.
Guests arrived, hung up their cloaks and were given a foam lightsaber. I "trained" them in the rules of lightsaber use (no hits to the face!) and then we practiced by popping bubbles with the lightsabers.

Then I read a quick book that introduced everyone to the Star Wars world and characters. Most of Dallin's friends are younger than him and weren't familiar with it yet. I told them about Darth Vader and the death star, and then Mckay came out of hiding wearing a Darth Vader mask and carrying a death star pinata. Only a few children cried at the sight of the mask...
Making the death star was a joint effort. I did the paper mache work. Mckay painted and decorated.

Everyone got a turn to hit the death star.
The kids were young enough that I didn't think they needed a blindfold to challenge them. Also, I wanted Mckay to have both of his legs intact still by the end of the party.

Dallin wanted to wear the Darth Vader mask while he hit.

The pinata withstood several hits from everyone, so Mckay finished it off so the kids could get the candy/goodies inside.
The death star was destroyed and the jedis saved the day! (Mckay's outfit is Luke Skywalker. He's the only one who can really destroy the death star.)

To reward the jedis, we ate lunch. Our menu was based on Dallin's favorite foods, with some Star Wars twists.
The Leia buns were pizza sandwich roll ups filled with pepperoni, olives and mozzarella. Dallin inhales these.

Obi Wan Kabobies were mini corn dogs. And don't forget the Bobba fruit.

Even Darth Vader eats his veggies.

To drink, we had Jabba juice and Watto. (Funny, right?)

The kids chowed down and put olives on their fingers.
I found these cups on super cheap clearance at Target, so everyone got to take home a party souvenir. 

Dallin got some awesome gifts.
Our friends made him a crocheted R2-D2 doll. This picture is blurry but I love the look on his face.
Here's better detail on R2.
I love it!

 The kids took turns being Darth Vader.

Then it was time for cake.
 This was another joint effort. I baked the cake, Mckay decorated it.
I really couldn't have done this party (or any of my parties) without Mckay. He is so helpful and will do what ever I need him to do. And when I started to freak out over little things that didn't go right, he would remind me that everything was still great, and all the kids would have fun no matter what. And all Dallin asked for was the cake anyway, so everything else was a bonus.

Here's a look at what I got/made for Dallin's presents.
My annual homemade gift was some pajama pants and t-shirts that I painted using freezer paper and fabric paint. Also, thank you Old Navy clearance for the lunch box. That will come in handy for Kindergarten this fall.

Since his love for Legos is still strong, I made him some Lego t-shirts too.
I got the idea from here.
I love how they turned out. Mckay does not love that there is still some paint stuck on the Legos I used for stamping.

The party was a big success. Everyone had a great time. Dallin loved everything about it. Both boys really got into their roles and had blaster/saber battles all day.

On Dallin's actual birthday, he took some Star Wars cupcakes to preschool to celebrate with his class.
I loves these cupcake liners and toppers from Williams-Sonoma. Thanks for sending them, Mom!

I still can't believe that Dallin is five and that he's old enough to know about Star Wars. He is growing up into such an amazing little boy.

Happy 5th Birthday, Dallin! We'd fight an entire army of stormtroopers for you!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Grandpa Crapo and trains

My dad had a business trip to Purdue this month, so he got to visit with us for a few days in between appointments. The boys, as always, were excited to see Grandpa and to play legos with him. It cold outside, so we found indoor activities to do. We drove to a small train museum about 45 minutes away in Monon, Indiana. There was a little diner/cafe that was full of train memorabilia. The best part was that two separate train tracks hung from the ceiling and you could watch trains driving round and round on the track while you ate.
Connor and Dallin spent most of the meal with their necks like this.

The boys split a grilled cheese sandwich. 

Dad and I had some yummy burgers with sweet potato fries.

We looked around the museum area for a bit.


Then we went outside to look at the restored trains. Connor really wanted to climb onto the trains but they weren't open.
I just realized that I didn't take any pictures of my dad on this trip. I promise he was there, standing just outside this picture, with Connor staring at him. 
*Dad was here*

It started snowing and all of us were getting cold, including Dad, who is used to warmer California weather. We stomped in the snow for one more minute...
...and then ran for the warmth and protection of the car.

Dad took us out for dinner for some really delicious Mediterranean food. I've never eaten tapas style before but it was all really good food. We ordered fried zucchini chips, grilled swordfish with a honey bourbon glaze, chorizo and bacon potato cakes, hummus and pita, stuffed cherry peppers wrapped in Prosciutto, and housemade pasta with marinara. We ordered the pasta dish mostly for the kids to eat, but it's amazing how much better fresh pasta tastes. It was really good. Mmm, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it all again.

After dinner, we came home and Dad made us chocolate magic shell to go on vanilla ice cream. We ate a lot of food while my Dad was here... Unfortunately, he had to leave at 4am the next morning to catch his flight out of Indianapolis, so we didn't wake up to eat breakfast him. But we had a really fun time and it was wonderful to see him again. 

Ninjas and Jedis

We got fruit ninja on Xbox Kinect for Christmas and we all love it. The boys will do all kinds of chores if it means they can play fruit ninja afterwards. I love watching them play.
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I made light sabers out of pool noodles for Dallin's upcoming birthday party (get excited for THAT blog post!) and I let the boys test them out.
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I think Dallin was going for a Tusken Raider victory yell at the end.


Apparently Jedi power runs in the family. I discovered I can knock the boys over using the force.
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

March odds and ends

Dallin is learning how to write his name. I don't know if you can see it, but this totally says "Dallin."
His letters have gotten even better since writing this a month ago. He amazes me.
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 Dallin with a pocket full of Legos.
Good idea to keep them handy in a pocket. you never know when you'll need to build something.
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I got my hair cut.
I haven't had my hair this short in a long time (like 15 years) but I really like it. Also, Connor took this picture. It's a little blurry, but he's getting pretty good.
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 On St. Patrick's Day, we had our traditional dinner of Corned beef and cabbage. For breakfast, I made a green smoothie with spinach. 
I added a few too many strawberries so it wasn't quite the bright green I thought it would be. It was more of a "yoda" green, but still very tasty.
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It has still been cold and wintery here, so Connor has worn this sweater a lot. 
He picked out the sweater and light wash jeans. It made me laugh all day because he looked like a 90's kid straight out of Saved by the Bell.

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Connor (and Dallin too) really likes helping with the dishes. Every time they climb up to the sink now to wash their hands after a meal, they rinse a few dishes while they're at it. Such helpful boys! Before we shot this video, Connor said, "I'm doing dishes for you, Mommy."
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ice Skating

We went ice skating in February at a nearby outdoor rink. The ChemE grad student organization reserved the whole rink for the grad students that night, which made it a lot less crowed than last year.
It was also not a well attended activity because it was about 13 degrees that night. We wore lots of layers and took plenty of indoor breaks.
Dallin really enjoyed it. He skated on his own, albeit very very slowly. He fell down several times, but he did most of the falling on purpose. I guess slipping on your butt is more fun when you have lots of padding.

 Connor took one step on the ice and started to freak out because it was "too slippery!" He screamed until we removed him from the ice. Even skating while holding onto someone was too terrifying for him. He didn't seem to remember that he enjoyed skating a year ago when he was only 1 and less coordinated than now. So Connor stood right outside the rink and watched us skate the whole time.
Notice the cool two-blade kid skates strapped onto his tennis shoes? Even with the support of an extra blade, he did not like the ice.

 Connor had more fun hanging out inside and taking pictures of people.
He really likes taking pictures with our digital camera (what little kid doesn't?) and his pictures are actually semi-decent with a flash.

He took a few pictures of other friends at the rink:





And Dallin took this one, so the photographers could be in a picture too.
We had fun, despite the cold and Connor's ice aversion. Maybe he'll like it again next year.