Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Birthday!

To my wonderful husband, Greg...
who makes me laugh when I need to lighten up,
who folds countless baskets of laundry without complaint,
who is an expert bath-giver and tummy tickler,
who is always up for an adventure,
who works tirelessly to build relationships with and mentor students,
who loves me well, even when I'm not so easy to love.

I love you Babe.
Happy Birthday!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hello Kitty Birthday

Elisa will turn four tomorrow. On Friday we had her birthday party. She wanted a Hello Kitty party. Which was super easy to do, since Hello Kitty is absolutely everywhere right now.

At Jonathan's birthday party back in October. I felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Every time Jonathan saw me he said, "Momma! Momma!" In this heartbreaking way. Like, "It's been sooo long since I've seen you, where have you been?" I learned some things the hard way from his birthday party:
1) Do easy food.
2) Don't try to decorate the cake the day of.
3) If possible, delegate! And talk about any expectations you have of your husband.
4) If you aren't throwing the party in your own home, but need to do set-up and decorations in the party location, give yourself adequate time.
5) Remember that the point is to make a fun and memorable day for the birthday boy/girl... not to impress others or outdo yourself in some way. It will be more fun for them (and you) if you are not stressed out!

This time around, the party preparations went much more smoothly. We ordered pizza; and I assembled fruit, veggie, and cracker/dip trays. So the food was easy. I did the cake the night before. I had Greg make the balloon flower decorations while I was doing the cake (I'm so glad I did this, since these ended up being a little more complicated than one would think). I started decorating the lounge where we had the party the morning of, instead of waiting until the hour before. And I paused to refocus myself and pray the afternoon before the party instead of frantically working all day. The fruit kebabs turned into a fruit plate because I ran out of time, but I was in a much better frame of mind by the time the party rolled around. I had a great time at the party. I was able to talk to my guests, and enjoy watching the kids play. I think Leesi had a great time too.

We had the party in the lounge which is separated from our apartment by a small hallway. Both doors were open, and so at one point the older kids disappeared into our apartment. All of a sudden the parents looked around and thought, "Where did all the kids go?" We found them in our downstairs, pushing the button on our Skiing Santa, who sings a little song. (He used to also actually ski across the room, but this year when I pulled him out, I found that he no longer does that.) They had this whole routine worked out of freezing in one place while Santa talked, and then starting to dance when Santa started singing. It was so cute, and it just goes to show you that sometimes the funnest party games and activities are not the ones you thought up.

Here are some pictures of the festivities:

Hello Kitty cake and kisses.

The food table (pre-food).

Greg made balloon flowers and animals for the kids

Pin the bow on Hello Kitty. Mysteriously all bows ended up perfectly placed.

Party favors and prizes
(Prizes never were given out. Prizes are a bad idea for this age, unless everyone gets one.)
What was I thinking?

The big birthday girl and Momma.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas tree time

Most years that we've lived in Portland we have gotten our Christmas tree from this great u-cut place called Sandy Farms. It's cheap (this year it was $15-$20 per tree, in years past we've gotten trees for as little as $5), it's fun, and it's tradition. Every year we wonder, is it worth the drive? Couldn't we just pay five dollars more and get a tree down the street. But each year we go, and each year we love it. There's something about it, the whole experience, that we love... the drive, the search, the cold, the sawing, the hauling, the hot chocolate at the end. This year was no different. We had a great morning on Saturday finding our tree.

It was quite cold. Right around freezing. All the shady places were still covered in frost. Leesi kept saying, "I'm freezin!" and "I'm getting really icy!" So after we found our tree, and while Greg was still trying to figure out the big tree, the kids and I went back to the barn for hot cocoa. I think this was their favorite part.

We found a tree for us, as well as a tree for outside at the school's Christmas party. After some discussion about whether or not it would fit on top of our car Greg chose the largest doug fir he could find. When the workers were trying to put it through the baler, it got stuck and it took a little time and ingenuity to get it unstuck. We cheered when it finally made it through the baler. It took 4 men to load it onto the top of our car and I think it bent our roof rack a little. It was quite the adventure. But now the Christmas party will have a beautiful large tree. And we have a beautiful tree too. It's only half way decorated so far. We're looking forward to finishing it up tomorrow!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Jonathan's jacket flip

Jonathan learned how to do this about a week ago. And I think it may be just about the cutest thing ever.

Leesi and the zipper