Wednesday, February 29, 2012

{mustaches and ruby red lips}

How cute are these little ones enjoying darling Valentine's Day treats from their friend, Andrew.  Such a fun way to dress up a lollipop!

Before & After

Anyone with a home (at least anyone with a home that's not quite yet their dream home) can understand that there is always a list, a long list, of things that can be fixed, changed or updated.  Our list is long and we've been checking things off for the last five years.  Unfortunately, new things are added all the time.
But this particular task on our "to do" list should have been one we changed right when we moved in!  I had never liked the light fixture hanging in our entry way.  Our house was built in the mid nineties, and it was the last bit of brass left in the place.  And to top it off, the glass was getting so dusty, but since it was so high up we didn't have a way of easily cleaning it.
It was time for it to go...
 Here's that charming piece of brass and glass.  Ugh.

And here is the new fixture that we found a few months ago.  Not the best picture, but let me assure you it is an improvement.  It's simple and neutral and doesn't have an ounce of brass any where on it.
We found it for a steal and had an electrician come out to hang it.  It was up in an hour and each time I turn on our foyer lights, I am thankful that we finally decided to cross this off our home improvement list.
Now onto the family room.  And kitchen.  Our master bedroom could use a face lift, too.  And so the list continues!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day 2012

The kids had Valentine's boxes waiting for them when they came downstairs for breakfast. 

I found this idea on Pinterest, too...after the kiddos went to bed, I decorated their doors with hearts.  Each heart had something that I loved about them.  It was fun to do and I think they got a kick out of the surprise.  Carter woke me up with a hug and a sweet litte voice saying, "thanks for my hearts, Mama.  I love them"  And these are things that really fill me up.  He was so appreciative and loving.

The highlight of his Valentine's box was a Oregon jersey that I found on sale at the end of the season.  I think he would wear it every day if I let him.  He actually contimplated giving up Oregon Ducks shirts of Lent.  That's how much he loves them.  Silly boy.

Love those cheesy, smile for the camera faces!
Trying to get a few decent pictures before dashing off to school. 

Now that's what I call LOVE!

I helped out in Kennedy's classroom during her little party.  They made a heart craft, played a few games and had a special snack.  I really adore preschool and it's so fun to help out during these special days.
Kennedy and her friend, Lyla, in their matching dresses.
Lyla is the tiniest, sweetest little thing. 

Snack time and one last "cheese" for Mom.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Sharing the Love

This is my second attempt at this first is lost in cyber space. We've been having computer issues lately for years and I'm almost at a breaking point.  Grr.  Just add it to the list of things we "need" or rather, "really want".  Some day we'll get that winning lottery ticket, I'm sure.  Guess I need to start buying them to increase my chances. 

Enough of the negativity, this post is about sharing the love, which we did in preparation for Valentine's Day last week.  While I've never been a huge fan of the holiday, this year seemed more fun and you would have thought it was Christmas watching the kids.  They had so much fun choosing and preparing their Valentine's cards and I tried my best to make the day a special one for my little loves.

Kindergarten is serious business.  Carter had 26 Valentine's Day to write and deliver.  I decided we'd tackle them over the course of a few days and I think we were all happier because of it.  He did such a great job and loved his Lego Starwars cards (writing with a red pen was also a pretty big deal)...sadly, he wanted nothing of my homemade, crafy suggestions.  *sigh* He's a little too grown up.

Kennedy received this fantastic light-up ladybug in her Valentine's care package from Nana and Pops.  It has quickly become her new favorite possession, often accompanying us to the store, school or church.  If you're looking for a gift idea for a toddler, I'd highly recommend it.  It lights up with stars and moons projected all around the room.  Very cute, thank you Nana and Pops!

The night before Valentine's Day the Grices joined for a dinner play date.  It was such a fun evening!  Rachel brought over the makings for a cute Valentine's craft, a heart wreath.  I think Kennedy ended up making 3 - this little one loves to craft!  Carter lasted long enough to play with the glue gun and he was done.  It was much for fun to run around with his friends, I think.

Before dinner I tried to get a picture of our cute, rowdy group.  With six kids six and under, it was a tad challenging.  Carter, Audrey and Joshua were super cooperative, Samuel was being silly, David was too busy with the Buzz Lightyear laser toy and Kennedy simply refused.
How cute are these little ones?

5 out of 6 isn't bad

Thank you Papa Murphy's for your heart shaped pizza...made for a easy and festive dinner.  I loved having a full house, filled with laughter and love.  It was a wonderful way to spend an evening.

After dinner the kids decorated sugar cookies that I had made. 
Joshua loved the frosting!  Doesn't he have the sweetest little face?

David cracks me up.  This little guy is a ham and just so sweet.

Carter and Samuel
Samuel is a great kid and I love that Carter has such good friends.

Audrey and Carter attempted to take a picture of Rachel and I, which led to hysterical laughing.  Laughs from deep down in your belly, great laughs that leave you feeling so much better.  Rachel is such a wonderful friend and truly an inspiration.  I'm so thankful for her presence in my life.

Kennedy had originally chosen princess Valentine's for school, but once she saw these cuties (that I found on Pinterest), she quickly changed her mind.  I think they could have used slightly bigger eyes, but I was happy with how they turned out.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

ballerina birthday

Last weekend Kennedy and I had the pleasure of attending her friend, Kaitlin's, 4th birthday party.  Kaitlin's mom, Kathy, has become a dear friend and I just had to share some pictures from the amazing party that she put together.
Kathy has a gift - every detail was perfect, all the little girls had a wonderful time and Kaitlin was nearly bursting with joy.
It was a wonderful celebration!
 The cake. 
I have to say this is probably the most impressive cake I've ever seen.  And it was all homemade.  Incredible! And it was delicious, too.
 The dining room was set up so nicely for dessert

 The treat table and gift bags.
Kathy makes a picture banner each year for each of her children's birthdays.  I love the idea and will hopefully start that tradition this year, as well.  It was so fun to see how much Kaitlin grew and changed over the year.

 This was such a great party for little girls.  They started with coloring ballet pages and then moved on to decorating ballet slipper sugar cookies.  I was amazed at how quiet and focused they all were.  I kept thinking that if this activity had been done with boys...there would have been frosting and sprinkles everywhere!
 Grace, Kennedy, Audrey and Claire
These sweet girls are all part of our small group at church.  We joined up this fall and it has been such a great experience.  I love that the kids are getting to be part of such wonderful families!

 Classic Kennedy
Once her cookie was sufficiently decorated, she dove right in and started chowing down.  Everyone else saved theirs in little bags to take home.  Thankfully she just managed to eat half and we saved the rest!

 Kathy {party planner extrodianare} and the birthday girl, Kaitlin
Happy 4th birthday, Katie!

All of the girls, dressed in pink and looking so cute

 My little frowny face, love you Sister
 Again the treat table proved too much of a temptation for Miss K.  After filling her goodie bag, she was diving in before we even got off the front porch!  Talk about a sugar high!
Aren't these marshmallow treats so cute?!?

It really was an amazing party!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Kyle!

I'm a birthday kind of gal.  Love them, really.  They are days to make one feel special, honored, loved, treasured.  As a child, I remember counting the weeks, days, hours until my birthday arrived.  Now, in my old(er) age, I have transferred the love of my birthday to a love of the days to celebrate my family.  In fact, I could probably do without my own birthday, but on the three special days a year when I have the opportunity to celebrate the loves of my life, I like to go all out.  I know people may look at the kids' birthday parties and think they are excessive, and they would be right, but I do it all out of love and a desire to make their special day the best it can be.  It's my way of giving love.

It was Kyle's birthday last week, and I had been talking it up to the kids, hoping to transfer my birthday obsession to them, I think.  I also hope to instill in them a desire to make others happy.  I can see it happening, and it makes me proud.  Carter's little buddy at church told him that his family gets breakfast in bed on their birthdays, so a new tradition was born in our home.  Carter thought that was about the coolest idea ever and has already started planning the menu for his day.
So this is how our morning began...
(we celebrated a day early)
Cinnabon cinnamon rolls are one of Kyle's most favorite things.  They usually are reserved for Christmas morning, but Carter and I agreed that a birthday breakfast deserved an extra sweet treat! (And thanks to Costco, they are now easier and cheaper to find!) If I would have been thinking I would have purchased real bacon, not the turkey kind that I think is 100 times better.  Next year, honey.  And coffee made by someone else just tastes a little better, doesn't it?
Kyle was going on just a few hours of sleep, even though I got up with the kids at the crack of dawn.  He was out with a friend the night before and looks a little sleepier than usual.  But I just had to include this picture...can't you feel Carter's happiness?  He got so much joy out of helping me prepare breakfast and then surprising Daddy and serving him in bed.
Kyle's birthday always falls around the Superbowl and it did again this year. 
(Kennedy is in a cheerleader costume because of the game) 
So after going to church, we came home, changed into comfy cozies and enjoyed a quiet, relaxing day with our family.  A few presents, chips, salsa and guacamole for the game, pizza for dinner - it was a day of unhealthy eating but a very happy family celebration!
On Kyle's actual birthday, we headed to Outback for dinner.  
My boys...couldn't love them any more!
And then it was home for dessert.  My newest obsessions is pinterest and I found a few treats that I thought Kyle might enjoy.  He chose a Twix trifle with a salted caramel mousse, fudge sauce, whip cream and Twix.  It was so rich but really tasty.  I was just happy that it turned out.

You know, my husband is a pretty amazing guy.  Not only is he kind and gentle to me, but he is the best father that any child could hope for...he plays with the kids in such a great way, all physical and rowdy like.  Definitely not the way that Mom plays.  Carter and Kennedy adore their dad.  He's the fun one, always ready to throw a ball or go on a bike ride.  He's getting better at changing his voice when he reads stories and never turns down the chance to chase and run.  He's the best at hide-and-seek.  But beyond the amazing things he does as a father, he is a fabulous partner.  He's patient...beyond patient at times.  He's loves me in spite of my craziness, often staying up late or sacrificing his free time to help me pull together last minute details of a party or activity for the kids.  He's getting really skilled at making birthday banners, in fact.  He's a pro with the circle cutter!  He gives compliments and always makes me feel beautiful.  I never question his love, and that is a treasure that I hold to tightly.  His desire to grow in faith is such an inspiring quality...I love that he seeks to be the spiritual leader of our family.  He is a strong man, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Kyle works so hard to provide for our family.  He is driven to do better, be better in all things and that is admirable.  He is dependable.  Loyal.  Honest.  Hardworking.  Beyond all, he is loving.  I am lucky.  Lucky to call him my husband, lucky to have him by my side in this crazy journey of life.  Lucky to be able to celebrate all of his specialness on his birthday.  Happy Birthday, Kyle, I love you!

Birthday celebration #2
The following weekend, we got together with Kyle's family to celebrate again.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch at PF Changs and then Ken and Diane graciously babysat so Kyle and I could catch a movie.  It was a great extension of Kyle's birthday!
                               Carter and Papa at lunch, aren't they cute? 

The whole gang -
we had a nice table that was somewhat secluded, perfect for our noisy bunch!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Golden Skate

From the looks of things, this particular skating rink hasn't changed much since I attended school skate nights elementary school.  Yikes.
The PTA at Carter's school hosted a skate night at Golden Skate, and I figured the kids would have a good time.  Since it was a work night for me, I didn't get to go, but it was fun hearing all about it from Carter the next morning.
He saw many friends and classmates and had a lot of fun!

I figured roller skating would be a lot easier than ice skating, but a certain someone didn't agree.  The bruises that dotted his body didn't lie.  Poor kid looked like he'd been in a bad bar fight!  Hips, knees, elbows...nothing was spared!

Not the best quality of pictures - point and shoot camera coupled with dark interior, but you get the idea.
I always loved roller skating...something about those little brown skates with orange wheels.  Takes me right back.

Again...falls didn't seem to keep him down.  I love that he's falling with a smile! 
Kennedy wasn't such a huge fan...she didn't really like the skates and I think she was pretty tired.  Daddy bought her a glow stick and so she entertained herself with that.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Preschool Pajama Day

It's the simple things really, like getting to wear your jammies to school.

Kennedy had PJ day at school a couple of weeks ago.  It is always such a fun day for the kids...Miss Laura, Kennedy's wonderful teacher, pretended to be asleep when the kids entered the classroom.  It was so funny to watch the confused expressions and to see how each reacted differently.  Some 'hushed' the crowd, so that they wouldn't wake her up.  Others wanted to poke or prod her awake.  Kennedy was kind of scared and just hid behind my leg...a fun way to start the day.

For snack time the kids were served 'breakfast' by the parents. 
Kennedy was thrilled that she got to eat 2 breakfasts that day! What a special treat.
I found these cute cherry pjs and just couldn't resist.
Oh how I wish my kids would smile naturally on command!  Most of the time she looks frightened or grimaced...I just wanted to document the day.

"recess" time
playing with Lyla

Gumdrop Class
(Thanks to my friend, Shannon, for snapping a few pictures during gym time)