Thursday, August 29, 2013

a mermaid party ~ Kennedy's 5!

Kennedy requested a mermaid swim party this year and I was happy to oblige.  Having the party at a location other than our house sure makes things easier!!!  Of course, I had a ton of fun searching for ideas on Pinterest and putting together cute little details.  I love this kind of thing and really get so much enjoyment from putting on a cute party.  I hope my kids look back and know that I did my best to make their birthdays special.
I loved this theme...loved the colors and the simple ways that I was able to make it fun.
I also loved that it incorporated one of Kennedy's most favorite things ~ swimming!!!

The cake!
My friends, Kathy and Shannon, had both made ruffle cakes like this before and then my other friend, Trisha offered to help me make one too.  With tips and tricks from Kathy and Shannon and the talent of Trisha, we were able to create such an amazing cake.  I LOVED it!  It came together more easily than we had was time consuming but not overly difficult.  The hardest part was getting the fondant dyed the right took a lot of kneading and squishing and arm strength!  And bless Trisha's heart, she came down with the flu two days before the party...we ended up working on it Sunday morning and finished it in about three hours.  Again, so grateful for truly talented and generous friends.  I could not have been happier with the end result.

I made some white chocolate shells in candy molds and used those and a starfish to top off the cake.  The inside was gorgeous was six layers of tourquise ombre' cake.  
(Kathy took lots of pictures at the party, so hopefully we got one of the inside too)

another simple craft that I had a lot of fun putting together

the dessert table

There is only so much you can do to make a room at the community center look party worthy.  But in less than 30 minutes I thought it had it looking pretty cute.

Sugar cookies 
Again, my uber talented and generous friend, Kathy, helped me frost these four dozen cookies!  I attempted a few and actually baked the cookies, but they wouldn't look at all special if it weren't for Kathy's decorating skills.  I couldn't be more grateful that she always gives of her time and talents to help!  Thank you, friend! 

sweet friends
Gracie, Katie, Kennedy and Delaynee

The whole crew
Such a very sweet group of girls!
Grace, Delaynee, Lyla, Kaitlin, Gracie, Kennedy, Estella, Lauren, Keela, Audrey, Ainsley and Emery

Getting ready for cake...

love you, sweet girl

happy birthday to you...

happy birthday dear Kennedy....

happy birthday to you!
I hope all of your wishes come true!!!

And then our little mermaid was ready to swim!!!
She had so much fun swimming and sliding, splashing and playing with her friends.
Such a fun way to celebrate our special girl.
Thank you to everyone who pitched in to help pull this mom is always an invaluable assistant, crafting away into the wee hours of the night, cutting fruit and preparing food ~ couldn't do it without her!  And as usual, Kyle helps and puts up with all the craziness.  My dear in-laws helped in the mad rush of setting up the party space and my sweet friends, Kathy, Shannon and Trisha helped so much in the planning and execution.  I certainly couldn't do it alone!!!

Kennedy's Mermaid Party ~ family pictures

Before leaving for Kennedy's birthday party, we had to take a few pictures!
It's not every day we celebrate a special girl who is turning 5!
Looking so grown up, Happy Birthday sweet Kennedy!

So grateful to Nana for always coming up to help us celebrate.
We love Nana!!!

Mama's girl

my two little loves

Wonderful to have Grandma and Papa here too!
A very lucky girl to be loved by so many!

An attempt at a family shot ~ I know taking this pictures is always some what torturous for my family.  The kids are so excited for the party and the adults just want to get the show on the road...but they humor me, and for that I am very thankful!

Happy 5th Birthday, Kennedy

My baby is 5!  5...a whole hand and I find myself wondering where the time has gone?  Kennedy is no longer a toddler, there isn't much "little" left in her.  She's getting ready to start kindergarten and she's growing up so fast!  A bit too fast if you ask me.  
Kennedy's birthday celebration spanned a few days, which is kind of the way it goes around here.  Between a friend party, a family celebration and usually the "day of" celebration, we ended up doing birthday weeks!  And since the 5th birthday is such a special one, we planned a very exciting trip to celebrate Kennedy.  One that she had been talking about for months (more on that in another post).
We started Kennedy's birthday celebration on Sunday ~ Once we got home from church, she opened presents from family.  I was so proud of her and her patience in waiting.  We had told her that we would open gifts after church and she didn't beg or pester us to open them earlier.  See, maturing in all sorts of ways! 

It's fun to have a day all about you!

SO excited!!!
It was a big birthday with lots of American Girl gifts...she was so excited to finally get her doll, Caroline and was anxious to purchase her accessories, as well.  Gift cards from family and friends were a huge hit!  They were so appreciated and made our time at the American Girl store even more enjoyable.

The big much excitement....

She's finally here!
(although that face doesn't look too excited, I assure you she was thrilled!)
Kennedy had been talking about Caroline incessantly since before Christmas.  It was a big purchase, though and we wanted to make sure that she was old enough to care for her doll and also that it wasn't a desire that would be gone on a whim.

Round 2
Kennedy's birthday party was planned for Sunday afternoon, so Grandma and Papa came over before hand with a few more gifts.
You can't go wrong with crafting supplies and coloring stuff for Kennedy.  It's her most favorite activity!

We ran out of time at her party and didn't get to open her presents with her friends.  She was very excited to do that when we got home!
Such generous and thoughtful gifts!!!  Lots of arts and crafts, a fun game, ponies and another American Girl gift card ~ Kennedy was over the moon!

And then her actual birthday arrived on Tuesday and she was so excited for our breakfast in bed tradition (which starts when the kids are 5)

I made up her tray with a pink donut for a special treat and she was so's the little things!

so excited to eat upstairs...and in BED!  Wahoo!

I'm 5 today!

and then a few pictures of my big 5 year old girl...

"a whole hand today, Mama"

Kennedy you are filled with light and spunk and we cannot imagine our family without you.  You are strong willed and determined, loving and sensitive, creative and funny ~ God has blessed you with so many unique qualities and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you.  I love you more than you'll ever know and pray that you know lots of love and joy throughout your life.  I pray that you learn from your mistakes, are spared too much heart break and that you always have a heart for God and others.  Your sweet little voice is one that I treasure and hope that I can help make your dreams come true.  I would give you the world but hope that you'll want to work for some of it too :) 
I love you, sweet daughter of mine and am so very thankful for you!
Happy 5th birthday, Kennedy!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

It's Independence Day ~ Happy 4th!

4th of July ~ 2013
After a full day of boating and sun and knowing I had to go into work that night at 10:30, I decided it was a better idea to stay home and (try to) rest instead of joining Kyle and the kids at our friends' house.  I love being with friends and celebrating the 4th together, so I was really sad to miss out.
Of course we had to get a few pictures before they headed off...
                                                                     Happy 4th of July!

Yes, that's a swim suit cover-up that Kennedy is wearing...we were rushed getting out the door and it didn't even occur to me to pack coats and things.  Luckily Kyle was able to improvise and borrow and everyone survived.

chasing parachutes! 
I think these are the kids' favorite fire works...forget the bright colors and loud booms, getting to chase down plastic paratrooper men is where it's at!
can't beat a genuine smile on the face of my cute girl!  She sure loves her daddy!

silly boys in red shirts!

Ainsley and Kennedy

Carter was super tired after a long day and was a bit of a grump at the party.  I think he was expecting to have Asher all to himself and was disappointed that there were lots of other kids there, too.  We are working on managing expectations and changes in plans.


 Kennedy and Daddy enjoying the show

Watching the fireworks from the comfort (and warmth) of the truck!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Saying goodbye is never easy...and to watch my best friend suffer through the pain of loosing her mom was about as much as I could handle.  Carrie's mom, Judy, had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's over ten years ago, and she had spent the last several years incapacitated.  Alzheimer's is an awful disease, it robbed Judy of so many years and sadly she was taken away from her loved ones long before she actually passed.  The whole thing was so tragic ~ it hurt to talk about it, but it hurt not to, as well.  My heart just broke for Carrie each time she would visit her mom in Arizona.  Hearing the hurt in her voice was so hard.  Carrie and I deal with grief and sadness in such a different way, so it was a learning process for me and our friendship.  I had to let Carrie handle a lot of her pain on her own, and that was hard.  More than anything I wanted to ease some of her sadness, bear a little of that burden...Sadly, Judy was diagnosed with breast cancer late last year.  They decided not to treat it and subject her to any more unnecessary pain.  She was welcomed into heaven and thankfully Carrie had the opportunity to visit her one last time over Memorial weekend.  Her dad, Stan, was there with her when she passed ~ theirs is a love story like few others.  They had so much fun together and enjoyed each others company so much.  I loved it when Stan and Judy would visit at Linfield, they were always so much fun!!!  I pray for peace, both for Carrie and Stan, as they navigate this new road without Judy.  She was a big personality, a lover of life, a proud mom and a devoted wife.  She loved with her whole heart...and was taken from us much too early.
Carrie did a wonderful job planning a celebration of life in Judy's honor.  We drove up to Olympia and spent the afternoon hearing funny stories (there were many!) and touching tributes (even more).  It was a bittersweet day for sure.  Carrie gave such a touching speech ~ I was SO proud of her and admire her strength so much.  She is amazing and I know her mom would have been so proud.  
The sun was shining, we got to see old friends and celebrate a wonderful woman...bittersweet, for sure.

I did get to sneak away and enjoy a little picnic in the kitchen with this cutie...Ethan is a doll and I love him dearly.  It felt good to be able to love on him and give Carrie the chance to mingle without worrying about her sweet boy.  I can't help but cry when I look at his precious face ~ his grandma would have loved him so!
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted..."  Matthew 5:5

boating fun ~ i LOVE summer!

One of the best parts of summer is heading out on the boat and enjoying the beautiful weather!
We have had a magnificent summer and have actually gotten out on the boat several times (not always an easy feat in between our crazy schedules and unpredictable weather)
We headed out to the river one evening to meet up with the Pikes ~ it's such an easy launch for us but I still prefer the safety and calmness of the lake.

Carter and Nana enjoying the beautiful sunshine!

happy kiddos

We packed a picnic dinner and enjoyed some time on the beach.  The kids were able to swim, we went tubing and jet skiing...the perfect way to spend an evening!

Shannon and Emery
So much fun to spend these special time with dear friends

The kids did a lot of swimming ~ it was fun for them to run up the beach, jump in and and then swim down with the current and to the waiting dads.

The 4th of July was unusually warm, so we decided to take advantage and headed up to the lake with some friends.  Unfortunately, it was super windy, so we packed up our stuff from the beach, loaded into the boat and went in search of a calmer spot.  Luckily we overheard someone talking about an inlet that was mostly protected from the wind, so after a bit of tubing, we searched it out.  It was perfect!  We were able to eat, swim and play for the better part of the day.  The boat felt a bit small with 10 people on board, but overall the day was a ton of fun!

Carter, Ben, Grace and Kennedy enjoying their time together in the front of the boat

Carter had been begging to drive......

and he was all business!

Another night out on the river ~ we're so lucky to live in such a beautiful area, surrounded by great rivers and lakes!
This is what summer should look like!