A Tale of Two Parties

My darling creative, sparkling, wonderful Em turned six last month, and she is so loved it required two parties!

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The first party was for three of her friends after school on her actual birthday.  Em is an artist through and through, and to celebrate that each friend celebrated her inner artist!

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We got a little excited about these invitations…there was a little extra glue going on.  But it was all Em’s idea and she was super creative with how she wanted to decorate them!

When the girls arrived after school, there were art supplies waiting for each of them at their seat.

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Each girl painted her own picture on her canvas, and then we filled cupcake necklaces with sand art.  They all loved it and the time flew by!

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And of course, colorful cupcakes!

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It was a really fun way to celebrate her actual birthday and she felt super special.  She felt even more fabulous that weekend, when all our family came up for her family party, this time an animal theme she designed all her own!

The cousins loved the animal masks, and the girls all wore matching dresses made by Nana.  It was so adorable to see them all together!

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Em used our many Schleich animals to decorate her cake and Nana and Papa’s house, and there were plenty of “party animals” to go around!  Her ideas for animal touches were so fun! I’m glad I let her help decorate this year instead of trying to surprise her as usual.  She really knows what she wants, and her vision is always great!

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Including these creepy-eyed stuffies (not my favorites but my kids LOVE them) in lieu of goodie bags for the kids!  They were such a hit!

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Em knew exactly what she wanted for food as well, and with some creative wording, she was able to get all her favorite foods at the party!  Such a smart lady.

Animal Birthday Party Food #animalparty #animapartyfoodideas Animal Birthday Party Food #animalparty #animapartyfoodideas

Em remembered how Papa orchestrated a scavenger hunt for her presents last year and made a request for another go round.  He obliged and she tracked down all the amazing gifts bought and made for her, including a professional easel handmade by her Auntie Amanda.  What a lucky lady to have such a beautiful day!

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Mmmmm….and a yummy cake made by Auntie Jenny.  Loved by so many, this precious girl.

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Happy birthday, dear Em!  You deserved every minute of happiness from your celebrations!

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So Sweet It’s Scary!

This year, Jax and Em decided to be two of their favorite characters from pop culture for Halloween: Harry Potter and Elsa (specifically, Elsa from Frozen Fever).  Little H decided that she wanted to be what she loves most in the world–Em’s sister–so she chose to be Anna to Em’s Elsa.  All three of them were so sweet, so excited, and so ecstatic to be in character, I think it may have been my favorite Halloween yet.

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These two are just a joy.  I love watching what amazing friends they are, listening to them whisper when the lights go out at night, always looking out for each other.  Little H had several ideas of what she wanted to be on Halloween, all based on her own interests and likes, but for right now, there is nothing she loves more than being as close to her sister as can be.

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This guy’s brain is always going a mile a minute, and whether it’s reading at home, processing all the incredible learning that’s going on at school, or just being the cool kid he is, nothing is more perfect for him right now than to be Harry Potter.  It is everything I cherish most about him: his sense of adventure, his love of reading, his boyish charm, his fun.  He’s counting the days until he turns 11 and fully expects an owl to arrive with a piece of parchment in its beak, inviting him to Hogwarts.

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I’m going to have to work on that.

Our afternoon and evening was filled with friends, lots of food, candy galore and very happy children.

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What a memorable holiday!  So very sweet!

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Happy Halloween!

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Super Cell Phone Dump!

My goodness, it’s been a long time since I have purged my poor cell phone of its memorabilia of our spring and early summer!  We have transitioned from snowy fields to flowery meadows to green hills and sparkling lakes, and now that I’m doing my 365 project where I take a photo every day, I’m taking more photos than ever!  At least now I’m trying to do so with a real sense of purpose: capturing life at home with three amazing, sometimes challenging, always loving kids.  What more can I say other than, sit back and enjoy!  There are a LOT of images to appreciate!

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How lucky are we to live this glorious life? How lucky am I to be able to stay home and appreciate it every day?

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Paradise

Becky, where have you been?  The blog has seemed a bit…empty.  Well, there’s a good reason I haven’t been around, and it especially has to do with the fact that I left my computer and big camera at home as I traveled a couple thousand miles away with JDubbs and a group of core girlfriends that I’ve had the pleasure to know for the last three decades.  Basically, we stole a few days in paradise, also known as the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.

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We spent an evening in Old San Juan and had lots of yummy food, made some great memories and a bit of mischievous fun.

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The days were spent soaking up the sunshine, swaying in hammocks or floating in a pool with music playing, drinks flowing, and such great company.

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And then, the main event.  The amazing, wondrous, remarkably memorable wedding of our dear friends Jess and Ryan.  To say the bride was beautiful, the groom so happy, the guests thrilled, and the setting spectacular would be understatements.

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We were so happy for our friends, and so happy we were able to celebrate with them on that special day, in such an incredible setting!

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And with a surprise visit from a live band, some Moscow Mules and a little bit of Dirty Dancing, it was a night, a weekend, and a trip we will all never forget!

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Here’s to paradise!

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Exploring An Ice Castle

JDubbs and I took our big kids to a very special place last month, someplace that would resonate with Em’s inner Elsa and that would be a gigantic frozen playground for my outdoorsman Jax.  There are a few manmade ice castles popping up over the country, and I just knew that finding the one nearest us would be worth the trip.

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We went with friends to Stratton, Vermont, and got there early enough so that it wouldn’t be too freezing and the kids could explore all the amazing nooks and crannies a life-sized ice castle provides.  There were underground tunnels, towers with viewing platforms, a wishing well and an ice luge just perfect for sliding.

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I was fascinated by the structures and formations within the castle–little walkways and archways connecting this area to that.  Lots of places for the kids to run and hide, and not surprisingly, an excellent game of hide-and-seek ensued, and we did lose one kid for a short amount of time.  But like all big adventures with young children, they will always add a bit of excitement when you least expect (or want) it!  This parenthood thing is not for the faint of heart, or the thin-blooded!

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As always, the kids seemed impervious to the cold, and the adults were ready to head inside for some warm food and a cold beer before they were ready to call it quits.

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We were finally able to call it a day once the sun set and the light show began (which was worth the wait), all set to childhood favorite songs such as “Let It Go.”  Of course.

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It was great to get the big kids to ourselves and they were really good sports about the long drive and the even longer wait for dinner.  I am thankful we took a family day over February break–I think it needs to be a family tradition!  Making memories and exploring icy new terrains–just another day in the life in Vermont!

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Play Ball!

Since moving to Vermont, we have made some really great friends with whom we have tons of fun and have built some fantastic traditions (apple picking, Christmas party, dinners out–to name a few).  This summer we embarked on something different: an attempt to get eleven kids under six to play an organized sport.  Incredibly ambitious of us, to be sure!

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I wouldn’t say it was successful, but I think everyone involved would say it was a lot of fun!

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At first, we tried to get the kids to actually bat and attempt to field the balls hit by their friends.  That didn’t work so much.  However, when we had the Daddies hit in kind of a home run derby with the kids fielding fly balls and basically running the bases as they pleased, we suddenly had a feeling of baseball in the air!

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I had fun just sitting in the infield and trying to capture the hilarious nature of little boys who were taking this very seriously and little girls who cared not at all.

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Once the kids lost interest in the game, we headed over to the playground and let them just play before it was time to head home.

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I think this may have to be another tradition!  There was something fun in it for everyone, even the grown-ups!  Fun in the summer sun!

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Friends Thanksgiving

Our fantastic group of friends started a new tradition this year–Friends Thanksgiving!  Hosted at Tom and Katie’s house, we were blessed with a gorgeous autumn day where the kids could play without being bogged down with snowboots and heavy coats, and run around in the late afternoon light, enjoying each other’s company as they so rarely get to do with their busy school schedules.

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PicMonkey Collage

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It was the first holiday for Baby H since she could sit and watch the action.  She had a great time, plus she looked pretty damn adorable, rocking her sweater dress and matching beret!

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Dinner was delicious, the kids had an awesome time and even made adorable crafts while they waited for their meals.  I got to see all my girlfriends, which is difficult with all the kids being in different schools and programs in different towns, but I am always grateful to get a chance to catch up.

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Grateful for such a wonderful group of friends for the kids and the adults, and for traditions old and new!

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