Category Archives: holiday

Laurel turns 3!!!


Yesterday was Laurel’s big day.  It’s tough to be the youngest and have the last birthday of the year for the family.  She was a trooper though and kept up with daily asking “It my birthday now?”

It’s always fun when a birthday falls on the weekend, and we can celebrate with everyone on the day of the actual birthday.  After worship we headed to Pizza Ranch for lunch.  Once everyone was filled, we headed over to a kite festival that was going on nearby.  The kids loved seeing all of the gigantic kites.  I think their favorite was easily the caterpillar that rolled back and forth on the ground over them.  We definitely need to upgrade our kite collection though since our cheap, plastic Elmo kite just wouldn’t fly.  (Thank you Brad for trying so many times to get it going!)

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After our fun at the kite festival, we headed back to our house for presents and ice cream cake.

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In the end, it was a full, fun day.  We are so incredibly blessed with a super sweet girl!  Happy 3rd Birthday, LJ!


S’mores labor




Our Labor Day plan was to have no plans.  We are in a super busy season of commitments right now, and a day of nothing seemed like the perfect idea.  I had mentioned early in the day that it would be fun to break in our fire pit we got this summer with s’mores for dessert after dinner.  When Brad’s sister asked if we wanted to go to the splash pad with them, we thought it would be fun to pair the two things together.  So after having fun in the water, we headed back to dry off and get sticky.  In retrospect, maybe the water part would have served us better after the sticky s’mores!

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Happy 5th Birthday, Jilly Mae!!




We have a “rule” in our house that you wait until your 5th birthday before you get to have a friend birthday party.  To say that Jilly was excited to turn five, would be an understatement.  She went through countless theme ideas before finally settling on a Lalaloopsy party.  I was thrilled since it meant that I got to do all kinds of fun sewing projects to go along with it all.  The day was incredibly hot and incredibly windy.  I might have gotten slightly stressed over not being able to decorate the table as I had hoped due to the wind, but luckily 2-7 year olds don’t pay too much attention to decorations!

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Following her celebration with friends on Saturday, she got to celebrate with family on Sunday.  We had a low key, stay out of heat, home celebration.  She seemed to have a great time, and thoroughly enjoyed her moment in the spot light as everyone’s eyes were on her as we sang Happy Birthday to her.  (Don’t you dare tell her that isn’t a real American Girl doll!  She is quite certain that it is!!)

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After a couple days of break from celebrating, it was time for the actual day of her birthday.  She was thrilled to get to spend part of her day at preschool and celebrate with her classmates.  After opening gifts, she picked Jimmy John’s as her choice for her birthday dinner.   Although we were slightly surprised by this choice, we all enjoyed our meal.  Then it was back home for more gift opening with Grammy and Grandpa and a show before bed.  Happy birthday, Jilly Mae!

Happy 2nd Birthday Laurel!!!


Last Saturday Laurel Jane turned 2!  Again, time is flying by way too fast, but there is no denying she is growing up.  She is a chatter box that will talk your ear off about Elmo and anything else she can think of.  She mostly mastered potty training by her 2nd birthday – there were 5 1/2 really rough days that led to some major success.  She definitely has the mood swings of a two year old, and plays the role of terrible twos quite effortlessly.  😉  Her birthday celebrations of course had to include her beloved Elmo!  She had a great time celebrating with family!

birthday festivities take 3


Jilly’s third birthday celebration included more grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, cousins, cupcakes, and swimming.  It was a fun day to let the kids all run around together.  Somehow we had managed to make it through the summer without having the cousins over to play in the pool a single time.  Crazy!  Jilly was super excited to get several Hello Kitty things, and also the gift she has been begging everyone for for several months:  Take Flight Tink (a Tinkerbell doll that flies).  It was a fun way to finish out the birthday celebrating.

Birthday festivities take 2


Jilly got to draw out her birthday over the course of several days this time around.  A few days after the actual birthday festivities, she got a visit from my parents when we celebrated all over again!  Yay!  She had brownies on her birthday, and this time she got a cookie cake.  She lucked out and got to add another Groovy Girl to her collection and some fun accessories to use with them.  And, as they both are rather goofy she and Grandpa got to be silly together!

FoUr!!!!! hApPy BiRtHdAy JiLlY mAe!!!!








It has been nearly 2 months since Jilly turned 4, and she loved every moment of celebrating.  Her birthday was extra special since it was also the first day of preschool.  She was super excited to finally wear her “four” shirt I had made a few weeks prior to her birthday.  She also loved her Groovy Girl filled birthday presents.  They have been great bedroom toys for during quiet time ever since!  It’s amazing that it’s been four fast years, but we are thrilled with the quickly maturing four year old we have been blessed with!



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round 3


It only took us 3 1/2 weeks, but we finally wrapped up celebrating Nate’s birthday last night.  We had a joint celebration for Nate and Dave who have birthdays just days apart.  I took the easy route and did Papa Murphy’s pizza and a DQ cake, but it all all yummy and so much less stressful  than trying to cook and enjoy having everyone over.

{the birthday boys}

{has anyone seen jilly?  she’s gone missing.}

{i love this girl!  red eyes and all!}

{best eater award goes to this guy}



Lego Party Time!!!


We were able to have Nate’s rescheduled birthday party last Thursday, and it went amazingly well.  We decided after having a friend party for the first time last year, that smaller is better.  Last year’s party was fun and fine, but it was a LOT of kids.  This year we went with inviting 3 friends, and it was perfect.

I just want to start out by saying that Pinterest is an amazing resource.  Most all of what I planned for Nate’s Lego birthday party was something I found via Pinterest or was sparked by an idea I found there.  Love that place!

One of our games was a Lego memory game.  I used foam board.  As difficult as this stuff is to cut, I definitely am hanging onto all those circles in case Nate ever requests another Lego themed party.  On the back side of each circle I simple drew a 4 or 8 dotted Lego brick in a variety of colors.  If I had hunted down Lego stickers, that would have saved some time, but I was going for simple.

I knew Brad would think I was nuts, but I talked him into helping me bring the train table up from the basement where the kids normally play with it.  It turned out to be a perfect home base for all of our activities.  For this game, each kid had a cup of random Lego pieces.  The goal is to use up all the Lego pieces in your cup first.  You get to roll the dice and put that many pieces on the shared board with each turn.  This game went really well.  They all loved having their turn to add to the building.  In the end they decided it was a jail.

For our Lego man hunt, I had 14 blue Lego men.  I put a square on 7 of them and a triangle on the other 7.  The kids were divided into 2 teams and the Lego men were hidden around our main floor.  Most of them were hidden in such a way that it was hard to tell if it was a square or triangle man.  If you found one that turned out to be the wrong shape you had to quietly put it back so the other team didn’t know.  In the end there was one of each that they had trouble finding and needed hints for.

I picked up a small Lego set (found in check out lanes at Target) for each kid.  They each got to open and build their car so that we could have races with them.  This was one point where I was glad for the number of kids being small.  Nate LOVES Lego building and rarely asks for help even on the larger sets.  Not every kid must spend all their free time playing with Lego sets though because Brad and I ended up helping out with the building of a couple of the cars.  I also found a Lego Friends set that was a purple and white little car that Jilly and I had built earlier in the day so she could participate in the races.  We did an official race, using the green board from the train table, but they were way more interested in their unofficial races.  (We differentiated their identical cars with a small Lego piece of different colors so we would know which car belonged to which kid.)

While they ate pizza, I taped all but one of the green circles from our Lego memory game to the large foam board.  I had also cut out 5 additional circles and labeled them 1-5.  We played a Lego version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey trying to get their circle to land where the missing peg was.

And, yes, my need to make sure everything was planned out, had a written out plan of how we would do things.

Nate was super excited about his Lego shaped candles I happened to run across at Target.

And just because she’s cute:

In the end, each boy got to take home a Lego man shirt like I had made for Nate and Jilly (Jilly’s didn’t make it in any of the pictures, but is purple with a yellow Lego person that has a bow on it’s head – she loves it!) and the car they had built.

I had a ton of fun with this party, from the planning to the hosting of it, it was a lot of fun.  We’ll see if he wants another one at some point . . .

put us down in pencil


Although I know kids can change your plans quickly and often at the last minute, I’m still a planner.  It’s just the way I’m wired.  I like to put things on the calendar well in advance.  It’s not that we’re so busy we must plan 3 weeks in advance (although the bigger or kids get the quicker the days do fill up), but there is a certain peace I have in knowing things are planned.

We planned Nate’s party for Friday the 20th.  His birthday was on the 11th, but the Friday before and the Friday after wouldn’t work for various reasons.

So, when he came home Wednesday not acting like himself I let the kids just turn on the tv and veg.  It was a much more peaceful option than letting them play and listening to a very crabby Nate get upset over every little misstep of Jilly and Laurel.  As we headed up for bedtime, I noticed Nate’s forehead was burning up.  Brad mentioned that he thought it felt hot when he had gotten home from work.  I’m assuming crabby Nate was probably running fever since before I picked him up from school.

Thursday, fever won’t go away.  Must make a decision about the birthday party.  Party canceled, well technically rescheduled.  Friday, woke up with no fever.  Yay!  Oh, no, it’s back.  Must have just still had some ibuprofen in his system.  Glad party is postponed.  Saturday, fever still hanging around.  Trip to doctor.  Fever should ended Sunday.  Sunday, very slight fever.  Glimmer of hope!  Oh, what’s that Jilly?  You say you have a headache.  Yup, and a gradually increasing fever to go along with it.  Joy.

So, today was suppose to be a day of celebrating Nate and Brad’s dad’s birthdays, but no go.  We’ll have to pass on that one too.  At this point, I’m just hoping that this is all out of our house by this coming Thursday when we have Nate’s party rescheduled for.

We’ll see.  Never can tell for sure with kids.

At least it’s nice enough to still get outside some.

And, flowers are blooming which always makes this girl just that much happier.