Monday, September 24, 2012

Firefighter Birthday

For months, Miles told me he wanted a firefighter/fire truck themed birthday party.  I got busy on Pinterest, and pinned away.  I think some of my ideas were from last year when I wanted to throw a firefighter themed party, and he switched it up on me a month before, wanting a Batman theme. 
About a month before, I created a grand plan, made a large Amazon purchase, went to Hobby Lobby and Joann's and got to work.
First, I made a guest list and made the invites:

I printed, cut, stamped, and colored all the invites.

 I spent many hours making decorations and planning.  Here's how everything turned out.  I pretty much crafted everything by hand.
The wreath is new for fall.  A "bubble" wreath made with burlap.  I designed, printed, and decorated the sign.
Here's the overall look of the room.  I even drew and colored the fireman hanging on the wall for "pin the badge on the fireman".

I blew up all the balloons and strung them from the ceiling fan.  Both kids LOVED the balloons.  It will definitely be a repeat for Isla's birthday next month!  The food was red and yellow themed...Goldfish, Twizzler "fire ropes", and strawberry and pineapple kabobs.
I printed and cut the birthday banner.  It is hanging on our chalkboard that I covered in brick print cloth.
I strung the banner using these adorable little red clothes pins, and hand painted the firehouse sign.  I plan to paint the back side with "Be Thankful" or something along those lines, for fall.

The mason jar "cups" are made with the metal disc removed from the jar and replaced with red and yellow cupcake papers and red and white paper straws punched through them.

The fire hydrant is a pinata made from an oatmeal canister.  The rounded top was made using paper mache over an aluminum foil covered bowl.  The foil also created the round ridge around the top.  The three "arms", for lack of a better word, were made out of a Krispy Kreme box.  All covered in paper mache, newspaper, then red tissue paper.

I also sewed, stamped, colored, and assembled all the favor bags.  I love how they turned out!

Last, but not least, I also "served" firetruck shaped "jammed" sandwiches, a Miles favorite.
I also made the cake!  It was a fire truck (obviously).  It was chocolate with butter cream frosting, covered in homemade fondant.  The fondant was made using a pinterest inspired recipe with marshmallows and powder sugar!  Super easy and yummy.  No one actually tasted the cake though...Miles didn't want to cut it :).
I love how it all turned out!  Despite the fact that his kids party on Saturday (the day before) was cancelled due to five of the six children planning to come were ill, he still said it was the best birthday ever! 
I'll follow up with the rest of the party and the annual trip to the county fair in the next post...too many pictures!



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

This summer wasn't quite as full of weekends at the lake as I had hoped.  I guess life just got in the  We did make it up for a nice three day weekend Labor Day weekend.  I ended up having Friday night off work, so we went up Saturday morning and I was well rested for once!  Usually we head up to the lake right after I get off work, which means sleeping for several hours once we get there.  We had a few logisitcal issues this time as Isla has learned how to open doors.  We had to buy some knob covers to keep her in her bedroom at night so that a) she would fall asleep, and b) she wouldn't get up while everyone else was sleeping and fall throught the railing of the loft or town the stairs, to her certain death (or at the very least, serious injury)!  On Saturday, Tom took us all out on a boat ride.  It was fun!  Isla thought it was simply amazing:
Hair blowing in the wind...what could be better!?!

Miles fought off bad guys with his water gun, and tried to "fish".

After our boat ride and a nice dinner, the kids took a bubble bath.  Some regular baby shampoo + jetted tup = amazing bubbles!

Here are just a few pictures of sweet Isla.  She is getting so big :( !

I forgot my camera, so these pictures are all thanks to Grandma Sara...thank you! 
On Sunday, we headed over to Sandpoint (where we hit Walmart to get knob covers).  We had some lunch at a Mexican restaurant where Isla loved dipping her chips in the mild salsa and eating the salsa off.  The girl loves some salsa...who knew!  Eventually, she'd eat the chip and get a new one.  After lunch, we grabbed some coffee and hit the beach.  Being the unprepared mommy, I hadn't thought it would be warm enough to swim and didn't bring suits or life vests for the kids.  I should have known it would be warm enough for them!  Miles went in the water in his shorts, sans shirt, and we stripped Isla to her diaper.  I slathered them both in sunscreen and they had a blast!
We hit the road back to Spokane after breakfast on Monday.  Monday afternoon, we went over to a friend's house for a pig roast...the kind where the roast an entire big on skewers in a whole in the ground...Ben was in heaven.  It was the perfect Labor Day weekend!


As a result of the family reunion, we went spent a day at Silverwood.  Grandma Sara's sister's husband (Bob) had won four free passes during a Mariner's game a few weeks before.  He knew he wouldn't be headed over to the East side, so he gave them to us.  We decided to take the kids and Grandma Sara with us (Isla was free).  It was a nice, sunny, warm day.  Miles was tall enough to ride almost all the rides, but didn't want to go on any roller coasters.
We stopped at this "volcano", which was really a bubbling fountain.  Miles is really into volcanoes right now.

Our first ride was the log ride.  Miles was very excited about the little boats.  He didn't see the big hill before getting on it, so he wasn't scared.  I was afraid if he knew about the hill, he wouldn't want to go, but he really enjoyed it!

Then he rode a helicopter. 
Isla rode a few rides, but mostly rode on Daddy's shoulders.  She's liking the stroller less and less. 
Miles and I rode the Tilt-a-Whirl.  Whew, does that thing spin you around!  Miles and I laughed consistently the whole time.  I had to hold my hand behind Miles' head because it hit the back right where the metal and the cushion meet, making it uncomfortable when he was forced against the seat.

Isla rode the elephants with me.  Miles also rode, but in a different elephant.  Ben was the photographer.  He managed to take a video and several pictures that weren't of any of us...

I think Isla and I are in the teal elephant, behind the yellow one (where Miles was).  You can kind of see Isla's head below the ear and mine above.

I think that is Miles' head you see in this yellow elephant :).
After the elephants, Miles and Ben got in line to ride the antique cars, a favorite of mine as a kid! 

While Ben and Miles waited in line and rode the car, Isla played a pick the duck game, winning a little rubber ducky and we stopped into a gift shop where Isla tried on some goofy hats!

There was also a bunch of purple unicorn stuffed animals on a shelf down low (you can see the foot of one behind her to the left).  She saw them and proceeded to pick up, hug, and put back each of them!

Like I said, Isla is liking the confinement of the stroller less and less.  She likes to walk everywhere.  At this age, it's a bit frustrating as she is easily distracted!  She is also easy to lose in a crowd.

After a these rides, Ben and Sara rode the umbrellas (like a ferris wheel type thing).  I took Miles to ride a plane.  He got on and asked, "Where does Uncle Danny live?"  I told him, North Dakota.  He replied, "Right.  I'm going to fly to North Dakota to visit Uncle Danny".  :)

Isla desperately wanted to take part and kept trying to climb under the fence.  This ride has both a height restriction and limit.  You had to be between 42 and 50 some odd inches tall to ride.  Neither Isla nor I qualified, so she couldn't ride.
She could ride the little train "roller coaster", though, which she loved!

Miles rode in the front with this other boy whom he roped into riding with him :).  He makes "best friends" everywhere he goes!  He wanted to be the conductor.
After this train ride, Sara took the kids to the big train that goes through the forest, while Ben and I went on the big coasters!

The roller coasters include Timber Terror, Tremors, and their newest, Aftershock.

Aftershock is inverted.  It takes you up the right side of this, drops you free falling, then goes around a couple loops a twist and up the other side.  When going up the left, you are laying on your back and feel like you're going to slide out head first and can't see where you are.  Then you're dropped back down, through the loops and corkscrews, back up the right, then slowly lowered back to the beginning.  When going up the right, you're looking straight at the ground.  We rode in the middle, which meant we were looking at the ground for a while.  It kind of stops there before it lets you go...what a drop!  I didn't really like sitting at the top of either side, but the rest was fun.  We rode twice.  My legs were shaking each time when I got off!
After we met back up with the kids and Sara, we went back to the train coaster, where Miles rode in the back and was the "bandit" like on the big train (it is "robbed" in the woods and the cowboy takes out the bandit).  Actually, I can't remember if he was pretending to be the cowboy or the bandit...
Then he rode a little kiddie ferris wheel with another "best friend" :).

We stopped at the candy store then hit the road.  Isla fell asleep between the candy store and the parking lot...  She then slept till Coeur d'alene, where we had dinner at Tomato Street.  Miles was overtired and misbehaving, so we ended up taking him to the car for a time out, then Ben ended up sitting with him in the car while Sara, Isla, and I finished our dinners...bummer.
Overall, it was a very fun day!  I would love to go back with just Ben, so we can ride more coasters, but it was fun experiencing it with the kids as they loved the rides.  It was so nice having Grandma Sara along for the ride to help with the way would I go without a third adult :).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Livingston Family Reunion 2012

In the middle of August, we headed across the state to the peninsula for Grandma Sara's family reunion.  Grandpa Tom couldn't go and I happened to be off for the weekend, so we volunteered to go.  She volunteered to drive and host us for the weekend...who could turn that down.  We hadn't been since we graduated high school 10 years ago (and we missed our 10year HS reunion to go!).
We left around 9:30 am on Friday and arrived in Sequim around 7:30pm...yes, we were travelling for 10hrs!  The kids did remarkably well in the car (I thought).  We rode in Grandpa Tom's Rebeast (I think that's what they call it), aka a Toyota Sequoia.  The thing is huge and I sat comfortably in the back with both kiddos in car seats.  It was nice to hang back and not drive for once!  I was hoping the kids would sleep some on the way over, but they did not.  Isla napped for about 20min between the summit, where we had ice cream, and North Bend, where we got gas and checked out a few stores at the outlet malls.  The big hang up: a.  we left North Bend at 4:30ish...rush hour, b.  there was a multi car pile-up right after the highway interchange to I-5.  It took us over 2hrs to drive the 30miles from North Bend to Tacoma!  By then we had to stop at Gig Harbor for dinner, then arrived at our hotel in time for bed.  Actually, the kids and Ben went for a swim, while I literally ran around the hotel parking lot a dozen times to get a couple miles in!
 After swimming, we turned in for the night.  We got up around 8, got ready, had breakfast at the hotel, then headed to Port Hadlock to Stephanie's (Sara's niece) house.  The house itself is small, but the yard is HUGE and beautiful!  The kids had a blast running around outside.  There were several pre-teen and teenage girls who loved playing with Ilsa.  It was nice to have several pairs of eyes on her.  Everyone was quite impressed with her ability to climb stairs, up and down, and just her overall ability to get around!  Everyone also loved her piggy tails and painted toes :). 
There were quite a few people there.  A few I knew, and many I had never met.  I started getting confused after a while with all the "I'm so-and-sos granddaughters cousin", especially since I didn't always know who so-and-so was!  Ben's cousins Wendy (whom I knew) and Elyse were also there.  Ben hadn't seen Elyse in many years and was happy to reconnect.  I think she's the cousin that's closest in age to her.  Ben and Elyse's husband (Rob?) got along well and spent quite a bit of time chatting.
The weather was ok while we were there.  The forecast had said it would be in the 70s, but it was actually pretty overcast and in the 60s (maybe), which was downright cool to us who were used to 90+ for over a month straight.  I was glad I packed a sweatshirt for Miles, a sweater and jeans for Isla, and a fleece for me.  Ben, who's mommy didn't pack for him, was stuck with his shorts and t-shirt :).
Here's a few pictures from the day:

On Sunday, we turned around and headed back to Spokane.  This time, we went through Kingston and took a ferry to Edmonds.  It was so fun!  I've been dying to take the kids on a ferry ride!

It was very windy on deck! 
I had no idea that ferries were so well equipped with fire fighting equipment.  We had to stop for every fire extinguisher, every fire hose, and every fire axe that we, I mean Miles, saw. 

After the ferry ride, we went south on I-5 to the 405, through Bellvue to Issaquah.  We stopped at Issaquah for lunch at Panera (we don't have any in Spokane!) and hit up Target for a few things.  Then we hit the road and stopped at Indian John Hill for a bit of a break and to use the bathroom.  The kids had a blast running around. 

They both napped for a bit after the rest stop.  We stopped one more time, in Moses Lake for some ice cream and to go potty.  We made it home by 7pm.  I think we left around 10ish?  It was a good 8-9hr travel day.
Though we spent the majority of the time travelling, we had a great time at the reunion.  I don't know if it will be feasible to go back again next year, but hopefully it won't be another 10years till we go!