Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday = Insanely Fun

It took Brian 31 years, but he finally got to be in a parade!  I, on the other hand, was in numerous parades growing up - for marching band - but have not been to watch many big ones (Sorry Nampa, though we loved your parade, it was not quite the same).  We were super stoked for the Armed Forces Day Parade in Downtown Bremerton!  Brian headed off to line up with his group and the boys and I headed out to stake out a spot.
I didn't realize we should have been there much earlier to get a really good spot, but we ended up in the perfect spot....  However, we still had an hour till the parade, so we just hung out and people watched....
 The boys got to meet Capt. America - not quite the guy in the movies... but entertaining all the same....
 They started the parade with a huge cannon blast - took us totally off guard and upset a certain 3 year old...  Who did not let his hands leave his ears the rest of the parade.....
 It was pretty crowded watching (especially since we got shoved out by a couple next to us who apparently needed their stroller to fit in even though they held the little girl - grrrrr) Breathe.  It was fine and the boys were thrilled by pretty much every entry.  Lucas got really good at spotting the flags and standing for them.  And there were a lot!
 I was flashing back to yesteryears quite a big - especially when I saw my old high school band (and uniforms) and even got to say hi to my old band teacher.  That was pretty darn cool.
 But the best, was seeing Daddy march with the Watch D.O.G.S.  They are a group of Dads Of Great Students that come and volunteer at the school.  They were marching to promote the idea (which I think is a pretty awesome one!
 The kids at school made signs for the dads to carry and boy were the boys excited to see Daddy!  It was pretty funny to hear them squealing afterward.
 Afterward, we headed into the chaos for a free hot dog lunch - how cool is that?!  Uma and Upa were off to their adventures, and we headed back to the house for naps.
The boys headed to rest up and Brian headed to the vet as Duke had broken yet another toenail.  Aargh!  I guess that's the problem of so much of our yard being concrete...
We decided at the parade, that we would try out the Destruction Derby that night.  I have many fond memories and was excited to see the boys' reactions....
 The one issue we knew we'd have was noise...  So we got some ear plugs, and some big ol' earphones to try out and see what was best.  The earphones were the easiest to keep on, though the cord was an issue....
Once the fun began, the boys were revved up.  I was not surprised to see their reaction, but Brian's was the funniest.  He was squealing and screaming just as much as the other boys.  I knew they'd love it.
 The funniest moment was when Ethan was reading the signs of sponsors - (just the names of the companies) and he saw "Geico".  He turned to me and said, in the most casual voice, "Geico.  A great place to save money."   It was so out of the blue, I lost it.  The whole night was just one laugh after another.  Such a great time for our family.
The food was relatively cheap, though you can bring your own as well.  We thought we had enough snacks, but the boys (and we) went through a bag of jerky, a bag of mixed nuts, a bag of apples, and a few other little things.  Sheesh.  So "Hangaburgers" it was.
 All in all, it was a fabulous night.  The grand finale (of the mini cars - which are not actually mini) had the highlight of the evening.  One car came speeding over to crash into two that were pushing at each other, flipped one of them, and ended up driving up on top of the flipped car.  That was amazing.
We'll be back.  Oh yes we will!  What a fabulously fun day.  We may be a bit tired today, but so glad we soaked up so much sunshine and fun before the rain comes back this week!

The week = Busy!

When last we left you, Nadia had spent the night and we were off to church and then a picnic in the gorgeous weather!  It was absolutely beautiful out and we had fun playing and eating.
 Brian had "fun" cleaning out our community garden plot...  About one fourth done....  Eek... It is really overgrown....  But, a bit at a time and it'll be ready to plant.  Not that I'm ready for that yet...  I need some organization in the the big ol' rectangle....
Tuesday night we got to go to Lucas' school for Literacy Night - all about Japan!  We had a snack, did some art projects, played word bingo, and even painted our names in the language.  We had a blast, but Lucas REFUSED to pose nicely for a picture.
Thursday AND Friday evening, we dined with some of my friends from school.  Which meant that Ethan dined with teachers from his school... which was kind of funny to see.  He was very well behaved, that's for sure.  I could tell he was super excited, except when his PE teacher rode in our car...  It's so messy, I think he was embarrassed...  Oh well, me too :).  Job number one for today!
Friday night was an annual "Flip Flop Fling" at our school and it was fabulous.  Lucas, once again, didn't really like it - especially because they raffled off prizes and not everyone won.  That pretty much ticked him off.  But, he found a sympathetic ear with one of my favorite people at school and she hung out with him until Daddy could get there.  Her kiddo is a 5th grader next year, and I'm already grieving her moving on to middle school with him.
 Ethan wanted nothing to do with his mom this time... He used to dance with me all night long, but now he just wanted to be with his friends.  I think I did get a cha-cha slide out of him, but that was about it.
 I can't imagine why he wouldn't hang out with me?  I spent the whole night dancing with many of the kids from our school (including our super cute friend Paige) and our principal.
 What kind of a kid doesn't want to hang with his mom that way?  Ha!  Just wait till he sees me at the Talent Show.  Poor kid....  He has a long road of being embarrassed by his mother ahead of him...
So that brings us to the weekend... and for the sanity of all, I think that'll be a separate post.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


It finally feels like Spring around here!  The sun is out more days than not, and we are getting to spend more time outside - making us all a little cheerier!
Ethan's arm inflamation calmed down significantly by Saturday morning (a week ago) and so we spent the day with our friends Nadia and Sonia.  We had pizza at their house and then (after a brief break for naps) headed out to see The Music Man, put on by Kitsap Children's Musical Theater (or something like that).  Have you noticed I use a lot of parentheses (it's a problem, I know).
The performance was great - and the boys loved it.  Lucas took the sweet parts very seriously and I soon realized he was trying to give me "the eyes" and get me to swoon.  Swoon, I did.
Getting pictures of these kids has become difficult as of late.  I used to have a million good ones, but now we just can't swing it....  

 The week was a good one - a busy one, but a good one!  In swimming, Lucas passed Pike and is now going to be in SUPER Pike with his brother!  That makes Ethan a bit irritated, but he'll soon zoom forward, I'm sure.  Lucas was so excited, he was telling every person he saw, "I going to be a SUPER pike!"  Most had no clue what he was talking about, but they still smiled and congratulated him.
Tball was a new experience, as Ethan can now use both arms and has to relearn some of the skills.  But he persevered (which he will tell you means he tried VERY HARD) and improved quite a bit over the two practices.  Lucas perfected the art of dandelion blowing.

 This boy is cracking me up on a daily basis.  He is sooooo sweet, but such a pain in the neck at the same time.  He continually makes me laugh out loud with his antics...  He insists on wearing short sleeves and shorts, no matter the weather (hello Kevin!).  He also has a new obsession with wearing a hat.  We forgot it one day, going to daycare, and he threw a FIT.
 Ethan has become concerned, as of late, of his public image:
"Mom, how come everyone says Lucas is cute and no one says I'm cute?"
"You're older now, you aren't cute, you're handsome."
"Oh, part of growing up?"
"Yep.  I know, it stinks.  I'm not cute anymore either.  But you're cute sometimes - I promise."
Ethan gets so annoyed with his little brother who is starting to love being the center of attention -as long as it's on his terms, that is...  I hear many a lecture from older brother to younger.
 And I think Lucas has mastered the younger-sibling-eye-roll quite well, if I do say so myself.  He's not interested in the lessons.
 The boys were so excited to celebrate Mother's Day, that they decided to celebrate early.  They kept insisting on making me breakfast (which really means Brian doing it while they micro manage) and me staying in bed as long as I wanted.  It was delicious and they were oh so cute.
 I headed off to a day of "me" stuff - haircolor, shopping, etc., and then this happened.
 "I'm stuck.  Weally stuck."
 They eventually got him out and headed to the park to meet Upa.  A perfect day for walking on the dock....
 And baseball....  looks so much like Brian here!
 And Lucas thought it was a great day for a pocketful of papers to appear.  Who knows?!

 Later that afternoon, our friend Nadia came over for a sleepover so her parents could go to prom in Seattle (to chaperone of course).  They were so excited and played soooo hard.  We took them to the Y and had them swim for a couple of hours and then play on the playground.  By the time we got home, everyone was tired, and ready for jammies and a story....

 They were in bed by 8:30, and asleep by 9.  No monkey business like last year!
And now today is full of sunshine and fun to come!  I'm a lucky lady to be a mom to these guys!  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pins Out!

The last of the procedures.....  Time for those pesky pins to come out!  We got to the hospital (just the two of us this time) and all the nurses scowled at me as I forced him to finish all his schoolwork before he could watch TV.  Apparently that was mean, but I just wanted it done before any major meds came into play.  And he still had plenty of time.  We waited and waited and assured everyone we knew what was happening....  He was a little nervous before....
 I waited in the surgery waiting room and only had one panic attack - when his number didn't come up on the screen....  They assured me it was just a glitch and would probably show up.  I went back to my seat and sobbed.  And then it came up.
His number turned pink after about 20 minutes in the operating room and I thought I'd be called down quickly.  It wasn't so quick - another 30 minutes,  but when I went down, this is what I found.  A happy boy!  He was ecstatic that his arm was, indeed, not in a cast or immobile!
 We were out of there in about an hour and on our way to A&W - traditional dining spot after his appointments.  He was so proud of himself for being brave - even when they took out the IV and he discovered that his hand had bled all over his bed in surgery!
This kid did not just want to go home and hang out.  He napped in the car on the way home and then we just kept going....  Even to the library for video games and then to tball!  
I was a little worried about him, but he seemed fine as long as he was distracted.  He did complain of itching, but I just told him that was part of it....
The next morning at school, he was really complaining and I was putting my foot down, "You will go to class and stop whining.  You are fine!  I will prove it to you!"  And then I took off the ace bandage.  And he was oh so not fine.  He had an allergic reaction to the wrap (we've always suspected a latex allergy) and his arm was all red, rashy, and blistery.  Poor kid!!!!  And this just sent me into a "Mommy Guilt" spiral...  Not a great day.  Eventually we got him on Benadryl and the swelling went down.  It's still red, but now just looks like irritated skin as opposed to a horrible mess.
And I think he's forgiven me...  until my next parenting blunder....

The Day of Six!

The night before was spent madly assembling the toadstool cake pops by Auntie Angie and myself.  I was overwhelmed with memories of my little boy and the night he came.  It seems like it cannot have been 6 years ago, but then again, so much has happened in his little life, that I can believe it.  He has learned so much, grown so much....  It's hard to imagine fitting all that life into a 6 year old, but he loves adventures and luckily, so do I!
 He woke up bright and early - so excited to open his gifts from us and from his Auntie and Uncle.  He knew what the big one was - kind of hard to disguise a bey blade stadium.  He also got some legos, a cool transformer thingy, and some more bey blades.  The boys also both got shirts to wear for the Mario party.
 While Brian, Angie, Nick and the little boys headed to Uma and Upa's to start setting up the party, Ethan and I went and ran the Kitsap Family Fun Run.  He was a little nervous - hadn't ever run that far or experienced a race.  We talked about how our goal was just to finish.  He didn't need to be concerned about beating anyone or trying to get to the front, just about finishing it.  I figured I'd have to drag him for part of it and that he'd give up at some point and I'd be the heroic person carrying him to the finish line.
 Apparently I forgot he is six now.  He left me in the dust in the first turn and never really looked back.  See, he's all grown up now and doesn't need Mom to propel him.  He can do that all on his own.
 On our way to the party, we talked about goals for this 6-year old year of his life.  He has 3.  1) Learn to read chapter books.  2)  Learn to add with hundreds.  3) Learn to swim by himself.  All reasonable and awesome.
And then it was time....  We got to the U's with about an hour and a half till party time....  The stage was already set, we just had to lay out all the pieces....  (Please see the end of the post for credits to other blogs I used for ideas - I'm not so creative that I figured all this out myself!)
 The first table held the visors, fake mustaches, and mario fruit snacks...  This was where I got to hang out to help kids get suited up.
 The chain chomp pinata turned out awesome and was a good example of teamwork for Brian and I.  I made the pinata and he painted it...  And I loved it...  The problem was that Lucas really loved it too.  Apparently it became his "best friend" which led to a rather emotional outburst later in the party....
 The folly became Princess Peach's castle - guarded by ghosts!
 We took a quick time out in setting up to visit with Nana and open gifts from her and my parents.
 The little boys loved watching Ethan open his gifts and Ethan was thrilled with it all.  He sure is a lucky kid!
 The cake turned out awesome!  We ordered a Costco cake (because you can't beat the taste+deal) with no design - just the letterning.  Then I bought some Mario figurines (which are just toys after) and used some of the candy melt stars we used in the favor bags.  Too cute!
 It was a whirlwind once people started coming.  We had hidden a bunch of gold coins in the woods behind the house and the kids got suited up in hats and mustaches and headed down to find them.  It was a good icebreaker and way to get all 20ish kids busy.
 I seriously loved putting mustaches on the kids.  Hilarious.  And so glad no one took a picture of me!
 You could just see Ethan's face light up as all his friends arrived to celebrate!
 Some people looked a little creepy in their mustaches, but what're you going to do?!
 My favorite part of big parties is how so many kids can come together from different places, have one kid in common, and get along like they all knew each other forever.  Crazy awesome!  I think we adults should study it!

 For dinner, my mom made her excellent spaghetti sauce with meatballs and breadsticks.  Since it was a LOT of people to feed, she figured out how to use crockpots to keep us all fed.  And the food was a hit for most everybody.  And looking at their faces, I was glad the rain held off and we could be outside!
 Being the teacher I am, I have a lot of fun planning games and activities for the kids.  Unfortunately my camera got smudged and the remaining pictures aren't great, but you get the idea.
I pulled the kids together and explained that Princess Peach had been kidnapped and we had a few different things we needed to do to rescue her.
 The first thing that we had to do was "Save Yoshi's Eggs!"  I took 24 raw eggs, drew green spots on them, and had the kids do an old-fashioned raw egg toss.  There were a few plastic eggs for those too scared, but the kids did great.  No one got too gross, though one kid got hit in the head by his dad :).
 Next stop was the Chain Chomp.  We didn't even think he'd hold candy - but he lasted through three hitters!  As soon as the candy went down, the kids swarmed and Lucas sobbed - overwhelmed by the crowd and sad for his "best friend" to be destroyed.
 The next stop was the big "Level" - the obstacle course......
 First stop was the Goomba forest.  We had balloon Goombas (which I don't have a picture of - boo!) that they had to stomp...  From there they had to get in a Mario Kart (the cars from his party last year) and make a lap around the garden....

Then into a Yoshi (blow up pool toy) and to the playground where you went down the slide and through the tunnel (dog training toy)....

Then it was down to the woods where Brian was hiding as Bowser...  The kids had to hit him with a water balloon while dodging his balloons firing back....
Then finally they had to encounter Nick as the ghost.  Just as in the game, if the ghost was facing them, they had to freeze and could only run if he was turned around....  He was actually kind of freaky....
 If they made it through, there was a prize at the end!  Princess Peach (Miss Elizabeth!) was handing out the cake pops to the kids.
 It was a riot to watch them and I know Ethan had a blast going through.  Brian looked a little beat up and wet, but he even had fun!  Lucas was concerned about his afterward, but he managed fine.
 Then it was time for cake and I was so impressed at how much of that cake we decimated!
 He was spoiled by all his friends and has had a great time digging through the gifts - loves each and every one!
But I think his favorite part was just having all his friends together to play.  So while 40 people may have been a bit much in theory, when it's 40 people that all love your kid - it's worth it!
The kids took home bags with a question mark block (printed from the internet) on the front, some Mario goods and plastic Easter eggs filled with jelly beans, colored to look like Yoshi's eggs.  They also included candy melt stars (like on the cake).
You know what else was cool?!  We had brought the Wii and the Mario games to have for the kids to play, but they never even asked.  They were too busy playing out the Mario scenes in real life and playing together.  That makes me happy!

What a fun day!  I know my sister in law took a bunch of photos as well, that will show what all we did better, and I'll post those here when I get them.  Thanks Angie and Nick for all your help!  And to my parents for helping with the food and using your house!  We couldn't have pulled it off without all of you!

Here are the sites I browsed for ideas (not including just doing a google images search for Mario birthday):