Last weekend was so beautiful we thought we would catch up on all things outdoors. And we did just that.
We loaded the kids into the Passat and headed to Home Depot. Of all weekends to have my car still loaded down with conference boxes and unusable, I chose this weekend to do our gardening.
We managed just fine though and we were able to get all the dirt, plants, flowers and even a rototiller attachment home safe and sound.
Let the fun begin!
We had to do some weeding first to clean up the garden area and the flower beds, but before long we were making progress. The boys had fun digging in the dirt and helping haul away the weeds with their little tractors.
Ryan was a huge helper and filled all the pots with dirt for me so I could plant the flowers.
Owen? Well, he always seems to do his own thing his own way. He lost interest in helping after about the 2nd scoop of dirt into the pot.
Oh well. I still had one helper boy!
After the flowers were planted we stepped back to admire our handy work. Not too shabby huh?
Daddy had to do the rototiller in the garden so mommy’s big ol’ preggo belly wouldn’t allow for such a chore.
Daddy found the early stages of numerous little green friends from last year. Ryan did a great job helping collect them to dispose of them far, far away from the garden (aka the trash).
After we prepped the garden area, Ryan and I got busy planting.
I actually stuck him inside the garden and taught him how to make the rows and place the seeds. By this point of the day I was getting tired and sore and the baby was kicking like crazy telling me enough is enough.
Ryan didn’t seem to mind though. He enjoyed being my helper and being inside the garden; an area normally off limits to little children.
This year we planted cauliflower, broccoli, a bunch of tomato plants, cucumbers, onions and peas.
We have a few more packets of seeds that we want to plant (pumpkins, sweet corn, and carrots). I also want to pick up some red and green pepper plants for this year. Now I just need to find an area to plant these additional items.
Since I will be home all summer on maternity leave I figured I might as well have a big garden! I mean, not that I’ll be bored or anything. I will be home with a newborn, a 3 year old and a 5 year old and trying to entertain everyone while not losing my mind. Easy peasy right?!
Where was Delta through all of this you ask? Well, supervising of course!
Again, I’m catching up. Ridiculous that I haven’t already posted about Christmas, but time has just slipped by the last few months.
Christmas morning was mass chaos like I assume it was in most homes that have toddlers. They were sooooo excited for Santa to come they couldn’t control themselves. Ryan actually started crying when he realized that it was way past bedtime and we were still in Big Canoe, GA at dad-dad’s.
Ryan: “Momma!!! We need to speed home because if we’re not in our beds sleeping Santa won’t leave our presents for us! And I’ve worked so hard to be on the nice list!”
We left immediately after he made this point. Couldn’t cause stress for the 5 year old. The 3 year old didn’t quite make it to the nice list and he was ok with that. Seriously, he would tell us very matter of factly, “Momma. I’m on the naughty list. Santa won’t give me presents.”
Santa did leave presents, but also left a note stating that he knows Owen can do better and will try harder. Santa also said that mommy and daddy can take the new toys away if his behavior doesn’t change immediately.
Please excuse Delta being in the middle of the picture. She couldn’t control herself; she LOVES Christmas too!
The boys were so excited when they woke up and realized Santa did stop at our house! The train table was a huge hit (thanks Grandma at the cabin with the curly hair – aka Grandma Marge!).
I love the look on Owen’s face here despite the blurriness. He was so excited with each gift that he opened! Luckily Santa was nice enough to leave some gifts despite the temper tantrums.
Ryan was also very into the presents and Christmas this year.
He loved to hand out the gifts and read the tags to figure out who they were each for. Delta was always right there as well to double check and make sure she didn’t have more gifts.
Don’t worry! Delta made out pretty well and enjoyed opening her gifts and stocking.
When all gifts had been opened and the boys were busy playing, we were left with this.
Later in the evening we enjoyed some of our new movies and mommy’s Christmas present – a popcorn maker!
Ryan picked this out and was so proud of this gift. We have all benefited from it and love to have movie night / popcorn nights most weekends!
No, we are not still celebrating Christmas. It’s just that I realized I never uploaded our photos from our camera! And they date back as far as Christmas Eve.
We started the day making sugar cookies and decorating them. They boys had a blast and made a mess.
Then we headed to Big Canoe, GA as we do most Christmas Eve days. We attend the children’s service where the kids get to select what they want to be in the live nativity story.
Ryan chose a donkey this year; Owen chose a sheep.
The boys love to go to church at dad-dad’s on Christmas Eve. Ryan marched right up to the alter when they called all donkeys. Owen was hesitant at first, but did decide to join the fun up front.
Their favorite part this year though was when we let them hold their own candles during the singing of Silent Night.
After church we headed back to dad-dad’s and grandmom’s house for dinner, cookie decorating, and gifts.
What a great night with our cousins (as Ryan always tells us!).
Ours does. It’s an annual tradition for as long as we’ve been in the ‘hood (at least).
The last several years, I have been the main social committee director for our 300+ home neighborhood so this event falls within one of my responsibilities each year. It’s so rewarding to see the kid’s faces light up as Santa walks through the door.
Some of them swarm him.
Notice Ryan’s feet aren’t on the ground in the picture above? That’s because he couldn’t quit jumping he was so excited.
Others are a little more shy and hesitant.
The neighbors talk and enjoy each others company, while the kiddos run around and enjoy playing together.
We make this a charitable event with a Toys for Tots donation from each family. Since Ryan is typically there setting up with me for these neighborhood events, he likes to think of them as his parties. He thinks everyone is there for him. So naturally, he also thought that everyone was bringing the toys for him. We had to quickly correct that and explain who they were for. Too sweet.
I, of course had to design some water bottle labels to coordinate with our candy cane theme.
I kept the cupcakes simple with white frosting and some red sprinkles.
The decor was festive and fun!
And each child was able to take home a little reindeer mug.
How do you celebrate the season? Are you children amazed with Santa this year or are they a little shy?
Birthday’s around the holiday season are tough. Everyone is always so busy with holiday parties, shopping, decorating, family time, Santa visits, etc. It’s hard to find a perfect time to schedule a birthday party to not conflict with these celebrations.
Ryan doesn’t turn 5 until the 18th, but since that is so close to Christmas, I typically try to schedule his party earlier in the month before too much of the craziness is in full swing.
We had a blast! The kids swam and played on the slide; they splashed and chased each other in the water.
Some adults (aka daddy) went off the diving board a few times while others enjoyed just hanging in the water.
We sang a little “happy birthday to Ryan”; ate some cupcakes; rehydrated with juice; and then we hit the pool again.
What a great day for a special little 5 year old super hero!
Life has been busy + I’m exhausted = Little Blogging Time
I can’t believe it’s been a month since we went to Philly and NYC. In some ways it feels like it was longer ago than that, but in other ways, I can’t believe it’s been a month and I am yet to post any photos of our NYC adventure.
It’s actually random how we ended up there for a few days. We were in the middle of planning a last minute trip to Philly when one of my coworkers sent an email out to the company offering up a free night stay at the Ritz Carlton Battery Park that she wasn’t going to be able to use. The catch was that the gift certificate expired in less than 3 weeks. And it was only valid for one night.
Who plans a trip all the way to NYC for one night in less than a 3 week period of time?
Well, us of course.
I jumped at the opportunity and we added the extra little adventure into our Philly trip. It’s a short train ride over to the city and with two toddlers we figure one night (two days) was plenty for this time.
I have to add, that Jim and I absolutely love New York City. There is nothing about it that I don’t enjoy. I love the craziness of it. I love the food. I love the shopping. I love the sight seeing. I love just walking around with no direction and no plan.
Well, I loved all of that prior to traveling there with toddlers.
Don’t get me wrong, it was still a blast and we enjoyed every minute of it. However, with toddlers you can’t wander aimlessly because their little legs get too tired. They don’t enjoy shopping unless it involves toys. And with so much craziness and having to hand hold every second, it wasn’t so much fun for them.
They were troopers though. Amazing little troopers!
We did all the fun kid things you could do in NYC. We rode the ferris wheel at Toys R Us Times Square.
We hung out and played at a small local park near our hotel.
We climbed the rocks in Central Park.
And played at the playground.
We played on the big piano at FAO Schwarz.
We watched the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center.
The boys had picked out little Matchbox cars at Toys R Us the day prior and every chance they had they would plop down and play with them. They zoomed those cars all over NYC and were as content as could be.
We walked around down by the Statue of Liberty near our hotel and watched the water, boats and people.
And we did some of the regular site seeing including Times Square.
The new World Trade Center.
And when little feet got tired, we rode the subway. Owen was a true New Yorker and would just push his way onto the train regardless how many people were coming off. Ryan always had to sit near a map so that daddy could point out where we were and where we were heading. Ryan would count the stops and announce with each stop how many we had left until we would be at our destination.
My little New Yorkers.
It was a blast. It was absolutely exhausting, but such a blast.
The boys had a blast trick-or-treating this year. They were so into their costumes and they both knew the drill when it came to Halloween night.
We rushed home from school, ate dinner and got into costumes. We were ringing doorbells in no time!
Both boys ran as fast as they could from house to house to house to house. They had a blast!
The best part of trick-or-treating is our neighborhood. We have such a great ‘hood and everyone gets into the holidays. Some were a little scarier than others and the there were a few houses the boys refused to go to because of the scary music and scary stuff at them.
Along our route we managed to pick up numerous neighborhood kids and our group became quite large. So fun!! Our neighbors are great and the kids are all around the same age.
After our pumpkins were filled with candy we headed home to hand out candy ourselves. The boys had just as much fun doing this as they did collecting their own candy!
They would peek through the windows waiting for the kids to come and then jump up and down as they would pick the treats to give each one. Ryan would always comment on their costumes and would always prompt them to say “thank you” after he placed candy in their bags. Too bad he couldn’t always remember the “thank you’s” as he did the trick-or-treating!
If you live in or near Philadelphia or are going to be visiting at some point, a must visit attraction with kids is the Please Touch Museum.
It’s simply amazing.
And I’m not kidding.
We played in the river and created currents for the boats to race as well as splashed around and got wet!
Owen was able to drive a city bus while Grandma Ellie rode as a passenger.
She was pretty brave considering Owen ran right into daddy!
Don’t worry. Daddy wasn’t hurt! He walked away from the crash unharmed.
After all that commotion we decided to relax on the Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel.
Owen wasn’t sure about it at first, but by the end he was enjoying it. Ryan was proud to be sitting by himself without an adult near by.
There were so many other amazing attractions within the museum, including the Statue of Liberty, Flight Fantasy, Wonderland, and Centennial Exploration.
My favorite though was the City Capers area. They had a mini grocery store were the kids could shop and then proceed to the check out with their groceries.
Owen was the shopper and he bought all of his favorite items.
Ryan was the cashier. While Owen was shopping, our cashier was a little bored.
But once Owen brought his full cart over to the check out, Ryan was busy as could be!
It really was a cute setup and so much fun for the boys.
After all the shopping we continued through City Capers and headed to McDonald’s where Ryan and Owen served Mommy, Daddy and Grandma Ellie lunch.
Jim and I were simply amazed the entire day as we walked through the museum. It doesn’t compare to any children’s museum we’ve been to before. They really did this one well! The layout was great and it flowed from attraction to attraction without being over crowded; the staff were really friendly and helpful; and the exhibits were kept up so well (and clean!!).
Thanks Grandma Ellie for a great day! We are all still talking about how much we enjoyed the day.
The day finally arrived and we got to go see Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream. The boys couldn’t have been more excited!
And even though there were oodles of little princesses dressed up in their best Disney princess dresses, the boys had just as much fun and enjoyed the show just as much. Afterall, for every princess there is a prince to accompany her.
The first part of the show was all about The Princess and the Frog.
The next part was the Cinderella story. Such a great Disney classic.
And the last part was Tangled. A favorite movie in our house.
My favorite character was the horse, but we didn’t get a very good picture of him. He was so cute! Ryan even said he wished we could have a horse like that. Me too, Ryan. Me too.
This is a brand new show so watch for it when it comes to a city near you. Or if you’re in the Atlanta area you still have a few days left to catch it. It’s fabulous!
For more information and to purchase your tickets visit www.disneyonice.com.
Disclaimer: I was provided free tickets for me and my family to attend the show; however, the views and opinions expressed in this post are my own. I was in no way obligated to provide a positive review of the show.
You could plan an ice cream party for just about any occasion. It makes a perfect birthday party idea; a summer play date; a back-to-school neighborhood event; or a just-because-I-feel-like-hosting-a-party event.
This particular party was for a neighborhood back-to-school event.
We had two flavors of ice cream with a variety of toppings! There were M&Ms, skittles, gumballs, Reeses pieces, peanuts, chocolate, strawberry, caramel, butterscotch and hot fudge syrup.
There were marshmallows, cherries, bananas, whipped topping and MORE!
Everything was labeled with these cute little ice cream food card printables so everyone knew what they were adding to their creation.
And to wash it all down we had custom ice cream water bottle labels in our theme. These were a big hit with the neighbors!
If you are interested in ordering any of these DIY printables, you can visit my Etsy shop. I do custom party packages so if you have another idea for a party, I would be happy to work with you to create your theme.