Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rule #148: Moo had a birthday, shout Hooray!

Do you know what happened last month? Graham turned two! Seriously. I'm not making it up. I have a hard time believing it too. I look back on when Evan turned two and I was pregnant. Due in three months pregnant. This time it's different, some from my control and some not. (but that's another post entirely)

Regardless, I have a bonafide two year old reeking havoc in my household. And he's tons of fun :)

We decided to have a Farm Party because the love of all things animal has become very apparent. We really lucked out with the weather. We wanted to have the party inside, remembering that the last birthday party was a bit cramped inside our house. (we have that many people that love our kids!) Graham's actual birthday landed in the middle of the week, so we opted to celebrate on a Sat. And just hoped and prayed that we wouldn't have an October with snow this year :) The morning of the party was a bit chill, but then the sun came out and it was perfect!

I love my husband. Here's one of the reasons why. A week before the party I decided that I wanted carnival animal posters. Alex said yes and whipped them out like it was nothing. They turned out great! He is really quite talented. What he does for the parties really makes them great. All of the angry bird slingshot/ball/boxes, and now these awesome posters. Thank you for indulging my every whim! :) I had briefly thought about buying hay bales to go in front of the poster. But....I'm cheap. And hay bales are WAY too expensive for someone who doesn't live near a farm. We opted for leaves instead, just to hide the feet of the party goers, and add a little color. Leaves are free = works for me!
Birthday Boy and Brother
Best Buddies
Cute Grandpa Guy
Love this!
Em pulled the best faces
Evans Family
Miller girls
Grandma Susan
I found some cute farm animal tattoos for the kids (or for Ryan who is a kid at heart) and also stickers to create a farm scene. I didn't really take any great pictures of either, shame on me. You can just trust me, I thought they were cute. :)

For the food I wanted to go rather simple, more snack and less meal since the party started at 10 am. Earlier that week Emilie took me up to Pick Your Plums' warehouse...which is awesome! I was going for some washi tape (supplied by Downtown Tape) and ended coming home with great details for the party. The cups for the chicken feed, the orange straws, the cupcake liners, two metal baskets, and the metal cylinders. I had bought yellow treat bags that I was going to put popcorn in (pig feed) but my popcorn maker died the morning of the party. Nuts! The basket for the popcorn was going to be super cute too! I'll just have to find a way to use them for the next party. Thanks again Em, it really added to the event!
I forgot to take a picture of the drinks, but we had "well water" and "moo juice"

I know my limits when it comes to decorating cupcakes. I was fairly certain I would struggle making animal faces. So I didn't. Enter cupcake toppers for the win! I frosted the cupcakes to look like grass, and called it a day. I think they turned out pretty cute.

Grandpa Doug is a favorite among the kids, whether they are his grand kids or not. He's great at coming up with new ways to entertain. First they started jumping off the tramp into a pile of leaves. Then they piled the leaves ONTO the tramp and started jumping. A great time was had by all!

As usual my son was spoiled by love and...spoils :) Thank you to all who came to witness my little one grow up.

Happy Birthday Grahamalish!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rule #147: Billiards trump toys

Not all of our fun happened at parks in San Diego. A lot of it did, yes, but there were highlights all through out the trip.

After we had landed and gotten into our rental cars, we drove to have lunch with Aunt Doreen. (Doug's aunt) We went to eat at a soup/sandwich/salad place. It was really good. Outside the complex there was a water fountain. Graham is drawn to all things water, so we ended up playing there for a while.

I should have taken pictures of the boys swimming. We did lots of that also. There were 5 different pools at the resort. Two with splash pads (which my boys again avoided) and two with water slides. The newest pool was the best. It had a gradual incline so that the little kids could play in the water that was only 4 inches deep. They loved the "hot pool" and spent their time walking around the seat edge.

One night we went to their club house to give the boys a different view.  There we found a couple of pool tables, air hockey and Foosball. We ended up "playing" pool. Which amounted to rolling the balls by hand down the table, knocking them into other balls. I wish the video we had taken of this had turned out, because I have never seen Graham so excited before. Not even for the animals :) He was so excited, he couldn't even smile. He just had this serious face, widest eyes I've ever seen, and jumped around non stop.
The pictures make me laugh. You can tell that he never stopped moving. :) Who knew pool could be that much fun?

We only ventured to eat out with the boys one night. It was a lot of work! It was much more enjoyable to eat in the condo where the kids could be kids.

It was an adventure picking a restaurant. We wanted to go to old town, looked up good reviews and drove to our destination. Which was a hole in the wall. Slightly scary neighborhood of Old Town. Susan refused to get out of the car :) Not that we blame her. So we walked down the main street of Old Town and picked a mexican restaurant. The food was yummy, even if the event itself was hectic because of the kids.

While in Old Town we discovered that Susan was running for congress! She sure kept it a secret from the rest of us! :)
We had a wonderful time with family and are so grateful for their generosity to help make memories like this possible. My children adore Doug and Susan. Just being with them for a straight week was exciting enough! Add on animals and swimming' and rides, well....who can ask for more?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rule #146: Don't stare down the barrel of a....fountain

Sea World was our first full day. We had hoped that Graham would take a nap in the stroller. That didn't even come close to happening, so we just powered through the day and he did great. He was a little grumpy by the late afternoon, but he handled it really well.

We had a great time at Sea World. We saw all the shows and the kids loved them! Graham loved the pet show the best. I have never heard him shout so much in such a short period of time. "Dog!" "Cat!" "Pig!" It was a cute show. Evan's favorite show was the dolphin show. (It was Susan's favorite show as well) When we first sat down he was feeling anxious and asking to leave. I was worried that he wasn't going to enjoy the show. Once it started and the first dolphin jumped out of the water, he was hooked.

I won't lie, I teared up a little. I'm an emotional girl, what can I say? I was just so happy to see him enjoying something that most little kids enjoy. I wish I had taken a picture of Evan's face during the show, bummer. Trust me, it was priceless.

There was a tide pool that Doug and Susan took the boys to while Alex, Jeff and I rode the roller coaster, The Manta. Zero line. It was awesome. It was a fun ride and we might have done it again except that Alex is an old man these days and needed a few minutes to recover ;)

I don't think Evan touched anything, but here is proof that Graham at least touched the water.

The have an area of the park just for kids. It's Sesame Street themed, which I don't quite understand how that ties to the sea, but it was cute. They had a big obstacle course the ran over the heads of the crowd. A little pit with soft cubes to stack for the littlest ones. There was a large splash pad, which my children avoided like the plague. Emilie can attest to it, my kids don't like splash pads. Crazy.

Luckily there was a mini splash pad which they loved! It was just five little fountains, all of them very shallow. Graham and Evan played there for a long time. One of the fountains came up higher than the others, he could never seem to remember which one it was. Not once but TWICE Graham had leaned over to look down the fountain, waiting for it to turn back on....and totally got it in the face both times! Hysterical.

Elmo and a few other Sesame Street characters were there. After some time, and going up a second time we got this great picture! Cute stuff.

The highlight for me at Sea World? Elmo's Flying Fish.

I had asked Evan, as an aside, if he wanted to ride Elmo's Flying Fish. (One of the handful of kiddie rides they had) Adults could ride with the kids so I knew there was at least a chance of him going, and maybe even liking it. To my surprise he said yes! With a smile! So we raced off the the ride....and it was closed for repairs. :( Seriously? Evan was so disappointed. They hoped it would be up and running before the park closed. So we watched the Shamu show then raced back to Elmo's Flying Fish. Hooray! They had it working again!

Evan did have a hard time waiting in line. He was a little anxious just standing there, but once we got on and he was able to pick the white fish he had wanted (lucky us) he was all grins. He even rode it a second time. :) Again, luckily, he was able to pick the same white fish. I'm not sure how things would have gone if he had to pick a different fish. We didn't have to cross that bridge so I'm not going to think about it. He loved it and that's all that matters to me!
Take a close look at this picture. Same facial expression, same posturing. Like father, like son :)

Evan had a great time feeding the pigeons at lunch. I don't think our neighbors appreciated the added guests, but again, he had a great time. :)
While Alex, Jeff and I went to look at an aquarium, the boys stayed in the Sesame Street Playground with Grandma and Grandpa. Fun was had by all. 

Sea World was so exciting for me because it gives me hope for Disneyland. (I'm crazy, I know). I've never been sure how Evan would do with the crowds or the rides. Neither have really been up his alley. But as he gets older and we have been able to understand what makes him tick, it seems possible to be able to take him soonish. Disneyland is a big deal to me. It was a large part of my childhood and I have magical memories created by my father there. I want to pass those magical memories on. I wasn't sure how long I would have to wait for Evan to be ready, and I think he'll be ready sooner than I thought! *big smiles