Wednesday, July 23

First HomeTown Parade

I must confess.

While I have lived in my HomeTown for more than 20 years, I have never attended our annual parade. 

I know.  It's a shame isn't it? 

I have however, been to many a parade in my life.  It used to one of the highlights of the year, where my parents dad took me and my sister to the big city parade at the beginning of every summer.  I loved it so very much.

As we were waiting for the parade to start this past weekend, I was talking with my dear, sweet, husband and it turns out he had never even been to a parade prior to Saturday. 

Talk about so un-Amercian!! 

I mean, I just can't even. 

Well, this last Saturday, not only did he get to "attend" a parade, but our family was actually IN the parade.  For both Peanut's preschool and this upcoming Kindergarten year, we have been blessed with the opportunity to be able to send our little Peanut to a small, Christian school.  With it being an independently run school, it comes the requirement for the parents to put in volunteer hours to help with the school's various functions and any maintenance needed throughout the year. 

One of those functions is needing volunteers to represent the school in the Hometown Parade.  How easy is that, right? 


So walk in the parade we did.  Well, I walked.  They rode the "float."  My biggest worry about being able to log on the required hours is that Hubs works such inconsistent hours and with having a little 2 year old at home, it makes figuring out those details a little more difficult.  So when this opportunity was on the list of events where "help" was needed and it involved the whole family, I penciled that our calendar right away! 

Plus, it was such a fun time for the kids--very much a win-win for us! 

 

Thursday, July 10

Another Last

Peanut completed a few swimming classes/levels last summer and this year she has been in swimming lessons since the beginning of June.  Our weather then finally warmed up enough to where we were able to start swimming at my parents just a few days before the Fourth. 

This girl.  My ever cautious girl.  She went in my parents pool for the first time this year wearing her Puddle Jumper, convinced she still needed it. 

Even though she'd been in swimming lessons for a month--in just as deep of water with no life preservation what so ever.  


It was like pulling teeth to have her take it off and I was a little concerned.  See, that is just like me.  I avoid taking risks at all costs--and while I don't want our girl to be foolish, I would like her to go outside her comfort zone.

At least every once in a while.  

Her Daddy finally convinced her to take it off, and well, there has been no looking back.  She's been loving having her arms completely unrestricted.  


Me?  I am so glad she decided to brave the water without it.  But?  It didn't even occur to me that it would be the last time she would ever wear the Puddle Jumper.  Another last has come and gone. 

Sigh. 


But of course life moves on at lightning speed and the Puddle Jumper torch has been passed to the little brother.  Each year he has to get reacquainted with the pool.  And each year, after the first two or three times in, he acclimates once again and then he is ALL about the water. 

He has his own "boy" Puddle Jumper now and he thinks he's pretty hot stuff.  Personally, he reminds me of Anne, with puffed sleeves

I still think he's the cutest little boy, but don't tell him I said that.  

 

Sunday, July 6

Happy Fourth!

Our fourth was fun filled with lots of family, friends, and food. Not necessarily in that order.

Ahem.

For reals--we had some awesome weather, even better food, and the best company. 

I learned several years ago when the Peanut was nearly three that if I wanted a special family picture to document any type of occasion, it's best to get it at the start of the event.  Everybody is rested, clean, hair all combed, etc.  Everyone is also typically in the most solid emotional state they will be in that day.  Not that we've ever had any type of temper tantrum.  No, not me us! My family has never done that.   

Sorry, I couldn't seem to find the sarcasm font.  

That said, we got family pictures first thing when we got to my parents.

It was nice enough to go swimming, and these four girls bonded (L-R: my cousin's little girl; my best friend from high school-her little girl; my other cousin's little girl; and of course, our little Peanut) rather quickly and were busy playing with each other ALL day. 

And I do mean, ALL day.

Our little guy had his own activities, including getting into absolutely everything and keeping all said adults on their toes, blowing bubbles, and even having his very first sucker.  They weren't a kiddin' when they say you are always more lax with the second one.  Peanut?  I think she was pushing three and half before I let her have a sucker.  This little boy?  Not even a week into two and he had more than one this weekend.  I know


There was also baseball with some of the kids and dads.  Peanut has been practicing on choking up on the bat correctly with lots of instruction by those who have come before her.  My friend's little boy was so sweet and patient with Peanut.  He's such a good big brother to his own little sister and it's evident in how he treats our Peanut.  So very sweet!

We also had horseshoes, yummy Sangria, and this dessert made by yours truly.  All not pictured, because either a) blogger fail or b) I was having such a good time, I didn't get pictures.  You decide

We had one small kerfuffle with the Peanut, but she bounced back in no less than two minutes.  Because you know, she might miss something. 

At the end of the day, we had a pretty awesome fireworks show (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!) and it was proven once again that boys will be boys.  Not that we ever doubted that. 

Cough, cough--dad, hubs, my uncle-cough, cough. 

Even our boy thoroughly enjoyed the festivities.  So much so that he has asked for fow woks {fireworks} each night since the 4th.  The noise did startle him a bit, so we got out Peanut's ear muffs for him.  Poor kid.  I'm thinking this a great one for the future graduation/wedding slide show?
 

I even got to play around with the camera and I actually got some pretty good fireworks shots.  Finally, three years and counting and I finally got some worth posting!  Third time's a charm, right?

Last, to close out the evening my dear sweet cousin camped out with the four girls in a tent....and captured this sweet moment of the girls before going to sleep in the tent.  



Blessings abound. 



Monday, June 30

Puppy Party: Our Boy's 2nd Birthday

A puppy party. 

I saw the idea of a it just a few months after his first birthday.  Yes, I know. 

While there are TONS of cute little boy party themes to choose from on the grand ol' world wide web, so many seemed just a little too old for him....baseball, super heroes, Legos, camping.....all of those are super sweet and fun, but none of those are things he has an interest in just yet


And he loves my parent's black lab.  So it just made sense. A puppy party it was. 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, none of these ideas were originated entirely with me.  Pinterest provides lots of inspiration y'all.  

When we have Sunday Family Dinner at my parent's, my aunts and uncle and cousin all bring their dogs each month, so this was another great reason behind doing the puppy party, because what fun is a puppy party without dogs, right?

I looked at lots of ideas on Pinterest for the invites and combined several ideas to come up with this:



I decided to stick with red and blue with the Fourth of July being just days after our little guy's birthday.  I mean why reinvent the wheel, right?  Stick with red and blue and then whatever is leftover can be used the following weekend.  Can I get an amen? 

Peanut has a friend in her preschool and his birthday is July 2.  I was talking to his mom and she said she's done some sort of red, white, and blue theme for all five of his birthdays.  This last year he wanted superheroes party and her first thought was, "Red, white and blue....superheroes....?.....we can do Captain America!"  I love how she thinks! 


This last winter I found the cutest little dog t-shirt for him on clearance at Gymboree.  I paid like $5 total for both the shirt and shorts.  It was in reds/blues/greens and I totally made it work. 

On the menu were hot dogs (what else, right?) with all the fixings and potato salad (homemade because store bought is just blech!) and a fresh fruit platter.  I also did Puppy Chow, because, of course.  And then cupcakes and homemade chocolate and vanilla bean ice cream.  The chocolate was this recipe, and the vanilla was this recipe.  They were both amazing.   

My mama gave me a Cricut cutting machine nearly six years ago and I had a cartridge that had a little puppy face cut out.  I used that for the treat {doggy} bags, the bunting banner, the cupcake toppers and even the paper circle garland.  To make all those crafts probably cost me less than $10.  My mom had bought me a lifetime supply of white paper lunch bags at our local restaurant supply store prior to Peanut's Elmo party nearly four years ago.  While I thought it extremely excessive at the time, those bags have come in handy each year since.  I had red, white, and blue card stock from my prior years as a Stampin' Up demonstrator, and I had white thread for my sewing machine for the paper garland.  Really all I had to buy was the red/white baker's twine for the bunting and the navy/white star scrapbook paper for the background for the bunting and red/white washi tape.  Because I've seen this washi tape trend all over and I finally had an excuse to try some!  Plus, the twine, scrapbook paper, and tape I got all on sale.  So it really took more time than anything!

For the treats inside the bags, I got dog bone shaped graham crackers (dipped in chocolate) and blue racquet balls.  So the kids could play fetch and get a treat.....get it???!?  Also included but not shown were "dog tags", whistles, sidewalk chalk, blue bandanas (which we forgot to pass out!), and bubbles.  Those were all purchased--that did not come from my stash!


I found straws and cupcake sugar pearls from this Etsy shop....and let me offer you a little public service announcement when using sugar pearls for cupcakes.   First off, it had nothing to do with the brand or where I got these sugar pearls from.  The Etsy shop owner was oh so great!

I was so disappointed in the cupcakes I didn't even take a close up of them.  Right: the one that held up.

But here goes.....because I am a planner and list maker extraordinaire, I knew I would be busy with decorating and last minute food prep the day of the party.  So naturally, I baked and iced the cupcakes the day before.  Because I made cream cheese frosting, I refrigerated the cupcakes.  And because that would be grody to leave cupcakes in the open refrigerator air, I put them all in covered containers.  All but one cupcake, because the last one didn't fit in said containers.  So there he sat in the open refrigerator air all night long.  Don't ask me why the cupcake was a he.  He just was.

I'm no scientist, but my theory is the condensation had no where to go but on the little sugar pearls and cause them to bleed all over.  The one in the open air?  Held up beautifully--and still is three days later.  I might have totally had a meltdown the morning of the party.  To the point of tears and considering using cleaned tweezers to take the melted sugar pearls off and replace them with new sugar pearls.  Then my mom suggested that was way too time consuming {which it was} and scraping off the icing and starting over would be much easier {which it would have been}.  But then, that just seemed INCREDIBLY wasteful with all those in the world who don't even have enough food on their plates each and every day (I'm dead serious).  It took nearly everything I had, but in the words of Elsa, I "Let It Go."  It was a very hard thing to do.  But like my sweet six year old daughter reminded me, "They'll still taste good, mommy." 

Out of the mouth of babes, right? 

Anyhow, after that little spoiled sob story, here is my PSA: if you make cupcakes ahead and use sugar pearls and feel the need to refrigerate, DON'T cover the cupcakes.  There.  I feel so much better having shared that with the masses.  


Oh, and then the weather.  What a blessing THAT was.  Ten days ago it said the day of his party was forecasted for rain.  And rain it was up to the day of the party.  Even several people who came to the party said they drove through downpours and showers all the way to my parent's house.  But my parents house?  A slight sprinkle the morning of and even slighter sprinkle that afternoon.  That was it.  It even ended up being slightly sunny for the better part of the party.  To the point of all the older kids swimming in my parent's pool!  In 68* weather no less!!!  But that's another story for another time....  All that to say: we were blessed immensely.  Praise the Lord!

So finally:  Our boy had such a fun time.  And he didn't say a word about the cupcakes.  He loved seeing his cousins and aunts and uncles and over of course, his Papa and Gamma.  He was a big fan of the fruit platter (he loved on mango for the first time!) and he generally didn't. stop. moving. for nearly six hours.  He enjoyed all there was to enjoy and then some

He had a blast at his pawty--no pun intended, as he can't quite say his R's yet. 

Next up?  He is so excited for the fow woks {fire works} because what boy doesn't like explosives? 


 

Monday, June 16

A Tisket, A Tasket

Our little Peanut (who's getting to be not so little anymore!) had her end of school year voice recital tonight. 

She did really well.  And quite honestly, I was a teensy worried, as she had a small part of the song where she seemed to get tripped up and forget her words every so often.  But in the end--our girl rocked it.  While I know I am very biased (I am her mother after all!), please know I'm not saying she's the next Carrie Underwood by ANY means.  I was just very proud of our girl. 


Oh, and a funny little story of how Peanut's solo choice came to be.   Her instructor played A Tisket, A Tasket for Peanut at her lesson in late March and Peanut didn't seem very big on it.  Truth be told, neither was I!  Which is funny because I typically LOVE anything that is 30's and 40's--I think it was that I wasn't very familiar with the song.  I mean, I had heard it, but I didn't know it really well.  Anyhow, I digress.  I asked her teacher if there was anything else she had in mind.  So she pulled out several other songs (at least three others?) and played each of those for Peanut.  Nope, she didn't like those either.  So Peanut then told her instructor, "I would rather do the first song you played."

I guess her instructor knows Peanut better than she knows herself!

And let me tell you--this song really, really grew on me these last three months.  In the end, I ended up loving it!!!  It was a very, very sweet song.  I also love it that her instructor seems to know her students and his/her abilities so well and what each of them are capable of.  I have loved every song that Peanut has done.  Her teacher just seems to pick the songs so well for the child and their age.  It's very clear she knows what she's doing!  Which is good for this no musical talent mama!!!


And yes, while I can seem to take a semi decent photo, apparently I'm as blind as a bat when it comes to taking a video.  It's TERRIBLY out of focus, but the audio is good, so there's that. 


Monday, June 9

Pool Time

My crazy kids.

We get over to my parents the other night and my dad had started getting the pool ready.  The big pool, that is.  Not the dog's pool.  He's taken the winter cover off, starting cleaning it, and starting putting water in it.  Once all that is done, then he'll have to get the pH balanced so it's all good to swim in.

Then the weather has to cooperate.  And let me tell you we've really had a GORGEOUS spring, so know that I'm not complaining.  We've definitely had some rain, but lately it seems to be all at once.  We'll get some doozies (read: torrential downpours) over the course of several days and then it clears up and it'll be dry and warm for a week at a time.



This is not typical for the Pacific Northwest.  It's actually quite a bit more common to have 76 rainy days in row.  Of course, it never rains non-stop for that long, but to have 76 days in a row where it rained at some point during each day?  Pretty common.  So this weather we've been having?

So, so nice.  

But not quite warm enough to get that ol' pool warmed up.  We need some HOT days to get it all swimable {yes, I just made that a word} if we hope to get in it prior to the 4th of July.

And while I know my little Peanut is very impatient for that pool to be ready, if our whole summer was this way?

I'd take it. 

In a heart beat.  



 

Sunday, June 8

Silly Girl!

Our little girl's sense of humor is developing more with each passing day.  She cracked. me. up. the other night when I suggested I get a picture of her and her brother with their grandma and grandpa.  She smiled sweetly for the obligatory posed pictures and then she pops out with, "Let's do a silly face picture!"  It just made me laugh, because that's not something we've really ever done in my family.

Me?  I like to have the perfect smiling picture of myself.  Probably 'cause I don't think I am very photogenic, and those good photo occurrences are so few and far between! 



She's got her daddy's sense of humor {and his confidence!} that's for sure.




 

Friday, June 6

To Mama and Dadbert

Thank you both for your love for the Lord, your dedication to your marriage and each other.  Your children and grandchildren are so blessed to have you setting a thirty-nine year example of what love and commitment look like in a society where marriages fail more often than they succeed. 

We are so grateful. 



I love you both dearly, 

 

Sunday, June 1

SFD and Driver's Ed--Part Deux

A fun little activity we've been blessed with since we've been back home is Sunday Family Dinner.  My mama is blessed with the gift of hospitality and she loves to entertain.  She does it so well too.  So for the past year and a half she hosts (hostesss'?) what we call Sunday Family Dinner or SFD.  It's always the first Sunday of each month and we all go over for some good food and even better fellowship with all my favorite peeps. 

This time of the year is the best because we get to enjoy our time outside....and today turned out to be a beautiful day!  It was a little cloudy this morning, and I was a little hesitant.  But being a native here to these parts, I should know better.  Those clouds usually burn off by after lunch. 

And so they did around 1:00 pm.

After we ate, the kids got to enjoy burning off their endless amounts of energy.   They played on their play structure and played in a tent my dad set up for them in the yard for at least an hour.  You always know it's a winner when they are entertained for that long.  The Peanut even played croquet with some of the adults. Don't know that she really gets it yet, but hey, it was fun for her, right? 

Grandma and Grandpa have blessed my littles with a battery operated kids car and the Little Brother has enjoyed riding shot gun to his favorite girl for several months now.  {That would be Peanut, in case that wasn't obvious!}   He just thinks riding shot gun is a grand ol' time.  

But today?

The gloves were off and he got to try his hand at driving.   With Peanut guiding his every move.  You think I'm kidding.....but that's what big sisters are for, right? 

By my estimation, he should be a great driver by the time he is Peanut's age.   As I look back, it looks like he's got about a 10 month lead on when she started driving.  



I guess that should be expected when you have an older sister to keep up with!


 

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