Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Hoopla

With Christmas time approaching, I am absolutely in love with all of the events going on right now.  Communities coming together to put on fun events for families, that children of all ages can enjoy.

Carl and I have been scouring the net, and choosing different events that we would like to spend our time at during this wonderful time of year.  We have both decided that we can't possibly make it to every event, so we both chose a select few that we really wanted to enjoy.  I don't want our month to be jam packed of going from one place- to the next, without being able to fully enjoy the event.  But I do want to show my child what this great season is all about.  All the while reminding and teaching him the real reason of the season.

One event that we both thought would be fun is Holiday Hoopla in Cedar Falls.  It took place on Black Friday, and we had nothing planned for the evening.  I have heard it is a lot of fun, and I have talked to a few people who say it is really neat.  We have never gone before, so I made sure we made it happen this year.

Despite the freezing cold weather, we braced the outdoors, and went.  And by freezing cold, I mean just that.  It was windy, and 20 degrees-if not colder, and the kids' noses were running uncontrollably, and everyone was shivering--but all that didn't matter.  We had so much fun!

When we got to Cedar Falls that evening, we couldn't just walk by Scratch cupcakery without stopping to treat ourselves on this special evening with the best 'round.  So we enjoyed a cupcake in the warmth....for a long while.  We stayed inside, and enjoyed watching the crowds of people through the window.  We eventually ventured out to the street, and listened and enjoyed everything that people came out for.  Chipmunks singing on stage, Santa's workshop, pretty lights, wondering and waiting to see how Santa will arrive this year, fireworks, and many bodies to surround ourselves with in hopes to keep warm.

Carson was in awe.  The look on his face speaks many of things.  You can tell by his body gestures, and facial expressions if he is having fun.  He was content to just observe everything around him.  He loved the chipmunks singing, waved at Santa as he rode by, and was in complete amazement with the fireworks.

Santa came this year riding in his sleigh.  It was so much fun to see all of the childrens' faces light up in pure excitement, as the anticipation was almost getting the best of them to see just how the jolly man in his red suit would arrive this year.

After Santa rode on by, everyone followed him down Main Street, the tree was lit, and the evening ended with fireworks.  All of which Carson was enjoying immensely.  He loved the "pretty tree" after it was lit, and continuously said "oohhhh" and "ahhhh" as the fireworks went off.

Carson did not takes his eyes off the sky for one second as the fireworks were going off.  It was neat to see him so focused, and not scared one bit as the loud fireworks were bursting in the sky.

Carl and I can't stop laughing at this picture.  I was trying to snap a picture of all of the people that braved the cold weather to enjoy such an amazing event.  And this is what I got.  It reminds us so much of the movie "Elf."  That movie is one of our favorites.....all year 'round, actually.  It is Carson's personal favorite, so we watch it during all months of the year.  We laugh, because doesn't it look like Buddy the Elf is lost in New York city---just like in the movie?!  Oh man, we can't stop laughing.  We are easily amused and entertained, don't judge :)  Haha.

As parents, we get the opportunity to introduce our children to events like this.  We get to experience the event ourselves, first hand.  But we also get to experience it through their eyes.  Seeing Holiday Hoopla unfold through Carson's eyes was truly amazing.  His eyes twinkled, and his smile said it all.

Carl and I were both a little nervous about how the night would go.  Carson decided that he didn't need a nap on Friday, and he fell asleep on the way to Cedar Falls.  And by fall asleep, I mean--a dead sleep. I was shaking him to wake up, and even after that, it took him a while to fully realize what was going on.  But it didn't seem to bother him one bit.  Aside from a pit stop to Toad's bathroom right before we were getting ready to leave, the night played out wonderfully.  Better than I could have even imagined, actually.  And I am here to tell you that a bar/pub restroom is not my first choice to bring my son to go to the bathroom-- as I am on the floor, trying my best to shed his layers as he is holding himself from having to go so bad.  But hey, it was the closest restroom that I could find that was still open, and we got it done- without any accidents.  That in itself has proven to be a successful night these days!  

I am so glad that we decided to go.  We were debating, a lot, due to the weather, but we took the plunge.  And I am so thankful we did.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

One of my most favorite things to do each year is decorate for Christmas.  In past years, we have always done this the day after Thanksgiving.  It makes perfect sense, really.  Thanksgiving is behind us, therefore the Fall decorations get packed away, and out come the Christmas totes.  Carl and I both have the Friday after Thanksgiving off work, and we usually don't have much planned, so it's a perfect day to spend decorating our house for Christmas.

But this year we broke tradition.  Carl is head over heels for Christmas decorations.  He has been begging me to put up our Christmas tree since November 1.  I have declined his request, and told him we will wait until after Thanksgiving.  He then asked for me to decorate as his "birthday present" on November 10.  I also declined, as that was a busy weekend for us.  I finally caved in to his begging (nagging? Yes, I will call it that.  Ha!) last weekend.  The weekend before Thanksgiving.

The strange thing about this year's decorating early was; I was ready!  I was ready to pack my Fall decorations away, and for a change of scenery in our house.  Fall is my favorite Season of the year, so it only makes sense that my Fall decorations are my favorite.  But as I was digging through my Christmas totes, and now that our halls are decked---I feel like my Christmas decorations are giving my favorite Season's a run for their money.

Carson is to the age this year that he was interested in helping me decorate.  It was so much fun for me to have a little helper.  Then there is little W.  Ohhhh, our dearest Weston.  He has trouble written all over him---seriously.  Our tree was not up for a total of 5 minutes, and our little busy body was tugging on a branch already!  Carson showed absolute no interest in the Christmas tree---at any age....but Weston, on the other hand, is proving himself to be completely different.

I really enjoy the looks of a beautiful big and full tree.  Our big tree doesn't have any of the kids' ornaments on it---yet.  They both get an ornament each year, but with only 3-5 ornaments, I don't feel as if our tree can be filled with just those ornaments. So this year, they both got designated a tree to themselves.  Carson was absolutely thrilled with this idea.  The tree is just his size, and his ornaments fill it up perfectly.  He was so ecstatic to have his hand at the decorating himself.  No assistance from Dad or Mom.

Carl and I had to smile with the look of his final product.  He put all of his ornaments on the same exact branch.  I admit, I did do a little encouraging to spread them out a bit, but he had different thoughts.  And I am okay with that.  That is what makes this tree so perfect in it's own way.  Carson did it all by himself, and it is a product of his own thinking and doing.  He also helped with Weston's tree.  Since Weston doesn't have any ornaments yet, his tree would look awfully bare, so Carson decided to add some bows to it.  They made for a perfect addition.

I love how cozy and warm our living room feels now that it is filled with the sparkling Christmas lights.  Carson is constantly saying "oohhh, pretty tree Mom!" and that makes me so happy.  I couldn't agree more with his precious little soul.

I am going to have to thank my husband for the push to deck our halls a little earlier than normal this year.  I sometimes forget what a great feeling it is to have a change of scenery in our home.  And with the Holidays brings great joy to everyone.

Christmas decorating is in the books for the year, but we have a lot of fun to be had yet!  I am looking forward to the many fun activities and events we have planned for this wonderful time of year.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our First Thanksgiving Celebration

It's that wonderful time of the year.  My favorite time of the year, actually.  The Holidays.

I love everything that comes with holidays.  The hustle and bustle, good cheer, smiles, and many, many things to be thankful for.

Last weekend we went to my Grandpa and Grandma Sents' house for our first Thanksgiving celebration of the year.  My G&G are one of many things that are on my list of things I thank the Lord for.  I have all of my Grandparents still alive, and I can't even begin to explain to you how lucky that makes me feel.

My Grandmother is an "old fashioned" Grandma.  Ya know, the one that enjoys cooking a homemade meal, sews, and bakes like you wouldn't believe.  I have so many fond memories spent with my Grandparents growing up.  I really need to get my paws on some pictures from back in the day.

With that being said, we all know that when we go to G&G Sents' house, we will never have a shortage of food.  There is always an abundance amount.  Pair that with a Thanksgiving feast, and it will leave you filled to the brim.

It is always such a joy to get everyone together.  My Dad's side of the family is figuratively pretty small.  We always try our best to get everyone together, and I am so thankful that we are able to do so.

The kids always have so much fun when they all get together.  Kaylee thought Carson was pretty funny.  It's so fun and cute to see them all interact with each other.

My Aunt Denise and Uncle John weren't able to make it to Carson's birthday party last month, so they brought his gift along for him to open.  He got a new favorite of his- a frog game, and a block set of puzzles.  She always gives the neatest gifts, and we are so thankful! 

Carson doesn't really have the patience to try and put all of blocks in their correct position to make the puzzle correct, but he does enjoy putting them all away, and naming off all of the colors and counting the blocks.  That works too, I guess :) 

Grandma decided it was her turn to try and play Carson's new game.  Carson laughed as she threw the pieces to stick on the frogs face.  It was so funny.  

My Sister, Nathan, and Natalie were unable to attend due to my sister getting sick.  We missed them dearly, as the family get together just wasn't the same.  

This was our first Thanksgiving celebration of the year.  It's such a wonderful reminder, as we are surrounded by loved ones, just how truly blessed we are with everything we have.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Toy Story Shindig {THIRD Birthday Partay}

With the help of my loving husband, amazing Mother, and other family members---we pulled it off.  We had a wonderful Toy Story themed birthday party celebrating three years for our Wee Lad!

This is the invitation I sent out to family and friends.  I think this ended up being one of my favorite details from the party!  They turned out so cool, and I was so happy with them.

We have so many loving family members that attend birthday parties, that we decided to host the party in our garage this year.  Our house just isn't big enough for 35+ people, and I am going to go with----most people's aren't.

With the party being in the garage this year, we had a little more planning, setting up, and executing to do.  Only one wall in our garage is "finished" and I don't like the looks of the typical garage and all the stuff that comes with it---not when it comes to hosting a party, anyway.  So, I sought out to seek help.  I always go to my Mom.  She always has a solution, and is always more than willing to help.  Combine that with her party planning skills, and it's always the best match.

I wanted the walls in the garage covered, so my Mom helped us hang black curtains from the ceiling.  I am so bummed I didn't get any pictures of our work in progress.  Nothing!  Carl says I am slacking....I came back with "I am busy!"  My Mom also has a big piece of carpet that she uses in her garage, so we borrowed that for the evening.  It was perfect.

It's amazing what those black curtains did to our garage.  It looked so finished, and it was fabulous---exactly what I had in mind.

We made Mr. Potato head, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and "Andy's Room" posters to hang from the black curtains in the garage.  I also don't have any pictures of us making these, either.  Such a bummer.  They were the perfect addition and made for great decorations!

I dressed up like the character "Jessie" and Carson was "Woody."  I tried to do some major convincing to have Carl dress up like "Buzz Lightyear" but I just couldn't do the trick. 

We focused our birthday party theme around Toy Story 3, and the party took place at "Sunnyside Daycare."  Bless my husband's heart for being such a trooper, and helping me make this big sign.  I come up with these grand ideas, and rope people in to helping me.  He was the lucky one this time, and I thought he did such a great job!

We had "Pizza Planet" pizza, meatballs, chips, and cupcakes.  We played "Pin the body parts on Mr. Potato Head" and I think all the kids and adults had a blast!

It was so much fun watching everyone try their best to make a realistic looking Mr. Potato Head.  We put his nose/mustache/mouth on the potato head, so they could feel as to where the rest of the body parts were supposed to go.  There were some funny looking heads after everyone was done!  There was also a lot of laughter being had during this game.  That is my favorite---a sure sign of a good time.  I love having games at birthday parties.  It is one of my favorite things to do.  It gets all of the kids involved, and everyone has fun either participating, or watching the game.  (Sorry for the excessive amount of pictures.  I had to get everyone in action, and then with their final product!)





Nattie and DiDi:


Papa Mike: 


Papa Brouwer:  (He claims his Potato head was "left handed." Ha)




After the game was over, we moved right on to presents.  Carson had fun opening all of his gifts.  I feel like he "gets" what this present thing is all about, but doesn't get all excited like some other kids.  I actually think he gets a little overwhelmed with the idea.  He opened his first gift, and didn't really want to keep going.  He just wanted to play with the toys that were sitting in front of him.  I did enjoy watching his face light up with every present he opened.  It's so precious to see the big smile on his face, showing his love and gratitude for the gift. I love this trait about this kind-hearted little boy.  And he was so sweet and followed the present opening with a sweet "thank you" to everyone.

After presents, we had dessert.  I made cupcakes with Toy Story toppers, and Carson had fun blowing out his "3" candle.  We all sang happy birthday to the special birthday boy, and then he blew out his candle.  There may or may not have been some spit involved with the blowing part of this activity :)

Grandma Sally was home this year to help our little Wee Lad celebrate his 3rd birthday, and that was so fun!  We really enjoyed having her attend the party, and are so thankful for her. 

I love all the little details that come with a party.  I get this from my Mom.  I blame a lot on her, but for this---I can thank her.  She passed that trait down to all of us.  My sister got all of the other fabulous traits, and didn't leave me with much organization, but we all have a love and passion for the details.  I mean, did you see Natalie's cupcake birthday party?  It was so neat!

This year's party was a huge success.  I think everyone that attended enjoyed themselves, and the birthday boy was beyond ecstatic.  He was smiling from ear to ear during the party, and was showing some sure signs of his amount of gratefulness that he was feeling.  I always enjoy family get togethers.  Whether it be holiday meals, birthday party, holiday traditions, or just for fun gatherings, they always prove to be so much fun.  Carson really enjoys playing with his cousins, and we as adults, are constantly reminded and thankful for our loving support system we call family. 


We did it.  We pulled it off.  The Toy Story birthday party was a huge success, and I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.  We are so thankful for everyone who came and helped us celebrate this precious little boy of ours!