Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Max's Birthday Weekend

 Enjoying at treat at Adventureland before heading home after a full day at the water park Adventure Bay.

Such a fun weekend! We began our weekend with a living room camp out (which resulted in very little sleep for all of us), ran errands, went to the Des Moines Arts Festival (one of my favorite events all year), and spent a day swimming at Adventure Bay. Oh yeah, and we celebrated Max's 7th birthday! It was one of those weekends (just like a lot of others) where Monday morning feels like a relaxing vacation!

 Camping in the living room is what I call my kind of "camping." The kids didn't go to sleep until a few hours past their bedtimes (which resulted in a housewide nap time), Elizabeth had to go to her bedroom to sleep after not being able to stay on her mattress (I need a drink of water, I need another snack, I need to pee, I need to read a book, etc.), but all in all we had a great time.

The next morning the minis jumped, dove, and wrestled on the mattresses before we put them away.

 Saturday evening we headed downtown to the Des Moines Arts Festival. We listened to music, ate food from local restaurants, and looked at the art. The kids favorite part was running around on the green grass and playing in the library fountain.

 Aunt Jenny was there working at the Blank Park Zoo booth.

Of course I wound up wearing the kid's red panda masks around my neck.

 Messing around with the dinosaur head and claws.

 Max turned 7 on Sunday! We celebrated with cake for breakfast, presents, Lego building, and a day at the water park. Read his birthday letter here.

 Max's raptor cake. Baked and decorated by Hubs.

That big green slide behind me. The one that pretty much drops straight down? I conquered that. I went down, got the biggest wedgie of my life, and was greeted at the bottom by the three minis who informed me "we missed it. Will you go down again?"
As I say every year, I love birthday month, but I'm glad that it's over. This celebrating every weekend in June is tiring and my bank account has taken a beating thanks to all of the new presents laying around. Until next year birthday month, thanks for the fun times!

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Letter To My Oldest On Your 7th Birthday

Dear Max,
I can't believe that you are 7! The day you were born seems like another lifetime ago and like it was just yesterday at the same time. I am beyond proud of the young boy you are. I may smile and say 'thank you' when people compliment me on YOU, but I know I can't take credit for that. You are you, as you always have been. Always teaching me, being the quiet leader, and always having a clear cut view of right and wrong. You are an AMAZING big brother, despite the fights with your brother and tendency to irritate to your sister. You are constantly looking out for them.
You had an excellent first grade year and are looking forward to going into second grade. Your teacher was able to sum you up perfectly during our end of the year conference: "he's the only in kid class that really gets sarcasm! I love it, he gets it and uses it and the other kids in class don't even realize it! He's very mature that way for his age. He's a rule follower, but will try anything you ask him to. I can't push him to do anything or he won't do it. He does it in his own time, in his own way, and embraces it when he's in charge of things." Hit the nail right on the head.
You are currently obsessed with Lego's, Jurassic Park/World, Minecraft, The Magic Treehouse series, "Once Upon A Time," learning to cook by your self (so far I've only worked up the courage to let you use the microwave and toaster by yourself. I have no doubt that you'd confidently attempt to use the oven/stove, but I'm quite positive it would result in a visit to the ER, so we'll hold off another year for that), drawing, and creating things (paintings, drawings, building things, writing books with me, stories).
Thank you for being my helper. I know I can (almost) always count on you to help me out when I need it. You make this parenting thing seem easy because you are just an all around good kid. I'm privileged to be your mom and find myself astounded time and time again by your wisdom and sweet heart. I can't wait to see what this next year brings you and what you bring me.

P.S. I love that you still want to hold my hand and fought with your siblings about who got to hold mom's hand. It's a sweet reminder that you still need me for things because I know how independent and capable you really are.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pasta Play Day 2015

 The kids love sensory activities: feeling it, eating it, getting creative with their play. One of their favorites is pasta. Last year's Pasta Play Day was such fun that we re-created (as best as I could). The biggest difference: thanks to the rain we had to keep the fun indoors. The clean up wasn't as easy as it would have been outdoors, but we worked with it and laid down sheets.

 We began Pasta Play Day with some sensory play. The kids smelled it, touched it, and even ate it...a lot of it. The kids quickly moved on to the Imaginative Play portion of the morning and played restaurant and chefs. Then they created a game to see who could scoop the pasta from bowl to bowl the fastest.

 "It's a pasta birthday cake!"

 Spaghetti painting. Their paintings turned out really neat!

 Italian food for lunch: homemade lasagna, cheese ravioli, fettucine alfredo, salad, and bread sticks.

 During naps, I laid out these supplies (markers, uncooked spaghetti, tape, glue, scissors, and paper) for the big kids and told them to get creative and make something. I was so impressed with what they came up with!

 A flower with spaghetti noodles colored green for the stem.
 A butcher knife and a candle stick with a flame and a flower garden (pictured below).

All in all a very fun day of pasta activities!
Want to create your own Pasta Play Day? Read these past posts to get your started:

Friday, June 26, 2015

Weekend Planner

Welcome to our weekly Thursday morning post about what's going on in the Des Moines, Iowa area. We'll share what we'll be doing, great finds, restaurants to eat at, shops to drop some cash at, and just all the great things Des Moines has to offer families.
What We're Doing:
  • Relaxing. Hubs works Saturday during the day, so I'll be relaxing with the minis at home for a few hours.
  • Arts Festival
  • Adventure Bay. Last weekend we rode the rides at Adventureland, this weekend we hit up the water park for Max's birthday!
Other Happenings Around The Metro:
Central Iowa received an insane amount of rain, please check for road closures or other closures as some parks are under water.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Harrison's Big Birthday Weekend

 Our little buddy turned 5 last Sunday (read his birthday letter here)! We had an incredibly busy weekend with family reunions and a day at Adventureland.

 Lots of family time at the reunions. It was great seeing people and catching up (and meeting new people too).

While Harrison and Elizabeth napped, Max kept busy and quiet with sticker books.

 Harrison was so excited for his birthday that he woke up bright and early and ready to open his presents.

 One of the sweetest, most selfless moments: Harrison finished opening his gifts and with the same excitement he had for his own gifts, handed Matt his Father's Day gift and excitedly said "now it's your turn dad!" He forgot about his own gifts, that he had opened moments before and watched Matt open his.

 "I'm a whole hand full now!"

Harrison requested an "Ariel mermaid cake" for his birthday, so I took the simple way out: a simple chocolate cake, blue frosting, and The Little Mermaid figurines. Easy and a happy little boy. He was even happier because they got to eat the cake for his birthday breakfast!

 Harrison wanted to spend his day at Adventureland riding the fastest rides. The scarier the better. We all had a great day and we're even more excited about our Adventureland Season Passes which will be put to great use these next few weeks!

After Adventureland, Grandma's and Grandpa's stopped by to give Harrison his gifts. Then it turned into a Lego building party. When asked about how his birthday was, big H responded "it was a great day!"