Sunday, August 23, 2015

Our little birthday carnival

My little sweeties.

I don't know if I can put into words how humbled I am by the responses of my children to their birthday parties.  

 Alright, so Livvy gets a pass this year.  But look at Logan's face when he came downstairs after nap time to see his birthday party for the first time!

That kid.  His enthusiasm is palpable.  Everything about life is SO! EXCITING!  And that face right there?  Yeah, it makes every second of party planning so very worth it. 

So, welcome to our birthday carnival!

If I'm being really honest, this is one I've been planning for the last two years.  We were going to do a birthday carnival for Logan's first... but he awoke with croup on the morning of his first birthday.

 So we put it off a year.  But... well, for his second birthday, I kinda had a baby 3 weeks beforehand and wasn't exactly up to very much.

Fortunately, a carnival is exactly the right thing to satisfy a 5, 3 and 1 year old!

Leah and Logan's friends range in age from about 7 to 3, and of course we also have a wonderful array of little ones.

The carnival was perfect for all ages!

The highlight for my birthday boy was getting his face painted.

Because, um... Spiderman is like, better than Jesus.  Yes.  He will tell you this if you are foolhardy enough to ask him who he likes better.  

Leah told me adamantly for two weeks beforehand that she was going to get a unicorn and a fairy on her face.

And then...

...I learned that five year olds are notoriously unreliable and flighty.

Being the sophisticated little lady that she is, Olivia elected not to get her face painted.  Have to keep things classy when you're one.

The kids had a great time taking photos.

The adults had some fun, too...

I love that the kids are big enough to actually do things at birthday parties.  You know, besides making messes and drooling on things.  We really have come a long way.

Although, of course they did a lot of running around like wild maniacs, because, well, that's pretty much a constant state of being when you're a kid.

We had some old fashioned carnival games.  The first was a water balloon race.  

They had to carry a balloon on a spoon and pass it off to their partner.

Which of course they all totally cheated at.

But it was super cute and fun all the same. 

We also had a potato sack race.

Trying to get seven 3-7 year olds to all put on those sacks, line up and start at the same time was a task and a half.  I think we finally just let them go because we couldn't wrangle them all!

And can I just tell you how very much I love this photo?  Yes, that would be my kid - the super all-for-justice, always-do-the-right-thing kid - totally cheating and literally jumping the line like a crazed, potato sack maniac.

Fortunately, karma - and the big kids - caught up to her.

We also did the ping pong ball fish game.  Which really just turned into splashing around in the cups of water, but everybody had fun taking home a little fish. 

Olivia loved watching all the kids from the safe distance of Mommy's arms.

Although, for posterity's sake, she did let someone else hold her.

Yep, it's true.  And she was exactly as happy about it as she looks in that photo.  Regardless, that was maybe the first time ever she's let someone else hold her for more than about 4.8 seconds.

We managed to corral the little ones for cake time, and it was really fun.

Logan's exuberant faces are so cute!

Unfortunately, the wind was blowing so strongly that I couldn't keep the candles lit for anybody to blow out.  So we let him do it directly from the lighter.  You have to blow out a candle on your birthday, right?

Olivia was thoroughly unimpressed with Mom's hard work.  

Logan wanted a blue cake (of course), so that's exactly what he got.  I also got brave and made a chocolate cake entirely from scratch, so this year we had one blue french vanilla and one chocolate, both with an Oreo-whipped cream filling that was so stinkin good.

Why are kids eating cake photos so darn cute?

We had such a wonderful time.  I just adore those kids.  All of them!  We're pretty lucky and blessed to have such a fun crowd to celebrate with.  

Three and one.  I can't even believe it.  

This may have been your first real birthday party, my big boy, but I hope you feel special and loved each and every day of your life!  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

It happens when it happens. Sometimes, on the couch.

It happened so very suddenly and smoothly that I haven't even paused to write about it.

In fact, it's downright shameful.  I've completely failed to mention: our family got a wonderful new addition.  

 My mom is one lucky lady; she has two children and has gotten four grandchildren in almost exactly 4 years.

Logan in 2012, Greyson in 2013, Olivia in 2014 and most recently...

 sweet baby Jackson Theo.

And the story of his birth?  Holy. Moly.

Remember my experience with Logan?

Yeah, this was nothing like that.   

Jackson was born at home.  Yes, you can add to the cloth diapering and the homeschooling that a member of our family also had a home birth.  I heard it.  Crunch.

 His mother had about three hours of labor.  Yes, you read that right.  Three.  From start to finish.

Oh yeah, and I mentioned that her friend Hillary delivered him, right?  Because he literally came out about 10 minutes before the midwife arrived.

 It was crazy.  CRAZY.  AMAZING.  All of the above.

I can't show you any of the photos from the all of about 30 minutes I was there before Mr. Jackson came out.  Partly because there was, like, NO time to snap any photos.  Also, partly because when you have a baby that quickly, it's intense.  Super intense.  It's really not worth scaring anybody.

Momma didn't even actually push the baby out.  Not in the way I'm accustomed to, anyway.  The classic hold-your-knees, chin-to-chest, ugly-squishy-tons-of-effort-pushing-face that I experienced and that I've seen others do.


Jackson basically came out, all on his own, as we all tried to tell her to STOP!!! PUSHING!!!!

Ummm... yeah.  It turns out, you can't stop it from happening.  Even if the midwife isn't there yet.  Even if you're on the couch in your bonus room.  Even if your "crack support team" is running around like crazy folk trying to boil water like it's 1899.


But, all's well that ends well.

Thankfully, Jackson came out perfectly and started breathing all on his own.  It could not have been a more textbook delivery.  Kelsey didn't even tear.

And, after a thorough examination by the midwife and a little relocation from the bonus room couch, things looked like this:

And Auntie got to work snapping some photos that are a little less memorable, though perhaps more "frame-friendly."

Eventually, once mom and dad had gotten a chance to admire their precious little one (and because labor makes us tired and hungry), I had a chance to steal the little guy.

Ooofta.  Newborns are a very special brand of awesome.

Congratulations, Kelsey and Garrett, on your second beautiful miracle.  And my darling sister: WOW.  You are really good at that labor thing.

I changed my font at