Monday, November 21, 2011

Hard to Believe It's Over

Yesterday, we dropped off a rather large donation of baby supplies to our local Salvation Army. It was bittersweet. Swings, nursing pillows, bounce chairs - a local family in need of "all-things-pink" is going to make a haul....which makes me happy.

But I have to admit. I am sad. I don't know why really. I have two, healthy, VIBRANT daughters and I am SO lucky. Beyond lucky. But still, the realization that the baby years are already behind me is enough to bring tears to my eyes as I type. Sure, for vanity I really that old? But mainly because babies are wonderful. They are a joy - even through the sleepless nights and months of morning sickness - there is no greater joy.

But when push comes to shove and my heart and brain have a long talk about more children, my brain seems to always win out. Because cute, wonderful bundles of baby-joy grow up. They require trips to the doctor, clothing and all the basic necessities of life. And the basic necessities of life quickly add up. (READ: Three college tuitions! GULP!!)

And while we turn the corner into the toddler years, it's just really hard to believe it's all over. For the best, I realize, for so many reasons. But sometimes - most of the time - logic just doesn't make a lot of sense to the heart. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Party 2011

If it isn't clear to you yet that I love Halloween, then here it is in black and white.
I love Halloween!
When I found out that Grace and her classmates weren't going to be able to dress-up at school, I took it upon myself to provide a place for the kids to have a special Halloween celebration. (Yes we could've dragged the girls out to trick or treat but where we live that would be more trouble than it's worth ESPECIALLY since trick or treating would be well past Charlotte's bedtime!) 
I say sleep while we can! 

So back to the party...

I invited only a few of the kids from Grace's class (which killed me because I hate to leave anyone out) but with moms and younger siblings in tow it quickly became a FULL house!

Before we get to the pictures I have to say one thing. I took all these pictures in the midst of hosting the party. Lesson learned!
At Charlotte's first birthday party, I was able to sign my brother up for camera duty and he did a fantastic job! He captured all the details and all the priceless moments. Me on the other hand...didn't do so hot.
I didn't get any pictures of the final dessert table NOR the snack spread! The lighting is horrible because most were taken the night before the party during set up mode with my iPhone. 
So Uncle Johnny roo...if you are are officially hired!!

The dessert table.
Seeing these pictures kill me because you don't see any of the homemade pumpkin cookies I made from scratch or the cupcakes I made (from scratch) or the cute little cupcake toppers I made. Sad!
In the very back you see empty cones where the cotton candy would eventually be placed.
But it was all there...I promise!

A lot of the decorations I've been collecting for years.
Like the Halloween tree, ornaments, candles, etc.
I did make the trick or treat banner and the little signs and the goody bags. 
I recently purchased my first glue gun and I'm telling you it was probably the best buy of the year!
$5 at Wal-Mart!

Charlotte getting ready for the party.

Grace channeling her inner-devil!

We tried to get all the kids outside for a picture. This proved to be difficult. They all wanted to sit about a mile apart from one another which made capturing their expressions impossible. But you can see two of the big brothers holding their younger siblings in their laps which was priceless.
Elmo (seen in the background) wanted nothing to do with the group photo...little does he know I was able to get him in there! hahah

The only thing I didn't make were the party hats and aren't they the cutest things you ever did see?!
The white hats were for the girls because the orange rosette is actually a hair clippie that the girls can wear in their hair. Beyond clever, right?
The black hats were for the boys. No magical clippie for the boys. Sorry boys. 

On to the entertainment...
you can't have a party without games can you?

The first game we played was ghost bowling.
Again, I didn't get any pictures because I was busy making sure no one threw a bowling ball (aka a baby pumpkin at a baby brother or sister).
Ghost bowling was fun and easy to make. Basically, I lined up 6 rolls of toilet paper like a pyramid, slapped a few black circles on each one to make it look like a ghost and let the kids fire a baby pumpkin at it to knock it down.
Pure Halloween magic!

The next game was Witch Pitch.
I found this game online and followed a tutorial provided here.
The lady was crazy with the detail so I improved it (if you can believe that) by using peel off letters bought at wal-mart and trimming it with pipe cleaner. Much easier! Again, thank god I bought a glue gun!
The gist of the game was to throw candy corn into the cauldrons.

(This is a picture of the one I made.)

And here is a picture of the kids playing Witch Pitch.
They didn't quite catch on to throwing the candy corn into the cauldrons but they did quickly realize that candy corn is just that...candy! So a few pieces would go to the game and a few pieces ended up in their mouths! Pretty cute actually!

Finally, we had pin the tail on the cat. I found this at the grocery store and even bought a blind fold. But when it came time to play this game, the thought or blind folding and getting each kid to do it seemed beyond doable.
So we just let them take a tail and put it on the cat with vision fully intact. They seemed to enjoy it!
It entertained them for a few minutes and that was the point.

After games, we settled down for some pizza. The kids gobbled it down. They were starving...or they needed to balance out all the sugar in their little bodies.

Then we had more sugar...dessert!
Pumpkin sugar cookies.
Apparently, Grace only likes the frosting. She scraped it ALL off the cookie!

Finally, it was time for the kids to go home. Naps were in order if they were going to go trick or treating later that evening. Before leaving, each guest got a goody bag. The ant-looking thing is a sucker wrapped up to look like a spider. I got this nifty idea from April who happened to share it with me the Friday before the party. When I looked around, I realized I had all the supplies so I literally made all these about an hour before guests arrived! 

Charlotte took about a 5 hour nap after the party. Grace didn't sleep a wink! 
Even with a restless toddler shadowing me all afternoon, I had the house picked up and de-Halloweened before Court got home from work.
It was a ton of fun and I can't wait to do it again next year!

*If you have any questions on decor, games, etc. I'd be happy to answer them. Send me a comment and I will follow up with you ASAP!