Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Evie at 5 months, okay barely 6

Getting the month-a-versaries pictures done has become a headache and a haunt--I missed month 4 and almost month 5 in my tech meltdown. I keep wondering if not having a month will haunt me in years to come when I'm assembling a baby memory book, but no matter. Here's Evie at month 5, well actually right at month 6 so I'll say 5 months grown.

I love babies at this stage. They are bubbly and active and it doesn't take much to make them smile. With Evie, I just have to smile at her or get close to her before she grins and kicks her feet. This is charming even at 1 am, which is her general nighttime wake-up time. She is such a happy, contented baby.

E cut her bottom two teeth with very little fuss. Actually, one day we noticed a tooth had broken through and said, hm. Guess she's teething. This is in sharp contrast to her brother Jack who put up such a fuss that we were praying for the divine appearance of a tooth and trying different products to ease his pain. Even though she gets a bit more fussy now with other teeth, she's still a very ladylike teether.

Evelyn still loves to be held and held close. She sometimes gets fussy and all you have to do is pick her up and she's fine. She loves to cuddle close to you just about any time of day and she'd be perfectly content being held all day long.

Evie loves to screech and scream and she's saying "ga-ga-ga" at certain times. If everyone leaves the room, even for a minute, though, she gets very upset. She's at her best when she's surrounded by people and she can turn the charm on to get what she wants....

A day in the Park

I've always thought March and April were two of the most difficult months in Minnesota. Generally, March is one of the snowiest months of the year and April generally allows that snow to slowly melt away in a haze of gray days. When spring embraces the region, people flock outside everyday to rejoice in the green grass and emerging buds. This place appreciates spring unlike any other, but after six months of winter, wouldn't you?

This year after an above-average winter, March has been absolutely beautiful. We've taken a tour of area parks. E loves to swing and just be outside. Jack loves the slide and the bigger the better. He especially likes to play when other kids are present. He follows along with whatever they are doing.

This breath of fresh air has been so very nice. But we're holding the breath.... hoping the snow and cold is o-ver.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Jack's Cars Second Birthday

Our little man Jack turned two in early March and we threw him a themed birthday party featuring one of his favorite things of the moment, Cars. I've been working on this party on and off since Christmas and I'm very happy with how it turned out. I wanted to do a red with black & white check theme using a free clip art car that I found online. I shopped sales, used coupons, and picked up items at the Dollar Tree to make this work on as economically as I could.
I practiced for a few weeks making a few different layer cakes before making Jack's. It was drier than I would've liked, but it looked good and fit the motif. The stoplight cookies were my favorite sugar cookie/icing recipe.

One of Jack's favorite gifts was a goalie set from our neighbors, who are a hockey family. Jack loved it.
One of the biggest projects for this party was 2-Town, a big number two that was a place for the kids to drive their cars. You can't see the bridge that Jack is driving his car on in this picture, but it was the most popular part of the project. There was a baseball diamond of purled yarn for grass and sandpaper for the dirt. I used spray painted butter cartons and creamer cartons to create buildings and garages. Colored, wrinkled aluminum foil with fish became a river and glued rocks became an off-road. A tub of marbles was our pool and a small container with blue play-doh in the middle of the rotary was our fountain. 2-Town is now in our basement where Jack sometimes plays with it.

On the head table, I found a great piece of plywood for $1 in the Home Depot reject pile. I covered it with wrapping paper that I found at the Dollar Tree. I made all the graphic elements on my computer and printed them out at home. I made the trays by wrapping gift boxes with red paper and decorating w/the checked fabric I found at JoAnns. I was surprised to discover I couldn't find checked wrapping paper ANYWHERE. I thought that would be super-easy to help with my theme.

I wanted the party to have a few healthy options, so I featured a Dipstick Station with pretzels, mini-corn dogs, pretzels, carrots, and snap peas along with dips of hummus, ranch, and honey mustard.
I used a barely used storage toolbox part for a "spare parts" of little snacks for the kids. I used formula cans wrapped in wrapping paper to make it look more like a "toolbox," The cans were fixed with oreos, chex, goldfish, strawberries, twizzlers, Swedish fish, and blueberries.

I put labels on the juice and water bottles. While the kids played with 2-town, I had a car quiz for the adults with questions like 'what number was on Herbie the Lovebug' and 'what car did Prince sing about?' The winner got a set of spare tires...also known as oreos.

Favors were Pez Cars dispensers I found on sale at Walmart:

Plans are already underway for Evie's first birthday party. So many possibilities and only six and a half months to plan! I've already changed the theme three times.... so we'll see what it becomes.

A high-tech country song

If there was a country song about high-tech heartache and loss, I would be singing it.

Why no post? For one, I have two kids that keep me hoppin'. For two, since mid-January, I've had two jump drives go kaput, a camera battery go out of commission, and a hard drive that crashed. Since I teach an online course and freelance writing articles as well as donate my time and skills to a certain nonprofit, this entire process has been a headache of magnificent proportions. It's taken getting up early, utilizing cloud space, and maximizing down time at my real job to meet all of my deadlines.

The Apple people tell me my hard drive had a "corrupted file" that sounds suspiciously like a virus, but no matter....it's still under warranty so it was replaced and the girl just smiled at us like it's the best thing ever. My dear husband who did all the dealing with the Apple people even complained that the girl didn't show enough remorse and sympathy when telling us of the loss of our hard drive.

In reality, that meant we lost all baby photos from the birth of our two children. Baby videos. Christmas memories and all sorts of good stuff that you just can't replace. I felt like I lost a pet. Evelyn was already going to have the second child syndrome because the first 5 months of her life were erased.

Fast-forward a few days and one of the guys at my work said he'd take a look, but no promises. Within two minutes, he'd recovered everything off my hard drive. I've since backed everything up on two devices and plan on burning it all to a CD. It's somewhat of a happy ending, but what a major headache.

So if this really were a high-tech country song, I would probably prayed for the twang to just short out because I couldn't deal with it.