Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas!

OK, so the "Merry Christmas" wish is a little late, but we have been busy here, so the blog post just had to wait!  My parents came down for Christmas, and as a result I have lots of pictures to share (thanks, Mom)!  But first, let me start out with a little story about the photo above....

I am bad about taking the kids to see Santa.  Their dad does it every year so I figure I don't have to.  I just hate the whole ordeal of standing in line with wiggly children for forever to have their picture taken (which often costs a disgusting amount of money), and sometimes Chloe wants nothing to do with it anyway (which makes for a terrible picture).  This year I was feeling a little guilty about not doing that traditional Santa photo with the kids, but then a magical thing happened.  I had to go to HEB to buy some last-minute groceries before my parents came and the kids did not want to be there.  They were whining and complaining and I was about ready to lose my mind when we walked around the corner and a vision appeared before me.  There, in the middle of the store, was Santa.  Not a child in sight.  He was just hanging out there with a tree and a chair.  Best surprise ever!  Thanks, HEB, for turning my kids' mood around (oh, and for letting me get a Santa picture this year).

The kids were with their dad Christmas morning so the parentals and I went to see a movie (Saving Mr. Banks).  Afterwards the kids came over and it was time for PRESENTS!!

Chase was so proud he was able to buy me a gift all on his own through the school's gift shop this year.  It was a heart necklace that said "Mom" and it totally made me cry... mostly because he was so proud to give it to me.  Sweetest thing ever!

The kids made coffee mugs for their grandparents, which were a big hit:

There were lots more handmade gifts to go around, including warm blankets!

Of course we were also excited to get treats!

Chloe loves horses so she got quite a few of them this year and has been playing with them non-stop since:

Chase has really gotten into magic, so he got a bunch of magic tricks, a magic hat, and a cape that Grandma made him!  Chloe also got a "magician's assistant cape:"

I love my little magician!

Of course video games were also a hit (no surprise there!)

We did a lot while my parents were here and my kids were great helpers.  Chloe helped me in the kitchen...

...and helped Grandpa outside in the yard:

Chase also helped Grandpa bag leaves in the yard, but we didn't get a photo of that because, well... the girls went shopping while the boys worked.  Don't judge.

We spent one afternoon at Zilker Park.  We first checked out the sculpture garden, where the kids showed respect for great works of art:

We also got some nice family shots in...

...and had fun just exploring:

After the sculpture garden we went to the botanical gardens for more fun!

And check out my sassy girl here.  I have no idea where she gets it!

After our park explorations I decided the parentals needed to experience a real Texas dining treat, so we headed to a food truck park!

We had such a great time with them here.  We were busy with activities but we also found time to chill, get some house projects done (thanks, Dad!), shop (thanks, Mom!), play with the kids and just enjoy each other's company.

More photos are in our Photo Album if you're interested.

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Chase's "Lava-ly" Birthday Party


Chase had his big birthday party tonight, so of course I had to do my motherly duty and make his birthday cake. If you are unfamiliar with my creative baking moments (the good, the bad, and the ugly!), I have created a new category to the right named "Kitchen Adventures."  Those who know me well know I'm not all that comfortable in the kitchen, but I feel like it's my motherly duty to make my kids' cakes every year. Sometimes they turn out cute, sometimes they are disastrous. But the point is I TRY.

This year I thought I had it IN THE BAG.  He chose dinosaurs for his party theme.  I tried to find some cute dinosaur cakes/cupcakes but I just didn't see anything I liked.  Then I found A VOLCANO CAKE!  It looked totally doable so I gave it a shot.  Got up first thing this morning to decorate it and I was so pleased:

Chase really loved it and I was feeling like mom of the year.  Then we cleaned up the kitchen, got ready and headed out to get hair cuts and run to HEB to buy the final, finishing touch for the cake (which was a big secret from Chase).  When we got home we had just enough time to have dinner before heading to the party.  I preheated the oven, unpacked the groceries, and started playing with the "secret ingredient" for the cake.  That got me thinking, "Huh... where is the cake?"  Then I heard it.  Beeeeeep!!

The oven.  Hot and ready for our frozen pizza at 425 degrees.

That's where I put the cake.

Inside the oven.

The kids came running downstairs because apparently I was screaming, "No no no no no NO NO NOOOO!!!!" They found me bent over in the middle of the kitchen, hands clenching my hair and forehead to my knees.  Chase looked at me, then looked at the cake, then looked at me and said, "Uhhhhhh....  Mom?"  I assured him I would fix it, called my mom for a little freak-out session and then went to work.

I put it in the fridge to cool and then I had about 30 minutes to fix it and get the kids fed and ready and out the door.  They ate at the kitchen counter and supported me in my mission while I worked.  Chase was so sweet.  We have been working on being more positive these days, and he kept saying, "You can fix it, Mom!  I know you can because I am positive!"  When I got done I meekly asked him, "Is it OK, Chase?" and he said, "Mom, it's perfect."

Sweet boy.

He had a ton of fun at the party with his friends...

...and the finishing touch was a hit!

Can't tell?  Maybe this video will help:

Yes, that's Chase in the background screaming, "My cake's on fire!  My cake's on fire!"

His actual birthday is Monday and we'll do a little dinner party then.  Photos of today's party are in our Photo Album if you're interested.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween! We sure did!

As many of you know, I find it's my motherly duty every year to make the kids' Halloween costumes, and every year I pray they don't ask for something outside of my skill set!  Chloe wanted to be a horse (doable), and Chase wanted to be a werewolf, which was a little tougher.  I managed, though!

Chloe ended up winning a costume contest for her age group at Chase's school's fall festival, which was pretty cool.

I also made my own costume this year.  With my limited budget I decided to be a "bag lady" and make my costume out of bags I already had at home.  I started with this:

...and ended with this:

...complete with a bag headband and bag earrings...

...and little bags on my shoes!

That costume made it through three parties.  I was pretty impressed!  I also went to the House of Torment with my friend Leticia.  It was amazing!  It was scary, but also really impressive from a production standpoint.  I met a cute guy there, too:


The kids and I also made some fun chocolatey skeleton finger treats this week:

... and carved pumpkins, of course!

We bought our pumpkins late (October 29th) and got these huge ones for just $5 each!  Can't beat it!  The kids hate touching the "guts," but they did OK:

All in all, they had a fun time:

As I was carving Chase's creation, Chloe was going to town with the sharpie on hers.  When I heard the big announcement, "Mom!  I'm ready for you to cut mine now!" I looked over to find this:

OK....  I may be talented, but I'm not that talented.  I asked her what her favorite parts were and she said the hearts.  So I did hearts:

Hey, it was late and I was tired, OK??  She was happy and that's all that matters... right?

Chase's was much more doable:

Happy Halloween!

P.S.  More photos are in our Photo Album if you're interested!


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