Saturday, May 09, 2009

Erik's party and more

It's been a long and wonderful few weeks. My time and efforts have been concentrated mostly on pulling off Erik's birthday party, with lots of this-and-that thrown into the mix, of course. For instance, Ellie and I finally committed to transforming the coat closet floor from this...

into this! And, well, it all ends up in a pile anyway, but at least it's a smaller pile now.

Summer has finally arrived! (For those who have never lived in Utah, basically there is no spring season here. It goes back and forth from frigid to sweaty for the months during which other states are experiencing spring, and then all of a sudden it's sweltering hot until you hit snow season again in the "fall.")

During those months of summer weather teases, we pulled out our suitcase of summer clothes several times, but were forced to keep shoving it back into the closet as the snow and slush would resurface. Just recently I finally felt safe replacing the kids' dresser drawer contents with warm weather wardrobes. We are loving the sunshine!

Of course I didn't bother taking a picture of Em, me and Em, or anything about Em's baby shower, but I did take care to photograph in detail my gift to her: two towel burp cloths, wipes case, vinyl-lined changing pad, and tag blanky, with personalized Chinese onesies to come soon-ish... By the way, Emily and I are due only a day apart! There is almost nothing pregnant ladies love to talk about more than their pregnancy plans and pains, so sharing a pregnancy timeline has surely been an enriching opportunity for me and Em's friendship.

I can't tell you how much I love Erik sleeping on the floor instead of in the pack-and-play. We are even more excited than he is when, instead of being prompted by his wailing to get in there and hoist him out of the crib, we hear his door open in the morning and he contently stumbles into our room, usually with something funny to say, or in the case of this particular morning, something pretty funny to wear at 6:30 in the morning in a still-dark room.

Did you know that sidewalk chalk conveniently doubles as inexpensive face paint? My kids already knew that.

I thought I had enough chalk to last a lifetime, or at least the summer, but Laurisa's kids have taught mine a great technique for quickly extinguishing your chalk supply: draw a line from my house to yours and then rub the chalk in one spot, creating powdery "face paint," until the chalk is but a stub. Repeat with new color. Worked like a charm on our chalk supply. (Not that I mind, truly. The entertainment is fully worthy the $1.50 a pack of chalk costs.)

In the absence of Christie and Kristin, the recipients of these long-awaited Sister Aprons, Kjerst and Laurisa were coerced into modeling these Mother's Day gifts for me. After all, Kyle looked good in one, too, but refused to be photographed, and my current self in a "flirty apron"?

I think a moo-moo would look flirtier on me.

Erik does make a superb playmate for Ellie, but when's the last time he's dressed up like a fairy and consented to be her groom? We are loving having Kimberley around.

Ummm, yeah, so I know we just gave Erik a haircut, but Erik's only one quarter Chinese, if you recall, so wasn't pulling off the bowl cut the way a true Asian would. So out came the clippers.

He thought the buzz-cutting device was cool for about two seconds and then spent the rest of the haircut desperately declaring, "All done vvvvvvvvv!" (the noise the clippers make).

It was truly a group effort, with Kyle sculpting, Kjerstin and I pinning down limbs and protecting ears, Ellie trying to soothe him with verses of "Teach me to Walk in the Light," and Mish on camera duty. I know it looks like he wants his bowl cut back, but in years to come, he'll be thanking us.

Plus, we made it up to him the next day by throwing him a birthday party no two-year-old could ever appreciate. He snoozed straight through our long hours of preparation and awoke to a scene of underwater insanity, or at least that's how I was feeling at the time.

Props to Mish for the paper creatures donning all the walls (and for whipping up desserts), Kyle for obeying my frazzled commands all day, and Kjerstin for coming up with great ideas for pretty much everything, and for making most of the food while we were otherwise occupied. This party would not have been pulled off without her, especially since she was the one who convinced me to substantially reduce the extravagance and number of crafts and activities. I need that sometimes.

Ellie woke up before Erik and when she saw the decorated walls, it was seriously almost better than Christmas to her. Kjerstin was still asleep on the couch so Elle couldn't go wild with delight, but all morning she couldn't stop hugging and kissing me and Kyle and telling us how beautiful the room looked. Also, I think she was just amazed that we were actually out of bed with her that early in the morning.

The shark-faced tent was used for a rendition of Musical Chairs. While the music played, the kids climbed in the shark's mouth and some of them we could even get to climb out the back. When the music stopped, whoever was still inside the shark's mouth was OUT! But "out" meant you got a shark gummi, so the "winner" of the game was really the loser because he was the last one to get a gummi shark. I don't think he noticed, though.

Then we headed to the ponds for some old-fashioned fishing, but we probably should've tried this game out prior to the party so we would've known that being in water makes the fish impossible to procure via magnet-to-paper clip. At least some kids got to splash around and saturate their clothes, though.

After dancing to Reggae in the midst of bubbles, we headed inside for an oceanic feast consisting of the following: -seashells and sand (shell pasta and parmesan) -ocean scene bagels (with blue cream cheese and goldfish crackers) -octopus hot dogs (bottom part sliced into eight pieces before being boiled, and these looked Deee-sgusting but were a big hit with the kids, who don't know what hot dogs are made of, although do any of us, really?) -ocean scene jello cups (Swedish fish suspended in blue jello topped with a whipped cream wave) -blue punch with fish-shaped ice cubes -other ocean animal-shaped crackers and snacks --and just in case the moms were concerned that their kids hadn't devoured enough sugar, we topped off the feast with ...

octopus cupcakes, which miraculously turned out pretty cute and even look like octopi, I think. Just ask Mish how octopi they were looking at 9pm the night before and you'll see why this I consider a true miracle.

In all honesty, I don't think Erik understood that this was his birthday party, or what a birthday is anyway, but "Happy Birthday" is one of his very most favorite songs and he does pretend to blow out candles on a regular basis, and witnessing the surprised delight on his face when everyone broke out in song in his honor and clapped when he blew out the candles, well, it made the almost unreasonable amount of time and energy I put into this party completely worth it.

This was not the first nor last time I turned around to see Ellie's cheeks stuffed with gummi worms. Unlike the other times, in this instance there was no guilt (or concern that she'd have to spit them out) in her eyes.

The coolest game was not a game at all, technically, but I guess getting stung by paper jellyfish is pretty hilarious to toddlers. I don't think I'm ever going to take them down, either, because it's humor has not yet worn off on Erik.

Erik got some really great presents from friends and then we distributed the I Spy bags I made for party favors. Forgot to photograph those so I'll post it next time. All in all, the party was a huge success. I still can't believe that with nine toddlers and two babies, we completely avoided catastrophe. The house wasn't even trashed at the end of it. My endurance was, though. I just felt so grateful, relieved, and exhausted that the party was over and that it went so well.

Instead of taking the afternoon nap I desperately needed, though, I embarked on my next big project: preparing this home and family for Charlie's arrival! After picking up a dresser in Salt Lake, we stopped at Temple Square and admired the gorgeous landscaping. Perhaps it is their short life span that makes sightings special, but something about tulips always takes my breath away. They make me happier than any other flower (except the hand-picked bouquets of dandelions the kids give me).

Kjerstin couldn't stay for Erik's party but later she brought over the adorable gifts she made him, as if she doesn't do enough for my kids in the first place. Erik finally has his own apron, with a bonus chef's hat and super cute felt hamburger and chips set, all handmade, of course. I have trained her well. =) (J/k, she's way better than me.)

And, as I mentioned, now it is time to give a little attention to this little one coming soon who will bring more than just a little change to our home and family. Despite the embarrassing lack of attention I've given this pregnancy and baby, I assure you we are ecstatic for his arrival and I'm really looking forward to "nesting" this week, preparing all things temporal and spiritual for his grand debut. Next Monday I will be 37 weeks, which is where I was when I delivered Erik, although that really gives me no guarantee that I'll go early again, so I'm trying not to get my hopes up. I am grateful that I have this spot of time to wash, fold, and place his clothes neatly into his new dresser, organize my pantry and plan postpartum meals, and perhaps we will even get around to buying a carseat for the little guy. =)

P.S. Whoever has a baby next (and lives near me) gets their baby shower thrown by me in "Nesting" theme style, complete with these almost-too-cute-to-eat birdie cupcakes.


mmm.chocolate said...

What a fabulous post with darling pictures! I love the party you threw for Erik. I too have gotten wrapped up in the fun of birthday parties for these kiddies over the years. The only sad part is that I've gotten too tired to do as much as I use to now that they are getting old enough to appreciate it! :-) You look absolutely adorable with that preggo belly of yours. I can't believe these little ones are almost here! We still need to get a carseat too. Kind of funny!

blaine and michelle said...

Holy stinking cute. All of it. Love it all. What else can I say? And I apologize in advance for probably plagiarizing your description of Erik's party soon on my own blog. Seeing all your cute crafting and baby gifting is ALMOST enough to make me think about having a 4th baby....okay, no it's not. But you sure do inspire me to be more creative. I love you.

sara said...

How fun! I'm assuming my invitation got lost in the mail. You're so creative and amazing. Your kids are so lucky!

Cathi said...

I'm amazed that you had the energy to pull that all off! You must be exhausted. I am super-impressed with Erik's party (and haircut). Good luck with the new baby preparations and we're excited to hear when you deliver!

Kallista said...

Wow, Tiff! You are seriously amazing! I love the "under the sea" theme that you had. I also love the picture of Kimberly and Ellie playing bride and groom!:)

Marilyn said...

The party was seriously the cutest kid party I've ever been to. In the pictures you can't feel or see the ambiance created by the blue light bulb and all of the fishy stuff. It was too cute, just like you.

Bryce said...

My sister is the queen of cute, and her kids are her loyal and cute subjects. Don't worry Kyle, I think you're really cool too, but in a manly way. Seriously, though, Tiff, your posts are always a delight :-)

liso. said...

love it all! but specifically:

1. the haircut...adorable...i'm loving that hair something fierce.
2. the chef hat? whoa...mad skills. also, fierce loving...
3. and wow, the party. nice job on EVERYTHING - it looked amazing!

Mary said...

Cute kids! And I love how sexy you look in the apron. Very cute. Way to be the best mom ever.

Jana said...

Hi Tiff! I haven't checked your blog in forever--your kids look so big and I didn't even know you were pregnant . . . sorry for not visiting more often and Congrats! I'll be back soon to see the new baby pictures :) It looks like you're having lots of fun--I am so glad!