Friday, June 18, 2010

Too.. tired...

to finish blog entry. But here's preview of Erik's party.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Totally 80s!

Three parties, a visit from Kyle's parents, and other odds and ends to blog before all the Goodwin fam comes to town this week. So, although it's no fun for me, I will be brief.

Kyle's totally 80's birthday party back in April, as promised, rocked us like a hurricane. Never been to the thrift store so many times in a week as when planning this party.

Here's a better look at those sweet stilleto boots. So nasty-- one of them still had a socklet in it at the store, probably dating back to the 80s, that I made Kyle remove before we purchased. Oh, and can I just mention that this was my inaugural leggings experience (post elem. school, of course), and they are comfy and wonderful in ways I can't describe. I wear them as often as possible, even right now as I type, in fact! Sorry, Em, you may never get your leggings back!

Mac is so awesome he tie dyed these pants specifically for the occasion.

Em's looks a little too cute to be at an 80's party.

They had ninjas in the 80s, right?

Emily said David spent more time on his hair than she did.

Can anyone guess who Mish is? Yeah, it went down a little like all her hard-to-"get" costumes of the past. But I liked it.

Finally someone was willing to wear the mullet wig! Then the party was complete.

Notice both Bob and Erik eying the spread. After a while of putting Erik back to bed, I stopped caring and let him enjoy the party for a couple hours. He is my only child who will sleep in past 6:30, after all.

If I could've hit up some yard sales I'm sure that would've been a much longer cassette tape garland.

You can't see well, but the bottom right picture is Kyle with a mullet in the 80s, and the top left is Kyle this year still dressing like it's the 80s.

Yes, that is Separate Ways by Journey playing on the laptop, surrounded by 80s treats and trinkets we all loved, like Ring Pops and Pop Rocks. I only wish I'd found some slap bracelets!

At first Kyle requested a Mr. T cake, but at the first sign of my pre-party basket case behavior, he forced me to abort those plans and opt for brightly frosted brownies adorned with iconic faces of his favorite decade.

Kelly won Kyle's 80s trivia quiz and therefore the privilege of knocking down our own little Berlin Wall (but my camera was too slow to capture that, it seems).

We wrapped it all up with games and jibber jabber (and a kid on crack knocking on our door asking if we're ravers and insisting Kyle is gay, but that's another story). I must confess that an 80s theme was not on my top-100 list of parties I want to throw (not cute enough), but it was probably the most fun I've actually had during one of my parties.

For example, Emily's reaction when she bit into a plastic baby was priceless. Very dramatic. Much better than we expected, really.

Thanks to Kjerst and Mish, as always, for allowing themselves to be sucked into my party planning. Up to this point, I've mostly thrown Kyle a surprise birthday party, but that turns out to be not so surprising after a few years, and how on earth was I going to pull off an 80s party without Kyle's expertise?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Good night, sleep tight

Obviously, I love kiddie birthday parties. But I might just love baby showers even more. Probably because adults can appreciate the heart and soul that went into the party details, and they don't even destroy the decorations.

Before Noe was even preggie, I called dibs on throwing her shower. Her generous friend M offered to host the event, which was probably why this gig looked approximately a thousand times cuter than my other parties. Her house is pretty. (My mediocre photography skills never come close to giving justice to party ambiance, but trust me, it was cute.)

After we found out Noe's having a boy, I searched and searched for the perfect theme. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of adorable ideas out there, but I am also working with a tight budget, so I need a theme that's cute and clever, but also lends itself well to homemade decor and household items.

I decided on a Bedtime Stories theme, which was fabulous because we all have sleepy time items on hand. Stuffed animals, pillows, bedtime books, canopy, pjs, flashlights, crib mobiles, the works. Throw in some milk and cookies and a splash of moons and stars (thank you, Cricut!) and that's how you throw an easy, "awwww"-worthy baby shower for under $10. (Okay, so I had help on food and paper goods, but claiming to throw a party for under $10 makes me sound like the ultimate deal diva. So let it be.)

I had envisioned the serving table to be dressed up like a twin bed, but M had this enormous canine that serviced well instead.

Noe's sister K was a peach to make ginger chewies, chocolate chippers, jam thumbprints, and chocolate crinkles. Kjerst and I rounded out the calories providing oatmeal raisin chewies, lemony crescent moons, chocolate dipped oreos, and peanut butter kisses. In case that fell shy of inducing a sugar coma, it all centered around a chocolate milk dispenser.

Yeah, judging by our leftovers, every woman in the room was on a no-sugar diet, but I myself found it to be a most delectable spread.

Yay! I finally had a reason to open this canopy I bought eons ago. Now it's back to hiding on my closet floor, but it had its moment as the keeper of baby gifts.

The vase is filled with Cookie Crisp and yes I poured it back into the box afterward.

In her mini book of advice, I gave guests specific instructions, because whenever I'm asked to offer general advice on parenting, I come up empty and conclude that I know nothing. Of course it turns out that, with a bit more prodding, I have no shortage of opinions. So I designated sections of the advice book to specific topics for late pregnancy through baby's first year.

M designed the circle tags for the favors and Kjerst, Laurisa and I spent many, many frustrating moons trying to force pretty bows over slippery fabric onto tiny jars. Learned my lesson, as you will see when I post Charlie's party. The jars held chocolates, lemon drops, or peppermint tea packets. We made more than double what we needed, so the kids' primary leaders all got tea and sleepy moon lemon drops for Mother's Day the next morning, and my visiting teachees will continue receiving these for a few more months.

We played a few games and chatted about baby this and baby that. I love this girl and can't believe she had the nerve to move to Arizona and have her baby without me. I will just have to follow her there, that'll show her. (And if all goes according to far-fetched dreams, I will be following her there this fall...)

Yay for baby showers! Fun fun fun! Cute cute cute! Quick, somebody get pregnant so I can throw another!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Just in time for Charlie's birthday tomorrow, I'd like to say a word or two about my other son. You know, the forgotten middle child. He did have a birthday last month, that I DIDN'T forget, by the way. Details on his extravagant party (along with three other parties I've thrown) will come.

For now, let's just bask in the sweetness of the three years this little guy has spent stealing my heart, affection, attention, and car keys.

He started out so fat.

He was extremely charming and hardly hesitated to flash his gums to admiring strangers.

He has always been a bit of a ham. Or cheese. Before he was two, we noticed he had a knack for comedic timing, not to mention a laugh that is more contagious than bubonic plague.

He has always been more on the bald than hairy side.

He should probably still be eating in a high chair. Total slob at the dinner table.

He tries a little too hard to be reptilian sometimes.

See what I mean?

This past year was a rocky one for Erik. He entered the terrible twos right as his uber-demanding and no-fun-at-all baby brother stole center stage. It's hard to tell how challenging it would have been for Erik if Charlie weren't such a tool. In any case, the past year was replete with extended, unexplained tantrums, frequent acts of violence, excessive territoriality, withdrawal, jealousy, poor diet, lack of affection, and negativity seeping into any effort to improve these behaviors. His self esteem was shot. For a long time he refused to hug me or snuggle with me. If someone said "hi" to him, he'd frown and shake his head.

Okay, this is sounding worse than I want it to. Suffice is to say that Erik had a lot of growing up to do. As did I. I was trying to help Erik in ways that would help me, but alas he is already so very different in disposition from myself. Slowly, through trial-and-error, I began to understand Erik better, and really commit to helping him improve. This was right around the time that Charlie's painfully, freakishly high scream lowered a few octaves, enabling us to ignore him a bit and attend to Erik more. (After a few months he resumed his counter soprano range, but our eardrums greatly appreciated the brief reprieve.) The results of our efforts with Erik came slowly, but they came, and I believe they're still coming.

It has been an emotionally dizzying year in many ways, but now at the end of it, I can say that, 1. thank heaven it's over, 2. Erik has come sooooooo far in maturity and confidence, and 3. I have come so far right along with him, and I'm just grateful that spending those twelve hours a day with him has been part of my job description, because it's taken me that long to figure some things out, and be physically able to implement them.

Erik must have gotten the memo that he was turning three because he dropped most of his exasperating "terrible two" habits in the past couple of months. He still bothers Charlie and makes him cry at every remote opportunity, but he has become dramatically more positive, polite, affectionate, emotionally stable, and social.

And the blessing of parenthood is that, through the thick and thin of it, he never fell short of being ridiculously good-looking and irresistible to me.

Seriously, how could I be less than twitterpated with this kid?

He LOVED turning three because it meant wearing the cake hat, opening a present, eating pancakes with strawberry sauce and whipped cream for breakfast, and wearing a tuxedo to church.

This boy means everything to me. I am head-over-heels in love with his laugh, his voice, his lingering chubbiness, his creativity, snuggliness, inability to run without tripping, and infatuation with baby toys. He has one million ways to make me smile. He's better to me than an IKEA shopping spree. Or a year's supply of Snickers bars. Or my own roller coaster. Or a good night's sleep. Whoa. Even I didn't realize how much I love this kid until I wrote that.

Happy Birthday, Er-bear (I've never actually called him that, thankfully. But now maybe I will. It has a nice ring to it, right?). You are three, and I am yours.