Monday, September 4, 2017

Cousins Visit!

Aunt Cynthia, Uncle Jay and the girls' cousins arrived on Thursday evening from Atlanta. They arrived just before bedtime, so we had a lot of excitement before the girls said their goodnights and headed into Olivia's room to sleep together since they had school the next day. Friday morning, I headed into the living room at my usual 6am to get lunches and breakfast ready and heard the pitter-patter of little feet. I looked up the stairs and saw three little sets of eyes peering down! I told them they were welcome to come downstairs, and they all ended up on the coach playing with their leap frogs and devices. Jillian helped me wake up the girls, who were completely asleep and had to be coaxed to get up and dressed. CK made everyone pancakes and milk and he and I took the girls to school since my car was at the shop and we needed to pick it up. Due to Hurricane Harvey, there is a gas shortage and few of the stations have gasoline! Those that do, have crazy long lines! Thankfully, I'd filled up on Wednesday, the day before the craziness started!

We got back to the house and Chad picked CK up and they headed to the airport to fly supplies down to Conroe, Texas. They dropped off their diapers, formula, sleeping bags, hygiene supplies and other things into a large hanger where the Salvation Army loaded everything onto trucks for delivery to shelters that needed the goods. There were over 50 planes involved in the effort and it was awesome to hear and see the photos of all the supplies that are so needed in South Texas right now! CK returned around 3pm and we hung around the house while he was gone. The kids played and swam and had a great time together. Jillian and Olivia are still big buddies and Jackson and Sofia play great together too!

For dinner, CK picked up Rudy's BBQ and invited Chad and his family to join us. The girls adore their boys, Nick and Jack, and they are the easiest kids. They just get along with anyone and have fun in whatever they do. They are great to have over and the girls get so excited every time they are over! We all hung out, enjoyed delicious bbq and caught up. It was pleasant enough to sit outside too, so we tried to avoid getting eaten alive my mosquitos and enjoyed the cooler evening weather. Chad and his family stayed until around 10pm and all the kids were ready for bed! Sofia was upset that she had to sleep in Olivia's bed while Olivia and Jillian slept in the "fort" they built next to Olivia's bed. She finally ended up sleeping in the hallway on the floor because "the night light bothered her so much." Chandler slept in Sofia's bed and Jackson slept on a blow-up bed next to Jackson.

On Saturday, CK made biscuits, scrambled eggs and bacon and the kids played after. CK and Jay got picked up by CK's friend to go to Cowboys' stadium to watch the Florida Gators play Michigan in the first game of college football. Meanwhile, Cynthia and I bought tickets to Legoland and got the kids ready. She made sandwiches for everyone and we packed waters, apple sauces and cheese sticks. We were soon heading to Legoland and arrived around 12:30pm. Unfortunately, just as we got there my favorite pair of black sandals broke! I left Cynthia with the kids and squeaked my way into Forever 21 to buy $12 sandals. My feet hurt just looking at the lack of arch support, but I had no other option. I met up with Cynthia and the kids and after we finally gathered everyone together, we rode the ride where we have to save the princess from the trolls. After, we headed to the mini-Dallas land and then decided to eat lunch. After lunch, the kids created cars and raced them down the various ramps while Cynthia stood in line for one of the rides. We finally made it on the ride and the kids all seemed to enjoy it. From there, we headed to watch the movie and then visited the Star Wars exhibit before the kids were able to drive the Lego cars.

After the Lego car driving, we decided to hit the splash pad. The kids got changed and were super excited, while Cynthia and I were both ready for a nap. Cynthia and I found a shady spot and the kids ran off to play. Jackson stayed behind and ended up falling asleep. Cynthia laid him down on the bench and he slept like that for over an hour! Meanwhile the kids built a HUGE fort out of the big rubber Lego blocks. Chandler started it and Sofia and the girls helped out. Soon, they had about six little kids running around collecting blocks for them and helping them build. It was so cool. At some point, Olivia got bored and headed off to play on the slide on the other side of the water play structure. I was busy watching Sofia and the cousins build and taking pictures of their attempt to add a roof to the fort. Cynthia called me and said Olivia had split open her chin, so I returned to the table and benches to find a very calm Olivia with an ice pack and towel pressed to her chin. I looked at it and couldn't believe how deep the gash was! I took a picture of it and sent it to Marco while Cynthia headed in to find someone at Legoland who could put a butterfly bandage on it. I talked with Marco and he said she should come to their house for the cut to be dermabonded. A Legoland manager arrived, cleaned up her cut and added a butterfly bandage to Olivia's chin. We grabbed all the kids, they changed quickly into dry clothes and the manager opened up the emergency exit so we could walk directly to the car. Sofia was really upset with me since I'd "promised" that she could use some of her birthday money for a Lego set. I explained that plans change and her sister got hurt and we could return in the next few days to buy it. Both girls brought $20 worth their birthday money to spend at Legoland, which they were really looking forward to picking something out.

As we drove home, CK called to say they were heading home from the Gator game (Michigan won), and wondered if Jerry Arthur, his wife and son could join us for dinner. I had chicken breast in the crockpot for chick tacos, and we figured out we could make a salad and order a pizza or two and would have plenty of food for all. Cynthia and I figured that the kids would be starving after such a long day and so much time at the splash park. We got home, and Olivia and I walked over to Marco's house and he looked at Olivia's chin. He decided the butterfly bandage was put on well enough that she didn't need dermabond. He said if it came off during the next few days to get her back over to get some dermabond. Olivia was still calm as ever and she said it didn't hurt at all.

We returned to the house, got the taco fixings set up and ate dinner. Jerry Arthur and his family seem like super nice folks and it was nice to visit with them for a bit. They live 3 hours away, but are staying nearby until Monday. Shortly after dinner, Jerry Arthur and his family said goodbye and headed out. The kids watched one 30-minute show and then headed to bed. Olivia read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" to Jillian and I and then Jillian read "The Day the Crayons Quit" to Olivia and me. They then got into their fort and went to sleep. I know they must have been exhausted. Sofia planned to sleep on the blow up mattress at the foot of our bed, but it kept going flat, so she slept in bed between CK and me. Needless to say, CK and I didn't get a whole lot of sleep while Sofia slept like a baby.

Sunday was the last full day of the cousins playing together and they seemed to enjoy each other when they weren't hungry. CK picked up donuts for everyone to enjoy and then the kids swam and played together outside while Cynthia packed up all their things and got ready for their trip back to Atlanta. The kids took a swim break to eat sandwiches and chips before drying off and getting into dry clothes. The cousins were able to play a little bit longer before it was time for CK to drive the whole crew to the airport. Olivia and Jillian had such a fun time together and are inseparable when they are together, so it was sad to see them part. It was such a fun long weekend together with a good amount of relaxing and doing fun stuff together. We all look forward to our next time together.

Lunch with Olivia

Surprising Sofia at lunch

Proud to be a Gator!

Cousin swimming fun!

Sofia in a crazy cat get-up cutting out swords from a cardboard box

Chandler cutting out his sword

Buddy is crowded out of his bed by all the beanie boos

Cousins on the slide

At Legoland

The kiddos with Lego Friends

The two sweet girls playing together

Sofia doing what she loves.....reading

Ready for the Lego Movie

The girls with R2D2

Driving the Lego cars

Ready for the Lego splash pad

Building a very impressive Lego fort!

Olivia's poor chin!

Pool-time fun together on our last day together!

Lunch pool-side

Sweet cousin friends!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Olivia's Birthday Party!

Sunday morning arrived and Olivia is now a 6 year old! We asked her if she felt older and she said she felt the same as she did the day before. We had donuts for breakfast before heading to Al and Jills' house for Meeting. Unfortunately, Grandpa stayed behind with a very sore back, so it was Grandma and the rest of us. Olivia ended up cuddling up on my lap and falling asleep in the final 20 minutes of Meeting. I know the days of her cuddling on my lap are numbered since she's getting bigger and heavier. After Meeting, we asked Olivia were she wanted to eat lunch and she originally said Johnny B's, the girls' favorite burger place. It really isn't my favorite, but today is an exception so we were planning on going there. However, she changed her mind and said Uncle Julio's, which is our usual brunch location. Once we arrived at Uncle Julio's it was really crowded and raining. Olivia saw In N Out, and asked if we could go there instead! We parked and ran through the rain to get inside. In N Out makes a surprisingly delicious burger, so it was a good pick for a 6 year old birthday lunch! Olivia and Sofia both order the grilled cheese, which is also delicious. We ordered burger and fries for Grandpa and headed home.

Once home, we organized all of the party goods, including the plates and supplies, food, drinks, party favor gifts and balloons. We loaded everything into the SUV, gathered up the girls and CK held the birthday cake on his lap while I drove Grandma and the girls to the North Richland Hills Centre for the birthday party! There had been bands of hard rain from Hurricane Harvey down in Houston, so we were lucky to arrive at the Cenre when it wasn't raining. We unloaded all of our party supplies and started decorating the party room. The party was due to start at 3pm and last until 5pm, so we had about 20 minutes before everyone arrived. Sofia and Olivia were so excited to be there and asked if they could go swim. They headed off and we organized the party tables and got ready for guests. Olivia wanted a "girls only" party, but we ended up inviting Antonio, since we are such good friends with him. We invited Olivia's entire soccer team, including Margo who is new to the team and we'd only met once. She included several girls from Mrs. Schultz' Kinder class including Poppy, Charlie, Grace, Annabel, Callie, and her best friend, Hannah, Addie and her sister Makenzie, and Isabella. Makenzie and Sofia are big buddies and it was great having Makenzie there for Sofia to play with. None of the girls on Olivia's soccer team go to school with Olivia, so there were a bunch of different "groups" of girls and then a few solo girls like Isabella and Addie. However, they all played together and seemed to get along really well. They started out playing on the small slide and then moved to the lazy river and ended at the hot tub.

Meanwhile, most of the moms hung out in the party room and talked, since the pool area is so hot and humid and smells strongly of chlorine. When it was 4:30, CK headed to the hot tub and called all the kids to the party room. They enjoyed gold fish, pretzels and watermelon balls before we sang "Happy Birthday" to Olivia! CK cut the cake and served Olivia first. She wanted a piece of chocolate, so he gave her one with a lot of "mane" frosting on it. All the kids loved the snacks and cake with vanilla ice cream and seemed to have had a great time at her party. After everyone was done with their cake and ice cream, Olivia passed out the party favor bags that included handmade unicorn horn hair bands, a homemade unicorn necklace and unicorn stickers, lip gloss and candy. She gave her friends hugs and thanked them for coming. After everyone left, we loaded up all the gifts and left over party things and headed home. The NRH Centre was such a great place to have a party and it was so easy to set up and a fun place for all the kids. Plus, it was great to swim indoors while it rained on and off outside.

Originally Olivia wanted a pool party at our house with a bunch of her friends. We've hosted a number of swim parties for Sofia and Olivia's mermaid party last year was at our house, but this year it just felt overwhelming. So, two weeks before I called the NRH Centre and was so thankful they had the 3-5pm slot available on Sunday, which ended up working out better than a Saturday party due to sports and other family activities families have. Only two girls weren't able to make it out of the 16 Olivia invited! Once Olivia decided on a "unicorn themed party" she and I spent time looking on Pinterest for ideas. She picked out the cake she wanted which I enjoyed trying to figure out how to make and decorate it. I found the unicorn headbands tutorial on Pinterest and loved heading to the dollar store for the headbands, craft store for sparkly white and plain pink felt and fake flowers. It was a lot of hot glue gun use and was really a lot of fun to make all of the cute headbands. For Antonio, I used leaves and blue ribbon instead of the gold ribbon and flowers, trying to make it more masculine. Sofia helped out a lot by tracing the unicorn heads on shrinkie dink paper and coloring the heads before I cut them out and baked them for the necklaces. Earlier, Olivia and I made the party favor bags, using plain white bags and making "eyes and eye lashes" out of Sharpies and adding paper unicorn ears and a gold unicorn horn and then adding flowers. They all turned out so cute and Olivia was a huge helper! The only down side to the party preparation, was the badly burned middle right finger while making the unicorn headbands which ended up getting infected with a staph infection! I ended up on topical and oral antibiotics! It also hurt like CRAZY! But, I was then more careful with the glue gun going forward!

After we got home, we put all of her party gifts on the fireplace mantel and she slowly opened and looked over her gifts from her friends. Sofia was actually out front playing with Antonio and Brandon, so Olivia had a good time enjoying time with us and her grandparents solo. Grandpa made his way slowly downstairs to enjoy a piece of birthday cake while Olivia opened her presents. She got a lot of great things, including several Lego sets, a mermaid dress up dress, a cute pink skirt, and games. She loved it all!

It turned out to be such a fun party and day! One of my favorite parts is to make special things for each of their birthdays and also to make their birthday cakes. Sofia was a little bummed that we hadn't had a birthday party for her, but I explained to her that we've had many really great and unique birthday parties for her, when we've only really done two birthday parties for Olivia. Also, I told her anytime she wants to have friends over to swim, she can. That seemed to take care of her concerns. Olivia really had a great birthday weekend and she was so thankful her Grandma could be here to celebrate with her!

The party set up!

The homemade gift bags

The party table

Olivia playing with her buddies!

The unicorn cake!

The party snacks before cake and ice cream

The party goers enjoying their snacks

The birthday girl!

Our little unicorn girl!

Getting ready to sing Happy Birthday to Olivia!

Love this picture! Such a happy birthday girl!

Ready to blow out her candle and make a wish!

CK cutting the cake

Olivia and all of her presents!

Opening her first present!

A homemade card from Annabel!

Look at all that wrapping paper!!