The Rapunzel (Tangled) Party

On February 15, my oldest daughter turned five years old.  Or, as she likes to say-a whole hand!  When we decided to have children, we thought we’d never have to have a super “big” party, we’d just invite family and close friends over, and on the “big” birthdays (5, 10, 13, 16, etc.), we’d throw the kids parties for their friends. 

We 100% failed to take into account that when you add up our family and close friends, the total tops thirty.  And I adore our home, but a banquet hall it is not.

So we have to be creative and find a different venue for Corinne’s parties, since she was born in the middle of winter.  (For all the details of her birth, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.)  Ashlynn’s parties can be outside in June!

And, of course, there always has to be a theme to the parties!  I adore party planning and organization, so I never really mind.

So far, we’ve had two “My First” parties, puppies and kitties, Minnie Mouse, Tinkerbell, and Cinderella.  Looks like we may be heading toward Scooby Doo for this June.  But for her big #5, Corinne wanted Rapunzel from the new(er) Disney movie Tangled.

That newness was the kicker.  There’s pretty much nothing out there for Rapunzel yet.  A few decorations, no balloons, no cakes.  Crud.

So I got creative!  Using Pinterest, my Cricut, and my own brain, I created virtually all of Corinne’s party decorations.  It was SO much fun!!

Decorations:

Sun Banners

First, we needed sun banners.  I used paper placemats from Pat Catan’s and cut them into triangles.  I cut a sun stencil from a pattern I downloaded from Google images, and dabbed it on with yellow paint.  Then I simply folded and stapled them over twine.  Total cost: about $5 for ten banners!

Paper Lanterns

I also found simple paper lanterns at Pat Catan’s.  Since lanterns are such a focal point of the movie, I bought five and hung them from the ceiling.  Total cost: $5

Picture Collage

This is something I do at almost every one of my girl’s parties.  I love to take a picture from each one of their birthdays and display them to show how they’ve grown.  It’s always a favorite!  This year I put them on purple cardstock and cut out a yellow sun with my cricut, as well as placing the age inside the sun.  (The “sun” was actually the outline of a flower from my Tinkerbell cartridge, which made perfect sense because of the flower in the movie!) Total cost: $1-2

Balloons

A sure-fire hit for an indoor party is to blow up a few balloons and toss them around.  The kids (and sometimes adults) love playing with them and it’s pretty much zero work! Total cost: $3

The Cake

There are no Rapunzel cakes!!  Since we didn’t have the extra cash for a customized one, we just went with purple and yellow to match the party colors.  Corinne loved it and it tasted yummy! 🙂

Treats and Games

Party Hats

Party hats look just like old-fashioned princess hats!  We bought a pack of plain colored ones, and then I braided lengths of yellow yarn and stapled them to the back of the hat.  Everyone got to be Rapunzel!  These were adorable and a fantastic hit! Total cost: $6

Pascal Blowers

Corinne loves the scene when Pascal wakes up Flynn by sticking his tongue in his ear!  We got regular party blowers and sticky back craft foam.  Cut simple trapezoid shapes and add googly eyes and a sharpie smile and Ta-Dah! Pascal!! Total cost: $5-6

Paper Lantern Craft

I try to always do a craft at Corinne’s parties since they are indoors.  It gives the kiddos something to do while waiting for everyone to arrive.  This year we made paper Chinese lanterns!  Fold construction paper in half horizontally, decorate, then roll vertically and staple!  Just like Rapunzel’s!  We placed out markers, crayons, and stickers to decorate.  Total cost: $4

Pin the Nose on Flynn

Ok, I have to admit this was my favorite.  I found the template on disneyfamily.com, blew it up, and had it laminated.  Then the kiddos were blind-folded, spun and pinned the nose on!  (I found random noses on Google images) So much fun and hilarious!!  Total cost: $12 because I had to go to OfficeMax to get it laminated and they charge WAY too much!

Pinata

We also had just a general cupcake pinata.  I used the pullstring kind because quite frankly I did not want small children swinging sticks. Total cost: $20 (candy and pinata)

It was a fantastic party and everyone had loads of fun!  I hope you grabbed a few ideas, and if you need any more details, don’t hesitate to comment and I’ll get back to you!

 

Corinne Nicole, Part 2

For those of you just joining us, this post is the birth story of my oldest daughter, Corinne.  She turns five years old today, and in honor of her birthday, I am commemorating her actual birth day!

The first part of this story can be found here.

So, there we were, in the delivery room, epidural working well, parents and siblings hanging out.  Weirdly enough, I remember watching Boy Meets World.  Mr. Feeny is pretty darn awesome, even in re-runs.

One thing they don’t tell you in childbirth class is that labor can be kind of boring.  After the epidural, I was just kind of chilling out.  I know my body was working super hard, but my brain really didn’t care.  They came in to check my progress and break my water (see?  didn’t happen on the furniture!) and I was just kind of like, “Yeppers!”  When they broke my water, there was meconium in the fluid.  Google it if you want details, but there would be a NICU team in the room when Corinne was born just so she wouldn’t accidentally inhale any.

A few times, Corinne’s heartbeat got a little low, but they had me shift position and it evened out.  Which was really funny, by the way-try shifting position once when you’re numb from the waist down!

Now mid-afternoon, at about 8-9 centimeters, the doctor noticed that her heart rate was seriously dropping with each contraction.  Shifting position didn’t help.  Things were starting to get hairy, and the word “C-section” was bandied about.  I did NOT want a c-section!!

Suddenly, I got the most serious urge to push.  Like “Right NOW, I need to push!”  It was just me, Kirk, and my mom in the room with a nurse, and the nurse was like “Oh, go ahead hun, first moms push forever.  It won’t be like you do anything productive.”  I hated that nurse.  One of the hardest things I ever did was look at her through the urge to push and say “NO.  I want my doctor, I want the NICU team that needs to be in here, and I want them now. Before I push.”  Best decision I ever made.

The doctor and team came in and I was ready to go.  The doctor told me I had to push and push hard and fast-her heart rate was low and we needed to get her out NOW!!  I pushed a few times and I remember saying “I can’t!”  I don’t think it was because pushing was hard-it was because the nurse would count to ten for each push and I usually ran out of breath at about 7!  But as soon as I said it, every single person in the room chorused: “Yes you can!!!”  (Kirk and my mom were helping me push, my younger sister was watching from a distance.)

We stopped for a second, and the doctor tried a vacuum.  No dice.  I had NO idea, but apparently at this point, our birth story became an emergency.  It wasn’t until later I learned that Corinne’s heart rate was so low they were fearing for her life.  It wasn’t until later that my dad (who was waiting in the hall) saw them flip an emergency switch and there were suddenly doctors and nurses waiting in line to get into my room.  It wasn’t until later that Kirk told me his dad called right in the middle of it all and he yelled “She’s pushing right now!” and hung up on him.

I was so involved in pushing that I knew none of this.  I only pushed for about 10 minutes.  As soon as her head started to emerge, the doctor (who was and remains my hero) simply yanked her out as fast as possible.  It tore me up like crazy down there (glad I had the epidural!!), but it probably saved Corinne’s life, and it definitely saved me from having the c-section we really should have had.

At 2:00pm exactly, on February 15, 2007, Corinne Nicole was born into the world, turning me into a Mommy for the first time.  She weighed 7lbs, 6oz, and she was 19 1/2 inches long. 

Her lungs were clear of meconium, and she was healthy and perfect in every way.  The complications in her delivery were probably due to an umbilical cord that was too short, but we’ll never really know.

My recovery wasn’t bad.  I had about a million stitches, and I was stuck in bed for two days and had to sit on a pillow for a few more.  They wanted me to stay an extra day, but I declined.  I was ready to take my baby home!  My husband’s grandpa asked me right after the birth if there would be more.  My answer was a resounding yes, I had loved being pregnant, and despite the craziness of the birth, it was so, so worth it to have that tiny girl placed in my arms.

So there you have it!  The story of how Corinne Nicole was born!

February 15, 2007

 

February 15, 2012 Still causin' trouble!

 

You Can’t Have Him. He’s Mine.

I have the best husband.

WARNING!!  This post contains craploads of mooshy stuff.  WARNING!!

I am so that person sitting in the staff lounge listening to all my co-workers (mostly women-it’s education, after all) complaining about their husbands, and silently thinking to myself, “Yeah, my husband would never do that.”

I got lucky in love.  I met (okay, stole from a friend) Kirk our senior year in high school, and despite me slightly going crazy (teen angst) only a few weeks after we met,  it brought us closer together instead of driving us apart.

This past December 3rd, we celebrated 12 years together, and this coming August, we will be married for 8 years.  High school sweethearts do work out sometimes, and couples like us do exist.

See? Mooshy.

All this time, and we still can’t get enough of each other.  Still hold hands, say I love you, kiss each other good night, send “I miss you” texts.  Yeah I know-gag.

He’s a man who helped me 50/50 with the kids (ok, sometimes like 60/40…cuz I get lazy…or sometimes 40/60…since he couldn’t nurse the children.)  He does his share of chores, loves to cook dinner, puts the toilet seat down, opens doors for me.  A man who works two jobs to support this family and still comes home ready to play with the girls every day.  They don’t make them like him anymore, ladies…but I hope there will be a least a few throwbacks like him for my daughters to marry.  Because man are they going to have some high standards.

As you read in this post, last week I turned thirty.  And my husband loves nothing more than to spoil me, but my birthday is always a little hard.  We just wiped ourselves out for Christmas, we don’t have taxes back yet, and Corinne’s birthday party is right around the corner.

Needless to say, he was a little disappointed when we did the bills and the budget provided him a number available for my birthday that was way lower than he wanted.

So you can imagine my surprise when I opened my birthday gift and found a brand new Nintendo 3DS*** gaming system, complete with popular game…

This one. In my favorite color, no less.

At first I wanted to kill him.  Where could he have gotten that kind of money?  These systems are almost $200, and that was not the limit we’d devised.

But then he told me.  This awesome guy, who loves himself some XBox 360 and PS3, had taken all his video games and traded them in.  For me.  He combined the credit he got with his birthday budget to get me the game he knew I wanted.  You have to understand the sacrifice he made…he loves those games and they’re a big source of stress release for him.  And he gave them up.  To give me a happy birthday.

Do you need a tissue?  Because I almost did.  UNbelievable.  Amazing.

And.  And!  AND!!

That wasn’t even all.  He called his mom and arranged for the kids to spend the night the Friday after my birthday.  Then he took me out to dinner and shopping, and I got to come home and sleep in the next morning.  My parent friends will know that is possibly the best gift ever.

This guy.  People, I can’t begin to tell you how awesome he is.

Although I have to admit.  He set the bar a little high for his next birthday! 🙂

***Yeah, I love video games.  I’m not by any means a hard-core gamer, but I love me some Super Mario and puzzle games as much as your average gaming nerd.

What Is It About Walgreens?

Walgreens. The pharmacy where hilarious crap happens.

Why do all the funny things happen to me at Walgreens?  Like in this post.  What is it about this store that makes weird things happen? 

Ok, so on that note, I have to say that global warming, while destroying our Earth…kind of…you know…rocks. (Sorry-but 57 degrees on Feb. 1st?  In OHIO?)

But! My sinuses.  They do not rock along with the freezing one day, warm the next.  Not so much really.  Thank God I live in 2012 and can go register myself with the government so they can investigate me for having a meth lab while I medicate my sinuses.  Life is good.

So.  I pushed my headache to the background and took the girls on a walk to our local Walgreens.  They were so thrilled to be outside.  I don’t think they would have cared where we were going.

While at Walgreens, we took a look at the birthday stuff.  Ashlynn, who is two, picked out a card that said “Happy 4th Birthday!” and whined when I told her she’ll only be three.  Corinne, who is four, picked out a card that said “Happy First Birthday!” and threatened some form of violence if it did not appear at her party in two weeks.  Sigh.

(Also?  Awesome Rapunzel party in the planning…future post for sure!  And now back to our blog…)

While on the topic of her party, Corinne informed me that she wants a surprise party.  I informed her she had picked the theme and helped me send the invitations.  She also had a countdown on the calendar to the day and time of her party, so she would not be surprised, really.  And that’s when she pulled me down and whispered in my ear:

“Mom, it’s ok if you tell ME.  It’s a surprise party if you don’t tell anyone else.”

I had to walk away from that one.  I was laughing too hard.  Because that would be a fantastic damn party.

And that’s when we rounded the corner and Ashlynn saw a huge poster of Justin Beiber.  And pointed at it and yelled:

“Look Mom!  It’s Steve from Blues Clues!”

Oh God.  I died.

So we managed to make it back to the pharmacy without any incident, and I clicked the little green button agreeing to not use my pseudphenedrine to make meth. And I seriously considered what would happen if I clicked the no button.  Just for shits and giggles.

On the way out, I got the girls each a box of those little conversation hearts.  I told them how each heart has a special message on it, like “I love you” or “2 Cute.”  They were super excited to open them and see!

The first heart Corinne pulled out?

Yeah.

It said “Jump Me!”

Top 10 Reasons It Is Awesome to Be a Parent

On Christmas Eve, after the kids were asleep and my husband and I had lugged all the presents from Santa’s Workshop (aka the closet upstairs) and laid them under the tree, I stood back and clapped my hands and squealed like a little girl.  Because I do things like that.  And I said “I can’t wait to see their faces in the morning!  This has to be one of the top ten best things about being a parent!”

And my husband looked at me and said: “I want to see that list.”

After asking for further explanation, he told me that he wanted to see the rest of the top ten list.  Obviously, playing Santa was on it, but what else?  What were the top ten things (or moments) that made parenting so incredibly worth it?  Well, my friends, that was just a blog post waiting to happen…but it took some serious thought on my part first.

Parenthood is the hardest, scariest, most frustrating, rewarding, awesomest job ever.  In no particular order, here’s why:

(May I add that at this point I had to stop typing this entry for 15 minutes while I cleaned up the juice my two-year old dumped all over our computer desk.  Ah, parenthood.)

Playing Santa

Obviously!  There are few things more magical than seeing your children’s eyes light up when they walk into the living rom Christmas morning and see that, at long last, Santa has come!  I do (and will continue to do) everything I can to perpetuate the Santa myth to my kids.  Christmas takes on a whole new meaning when you literally become Santa for someone!

Snuggles and Cuddles

They happen at random, and most of the time when you need them most.  When your child is on your last nerve and you are about to explode and then they just come running up to you and give you the biggest hug possible.  Nothing beats hugs and kisses for stress relief, ya know.  I personally enjoy early morning, just-got-out-of-bed, tousled hair cuddles the most.  But they’re all good.  Oh yes, all good 🙂

Sleeping on Your Lap

Oh, the absolute trust these kids have in you.  They curl right up and fall asleep on you without thinking twice.  And you will do anything..put a stop to your day..let vital appendages fall aslep…just to make sure you don’t have to move and wake them.  As my kids get older, they do this less and less…I really miss it!  (So now we have slumber parties and crash on the floor together as a substitute!)

Singing Happy Birthday

This is up there with playing Santa.  Nothing beats the joy that lights up a child’s face while the whole room focuses on them and sings happy birthday before that big moment of blowing the candles out.  And to know that you orchestrated this, set up a party, bought a cake, and made that moment happen?  Whoa.  Just whoa.

Being Born

Birth is special.  Ok, there are a lot of things about childbirth that suck, especially for the mom, of course, but this quote about sums it up:

“God may be hard to find in this world, but seeing your baby born is as close to a burning bush as you get.”

In that instant when two people in the room become three, when you go from being a husband and a pregnant woman to a family.  There’s no other magic like that.  None on this earth.

Laughing Together

My children crack me UP.  They say the funniest things, usually completely out of the blue.  They keep me rolling.  For example, the other day we were driving down the road, when just completely offhandedly my four-year old asked “Hey Mom, is it okay if I say shit?”  I about drove off the road from laughing so hard.

Watching Them Sleep

This obsession starts at birth and apparently never stops.  There is something incredibly peaceful about watching your child sleep. (For more reasons than just one…I mean, now Mommy can break out the wine.)  You watch them breathe, tuck the covers around them, smooth back their hair, give a gentle kiss…sigh…contentment.

Listening to Them Pretend

Sometimes my daughters decide they hate our dog, and they choose one of their rooms to go into and shut the door.  Then they proceed to play together in there with relatively little fighting (mostly).  Listening through the door is one of the best things ever.  My thoughts generally go down one of three paths: where did they get that?! … OMG they sound exactly like me/their dad … rolling on the floor laughing.  As a teacher we find it extremely informative to watch how a child plays pretend.  It says a lot about their home life, etc.  It’s no less interesting as a parent, and definitely eye-opening!

Re-experiencing Things Through Their Eyes

There’s a reason kids make Christmas so magical.  They have a fresh newness and adoration for it that you haven’t experienced since you were a kid.  You get to re-experience it vicariously through them, and it is awesome.  Watching my kids brings back all the magic and good memories from my own childhood.  First time at the beach, building a sandcastle, catching fireflies, it’s all so much more awesome because you are sharing it.  Sometimes it’s an old family tradition, sometimes it’s something you forgot you ever did until they ask, but it’s always amazing.

Explaining Things

This goes hand-in-hand with re-experiencing things.  Your kid asks you a question and you have to answer it, but you have to tone it down in a way that they can understand.  It makes you think about things in a whole new way, and gives you some pretty cool insights.  This happens to me a lot in traffic:

Ashlynn:  Mommy!  Go!  Go now!  I want to go to the store!

Me: I can’t.  We’re at a stoplight.

Ashlynn: Why?  Go!  There’s no cars! 

Me: I can’t.  The light is red.  Mommy would get in trouble.

Ashlynn: Why?

And since I really can’t explain traffic tickets and fines to my two-year old, I have to talk about rules and being safe and policemen and it makes me see the situation in a completely different light.  Also, sometimes it makes me learn new things, like when Corinne asked me if spiders sleep standing up or lying down the other day…

Okay, so there are more than 10.  Sue me.

You Totally have an Awesome Excuse

Oh come on.  Don’t tell me as a parent you haven’t used your kid(s) at one time or another to get out of something you didn’t want to do.  Or call off work.  Or at least get off a boring phone call because oh no Billy is crying and I really have to go now bye!  Sometimes the excuse is honest to God real, and sometimes it’s not.  But no one knows, and I’ll never tell.  Promise.

Free to Act Like a Kid

I freaking love play dough and coloring.  But if I sat around and did it all day as a single 20-year-old (or a married any year old, or whatever) people would look at me funny.  Kids give you license to do fun stuff and people just say “Awwwww, look at her/him playing with their kids!  What a great parent!”  So now I can play in the sand, roll down a hill, sled ride, have a slumber party, play in piles of leaves…the list goes on and on-and it’s a GREAT list!

I’ve loved sharing this list with you, and thanks for reading, it truly made me be really introspective about parenting!  But now I want to know…what would you add?  I know I missed some, there are thousands of reasons parenting is awesome.  Please share!