The Big 4-0!

Oh, what a weekend it’s been! For starters, a big Happy Birthday to Alan, or HBD as he likes to put it! We celebrated in style! At least for one evening. Friday night… well, I forgot what Friday night was, it was too long ago. Saturday came and he took the kids to karate and himself to his favorite diner. The usual Saturday morning routine. Then I took the kids roller skating and he stayed home watched a movie he’s been dying to see that is 100% not kid appropriate! :)


Lex and his buddy ROCKED the inline skates! He’s better on them than he is on roller skates. (They practice in gym class.)


Eve did pretty well as well. It’s great to see them gaining confidence on wheels. Grandpa Tom, of course, was our inspiration!

Then the party began. Lex went with his friend for a Minecraft lateover, Eve went to her friend’s house for her first ever sleepover, and I went home to join Alan at his surprise party already in progress!

Yep, I managed a surprise party for Alan and he actually liked it!! :) I coordinated with five of his best buds to come over at 5pm. He was watching the last ten minutes, the most exciting ten minutes, of his movie and didn’t even hear them come in the house! Well, I guess he heard but thought it was me and the kids. His friends were walking around, talking, and even began throwing clementines at him before he noticed their presence! I picked up Indian food for everyone on my way home (plus wine and mac&cheese from the Co-op for me!) and got home to find everyone enjoying their chips and drinks and elbow deep in a game of Cards Against Humanity. A game of which I had heard, but had not yet had the pleasure of playing. Oh, my, what a game!


There were tears of laughter all night long!

During the game a mishap occurred, a wine glass was broken (my glass, but not my fault!), and wine splashed down, right onto my phone!! There was a collective gasp and three people lunged for it! I laughed, afterwards, at how everyone reacted because they were all Alan’s co-workers and had heard the ongoing saga of my broken phone just a few weeks ago! Alan took it apart and dried it immediately and FORTUNATELY, it works just fine! He wanted to leave it apart for the night, but I had one kid at a lateover and one kid at a lice sleepover, and I was not ready to be without texting for the evening! :)


I should have taken a picture of the whole crowd. That would have been fun. Oh well. Here’s the tidied-up aftermath though.

We played Cards Against Humanity until Lex came home, then switched to poker. Meanwhile, I start getting texts from Eve’s friend’s mom saying she found a lice nit on her daughter’s head and did I want to leave Eve there or come pick her up. They all wanted her to stay and I REALLY did not want to deal with head lice that night, so I carried on with our carefree evening and left the parental worries for another day.

Sunday. When I picked Eve up she was scratching her head like crazy and I saw a whole village living among her little hair follicles. UGH! I checked Lex and he had them too. I can’t even blame it on her friend. In fact, her friend can probably blame it on Eve. Ugh! So we began the process, again, of delousing the kids and the house. (I just tried to find a post from the last time we did this and apparently I didn’t write one. It was back in November 2015. I guess I was up to my eyeballs in lice shampoo and cranky family — no time for blogging!) Eve was grumpy, but sat patiently for the whole process. Lex practically hyperventilated at the thought of bugs on his head and had the worst ten minutes ever waiting for the shampoo to do it’s job. No fun for anyone! We have a very clean house now though! So, that’s good at least!


He complained, but I was the one doing all the work! No fun for anyone!  I gave him the option of shaving it off, thereby eliminating the the need for tedious delousing.  He quieted right down!  :)

Alan and Grandpa Tom also got a chance to attend a community solar event today and they both came back feeling the Vermont solar love!

What saw us through the weekend — Birthday Cookies!!  Delicious enough to make everything better!  I’d like to say I froze a bunch for later, but truthfully I made a double batch and we finished them in a weekend!  :)


Happy Birthday Alan!

I realize as I come to the end of this post that I have no pictures of the birthday boy himself! Oops! I promise he’s here and as handsome as ever! Like a fine wine, he only improves with age!

Happy 10th Birthday Lex!!

It’s hard to believe, but this little guy is suddenly ten years old!!

Lex’s first birthday. He is so adorable!

My, how time flies! Today we celebrated with presents in the morning, a Memorial Day parade, lunch at Popcube’s house, and a slow, tired afternoon at home. Overall a great day and a great way to celebrate our favorite little boy who is not so little any more.


He’s a balloon guy! I have a very similar picture from his 4th birthday. I’ll try to find it for a “then and now” post. :)


A special birthday greeting for our special ten year old.


Happy Birthday Lex!!


Morning smiles with the birthday boy.


I got a little artistic while waiting for him to open presents. He got side tracked a bit with a book. This big box contains the game Clue.


Waiting for the Memorial Day parade to start. I embarrassed the family by asking a stranger to take a picture for me. Totally worth it! :)


I think my kids are a bit too big for this toy, but boy did they have fun! I have this same picture from a few years ago. I’ll try to dig it up. They were a bit smaller then. :)


An ice cream cake for his family birthday party. Cool Whip and chocolate chips make perfectly excellent decorations.


Lots of birthday Legos. Everything is awesome!


Happy Birthday Lex! I like his choice of shirts for the day too. :)


The candles are casting a glow on his sweet face. <3


Cutting the cake.


This was an “upcycled” cake using the leftovers from Saturday’s karate cake. Lex wanted an ice cream cake for his family party, so I took layers from the karate cake, relayered them, and added some Fudge Tracks ice cream in the middle. Then I slathered the whole thing in Cool Whip. It came out really tasty!


The cake was tasty, but frozen pretty hard. Lex had trouble cutting into it with his plastic fork so he resorted to eating it caveman style.


She’s looking pretty classy. :)


The photogenic side of the family. :)


The ride home from Grandpa’s. Proof that she does indeed stop moving, sometimes, even if only for a short ride in the car.

We were all exhausted when we got home so everyone went to their rooms for awhile.  After an hour or so of quiet time we regrouped for a few family games of Clue.  It was fun to teach the kids a new game and they both enjoyed the mystery and secrecy of it.  Then we ordered pizza for dinner and watched the movie Clue!


Lex got to choose his birthday dinner, so Ziggy sticks it was! I served him on this birthday plate, but he wasn’t happy about it. He transferred everything to a normal plate instead. Oh well. He’s ten now, but still the same boy we know and love!

After the movie, when we were all exhausted and getting ready for bed, I remembered that Lex needs birthday treats for school tomorrow. Birthday treats round three! I think we need to sugar detox again!

I feel pretty fortunate to have such an awesome boy in my world. Lying in bed tonight I said, “Ten years ago right now you were less than one hour old.” Around birthdays we like to talk about “ten years ago” or “eight years ago” and reminisce about their actual birth days so many years ago. He replied with, “Mom, I’ve been wondering, just how exactly do babies come out of the mother’s belly?” Yep, he’s growing up! So we had that conversation tonight, all snuggled up in bed, and we were happy.

Karate Party!!

We held Lex’s friend party this year at their karate dojo. The sempis (teachers) did a wonderful job and the kids had a blast!! The karate studio provides the space, and the table set-up, and I brought the rest.


Happy Birthday Lex!!


The cake. Lex wanted a yellow belt on the cake because he has a yellow belt, and the purple patch is similar to the patch on their uniforms.


The kids started by finding their ninja names (using the letters from their actual names or initials). Some kids had more fun with this than others. Some, I think, thought it was too much work for a birthday party! :)


Like my birthday banner?


The dojo also had a birthday banner!


Goody “bags” (wrapped books, with a cookie attached), cake, and presents in the back row. Fortune cookies, strawberries, gi cookies, Goldfish mix, and carrots in the front row.


The party favors this year were books. My friend suggested it and I thought it was very appropriate considering the birthday boy and our family. I found two different easy-reader chapter books, both with karate themes, and bought six of each. I taped on a karate gi sugar cookie and wrapped it all up with a “black belt” ribbon. I hope the kids like them. In my opinion it’s better than cheap junk they just throw away anyway.


Some “human bowling” aka Rolling Bombs.

Once the kids all arrived they went into the main dojo for lots of high energy games led by the sempis.


The kids all love this game. If you get hit you have to go to the side and do push-ups or jumping jacks.


Then some actual karate! They started with punches.


Power punches!


Then kicks.


Then flying side kicks! For this they have to run down the blue mat then jump up and kick the pad that the sempi is holding. They were encourage to make loud kung-fu Hollywood style noise while running and jumping. Everyone loved this one!

After awhile of karate and games, the kids came into the small dojo for snacks, presents, and cake.


The dojo provided free floating balloons and Alan provided the snack time entertainment.


He is quite entertaining.


It was a very fun atmosphere. :)


Present time. Lots of Legos and books! :)


Right here he’s opening karate nunchuck pens. Super fun! His classmates will have to watch out now!


One of the kids gave him stick-on mustaches and everyone had fun with them! One kid said the mustache on Alan made him look more manly. :)


The whole crowd, some with stick-on mustaches, others with balloon mustaches, and everyone full of silliness!


One happy boy!! (The karate gi cookies with black belts left everyone with black tinted lips and teeth. Not the most attractive look!)


In a throwback to the sawzal party, Alan decided to cut the cake today with a samari sword! Everyone had a good laugh. Then boring mommy kicked him out and used just a plain old knife to do the job.


I cut very large pieces. One kid asked what kind it was, referring to brand name, I believe, and commented that the cake is much more dense than usual. I had to explain the whole “made from scratch” thing. :)

When they were done with cake they went right back to the big dojo for more fun! Time to burn off the cake energy!


Time for some dodge ball, dojo style!


They finished with an “everyone throw the ball at the birthday boy” game. Like the dojo version of birthday spankings. Lex laughed and laughed.

After two hours everyone was hot and sweaty, and full of sugar and fun! It was a great day! We sent each kid home with a little present and a handful of fortune cookies.

Happy almost birthday Lex!


Lex’s birthday is coming right up and I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around the number. I don’t know why, but 10 just isn’t sticking in my head. Eve and I were at the party store the other day getting supplies and I had her pick out eight balloons. I even grabbed a “8” balloon to go with the “Happy Birthday” balloon. I was just about to check out when it hit me that he is not turning eight!! Duh! We had to grab different balloons and sadly discovered that they don’t make “10” balloons. :( This double digits thing is going to take some getting used to.


Lex goes bionic for his birthday! He built himself a bionic arm with a ball shooter on the elbow and various sensors on the fingers. He’s pretty pleased with his creation. :)

Today, the 17th, was actually my due date with him, ten short years ago….. big belly, but no baby. (I love my blog!)

Eve is Eight!

I thought it would be fun to do an “eight for eight” post with the eight best pictures of the day… but then I thought, “who am I kidding?!” I take way too many pictures and like to share them all. So, here is a look at Miss Eve’s 8th birthday.


My customary birthday display. The kids now come to expect them. I like to add my own gifts, but also little things from other people, like the cat card from Greg and Kathy, and the Happy Birthday note from the Kirkwoods. Lots of love for Eve from around the country.


Happy Birthday Eve!!


I got her some books, some science and craft idea kits, and an American Girl matching outfit. Lex got her a Lego Friends set.  She was pretty happy with all of it.


I love Lex’s look in this picture. :)


I tried several times today to get a nice picture of the two of us together. This one obviously didn’t work out.


This isn’t quite right either! :)


After school we had two friends over. I fed them all snack then we headed to the science museum!


I mostly like this picture. Great sunlight and color. However, where are Eve’s eyes?! Pictures with glasses are tough!


The museum has several great new exhibits! We had a great time!




Eve wanted to go to Panera Bread for her birthday dinner. I told her she could get a birthday treat and she chose a strawberry smoothie “all to myself!” Normally when she gets a smoothie the rest of us share it with her, but tonight she had one, with whipped cream, all to herself.


I really wanted a nice picture of us together so I finally recruited Alan to help. The back camera on my phone is much better than the front camera!


We all got a little silly.


Daddy wanted in on the picture too! :)

Happy Birthday to Eve! We are pretty lucky to have her in our lives!

Eve’s Birthday Sleepover – Part 2

The sleepover went well. I sent the girls to bed at 8:30pm and they continued to play and be wild. At 9pm I turned off the lights. The silliness continued (in part it was my fault because I provided them with glow sticks!) I was typing last nights blog post and wondering what to do next. What is proper sleepover protocol? Do I just let them stay up until they pass out? Do I insist on quiet? Separate them? Then I realized that it’s my house and I can do whatever the heck I want! I took away the glow sticks and reminded them it was sleeping time. Later I heard crying and discovered that Eve had bitten the one remaining glow stick in the room (bitten?!) and broke it. She had glow stick filling all over her hands, her PJs, her sleeping bag, and her mouth! Normally this would be a panic-inducing moment, but actually it happened once before so I did all the necessary panicking (and Googling) last time, so this time I was calm, cool, and collected. Secretly hoping that Eve’s tears would be the final straw before sleep. But nope, they rallied! :) Finally they fell asleep around 10:45 and I went to bed. Not to bad for a first sleepover.

I was hoping they’d sleep in a bit, but of course, nope! All three kids were up at 6:30am. Alan and I made it until 7:00. Not too bad, right?! :) I made rainbow pancakes and everyone just hung out.


Rainbow pancakes! Yum! 


This isn’t a very good crop and I can’t edit on the computer… and my phone is in the other room… so anyway, Eve and her Girl Scout friend loved the Wizard Of Id comic this morning.

Also this morning I got a text from a friend asking if I could watch her boys for a little while. Sure, I said, why not?! Eve’s friend left, and I had time for a quick shower before the boys came over. Fortunately my kiddos kept it together and played very nicely with the boys. They ended up staying for quite awhile and everyone had fun.


These two decided to start a “Save the animals” club and spent quite awhile making invitations for other friends and making info cards about endangered animals.


Save the Animals.

After everyone left (including Alan who went to the gym), the kids and I crashed. We had lunch and read some Percy Jackson until I fell asleep on the couch. Then the kids retired to their rooms for more reading.


I just want to take a million pictures of this beautiful girl laying in the sunshine.


She made a nest of blankets and read in the sunshine. I love this girl! I can’t believe she’s almost eight!

And so wraps up our first birthday celebration. One down, two to go. :)

Eve’s Birthday Sleepover – Part 1

Eve decided to have a sleepover birthday party this year and today was the day. In fact, today was a very busy day. We started with karate, as usual on Saturday, then Eve had to run a cookie booth with her Girl Scout troop. She was partnered with her buddy and they had fun. While they did that, Lex and I ran some secret birthday errands.


Cookies for sale! You don’t see any cookies because they hadn’t fully set up yet, but I wanted to take a picture and get going so I didn’t wait for the actual cookies to appear. :)


Crazy girls ready for birthday fun! 

After cookie time was over I picked up both girls and we headed to the aquatic center to start her birthday festivities. At karate I ran into the dad of one of Lex’s friends and we ended up making plans for his buddy to come swimming too. I had been so busy thinking about Eve’s party that I didn’t make plans for Lex, other than “tag along” plans. :) I’m glad his friend was able to join us.

Eve had invited three friends, but unfortunately one woke up sick this morning and couldn’t join the fun. Another came for swimming, but couldn’t join us for sleepover fun.


Just hanging out, waiting for another friend to arrive.


A wild crew!


Handsome boys.


Silly girls.


Waiting for the bucket to drop…




All smiles. :)


Three down the slide… I don’t think that’s allowed, but I won’t tell. :)

After everyone was tired of swimming we headed home for pizza and craft projects. With just one friend here it felt more like a playdate than a birthday party, but still fun.


Eve was pretty excited to find balloons when we got home! (One of the birthday errands Lex and I took care of earlier in the day.)


Balloon girl!


Happy birthday to you! Birthday cupcakes for the party.


I love this girl!


Awesome cupcakes! I might write a whole separate blog post on the cupcakes alone.


They went out to play and came back twenty minutes later covered in mud! Good times. They spent the next twenty minutes washing their feet and making soap beards on their faces.


Later they did some painting. For some reason Eve was really set on painting bird houses with her friends. (we bought them at the store, for cheap, sorry dad!)


Lex painted a cool lighthouse.


At 8:30 I started to get them settled. Hoping maybe they would fall asleep. Silly me.

It is now 10:15 and they are still going strong. Just the two of them. I don’t know if four would have been better or worse. I’ve shut off the lights, taken away the glow sticks, and not sure what comes next. Other than another glass of wine and hoping they pass out soon!! My last trip up was because Eve broke a glow stick and got it all over her self. It’s non-toxic, so no worries, but she was scared. I got her cleaned up and changed and hoped maybe that would be the final straw, but alas, I hear them still going strong.

Luckily, tomorrow is a no-plans day! Well, maybe “luckily” isn’t quite the word since I totally planned it that way!!

Happy Birthday Alan

I’m getting so bad at blogging! Alan’s birthday came and went without even a simple blog post. Sigh. He had a nice day though. Well, it ended nicely. Started with some work headaches, but he went into the office and got everything working again. ‘Cause he’s good like that! Then picked up some Indian food (his favorite) and played video games all afternoon. I took the kids to karate and swimming with a friend while he was at work. We ended the day with a very silly movie. It was a birthday celebration just the way he likes it, quiet. We have all been enjoying the birthday cookies I made for him on Friday.

One more year in the 30’s! We joked that he was celebrating the 10th anniversary of his 29th birthday. :) Happy Birthday Alan! Thanks for spending all these years with us.

An epic, EPIC birthday bash!

For starters — Happy Birthday Lex!! Nine years old and awesome!!

I’ve been feeling a little low about Lex’s birthday this week. It snuck right up on me and certainty didn’t get the front-of-mind attention it has in the past. Driving home from school Thursday afternoon, I started thinking about getting a head start on his cake for today, but then suddenly remembered that he needed cupcakes for school Friday! I hadn’t even talked to the teacher about it, but I sent her a quick email and started pulling out ingredients. Unfortunately we discovered, in the nick of time, that we had no good cupcake papers. Soo… Lex suggested peanut butter chip brownies, a recipe I had made awhile ago and everyone like. To fancy them up a bit I added chocolate chips as well, and marshmallows on top. They smelled delicious and looked great out of the oven. Unfortunately, when I tried to cut them at 9pm they were a gooey mess! Completely uncutable! I was going to make another batch of regular brownies, but we didn’t have enough ingredients. I was crying, seriously, over my complete lack of birthday preparedness. Alan put the brownies in the freezer and put me to bed.

The next morning I pulled the brownies out of the freezer and was able to cut them, but they were still pretty messy. I still hadn’t heard back from his teacher on sending treats in either. I gave Lex the option of messy brownies on Friday or really awesome cupcakes on Tuesday. He chose the brownies so we packaged them up in individual bags with cute labels and lots of napkins, and sent them to school. Hoping for the best and completely forgetting to take any pictures. Sigh. When he got to me Friday afternoon the first thing he said was, “The brownies were AWESOME!” Whew!

Saturday we spent making and decorating cake, filling goody bags, praying for sunshine, and prepping for a party. Oh yeah, and Eve learned to ride her bike again. Yay!

This morning came, bright and early, and my baby turned NINE! Nine whole years old and handsome as always. He had a few little presents waiting for him on the table.

morning presents

Morning presents for my nine year old!

lex p2

Nine years old!

I got him an awesome Lego movie t-shirt that has Emmitt on it and says “The Special Has Arrived.” I thought he would love it, but instead he laughed briefly and then discarded it. He refused to wear it today. You never can tell with that boy!

magnet toys

He loved these magnet toys!

lex p2

Loved them so much he wanted a picture with them. :)

The forecast all week called for varying amounts of rain, but this morning it said clear skies and sunshine all day. Whoo hoo! We did our morning thing, then packed up a party and headed to the skate park for Lex’s birthday party.

skate park

This place is awesome. They have a skate park (seen here), a playground, and a big pavilion for parties.

half pipe

A brave friend on the half pipe.

cool lex

The birthday boy is one cool dude!


Alan joined in the fun.


Brave boys on bikes


We had a few girls there too. This one forgot her bike, but luckily I packed an extra bike and two scooters. Everyone had a blast!


Lex on his new bike.


Hey party people!


Cake time!

cake closeup

The cake was an evolving process. It started with a couple of round cakes and we went from there. Lex had input, I had input, the lack of supplies had input, and we ended up here. It is supposed to look like bike wheels. What do you think?


Making wishes and blow out candles.

cake for all

Cake for everyone.


I like this group of kids. I miss being in their school every day and seeing them all.


Lex got some awesome presents!

Despite my last minute planning the party got rave reviews. One kid said it was the best he’s been to in a long long time, and another kiddo said it was an epic, EPIC party. Can’t beat that. Most important though is that Lex had a blast! Everything went well.

After the party we packed up and headed home. Everyone crashed for a bit. My parents were here and Mandy and Rachel as well. We ordered pizza for dinner, per Lex’s request (though he doesn’t eat the pizza, just the cheesy garlic bread), and enjoyed dinner in the front yard on a beautiful evening.

Happy birthday to my nine year old. My baby who is no longer a baby but a big, strong, handsome, growing boy. I love you with all my heart!

Happy Birthday Eve!!

Birthday season is upon us again and suddenly baby Eve is a big seven year old!


While most kids are chomping at the bit to be older, Eve carefully reminded us throughout her birthday weekend that she was not seven yet. Even this morning when we were having a little 6:00am celebration, she said, “Well, really I’m not seven yet!” Last night she tried to convince me that you don’t turn the new age until the very end of the day, overnight while you’re asleep the night after your birthday, I think maybe she liked being six. :)

We had a very fun, very busy weekend. On Saturday she had a bunch of friends over for a penguin party. The weather cooperated and we were able to get outside and play after cake. A good time was had by all.


We had a lovely spread. Penguin cake in the middle, veggies on one side, Goldfish and candy on the other, and blue Jello “water” in the middle. I bet you can guess where the kiddos spent most of their snacking time!


This year, on a whim, I ordered a cake from an awesome lady. I’ve known her since high school and she now does cakes professionally. It turned out beautiful (and delicious)!

picture frames

The kids started the party by making penguin picture frames. Then I took pictures of each of them with Eve, printed them, and put them in the frames.

penguin lex

Lex’s picture frame

igloo frame

The boys finished the rolled-up-newspaper-igloo project that I started with the kids a few days ago and ran out of time to finish.


Aren’t they cute?


Here’s the completed igloo. We were going to put welcome signs on them (this one and the table one on the other side of the room) but we ran out of time for that too.

igools sign

Eve made a sign directing the children to the “igools” downstairs. :)

me and alan

My friend wanted to take a picture of me and Alan. She thought Eve shouldn’t be the only one celebrating today. :) (It’s not a very flattering angle, but I’ll post it anyway.)

Since all the kids were playing in the basement we brought the presents down to open there. I don’t have any great pics though, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. :)


Everyone was VERY excited for cake!

cake laughing

This is me cracking up because Eve blew out the candles before we even finished the first word of the Happy Birthday song. I relit them quickly while we finished singing. :)

silly eve

We were all pretty silly by this point.


Just for fun (and to terrify a room full of small children), Alan jumped in with the sawzall running on high when it was time to cut the cake. Grandpa Tom got a video of it that I’ll try to post. It was hysterical and a little scary.

cake top

One final picture of the awesome igloo cake before we dug in!

cake cut

It didn’t last long!


After cake I sent them all outside!

eve sliding

Eve was really happy that the snow stuck around for her birthday this year. She really wanted to play penguins with her friends.


Penguins love to slide on their bellies!

group shot

Happy little birthday penguins!

After we said goodbye to all our friends the kids took to their corners for a wee bit of downtime. An hour later we packed up and headed to Grandpa’s for a pizza dinner and round two of cake!

more presents

Do they make non-reflective glasses? I might invest in those next time around!

more cake

Mema made a dinner birthday cake. It’s not often you get two cakes in one day!


Eve got a stable and lots of animals to play with.

We got home late and went right to bed. Everyone was beat! Sunday was spent relaxing with family and trying to restore some sense of order to the house. I also spent Sunday baking and decorating cupcakes (more cake!) for school on Monday.

bday presents

For her actual birthday I left two small presents that were beautifully surrounded by flowers from others. She is a lucky little girl.


Lex woke first and eagerly waited for the grand opening.


I think she likes her card. :)


I got her a Lego book. Basically a comic version of the Lego Movie. Everyone loves it.


I also got her some sparkly red shoes because how could I not?!


Pancakes for breakfasts. Let’s keep the sugar-fest rolling!


One more round of cake. These cuties went to school today. They should each have a penguin on top, but I quickly discovered that the toothpicks don’t fit in the cupcake carrier, so I put a few in for pictures, then took them out and put them all into a baggie. Eve put the penguins on top at school before serving them. We also made a few mini cupcakes and brought them to karate this afternoon.

This afternoon we went to karate and then out to dinner at Panera Bread. Eve’s choice. No surprise there! :) I think she had a pretty awesome 7th birthday weekend. Now let the post-party lull and sugar detox begin!