Monday, March 26, 2012

Gager Visit 2012

Have I ever mentioned before that I have been blessed with exceptional in-laws?  Especially the women.  My husband's mother is one of my best friends, and my husband's brother had the good sense to marry Carrie, who is just as wonderful as she could possibly be.  And if I didn't already love all 4 of them for their own merits, which I did, they all love my children to distraction.  How could I not love them even more, for that?  So it was with GREAT anticipation that I looked forward to my in-laws friends coming up for a visit.

They came up the Thursday before the party, and stayed through the weekend.  Friday, there was baking and cake-decorating and playing and exploring and dinner at Abuelo's.

Saturday was the party, and in the morning everyone chipped in to get everything ready.  Carrie in particular was a God-send.  She did ALL of the food prep while I ran around like an idiot frosting cupcakes, sewing ruffles, and I forget what else.  And everyone else helped out with everything else.  

Sunday was a relaxed day.  We stacked all the new toys and clothes off to one side, because I just wasn't ready to tackle finding homes for everything.  Then Papa and Gigi put together the girls' new easel, and Elora got to spend the morning painting. 

In the afternoon, the guys went for burgers and beer while Carrie, Staria, and I took the girls to see their first in-the-theater movie: the Lorax.  It was awesome.  Kaylie got a bit restless during the movie, so I spent part of the time standing with her at the back of the theater, but Elora was riveted the entire time.  And at the end, when the truffula tree started to grow, Elora jumped from Gigi's lap, bounced up and down, and said over and over, "It's growing, it's growing! Look, mama, look!  It's growing!" loud enough for everyone in the entire theater to hear her.  It was the cutest thing I have ever seen.   

James and Carrie had to head back Monday morning, but Staria and Jimmy stayed with us another day.  Brandon was able to get off from work early, so we all loaded up and headed to Virginia Beach to see the Aquarium.  

It was really neat.  They had animals from all over, but they really focused on the local ecosystem and natural history. They had exhibits on everything from local geology to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.  Did you know that Chesapeake Bay was formed in part by a large impact crater?  Or that the Chesapeake Bay watershed includes 6 states, ranging all the way up to New York?  Neither did I, until we visited the Aquarium.  Too cool.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Birthday Party

Elora didn't wear the Jessie pants that I made for her, because the weather has been too hot for pants.  Instead, I broke out my sewing supplies the night before the party and added a cow print ruffle to an existing denim skirt.  (She did wear the pants when it got cooler in the evening, but we didn't get any pictures.)

The first part of the party was spent outside, because the day was gorgeous.  There were two other children at the party (Gracie, who is nearly two, and Sydney, nearly five) and they made good use of  the sunshine and toys while the grown-ups sat around chatting, munching, and refereeing disputes. 

You might notice that Kaylie isn't in any of these pictures; she went down for a nap shortly after the party got started, due to poor planning on my part.
  Then Elora got to open her gifts.  There were a lot of them.


And then Kaylie was awake and it was time for decadent, sugary overload cake.  Elora had a carrot cake covered in cow print and topped with her miniature Toy Story character figurines and three giant candles.  For Kaylie, a chocolate cupcake with a pretty pink candle. 


Elora, after going on and on for months about carrot cake, ate very little of her cake and all of her frosting. (The black frosting turned a few tongues black--oops!)  At first, Kaylie wanted nothing more to do with her cupcake than to squish it between her fingers, and smear it on her seat.  Then Papa managed to get a little taste of it in her mouth and suddenly those gooey, chocolatey fingers were getting stuffed in her mouth.

By the time she was done, everything within her reach needed to be cleaned: the chair, the chair cover, her bib, her dress, her head band, her hair...even Gigi's shirt.

So it wasn't until after a bath that we tackled the second mound of gifts in the living room.

Did I mention that there were a lot of gifts??  We were all rather overwhelmed.

Elora's favorite was either the Buzz Lightyear or the pretend play doctor's set, and Kaylie's was the sweet little baby doll.

Whew!  I think it's safe to say that the party was a rousing success.  Thanks to everyone who came!  A HUGE thanks to everyone who helped!  You know who you are.  :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Cleaning and Updates

Has spring made it to you, yet?  Because it's definitely starting to feel like spring here.  The weather has been mild enough that the grass has turned green again, and the past few days it's been 70, sunny, and glorious.  We've had the heater off and the windows open. I love it!

Random pics of the girls: Kaylie was cold when she woke up from her nap, so I wrapped her up before setting her down to watch the last little bit of Elora's afternoon TV.  Then, of course, Elora had to be wrapped up in a blanket, too.  This was before the glorious spring weather got here.
 We've recently crossed a few major items off of our "to do around the house" list: we finally have curtains up in the living room and den, there's finally a second shelf up in the girls' room, I finally have shelves above my desk (pictures later), and we finally, FINALLY got a new media center!  Ok, the curtains first.

Brandon hung curtain rods above both windows in the living room several months ago, but I only had curtains for one of them.  The other stayed bare for months while I looked half-heartedly for new ones.  In anticipation of having company for the party, I decided it was high time to do something about it and found 2 sets of these at TJ Maxx for only $15 each.

Did you see that MSRP? I got $120 worth of curtains for $30.  Man I love that.
 I was not in love with the dark brown panels at the bottom, so I took them off.  That made the curtains the perfect length for the window at the back of the house, but too short for the one at the front.  I went back to the store, hoping to find a third set like the ones I got before, but found these instead.

Another set for only $15.
The color in the picture looks really different, but in reality the greens are so close that you have to really look to see a difference.  I chopped 10" off the bottoms of the new curtains, and sewed them onto the bottoms of the second set of the originals, hemmed all my raw edges, and viola!

Perfect curtains for my living room, and on the cheap, too.  Bonus?  That last set that I bought was perfect for the window in the den.  I just had to have my honey put up another curtain rod for me.  I think, though, that I am going to re-do the tops with grommets, to make them more like the ones for the living room.  (I love how easily the grommets move over the curtain rod.)

Aaaaaannnnnnd, the media center.  We've been wanting to replace the old TV stand ever since we moved in here, and discovered that the glass shelf for it had been shattered in the move.  Now we've done it.

Elora was watching Word World.
We already had the shelves on either side, and the new piece is a bit darker than they are.  Still, I think they all go well together, don't you?  I still haven't arranged all my little knick-kacks to my liking, but it still looks so much better than it did.  Between the media center and the curtains, that room actually looks finished now.  Hooray!

Just in time, too.  Our family will be here tonight, and the party is on Saturday.  Now, to finish up my cleaning and organizing...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jessie's Outfit & New Stuff

Elora's made-by-Mama birthday gift is a Jessie costume to wear at her party, and any time she wants to play dress up.  

I took a cotton knit shirt from Target and a pair of jeans and added to them.

The binding on the collar, the red loops, and the cow print on the jeans were added by hand.  The rest was machine stitched.   I wasn't trying for an exact duplicate of Jessie's outfit, just an approximation.  For example, I didn't even try to bring the yellow panel down to points on the shirt.  She already has a little pair of brown boots, and I ordered a hat from The Disney Store to complete the look.

Edit:  Ack!  I just realized that I forgot the gray buttons on the shirt.  Should I add them, or just let it go?

So excited for the party---this weekend!!