July 24, 2016

Avengers Assemble: Another Birthday

When Tommy turned 5 and I planned the epic Star Wars party of a lifetime, I told him that year we weren't going to do any big parties until he was 10.  We had plenty of big parties every single year of his life up until that point and I thought we could think of other fun birthday things to do.

And last year we didn't have a party.  We went to Six Flags for his 6th birthday and ate pizza and cupcakes with some friends after church.  I did good for a whole year.

But then, his birthday was coming up and I got the party itch and I just had to scratch it.  I sort of talked him into an Avengers party.  I mean, he loves all of those supeheroes, but maybe not nearly as much as his mama.  But he said he knew it would be fun because I throw the best parties ever - and that made my party-throwing heart just beam with pride.  So, I set off on my Marvel loving ways and began planning an epic Avengers party for my seven year old.

What's great about him being seven, is that he can totally help with party decorations.  
 Like any party planner, I scoured Pinterest for ideas and made some fun superhero paper lanterns.
The Thor paper lantern was my favorite since I got to put a red cloth napkin on it as a "cape."  I'm only slightly passionate about party decor.
 My awesome friend Lindsey made some cookies for the party.  The Ironman hands and Captain America shields were my most favorites!

 I made cupcakes and had some of my favorite Tommy pictures on display.
The great thing about this party was that we had so many toys and costumes that I basically had party decor covered.  Between our superhero action figures and the outfits they dress up in all of the time, I had almost everything I needed.  I displayed all of our costumes on the wall and I thought this was such a fun backdrop!

Pinterest showed me how to make a shield out of strawberries, blueberries and marshmallows to look like Captain America's shield and I loved how it turned out!
 I made "Hulk's Power Punch" and "Gamma Ray Grapes."
And cheese squares with pretzel sticks as "Thor's Hammers."
And pizza - Tommy's favorite.
Only a really big nerd will understand the reference to the "Sha-warma" pizza.  Again, I had way too much fun with this party.
 I thought it would be fun to do a couple of games.  I had this brilliant idea of letting the kids smash a bunch of ice cream cones like Hulk.
And it was brilliant, except for the fact that it only lasted about 2.5 seconds and the game was over!  Kids definitely know how to Hulk Smash!
 Our dear friend, Uncle Nate, volunteered to be the bad guy so all the kids could work together and capture him.
 We had a pinata which sadly broke before we even let the kids hit it! But there was candy in the end and the kids didn't seem to mind!
 Tommy's best buddy Matthew that lives down the street.  It's great having a best friend that only lives a few doors down!
And his "best girl" Callie who gave him a Star Wars blanket for his birthday, which is his new favorite thing ever.  But mostly because it was from her. 
 My big boy has come a long way since his first couple of birthdays where he would burst into tears when we sung Happy Birthday to him. 
 And he scored with some super awesome presents - Star Wars and superheros alike.  His face says it all.
I may have broken my "no parties until he's 10" rule, but I mean, you only turn 7 once right?  We all had a great time and I have officially decided that someone needs to throw a superhero party for me.  I think a grown up version of this would be so fun!
Happy Birthday to my big boy Tommy!  I still can't believe you're seven years old!  I hope you always remember how loved and treasured you are to us and that you have these fun memories to look back on for always!

July 7, 2016

July Adventure

Having boys means that almost everything can turn into an adventure.  I've learned a lot about adventure and exploration from Tommy and Jacob.  On the 4th of July this year, we met up with Todd's long time buddy Richard and his family out at a campsite in Kerrville, and spent the day in the sunshine on the river where adventure was waiting for all of us. 
Both Tommy and Jacob thought tubing on the water was pretty much the best thing ever.  That is until Richard took out his canoe and they got to ride in a real live boat and rowed down the river together.  Jacob acted like the captain and directed all of them on where they needed to go.  Tommy spent the day scouring the shallow waters for treasures like rocks shaped like the Millennium Falcon and lost snorkels.  He held tiny frogs in his hands and tried his hand at skipping rocks.  I'm not a huge fan of rivers and lakes and swimming with living creatures, but my boys don't seem to mind the fish or slimy mud.  I had to let myself relax as they tripped over rocks or nearly fell out of tubes and realize that all of the falls and scrapes that come with days like that are part of adventuring.
Part of the day was spent at the pool which is more my speed with it's clear waters and lack of living things and all.  My oldest will now get into a pool since he's tall enough to walk in it, and was brave and put his head under the water several times.  Teaching him how to swim and being patient with his fear of deep water is an ongoing challenge, but I can see where he is trying and he wants to break through and figure out how to do it.  And my other son was angry that I wouldn't let him go into the water on his own, completely unaware that he needs to learn to hold himself up.  He was jumping off the sides of the pool into our arms and takes on the pool with fearless abandon.  They continue to be completely opposite in personality and my mother's heart hopes that as they continue to grow up together tat they will learn from on another's fears and struggles, goals and accomplishments and build each other up.
We ate hot dogs and got a little sunburned, because sunscreen, no matter how many applications, still loses to south Texas sunbeams in the middle of the summer. 
 And of course, a 4th of July celebration wouldn't be complete without a little saber fighting.

On the way home, we found this cute car shop that had an old time gas station out front for fun photo-ops.  Never one to miss a photo-op, I asked that we turn around and get a few fun pictures.

July is notoriously hot in our neck of the woods and after a full day in the sunshine, we opted to watch fireworks from our living room sofa in our pajamas and the comfort of air conditioning.

Perhaps every year that we celebrate the birth of our nation, don our red, white and blue outfits and pop fireworks, I grow more grateful for our country, our freedoms and the blessings we have because we live in America.  I'm thankful that our day included long time friends, sunshine and adventure.