Archive for June, 2017

Serenity’s Moana Birthday Party!

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017




Serenity’s Moana Party!

Serenity’s initial idea for her birthday was to have a nature party, with a hammock, outdoor scavenger hunts, and other fun outdoor ideas that didn’t seem like a great idea for July.  Plus, our July is crazy with travel and a family reunion, so we decided to have her birthday with her friends in May!  As we started planning though, she thought it would be fun to paint rocks like the Heart of Te Fiti from Moana, and suddenly her party was Moana themed!  She wanted a scavenger hunt to find the Heart of Te Fiti, and to paint rocks for necklaces, and most of all, a sleepover!  We also thought it would be fun to sing the music and learn to dance the hula.  Actually, Serenity’s only seen the movie twice, what she really loves about Moana is the music.  We have the soundtrack and we listened to it in the car all spring!

Since we were going to dance to the music, I thought it would be fun to have costumes!  I started trying to paint sarongs for the girls, but eventually ended up with a very simple wrap skirt made from muslin fabric painted with flowers.  I left the selvage edge to give it a little bit of the fringe feel that Moana’s skirt has.  That was going to be it, but then I found orange tank tops on clearance at Old Navy for just two dollars each that were PERFECT!  It was awesome.  The girls were so cute in their costumes, with little plumeria hair flowers!  They had a blast the night of the party, yelling, “Come on Moanas!” and changing the lyrics of the song from “I am Moana” to “We are MOANAS!”  So funny and adorable =)  And the boat Dad built in the yard was adorable for pictures, and they all played on it too.  Maia’s been using it all week, and telling everyone her Papa built a REAL boat =)

We are MOANAS! And DZ is Maui =)

The hammock! Serenity originally wanted a nature party in the yard, and we thought it was the perfect time to get a hammock at last. It was still a good idea for Moana =)


All the costumes were hung and ready for the girls when they arrived!

Dressed as Maui for Serenity’s Moana Party

The week of the party I started to get nervous because there was some severe weather in the forecast.  We have an in-ground tornado shelter, so we would have been safe, but I was not excited by the idea of getting ten children into it in the middle of the night.  We had a tornado drill in the afternoon just so they would be familiar with the shelter, but fortunately all the bad weather missed us.  We only got an hour of rain even, and no hail!  So lucky!!!!

We got to have our scavenger hunt for the Heart of Te Fiti outdoors after all.  I painted 30 rocks with glow-in-the-dark paint, and the swirl pattern.  They LOVED finding the rocks!  Everyone got three to keep, and there were a few extras that they found hours later.

We found the Heart of Te Fiti! Plus some rocks with bioluminescent algae =)

We are MOANAS! And DZ is Maui =)

We also had a necklace painting craft.  Originally they were going to paint rocks, but we decided the wooden pendants would feel better to wear.  They knotted cord to add white beads like Moana’s necklace that she got from her grandmother to hold the heart of Te-Fiti.  They were really cute!

For food, we got donuts in the shape of the Heart of Te-Fiti.  OK Country Donuts are our birthday tradition, so delicious and they make just about any shape you could want!  I made Kalua pork, we had Hawaiian roles, and lots of tropical fruit.  Pineapple, mango, watermelon.  Mmmm.  I also got chicken nuggets.  So technically we ate Hei Hei and Pua…  shhhh.   I bought coconut cups for the girls to drink from… and then I bought juice boxes.  So I turned the coconut cups into Kakamora decorations, which turned out to be a good thing because the lids did not want to stay on.

Heart of Te Fiti Donuts =)

Moana is funny!

We watched the movie too and I got snuggles from a happy birthday girl =)

The sleepover went really well!  I decorated the room upstairs to look like an ocean, and I hardly had to buy anything!  It turns out I own a LOT of blue bedding and fabric, I just got a few more blue pillowcases to finish it off.  We reused pvc pipe that was from previous projects, the photo backdrop from her third party and the Kid Wash dad built a few years back.  Easy and awesome!  I had bought some of the blue projection Christmas lights on clearance, thinking I’d add them to our Christmas decorations this year.  They made it look so awesome!  Like you were really sleeping in the ocean.  Add an ocean soundtrack and it was just right.

Serenity thought the painting of Bahari Bay from last year’s Animal Jam party was perfect for this year, the colors are a lot like the Realm of Monsters. So I hung it on the door to the new Ocean Room. =)

Testing out the new Ocean Room =)

We set up a nice assortment of legos and put out Maia’s Moana set.  The girls spent quite a bit of time playing that too.  And Serenity got Exploding Kittens as a gift from Abby and they played that late into the night.  We had invited seven girls, although only five stayed the whole night, I was really happy with how well they got along.  I hope their class manages to stay kind to each other through the middle school years. =)

In the morning, the girls had cinnamon rolls, Tamatoa slime, and Fishing to look forward to!  Fishing off the boat Papa built was so much fun!


Because of the storm, Moana’s canoe got blown off course, but she joined us for breakfast the next day!  She taught the girls some hula moves, and sang with them, and painted their faces.  It was the perfect finish to Serenity’s Moana sleepover 9th birthday!

Moana did some face painting after the dancing

Donovan’s Birthday Update!

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

DZ in April. This is our favorite tree in the neighborhood greenbelt.

My sweet Donovan is six years old!!!  He is such a joy to be around.  He is a peacemaker, always trying to make others feel happy.  Even today he gave away his first pick of Happy Meal toy and then proceeded to have a ton of fun with the one that wasn’t his original choice, and the whole family had fun the rest of the afternoon.  He is silly and funny, and his laugh just lights up your heart.  He still loves to cuddle in the rocking chair with me and has said he is best friends with his sisters.  I am so lucky to be his mama!

Totally Awesome Costume January 2017

When you think about Donovan’s favorite things, the first thing that comes to mind is GAMES.  He loves games of all kinds, and is truly his father’s son.  He plays board games with complicated strategies and really figures them out, like Legendary, Forbidden Desert, Mice and Mystics, and Above and Below.  He loved reading chess strategy books when his sister joined chess club.  He can even play reading games now, like Epic Duels.  A lot of it is memorization, but he is determined to play!  He is really good at 7 Wonders too.  He decides on a strategy and can follow it through.  He can also do surprisingly complicated math if it has to do with figuring out his score. =)

Epic Duels!

He also loves computer style games like Skylanders on the X-box or Animal Jam on the computer.  He has great focus.  On the ipad, he loves Angry Birds 2, Toca Boca Stable, and building games like Gardenscapes.

Ipads and Snuggles are a big deal in this house =)

He says his favorite toy are his roller skates =)  He also uses his scooter a lot.  He loves doing Legos too!  They are always first on his wishlist for birthdays and Christmas.  He did a couple of really big sets this year, like the Emperor’s Throne Room and the Battle on Tanodaka.

Angry Bird lego!

Lego Ninjago with his cousin Barrett =) I love his tongue sticking out when he’s working!


Since Legos are one of DZ’s favorite things, for our winter class party at our house I planned a lego party! All the kids got penguins and I put out all the white and blue legos so they could make penguin habitats. There were other stem activites too, like building a zipline car and racing lego vehicles.

Donovan joined a baseball team!  It was called T-Rex.  He really enjoyed himself, and improved so much!  At the beginning, he was a little scared of the ball, but by the end he was having actual warm ups before the game where he and his partner caught about 25% of the balls.  He could hit pretty often off the coach pitch, and he loved playing shortstop best.  My favorite part was that he was always the first kid out of the dugout with his glove on, ready to get his outfield assignment from his Daddy.  Eric was a big help as Assistant Coach.

Go T-Rex!!!

March 2017

He says his favorite show is Umizoomi, and he also watched a lot of Paw Patrol this year.  All of them enjoy the same shows, which is convenient.

Donovan loves superheroes!  He always begs for the boxed sets of I Can Read Batman, Avengers, and other superhero books and probably read more of those than any other books that he read on his own this year.  He also loves to be read 5 minute Avengers and 5 Minute Superhero stories.

Building all these superhero figures at Lowes was a big event for us last summer. DZ loves superheroes!

Donovan climbing rocks on a fun hike in Cali

Donovan loves mini golf, and he’s a good sport!

DZ still enjoys dress up, especially with his sisters =)

Chocolate Ice Cream. Sour Worms. Happy DZ.

Working on Christmas legos with sis. The reindeer jammies are one of my favorite things ever!

DZ loved working on this gallery wall with me. It has shelves for lego minifigs, especially the little ones from his Advent Calendar, and pics of his last two Halloween costumes. =) So fun!

DZ loves getting new clothes, and he loves that he gets so many from his cousins. He always asks in amazement, “Carson GAVE me this? Barrett gave this to me?!? ” Like he can’t believe his cousins love him this much =) He picked this shirt out of the newest batch of cousin hand me downs to wear first.

DZ is the Perler Bead King =)

Donovan Month by Month Pics:

Donovan in June

Donovan in July =) Sopapillas are delicious! He is my Mexican Food buddy, he is always up for burritos from Ted’s!

DZ in August. Getting ready for school!

DZ in September Lego Duplos are still fun too =)

Donovan LOVES playing Pokemon Go so much, he wanted to be a Pokemon for Halloween. He was Vaporeon. So fun!

Donovan in October. This butterfly landed right on his face. So funny!

DZ’s School Pic, September 2016

Haircut day! November

Showing me his favorite playground moves. November 2016

December 2016 DZ has an impressive pajama collection, and these Star Wars Christmas jammies that match his Daddy are a favorite! He also has the matching reindeer jammies, tigers, Darth Vader, wolves… So many cute ones!

Hugging Boxy the Snowman =)

December, dressed up for the Winter Concert

January 2017, Christmas Tea

Totally Awesome Costume January 2017

February 2017, Showing off the daffodils in his fox mask.

March 2017

DZ in April. This is our favorite tree in the neighborhood greenbelt.

Emoji Eggs! April 2017

DZ in May. At Creative Producers showing off his school work.

A little fancy for the last day of school. May 2017

Dressed as Maui for Serenity’s Moana Party

Donovan decided he wanted taking out recycling to be his chore. I didn’t realize until today that he can’t actually reach the lid on the big trash can, so this was his solution. 😍

Ready for his Skylander 6th Birthday. June 2017

Today was DZ’s actual birthday! So he got the fun of planning what we did. We had donuts for breakfast, some Forbidden Desert, a little time at the pool, a visit to the library, Ted’s with Grandma for lunch, and happy meals for dinner. Plus plenty of playtime with Serenity and Maia =) He even put Maia to bed. =)thda

May! Mostly end of school fun =)

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

Donovan picked such a cute outfit for the last day =) His shirt from Mexico.

Donovan in May

End of school fun!  Donovan’s teachers in EP had a wonderful little last day program for us.  They had every kid stand up and say something they learned in school.  Donovan told us how he learned that Rhode Island is the smallest state =)  Adorable!  Then we got to play on the playground with bubbles the teachers gave the kids.  Such a perfect end to the year!  We also got to see some of his work on display during creative producers.  They studied honeybees, and Donovan was a guard bee in the Early Primary “Hive.”  We also got to see work they drew like Michelangelo, working lying down drawing on a table above them.  Such fun!

Donovan’s baseball team improved SO much! Eric told me with a great deal of pride that Donovan was warming up with a friend and they actually caught like 25% of the throws, it was like an actual warm-up!  They are learning the rules, where the play is each time, and it’s really exciting.  Donovan is talking still about doing baseball again in the fall!  They even got to play in a little tournament, and they won a couple games.


His Thinking Cap

Donovan was so cute in the Preschool Concert =) I love his tambourine moves =)


Serenity in May:

Serenity in May

The end of school is always busy with end of the year activities.  This year Serenity’s class made state boxes for Creative Producers.  Serenity chose Alaska, and she had a great time designing the box and decorating it using her best cursive handwriting.  Her cursive is really pretty!

All dressed up for the last day!

I asked Serenity why all her clothes were on the floor, and she showed me her “hanger mobile.” =)

We also got a group picture at the last chess club meeting.  Eric had a great time running chess club for the second graders!  Serenity loves the theory of chess, solving puzzles and figuring out moves.  Competing, she’s not such a big fan of.  So we’ll see if she chooses to continue next year.

Eric planned another fun learning day for Serenity’s class!  This year, he taught statistics and a little bit of geography.  For the first hour, he divided the kids into three groups.  He worked with some kids on a dice game, having them roll the dice and record the rolls so they could learn about probability and bell curves.  The group I worked with was the shoe group.  Everyone in the room took off one shoe (which seriously bothered some of the kids).  The point was for them to work as a group to categorize the shoes, and graph them, and then draw some conclusions based on the data.  Some groups graphed by laced shoes versus slip-ons, some by brand, some by color.  They used the data to advise a shoe store owner what kinds of shoes to carry in their shop.  They also theorized how the data would be different for a group of younger kids (less laces if you can’t tie them) and older people (more fancy shoes.)  Also in winter, or summer, or if they lived in Alaska or Hawaii, there would probably have been a different assortment of shoes.  It was really interesting!  The third group stacked Oreos.  Which was fun and delicious.  They counted how many cookies they were able to stack, and recorded their records on the white board.  Then they discussed the average, mode, mean and range of their data points.  They were all so excited and engaged!  It was a blast!  The second hour of the morning, half the kids stayed inside with Eric playing a card game that taught more about probability.  I went outside with the rest to play geography frisbee golf.  He’d set up a course of orange cones labeled with different state capitals.  The goal was to throw the frisbee from one state capital to a capital in an adjacent state, and to travel from Olympia to Oklahoma City.  They could take the northern route or the southern one.  It was a blast!

Since weather interrupted our plan to go to the Richards one weekend, and Donovan had baseball games on Saturday, Serenity and I took a little girls trip to Oklahoma City for the weekend.  It was so much fun!  She started reading Percy Jackson, and we loved talking and giggling about it, as it is hilarious.  Abbey, Maggie, Serenity and I went shopping at Michael’s for craft supplies, and ended up making some really fun jewelry.  We also enjoyed high tea!  It was delicious!  The girls got adorable little tea cups that they got to keep, and the food was beautiful and yummy.  I especially liked the scone with lemon curd.  Mmmmm.

I bought two necklaces! It’s been a while since I accessorized, because babies were always pulling on jewelry.

We also had a couple of Girl Scout events, working on the First Aid badge and Brownie Hiking.  The girls practiced wrapping bandages using toilet paper, which was hilarious and fun.  Ashley taught them about poison ivy, and lots of other introductory first aid things.  For Brownie Hiking, I was prepared for a nice hike on Turkey Mountain.  At least I thought I was prepared.  Then we got there, and MUD.  We were very messy by the end but we made it =)  And Maggie came with us!

Brownie hiking day! Maggie came with us, so fun!

Ready for hiking


Maia in May:

Maia in May:
Maia loves puzzles these days.  She puts together the Paw Patrol wooden puzzles really fast!

She still loves reading.  She can make it through a lot of the early reader books all by herself.  And she recognizes words that will surprise you, long words like chocolate, even without picture clues.  It’s so fun!!!  She’s really reading her summer reading program books.

She’s getting so big!  I pulled out all the 4t clothes for her already, including my favorite little cherry shirt outfit.  She is SO cute!!!

This may be my favorite outfit ever =)

Super Maia

While we were in OKC, the rest of the family made a puzzle gallery =)


More pictures!  Even some of the grown ups! =)

We needed a picture before haircuts =) I love his hair and beard!!!!!

Eric won his destiny tournament! Now he’s “Internet Famous”

I got my hair cut! A lot!

Mermaid Lake

Teacher appreciation party =) I got to play with flowers. Doing it in the new room was so fun!

Neighborhood clean up day! The Richards were in town for a swim meet but Maggie and Everett came with us to help clean up in our neighborhood.

We are working on the multiplication tables this summer. Winky got involved in the fun…

Visits from Aunt Tina are the best!!! She took the kids to the park and creek a lot while I worked on party stuff =)

Doris came and I FINALLY got to meet her kids! I love that they stayed at my house.


Aunt Tina came for a visit.  It had been so long since she had seen Maia, she wasn’t sure how she would react, but Maia ran right too her with a big hug around the leg and a kiss.  So sweet!  She and Tina played legos and some board games, and they loved going to the park.
My friend Doris came for a visit too!  I FINALLY got to meet her kids!  Colin is just the same age as Maia, and they played well in the sandbox and with trains!  Yay!  They came to town for a Memorial Day party hosted by Aisha’s Mom, and at the party we heard a story by one couple who knew each other since they were babies.  Which got us thinking…. =)  Too funny.