Monday, June 24, 2013

Alan Turns Four!!

So Alan has been looking forward to his birthday for quite a long time. :)  And though it was a long time coming for him, he had a great day.  Here are some highlights, starting with some pre-birthday prep.

Alan was begging me for a pinata.  I wasn't going to do one, but then thought we could try our hand at paper mache.  I had never done it before, but thought it would make a good project for us. So I told him that if he helped me to make it, we could do a pinata.
He decided he did not like dipping in the glue mixture as his hands got too messy.  So he ripped and handed me newspaper strips as I dipped.  It was best, as everything else got less messy this way as well. :)  He did the majority of the decorating though!  We cut up crepe paper and glued them all over.
We worked on it for several days before his birthday and here he is with the finished product.  He had asked for a "Wild Kratts" Birthday, and this is what we came up with.
I think he was pretty proud.
But his favorite part was clearly putting the candy in. :)
And then on to his actual birthday....

We couldn't really have a Wild Kratts birthday without a creature power suit.  It isn't professional, but I think Alan likes it.  He's worn it every day since.
James loved Alan's birthday.  Every time Alan opened a gift and put it down to open another, James would get to play with it.  He was a happy guy.
Here is Alan fully sporting the creature power suit. (and the scooby doo pjs. :)
Loving his Finn McMissile washcloth. :)
So I also started making the other creature power suit, but.... it is not finished yet.  James didn't seem to mind.
He has been asking for the most random things for months now.  Like 2 lions (like they have in the nursery) and a back scratcher...random things like that.
Thrilled with his Spider-man puzzle
Ever since reading this one Curious George book, Alan has been asking for donuts for breakfast.  I figured that it could be a special treat for his he wasn't going to have enough cake right, but oh well.
And speaking of cake, here are our Wild Kratts cupcakes
We had a few friends over for a little party.
It was a beautiful day and we had a ton of fun.  Here's our other big boy enjoying the swing.
Everyone loved the pinata
And the candy. :)  Alan got the breaking hit.
We enjoyed a little lunch... complete with wild animal mac n'cheese.  I went to the store the day before his party to get the mac n'cheese, and they were sold out of the normal store brand elbow macaroni kind.  Then I noticed that they happened to have the store brand in wild animal shapes... and I thought, this would work well. :)
Some more happy guys eating
After Alan's party  we went to pick up Daddy from the airport, and he was able to be home for dinner, more cake and some more present unwrapping that evening.  
All in all, I think it was a very full, very fun filled day for this big guy.  He is super excited to be four.  He is becoming quite the little expert on things and keeps us on our toes.  He is an excellent helper and can do anything he decides that he wants to do. :)  We love him so much and are looking forward to another great and fun filled year!  Happy Birthday Alan!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

We Love Our Dad!

In honor of Father's Day, I thought I'd document a little event that illustrates what an awesome husband/dad we have here.

Earlier this week, a dad promised a little boy that he would have a squirt gun fight with him when he got home from work.  Despite the fact that it was drizzly out, that little boy was waiting for him at the mailbox with squirt guns ready when he pulled in driveway. (It was pretty cute.)

Then, this ensued...

It totally made Alan's week. :)  We are so blessed to have such a great Daddy. Happy Father's Day and we love you!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Scooper Bowl 2013

Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl® logo

So we decided to try out a new event in Downtown Boston this year.  We packed up and headed out to the Scooper Bowl!  It is a fundraiser that they hold every year to raise money for the Jimmy Fund.  You pay an entrance fee and then you get to sample as much ice cream as you could possibly want. And luckily they give pretty small scoops in the cups, so you don't have to feel bad about trying a ton of different kinds.

We rode the T in, which was half of the fun for the boys.
But it turned out they liked the ice cream too.
And we went through a lot of wet wipes.
When I was trying to decide whether to make the effort to make the trip into the city, I came across the list of flavors... I mean, how can you say no to this??  (When we got there, there were even more vendors)

Rock 'n Pop Swirl Sherbet
PiƱa Colada Ice
Icing on the Cake®
Irish Coffee Frozen Yogurt
Blueberry Shortbread
Ben & Jerry's®
Liz Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt
Peaches & Cream
White Russian
Milk & Cookies
Cherry Garcia
Blue Bunny®
Cookies & Cream
Homemade Vanilla
Chunky Chocolate Chip
Mint Chocolate Chip
Chocolate Chip
Byrne Dairy
Holy Cow
Green Monstah
Coffee Almond Fudge
MOO Tella
Espresso Chip
Tropical Rainbow Sherbert
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup
Mint Chocolate Chip
Forbidden Fudge
Rockin Poppin Cotton Candy
Nuts Over Caramel®
HP Hood®
Raspberry Granola Greek Frozen Yogurt
Double Chocolate Chip Greek Frozen Yogurt
Double Fudge Brownie
White Gold

We didn't try everything, but we tried a lot!  I think that the Baskin Robbins Blueberry Shortbread was my favorite, and you can't go wrong with Friendly's Forbidden Fudge.  There were a ton of good ones.  The boys of course liked the Birthday Celebration and Cotton Candy, and silly things like that.

Here we are with some of our friends!
It was certainly a good idea to go with a bunch of people.  The moms all took turns running to the different stands and bringing back all sorts of flavors to keep these mouths full!
These awesome friends keep track of how many cups they eat...I don't remember what the total was, but they beat their record, which was 32...
They had a few more people to help than we did, but I don't think we were too far behind.
I think we will be going back next year.  And bringing our daddy with us. :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Father Son Campout

A couple of weeks ago, Scott and Alan got to go on their first of many father-son campouts!  Alan was thrilled beyond measure to get to go camping with his dad.  While James probably would have loved it too, we decided that it might be best for him to go next year. They got a little bit of a late start and arrived right before the Priesthood commemoration fireside.  By the time that was over, and they had dinner, Alan was asking to go to sleep.  Pretty sure that has never happened. :)  He had a blast and says that his favorite parts of the campout were sleeping in the tent and roasting marshmallows.

Trying his hand at canoeing
Father and Son at the Camp Collier sign
And I understand there was some frisbee played, which probably made both boys pretty happy.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Garden

We have a massively huge backyard.  And we decided we ought to try to use some of that space to plant a garden.  We are very inexperienced gardeners, and it has been quite the process to try and get one in!  It turns out they are a lot of work!!  We figure that this is a learning year, and even if nothing grows, we will know a little better what we're doing next year. :)  

We tried to start seeds in egg cartons indoors before we could plant outdoors.  All in all, a huge waste of time!  I was constantly moving the seeds from window to window, trying to have them get enough sun, and when it was time to plant there wasn't much more than 2 leaves on all of the plants.  I figured the tomatoes and peppers would never produce fruit at this rate, so I went and bought some plants from Home Depot.  I think we will do this from now on.  But the boys had fun planting at least.
We have all sorts of wildlife that love our backyard and an especially hungry groundhog that lives under our shed.  Our few attempts at some squash plants got totally eaten by him last year, and we decided that if we were going to have a garden we needed a fence.  A friend from the ward let us come over and gave us some tips!  We decided to start small and made two raised beds this year and then just rototilled up a longer patch of ground in the back.  Originally we were going to have the fence be a little shorter and have some of the fencing lay flat on the ground (to dissuade the groundhog), but it seemed to hard and we just tried it this way this year.  We have not come up with a good "gate" solution.  Any ideas??  We are just opening and closing the wire on the corner post right now...and it seems to work ok. Not sure if that will be a good idea for the whole summer or not.
We planted beans, peas, and squash from seed.
I'm not sure how well spaced they are. :)

But that's ok.  The boys loved helping.
And then we planted some of the plants in the raised beds. 
And that is that!  We'll see if we get anything this year.  It has been a lot of work, a lot of learning, and a lot of fun so far!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Joy School Graduation

Well, this year has officially flown by!  It seems like just yesterday when we were gearing up for Joy School, and now it is over!  We have had a wonderful year and the kids have absolutely loved it.  It has been so much fun to work with the other moms and have some structure for the kids.  Sadly one of our friends is moving away, so we'll have to see whether or not we can make it work again for next year.  But this year, at least, has been a great success and a lot of fun!

The kids performed 4 songs for their families that night.  They did a great job.
Here are a couple of videos... one of Alan's "interview" and another of one of the song performances...

They took the graduation very seriously.
And were pretty proud of themselves.
I made these graduation caps and candy leis for the kids.
Additionally they got a certificate and "report card"
And we are so proud of our joy school graduate. :)