Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy 7th Birthday Chloe Grace!

On November 15th. my little Chloe Grace turned 7 years old. WHAT?!? Where have the last 7 years gone? I know I say that every single year, but this year, I mean it more than that previous 6 years ;) It's not fair that my little china doll with a head full of jet black hair who once depended on mommy for EVERY SINGLE THING is now a beautiful little girl who is 7 years old with 2 missing teeth and fiercely growing independence.
the day she was born

7 years later

I couldn't be more proud of her though and I could bore you to tears sharing every last detail about her personality with you so I will instead skip to the fun stuff - her very first slumber party birthday party!
I agreed that first grade would be the year that she could have a real slumber party and boy did we go all out for it! It was a "Glamp-Out" theme... meaning girlfriend wanted some glamorous camping...meaning she is like her mommy and there is no way she is going to sleep outside under the stars when she can sleep inside and be really comfy.
So here is how we converted our living room and dining room into a cool glamp-out for her and 5 of her closest little first grade girlfriends.

Here is the beginning of the transformation. David brought home the massive Chick-fil-A tent from work. We moved all of the furniture back and out of the living room and set the tent up. Then, to make it girly, we pinned up the sides of the tent...because every tent needs sides so that little brothers can't see what's going on inside the tent. Below is the picture of the entry side of the tent...

Next, I had to decorate the inside of the tent because you know the real sky has the moon and stars...natural light. Well when you glamp out, you make everything just work out for you so here is that process...

Next was the decorations. Keeping to an outdoor theme, we decided dinner would be a hotdog roast and we would let the girls also roast marshmallows for s'mores. We also had jars of "outdoorsy" food set up of gummy WORMS, STARbursts, ROCK candy, and ACORNS (vanilla wafers and hershey kisses) and BUG juice to drink. We also of course had the birthday cake which was a horse themed cake to match her invitations that said for the girls to "saddle up and ride on over for a glamp out..."

Ella - love this child - she knows what she wants, has great manners, and is very decisive

see, I told you Chloe is not a "camping" type girl, she is covering her eyes from the fire while Ella and Hannah roast their hot dogs. She said it was just "too much" for her eyes. Hahaha. And yes, before you ask, they are using the gas grill but it is broken so David just threw some wood in there and lit it and we used it instead of a fire pit. 

Next up after dinner was the first activity. Since it was a sleep-over, each girl was given a pillowcase with her name written on it in a super cute font and they were allowed to use fabric paint and stamps to decorate the back of their pillowcase. They LOVED this idea! Some girls didn't let one inch of their case go unstamped on the back while another looked at me and said "Mrs Kelly, I think less is actually more." So funny! Another planned activity was the nail polish game. We put 10 different colors of nail polish in a pillowcase and we all sat in a circle (yes, I say "we" because I am still cool enough to be invited to the glamp out). The first girl picked a polish out of the case placed it on a book and spun it around. Whoever the top landed facing had to choose a folded up piece of paper with a number on it and that number is how many nails she had to have painted that color. It was a fun game. I think the most colors on one girl's nails was 4. Chloe ended up with light pink, dark pink, and purple. They wanted to do it again for their toes, but this mama was getting tired and we still had one more activity to do. Next up was Mad Libs. These girls LOVE their Mad Libs. Oh my goodness. They did all of the ones I printed off and then luckily Chloe got some for the birthday because they opened those and started doing them too.

grabbing for a stamp

Kinsley - friend from Kindergarten who is in a different class this year but still a good friend

We then went back to party things and had cake and did the piñata. Fun times! Oh, and yes, for her birthday, we threw all allergy rules out the window for this one night and let the child party down with the rest of the girls and normal food. She loved it...until the next few days. And then we had LOTS of reflux and some pain, but she didn't regret enjoying her birthday and I didn't either. We will do things like this only on holidays or very special occasions.

silly pose - Kinsley, Chloe, Emily, Ella, Hannah, and Hannah

Emily and Chloe

Kinsley with Chloe

Ella with Chloe

Chloe with Hannah - these 2 have been friends since the 2 year old class at Parent's Day Out

Brody in his jammas too - and he actually was the one to get the piñata open!!!

Finally, it was bedtime...or so I thought. Ha - two girls stayed up until 1 AM and the other 4 stayed up until midnight. Me? I fell asleep somewhere in-between the two times. 

The watched the movie The Croods and then Teen Beach

Breakfast the next morning was bacon and eggs

After all the girls left around 10:00 AM, this mommy collapsed while David took Chloe and Brody to the park and out to lunch. He let me rest and be alone in order to somewhat recover from the festivities. I had no idea how exhausting a slumber party could be... when the last girl left, Chloe asked if she could have another slumber party in a few weeks. My reply? Maybe in a few years. Whew!!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Trip To "That State Up North"

When I lived in Columbus, Ohio all of the crazy OSU Buckeye fans would not even say the M word (Michigan). Instead, they would refer to it as "that state up north." Haha! I thought that was a little extreme - especially given that I was born and raised in NC - home of UNC/Duke rival. However, they took it very seriously and I learned quickly to never say the M word.

Several weeks ago though, I took my first trip to Michigan...Grand Rapids area to be exact. My younger brother and his family recently moved there from Seattle and were expecting baby #2. I was all set to go up and help with my niece while my SIL went to the hospital to have the new baby. I was supposed to leave on 10/25 and come back home on 11/2. However, the best laid plans always have a way of changing.

The Friday that Fall Break started I ended up flying to Grand Rapids as she was already dilated to 3 and 60% effaced. Sure that she was going to go into labor that weekend, we all agreed that I should come early and stay 10 days...better safe than sorry, right? Well, despite the walking, yoga, taking care of a 3 year old, errand running, baby in the birth canal, and contractions, my newest niece did not make her entrance into the world during my 10 day stay.

Disappointment was the word for the day as I checked in at the airport to return home. I couldn't believe I was leaving and not getting to meet baby Ruth. I so wanted to hold and snuggle this newest family member and help sweet Adalynn adjust to having a new baby at home. But, God knew this baby's birthday long before we ever did (by the way, she was born the day after I was originally supposed to arrive - haha), and it was in His perfect timing! She was born perfect and healthy and BEAUTIFUL!

And as a major plus for me, I got to spend 10 glorious days getting reconnected with my 3 year old niece Adalynn, my brother who I hadn't seen in 2 years because of deployments, and my sister-in-law who is truly like a sister to me. I couldn't have been more blessed!!!

on the way to the neighborhood park

me and my little brother after dining at the local Ethiopian restaurant...loved getting to 
introduce him and his family to a culture that I love so much

Adalynn having a blast in the mud - she's getting ready to travel those muddy roads in Ethiopia when her Aunt Kelly, Uncle David and Cousins Chloe and Brody in several years :)

A little dollar store fun on a rainy day - doing some squats too - anything to help 
baby Ruth make her way into the world while I was there...