Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sharks + Unicorns

The kids half birthdays are this month, so I thought it was perfect timing to finally sit down and write about their party from last July. Haha! I can't believe my babies are SIX and FOUR. Literally, how?!?! (Insert sobbing face)

Life has been busy but my gosh it has been fun to go back through these pictures are relive that day. We had a blast celebrating the kids' joint birthday party in our backyard with a slip 'n slide this year. Er, I mean, last year.

I have worked with Mandy from One Fine Party for almost all of my kids birthday parties (since I found her, I've never stopped using her!) and my gosh she is talented! So creative and lets me be as involved in picking out themes, shapes, colors, etc as I want to be. This year was extra fun because when Mandy would send me options, I would show the kids and let them pick out their favorites. They loved that! But don't let that overwhelm you. If you want to get online and order something personalized that you don't have to put any thought into, she's still your girl! Mandy's Etsy shop One Fine Party has a ton of themes already available to shop. (See 2018 kids joint birthday party created with Mandy HERE)

I made a small balloon arch for the backdrop of these face frames. The kids LOVED these. Ryder's is especially fun since it looks like a shark is eating him. Haha. And that shark smile of his... I can't! :)

These balloon arches are so simple to make. Search for them on Amazon. So many colors and sizes and options. I was so worried they were going to be a big pain in the booty, but they are honestly so simple. And festive!

See more birthday pictures of these cute kiddies HERE.
Ryder has been into sharks for quite some time now. We talk often about swimming with the sharks when he's older. He's got big plans to go deep in the ocean in one of those cages to see the sharks in real life! I may need a few years (like 13!) to build up the courage for that. Haha. And Blake is convinced we'll also see mermaids, so she's in! ;)
I took pictures of cakes I liked into Target bakery this year. The pics I used as inspiration for Ryders cake were maybe a little bit advanced and didn't turn out *exactly* like I had planned. But he didn't seem to mind at all. ;) He loved it! I bought the sharks on top on Amazon and he got to keep those. That's always an added bonus!

I get a lot of questions about the cakes we have made at parties... The past two years we have used Target bakery. I have been very impressed with everything single cake and cupcake we've had made (this shark one being the least impressive) so I will likely stick with them. They are also very reasonably priced. We have also used King Soopers before. If the cake idea isn't too elaborate, it should be fine! Just give them 5+ days notice to get it made.

We have used Gigi's Cupcakes for previous birthday parties. VERY impressive. But a lot pricier. It may have been way pricier because I was doing cakes that were WAY larger and more elaborate though.
I had Mandy make smaller posters this year. I was trying to keep it simple. I did my best. Ha! I actually did get less things made and the set up was a lot quicker and easier for this party (in comparison to their party in 2018)
Blakely's cake was also made at Target bakery. They did all the special frosting, but I took in the unicorn cake topper (ears, lashes and horn) which I purchased on Amazon. I also got smaller cakes this year. We are always left with tons and tons of leftover cake. This year we had just the right amount!
Mandy made the unicorn banner on Blakes table. I purchased Ryders shark banner on Amazon. One of the things the kids were most excited about were the custom Gatorade labels from One Fine Party!! Haha. I wouldn't have ever guessed. Almost everything on their individual tables are custom and personalized. But they reallllly liked those Gatorade labels. Haha. So easy!
Blakes dress and Ryders shark costume are both from Amazon! Blakes headband came with her dress. So darling.
This slip 'n slide was a last minute Target purchase for the party. The kids kept asking about a bouncy castle (they had one at their 2018 joint birthday party) but I didn't want to spend the money on that again. This slip 'n slide was fairly inexpensive and the kids had so much fun! :)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet babies!!!!!!!
Photography by Jenna Sparks
See birthday balloon garland photo shoot HERE

Huge SHOUT OUT to Mandy from One Fine Party for helping me create such fun birthday party themes each year! You're amazing and a pleasure to work with. Cheers to many more birthdays to come! (She also does teacher gift, holiday themed parties/gifts, etc.)
See joint birthday party created with Mandy in 2018 HERE

I haven't been adding specific links to items on blog or even on Instagram because I felt like the links were expiring and then you guys weren't able to find the items you wanted anyway. So I thought it would be easier to say where things were purchased and then you can search for yourself instead of clicking on links that lead you to nothing.

If there is ever a specific link or item you are looking for, just email, text or DM me and I'll send you my links! :) Thanks so much for your support, xo

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

What's Up?

It's been a minute since posting anything to my blog. It definitely took a backseat when I started school back in October and ya know what, I've missed it! I miss writing and having my little outlet and connecting with people. But I am SO excited to be working and doing what I love!

You may remember I went back to school last October to get my Esthetician and Lash Extension licenses. Now I am working in DTC as the lash specialist at a beautiful med spa and I love it! But I can't say it's been completely smooth. I have had a hard time leaving the kids. I thought I would eventually get used to it, and definitely thought I would feel better about leaving them once I was out of school and working. But, NOPE. Us mamas have it rough. SO tough to find a balance that works for us, our kids and our entire family dynamic. So I'm still figuring all of that out and trying to organize my schedule so I can be with the kids as much as possible.

On top of completing school, going through state boards and adjusting to my new job, we decided to finish the basement! It was a slightly spontaneous decision. We always knew we'd finish it eventually but decided to go for it! We use that space every single day and thought it would be fun to finish it and enjoy it.

July is always insanely busy for us but this July was just CRAZY insane. We went from celebrating the 4th of July to jumping on a plane with all three kids to IL for a family reunion on Tims side. Looots of driving and traveling! Then back home to celebrate Ryder's birthday. I always try to make their actual birthday special, so we decided to spend the day at Lava Island with some friends and go out for lunch together. I think he had a blast! Then Tim and I went BACK to IL for a family wedding. Then back home to continue with basement shenanigans and a big birthday party for the kids (we did a joint party for Ryder and Blakely) and then about a week later was Blakes actual birthday... PHEW. It was a lot, haha. Blake decided she wanted to go to the zoo to feed the giraffes on her birthday. So the night before her birthday I drove to the Springs with the kids and we had a little pizza party and sleepover at my dads house. The zoo was so much fun! Blakely was too scared to feed the giraffes haha but she did pet one! My big girl! :)

GAHH, I'm tired just from writing that all out. LOL So July was insane. And then if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen on my stories that I recently discovered I have IBS and so that has completely changed my life (hopefully for the better eventually because I can better take care of my body and not be in pain anymore, fingers crossed.) It's all been very overwhelming and I'm exhausted!

But we are so excited for the basement to be completed (this week!) and look forward to getting all the kids used to their new school schedules. That's another thing I have been struggling with. Ryder being at school all day is just such a huge change for us. I can't believe how hard it has been on me! I just miss him so, so much. And Blake starts Pre K next week and although I know she's ready for it and excited about it, I am so sad to send my bitty baby off to school. (Insert sobbing face.) My mama heart is strugglin, guys! LOL

Anyway, that's what we've been up to lately! We are trying to plan a couple trips with the kids (so strange to have to plan trips around specific school schedules now!) so Tim and I are really looking forward to some special time with the kids and traveling. I'm hoping the rest of 2019 is a tad slower and a little bit more of a chill experience. Ha. I feel like I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off for months and months!! 2019 has been a full-blown whirlwind of emotions and new experiences. Just gotta keep on truckin'. And I truly thank God for all he has blessed our family with. So much to be thankful for.

Much love to you all. So glad to have you here! :)

Monday, July 1, 2019

Ryder Paul is SIX - Blakely Gray is FOUR

HOORAY!!! It's July which means lots of birthday celebrations for us! :)
July is always jam-packed for us with lots of cake! Haha.

I want to keep this kids birthday parties a bit simpler and smaller this year. I hope that day is nothing but FUN for the kids, so I decided to get some photos out of the way ahead of time so I don't feel the pressure the take the time away from family and friends who are here for their joint birthday party to make sure we get a great shot of the kids in their birthday getup!

I bought these balloon arches on Amazon and OMG, they're cute!!! The kids loved them and it was loads of fun setting these up! Jenna came over and we spent time setting up the balloons while having a pizza party for the kids. And then when we were set up, we'd break for pics. And then we'd set up the next balloon arch! Really fun and no pressure because we aren't on a time crunch before a big birthday party with cake, food, etc, etc.

Blakely's unicorn dress (which is seriously SO cute) is from Amazon and came with the headband. I was searching for something similar on Etsy and couldn't pull the trigger because of the prices. Yikes! So I thought I may as well look on Amazon and what do ya know?! Almost an identical dress for a fraction of the cost! She loves this thing. It might never come off. Ha!

Ryder's shark shirt is from Amazon as well. I let him see a few and this is the one he wanted for his birthday pics. :) His big shark stuffed animal is from Ikea. We have several stuffed animals from Ikea and I must say that they hold up well!
Ummm... ok. Why does she look 16?! (Ugly cry)
I got the kids special cookies from Eileens. If you haven't had Eileens cookies, you are truly missing out in life! These things are the best (and maybe worst) thing to happen to me. HAHA. So, so delish. Blake got little unicorn cookies and Ryder got shark cookies. They really are so dang cute.
These two love to laugh. And it warms my mama heart!!
Annnnd, they look like they're at Prom. lol
Photography by Jenna Sparks
(Thanks to Jenna for making these shoots so fun for me and the kids! We love you!)

Friday, March 29, 2019

Spring Break in Steamboat

The kids had been counting down the days for this ski trip! Ryder and Blake had been "packing" and getting their toys and things ready for this trip for weeks. HAHA. They're so cute. Ryder spent a lot of time drawing and coloring a map for us so we would know how to get to the mountains and ski. (Insert the biggest heart eyes on planet Earth.)

So I decided I was going to brave the mountains by myself with R&B (Tooth had to stay home). And then I basically forced my best gal pal to join in on the fun! LOL She was legit forced. Haha. Love you, Heather.

But seriously, Heather and her two oldest kiddies (same ages and Ryder and Blake) were so, so kind to join us! We had so much fun and I think it made the trip that much more exciting for the kids! Our kids are besties and this was some much needed fresh air and time together. Thank you Jesus for this amazing friend you've brought into my life. And thank you for our children growing up together (we live two houses away from each other). What a blessing.

The first second we got there, the kids were begging to get into the pool. Haha. So to the pool we went!
I don't know about you guys, but I'm NOT a big fan of swimming when it's winter. Eww. So cold and unnecessary lol. I'm also not a big fan of hot tubs. Just eww. And WHY is it sooooo fun for people to walk through snow to jump into a blazing hot mini pool?? I don't get it.

We spent the night hanging at the hotel and ordering in pizza. The best memories!

The next morning we took the kids to ski school! It was the first time skiing for Ryder and Blake and they were soooo excited! I had shown them a YouTube video of a two-year-old skiing. This kid was like a PRO. Haha. My kids kept saying "why isn't he falling? He's going so fast! Wow, he's good!" Bahahaha. So funny. Anywho, they were super excited about the idea of skiing and looking forward to the entire experience.

Here are the kids waiting patiently outside the ski school. #cuties
I can not handle this freaking kid. OBSESSED.

Heather and I went skiing while the kids were in school. Neither of us had been skiing in at least six years! We've been busy having babies and taking care of tiny little kids. It was so fun to hit the slopes. We were so lucky with the most beautiful weather. Heather was so patient with me - hahhahaha - because I ski slower than any other human alive. HA! But in my mind I'm going soooooo fast! ;)
Thank you again to my sweet friend for dropping everything to join me on this trip. Love you, HBraasch.

After a few runs and a few beers, we went to pick up the kids from ski school.
My kids were so excited to see me and tell me ALL about their adventures that day. My heart was so full!!! I can't tell you how happy my mommy heart was on this trip. I am just so grateful for this life and these people. (Insert sobbing happy mommy face.)
Look at these adorable and happy faces!! :)

We treated the kids to some yummy treats after their long day and sheesh, I just love these kids.

The next day, we decided to take the kids tubing!
Here we are waiting for our shuttle to pick us up. Super excited! The first time for many of us to go tubing. And when I asked the kids to smile, Blake posed like this and said "NAILED IT" BAHAHABAHAHAHA I love my mini best friend! :)


Eating snow. We had the prettiest morning with light flurries. A mountain dream!

After waiting patiently for our shuttle and then getting on a long, bumpy bus ride to get to the tubing hill, we made it! It was honestly so much fun. The kids all said they liked this better than skiing. Haha. So much fun for all ages!
It was loads of fun and the best weather! So grateful for this crew.

We made some amazing and wonderful memories with some of our favorite people. My heart is full. I hope to have many more winter memories like this with friends and family.