In the last few months Miles has been obsessed with "bad guys" and "mean guys." In reality, what he's talking about are super heroes, villains, and pirates. He wants to play pirate CONSTANTLY!!! And I have never in my life seen a kid who has more toy swords.
Being the demanding captain that he is, Miles called for a pirate party for his 3rd year bash and knew exactly which mates he wanted to invite. No scallywags allowed, naturally.
Port O'Halsey was outfitted with a pirate dress-up corner for all the little mates and lasses to try on the appropriate attire.
Clearly being a pirate is not something to be taken lightly.
I am still super disappointed I didn't get pictures of each of the kids dressed up individually or of one of all the them together. Darn it! So hard to get good photos when you're hosting.
Here are the last minute cake decorations I came up with... good thing we have so much pirate and sea paraphernalia. It may not be pinterest worthy but my kids LOVED it.
But c'mon you know THESE are totally pinterest worthy (especially since that's where I stole the idea from)
A happy little pirate cupcake all ready to be gobbled up : )
After their tummies were full, the little buccaneers discovered a treasure map that led them on an adventure throughout the house to find hidden treasure.
First they swam under a waterfall (blue party fringe thingy hung up from the ceiling in the hallway) into a sea filled with cannon balls they had to quickly throw onto a passing ship (black balloons gathered off the ground and thrown into the crib), tip-toed through a tide pool filled with colorful creatures they had to be very careful not to step on, walked across a thin, rickety plank over shark-infested waters, and finally found the X that marked the spot where they discovered a treasure box filled with gold and jewels (in the dryer...haha)!
I didn't get a picture of the treasure box, but here's some of the loot after it was divvied up amongst the crew.
Here's the best shot I got of (almost) everyone who came to celebrate with Cap'n Miles.
He was SO funny trying to blow out the candles. For some reason he kept sticking out his lower lip, so his breath would blow up instead of out and his bangs would fly up. I wish I had it on video. He just couldn't figure out how to blow normally so I eventually had to blow them out for him.
Our 1st Mate wasn't too excited about his pirate gear, but I had to get one picture for posterity.
Santa brought a special present early to our house this year (December 1st!) because it wouldn't quite fit in his sleigh... and the swing set installing people were booked up the rest of December.
I put a special note in the Christmas tree for the kids to find that led them around the house with clues, eventually leading out to the backyard. They were really excited when they walked out back and Lila yelled "it's a park!!!" which it pretty much is. They immediately started climbing and playing and kept it up out there for the rest of the day.
I really wanted to get the kids playing in the backyard more and knew a playset would be the perfect way. Byron lamented that his grass would die under the swings and fort, but we didn't lay down sod to have perfect grass to look it, it's supposed to be played on! Now instead of having to go out and supervise the kids in the front yard while they ride bikes several times per day, I can (try to) actually get something done around the house while they play out back (...once we teach Miles to pump on the swings).
Lila usually runs out to swing first thing in the morning and they spend hours out there every day. It's also been really fun to have playgroup here with a fun place for the kids to play outside. Money well spent for sure.
P.S.--We still haven't added the playset to our home insurance like you recommended Dad Halsey, but we did have our first injury at playgroup last week, and it was a nasty one.
I was searching for a good (and affordable!) photographer to take family pictures this year and my friend Mary really came through. She recommended Tuanahn of In Eye Photography and he did such an amazing job! I honestly love every single one of the more than 200 pictures he edited for us. I couldn't be more happy. Here are a few favorites that I haven't already posted on Facebook and didn't make the Christmas card (that everyone will be receiving soon). I honestly just want to post them all, but I know that might be going a little overboard.
He has perma-surprised eyebrows. It cracks me up! Everyone always comments on it and I think it's actually pretty adorable.
He doesn't use a binky. This is HUGE for us because my other kids were totally and helplessly addicted until the age of two. I couldn't find any for a couple of days and he was totally fine so I figured why reintroduce it. He likes to suck two fingers when he's tired or upset, which is sooooo much easier than the binky because (a) his fingers don't get lost under the couch or behind the crib and (b) he can put them in by himself, even in the car!
He has a million nicknames: Cal, Cal pal, Calvinius, Boo boo, Boogie baby, and the list goes on and on.
He's in a major grabby phase. He's brushed food off plates, knocked over candlesticks, pulled many a head of hair, sucked on everyone and their brother's fingers, and will use any object within his reach as a teething toy.
He loves his brother and sister. Both Lila and Miles can get him to laugh so hard. The other day I had Cal and Lila buckled in the car when I went back in to get Miles and heard what I thought was crying coming from the garage. I ran out to see what was the matter only to have Lila explain that she and Cal were having a laughing contest. They were going back and forth laughing as hard as they could over and over again. Talk about melting a mother's heart!
He still loves being his baby carrier, the Beco Butterfly, which I highly recommend. It's definitely his happy place. Like Lila and Miles before him, he refuses to sit in a stroller.
Cal, you bring all of us so much joy. I can't believe 7 months ago you were born as a tiny 4 lb. 9 oz. preemie. You have done so well and we can't thank our Heavenly Father enough for taking good care of you while you were in the hospital and ever since. We are so lucky to have you in our family.
Last month I turned 29. Luckily for me, I'm not worried at all about turning 30 so I won't have any problem enjoying 29 to its fullest. Thirty doesn't really seem old to me (maybe because I'll be there in a year!), it just seems like the door to a new chapter in life. In fact, I think it will be exciting to have a whole new decade of adventures ahead of me. In the meantime, I'm planning to enjoy the end of this decade of life in style... and boy did it start out with some style.
When I went to drop Lila off at school on the 18th, I found this sweet note from my hubby taped to the rearview mirror. It was so fun to look forward to the surprise all day. I absolutely loved the anticipation for the big reveal.
The "familiar event of enchantment, intrigue, and romance" ended up being a Brad Paisley concert! He is by far my favorite country singer. We'd been to one of his concerts when we lived in Peoria so we knew that he's amazing live. Byron even had some brie, crackers, and sparkling pink lemonade for a little pre-concert tailgate.
Me with the amazing hunk of a man I married.
I should probably be embarrassed about this part of the story, but I want to remember it and I don't keep a journal, so oh well. The night before my birthday we stayed up late watching TV and eating popcorn. I was so tired that I just plopped into bed without brushing my teeth (which I very, very rarely do). Byron got into bed and asked if I was going to brush my teeth. When I said no, he acted kind of weird and couldn't believe I wasn't going to brush after eating popcorn. This is from the man who only brushed his teeth once a day (in the morning) when we got married. After he kept going on and on I told him that I DEFINITELY wasn't going to brush my teeth after the big deal he was making of it. And I wonder where my kids get their stubborn streak from! He started laughing and I finally realized something was up and I better go check the medicine cabinet to see what was going on.
Sure enough, he had hidden a very sweet birthday card in there telling me there would be a scavenger hunt awaiting when he got home from work the next day. I had quite the time figuring out the first clue and Byron told me he was going to have to "dumb them down" for me if I couldn't get the easiest one. Ha!
The kids helped hide all the clues and presents around the house for the scavenger hunt so they had an absolute blast helping me go on a "treasure hunt." The presents were all really thoughtful and from my favorite store--Target. This may have been the best birthday I've ever had (Well except my 16th, which my mom went ALL OUT for. We had a DJ in my backyard and I got a car... awesome, right?)
The night was topped off by birthday smiles from this little bundle of cuteness...
...and a birthday cake with these two sweethearts (#1 sweetheart not pictured).
Byron set the bar so high that maybe I'll just give up trying to compete and just get him a card for his birthday ; )
We took part in so many fun Halloween activities the past week that by the time the 31st actually came, it seemed like Halloween had already passed. Last weekend we went up to visit my dad and attend good 'ol Redondo 2nd's party, which did not disappoint. A donut eating contest, face painting, games, trunk or treating--it was a kid's Halloween paradise! And it's always so fun to visit my old ward and catch up with the fabulous people I grew up with.
The weather was so nice that we even snuck in some slip-n-slide surfing! To all those people who always tell us we have to get Miles into surfing because his hair necessitates it: there you go... we're starting him early!
On Monday my friend Elizabeth invited us over to her house for a super fun Halloween play date. She's one of those people who you know will never disappoint. The snacks were great, the games were fun, and the company was fabulous. You know you've partied hard when you fall asleep with a lollipop in your mouth on the car ride home.
Monday night was pumpkin carving. The kids did a great job!
Our ward's Trunk-or-Treat was Tuesday night and since they had already worn their costumes several times and had plans to wear them again the next day, the kids decided to switch it up and go as a ballerina and Spiderman (Miles has an awesome double sided batman/spiderman cape and mask). Who knew Miles would look so good in tights?!?
Byron knows how to get in the Halloween spirit. Poor Cal has such a scary daddy.
I coordinate a weekly playgroup for our ward and since today was Halloween I decided to make some festive treats and plan a few games and a craft. I think everyone had a good time, but I of course forgot to take pictures. Here's the post-party evidence that the little shindig was a success.
Our completed jack-o-lanterns lighting our porch on Halloween night.
Supergirl and batman!
And there's Robin too!
The kids had fun trick-or-treating but I think they still like handing out candy even more than getting it. Hope that lasts at least a few more years!