Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reed's Party

When we decided to go to Legoland this year, part of the idea was that Legoland tickets and some spending money would be their birthday gift. I wasn't planning on doing a birthday party for either boy (other than a small family celebration). And then, of course, this year both boys got invited to many, many birthday parties. And they were both so excited about their birthday parties and planning all year long what they wanted for their birthday parties and finally had made good enough friends to have birthday party gifts...and I didn't have the heart to tell them no. I decided that if I could do their birthday parties inexpensively, I could do their birthday parties. I'm happy to report that each birthday party was under $20. Woot to the woot.

Reed had decided he really, really wanted to have a K'nex birthday party. After I found zero ideas online I asked him how he felt about having a K'nex/lego party. He was so sweet about and told me that okay but he would really love to do more k'nex than legos--and I knew it was time to get creative. I found several lego party ideas, then adapted them to fit our k'nex needs. Boom. Problem solved. We started the party in what worked out to be the perfect first activity: building. We challenged each kid to build their own k'nex car. The activity was great because the kids could start working on building as soon as they arrived while we were waiting for everyone else to come. A few friends hadn't ever built with K'nex before, so Ryan and I quickly joined the building party and helped everyone get a frame they could work from.

After we all built our cars, we went out to the driveway to have a car race! Asher's car would only drive in circles (seriously) and made him so upset. Some cars were great and some cars were not as great--but we all had fun! Our next game was a K'nex relay. We had two teams, two bowls of K'nex, and two spoons. They had to use the spoons to transport the K'nex across the room, where they'd transfer the K'nex to empty bowls. Dolly started helping the losing team halfway through by stealing K'nex out of their bowl and transporting the K'nex for them--and thank goodness, because they were quite far behind! After the race, we gathered in a circle and gave each kid a pile of small K'nex pieces. They had to use a drinking straw to suction to the K'nex, then lift it into a cup! That game was a touch tricky. And finally, we played "keep up" with a bagful of balloons! At one point during keep up, I looked over at the couch to see that Reed had stopped playing to snuggle up next to Ryan for a minute. He loves Ryan and can't stay out of Ryan's zone :)

After games, we had cupcakes--yum. Reed chose strawberry cake with vanilla frosting and mini chocolate chips on top. Then it was time to open gifts. Reed has some very generous friend and was super excited about everything. I think the cutest gift was from his friend Audrey. Word on the street is that Audrey has a crush on Reed. She saw a sweater at the store that she was sure he would LOVE and just had to get it. And he really does love it. He wore it out caroling with the scouts a few days later and Audrey happened to be caroling, too--she was pretty happy to see Reed in his sweater :)
After presents, we ended our party in what has become a Hambly family tradition: dance party style! We had so much fun. Happy birthday, Reed!!

(The sweater :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Giving Thanks


Because we are planning on doing so much traveling over Christmas, we decided to host Thanksgiving at our house this year so we could stay home! This was our first time hosting and we had a great time. My mom, dad, and sister Mandi drove to Vegas to spend the holiday with us.

The day before they came, the boys and I decided to make place cards for everyone. Well, I decided to make place cards for everyone and talked the boys into helping. I found a template online and traced boat shapes onto paper. The boys did all the cutting, then I hot glued our little boats together. The boys worked together to make the masts and sails. Then, for quiet time, Ashie decided tomake everyone a little place card. Each note had the person's name, their initials, a heart, and "I love ____" (insert name of person). They were so cute!

When Ryan got home from work, he and I started cooking. We made applesauce, a pumpkin pie, an overnight breakfast casserole, and started our chocolate cheesecake. Then we set to work on dinner. My parents and Mandi soon arrived, so we stuck dinner in the oven and piled into the car to go geocaching!  At every stop I forgot to put Lila's jacket on. Mom fail. Eventually we were ready to eat, so we headed home for dinner. Post-dinner, Ryan and my dad went to a car lot in search of a car for Kayla.

Ashie had been pining to make oreo turkeys. Honestly, I don't even know where he got the idea. I sent the supplies to make the turkeys to his preschool party; but, since there are only three in our joy school group, we had quite a lot of extra supplies. So, the night before Thanksgiving while Ryan and Grandpa went to a car lot the rest of us made more turkeys! Lila did her best to consume as many treats as possible.

On the actual day of Thanksgiving, we had a superb breakfast of breakfast casserole and my most successful cinnamon rolls to date. Seriously, I kind of nailed it. Then we went to this awesome new park near us to get a lot of wiggles out and burn some calories before the feasting continued. The boys both brought their bikes and loved showing off for Grandma and Grandpa. We even ran into a few friends at the park!

When we got home, we put in a movie then got to business: time to cook! Here is what we cooked and ate for Thanksgiving: ham (because I'm a weirdo and don't care about the turkey tradition, mainly because turkey isn't great), stuffing (my dad's favorite Thanksgiving dish), applesauce (homemade and crazy good), sweet potato souffle, regular rolls, orange rolls (which were a little overdone but still good), cheesy potatoes, and homemade creamed corn. As you can imagine, we were all super full when dinner was over.

We spent more time playing, then let Reed open his birthday presents from Grandpa and Grandma. He got a lego advent calendar, which he was crazy excited about. We eventually let the kids have chocolate cheesecake (Asher) and pumpkin pie (Reed) (Lila had bites of both). When we put them to bed, we played way to many rounds of Tenzi, a game my mom brought, ate our own servings of dessert (that chocolate cheescake...daaaaaaang), and watched The Giver.
We hadn't planned to do any Black Friday shopping, but when 9 a.m. rolled around my mom mentioned how weird it felt staying home and how it was kind of sad not to be out shopping--so we went out shopping! Because most of the sales had gone live Thursday night, the stores were empty. And there were still a ton of Black Friday deals available! We had fun keeping the tradition alive.

All too soon it was time for our visitors to leave so Grandma could go to work. We had a great Thanksgiving!

(Lila's solo dance party)

(I don't even remember how this came to be.)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmastime is Here Part 2: Lego Nativities


The first day of December happened to be a Monday--which was perfect, because we had a great idea for an FHE Activity: drawing our own nativities! Of course, as soon as I mentioned my grand idea the boys started complaining because they were busily playing legos an did NOT want to stop. So I edited my idea and we decided to build lego nativities!

I originally planned on doing a team of Asher + me and Ryan + Reed (our standard), with me running interference on Lila. But in a surprise twist, the boys decided to work together and actually cooperated with each other and didn't fight (what?!). Ryan and I got to work together to build our own little nativity, and Lila Jae mostly tried to destroy anything anyone built until I built her an alternate structure to destroy.

I think our little nativities turned out super cute. I loved the boys' storm trooper wise men. And Asher's star (the gigantic yellow structure below the star-looking structure) was awesome. The boys' baby Jesus was originally just a minifigure, but a few days later they edited their baby Jesus by using a stack of three minifigure heads--two turned backward to be the blanket and one facing forward to be the face.

A few days after our activity, I put all my nativities on display on our piano. Asher saw my nativities and immediately said, "Mommy! I know! We should put our lego nativities up there, too!!!!!" So we did.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Reeder had a birthday, shout hooray!


One of the things we like to do as a family is to hike. So, on Reed's birthday, we thought it would be fun to spend the day hiking in a brand new place: Valley of Fire. The boys were a little skeptical, but after Ryan showed them a few pictures online (our go-to for creating hype where hype is needed), they were sufficiently on board.

We started our drive by letting Reed open one present, which held two movies--Alvin and the Chipmunks 1 and 2. Reed's immediate response was to ask us why we didn't get him number three. So at least he was appreciative. But he was happy that we let them watch the movie while we drove.
The boys were immediately impressed when we arrive at the Visitor's Center. There were rocks right there that you could climb all over, which is their kind of hiking.

After a little exploring we decided to find a trail. We chose Mouse's Tanks. We chose poorly. The hike was almost entirely through sand, which the boys did not like at all. They were complaining about their shoes hurting which, we realized at the end of the trail, was because they had literally at least 3/4 cup of sand PER SHOE. Geez. They were super grumpy and complaining about life in general and wanting to leave, so we decided to find a more climbing-friendly hike.

Luckily, we found one. And it had a picnic area, so we decided to enjoy lunch while we were there. Our favorite part of lunch were the little chipmunks that were everywhere. They were too afraid to come right next to us but totally cool being two feet away from us. There were so many of them and the boys had a hard time focusing on eating!

Once we finished lunch, we climbed some more and played in the sand. The kids were soooooooo dirty, but I just went with it. Don't mind Lila's face in the upcoming pictures. Just now that I did attempt to wipe it, but she just kept getting dirty again and didn't seem to mind...so I let her be filthy.

Eventually we were all tired, so we piled in the car and drove home the Lake Mead route. We could see glimpses of the lake, which Ryan and I loved and the boys would have been more pumped on if they hadn't started Chipmunks 2.

Our drive was uneventful until we pulled into our neighborhood and our car decided to stop. And not start again. Ryan pushed us most of the rest of the way and luckily had help from a few guys across the street to push our beast of a car up the driveway. I am so grateful we were so close to home when the car stopped working--we'd spent most of the day in the middle of nowhere with zero cell service, so we could have really been in trouble. Tender mercies.

After deciding there wasn't anything we could do about the car that night, we switched the car seats to Ryan's car (with much difficulty, his backseat was quite tight), and let Reed choose dinner. He chose Panda Express, which apparently is his favorite. We'd run out of time to make a cake with the car troubles we had, so we went to Wal-Mart to let Reed choose a birthday treat. He went with Fun Dips. Then, because Ryan is cute and wanted Reed to have a candle to blow out, Ryan picked up a twinkie, too.
We made it home, Reed blew out his candles, we put baby girl to bed, and we let Reed open his presents. The only downside of presents is that Reed was SO excited to have gotten two lego sets and SO disappointed that it was too late to build either one. Sorry, buddy!

We had a fun day celebrating our six year old!