Sunday, August 29, 2010

Taggart's 6th Birthday Party

It was a fun one. I feel that the days of planning a themed at-home party for my kids are probably numbered. They start to want to do other things, like go to the movies or to the bowling alley.
So for Tag's party this year - we went all out.
He wanted a backyard pool party so that's how it started.
I decided on a "surfer-dude" theme and he liked that. I have spent the last month or so, planning the details - browsing various websites for ideas and inspiration. Somewhere along the line, we decided to make it a "surfer-dude/Phineas and Ferb" theme as the two go well together and Phineas and Ferb is his absolute favorite TV show.
So the invitations went out.

I was a little worried about the weather. I really wanted it to be warm enough for the kids to swim. We lucked out - the weather was beautiful - the best day of the week for sure. Blue skies and about 23* or 24*.
Here are all the details:

This idea came from a collaborative effort of myself, Tony and my friend Julie. Tony first suggested that Cooper and Hudson run a little snack hut a few weeks ago and the idea grew into this - "Taggart's Snack Shack". I absolutely loved how it turned out and Taggart and his friends did too.

The games.
Go Fish

Coconut Bowling (thanks Tony for building the 'alley')

We interrupt this party for a quick nap in the shade.

Shark cupcakes.

More details:

The Phineas and Ferb Surfing cake. This was a surprise to Tag and he told me later, it was one of his favorite things about the day. Yay!!

An overview of the whole yard. Tony went up and took it from our bedroom window.

It was a really great party. All the preparation and time were so worth it. Taggart had a lot of fun and that's really what it was about. Even though the planning and executing are really a lot of fun for me too.
But at the end of the party when the yard was quiet again, Tag's fun started for him in a different way. Like I said, he loved the party, but crowds are really not Tag's thing. After all his friends went home, him and I sat out there for a bit and looked through some of presents and chatted about his favorite parts of the day. This is when he really shined for me. He was laughing and giggling and really enjoying himself. Taking time to check out and play with some new toys. We even cracked open one of the coconuts from the bowling game and he tried some of the milk inside. Yuck!

This party will definitely be remembered - by me anyway. Hopefully all the photos will help him remember too. I'm going to close this long blog post now, because I see the potential of it starting to get a little sappy and sentimental as I think about my baby turning SIX!
More on that in a couple of days when we celebrate with family on his actual big day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Canning peaches

I don't consider myself a canner, but I canned this peaches this week. All the kids just love them and it seems silly not to and buy the ones from the store when it really is very easy to do.
But as I stood at the sink, washing, peeling and stuffing the jars, I couldn't help thinking about my Mom. I have so many memories of her standing in front of her sink doing the same thing. Peaches, pears, pickles, beans, etc.
She made it seem so effortless. All of it really. Even cooking dinner every day seemed as though it just came to her easily.
Putting dinner on the table for my own family now, I realize how much effort really goes into it all, even when it's only tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches (tonight's dinner).
Mom was really great at it - of course I didn't realize it then but I'm glad I have that memory of her.
It felt good to can peaches for my family this week, and I wonder if Mom thought of it that way. I have a feeling that for her there was no choice. Buying canned peaches probably wasn't something she would have done. She did it because that is what she did. I hope now that I will do it again because it is what she did, and because it felt good to do it.
Thanks Mom.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Camp-outs and Cupcakes

Tony and Tag had a camp-out in the playhouse this weekend. The evening started out with dinner out at Me-n-Ed's Pizza (Tag's choice), a trip to Castle Fun Park to ride the go-carts and other sorted activities. Then back home to set up camp. They hauled out their sleeping bags and pillows and armed with some candy and Dad's iPad to watch some 'Phineas and Ferb' episodes they were set.

Tag was so excited - it was written all over his face.
He posed for a couple photos and then was quite happy to see me go back inside so the fun could start.
I caught this one through the window as I was leaving.


Wanted to post these fun cupcakes I made for a baby shower we hosted at this month's book club.
My dear friend and neighbor, Jackie, is weeks (possibly days) away from having baby #3 and we surprised her last night by turning our regular book club meeting into a shower for her.
We kept with the book theme and all brought her children's books for gifts.
I added some "reading" quotes on these little cupcake toppers and really liked how they turned out.

Really into 'party' mode around here planning for Tag's birthday this weekend. We are hosting a "Phineas and Ferb"/surfer-dude party in the back yard. Lots of fun details that I will post after the party. Right now, we are really hoping for good weather. Cross your fingers for us.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

More Zoo

These little meerkats were new to the Zoo and my favorite of the day.

This isn't a great photo but it was the highlight of the day, at least for Reagan and Hudson. That big grizzly bear you see in the background was swimming in the water right in front of them with only the glass separating them. Pretty cool stuff.

Feeding time for the animals.

Reagan really wanted to see the flamingos. We just made it right at the end of the day, 5 minutes from Zoo closing time.

Just a little monkey business.

The penguins.

He'll pretty much jump on any monkey's back.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What we've up to lately

It's been a whirlwind of summer activity around here, so very little time to post.
Here's a quick update.
Tony and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary on Friday. We had plans to go to the beach that day so he brought this home on Thursday night. It's called an edible arrangement and it must have had about 10 pounds of fruit in it. Lovely, isn't it? Mom and Dad were here for dinner that night so we shared it with them and the kids for dessert.

Beach fun at White Rock.

Weekend in Seattle. Back to school shopping and the Zoo. Looking back, it seems that we do the Zoo every second year. Sounds like a tradition to me. Love the comparison in the photos.

Got some great photos of most of it. Will try to share more of them soon.
Honestly, it really wore some of us out. (on the way home from Seattle Sunday night) to bed...we're heading back to the beach tomorrow.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Korean Julie

We have been lucky enough to meet a family that have traveled to Canada from Korea to stay here purely for the experience and opportunity that it offers their children.
David and Cooper became friends last year at school when he was here alone, living with a relative. The rest of his family was still in Korea.

He enjoyed his year here so much that he wanted to spend another year. His Mom decided to come as well and bring both his younger brother, Tom and his younger sister, Jenny.
Last night we had them all over for a BBQ to say goodbye. They are leaving to go back home in a few days.
Cooper will miss David very much. I can't imagine how much David will miss all the friends that he has made here over the past two years.
Even though the visits that I have with my Korean Julie (I have a Canadian Julie too, so I have to distinguish between them) are not always easy because of the language issue, I have enjoyed them.
And I have also learned something from her.
She has taught me to do as much as you can with your kids - for the experience of it alone. We often don't do things because it is too much work or it is easier not to but she has packed more into her one year here than I have done with my kids in their whole lifetimes.
I do realize that money is a factor. But that aside, I so admire her courage to come to a foreign country with all her kids and no husband (he stayed in Korea - someone has to pay the bill). I can't say that I could do it.
So we won't be heading overseas to learn a new language anytime soon, but I will try to give my kids all the opportunities that I can - purely for the experience... and the joy.
Because, inevitably, we will all benefit.
Goodbye, my Korean Julie, we'll miss you.

Monday, August 9, 2010

If I didn't have a girl...

....I probably wouldn't get excited about finding a little loop of plastic at the mall called a Topsy Tail.

....I wouldn't be able to use that Topsy Tail to try out some fun new hairstyles.

....I wouldn't spend an hour on the couch painting flowers and butterflies on little fingernails.

....I would have no one to buy pretty little shoes for, because as everyone knows, a girl can't have too many shoes.
....I wouldn't have anyone to go out to dinner with and to share sweet, fruity, virgin Margaritas with.

....I wouldn't have anyone to go to Chapters with and pick out a handful of new chapter books.

Last week Reagan and I had a nice little girls day. We went to the movies to see "Beezus and Ramona" (we loved it), went to Chapters to spend a gift card still from her birthday, and then out for dinner. We had such a great time together. And I know that some of these things I also could have done with the boys. They like buying books at Chapters, the love going out for dinner, I'm sure they would drink a fruity drink, and Taggart would even let me paint his nails. But there really is something about 'Mom-daughter' time that makes me so thankful for my sweet girl.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Braun gathering

We were all together on Sunday at my brother's place for a BBQ. Well, not all of us, but as many of us as could be. Still a good group and always good to see those that we don't see often enough.
Especially for the kids - they love to see everyone and are never ready to leave when the evening is over.
Lots of general hanging out, chatting, catching up...

Reagan and Hudson laughing it up with Evie.

Cooper and Wesley got along great and Cooper was able to get lots of smiles.

Bocci ball for the boys. Cooper and Hudson always enjoy playing with their 'big cousins'.

Reagan then took my camera for a while and I had to post this one - my favorite. Not perfectly in focus but look at those beautiful green eyes.