Boys of Summer

Boogie Boarding
The men in my life rarely sit and relax on the sand.  Which is fine by me because they’re fun to watch and easy on the eyes. 😉  Plus, we all know this little sponger is gonna want to ride his boogie board into the sand a thousand times and someone has to take him.  {Not it.}

As most boys of summer H’s age, he doesn’t require much to entertain him.  He’s fine just running, wide open.  Or when discovering the biggest hermit crab on the planet.

Boys of Summer
It seems however, that the older a boy of summer gets, there must be some kind of game or competition.  I’ll take the high road here and avoid the obvious ball reference.  Oh….woops.  What….it was low hanging fruit.  Bahaaaa.  Oh I just can’t help myself.

Boche Ball
I can’t leave my sweet girl out, this is what happens when there’s too much boy time.

Too Much Boy Time
She and I are looking forward to a relaxing holiday weekend with our boys.  She’s been getting used to her long days, and we are excited to have some extra time to spend together with school out on Monday.  Wishing everyone a fantastic Labor Day!  Cheers!

Disney Cars Lightning McQueen Birthday: {Re}Collected Moments Series

Broadway Grand Prix Birthday Party
As with most boys, ours has had an obsession with Disney Cars, most specifically Lightning McQueen, since he first saw the movie when he was two years old.  When it came time to plan his third birthday party, it was a no brainer.  Faced with all the Pinterest photos of the elaborate games and decorations I could “totally make” to pull off the best Lightning McQueen party ever….the stress induced eye twitching began immediately.  We quickly made the move to host H and three of his best buds at the local go kart track.

The beauty of Broadway Grand Prix is that the entire park and party room are decorated in a racing theme, they have locked in food and party packs, a full arcade, miniature golf, seven kart tracks as well as plenty of rides for toddlers….so that means no cooking or even planning for the food, minimal decorations needed, and the kids would have way more fun than any game or bouncy house I could put in the back yard. Plus, THEY DO THE CLEAN UP. Sold.

Broadway Grand Prix Toddler Rides
The more popular a character is, the more free printables and party goodies at affordable prices are available, and you can easily put your own stamp on them.  His table decorations were a combination of free Disney Cars printables I found on HWTM, packaged Disney Cars table top party decorations and customized signs that I cut and mounted onto various backgrounds.  I made his table runner from $5 a yard Lightning McQueen fabric from Wal-Mart.  {And by “made” I mean by cutting the fabric to 18″ wide then folding the edges under an inch or two and ironing the folded edge.}

Lightning McQueen Birthday Party Table Top Decorations
Finding Lightning McQueen party favors was a breeze.  Painting and coloring books from the Target $1 section, and the rest of the loot I found at The Dollar Store! (Yep, The Dollar Store.)

Lightning McQueen Birthday Party Decoration
I trimmed the cake plates with ribbon and made the cupcake flags from toothpicks and decorative tape.  I made his miniature garland cake topper with bakers twine, lollipop sticks, and decorative tape.  Clearly, he was more interested in his own handy work than mine…

Disney Cars Lightning McQueen Birthday Cake
I customized the VIP lanyards for the Crew Chief and Pit Crew, added a Lightning McQueen sticker, and mounted them to checkered flag paper as a background.  I found the digital file for the background on Etsy and simply changed the scale using my printer properties.

Disney Cars Lightning McQueen Birthday Party
The boy’s party outfit came together easily, I found the checkered suspenders on Etsy, and the rest was already in his wardrobe.

I do have some tips to consider if you are planning a party at your local favorite party place.  Keep the number of guests low for two reasons.  They have a lot more fun if there is just a handful of them.  There is an age/number of guests ratio out there but I don’t know what it is. Secondly, at this age one parent will be staying with each guest and most packages will include each body in the room.  Our package was for twelve, and the birthday boy was free.  We had four children, with one parent each, plus myself, Jeff, and a Nana.   If we hadn’t counted the parents as guests we would have lots of parents standing around not eating (rude) or would have paid a much higher rate for each extra person.

Negotiate the party pack you purchase in order to best fit your guests.  Because of the height requirements, the birthday boy and his crew were not able to ride the big go karts.  The staff gladly increased the number of arcade tokens per guest to accommodate us, maximizing the package we purchased.

Height Requirements 2
Plan the party to start early so the venue will not be as busy, but not too early…I planned the party to start when the doors opened to the park.  So I was standing there with all the decorations, balloons, cake, cupcakes, etc., as well as all the guests when the doors opened.  No one else seemed to mind though.  We had the entire park to ourselves before we moved to the party room.

We had an amazing time with the crew celebrating his third birthday party.  Such an amazing time that he continues to ask for the same birthday party again!

Disney Cars Birthday

I just noticed that I am taking turns in this {Re}Collected Moments Series…first his nursery, then her Tea Party Birthday, now back to the boy for a Disney Cars Lightning McQueen party. {Can you tell I’m a Libra?} Looking forward to another season of birthdays and all the fun fall events.  Cheers!

Summer Moments – Part One of……

my three
Our favorite beach spot is wide open….possibly the deepest portion of the sand in Myrtle Beach.  It’s residential, so there aren’t the crowds that are on other sections of the beach with hotels and condos.  There is a natural swash there, which allows for anywhere from a few inches of slow moving water up to knee deep flowing tide.  It’s like a safe little water slide/kiddie pool/fish pond.  Perfect.  Super family friendly, so the anxiety for this beach loving (yet terrified of the water when it comes to my children) mama is cut in half.  We spent our first day of the summer season with all four of us there this past weekend!

beach day
We all know the shift from pre-kid to post-kid outings, and the beach is no different.  I mean, for Jeff and I it used to be a towel, music, a comfy chair, and a cooler of cheap beer (we’re no strangers to Busch Light – no judgies), and we were set for the day.  Once R came along it was like I was packing for war.
Because I was.

beach babes
But as I packed up to go last weekend….it struck me how much stuff I didn’t have to pack.  It seems that no matter what we are doing these days, these goons are showing me just how much they are growing and changing and maturing.  They are so much more independent on the sand and unless they are being pulled up the swash by Daddy, they’re happy running and boarding and chasing the fish and crabs in the shallow water without us.
And the fact that my hands are free of sixteen beach bags is another clear indicator that my babies aren’t babies anymore!

We are looking forward to all that summer has to offer, starting with this weekend.  The pool opens, and we are spending the holiday enjoying sun, water,
and fun with friends who are like family.

Cheers to Memorial Day, and a huge THANK YOU to all those who have served and continue to
serve our community and our country!

Beach Babes

beach baby (v):  a salty little sweetheart with sandy toes & a sunkissed nose

Kids Holding Hands
Preschool-Gymnastics-Swim-Dance-Swim(again)-Repeat.
From January through to May. Keeping them busy, expending all the energy their little bodies seem to have endless amounts of.  And then……the days get longer, the clothes get lighter…..spring is here and summer is coming!  Right now it’s the sweet spot….warm enough to spend the afternoon on the sand, maybe dip our toes in the shallow pools that form before the break of the tide.  And the anticipation and excitement builds, just like it does every year.  It’s been like this for me since I was a child.  There is something incredibly special about the beach…the breeze, the sunshine, the salty air.  The white noise of the wind and the ocean, the wide open space.  It’s magical.  Something tells me that our kids “get it” too…..
Riley Girl in the water
Harrison Package 1

Harrison Breaks
kids
Riley Bean
Harrison 3
Riley Smiles
In just a few short weeks preschool will be over, and we’ll be all beach-pool-repeat.  It will be our shortest summer on record, with this girl starting kindergarten in the middle of August. (But let’s not talk about that.) So come on summer, we are ready and waiting.  Bring.  It.  On.