Friday, May 24, 2013

Skylanders 7th Birthday Party

As we celebrated my own aging this week, I realized that back when I was taking a break from blogging, Ryan celebrated his 7th birthday. My grandmother had passed away just a week before his party, so I think I'm given a bit of a pass that this post is almost four months overdue.

This year, his theme was Skylanders, and we held his party at The Main Event. A lot of his friends have been having parties there recently, and he wanted exactly what big brother got a while back, rock climbing, followed by laser tag and video games.

I sent out an evite, which Carl helped me customize as best as I could.

I added this text into the body of the evite:
Young Portal Masters, your presence is requested for Ryan's 7th birthday party. We need your help to restore the core of light and master the elements.The boys will be rock climbing and playing laser tag*. Arrive 15 minutes prior to check in and get suited up for rock climbing. We'll eat pizza after rock climbing, and then play a round of laser tag. Come Join the Adventure!
You can't do much for decorations at Main Event, but I went with light blue, dark blue and green - sort of the water and sky elements.

I ordered a bunch of cupcakes in these three colors, and with Carl's help, printed, cut and mounted these little skylander pictures on popsicle sticks and stuck them in each cupcake.

It looked cute on its stand, but I couldn't move the stand once the cupcakes were on it, and the way the party room is set up, it wasn't feasible for birthday boy to blow out his candles facing away from the crowd. Thus he ended up blowing out candles on one little bitty cupcake.

If I had it to do over again, I would not do cupcakes on a stand.

They boys had fun rock climbing.

Even little cousin Connor got into the action!

Ryan especially loved that during the safety demonstration, HE got to show off his skills and climb the wall like Spiderman and ring the bell before any of his friends did. ;)

Yes, they are all watching you, Ryan.

This is Ryan's favorite activity at Main Event, so we did this for an hour before we broke for the pizza and cake.


And presents.

Then, it was laser tag time, followed my video game play. As an added bonus with Main Event, Sunday birthday parties give you $10 game cards per child, instead of the standard $5. Bonus!

For party favors, I made the mistake of showing Ryan some ideas on pinterest. OF COURSE he wanted all the really fabulous, impossible to make (for me) party favors. We ended up compromising on candy bars, keychains, and reusable cups. Personalizing the keychains and cups ended up being WAY more work than I thought it would be. The keychains were made to hold photos, and these suckers are hard to open. I broke several and ended up having to buy extra packages. :( The keychains were priced 4 for $2, but since I broke so many, my cost per item was more like double that. Somehow I have no pictures of the keychains, but I printed out a gazillion of these skylander images (also used for the cupcakes) and then paired them in the keychains with the kids' names on the other side.


The cups were meant to hold children's artwork, but I just printed out these images with the children's names on them on regular printer paper and stuck them in the cups. I bought out the stock at several Michaels stores, and with various sales, they were $1 each.

The candy bar wrappers were created by a lovely, kind stranger on the disboards site I found back in my Disney planning days. Its good for more than just Disney!

We also brought in balloons for the party room. I didn't take a good picture there, though, so here is what they looked like. I ordered helium balloons from Party City in my colors, and then with a sharpie, did my best at drawing the skylanders elements on them. Someone with any artisitic genes in their body would have done a much better effort, but a certain someone in my household was tired of party assistance at this point.

Ryan had a great birthday party, and that's all that really matters. He just loves celebrating his own special day, and having his friends and family around him.

Even if we don't end up with any great family group photos to prove it. ;)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mother's Day

This year for Mother's Day, Carl once again somehow had a conference out of town. Last year he went to New Orleans. This year, Las Vegas. For a week each time. Me? I get, various spots around Texas for a whopping two nights. Bitter, moi?

Mom came to Austin, and we headed to the Hyatt Regency for Brunch. Ryan is still in his "stupid photos only" phase. Swell.

Somehow I ended up without any pictures of the buffet, but it had seven different stations, including a Bloody Mary station. Both boys ended up eating almost exclusively breakfast food.

Ryan did smile, but only when he had his napkin wrapped around his neck like a cowboy. Also Just Swell.

The food was delicious, and some of the best prime rib I've had in a while.

I did get one photo of my desserts, at least. Red velvet cupcakes, a key line part, a fruit tart, and Crepes Suzette, made at the crepe station. Or as Ryan had reported back to me after scoping out the dessert tables, "dessert eggs."

I'm wearing my new earrings and necklace the boys made me. Ryan received a rock polisher for his birthday, and apparently he has been busy polishing rocks ever since. So they made them into jewelry for me.

After eating, we took the elevator up to the top floor to look at the skyline.

Of a dozen pictures, this was the only one of Ryan not making a goofy face. Swell. Swell. Swell.

 My other gift was made by Ryan at school. Its a very sweet little poem with his fingerprints in the heart.

 This might be the longest poem/card handwritten by Ryan I've ever received. He's growing up too fast!

Oh yes... one more picture.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


The boys participated in their school's first ever 1st-3rd grade choir this year (I say first ever... first time its been offered since we've been there, that is).

Despite Alexander having asked me to sign him up for choir, both boys have hated it since Day 1. They came home from their first practice, and announced they were quitting.

Not so fast, I explained. They needed to give it more of a chance.

Well, by the time I was satisfied they had given it enough of a chance, they had parts.

And despite their very good reasons for wanting to quit choir (not enough boys... in fact, Ryan was the only first grade boy)...

Mean Safety Mommy made them stick it out, since at this point, they were committed.

Every other Monday they had practice, and this became a BIG struggle.

Ryan even started faking being sick to get out of choir practice.

After the third headache in a row fourteen days apart at 2:45 pm, I caught on.

So you can imagine their excitement when they learned they would have to do three performances on performance days: for the parents in the evening, and two during school for all the grades.

Soon Alex was coming up with ways to get out of choir. "I'm going to forget my lines... I'll "forget" my costume... Will you understand if I get sent to the principal's office, just this once? ... (cough) I'm (cough) not (cough) feeling well (cough).."

I didn't know WHAT to expect when we showed up for their show two weeks ago.

Turns out, it was very cute, and they did a great job.

Even if Alex (playing the Simon Cowell type judge) completely ignored the English accent we've spent FIVE MONTHS practicing at home.

They hated their "costumes" I ordered, although they really appreciated I didn't make them wear a full body costume like some other unfortunate children.

And my kids think I was the mean parent!!


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