Thursday, April 30, 2015

joseph's birthday

Joseph is all about construction. Construction equipment, toys, books, everything. So I knew from the beginning that for his 4th birthday we would have to have a construction-themed party.

The invitations were sent out, supplies and decorations bought, menu planned, activities organized, and favors assembled. Whew! And then the forecast caused for some serious stress and logistical planning.

On Friday morning, Joe and I did some party prep at home and then headed over to the preschool with cupcakes for Joseph's class.

That's he and his friend, Weston. And, below, a motley crew:

A little while later we were out on a friend's property loading up dirt (party activity, you'll see)…

It was raining a little and we were dirty but it was fun and totally worth it when our little guy showed up and we saw the look on his face. Dirt? This cool Kubota? Wide open spaces and construction equipment? Our friend, Kati, delivered him from preschool and she said it was a stream of questions as they drove over to us. Classic. 

We took him for a ride… 

…and he even got to drive! It was a bumpy ride and he had a blast…and got to see Dr. Stephen's bulldozer. What a birthday surprise!

That afternoon we went back to transfer the dirt to another friend's trailer which we would be stored at her house overnight. Quite an involved process. And thankful for generous friends who helped us. Big shout out to Kati, Becky and David.

Party prep headquarters:

That night Meme came to town and helped us wrap things up. 

On Saturday morning we put a candle in a croissant and sang to the birthday boy. Apparently it was a trick candle (didn't even know we even had one - it was in with the rest of our stash) and he laughed hysterically every time it relit. The picture is blurry, but I had to include it. He was cracking us up!

He opened presents and played with new toys. Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site floor puzzle and his "very own" real shovel!!!

Construction pajamas and a digger wrapped it up from us. He was excited for sure!

Daddy put caps in his new gun from Dr. Jennifer and Mr. Benjie.

Wow, that kid was in heaven. Over. the. moon.

I love the stance. When there are no caps in the gun he does the sound effects. Even when there's no gun around, he manages to improvise. Joe laughs when I marvel at how everything is a gun to Joseph. He's not surprised at all; that's how boys are!

The morning was dreary but the rain had finally stopped. We went to the empty grass lot on the church property to set up the construction site. It was wet but the good thing about a construction party is… it is a construction party. Wet or dry, as long as it isn't raining, the show will go on!

Good thing Hannah is wearing a tutu with her boots. We have to make this scene somewhat fancy, don't we?

We called in favors to our friends in high places. One of those friends hooked us up with City of Sandersville barricades.

Becky and David arrived with the dirt and the guys loaded up one of the kiddie pools, burying chunks of kaolin (the gold around here: a white clay used in making many products including paper and paint) in the process.

And then this baby made its much-anticipated arrival:

A friend's dad owns an industrial contracting company and she had a backhoe delivered. The little boys swooned.

…and even the little girls.

As the gray sky continued to threaten, we went back home and had an indoor picnic at Joseph's new table from Meme. He loves picnics.

Skipping nap time, it was back to the construction site in the afternoon to set up. It's almost party time! And the sky was clearing!!

I just got all the images from our photographer friend (same lady who took pictures for Hannah's 4th Fancy Nancy soiree). There are so many. Two disks. So I'll go through all those and choose some to post on the blog, but for now I'll post a couple Joseph took (one of the photographer)… 

Be back with more!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

catching up: spring break!

The kids and I had a lovely spring break while Daddy stayed home to work. Somebody's got to, right?

We left the Monday after Easter and spent a couple nights in Savannah with Meme. We played downtown at Forsyth Park and in the fountains in Ellis Square. We ate ice cream at Leopold's and enjoyed yummy dinners on Broughton Street. Hannah practiced soccer for a little bit with Uncle Will Will and Joseph played with the "enemy gun" at Meme's for hours. It was 48 hours packed full of fun…

The new playground at Forsyth is awesome and I was not surprised when Hannah walked up to a  group of kids on the "flying saucer" and wanted a turn. She did get a bit scared when the big kids pushed her a little too high, but still enjoyed her ride. {Upper right photo is Hannah looking at mine and her uncles' bricks at the fountain and the flowers are from Joseph. :)}

As usual, there was a line down the block at Leopold's…but totally worth the wait. I tried the chocolate chewies & cream and it was delicious!! Joseph was not very interested in his ice cream and had about two bites of his mint chocolate chip before wanting some of his sister's chocolate chip.

I love the in-action shot of Hannah kicking the soccer ball with my brother. Uncle Will Will lives just a couple of blocks from a park and it was a beautiful day. They didn't get to play very long, but he gave her some pointers and she had a good time.

After a full day and a long, but really yummy dinner at the Melting Pot, Joseph was fast asleep in my bed…with the enemy gun nearby.

The next morning we went downtown for breakfast at Goose Feathers Cafe. Their strawberry cream cheese croissants are soooo good! Then, we walked over to Ellis Square where we were delighted to see the fountains running. No bathing suits, no problem. They had a ball!

Styrofoam coffee cups become the most fun toy ever. They eagerly anticipate the water shooting the cups high into the air. I can hear their laughter and squeals of delight now…

After packing up and joining Meme and Aunt Charli for lunch at Atlanta Bread Company, we hit the road. And Hannah and Joseph fell right to sleep…

And then it was on to St. Simons for the next couple of days, where we played with friends and had so much fun at the beach and in the pool.

Cute kids: Cole, Hannah, Joseph, Natalie and Rue.

…and the sweet baby is Tripp.

We stayed at my friend's (Courtney, below on left) condo - just moms and kids. Hannah wanted to take a picture of the moms:

Capturing a beautiful sunset while driving back from dinner.

Thursday was a perfect beach day.

They played at the edge of the ocean (but only up to their knees - it was cold!), dug up sand and built castles and ate a picnic lunch. Skipping naps, we headed back to the condo pool for more playtime…and some R&R:

…Joseph and I think wrinkled feet are funny.

A friend of Courtney's took us out on a boat ride. We had a babysitter stay with all the kids while we had some adult time.

Then us moms cleaned up and went out to dinner.

We spent Friday morning at the pool…

…and then it was time to pack up.

After 5 days away, we were ready to head home. A lot of excitement and a lot of fun, but not a lot of sleep = overtired, whiny kids.

I decided to take a different route home so that I could drive the kids through Jesup, a small South Georgia town where we lived from June 2008- June 2011. For old times' sake we stopped first to eat at Five Guys in Brunswick, a place we used to go a lot for lunch when going over to SSI for the day.

Hannah got out long enough to take a picture in front of the church we served, and then again outside of the parsonage, where we lived when both she and Joseph were born. Very special memories surround that old house.

It was weird being back there. That was the first time I've been to Jesup since we moved 4 years ago. Memories came back as I passed by places we would go and as I stood outside our old home. I could see Hannah as a toddler running down the driveway to greet Joe's car. I thought about all the times I would walk Hannah around the neighborhood in the stroller, and then both of them in the double.

And then, of course, John and Karen's house around the corner. Our dear friends. Godparents to Hannah. Many wonderful memories at their house. Which is where we got to go! I arranged a last-minute visit and Hannah even got to swim with their twin granddaughters.

Such a fun treat and a special way to end our trip. We made it home on Friday night. Hannah was excited to give Mollie her new toy, a squirrel named Peanut. Mollie's always trying to chase down a squirrel and now she has one of her very own. She loves it!

We were all excited to see Daddy and spent the rest of the weekend at home.

A fun and memorable spring break in the books!