Happy Halloween!!

Oct 31, 2013

(For the record- Man Cub actually did like wearing his costume. What he didn't like was having his sisters wrapping themselves around him during the photo Ü)

Promotion Day

Oct 30, 2013

Today was Bruce Wayne's big day... he was sworn in as a sergeant and can officially wear his stripes!

The girls have been so excited for his Promotion Ceremony. Sunshine apparently told everyone at school all about how her dad was being promoted, and I overheard Beebs mention "daddy's 'motion" a time or two in preschool this morning. I know they don't understand what exactly it means for Bruce to become a sergeant, but they know it is something to be proud of, and they are most definitely bursting with pride. Sunshine is especially excited that this change means no more call outs. Oh how we all dreaded the ringing of Bruce's work phone!

Bruce's dad and grandma were able to attend the ceremony, as well as our long time friends who were great mentors to both Bruce and I when he decided to join the department. It was wonderful to have their support on such an exciting day.

And now it is time to settle back into this lifestyle- the shift work, weird days off, celebrating holidays a few days late lifestyle that we left just two short years ago. It took me most of those two years to adjust to a "normal" day shift routine, and though I know it will be another adjustment, I'm excited to go back to the life we knew and loved for the first 5 years of our marriage. Bring on the night shift and strange days off. We can hardly wait!

A Monster Mash First Birthday Bash

Oct 27, 2013

Now that we are a solid month past Man Cub's first birthday party, it's about time I blog it, right??

We celebrated Man Cub's birthday with a Monster Mash First Birthday Bash. This party has been in the works since around the time Man Cub was born. As his first birthday got closer and closer, I contemplated changing the theme but Beebs was insistent that it be a monster party. I am oh-so glad we stuck with it! It was amazing. The party itself was a blast, but even all the prep work was lots of fun. Of course, I had a super cute assistant helping me every step along the way...

The Invitations

This invitation might be my most favourite design ever. I've come a long way since I first started using Photoshop and I'm pretty impressed, with myself and the software, for what we were able to create together. I drew each of these monsters in Photoshop and fell so in love with them that I used them every place possible. They were the star of the invite, I made them into a banner to hang above the cake table, they adorned the "Adopt a Monster" basket and a few even made an appearance on the "thank you" tags for the party favours.

The Menu

I knew that I wanted to focus my efforts on the activities and favours for the party, so I kept the menu simple. We ordered subs from our local health food store. I put together a veggie tray and a spinach salad and Bruce made a monster fruit salad.  Lemonade and water to drink. As my girls love to say- easy peasy lemon squeezy.

The Decorations

The decorations were also relatively simple. I found some bright coloured streamers and spinners at the store and that made up the bulk of the decor. I hung my monster banner, then added multiple monster eyes to everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING possible. 

The Cake

I am a big fan of cupcakes for birthday parties, and the girls and I found monster cupcakes in our What's New, Cupcake book many moons ago. We were really excited to try creating them for Man Cub's party. They turned out awesome! At the last minute I decided I wanted Man Cub to have his own smash cake, so I put some leftover batter into one of my Pampered Chef prep bowls and turned the baked cake into a monster as well. These cupcakes took less than two hours to put together and frost. They looked great and tasted yummy too. Man Cub was definitely a fan.

The Birthday Boy Attire

I wanted Man Cub to have something monster-y to wear to his party, but making him a party outfit was not high on my priority list. Luckily, I was able to find an adorable monster t-shirt at Kohls... which I never managed to get a good picture of! Just trust me when I say, he looked really cute!

The Guests

We are grateful that many of our closest family members and friends were able to celebrate with us. I kept the guest list small this time around and it was just perfect. Man Cub was not overwhelmed by the crowd and had a lot of fun playing with the children who attended.

The Activities

I knew we'd have lots of wee ones running around at the party and I wanted to provide them with something fun to do. I settled on a "mold-a-monster" activity in our preschool room and it was so much fun to watch the kiddos create. I provided the children with a few different colours of homemade play dough, goggly eyes, and pieces of pipe cleaner and plastic straws and their imaginations ran wild.

The Party Favours

And now for my favourite part of the entire party... the favours! I have an amazing friend who is beyond talented in so many ways. She is my go-to girl for anything I need crocheted (like the cute matching beanies I got for Bruce and Man Cub last Christmas). Recently, she has started doing embroidery so I enlisted her help to create little monster softies for each of the children to adopt. They turned out fantastic. Dawn did a phenomenal job embroidering the adorable monster faces on fleece, then I created monster bodies and cut them out. My neighbor is a great seamstress and she came over one afternoon and helped me get them all sewn together and we ended with these...

How cute are they!?!? I love them and the wee ones who attended the party had so much fun adopting their monsters.

The adults got something a little different... a tastier take on adopting a monster!

Celebrating Man Cub with a Monster Mash First Birthday Bash was so much fun. The party turned out better than I could have imagined and I can honestly say I enjoyed every moment of planning, preparing and partying. Some parties have been stressful to pull off, but this one was 100% fun all around.

The Final Photo | One Year Old

Oct 21, 2013

My monthly photo project has come to an end. It is time to share the final photo. Finishing this project is bittersweet. I am so going to miss taking the time each month to reflect on Man Cub's growth and milestones from the previous month, but I am also feeling a great sense of accomplishment at having finished. I remembered to take a photo on (or very close to) the 25th of every month for an entire year! That alone is a huge accomplishment, never mind actually setting up the photo and taking it, editing it and adding the text.

I LOVED doing this monthly photo project and I'm kicking myself for not doing it with Sunshine and Beebs. I essentially have a complete baby book for Man Cub. I purchased baby books for each of my wee ones when they were born but I have never been good about updating them regularly and thoroughly. These 12 photos of Man Cub show just how much he's grown and changed with each passing month, as well as documenting a few fun facts about what he likes and dislikes, or different milestones he reached.

Now, my plan is to make these pictures into a photo book, I just haven't figured out exactly how I want to do it. I'm going to play around with a few ideas and my goal is to have it finished and printed by Christmas.

Now, what to do with all that spare time I'll have on the 25th of each month... Ü

Then & Now | My Little Pirate Baby

Oct 13, 2013

Just a few more Man Cub birthday posts, and then I promise I am done! I went a little photo crazy in celebration of my baby boy turning one.

But, in my {slight} defense, the photos in this post were Bruce Wayne's ideas. When I was doing Man Cub's newborn photo session, Bruce suggested we do a pirate themed photo since our family is a little bit pirate obsessed. I thought it was a great idea and we ran around the house collecting all the pirate paraphernalia we owned. Which was a lot.  We pulled this photo together and it ultimately ended up being Man Cub's birth announcement photo. And once we finish decorating Man Cub's bedroom, a 20x30 print of this photo will hang on his wall.

At Man Cub's birthday party, Bruce mentioned how much he loved the pirate newborn photo and asked what I thought of recreating it as part of Man Cub's first birthday photos. Once again, I thought it was a brilliant idea, though this time around, Man Cub was slightly less cooperative. He loved sitting in the treasure chest and playing with the coins and jewels, but he refused to wear a bandana, eye patch or hat. I still think the "now" picture turned out great. 

My little guy has changed a lot over the past year. Luckily, one thing is still the same. My little pirate sure does love his mama!

Man Cub at One

Oct 9, 2013

I still can't believe Man Cub is one! Earlier this week we were out in the yard, working in the garden, and he was running around on the basketball court, climbing up onto bikes and terrorizing his sisters. How did we get to this point so fast!? He seems so grown up.

I do have to say, as much as I struggle with watching my babies turn one, I truly enjoy the second year. I love watching them grow and develop their own personalities. Man Cub already has a fair amount of personality, and I am excited to see what is to come.


* Snacks: pita chips 
* Foods: watermelon, bread products and he seems to really enjoy fish and rice 
* Drinks: ahem, don't judge- but if he can't nurse, his second favourite is root beer.
* Movies: this little guy has absolutely no interest whatsoever in sitting still long enough to see even 30 seconds of a movie, however, if there is a sporting event on, he is all over it. He particularly enjoys football
 * Words to say: mama, dada
* Songs to dance & listen to: Addams Family Theme Song 
* Songs to sing: Itsy Bitsy Spider, If You're Happy And You Know It 
* Activities: throwing a ball, getting into things he shouldn't, playing outside

It's Official!

Oct 8, 2013

Bruce Wayne received his official offer today... he is promoting to sergeant! The promotion ceremony is at the end of the month and his training starts around the same time. By Thanksgiving, he should have his own squad and be back on the streets for the first time in over 2 years. This will mean a lot of changes for our family, but we are so excited!

Congratulations Bruce! We are so proud of you! 

Whirlwind Weekend in Oregon

September was full of travels for me... just a few days after the wee ones and I returned from our trip to visit Mike, Man Cub and I boarded a plane bound for Oregon, where I was going to spend a few days visiting my dearest friend, KJ. KJ and I "met" almost 8 years ago, just a few short months after we each got married. (Our anniversaries are 7 days apart.) I say "met" because the first 5 years of our friendship we were basically pen pals. We emailed back and forth, instant messaged through Google Chat and occasionally talked on the phone or texted. We didn't meet in person until April of 2010 when KJ and her family went on an epic road trip from Oregon to California, down through Arizona, up to Utah and then back home. My house was one of the stops along the way. Since that first in person meeting, KJ has been able to visit me one other time, during an awesome Southwest Airlines fare deal, but I had never made it up to visit her. I am so glad we have finally remedied that!

My weekend in Oregon was an absolute whirlwind, but honestly, what aspect of my life isn't these days!? We crammed SO MUCH into the 90 hours we had together, and we had a blast doing so.

My plane arrived at 10 o'clock Thursday evening, which was obviously a perfect time to run by Salt and Straw, the most amazing ice cream parlor on the planet. We sampled a variety of their offerings, finally settling on three flavours to take home... Mint Leaves with Sea Urchin Meringues, Freckled Woodblock Chocolate and Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Cracked Pepper. We also devoured the pints that KJ already had in her freezer- Pear and Bleu Cheese and Salted Caramel. By far, the YUMMIEST ice cream I have ever put in my mouth. And I'm happy to say they deliver to Arizona for a mere $25 in shipping fees, on top of the $8 per pint price tag. I know what I want for my next birthday!

After Salt and Straw, we headed to KJ's where we stayed up until all hours of the night laughing and talking and playing Stone Age and watching trashy TV (Extreme Cougar Wives, anyone?). This was our routine every night. There was very little sleeping while I was visiting!

Friday morning we headed to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or OMSI, as the locals call it. It was a very cool museum that made me miss the girls. They would have loved it! (Notice the superhero photo bomb- that's Asher, KJ's 4 year old son who I just adore)

In Oregon, it is illegal to pump your own gas, so all gas stations have attendants to pump for you.  I have to say, when I got back home and had to pump my own gas at Costco, it was a very sad day.

Friday evening I put Man Cub to bed, then KJ and I snuck out of the house to go to the temple together. It was so much fun serving in the temple beside my best friend! And bonus- it got me a little bit closer to accomplishing two of my Thirty by 30 goals.
After the temple, we went to Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe for truffles and milk shakes... as you can see, I ate extremely healthy on this trip. Ü 

Saturday morning we attempted to get up early to head to the Oregon coast, but after being up half the night, we were a little slow moving. Eventually we made it to our first stop along the coast, Cannon Beach. It. Was. Beautiful. The beach has always been my happy place and this beach definitely made me happy!

This was Man Cub's first trip to the beach, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect from him. My girls were not big fans of the beach the first time we took them. I kind of assumed that Man Cub wouldn't enjoy it the first time either. I could not have been more wrong. I put him down in the sand and he immediately threw his body down, which typically is how he throws a tantrum. But this time, it didn't lead to a tantrum, instead he started waving his arms and legs, making "angels" in the sand, then he brought handfuls of sand to his mouth, eating it and laughing. He could not get enough of the sand. He is definitely his mother's son. I almost cried happy tears, I was so excited at his love for the beach.

After playing in the sand at Cannon Beach, we explored the little coastal village. It was just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. Pretty sure that is where I want to retire. In 13 years. I hope Bruce is ok with that. I took lots of pictures of the village to help me persuade him.

Little Asher is pretty superhero obsessed. He wore his cap and mask almost everywhere we went. While KJ and I were browsing in one of the boutiques, he sat like this, watching the world go by. I love that little guy!

After Cannon Beach, we headed a little farther north to Seaside. We browsed some of the stores, ate some yummy Tillamook ice cream and the headed to the beach for Man Cub's first birthday photo session. Those pictures will have their own post in the next day or two.

Baby Mack posed for a shot during Man Cub's session

Sunday was the closest we got to a day of rest. We went to church and hung out at KJ's house, but I can't say we truly rested. It was definitely evident how tired out Man Cub was at this point in our trip. He is not one for sitting still, yet he laid down on the floor in the Primary Room and didn't move. All the excitement finally got to him!

Monday was a bittersweet day. My trip came to an end Monday evening and even though I was so excited to get home to Bruce and the girls, it was hard to leave KJ behind. Our visits are so few and far between, and since we aren't yet sure when we'll see each other again, it was very hard to say goodbye. 

I didn't have to be at the airport until about 5, so KJ and I filled Monday with as much fun as we could. First, we visited KJ's friend Courtney, who over the years KJ and I have known each other, has also become my friend! I bought my first DSLR camera from Courtney and she is the person who inspired me to become a birth photographer. It was great to get to meet her in person while I was there.

Other than visiting Courtney, the two main highlights of Monday were eating at Burgerville and driving across the Oregon/Washington state line, which takes my official "states visited" count up to 30. Hopefully, the next time I visit KJ, we can spend more time in Washington, and maybe even hit Seattle. And eat at Burgerville lots, because those were the most incredible burgers I have EVER eaten. And I had two. In one sitting. It was embarrassing.

It's me!! In my 30th state visited!
 The flight home was uneventful and Man Cub was a great traveling companion. I hated being away from Bruce and Sunshine and Beebs, but there was something special about that one on one time with my little man.

Thank you so much KJ and family, for a WONDERFUL visit. I loved you all before, but I love you even more now and I can't wait to see you all again. Let's make it soon.
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