Friday was HJ’s birthday.  One he has been counting down for months.  So, we had to make sure he had the best day ever.

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He woke up to a room full of balloons, and got ready for school.  We swung by dunkin donuts for a chocolate sprinkle donut..best breakfast for birthday kids :).  He walked to school with a container of cupcakes to share with his class, and it was only a half day of school.  At noon, I picked up HJ and his friend.  We went for Happy Meals, and played outside in the perfect weather.  Then, we had to pick up the cake for HJ’s party.  The bakery is ran out of a home, which is on a farm.  The farm has lot, and lots of cats.  So we stayed to play a while.  img_6956

Then, it was time to head off on our next adventure…Chuck E. Cheese.  The boys burned through their tokens in less than 30 minutes.  HJ opted to save his tickets, and did not take home a prize.

img_6963After that, we went to a park to burn off any energy that was left.

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We came home to get ready for HJ’s family party.  His nana, papa and great grandma were coming over for dinner and cake.  He picked out dinner, edamame and taco pizza.  Then, opened up his presents.  After presents, came cake.

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Safe to say, he was ready for bed shortly after.  We had a great day celebrating my favorite boy in the world!  Happy Birthday, sweet boy!

Hey Chicago what do you say Cubs are gonna win today:

“Hey HJ, do you know the cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908?  That is 108 years ago!  That’s older then nana, papa, even great grandma!  If they win tonight it is a huge deal!”

HJ looks at me with wide eyes. “Oh my gosh!  How old are the players?!?!”

He definitely thought the players from 1908 were playing last night.

Back in 2001, I went to my first pro baseball game.  I had an internship in Chicago, and a group of us went to the cubs game.  Half of our group was from England and Scotland.  They knew nothing about baseball.  We were trying to explain strikes, balls, etc.  And other fans kept looking at us with amused expressions on their faces.

I can’t imagine the fun that city is having today!

Last year, school pictures were a fiasco.  HJ and I spent the whole day before and morning of arguing over what he had to wear.  I finally convinced him to wear a t-shirt UNDER his button down and told him as soon as pictures were over, he could take the button down off.  Then I dropped him off at daycare.  Where he proceeded to take the shirt off and shove it in his bag so no one would know.  And his picture was taken in his t-shirt.

All that arguing for nothing.

This year, I showed HJ what I wanted him to wear.  He said “no”.  And said he wanted to wear his Cedar Falls Tiger shirt.

I already had his annual photos scheduled, and he had just had football pictures done.  And I figured, “I don’t really care”.

Much to his amazement, I said “fine”.

Picture day…I drop HJ off at daycare.  We walk in the door and one kid goes, “Oh, you don’t have pictures today?”.  HJ said, “I do”.  The other kid said, “Your shirt is just in your bag then?”.

Nope.

He proudly said, “I get to wear this!” while I shrugged my shoulders.

The other little boy said, “My mom would NEVER let me wear that!”

Apparently, quite a few kids said that to him through out the day.  I figure, someday he will question why I allowed to let him dress like that for pictures, and I can tell him all about the fit he threw the year before, and that it wasn’t worth the argument.  So here it is, 1st grade pictures!!  Not only can I no longer pick out his clothes, I also can’t get him to get a hair cut.

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I’m not going to lie, I already have a handful of Christmas presents.  I usually start shopping in September.  And there may have been a few days where I have thought I really want to put up my Christmas tree.

So what a perfect time for Shopbop to have an amazing SALE!

You can’t go wrong gifting a beautiful, versatile handbag.  Or a beautiful necklace.

This sale goes from today until Friday, so make sure you don’t miss out on a fantastic way to save!  And if you are wondering what to get me for my birthday in a few weeks…I love Kate Spade.

HJ and I are finally in our back to school routine.  Which is amazing, since he has yet to have a full week!  The last few weeks, we had flood days, which made things a bit hectic. (and no, we have never had flood days before)

Before school, we get ready, have breakfast, and HJ goes to daycare while I head to work.  For now, HJ is in lego club, football and faith formation at night.  This leads to early/late dinners, and rarely do I have time to cook.  I am ready for football to be over, so we at least have 2 nights at home :).

At night, we play, do homework and read a few chapters before bed.  We just finished Fudge-a-mania, and started The BFG.   There are times I am amazed at how quickly he is changing, like when I heard him read out loud in front of a group.

He also likes to help around the house.  This weekend, he wants to learn how to clean the fishbowl by himself (YAY!).  The dog and him have become best buds.  Many times, HJ would rather stay in with the dog and play then to go outside and play.

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Yes, that is the dog eating his ice cream.

I love that we live in a neighborhood where there are always kids running around, and the neighbors can help each other.  While we would love a bigger space, I would be too scared to leave our comfortable ‘hood.

I love going and watching HJ play flag football, although it makes me laugh.  HJ HATES being chased, so will do what he can to avoid getting the ball.  He also is afraid to grab people’s flags.  So he runs after them and then slows wayyy down once he gets close.

With him getting so big, I savor the moments he is still “little”.  Like when he came into my room and asked to snuggle.  Or when he falls asleep in the same position he did as a baby.  Or when he suddenly wants to get out a toy he hasn’t played with in two years.  But then, he will walk out of the room “dabbing” and yelling “DUDE” to his friends.

I always knew how much I wanted to be a mom, but I didn’t expect to love it this much.

With all of the craziness that the first weeks of school brings, HJ and I have been finally getting into a routine.

And…I officially have a 1st grader.

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I can’t believe it.

He is loving 1st grade, even though it isn’t quite as fun as kindergarten.  He has started flag football, he likes everything about it except for the stretching (who has time for that?!?).  He still wants to be a vet and an animal trainer, going on 3 years now!  We fought about getting a haircut, and finally last weekend he agreed to getting his bangs cut so he could see.  I only had to bribe him with 6 Pokemon cards, a stop at his favorite ice cream shop and letting him stay the night in my bed.  Totally worth it.

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He loves to watch EvanTube, play minecraft and run around outside with the neighbor kids.  Yesterday, I told him I signed him up for Lego club tomorrow morning and you would have thought I told him we were going to Disney World.

He already decided what he wants for his birthday in November…2 guinea pigs.  And I already told him he should think of something less stinky, and less work.  He is pretty adamant about what Santa should bring this year.  Good luck on finding a jet pack, Santa.

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Every day I am amazed at how caring, silly and sweet he is.  But I also love his feisty streak.  I can’t believe I have a 1st grader, time goes by so fast when you’re having fun!

Recently, we have had a licensing worker doing home visits so we can be an approved foster family.  This has led to magnetic baby locks, locked up medication and safety plans posted in the house.  It also has me thinking of other ways we can make our home safe for a new little one.

One thing I want to do is to be able to keep our dog, Ty, and the child, separated.  That has led to me researching child and baby gates.  Yes, I am totally one of those mom that researches things before purchasing (I can give you an earful about car safety standards in the US vs. Europe).

The thing about child and baby gates is that I need to be able to install it, and open/close it without throwing a fit and jumping over the top.  I started by looking over this article that describes the different gates for different spaces.  With our house set up, I think it would be best to have it in the hallway, that way the dog can still have access to his foot/water/window he likes.  I also read over this article that describes the kinds of child and baby gates, and decided pressure mount would be the best for us.

I also worry about injuries from the gates.  Pinched fingers, leaping over, etc.  This video helped me see that my fears were not unfounded, and I am sure I will still turn to YouTube to watch easy install videos.

With HJ, I never had a gate.  This was mostly due to the fact that he would prefer to climb and leap over things, and I knew he would view it as a toy.  I am hoping that being able to keep Ty and a child separated, I will feel a little less anxious about not always being in plain sight.

What other safety must-haves do you think we will need?

“AHHH!” I had bit my tongue while on a bike ride with HJ.  And it hurt like a *@&#*.

“What was that crazy noise you made, mom?”

I explained to him that I bit my tongue, and it hurt so bad I almost said a swear word.

He replied with, “What’s a swear word?”

I love that he made it almost 7 years without knowing what that means.  I told him it is a naughty word that you shouldn’t say.

“Oh, like the “f” word!”

“Um, HJ, what is the f word?” My fingers were crossed that he wouldn’t actually know the word, but I had to know if he did.

“You know…” He hesitated to say it, but I gave him a nod of approval.

“Frick”, he whispered.

Sigh of relief.  Yes, the “f” word is frick.

“I also know the “a” word because of *insert neighbor boy name*.  It’s ass.”

 

PicMonkey Collage

I love our neighborhood.  We continuously have kids running around and playing, and even the parents get in on the fun every now and then.  This past weekend, we all decided to have a little gathering as the heat was finally going away.

As the evening wore on, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try out a bunch of products that Premier Glow had sent my way.  And I think it’s safe to say the everyone had a blast!

Everyone started by playing with the bubble guns.  And not only are they bubble guns, but light up bubble guns.  Everyone ran around chasing after the bubbles and seeing how many they could catch.  For the younger kids, this was definitely their favorite item.

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The older kids favorite was the red, white and blue lightsabers swords.  These would be perfect for any upcoming Olympic gatherings to cheer on the USA!

HJ and his friends though the light up sunglasses were “awesome”, and he is still sporting his a week later (and yes, they are still lighting up!).

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And for the adults (although the kids enjoyed them too), we had light up straws for our drinks…you know in case we couldn’t find them in the dark :).

Premier Glow has a ton of fun and unique (and inexpensive!) items, so definitely check them out for your next event.  I know I will need to stock up before our next neighborhood party!

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My neighbor had a friend getting rid of a dresser, and I was lucky enough to snag it up.  Looking at it, it was just fine on its own. But I can’t but help re-do things.  Even perfectly “fine” things.

I started by staining the top a deep cherry, and painted the sides a plain white.  The drawers are where things got crazy.

I took all the drawers out, and removed the knobs.  I picked out “Divine Pond” during a target run for the darkest color.  The bottom drawer was painted.  When I was sure I liked the color, I added some white to lighten it up a bit.  Then I painted the next drawer.  I continued that process until the top drawer, making sure the color changed ever so slightly to give the ombre effect.  Once that was dry, I screwed the knobs back in.  I love how it turned out, especially considering it was free!  I had all the supplies except for the paint from target, so the project was completed for less than $10.

Here is a little side by side comparison:

PicMonkey Collage

What fun projects have you all been working on?