Monday, March 31, 2014

Thirty-One Thousand Words

March was a sabbatical month for us.  It was a really special gift from our church to take time away to find renewal and soul rest--especially for Matt, but also as a couple and as a family.  Our hope was to rest, reconnect, and to come back refreshed and ready, and in a better place to serve and lead in ministry.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here is our month of march in thirty-one thousand words...

{Maybe thirty-three thousand-- I added a couple of extra ones} :)

March 1- "My heart"

March 2- "Back to the Beginning Again"

March 3- "At Sea"

March 4- "Soul Rest"

March 5-"Adventure"

March 6- "Courage"

March 7- "Discovery"

March 8- "Deep touches Deep"

March 9- "Tales"

March 10- "Eyes to See"

& "Beloved"

March 11- "Beautiful Things"

March 12- "Needed"

March 13- "Laughter"

March 14- "Worship"

March 15- "Spring Dusk"

March 16- "Preparations"

March 17- "Celebration"

March 18- "Freedom"

March 19- "PJs & Bracketology"

March 20- "I know"

& "First Day"

March 21- "...so great is His love..."

March 22- "Beach Bound/Resting Sound"

March 23- "Now Showing"

& "Thankful"

March 24- "Dolphins"

March 25- "Led"

March 26- "Hemmed In"

March 27- "Simple Truth"

March 28- "...and makes its circuit to the other..."

March 29- "Blue Skies"

March 30- "Winding Down"

March 31- "Wind at my Back Again"

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Reed's Superhero 4th Birthday Party

We didn't set out to be a big birthday-party-every-year type of operation, but Reed thinks parties are fun... and I think they're fun... and they're just fun!  Soooo, this year when Reed asked for a superhero birthday party, I said yes, please and got right to work. :)


I knew our family would be on sabbatical in March, so we were thinking low-key and simple.  We planned to host the party at a park (hello, no clean up!) on a Monday (Reed's actual birthday), and to celebrate with play, superhero games, simple snacks, and cake.

I found a free printable pdf file online with all of Reed's favorite superheroes.  Matt helped me cover the write-in party detail lines with a blank text box in Pages and I was able to add my own text.  Easiest invite yet!


Funny back story:  One morning when we were playing outside in our PJs in the driveway, I drew a cityscape and clouds with sidewalk chalk and snapped some superhero pictures of Reed.  I had seen the idea on Pinterest and thought it would be a fun photobooth-type idea for Reed and his pals.  As March approached and we hadn't yet made his invitations, I thought of those pictures.  They weren't great, and he wasn't in a superhero costume, but he did have on spiderman pajamas... I added some edits and text and mentally checked invites off of my list.  I was just going to text the picture/invite as a "superhero alert" to moms of his buddies anyway.  I was so excited to show Reed the next morning...


Reed took one look and said "I hate them, Mom!"  (WHAT.  Hate??  I knew they were kind of ghetto, but he's three, after all.  What level of graphic design standards could he possibly hold?!)  He actually started crying, and went on to say that he wasn't even wearing a cape and that everyone would know he wasn't really flying.  I almost laughed, but held it in.  Oh my child!  We were pretty much down to the wire (as in Matt and I were leaving the country the next day), but with the pdf file and Matt's text box idea, we ended up with a tear-free take 2 (above).

I also found really cute felt capes on Etsy to double as party play and favors!  Reed (painstakingly) picked out which hero emblems he wanted on them, and I didn't dare get the birthday cape personalized (even though it was complementary) because I had no doubt that he would change his mind several times about who he wanted to be.  (And he did.  He even changed costumes mid-party.)


I couldn't wait to get bright pictures of my birthday Reed and his super pals flying around in those colorful capes outside on a beautiful, sunny spring day!  Ha. ha. ha.  Enter cold temps and rain, and relocation of party to inside our house.  {It was the death of a small dream.}  We changed around a few games, pulled together some decorations, and it was a little crazy in there but Reed and his super friends/ little sister side-kicks had a blast so it was well worth it. :)

We decorated the kitchen for Reed's birthday morning, and started the day with surprises and a cinnamon biscuit breakfast!



We had held out hopes that the sun would come out and we could at least be in the yard, but no such luck.  We hung the capes across the living room, and tried to party-up the downstairs.  (Reed's superhero book on the entry table (themed book as guestbook) is one of my favorite birthday traditions!)



We also moved some furniture, and cleared out the basement and garage to make room for the gathering of superheroes at our headquarters!  Papa and Grammy were first on the scene...


Supergirl Molly quickly flew in to help.


We were ready to roll!


First, Reed and his super friends made Captain America shields out of paper plates.  The bravest of the heroes started their training by blocking nerf darts.


Next, we built up our super strength with the "hulk smash."  (We also crashed through a (cardboard) brick wall, but I didn't get pictures of that feat.)


I drew a city scape in the garage for super hero poses.  Reed was nonchalantly eating an ice cream cone on the go in his. :)


We regrouped upstairs for snacks and Happy Birthday to You.  We had planned on water bottles and pre-packed "Reed's faves" trail mixes for the park, so we just stuck with that.  I found superhero duct tape on Amazon, and the kids and I pulled off the water labels and re-wrapped the bottles to be fun and festive.  The snack mix bags had comic book stickers on them, and we found superhero fruit snacks too.



I waited until the last minute on Reed's cake (are you detecting a theme!?).  We found superhero figurines at the dollar store, and Reed had been collecting them, so I was thinking it would be easy to arrange those on a cookie cake.  We ended up serving brownies because they are Reed's current dessert of choice (and also because they're 6.99 for 50+ at Costco!).  I made a brownie cake in a spring form pan the night before, but we only had one box of brownie mix on hand, so the cake was a one level low-rider. :)



Happy Birthday to Reed!


I secretly bought some extra dollar store figurines, and we froze their feet in water the night before the party.


As the newly-trained superheroes were finishing their snacks and cake, a call came in (on Daddy's speaker phone) from none other than Dr. Doom (aka Papa).  He told the heroes that he and Mr. Freeze had captured all of the superheroes, and that they shrank them and froze them with the freeze ray.  They were being held in the garage.


The brave heroes wasted no time.


Downstairs, melt rays were ready and everyone got to work freeing all of the superheroes.


They saved them all.  Hooray!

Reed opened some birthday gifts before his hero friends had to go home to their own hideouts.


We ended the afternoon with lunch at Moe's, and Papa treated to ice cream at Dairy Queen.


It was a super day celebrating our SUPER Reed!