Monday, September 23, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Cody's Choo Choo Party

While I don't feel like I need to explain myself, I got a little flack on facebook a couple of days before the party because I said something to the extent of how I was a little stressed out because Cody's birthday party was 48 hours away and I hadn't done anything for it yet.  I don't know why I say anything on facebook sometimes.  Generally, my status updates are something silly the kids have done that I share to try to make others laugh.  But with this one simple status out come a few comments to which I just want to say, shut it.  First, when I say I'm stressed, that's like someone else saying they're breathing.  I'm stressed.  It's what I do.  I live at a comfortable anxiety level of about 6.  Me saying I'm stressed is no where the same as what you feel as stress, or maybe it is, do you have high anxiety too?  Second, I can't STAND it when people say things like, "oh bla bla bla if you go overboard when they are 2 they are going to expect it when they are older."  Or "oh bla bla bla if you do a big party now what are you going to do when they are 8, 12, 16..."  To which I want to say, none of your business.  That's my problem and I will deal with it when they are 8 (taking them to Disney), 12 (letting the girls get their ears pierced, long fishing/camping trip with dad for the boys), or 16 (I may drive them to the dmv to get a permit/license we'll see).  But either way, it's none of your concern so BACK UP OFF!

So when you glance at the pictures from Cody's party I realize that without really knowing me or the situations that lead to his party it might look a little over the top.  To which I must give a warm and hearty thanks to my brother-in-law David who missed the party but upon seeing pictures/hearing about it from Em, said something about how I did manage to keep it simple this year.  Thank you, David for realizing this was actually quite a simple party to put together.  

I did a crazy pinterest type party for Cody and Henry for their 1st Birthday last year.  I learned a lot from that party.  Mostly that I don't enjoy really doing that type of thing.  But I also learned that I do like paper party packs from Etsy.  With a quick download and then some printing, cutting, and taping you can put together a party that looks well organized and cute with very minimal effort.  So that's what I did this year.  If it didn't come in the party pack, it wasn't used to decorate.  I didn't even bother buying balloons.  I also did the party between meal times so that I could just serve store bought snacks with a few handmade add ins.  I asked Cody what he wanted to eat and that's mainly what I served with a few things for the adults. 

I also realized that Cody's party is probably going to be big every year just because of the nature of it.  His birthday falls during nice weather so it's easy to cookout and entertain outside.  And quite frankly once I start crunching the numbers the party is already too big to fit in my house after I've invited the family that lives in town.  13 Schwartzes don't fit in my house already, add in 4 Nuckolls, and we're at a party of almost 20 before I invite friends.  I can't fit 20 people in my house so we have to move it outside right there.  As long as we're outside I might as well invite some friends and easily the guest list swells to 40+ people.  I like it.  If you're going to take the time to do stuff for a party, you might as well have your friends over to tell you you did a good job.  Right?

So with all that being said, here's a photo recap of Cody's party.

Cody is really into trains right now.  Except that about a week before his party all of a sudden he was really into planes and wanted a plane party.  Thankfully we just ignored him because I'd already bought the etsy party pack and had started printing things.
Invitation, sorry if you didn't get one.

The main reason I was a little stressed 2 days before the party was because instead of doing my cutting and taping like I usually do a couple weeks before the party.  I instead reread the Hunger Games Trilogy and that ate up my free time when Chris was working late.  Whoops.  So my dear sweet husband did the wall decorations while he sent Sarah and me to Disney on Ice.

Snack table, you can't really tell but all the food is in train cars.  And it's being pulled by a train toy that we slipped Cody's picture into so that it looks like he's driving the train.
Yeah, I asked my parents to center the table in front of the white table cloth.  Now looking at this picture it really bugs me they failed at the "centering" assignment.  

I asked Cody what he wanted to eat at his party and he said, "goldfish and nem-im-nems."  So we got cheeze-its, M&Ms.  Then we also served his 2 favorite fruits, apples and grapes with some fruit dip.  Added some carrots and celery with ranch dip.  And some vanilla waffers for good measure.  Like I said I also bacon pinwheels and buffalo chicken dip and Em brought over some delicious homemade bruschetta for the grown folks pallet to enjoy. 

I hate baking cupcakes with a fiery passion.  From trying to stuff the stupid paper cups in the tin to figuring out what 2/3 full is I HATE THEM.  I had planned on outsourcing this task but my wonderfully talented baking friend had her hands full so sucked it up and made some cupcakes for Cody's party.  Again, cute wrappers and picks came out of the paper pack.  Print, cut, tape and voila adorable cupcakes.

And then since I was on a roll I made a cake too.  I thought surely a 2lb bag of powder sugar will make enough butter cream for all this.  Nope.  Not even close.  I ran out, twice.  Chris had to run to the store and buy more powdered sugar the morning of the party so I could finish the cupcakes.  Between these two pictures you are looking at 4 lbs of frosting my friends.  Let the diabetes begin!

Cody's train from Disney world on the cake.  So cute!

We also wrapped the water bottles with personalized wrappers again, because it's not a party without a personalized bottle of water.

The big beverage hit this year was a flat of glass bottle Cokes made in Mexico I picked up at Costco.  Those things were devoured and well received.  

My biggest party splurge was personalized cookies.  I love personalized cookies.  I'm a little obsessed with them and have really wanted to do them at a party.  A wonderfully talented woman at church has started a little business out of her own home Lorna's Bakery .  She made these for me to pass out as the party favor.  Not only are they cute but they are so freaking delicious!

For the entertainment I was really blessed with great friends and good luck.  I tried to find an affordable kiddie train to rent when I first decided to do a train themed party.  I was a little bummed when I couldn't find one.  Thankfully, my wonderful brother in law who is an impressive business man just started a new company.  Adam has got one of the most amazing enterprising minds I've ever seen in action.  He was born to be an entrepreneur and is quite successful in all his endeavors.  He was so generous to donate one of his new inflatables for Cody's party.  So really, this party was awesome because of The Inflatables.  Otherwise, this party would have just been me and some friends hanging out in my drive way because the yard was so wet from the rain on Friday.  Seriously check out The Inflatables on facebook link here: The Inflatables.

Bouncy house slide castle

Cody loved the bouncy house.  He kept saying, "blue bouncy house, fun!"  Even the next day after it was gone he's point to where it was and remind us, "blue bouncy house, fun!" (He just saw the picture over my shoulder and said "bouncy house!") The bigger kids loved it too.  We've started having kids a little later that most of our friends; a lot of our friends already have tweens in their home!  So having a bouncy house is a nice way to make sure everyone has a great time.

Sarah loved it.

Proof I got in and had a good time.
When I got in my mom felt the need to shove the camera in through the little crawl slot and take pictures.  They were mostly of my butt.  Thanks mom!  This is the only one that wasn't of my back side.

Even Grandma Schwartz loved it.

A couple of weeks before the party I was chatting with my neighbor who's son is about a month older than Cody.  They love to play together.  And her son is also a big fan of trains.  We were invited to his party but couldn't make it because some family came to town.  I was asking her how it went and she mentioned her friend from church brought over their kiddie train and her son loved it.  I jumped for joy and asked her to ask her friend how much he would charge me for 30-45 minutes at Cody's birthday party. 

This guy was so generous he said he'd be glad to do it and I didn't need to worry about a fee.  But if I wanted to I could donate for the cost of the gas.  So of course I gave the man gas money.  And a lot of thank yous and a big smile.  As well as all the big smiles from the kids.  

I hate that I didn't get a picture of the look on Cody's face when he saw this little train coming down the street.  He loved it!
Loading into the Choo Choo
 Sarah and Cody
Sarah and Jessie

Cody and Houston

Cody and Henry

Pretty much as long as the train was there, Cody was on it.  He rode in every color barrel and had a great time.

Even the big kids rode the train.

Time for cake!

Cody got his fingers in the icing while Chris was lighting the candle.

I love his smile in this picture.  It's like he's saying, "y'all are me!"

And then opening presents

A new matchbox car storage case from Grandma and Grandpa Schwartz

Like a good sister, Sarah is trying to help, or steal the present not quite sure which.

Cody's party was a blast.  Everyone had a great time and the weather was gorgeous.  I'm really grateful for the entertainment that was donated.  I'm not quite sure what I'll do next year.  Probably just have a cookout.  But like I said at the beginning, that's my problem no one else's.  =)

Of course, my biggest problem right now is that Sarah is convinced she's going to have a big ballerina birthday party.  Sorry sweetie, with a December birthday you are just getting your traditional dinner with the 4 of us, and then trip to the movies with your Auntie Cam, Auntie Susan, and Auntie Steffanie.   It's a hard knock life for you Christmas baby.  But I love you.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Disney on Ice 2013

Sarah has been lucky enough to be invited to Disney on Ice each year with a friend whose dad works for a generous company.  I apparently started taking this generosity for granted and just assumed it was also the highlight of their social calendar each year as well and we'd be invited.  Unfortunately, they made other plans this year and wouldn't be in town for Disney on Ice.

I was a little bummed at first.  Not necessarily about missing out on the box seats.  More on missing out on the fun and silliness leading up to it.  Making matching outfits for the girls.  Hanging out with my good friend.  And enjoying seeing how much 2 giddy girls were loving the show.  

I pouted a bit and then moved on.  I didn't realize that Chris had even noticed I was a bit pouty about not taking Sarah to the show this year.  Boy was I surprised when we sprung tickets on me and Sarah and sent us out the door for the show, especially since there was still plenty of prep work for Cody's party to be done.  

I'm glad he did.  While I'm not the most sentimental person and I don't really believe the well touted quote:
If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the piles and piles of laundry will disappear all too soon and that you will, to your surprise, miss them profoundly. – Thomas S. Monson

I mean seriously, the last thing I'll miss out the kids when they are grown is the insane amount of laundry I do.

But I do realize certain aspects of my time in the trenches has a shelf life.  And Disney on Ice is one of them.  All too soon Sarah will be too big to want to dress up in silly outfits and go to the icecapades with me.  All too soon she won't want to dress up like a princess and ask me to dance with her in the kitchen.  And beyond Disney on Ice, all too soon she won't call me her best friend and want to spend time with me or maybe she won't even want to be seen with me in public.  Oh how those teen years terrify me!

So I'm going to hold on to this tradition for as long as humanly possible!

This year, without Annie to making corresponding outfits with and with the short notice of the show Sarah wore her Rapunzel dress and I tried to match her in a purple shirt.
Dressed and ready to go!

Chris even gave us some money for over priced stadium food since we didn't have time to eat before we left.  Sarah is so funny, we get in the FedEx forum and I ask her what she wants for dinner.  She sees the giant tub of popcorn and immediately tells me thats what she wants.  Popcorn didn't sound like what I wanted for dinner so I got us some chicken tenders and french fries.  She ate all my fries and didn't want the chicken.  Then at intermission she reminded me that I didn't get her any popcorn yet.  Ha!
Watching the show

Chris got us some awesome seats!  There are the 3 rows of chairs right on the ice, I guess those are the VIP seats.  Anyway, we were on the 3rd row after those.  Pretty awesome.

Rapunzel's floating lights

 At intermission we went out so Sarah could use the restroom and also to buy her popcorn.  =)  In the restroom while we waited in line she hands me her sweater and says, "Here mom.  I don't want to wear this.  Its covering up my pretty dress and people want to see it."  Say what?!?
 I asked her to give me a big smile.  This is what I got.  She said she was using her hands to make it bigger.

During the Brave part of the show.

Max (the horse from Tangled) during the grand finale.

My little blur dancing during the grand finale.

After the show

I enjoyed our Mommy-Sarah time at Disney on Ice.  Sarah can definitely have her moments where I want to murder her or put her in eternal time out.  But really she is a sweet, funny, bright, happy girl and is a joy to be around.  She gets so excited over the littlest things (like a whole tub of popcorn for her) and just lights up.  Her smile is infectious and it's impossible not to be happy when she's bubbling over with joy and exclaiming everything is her favorite.

I'm hoping that we get at least a few more years of our Disney on Ice date night.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Cody's 2 Years Old!

Cody you are 2 years old now!  You have grown and changed so much in the past few months.  I've been meaning to do a few updates on you but you don't quite cooperate for the camera all the time.  I'm glad Daddy got this great picture of you for your birthday update.

So here are some highlights:

* Your vocabulary is amazing!  You are my new favorite pet because you are just a little parrot.  You love to hear new words and immediately repeat them so you can see how the feel to pronounce and smile big when you get it right.  You even put an up inflection on the end of the word the first time you say it as if you are questioning if you got it right.
* You are actually fun to have conversations with now.  You can express things you remember and will bring up things from a few days ago.  It's fun to see you making connections with what you are currently doing or what's going on with other things.
* You are hilarious and rotten sometimes at the same time.  About 3 weeks ago after Sarah finished her breakfast she went off to play with a new toy she just got.  You weren't done eating so you were still at the table with me.  You heard her playing and said, "Sarah playing Aladdin.  Cody take it."  So I told you, "No. You are not going to take Sarah's toy."  And with sly smirk you said, "Cody take it."
* You are also most definitely a little brother and love nothing more than to irritate your older sister.  You will purposefully pick fights with her about stupid things.  For example she'll say something and you'll look at her and say, "No."  Just to make her made.  Then a yelling exchange of yes and no happens all the while she's getting more upset and you are just smiling about it.
* You still aren't the most adventurous eater.  You hate most vegetables and still only eat carrots.  You're not a fan of many fruits but red grapes, apples, and bananas have made the cut of things you'll eat.
* You're also a pretty slow eater.  At times we'll think you just aren't going to eat dinner but the longer we sit around the table talking you'll actually begin to pick and eat at your food finally.
* You love to play outside.  You like to play chalk, and be pushed around in your Cozy Coup.  You are still too lazy to make the car go yourself.  You also love to play "hit ball" which is your version of golf only it involves hitting any ball with any item you can hold to do so with.
* You love dogs and are always excited when you see one no matter how big they are.
* You've been to the beach and Disney World for the first time in the past two months.
* You love trains, cars, and airplanes.  Sometimes when you hear an airplane overhead you think it's thunder and yell, "it's raining!"
* You empathically emphasize some words when you are upset or feel ignored.  For example, when I haven't answered you quickly enough you go from saying, "mommy", to saying, "Mom.  Mee!"  Likewise you'll do it do Daddy, "Dad. Dee!" and Sarah, "Say.  Rah!"
* You are a pretty social little dude.  You love going to the gym and church to see your friends.  When one of them is upset you get in their face to see why they are sad.
* Speaking of church, you LOVE nursery.  Love may not actually be strong enough.  As soon as the rest hymn is done you say, "nursery!"  And proceed to say that after the last speaker and final song until after the prayer then you finally get to go to nursery.  You take off out of the pew like you are on a mission.  You don't need or what mommy or daddy to take you to nursery, you want your buddy Wyatt (Wy-wy) to take you.
* You have no interest in giving up your crib or your pacifier.  I don't feel like it's important to try to move you to a big bed just yet so no biggie.  You haven't tried to climb out yet so you can stay in your crib as long as you want I guess.
* You have a head of steel.  Ever time I turn around you have new bruise or knot on your noggin'.  It must be a boy thing.  But you usually rebound pretty quickly after you get a boo boo.  You cry for about a minute or 2 and then you are off and running again.
* You are daddy's best friend and tell him frequently and spontaneously that you love him.  It comes out, "I wuv you daddy."  If asked who your friend is you say, "daddy my friend."  If I ask if I can be your friend, you say, "No.  Cody daddy's friend."

You are so much fun and we are so in love with you.  Every day you give us something to laugh about.  You are thoughtful and kind when you want to be.  It's been a great year watching you learn and grow and we are excited for changes this next year brings for you.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Cody's 1st Magic Kingdom Trip (Part 2)

After lunch at the Star Light Cafe (I think that's what it's called) Cody was in a much better mood.  As we walked around trying to decide what to do he saw the carrousel and yelled, "Ride Horses!  Yaw!"  So we were able to walk right on to the ride with no wait and ride it.  He had a great time.  

Every year at the company picnic we take a picture of our growing family on the pony rides.  We missed the company picnic this year and I was really only disappointed about not getting that annual picture.  So this will have to suffice as our 2013 Pony Ride Picture.

Cody was so amazed at how the horse moved up and down.

We bought The Sword in the Stone for our last car ride so the kids have been watching it recently.  It's one of Chris's favorite Disney movies.  On the drive down while we listened to it I mentioned the sword was in Disney World.  Chris didn't know that because why would I waste time at Disney looking at silly things like that.  Ha!  However, I knew where it was and we visited it after the ride on the carrousel.
Sarah tried to pull it out.

Cody has his serious business face on while he tries to pull it out.  

Chris isn't meant to be the king of England either.  
I love the look on Cody's face in this picture.  Click on it to make it bigger.  But he just looks so happy and almost convinced if anyone can pull it out, his daddy can.  

As we were walking though the traditional part of Fantasy Land (past Peter Pan and Small World) the cast members brought out a ring toss game and the kids got to try.
Sarah trying the ring toss.

Cody moved up this close and still missed.  Ha!

Part of going to Disney with a preschooler is knowing where all the bathrooms are.  They just put in this lovely rest area themed after Rapunzel.
Rapunzel's tower

After that we caught a few shows.  Even though it was September, in the middle of the day it's pretty hot and we desperately needed some air conditioning.  So we watched Mickey's Philharmagic, which I don't think I've ever seen.  At least I didn't remember any of it.  It's a 4D show and super cute.  I highly recommend it.  Sarah at first didn't want to keep her glasses on but then I pushed them up on her face when one of the things was coming out and she reached her hand out for it.  She kept them on the rest of the show.  It was pretty neat seeing her trying to interact with the various things that pop out.

We also caught the Country Bears Jamboree.  I've seen that one before, but didn't really remember it.  Just more I remember that we've seen it before when I was a kid.  But again, once you are older and can ride the roller coasters who wants to sit through shows!  The kids thought the singing bears were pretty cute.

We moozied on over to Adventure Land to ride the Pirate ride.  Chris really wanted to do the Jungle Cruise but it was closed that day.  Bummer.  He suggested the Tikki Room which I promptly vetoed, I didn't want that song stuck in my head the rest of the day.

On the drive down BOTH kids requested the ride the Flying Carpets.  Sarah has ridden in before and there is a picture in her Disney book of her on it so that's why she wanted to ride it.  Cody just jumped on the band wagon of the request.  But he LOVED it!  If you ask him what his favorite ride at Disney was, he usually says either "fly carpet" or "fly rocket".
Quick snap shot as we were loading up.  

After flying carpets, Sarah was starting to break down on us.  The biggest tip I can give you about going to disney with little kids especially if you are only doing one day is to just go in with an understanding they are going to melt down on you.  It's going to happen.  Multiple times.  And generally not at the same time so you are going to have to balance alternating melt downs.  If you go in knowing that and reminding yourself of that, it's easier not to get frustrated.  Now, Sarah had been doing really good up to this point but it was probably 4 by now and a long day.  I asked her what she wanted to do and she said, "I'd like to go pick my prize now."  We told each kid they could have one prize (because they don't get the concept of souvenir).  So we went back to main street and walked through all the stores.  

Cody got 2 souvenirs.  I really wanted him to have a Mickey shirt so we picked one out for him.  Then we tried to let him pick his other prize but he really didn't get the concept.  Instead of saying he wanted everything he just kept saying no to everything.  So I picked a small train that Mickey was driving for him to have.  He said no to it, but it was a good pick.  He's carried it everywhere with him since.  I love it because it has the number 2 on the front.  So I'll probably keep this and save it for him for when he's older to remember that for his 2nd birthday he was in love with trains and met Mickey Mouse for the first time.

Sarah, on the other hand complete gets the concept of only picking one thing.  After careful consideration she picked a new Aurora doll to match her Rapunzel doll from the last trip.  She also got a really cute Mickey bracelet because I wanted it and it didn't fit my wrist.  

With prizes in tow now both kids were happy, and we were headed to ride the train around the Magic Kingdom when I saw Mickey had a 10 minute wait to meet him.  Hello!  That was a must do and that is a really short line so we did that first.  So awesome!

Cody again was just bursting at the seams ready to meet the main mouse.  He was doing his happy excited feet where it's like stomping but not angry more just really excited and can't help but move his feet.  When it was his turn we unleashed him and he charged at the mouse arms open wide.
Meeting Mickey

Click to make bigger so you can see the look of sheer joy on his face.

Sarah showing off her new prizes she just picked out.

I also sang the hot dog song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Cody normally dances to it but was too in awe of being with Mickey so he just stared at him while thankfully Mickey danced to it so I didn't look completely crazy.

Cody, 2 and Sarah, 3.75

Then after we met Mickey we rode the train.  Sorry I didn't grab a picture of us on it.  I don't remember ever riding the train before.  It's about a 20 minute ride all the way around the park and has 3 stations to load and unload.  Cody feel asleep after about 15 minutes of riding. 

Completely zonked.

With Cody passed out we needed something air conditioned to do so he could stay asleep.  The princesses had a 25 minute wait and so we popped into there.  That would give Chris a place to sit with Cody asleep on him and Sarah something to do.  

As we waited I thought it would be so cute to get a picture of Aurora, Sleeping Beauty, kissing a sleeping Cody.  But right before we were the next people to meet the first princess Cody woke up and wanted nothing to do with those women.  He just hung out with Chris while Sarah got to chat with her favorite people.

Chatting with Cinderella

When we got out while I took Sarah to the restroom some cast member brought out some more games to play.  Cody enjoyed those while he waited on us.

Another ring toss game.

Then we took a little stroll discussing our dinner options.  Cody was getting cranky again so we needed to find something soon.  
I suggested Gaston's Tavern so Chris could get a delicious pork shank but that's not a sit down place.

So we eat at the Harbor House where we had a lovely view of Rapunzel's tower all lit up for the evening.

After dinner Cody rallied with his second wind and was hilarious the rest of the night.  He was overly excited about everything and ready to do anything.  Walking past the carrousel he saw it again and just had to ride it.  "Ride Horses!  Yaw!"
Family "Yehaw!"

Then we asked if he wanted to ride the musical boats (It's a Small World) and were able to walk right on.  "Ride music boats.  Yep!"

Sarah wanted to do the Winnie the Pooh ride, if you asked Cody if he wanted to it sounded like the best idea in the world.  "Yeah!  Yeah!  Ride Pooh!"
Eeyore's house.

Playing in Rabbit's garden.

He was also extremely excited to ride the "tea party" again and took off towards it before Chris and I could discuss.  Chris sat it out that time, which was for the best because our tea cup was possessed.  Even without turning the wheel whenever our cup his 2 specific spots on the track it spun us really hard and fast.  The first time the kids laughed and thought it was hilarious.  The second time it threw Cody back and his eyes bugged and he looked excited and terrified at the same time.

After that Sarah was crashing but Cody really wanted to ride the Astro-Orbiter.  I really wanted to see the projection show.  We asked Cody if we could skip the rockets.  His answer was firm and decisive.  "No.  In line.  Ride Rockets!"  So we stayed, I missed the show.  =(  Sarah almost fell asleep in my arms in line.  We rode the rockets.  Cody loved it.  When we got down from the ride the fireworks were just starting.  Sarah passed out in the stroller and Cody loved watching them all.

It was a long and fantastic day.  Doing Disney with kids this age can be difficult but totally worth it.  I loved looking at Cody's face as we met characters and rode the different rides.  It's fun to talk to him about it.

Sunday we went to church with Aunt Sarah and then headed to Grandma and Grandpa's to have lunch and visit for a bit before the long ride home.  It was a nice way to round out the trip.
Uncle Ken, Aunt Lu, Grandpa, Grandma, Cody, Chris, Natalie
Aunt Sarah, Sarah