Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Cody's Planes Party

I'm beginning to despise birthday parties.  Man they are just too much work.  At this point, I'm pretty sure Charlie isn't getting a first birthday party.  And I'd cancel Sarah's except she's old enough to know that she has a birthday and has already started planning it.

Cody has been talking about his planes birthday party for probably a solid 3 or 4 months, maybe longer.  I'm not sure.  I'm honestly still trying to detox and clean the house up from the party.  Gee whiz.

But you know in the end I think everyone had a good time and that's what makes it all worth it.  Right?  Let's hope so.  

So here's a photo recap.

Lorna came up with the cake design and made the cake for me.  She mentioned at church wanting to do a cake with a plane and put Cody in it.  I said, cool sounds good.  I think it turned out great.  And the cake was so delicious.  Everything was edible except the stick inside pinning it onto the cake.

Cody's Birthday Cake

My nephew Houston was quick to ask after singing Happy Birthday if he could "eat Cody".  A bit cannibalistic, but he enjoyed it.  It was made of marshmallows and modeling chocolate.

The desert table

I made the mistake of showing Cody these plane cupcakes on Pinterest before Lorna offered to make a cake.  So two days before his party when I was listing off the things we were going to serve at his party he noticed I didn't list his "planes cupcakes" and was sad.  Birthday boy wanted cupcakes, birthday boy got cupcakes.

Chris spent 3 hours cutting out the cupcake wrappers while I was at Disney on Ice with Sarah.  I love how supportive he is.  And Cody loved the cupcakes.  He was very excited bout them.  Before the party we looked them over and came up with a game plan.  I asked him which plane he was going to pick to eat and he said Dusty.  I agreed and told him Dusty or Chupacabra, but not Ripslinger.  

So of course, who does he eat during the party...

Black frosted Ripslinger.  Awesome.

The week of the party we enjoyed the most gorgeous weather.  Windows open, lovely breeze, great weather for begin outside.  The day of the party, it was 90 degrees.  I can't win.  But that was ok, we still had a really good time.  Adam and Melissa own The Inflatables and were kind enough again to let us pick an inflatable for the party.  I'm really not sure what I'd do without them providing the entertainment.  The kids had a BLAST.  And plenty of the adults too.  Who doesn't want to go down a two story slide.  This thing was taller than my house!

We also had some awesome paper airplane kits that Melissa picked up for us.  The original plan was to have a contest but eh, too much work.  So instead we just put the packs out and the kids and adults had a great time building and flying their paper airplanes around the yard.

We also had a pin the propeller on Dusty game.  Which again, wouldn't have happened without Melissa.  She made the Dusty, I just had to make the propellers.

Holt and Grandpa Schwartz

Then before you knew it its was time for cake and presents.

Blowing out the candle.

Cody had this present thing down.  He was tearing through them, and excited almost everything he got.  And what he wasn't excited about, clothes, I was!  He got lots of new planes and cars; everything a boy could want.  After each gift, I tried to get him to stop and say thank you to the person.  He tried, but there was so much going on.

I know at the party he got a couple duplicates (2 hydro Windlifters, and 2 fire Dustys).  And so I want to say a quick word about that.  I know people get bummed out when you find out someone already has that toy.  Or at a party when you see them open what you got them from someone else.  But this kid couldn't care if he already has 2 or 3 of something.  He loves them anyway.  He actually gets excited to get a double because then he has one for each hand, or even better one he can hand to Sarah so they can play with them together.  The night of the party we let him open one new toy since it was so late.  He picked his Fire Dusty.  The next morning before church we let him pick one new toy to open, and he wanted his "other fire Dusty".  So see, if you ever happen to give a double don't worry.  The kid won't care.  In fact, they'll probably be elated.

Check out that awesome cape Eliza made for him.  
This and all the clothes were personally my favorite gifts.

Sitting in front of his haul.

I think Chris said it best before we blessed the food when he thanked everyone for coming and acknowledged how blessed we are to have such wonderful friends and family in our lives to celebrate with us.  When he said that I felt all warm and fuzzy inside because it's true.  We do have great friends and family and our lives are better for it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Schwartz's vs The Blog Hop

My friend, Michelle, who I want to be when I grow up sent me an email about 2 weeks ago asking if I wanted to participate in a blog hop.  She is an amazing mother of three whose talents know no bounds.  She is a consistent writer, an amazing seamstress, a diligent runner, and an organized homeschooler.  She is patient, kind, and gracious.

When she asked me to participate I thought, why not.  I've been slacking in my blogging so maybe this will give me a push to get back on top of it.  So here are the questions she sent for me.

Why do I keep a blog?

I keep a blog because it's been grilled into me my whole life that "we are a record keeping people".  From a young age I was encouraged to keep a journal.  When scrapbooking was all the rage, I'm pretty sure Mormons were keeping that business afloat.  And yet, I've always SUCKED at it.  Truly, truly sucked at it.  I actually found a box of my old journals in the attic a few years back.  The journals from various times I tried to keep one as a middle schooler and high schooler.  I even found a box of letters that Chris and I wrote to each other while I was in college.  Want to know what I did with them?  

I walked them straight out the garbage and threw that junk away because NO ONE wants to read middle and high school drama followed by teenage angst letters.  Trash.  I didn't even peek at them.  I knew they were all dumb.

So when I was pregnant with Sarah, blogging was very popular.  A few friends were doing it (since then only one of them is still blogging, hi Bekah!) We came up with a name "Schwartztastic" and it was available so I started.  And I guess since it's been a while since the show was on, all my posts are name "The Schwartz's vs...." after our favorite show at the time Chuck.  Chuck was set at a "Buy More" which was making fun of Best Buy which is where Chris and I met.  So that's what's up with all my post titles.

It's been almost 5 years now that I've maintained this blog.  Sometimes I'm on top of it and post often, other times it gets put on the back burner and I know I should do better.  But it really has been a joy for me to do.  I look back at old posts pretty often and reminisce about how small the kids use to be or relive different things we've done together.  I do basically only hit the highlights.  I want my kids and their kids to look back on this and read about the good so it's rare I'll post something that isn't peppy and happy.  However, I have a few times if something has weighed on me for long enough and I feel like I need to get it out.  I wrote once about self confidence issues, and I finally wrote about our miscarriage.  And in my head I've written about a dozen posts about my love for natural child birth and my struggles with breastfeeding, but I'm not sure if I'll ever let that crazy out.

In the end, I blog because when I'm gone this is my voice.  These are the stories my kids will read to their kids to remember me and to remember their childhood.  I hope one day to get the blog printed and bound for the kids to have.  But even if I never get around to it, at least the internet never forgets.  This is why I also allow the blog to be public instead of private so that when I'm gone they won't have to worry about getting and email invitation to view it.

Oh, since it took 5 paragraphs to answer a simple question, clearly I blog because I have verbal diarrhea and this gives me a place to spew it.

What is/are my Parenting Motto(s)?

Hm, this question makes me feel like a slacker.  Am I supposed to have a parenting motto?  Is that like my Educational Philosophy I was always having to write about in my master's program?  I can't even remember what BS I use to answer that question with.  

One motto comes to mind is "not my monkeys, not my circus."  I am ashamed to admit I use to be very judgmental of how other people parented before I had kids.  I knew all the right ways to do things before I had kids.  Now, I am much more open to how other people do things and more gracious when I see others doing things differently then how I do things.  Parenting is hard, you don't need an audience of people judging your decisions.  

Another motto I use, I learned from Michelle's amazing mother, "they don't take it to College".  This is referring to a paci, but I use it in a couple of different ways.  The first obviously is when I'm frustrated and thinking you're too old to still _________________ (use a paci, wear a diaper, refuse to use a fork, need help washing your hands...) You know all the little things that bug you sometimes.  The fact is before you send them off to college they will be doing all those monumental milestones, so don't sweat it.  The other way I use it, is to remind myself to let them be little.  For example, Sarah loves to get her hair cut at Sweet and Sassy so she can get glitter in her hair and walk on the run way.  Is it a little more expensive then every other hair cut place, yes, do they blast Bieber music and have a gaggle of girls dancing around in there, yes, but she won't want to get her hair cut there when she's in college.  So let them be little for now, get a sassy cut, there's plenty of time for trips to the grown up salon later. 

Finally, I guess another motto around here is, "are they alive, happy, and know that they're loved".  Chris reminds me about that one a lot.  Being a stay-at-home mom is overwhelming, stressful, and there's just aren't enough benchmarks for a type A person like me.  There's no performance review, or promotion to strive for.  There's just me, and the army of tiny terrorists that I've bred yelling at me and the battle field is our house which often looks like a toy bomb has exploded with crumbs and shoe shrapnel.  Seriously, why are there always SHOES everywhere in my house.  So when I'm feeling like I've lost the war and Chris comes home to an upside down house and a weary wife, he reminds me that as long as the kids are alive, happy, and know they are loved then I've done everything I was supposed to do.  

What motivates me to teach yoga?

Does discounted gym membership count?  I kid...I kid, kind of.  I fell into teaching yoga.  The teacher was moving and I was worried about the class being canceled so I volunteered to lead the class.  After a month or two the Y offered me the position.  I'm not Yoga Alliance Certified so I don't really feel like I "teach" yoga.  I more or less lead a yoga workout.  I would love to get my yoga alliance certification, but I can't start working on that until Charlie is at least 1 so I can leave him for workshop weekends.

I will answer what motivates me to do yoga.  I've been practicing yoga for over 6 years now and I hope Jennifer will agree that I've grown a lot.  In the beginning I couldn't even lay still for a few moments at the end of class for shavasana.  I couldn't do a forward fold and touch my toes.  And I couldn't quiet
 my mind and breath through the poses.  In fact, I rolled my eyes at any of the hippie flowery language that sometimes comes out in yoga classes. 

Now, I can see that I have better flexibility.  But truly, yoga has helped me become more in tune with the minute and delicate movements in the body.  When I come into reverse warrior and I say "open your rib cage" I feel the space open there.  When I say "breath into your low back" in my mind eye I can now see that space fill with air so that when I exhale I can release the tension in that spot.  I think about the lines I create in the various poses and find the beauty and strength in them.  

(PS, I can do that pose, thanks Jennifer)

What does my perfect/ideal day include?

Ok, right now since I'm still breastfeeding my perfect day includes a hotel room all to myself where no one touches me or talks me for 24 hours.  Seriously.  When Charlie is weaned Chris has promised that he's getting me a hotel room all to myself where I can just read a book and watch Netflix all by myself without anyone touching me.  I know that sounds shallow, but see above to how I mentioned I've written a thousand posts in y head about my struggles with breastfeeding.

Now, the un-shallow perfect day.  I take great joy in the simple things.  Beautiful fall weather in the 70s with a slight breeze, hanging out outside with my family.  Playing on a playground, riding bikes and scooters together.  Laughing with Chris and playing with my kids.  So since that's all it takes, I'm pretty lucky that I can have a perfect day as often as I choose to have the right attitude.

Now to continue this hop, I'll be sending some questions to two bloggers I'd like to hear more from.

First, let me introduce you to Jennifer at YogaLifeWay.  Jennifer is my yoga mentor, well really she's my life mentor.  She's another one of those ladies I aspire to be when I grow up.  (You'll find I surround myself with women I admire.)  Jennifer is an especially strong soul.  She had the rug pulled completely from under her more times in her life than anyone should, yet each time she stands strong, weathers the storm, and is a pillar for others to grab hold of.  And if you're ever lucky enough to take a yoga class from her, that woman has healing hands.  If she ever comes over and says, "can I put my hands on you" say yes!

Second, here's Janessa from Running on Empty.  She just recently became a FitFluential Ambassador.  I have no idea how one even accomplishes that but it's pretty awesome!  Janessa is training for her first half marathon and will be running the St. Jude Half this December.  She's also a new middle schooler mommy and a soft ball team mom.  Softball is hard core up here in T-County.  


PS, Michelle: I think I get the award for procrastination since this thing went live an hour before my due date was over.  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Schwartz's vs "Super" Fun Company Picnic

This was the first official Microport Company Picnic.  Last year, shortly after the company picnic the sale finalized and Wright Medical, the company Chris and Dennis both worked for, sold a huge chunk of the company to Microport.  It was a good split I think for both companies.  Wright wanted to focus on small joints so basically it sold all the large joints off.  However, it split the Schwartz family.  Chris being a large joint designer was automatically under the Microport umbrella and during the division of the company, Dennis was slated to stay with Wright Medical.  

I say all that to basically set up the fact that we REALLY enjoyed Chris and Dennis working together.  I know I've mentioned more than a few times how similar Chris and Dennis are and my fondness of that fact.  Dennis is a fantastic father, grandfather, and example to Chris.  I have no problems looking at Dennis and seeing what Chris will grow up to be.  Chris enjoyed working with his dad, chatting with him throughout the day, and having lunch with him a few times a week.  Having them work together also kept us in the loop of information.  Dennis would keep Chris in the know of what's going on.  We could even use the "Wright Medical Pony" to send things to various Schwartz households.  My kids would have lunch with Dennis probably once a month when I'd bring them up to Wright to have lunch with Chris.  In short, it was a big bummer to me when the Schwartz men were split up.

One of my favorite things about Wright Medical was the family picnic.  In fact, after I stopped worrying about Chris not having a job during the transition, my first question was "are we still going to have the picnic?"  Part of why I love the picnic is because well, it's awesome.  But the thing I loved most about the picnic is spending the day with the Grandparents.  I cherished the one on one time that kids could enjoy with Grandma and Grandpa Schwartz at the picnic each year.  And the kids look forward to that time as well.  So I was bummed that they wouldn't be there this year.

Well, I guess Chris felt the same way because much to my surprise he invited his parents to the picnic with us this year.  

The theme this year was Superheros and they were encouraging people to dress up in costumes.  Chris was really into this year.  So we went out and bought everyone Superman stuff.  His parents being the great sports that they are also went out and bought super shirts to fit in with the family.  It was a ton of fun having our Super Schwartz Fam walking around together.  And apparently word spread because someone at lunch came up to Chris and told him they'd heard about the "super family" all the way over at the go karts.

And now for a super picture overload. 

Cody meeting his hero, Captain America.  And the first thing he did was take his shield.

Super Grandparents with Super Charlie

Not sure Cody is giving that shield back ever.

Comparing muscles

Trying to get a picture of both the kids with the supers.  Didn't quite work.

Super Schwartz Family

Super Charlie (who looks super huge in this picture)

with the HR head haunchos 
(This picture also made the Microport weekly newsletter.)

Super Grandparents

Super Schwartzes

(And that was all the pictures just from registration.  Hahaha!)

Then it was time to have some fun.  We tried to go ride the kiddie rides but it was a bit of a let down. The airplanes were broken.  No one was manning the train.  And the teen running the dino ride told us Sarah was "too big" even though she's not 5 and barely weighs anything.  Because her head was above the tiny picket fence he wouldn't let her on it.  Grandma was hot about it.  Sarah tried taking off her shoes to see if she could ride it that way.  Chris and I just let it go, the ride lasts like 30 seconds if that and they we swooped them off to the go karts.

Because go karts are way more fun than the kiddie rides anyway.

To small to ride the go karts.

Cody and Sarah were both dying to ride the bumper boats.  Thankfully I didn't get picked to be a driver for that one and someone had to stay back with Charlie because the Schwartzes locked themselves in a pretty epic battle and came out soaked. 

Grandpa was shooting Grandma in the back of the head before they even got untethered . 

Circle attacking each other.  Dennis is shooting Chris who is shooting Vickie who is shooting Dennis.

Until Dennis changed and now both the guys are shooting at Vickie and Sarah.

Now Chris has come up behind to shoot Grandma some more and it seems like Dennis is shooting at Chris.

Pretty wet.

Eventually it was time for the fabulous picnic lunch: Corky's BBQ, fried chicken, and hot dogs.  Yum.  And the costume contest.  Sarah and Cody were in the same division of 5 and under.  

Mr. Channel is interviewing the kids asking their names and who they're dressed up as.

Cody's turn.

So, the weather had turned cold and the abrupt change gave Cody a bit of a sore throat.  And he had the sweetest high pitched soft voice this day.  It was the cutest sound coming out of that microphone.

And when Mr. Channel asked Cody who he was dressed up as in that sweet baby voice he said, "Super Cody".  Oh I wished I had it on video.  It was precious.  

And he won his age group getting a Malco Movie gift card.

After the costume contest we headed over for our annual pony rides.  Cody was very excited about riding a horse, unlike 2 years ago when he cried the whole time.  And now Sarah is big enough that we don't need to walk beside her anymore.  In fact, we didn't have to walk beside Cody either, I just realized that.

And each year I have our picture taken with one of the horses.  It's fun to look at those and see how much our family has grown and how much the kids have changed

Then we played some mini golf.  I really thought the kids would get it this year.  Cody likes to practice around the house.  But for another year it seems like everyone got "holes in one" cause you only got to hit it once.  Then Cody would pick it up and put it in the hole for you.

My Super men

Finally right before we left the bumper cars that Sarah and Cody had both been begging to do opened so we gave it a try.

Sarah loved it.

Cody, not so much.

And that was our super fun Microport Company Picnic!