Monday, October 25, 2010

Meet Terry, our pet Tarantula!

Well, it was an eventful weekend to say the least. Mid-week I noticed a smell in our garage closet that smelled like something died. I was thinking it was a mouse, maybe (or hopefully). I kept trying to air it out, but the smell kept getting worse. Anyway, Friday night, I opened the doors again and that's when I noticed a new creature hanging out on Landon's golf clubs. A black tarantula. I got Lance out of bed to help me get rid of it. After lots of jumping and screaming, we eventually captured it and placed him in Landon's frog habitat.

So, the next morning, I loaded up the kids to head out to Lander Smith's birthday party and I wanted to open the doors again to our garage closet, this time it was the double doors that lead outside. And this is when I found the source of the smell. Underneath the red wagon, I saw our neighbor's cat. :( So sad!! He was a sweet cat and I enjoyed watching him and Landon 'grow up' together. My first thought was that the tarantula got him, but after some research, I learned that these spiders are not that mean and their bites are similar to a bee sting...and definitely not strong enough to kill a grown cat. Our neighbors had been looking for him for a few days and I felt awful that he was in our garage. They said he hadn't been acting himself so they weren't sure if he was sick or not. I just hope it wasn't because he gotten locked up inside our closet (which is big, but we were out of town last weekend...but I can't remember if I shut the doors or not). Anyway, rest in peace sweet Patio. :( And here is picture from last year of landon and Patio:

On a lighter note, the kids had a wonderful weekend filled with two birthday parties and Squire creek's halloween kids' club. Landon LOVED kids club. He got to wear his Robin costume for most of the day, but that's just about everyday anyway! ;)

L and Alec at Georgia's party
Super heroes, Kennedy, Lilly, and Landon
Miles and Landon
Mr Jeff's yummy cotton candy

Cullen, Landon, and Kennedy at Lander's birthday party

Landon playing "dead" after being shot at the party

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beach trip in October

I have never been to the beach during the Fall and I have to say it is amazing! Lance and I came down the first weekend of October and it was so nice that I had to come back again with the kids. Sloane (our babysitter) and I packed the kids up and we headed out Friday morning (Lance had to be in Dallas on Sunday, so he didn't make the trip).

Our original plans were to come back on Monday so Sloane could be in class on Tuesday, but she made a few calls and we decided to enjoy another day out here in this awesome weather! Even though it is the off season, there was still plenty to do. There was the a week long boat racing event that took place in Orange Beach and then there were two free concerts of Bon Jovi and Brad Paisley. We thought about taking the kids to the Brad Paisley show, but decided not to fight 30,000 people at the Hangout in Gulf Shores. Instead, we spent more time on the beach than we ever have. Usually the kids want to be at the pool, but not this trip. There were no waves and the water was shallow so we spent a lot of time splashing in the water and playing "crab grab".

Sunday, we went to Romar Beach Baptist Church right on the beach, which I had been wanting to visit all summer. Afterwards, we went to the park and then to Northshore for Sunday brunch and to listen to a 4 man gospel band. We spent the rest of the day on the beach and then stayed in and ordered pizza. Monday was a long morning at the beach and a trip to the outlet shops after naps.

I don't know what are plans are in November, but if the weather is nice, I definitely want to come back again! So, i hope this isn't our last trip of the year to our condo in Orange Beach!

Landon making sand angels
I love this shot because it shows how beautiful these beaches are!

Burying Landon in the sand

Kennedy's first time to be buried and she wanted to do this over and over!

Playtime at the park after church

Saturday, October 16, 2010

4th annual pumpkin patch visit

I finally feel like Fall has arrived!! Yay! I love this time of year, even though my allergies go crazy. Cool air has started to creep in and the leaves are starting to change! Love it!

I took the kids to the Townsend House to have the kids pictures made by a fabulous photographer. This is our second year in a row (but 4th year since Landon was born) to have her do these and they are amazing!! I am a big fan of Crystal Garcia and the work that she does. She recently moved to Texas, but still comes to Ruston quite often to continue to shoot clients in this area. Check out her work on her website at I really appreciate her making the trip over to do this again!

I also want to mention Kim Birch, the owner of the Townsend house. I love her! Not only does she do a great job for her customers (and has bailed me out several times when I have to entertain last minute!!), but every year at this time, she brings in all of these pumpkins to sell and lets anyone come take pictures on her premises. All proceeds from the sell of pumpkins go to DART. She also invites local schools and preschools to come visit for a field trip and even reads books to them and lets them walk away with little pumpkins.

Here are the pictures from this visit. Let me say, I was surprised that Kennedy let me put her first hat (ever) on and she actually kept it on for a while! Not something she will wear a lot, but it was fun to have her picture taken with it! She was also fighting a cold and ear infections so I was glad we managed to squeeze out a couple of good shots especially when it was pretty difficult to get her to smile! Thanks for looking!

He looks so big in these pictures (sniff sniff)

And this one is my favorite!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Super Hero Academy, Ruston style!

Well, I have wanted to make this post for over a week now, but I have been waiting for the pictures of the birthday party to come my way. I am still waiting so I will just go ahead of share with what I have.

First of all, I have to say, that I never thought I would be “that” mom who goes completely overboard on planning a birthday party. When Landon (who turned four) told me he wanted to have a super hero party over two months ago, I started gathering information immediately. I came across some incredible ideas online and the longer I spent online, the more my imagination took off. There were just so much to choose from, most ideas I used and some I just tweaked to make it my own. Then it all just started snowballing!! I am a stay at home mom, so what else am I suppose to put my thoughts and energy towards?!?! ;)

I originally thought it would be just a party for Landon, but in the middle of planning, I wanted Kennedy to join in on the celebration since she had turned two just days before. Extremely glad I did that. She deserves a special day too. ;) Although, this made the party numbers grow which made it difficult to cut off. I did the best I could do and I thought it turned out perfect.

I made super hero capes, masks, and t-shirts for each kid who came to the party. For those of you who know me well, know that I don’t sew, so you know I found a fool-proof no-sewing cape. With the help of my friend, Nancy Hunt, this was possible. I basically found a cape pattern online, found some ribbon, cheap fabric and some Velcro. I cut slits on the top of the cape to weave the ribbon through and then stuck the Velcro tabs on the end of the ribbon. I added a little touch at the bottom of the capes so it wasn’t just cut straight across. And wah-la, you gotta cape! Here is the link that I used to get the "pattern" of the cape and also a fast and cheap way to make a bunch of capes from one plastic table cloth (I used these to put over chairs for decorations). And the link for the masks (sort of)

The masks were basically fun foam with ¼ inch elastic band stapled onto the mask by the eyes. I had planned on putting tape or something over those staples but I didn’t see the need for it after I started making them. I also knew that I wanted different colors for each costume.

The t-shirts were basic white t-shirts that I found for $6 for a pack of 5 at walmart or target and then I got iron-on transfers from Office Depot to iron the logos and names onto the shirt. A great friend of mine who is brilliant with graphics helped make the logos for me.

As each kid arrived, I handed them their costumes and had them take a quick snap shot while holding a barbell over their head. Of course the barbell was made of Styrofoam that was spray painted black. I even stenciled “100” in white paint on each end to finish the look.

As far as decorations, some dear friends of mine wanted to come over and help with these. Shannon Roberts and Anna Stephens basically transformed our garage into the bat cave with some gray bulletin board paper that is crumpled up to look like rock. We even hung some cut out bats to hang from the ceilings and sides. Here is a picture of part of "The Cave" in the background (sorry that it's not the 'full' effect):

The Monday prior to the party, I got a wild idea (thanks Sarah!) to build Gotham city out of fridge and oven boxes. This took a lot of time cutting and painting the windows but it was fun when you have friends that want to help. I even got a black queen sized flat sheet to free hand the Bat ‘signal’ and stars to hang behind the ‘city’. The kids enjoyed climbing in the boxes and poking their heads out through the windows and roof. In fact, over a week later, they are still enjoying it!

When you have different activities planned out, you never know what is going to be a hit. My personal favorite activity was when the kids walked a plank across the lava pit. I had a small baby pool with red dyed water and threw in some dry ice to make it smoke. The kids (and adults) thought this was kinda cool! Looking back, I wish I had thought of spray painting the pool black to cover up the neon colors! ;)

We also set up some pictures of villains so the little super heros could get a can of silly string and ‘vaporize the villians’ by spraying them. It was a little tough for the younger kids to spray the bottles (even my four year old struggled), but the older kids had a ball with it! I have to say, both sets of grandparents had to put some elbow grease behind cleaning up that mess off of the Batman jumpy. Probably not the best idea to hang the pictures on that! ;) It was a last minute decision and we just made it work.

As far as the birthday cake, I knew I wanted to do cupcakes (they are just so much easier to pass out than having to cut each piece) but I also knew that I wanted to scan pictures of my kids with their super hero outfits on their individual cake. This was something that I wanted to do because it was different and knew I probably wouldn't have this unique opportunity again. Sweet Heather McWhorter (Social Bites) did a fabulous job with all of the goodies!

The idea to do a small party favor bag was on original idea that I was quiet proud of. I got some royal blue paper bags (very cheap from Oriental trading) to put random super hero toys in. Then I used left over red cape fabric to make a small cape out of to attach to the bag (used a hole puncher and just tied it through). I originally planned on putting a super man sticker on the front of the bag, but when I put their little tag saying, “hope you had a super time”, I felt there was no need to put it on there. If I had known that I was going to make capes, masks, and shirts, I wouldn’t have done the favor bags. It was just one of those things that I had gotten so far in advance that it became a ‘snowball’ item. Oh well! I am quite proud of the bags since they didn’t cost too much, just a little time!

Throw in some costume dress up for the girls, black ‘bombs’ (balloons) that the kids needed to defuse by popping, some super hero music, cupcakes and a guest appearance of Batman (my sweet, darling husband) to hand out the goodies, it was one fabulous party!! I would gladly do it all over again. And I am proud to say I am glad to be ‘that’ mom after watching how much fun my kids and all their friends had. They are only young once and I am going to make it a fun ride for all of us!

Now I have fridge boxes that look like gotham city and a big bin filled with my over-organized notes and decorations. Maybe one day someone would like to throw a super hero party of their own and need some help, I will be there for them!

Other sites that I found that were helpful in my 'super' journey!

English Paper company

Birthday Party Ideas

Creative party blog

And, finally, my favorite one: Designergirl007