Monday, January 19, 2015

Ashton's Ninja Birthday

Ashton turned 4 on January 4th.  4 on the 4th-- that'll never happen again!  He's obsessed with Ninjas and has wanted a ninja party ever since he attended a  neighbor's ninja party back in February.  I tried to talk him out of it.  I was itching to do a Frozen themed Olaf party-- it would be SO cute!  I had a bunch of ideas and thought it would be the perfect winter time theme.  But, no matter how hard I tried, he stuck to his ninja guns. 
 
Ok then.  Bring on the ninjas!
 

 
We've known about the theme for AWHILE, so I've had time to collect things.  I found Asian style scrapbook paper at a craft store clearance sale, and some foam ninja stars at Target on clearance for $0.34 per pack of 3.  The lanterns were actually from the Chinese New Year section of the party store, but I figured 4 year olds wouldn't know the difference between Chinese and Japanese script--- I sure don't.

 

 
Of course it's not a theme party around here unless Jason dresses up.  He was the Sensei in our dojo. 

 
The dollar store had these ninja vests and some blow up boppers, and I just used red and black party crepe to make the headbands. 

 
We set up an obstacle course in the family room.  First the ninja's had to search through the balloons to find 5 golden coins. 


 
Then they had to punch and kick the bopper 5 times.

Then they had to throw 3 ninja stars into a bowl.

 
And finally they had to block 5 balls that McKay threw with a ninja shield. 

 
All done! 

 
This is what happens when you ask the party go-ers to say hi-ya!  instead of cheese.



 
After cake Hunter and McKay demonstrated and  tried to teach part of a Tae Kwon Do routine.  It was so cute to see them as teachers.
 
Ash finally opened his gifts and it was awesome how well his friends know him.  He got a Rescuebot he's been wanting, a helicopter, a Ninjago t-shirt, a spiderman flying toy, and the lego Kai from Ninjago.  That was his favorite gift of all believe it or not. 

 
After everyone went home I had him open the gift from my parents.

 
He was pretty thrilled with his Jake pirate ship. 

 
It's hard having his birthday right after Christmas but he definitely has enough new toys to keep his interest until the next one!
 
Two days later school started again, and they celebrated his birthday in class.  The principal came in and gave him a book,
 
 
then treats and a birthday crown from his teachers.


 
He stood in the middle of the room while everyone sang Happy Birthday and Momma took pictures.  He LOVED it.  Every minute of it.  He's such an attention lover. 

 
Must be my child. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ginormous Christmas Post

Funny thing:  I actually looked up the word "ginormous" to make sure I was spelling it right, and to see if it's even an actual word.  Well folks, it's an actual word.  They added it to Websters a few years ago and it is an adjective that we can properly use.  Now if they could add my favorite made up word, romantical, I'd be so happy. 
Anyway, here's my ginormous Christmas post.
 
When people ask me about how my Christmas was, I sigh.  Big sigh.  It was not the magic I had hoped, but it came close.   My parents were planning to arrive on the 23rd and leave the 30th.  They hadn't been to my house since last Thanksgiving, so we were excited.  The boys had been counting down the days. 
 
On the 22nd, my mom called and said she was pretty sick with sinus problems and wasn't sure she could get on the airplane.  On the 23rd she texted me and said that the sinus problems had infected a tooth and her face was swollen and she needed to see a dentist ASAP.  Unfortunately, they live in Jackson now and would need to go to Idaho Falls for the work she needed done.  I was able to get her an appointment with a dentist member of our ward, so she got on the plane and came.  However, they would have to leave the 27th since my Mom's friend had just died and she wanted to attend the funeral. 
 
Meanwhile, I woke up the morning of the 23rd and my upper back and neck were KILLING me.  I couldn't turn my head without major pain.  So, Jason called his massage therapist and got me an appointment around 12.  My parents arrived at 2, so I went straight from my appointment to the airport, then took my mom to the dentist.  She was in bad shape--when I got her home we had to take her straight to bed.
 
The next day was Christmas Eve so we had no plans and just stayed home so we could all rest.  (My Dad needs back surgery so he was in pain too. )  My Mom had brought an Olaf sugar cookie kit, so I helped the boys make those and a gingerbread house.  My mom was exhausted and on pain meds so she slept a lot and was bummed she couldn't help, but enjoyed seeing the final projects.
 

 
Early in the evening we started fixing all the fun appetizers I had planned for dinner.  That's one of our Christmas Eve traditions-- finger foods.  Then we gathered for a special FHE where the boys played the piano,  sang,  Jason gave a short Christmas lesson, and we read the Christmas story in Luke. 
 
Then we got a text from our neighbors that they were ready for us.  Another tradition.  We headed across the street (except for Mom who wasn't up for it)  for singing and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.  We love this.  Santa had a present for each kid and then we took a family photo.
 
 
After some visiting we headed back home for pj's and setting out milk and cookies.   


 
Our elf had been visiting all month, but goes home with Santa on Christmas Eve.  So for just ONE night, they get to give him a hug to say goodbye. 



Getting them into bed was no problem.   They know Santa doesn't come until they're asleep. 
 
On Christmas morning my back hurt.  My neck hurt.  It was hard to move-- Jason had to pull me up out of bed.  The kids were already downstairs examining the fireplace.  Usually Santa puts a box of cereal under each person's stocking, along with a few things that didn't fit.  The boys declared that everything on the fireplace was for everybody, and that nothing belonged to a single person.  I argued that the things under Daddy's stocking were probably for Daddy......but McKay insisted that those sunflower seeds were for EVERYONE, and proceeded to take them. 
 
Ummmm.....ok.  Santa wasn't there to defend himself, so........  ?


 
There was a little tent set up that had Ashton's name on it.  Oh boy, was he in love.

He stashed all his presents in it and disappeared into it all day long.

 
McKay got a harmonica in his stocking and entertained us all with a few made up tunes. 
 Until we made him stop.

 
Ashton's highlights were some Rescuebots, the Rescuebot beam box, and all the Ninjago lego figurines.

 
McKay got a few guns he was pretty stoked about.


 
Everyone got a Seahawks shirt.



 
There were also a few Minecraft shirts,

 
and a Ninja shirt for Ash.

 
Then they finally opened the big heavy one.  A Wii U.  McKay was speechless. 
For about 10 seconds.

 
Then they opened the Disney Infinity and Marvel characters. 
Oh ya.  Excited.

 
Hunter got a lot of clothes, books, piano music, and some legos.  But it's really the books this kid loves.

 
This was him throughout the morning:



Gotta love him.
 
My Mom was able to enjoy the present opening and demonstrated some building toys she got them before she got exhausted and had to go back to bed.

 
She wasn't the only exhausted one.  I was on the couch (unable to move) reading a new book while Ash was playing with his new toys, when it got very quiet.  I hobbled over to check on him and found him snuggled up asleep by the tree.  (Awww.)

In the middle of present opening my back seized and I couldn't move my arms or turn at all without excruciating pain.  I had to sit on the couch and watch (which was torture) while Jason finished baking the croissants, the kids finished opening presents, and my lap became filled with presents they demanded I open.  Jason later went to Walgreens to get me a muscle relaxant which then put me to sleep for most of the day. 
 
Jason basically had to cook Christmas dinner by himself.  Luckily I had done the Christmas jello and pies the day before, and the prime rib was from Costco and just had to cook for 5 hours.  I was able to sit up long enough to peel potatoes and pearl onions, but I completely forgot about the rolls so we didn't have those.  Everyone assured me we plenty of food without them so I felt better. 
 
The next morning Jason took me to the chiropractor.  He did some stuff that really hurt, but by the end of the day my back felt much better.  Omar's family came from Spokane around lunch time so I set out left over Christmas Eve appetizers and fruit.  Mom went to sleep, Omar crashed on the couch and fell asleep (had been at the hospital since 3 am), so I read while the kids played upstairs.  They were perfectly happy to ignore the boring and exhausted adults and play together.

Around dinner time I made some soup and bread, and everyone came to life.  Omar pulled out his video camera and wouldn't get out of my face, so I put my camera in his too.  Big brothers never change.
Right when we finished eating he got a call that a patient needed him.  He wasn't on call, but when you're the best in town people are willing to wait for you to drive 2 hours back from Tri-Cities to operate on their face.  Sometimes it stinks being the best. 
 
My parents had a dilemma.  They were supposed to fly to Utah on the 27th to attend a funeral, but my Mom was still in bad shape and couldn't handle the airplane pressure.  When they landed in town I almost had to take her straight to the ER because of the pain, so she knew she couldn't get back on the plane yet.  Her face was still very swollen so she wasn't up to attending a funeral either.   So they decided my Dad could fly home alone, then drive back up to get her, or they could rent a car and both drive home together.  They chose the latter option.  Early morning on the 27th they loaded up and made the 12 hour drive home.   I was pleased to hear that the night vision glasses I got my Dad for Christmas worked.
 
Around 1:00 on the 27th we headed to Royal City to have our Christmas get-together with Jason's family.  My back was doing much better since the adjustment, it was just my neck that hurt now, but I was able to function quite well.  We arrived and had a lovely holiday meal, then our gift exchange. 

 
We picked Alan and Katie's family in the exchange.  They have two small girls and a baby boy, so I put together a family home evening basket with stuff for little kids.  Hopefully it will help them get through FHE and sac mtgs.

 
Craig and Angie's family picked us, and gave us a huge box to unwrap.  Inside was a box, with another wrapped present inside......with another box inside.......with another wrapped box inside.......etc, etc.  

It got hilarious and ridiculous and until we finally opened a tiny box with a tiny gift bag inside.  Inside was movie tickets for the whole family and a gift card for concessions.  Score!  Family movie day!  Those get so expensive, I was thrilled. 

 
After the families were all done exchanging, Grandma pulled out a gift for each grandchild from under the tree.   I was impressed with how perfect each gift was for each child.  Go Grandma!
 
Ashton got a bubble machine,
 
 
Kay got a Star Wars lego set,

 
and Hunter got a huge science library of books.  Guess what he did?  Ripped it open and started reading it immediately.  And didn't stop for 3 days. 

 
We were all excited to give Dad his gift.  We had picked it out at an art show in Richland this summer, and everyone pitched in to get it for him.  It's a painting of some cowboys camping with horses.  Jason said it reminded him of their deer camp, so we had to get it. 

 
So that is how we got through Christmas.  Looking back it was pretty wonderful, and the important thing is that the kids got to see all their grandparents and most of their cousins.  Can't ask for more that that.