Sunday, November 17, 2013


Caleb rarely wears pajamas.  But on Sunday afternoon, you can be guaranteed that's what he'll be wearing.

Some time ago, he came home from church, ditched his suit and threw on his cozy pajama pants.  The rest of us had yet to change, which somehow convinced Caleb that we must be green with envy at the sight of him in his comfy clothes.  He gloated his comfiness by dancing in front of us while asking slyly, "Jealous?"

Then it turned into a Sunday ritual.  It's the same every single week.  He's in a race to get his pajamas on before the rest of us.  And he always wins because he's the only one racing.

Today I tried to capture the weekly Jealous Dance.  I promise you, this is not scripted.

You're jealous that you don't get to see this dance every Sunday, aren't you?

How about this?  Now this is something to be jealous about:

Natalie has learned how to make chocolate chip cookies (gluten-free, even) all by herself.  And I mean all by herself.  No help whatsoever.  And you know what?  They were delicious!  Caleb's been really into making Krispy treats so I'm thinking we might need to have a "Next Great Baker" contest at our house.

Unfortunately, they all need work on their clean-up skills.  My kitchen sink that is overflowing with dirty dishes?  Yeah, no need to feel jealous there.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, Alyssa!

So I'm now the mother of two teenagers!  My Alyssa turned thirteen last week.  I just can't believe it.  She looked adorable as she went off to school in her new birthday outfit.

Alyssa has always had a lot of friends, but planning her birthday party has always been tricky.  She has church friends and gym friends and those groups don't always mesh easily, yet they are both equally important to her.  

In years past, we've combined the groups but it ends up being stressful for Lys (and me!) making sure everyone is comfortable.  So this year we did two separate parties.  

Both were a huge success.  And though it was an incredible amount of work for me, it was the perfect solution to our yearly dilemma.  

Lys had the idea of doing a mystery dinner with a gymnastics twist for her teammates.  We brought them to our house right after gym on Friday and since all of these girls are used to eating dinner at 8:30 at night, it worked out perfectly.

Alyssa decided on blue and pink for the decor and I think it turned out such a cute combination.  She said she got her inspiration from a Bath and Body Works bag.

Dinner was a three course Italian meal, but the menu was coded with gymnastics terms so the guests didn't know what they were ordering.  Each course, they chose four items from the menu.  They even had to order their utensils.  

I made each guest a personalized clipboard to use when filling out their orders.

It was a crazy-good time!  The girls had so much fun finding out what they were ordering and soon enough they'd cracked the code of the menu.  I wish I'd gotten more pictures but Jon, Natty and I were completely occupied with filling orders.

Gracie and Ali slurped their spaghetti face-first, but Kati was slightly more refined and used her fingers.  She didn't end up getting her utensils until the final course.  So funny!

Three guests came on crutches!  Can you believe it?  Gymnastics is a dangerous sport.

After dinner, we played "How Well Do You Know Alyssa?" and "Would You Rather"--gymnastics version.  These pictures make the party look calm.  Don't be deceived.  This was by far the loudest party I've ever hosted!

As soon as the dinner guests departed, I started prepping for the next morning's brunch.  I reset the table and switched the menu.

Saturday morning's group was much more intimate--and much quieter.  

They also played "How Well Do You Know Alyssa?" and I wasn't surprised when Linsey scored the highest of any friend from either of her parties.

After a yummy brunch, we went to the nail salon for pedicures.  For all but Alyssa, this was their first time getting a pedicure.  It was so much fun watching them experience it for the first time.

They had a great time and their nails turned out so cute!

We served mini cheesecakes (gluten-free, of course) at both parties and when we got back to the house after the pedicures, I realized that Alyssa hadn't blown out a birthday candle at any of her birthday celebrations.  So we put a candle in a cheesecake and sang "Happy Birthday."

Alyssa is so blessed to have such special friends to share her birthday with.  It was a ton of work for me, but worth every bit of the effort.  She's a pretty great kid.

Happy Birthday, Lys!