Tuesday, April 26, 2016

10 Double Digit Birthday! 10

As of Monday, April 25, we are the parents of a 10 year old.  Gracie Cakes hit the double digits.  10!!!!  I can't believe it!  
We have been celebrating all weekend.  I must say, this has certainly been a most eventful birthday.  
Gracie has been having themed parties at home since she was one and we love it!  Matt and I have this whole thing down to a science at this point.  He knows his jobs and I know mine and we always know that party day means Chick-fil-A for lunch.  More on that a little later.  
This year, Lily Grace asked for a Glamping Party.  Glamping is glamorous camping without all the dirt and roughing it. She also asked that it be a sleepover, her first.  We don't do sleepovers here or away, but we agreed that for this special occasion we would allow it.   So, like always we got busy brainstorming and crafting.  
I must admit by Wednesday of party week, I was feeling pretty good about things.  I felt ahead of the game.  Friday I knew would bring a little hiccup with an all day class field trip but I would just tackle a lot on Thursday.  No worries!  By Thursday, I had done a lot and really felt good.  That is, until about 5:30 when Lily Grace yells up from the basement for Matt to hurry down as water was coming in.  We both look at each other and I clarify that she has just said, "water!!"  If I have learned anything about living in the midwest and more importantly about living in a  home with a basement, is that you never want to hear the words "incoming water."  Matt and I rush downstairs to find water in fact coming in through a long row of windows.  Frantic would be a good word.  At first Matt thinks we have a busted pipe and water is coming in through the walls.  I'm nearly in tears and the party is constantly crossing my mind as I have the cake set, girls coming and all of this planning under my belt ....  After a few minutes Matt's engineering skills kick in and he is able to determine the problem.  A spickett has a leaking valve that is leaking back into the house.  No worries..all we have to do is refrain from using it until the plumber comes and all can go on.  Whew!!! Crisis averted!  
This year, LG decided to again to a cupcake tower.  We were having vanilla, chocolate and strawberry cupcakes with fondant toppers in the shape of tents, girls in sleeping bags, the number 10 and a fire.  So cute!  Well, that brings me to the next chain of events.  I wake Friday morning at 5:30 like always and check my phone as I come to life.  I have a text from one of the moms letting me know that her daughter is running a fever and may not make it Saturday.  I was sad as I knew LG really was hoping for all the girls to be there but I had no control over that so I move on to checking my emails.  Funny, there was one from my cake lady.  When I open it, I raise straight out of bed and begin yelling for Matt.  WHAT????!!!!!!  The cake lady cut her hand open while making dinner and had to go to the ER for stitches and she WOULDN'T be able to make the cupcakes.  I felt awful for her and went into complete panic mode.  I had no backup plan.  I didn't know of anyone else, it was the day before, what do I put a candle on????  Well, luckily I remembered an ad I had seen and a write up about a new local bakery.  I'd contact the shop owner and if that didn't work, made with love mama cupcakes it would be.  Now mind you, I had to share this with Gracie over breakfast and I must say, she took it much better than I did.  I was at the bakery at 8:15, met with the shop owner who was delightful and she agreed to make me some cupcakes.  She couldn't do all the fancy fondants with such short notice but she could swing some hot pink icing, lime green sugar sprinkles and a few simple tent fondants.  Done!  I felt the weight of the world lifted.  Once at school I let LG know that the cupcake problem was solved and we both got a little giddy.  
After the field trip, Gracie and I ran the big grocery run and swung by Fresh Market for a second time.  I asked Matt to pick up the large container of strawberries from Costco on his way home.  Those strawberries are so good and I have been getting them since LG's first party as the container feeds a lot.  Gracie and I no more make it home when Matt calls to say that Costco is out of strawberries. What?? I checked three stores and they were awful looking.  Seems that the heavy rains had affected shipments of strawberries and blueberries.  All I hear from Grace as I repeat Matt's words that Costco is out of strawberries is, "of course they are."  I'm telling you, this party was most definitely eventful.  LG and I climb back in the car for our third trip to Fresh Market and manage to secure enough good strawberries for the party.  I also get word that Gracie's friend who was running fever is feeling great and fever free and will be at the party.  Whew!  Things are definitely looking up.  
Saturday morning we are all up bright and early and in full swing.  Matt knows to go pick up the cupcakes, balloons and of course our annual Chick-fil-A lunch.  I get a call from Matt while picking up the balloons letting me know he's just busted one getting in the car and does he need to go back in the store,  I sigh as if to say why am I not surprised and to come on home with what he has.  He drops off the balloons and leaves to go get the cupcakes and lunch.  He makes it to the bakery with no issues and then I get a text about Chick-fil-A.  Now people, this may seem insignificant but at this point, have mercy, can 't we just at least get some lunch without event.  Gracie and I LOVE the cole slaw from Chick-fil-A.  Honestly we could just have that and be fine.  So we give Matt our order only to have him text that "Chick-fil-A is no longer selling coleslaw."  At this point, we just laugh.  What else can you do?  After it all was said and done,  everything got done and one super excited girl began welcoming guest at 3:00 Saturday afternoon.  
Those girls played and played, danced, squealed laughed and appeared to have the best time.  I definitely know that the birthday girl did.  I think they all finally turned in about midnight and slept until after 7 Sunday morning before being picked up at 10.  
Gracie received lots of cards and gifts from family and friends afar on the days leading up to her party which truly touched her heart and made her big day even more special.  Thank you to everyone!
On Sunday after the girls left and before going to church we gave Gracie her gift from mom and dad.  She was thrilled to squeals over getting the much, much wished for EV3 Lego Robotics kit that for months she has been hoping for.  
On Monday, her actual birthday, she started the day like each birthday with breakfast in bed.  This year breakfast included prosciutto cups and homemade waffles with strawberries.  She took cinnamon donuts to school for her class to enjoy and Matt and I checked her out a little early to come home and play.  We ended the day with her requested dinner of shrimp pasta and then one very tired 10 year old went to bed.  
Thank you God for the blessing of this sweet child.  Thank you for entrusting us with her.  Our prayer is that with each passing day of each year that she grow closer and closer to you. 

With the birthday girl just before the guest arrive
Beyond excited!
Checking the mailbox proved to be quite exciting for a few days.

All set and read to glamp

The shirt says it all

We made fabric wrapped frames for each girl.  When all the girls arrived we took their picture, printed it and placed it in a frame for each girl to take home as a keepsake. 

We made pup tents for each of the girls.  This is where they slept Saturday night and they can easily be broken down and put back up again.  They took their tents home at the end of the party.

A few goodies awaited each girl at their tent.  How cute is the little LED lantern?

The girls got the biggest laugh out of our fake campfire.  It's nothing more than logs and battery operated LED lights.  They had so much fun kidding about burning a toe.  

Over Spring Break Gracie and I sewed this adorable bunting to decorate the fireplace.  Now that the party is over she wants to hang it in her room. 

Each girl got their own monogrammed stainless water bottle.  This is glamping, so only a cute canteen would do. 

Finally!  The cupcakes were delicious and I couldn't be more thankful to the lovely bakery owner who helped us out. 

As the party got closer, LG paced the front entry and kept check out the door. 

The Glampers

Once all the girls arrived, we signed each other's monogrammed pillowcase and wrote little messages on the back with a fabric pen for a sweet keepsake. 

Then the moment they were all excited about, setting up camp.  Yes, I actually was brave enough to get in the middle of that. 
Once they had set up camp, I asked the girls to let me take their pic and of course they thought fake sleeping would be the best pose.  

Once camp was set up, each girl painted a custom sign for their tent.

Oh yes!  Makeovers...I went downstairs to take a pic of this and I have to be honest, I went down on one knee I was laughing so hard.  They were so cute and down right hilarious.  Apparently, I stand corrected in that less is not more and sparkle eyeshadow wasn't just for the 80's.

They paired up and did each other.

See how blurry this pic is....trying to get four freshly makeover girls to get together was one big giggle fest.

Party crasher- Molly go tons of attention and later in the evening when they started chasing her as if she were a bear, she'd had enough and wouldn't stay downstairs with the girls.  She was ready for bed. 

The girls each painted a birdhouse and they were quite colorful.  Gracie said she thought her house was so bright, she wasn't so sure it was as likely to attract a bird as it was to scare one away. ha!

We grilled hamburgers for dinner along with a side of fries and some pink lemonade served in a mason jar with a fancy straw of course. 

She blew out two candles for double digits.  Look at those makeover eyes....

After dinner and cupcakes, Gracie opened her gifts.  Her friends were so generous and kind.  

There was a lot of this along with dancing and singing.  

Around 8 the girls enjoyed S'mores, Glamping style.  Each girl made their own ramekin of s'more's dip in the oven.  It toast up nicely and according to the girls (and Matt) it was really good and gooey.  

After s'mores the girls enjoyed a movie.  Notice that glowing campfire.  HA!
Sunday morning brought a lively and hungry bunch.  As requested, we had homemade waffles with strawberries, blueberries floating in syrup and whipped cream.  And the best part, three pieces of bacon.  

I went downstairs to get something and Matt is giving the girls a lesson on polymers using the Silly Putty Gracie had gotten in one of her gifts.  It was her first experience with silly putty and I think she simply asked about how it transfers ink and yes...it went into polymers.  Mercy! Notice the look on those girl's faces.  Funny!

Opening her gift from mama and daddy

That is what surprised and excited looks like

Wasting no time building the EV3
Birthday morning Breakfast in Bed
Gran sent her some more Lego Friends.

She's had her eye on this house. 

Happy Birthday Gracie Cakes!  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring Break

Lily Grace was on Spring Break last week and we had the absolute best time.  While it felt more like winter break we still made the most of every moment.  Our week was filled with either snow ( Yes, you read that right.  It's midwest living.) sleet or rain, but we didn't care.  We were even blessed with an extra day off this year.  Gracie got out on Thursday the week before.  
We didn't waste a minute.  We bundled up and ticked our way through her annual spring break bucket list.  
We had so much fun and this morning's inevitable return to school came quick and early.  
No worries!  We are on the countdown to summer break!
Ready to go and yes, my child is wearing a bathrobe.  Who doesn't put their robe on over their clothes to travel to ensure they are cozy??  Have mercy!  
And the bathrobe is just the tip of the iceberg.  She also drags along half the house.
We refused the let Matt tune us out.  You know Chicago is only 156 miles from us but I swear sometimes it feels like forever.  Needless to say, Gracie and I try to keep things lively.  Poor Matt!
Matilda played at the Oriental Theater.  This was the first time we had been to this theater.  It was so ornate.  Everywhere you looked, even the ceiling was draped in gold or tiles or sculptures.  

All seated and ready for the show to begin

The props and stage decor were amazing in this show
On our way to our favorite breakfast spot in Chicago when the snow starts even though the tulips have sprung.  That snow would follow us home to Indiana, get harder and hang around for much of the week.  Throw in the wind and brrrr!
Of course we swung by American Girl to check things out and we got the biggest laugh when Matt photo bombed LG.  

LG's birthday is only two weeks away and we had to go into the Lego store so she could at least touch the Mindstorm EV3 Lego Robotic that she is so hoping for. 
When we returned home, we made a trip to Vera Bradley.  Gracie Cakes wanted to use her coupon and part with the money she's been saving so she could by herself a new hipster.  She was thrilled and couldn't wait to get home to change out her purse.  Actually she didn't, she did most of it in the car ride home. 

We enjoyed manis and pedis before meeting daddy for lunch one day.  Boy!  Running out in flip flops in the cold rain proved to be one of the coldest pedicures I have ever gotten.  Then I had to ride with the heat on high in the floor so I could dry my toes to put my socks and riding boots on for lunch.  Gave us a good laugh nonetheless.  Gracie opted for a manicure.  She's afraid to get a pedi after this little old lady got ahold of her toenail cuticles.  HA! HA!  We all get a good laugh teasing her about that.  
And in true Lily Grace form, her daily outfits didn't disappoint.  This is her: it's 37 degrees outside raining without a lick of sunshine and I am about to hit the scene outfit. The scene being the hip and popular Fresh Market- just the grocery y'all.  Needless to say, I was way underdressed on this particular cold and rainy day beside all this. Oh!  And no worries, she toughed it out for the sake of being cute and threw on a pair of flats with this outfit. 
One whole day we spent doing a lot of this for Gracie's upcoming birthday party.  We finally just moved everything into the living room and set up shop as the rain pounded the windows.  LG worked on outfits for her paper dolls and Molly just enjoyed the company. 
When you ask LG about her favorite day of Spring Break, she doesn't say Chicago, or shopping or going to see the movie Zootopia, a trip to the bakery or a morning browsing for library books or any of the other things.  She is quick to tell you it was this day.  The day we didn't care that it was raining cats and dogs and cold.  The day we moved all of our sewing out of our sewing room in the basement upstairs into the wide open living room for any guest stopping by to see. The day we spent about 6 hours confined to this area poking ourselves, cutting and ironing fabric and learning how to tie a sewing knot.  The day it looked like a fabric shop blew up in the house.  The day we belted out tunes and sang along about God's love with Lauren Dagle.  The day her mama didn't worry if the clothes were folded and she wasn't asked to make sure her shoes were picked up and neither of us noticed or payed attention to the others mess, just the conversation between us.  We just were... we were in the moment having a good time, sharing our creations, laughing and just hanging out.  You know....it was my favorite too.  I will cherish it always.  I am very blessed to get to share these times with Gracie and each and every one of them mean the world to me.  Especially those that from the outside look like nothing too special but actually are so much more...more than even I realized until I heard her share this day with a couple of people who asked her about what thing she had done that was the most fun. I didn't know it meant so very much to her as well.
Thanks Gracie Cakes for another awesome spring break and even more wonderful memories!  123