Super Hero Party

Jack's birthday was on a Saturday this year, so his party was that day.  We initially were going to do a Spiderman theme due to his obsession but suddenly a couple months ago his obsession shifted to Batman.  To avoid any other last minute switcheroos, I went with a generic Super Hero theme.  Since he is so into Batman, I had to at least get it in there some, so here's the invitation we sent:
We had perfect weather - I think the high was 80ish degrees, which is almost cool for August in St. Louis!  We invited our immediate families, our neighbors and a few of our friends, which resulted in about 16 kids (and their families of course)!  Phew!  I didn't do a whole lot of decorating.  I just had this one wall decorated behind the framed pictures of Jack's 4th birthday questionnaire and photo collage:

I went a little nutty and ordered both boys a special shirt to wear from Etsy seller Lilshabebe.  They turned out cute!
I had the idea (from my pinterest searches) to make capes for the kids but my mom recognized my lack of free time and instead found some for me to buy on zulily.com.  Much easier!  I ended up needing to buy a few extra, which I did directly from the seller's site: Sew Plain Jane (I also got felt masks for each of the kids there).  The capes were plain so I decided to add a felt shield and initial for each of them to make them a little more personal.  I'm glad I did, they turned out pretty cute:

When I initially handed the capes out, I'd say about 1/2 of the kids were interested and the other 1/2 didn't want to wear it.  Not surprisingly, Jack was all over it, and so was my 7 year-old niece Mia.  Since she was the oldest kid there, I think it helped bring the other kids around as she ran around chasing Jack with their capes and masks on!
Birthday boy!  He of course had to wear the fancy Batman mask that he received from one of his balloons earlier in the week.

Mia, the good influence!

First attempt at a kid picture, with only 1/2 wearing capes: Addison, Hayden, Lily, Charlie, Mia, Jack, Jack Scally, Maggie and Logan with Ethan walking in front

Cousins! Jack, Mia and Lily

Charlie wore his for about 30 seconds a couple times

Lil and Jack

Super Ethan

Cousins again!
Jason made the whole meal.  Yes, I do realize how lucky I am to not have to think at all about the food (aside from appetizers and desserts) when we're hosting parties.  His spread did not disappoint.

After dinner I gave each of the kids silly string wrapped with a "spider web" label, which I downloaded for free here (actually the download was supposed to be free but the site wanted me to pay, so I emailed the gal and she emailed me the file - so great!!).
 I told the kids they had to spray the bad guys (Jason, Uncle Todd and Steve) with their spider webs.  I encouraged them all to put on their capes and masks so I could get a good group picture so they would really be super heroes.  It worked like a charm!  They all quickly obliged and I captured these group pictures:

Ethan (flashing his belly), Zoey, Charlie, Maggie, Hayden, Reghan, Addison, Lily, Jack, Mia and Jack

Check out my Charlie Man.  Too funny.  He stood there like that for a good 1-2 minutes

 Let the wild rumpus begin!

This is my favorite.  Uncle Todd was definitely the best bad guy!

OK, so it was more like low-key chaos, but fun nonetheless:

After the silly string ran out (which didn't take long with dollar store spray; I recommend two cans/kid, at least for the bigger kids), it was present time.  Jack got lots of cool gifts, mostly of the super hero genre.  He LOVED every present.  In fact, I asked him later what his favorite was and he couldn't pick...he said "all of them that I got."

Love everything about this picture: Mia read all of Jack's cards to him; love that she is showing it to him (and he is paying attention) and love that she has her mask pulled up on her forehead.  Too cute, that niece of ours.
Then it was time for cake!!  I tried to get creative and in theory my design worked (thanks to Cyndi for her suggestion to use a sugar cookie instead of fondant), but my cake basically split in two by the time we sang Happy Birthday.  We didn't even bother cutting it and just served the cupcakes instead.  Oh well...

How cute are these two sitting together?  Charlie wasn't sure what to think about the singing.

And sweet Jack leaned in for a kiss

Another successful party in the books!  Late that night when Jack was going to sleep, we still had several of the adults hanging out around our fire pit.  I told Jack it was time to close his eyes and go to sleep and he responded "I can't close my eyes.  I have to think of what I want for my five birthday."  Oh boy...


Birthday Prelude

Jack celebrated his 4th birthday last Saturday.  I decided to do a birthday countdown like I did last year.
It was a big hit once again.  Each night he got to pop one balloon and inside was usually some small candy (Pez or Smarties) to share with Charlie and a piece of paper describing that night's surprise.  One night we played hot and cold to find the present but generally they just said things like "Look where Daddy keeps his shoes for tonight's treat" or "You'll find something in your closet."  Here's a run down of what he got:

#10 - Two new books.  I discovered these Cat in the Hat Learning Library books that are still sing song-y like normal Dr. Seuss, but they're educational too.  We already have one about space and one about maps, so I got him one about the body and the other about money.  The money one is a little disappointing because it talks more about the history of money and less of a quarter = 25 cents, etc like I had hoped.  Regardless, Jack always loves receiving new books.

#9 Spiderman fuzzy coloring page + Angry Birds stationary set (with pencil case, sharpener, eraser, etc).  Small gifts but he had fun with them.

#8 A new USA map puzzle.  He loves finding New York since that's where Aunt Kelly, Uncle Greg and Parker live.  He always finds NY first and then puts it aside so he can put that one in last.

#7 $5 to spend at the toy store.  Of course, he misplaced his $5 by the time we left the house 10 minutes later, but I decided to loan him the money.  Sure enough his money turned up when we got home and he reimbursed me.  He picked out a Chuggington train - Harrison, to be exact.

#6 -Sticker puzzle.  I read about these on a blog somewhere so I thought we'd try it out.  It's basically a sheet of numbered stickers that you put on a grid to make a picture.  One night while Charlie and I ran to the store and Jason was out working on the patio, Jack stayed inside and did almost a whole puzzle on his own.  This will be a great road trip activity for sure!

#5 - Mission Control Table Cover.  I picked this guy up on Zulily.com or one of those sites just to have for a gift for someone someday. Jason and I went back and forth about whether he would like it.  It's basically a tablecloth that fits over your coffee table and has buttons and levers printed on it.  Jason said it would be too boring, so of course I had to give it to him to prove him wrong.  Then unfortunately I got stuck really late at work that night and didn't get to see him open it.  I told my mom "I bet Jason downplayed it so he would be right."  Much to my surprise when I got home and went to check on him in his room, he was sleeping soundly using the cover instead of his sheet!  Guess it was a success after all!

#4  We went to get ice cream!  And he also got a cool Batman belt, which I picked up cheap from veryjane.com.

#3 New costumes!  This package came with a Batman, Super Man and Robin costume.  Lots of fun super hero dress-up.  His favorite is the mask that came with the Batman costume.

#2 His first movie!!  This was the day before his birthday and a Friday, so I took off work to get stuff ready for his party the next day.  I picked Jack up from school around 3:00 and took him to see his first movie - Planes!  He really liked it.  He got a little antsy in the middle and was ready to leave with about 5 minutes left in the movie, but when we got in the car he said "that was really cool Mom!" Aww...

#1 - On his birthday he received new soccer goals for the yard!  We Skyped with Aunt Kelly and Parker so they could watch him pop his balloon and go find his present outside.  When he saw the goals he said "What the?!?"  (We need to teach him something better to say like "What the heck?" or anything that doesn't imply he's going to curse).  He was excited and wanted to play soccer right away.

The other fun tradition we started last year was his annual birthday interview.  I asked him 20 questions and recorded his answers to them.  The video (below) is 7 minutes long, so I'll also just show you his responses.  He was funny this year because most questions are "what's your favorite..." and he kept naming 4-5 things for each question.  So indecisive!!

Birthday party post coming next!


Cincinnati Trip

The first weekend of August Jason and I headed to Cincinnati for a Cards/Reds game.  I mentioned here that it was my birthday present from him.  We left the kids in good hands (one night with each set of grandparents) and were gone Friday - Sunday.  We had a really nice time!  When we got to our hotel they were out of one bedroom suites, so we were upgraded to a two bedroom penthouse.  This "room" was HUGE!  It was a pretty old hotel and in need of updates, so we basically felt like we were staying in a grandparents' apartment.  The main floor (yes there were two floors) had a full kitchen, living room, 1/2 bathroom and a deck w/patio furniture.  Upstairs there were two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a walk-in closet and a balcony.  A little excessive for our party of two, no?  But it was SO nice to be so spread out!!  I got to sleep in both mornings while my early-rising hubs went downstairs to watch TV.  It was a great set-up.

Friday night we went to a sushi restaurant which happened to be across from a very fancy restaurant.  All night we watched nicely dressed people drop their fancy cars off with the valet.  Then came the Ferrari and some souped up SUVs.  We determined the men who were getting out of most of the cars were Bengals players.  Definitely some good sight seeing while we were having dinner.
After dinner we checked out Hofbrauhaus.  It was beautiful weather so we sat outside in their big beer garden and had a great time.  The beers were yummy and they were BIG!
 Saturday morning we walked around downtown a bit, grabbed some lunch, did some shopping at Macy's, got ice cream and then went back to our hotel so I could work for a bit (I know!!).  In the late afternoon we decided to check out the Goetta Fest.  Goetta is apparently a type of meat that is big in Cincinnati and we happened to catch the annual festival celebrating it.  We decided to walk there since it was a beautiful day which took us at least an hour.
 Turns out they make a LOT of different things out of goetta.  Jason decided on a goetta corndog and it was pretty good.  Not something we would write home about, but good nonetheless.

 After the festival we made our way to the Great American Baseball Stadium for the Cardinals game.
We met Jason's friend from high school, Brian Dowey and his wife Kristen, who live in Cincinnati, for beers beforehand and then went to the game with them.  We unfortunately saw the only loss of the whole weekend, but we had a fun night anyway.  It was nice to see Brian and Kristen.  Jason tapped into his romantic side and bought Kristen and me each a rose from the bathroom attendant at the bar after the game.  Lovely.
 Sunday morning (after sleeping in, of course), we decided to check out the local farmer's market on our way out of town.  We are glad we did; it was about two times the size of Soulard Market, so there was a lot to see.  We bought some uniquely flavored sausages and honey butter to take home and ate a lunch of yummy gyros.

We missed the boys while we were gone but we really enjoyed spending 1:1 time, exploring a new city, seeing a Cards game in a new stadium, and seeing our friends.  We hope to continue these trips for many years to come!