Thursday, June 30, 2011

What a man, what a man, what a mighty mighty man...

Yeah, that's right, I just busted out some TLC. It's probably the only line of any of their songs I remember. Obviously wasn't a huge fan. But we did celebrate Ryan this past month and yes, he is a pretty great man in our eyes. 

He is an amazing father. He makes it a point to be involved in the kids lives. They love to call him whenever something important, fun, or amazing happens. From playing Barbies with Berlin, to legos and video games with Finley, coaching soccer, and taking them to the RSL soccer games.  Ryan is definitely the FUN parent (Or so I have been told. I guess I am just the boring mom who makes them clean their rooms, clear their plates and do homework *smile* ). He is such a good example of the importance of working hard, playing hard, and being a good person. The kids absolutely love him.

We celebrated Father's Day a week early this year. I had gotten an hotel downtown for our anniversary and decided to add an extra night onto our stay so the kids could join us and celebrate Father's Day doing fun things. We swam in the hotel roof-top pool, went to Temple Square, played in the Church History Museum children's room, went to dinner, and stayed up late watching a movie in the hotel room. It was a great way to celebrate Dad. 

Here are the kids as they played at the Church History Museum.

Primary Song DJ Mix-master F 

Berlin spent the entire hour we were there dancing to the Latin music.  

Thanks for being such a great Dad!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hogwarts Birthday Adventure

Finley finally got his birthday party this past week. It was only 2 months late, but better late than never. I kept telling him it had to be outside, but with the crazy LONG WET & COLD winter we had, it didn't happen in April, or even May. So this last week we finally celebrated with a Harry Potter party. 

(NOTE: Please do NOT copy or use these pictures without permission. Ryan and I worked really hard on this so please don't post elsewhere without letting us know first. Thanks!)

Ryan did a FANTASTIC job on the invitations. Look how cool they are. I told him what I wanted and he exceeded my expectations (as always). Every ticket had a different number and the owl stamps were extremely realistic looking. On the back is the Hogwarts Crest and underneath the ticket is a picture of the Hogwarts Express train. Ryan's awesome. Marrying a Graphic Designer comes in handy sometimes :)

I made a bunch of house banners & crests & pennants, a Honey Dukes candy shop, an Owlery, a Platform 9 3/4 wood sign, and all sorts of stuff. Easy, but very time-consuming.

The Owlery...

I got 3 of the cutest little owls from Michael's (all a bit different) for the Owlery. The barn was the perfect spot and I had them in the window ledge, over the barn door and perched on the rain-gutter. I had to go back three times so I could use my 50% off coupons. Kinda silly, but TOTALLY worth it. They looked ridiculously real and the kids couldn't stop looking at them. And now I can use them with our Halloween decor.

When they got to the house they waited on the Platform 9 3/4 for their ride into Hogwarts. Ryan picked the kids up in the Madsen bike and rode them back to the field. Once there they reached into the sorting hat to pick their houses (temp tattoos of each house crest). Then they got their capes and went on the Golden Snitch Seek (scavenger hunt) where they had to find their school supplies (wands, lightening bolt tattoos, spell books, potion packets, and locate the Golden Snitch). 

Then they went to class. Here's how their class schedules went:

1. Dueling Dragons ... They each had to assemble a foam dragon glider, then see who could throw it the farthest.

2. Potions Class (Mentos Soda Rockets & Pop Rocks) ... Ryan used Dragons Blood, Basilisk Venom (both diet coke), Hippogriff Saliva (diet sprite), and Unicorn Tears (diet sierra mist). The mentos were baby dragons teeth.

After the potion fountains, the kids ate their pop-rocks, made their own potions by putting the pop-rocks in the remaining soda bottles, or both. Funny thing, the kids actually drank the soda flavored with pop-rocks. YUCK! Kids will try anything!

3. Spells ... Here they are in front of the Owlery just after the scavenger hunt. They are practicing their spell casting abilities. 

Each kid got this spell book on the scavenger hunt. Now they can learn lots of spells and practice them on their siblings (or parents)!

4. Quidditch Tournament ... What would a Harry Potter party be without a Quidditch match? Um, definitely not a party! The beach balls were the bludgers and the soccer ball was the quaffle. Each team got 2 minutes to try and score (kick the soccer ball into one of 3 hula hoops hanging on the grapevine) while the other team chucked the bludger beach balls at them. It was a riot and they took this VERY seriously. 

5. Defense Against the Dark Arts ... After Quidditch they cooled down with a water balloon fight. Sorry not a ton of pics, I was too busy trying to stay dry.

6. Care of Magical Creatures ... Each Muggle had the opportunity to feed a treat to our fierce creature and then pet him. Most were brave and took the challenge and did great.

7. Finally... refreshments in the Great Hall and the present opening ceremony.

As the parents picked up their little wizarding muggles, the kids got to go on a candy spree in the Honey Dukes candy shop. Pretty sweet!


 Finley had a great time, as did Ryan and I. Thanks heavens that once my kids turn 6 they only get friend birthday parties on 'even' years. Phew! Because this party was definitely the most intense party I have ever done for the kids, or in my life actually. But it was such a blast and watching the kids have so much fun made it all worth it. 

Here's to a happy year 6 for Finley!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Video Smorgasbord

When I finally uploaded the content from my Flip camcorder to the computer the other day, I realized that half the stuff on it was from last year. Yep. I have stuff from Winter 2010...sad. So this post if just going to be a bunch of videos from the past few months...

This is Berlin's Dance Recital in May 2011. She is on the very end. She was so very cute and had been practicing her arabesque's at home forever it seems. Of course, once on stage, she looked over and saw Aunt Valerie and got all sorts of distracted. Very cute.

This is Finley at his Kindergarten Program. They had to perform a talent. All week long we had talked about him showing his composition book which is full of pictures (seen here). He animated/drew all 6 star wars movies and had started on a new one - the 7th episode. But he got nervous and decided he'd rather sing a song. So he drew a picture of stars and sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Of course, the microphone died on him so he's very quiet. 

This video shows Finn's class singing at the parent program. This was his big number...he's the middle sun. This video makes me giggle. I love his little moves.

Here's one of the kids singing on Christmas Eve. We celebrate Christmas Eve together with his side of the family every year and the kids all put on little performances. Ever since Peter's passing, we usually have it at his sister Teresa's house. It's such a fun tradition to be a part of.

Monday, June 13, 2011

8 years ago

Hard to believe that 8 years ago I married this guy. Yay for weekend anniversaries, a sister who's always willing to watch the kids overnight, fun times checking out our old stomping grounds downtown, discovering new places to eat (EVA's small plates (aka: tappas) - delish!), and hitting the farmer's market without kids in tow. Fabulous! 

I sure do love this guy and I'm glad that we chose each other for eternity.

Preschool Jungle Party

Berlin's preschool graduation was a few weeks ago. It's just taken me this long to get the video on our flip and onto the computer. 

The class had a jungle safari party to celebrate. They had the cutest costumes for the kids to put on when we got there. Berlin wanted nothing to do with them at the party. However, when we got home I caught her in the kitchen all decked out looking at the birds in our Japanese maple tree.

Here she is getting her graduation certificate and singing some songs. It's kinda hard to believe that her first year of preschool is over. 

She has had such a fun year. Her favorite things in preschool were the field trips, music time, and making lots of cool crafts & art projects. She is sad it's over, but she's already looking forward to going to preschool next year with her good friend Abby.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Jungle Jim's

We got a great deal on the 10-wristband pass from and have been wanting to go. Berlin got to invite her friend Abby this time around. We were the second people there and pretty much had the place the ourselves most of the time. They had a blast riding all the old carnival style rides and playing the arcade games and winning tickets. Good times. Perfect place for  summer days when it's just too hot to go outside. They can't wait to go again in a couple weeks, especially Finley, since he'll get to invite a friend next time.

Berlin freaked out the first time on this ride. I think it was faster than she had anticipated, and she was in the middle getting squished. The second time around she was on the inside end and she loved it. 

Wasn't sure she'd be able to reach the gas pedal, but she did and had a blast bumping into everyone.

These two just chatted the whole time they were on the merry-go-round. 

And who doesn't love swings? 

Watching them on this one made my stomach sick. I am not a fan of rides like this. But they just giggled & giggled the more their car spin around. 

Flying rockets ... these two were so good at taking turns making it go up & down. 

This was right before their first time on the ride. Doesn't Berlin look nervous? 

Fin was a pro at the bumper cars. They did these forever. 

Beep Beep... Jeepin' thru the jungle. 

When they wanted to take a break they had the slide/tunnel play area. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hogle Zoo Dinosaurs

We decided to go to Hogle Zoo this morning. Bad idea. Apparently they opened a new Dinosaur experience in the park and it was packed by 10am. But, the kids were very excited to go so we braved the crowds and it actually turned out to a really fun experience (minus the annoying mom with 4 bratty kids cutting in lines and pushing other kids off things). 

There are lots of animatronic dinosaurs throughout the park. Some roar, some move, some even squirt water at the kids. And of course the dig-for-dinosaur bone pits are always a big hit. So, if you haven't been in a while and are thinking of going, let me know. Our pass expires the end of July and I have a feeling we'll be going back a lot between now and then. We'd love to meet you there!