Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Birthday Bash!

Renae's 2nd Birthday has come and gone already! I have learned that I thoroughly enjoy planning parties. So the fact that next year I'll have TWO kid's birthday parties to plan makes me very happy! I love picking a theme, making decorations, making the cake, and I enjoy the chaos that comes from a party. We had a great time!

Renae with her 2 favorite parents.

The theme for Renae's birthday was a Purse Party. She has at least 4 different purses and will sometimes wear them simultaneously around the house. When we go out, she'll often ask to bring one of hers. So I decided a purse cake was in order and then went crazy with the theme. I'll provide quick "how I did it" in case you want to do a purse party for a little girl in your life.

I can't believe I gave birth to her just 2 years ago!

We decided to have her party in the park this year. There is a large grassy park about 10 minutes away from us, by car. We invited all Spanish speaking friends. All in all I think there were only 4 Americans, and the rest were Spanish.

The purse cake!

I made a cupcake or pullapart cake since I knew we'd be in a park. This made serving a piece of cake (no pun intended . . .) as I didn't need to cut the cake, or forks to eat it with. I just pulled a cupcake off and gave them a napkin. Genius. (P.S. I found a great easy recipe for homemade fondant here. It. Is. So. Easy. I wish I had known before how easy it was to make your own fondant! )

Renae's individual fondant covered cake is at the top.

For crafts, the kids could decorate their own "purses."

This was also an easy thing to do. I found a template online for a purse and printed it off. Then I traced the template on colored cardstock, cut them out and made handles out of plastic string. The kids colored and placed stickers on their purses.

The purse piñata!

Another easy craft. I blew up one big balloon, and then 2 small ones. The small ones were taped to the biggest part of the larger balloon. I very carefully laid the paper-mache strips in all directions over the base to keep the balloons in the right shape. When it was dry (about a day later), I cut fringes into strips of pink and purple tissue paper, then layered them onto the piñata, starting at the base. For this I used a glue stick. I made the "buckle" out of rolled up tissue paper. The handle is wire covered in tissue paper as well.

Renae's only girl friend, Irene taking a turn.

Finally the kids could collect their candy!

This is where the paper purses came in handy. Each child had a "purse" to place their bounty from the piñata.

"Mommy, what do I do with all this candy?"
Renae seemed more interested in getting her candy open than she was in gathering more for the purse. (I think she needs lessons from her Uncle Trey on what to do after a piñata has been busted open . . .)

Blowing out her candle!

Renae only nibbled at her personal cake. Oh well.

The guests around the food table. Best place to be!
By the way, the purse theme stopped at the food. I picked typical Spanish appetizer-type food: olives, cheese, chorizo, crackers, and potato chips.

Opening a gift from Irene!

Opening her gift from Tio Fede. I don't have any pictures of him but he was there!

Jaime is Renae's newest friend from the park.

I met his mom at the park just a few weeks ago and we hit it off right away! She is a flight attendant and speaks great English. So when she discovered I spoke English we found that we are a good match as we both need someone to practice the language with. She's even coming with me to my next doctor's appointment! (P.S. Fede is in the corner of this photo . . .)

The little kids enjoyed playing with bubbles towards the end of the night.

Irene, Jaime and Renae (aka Esther in Spanish)

She's got cute friends, no?

And of course, Renae wanted to play a little soccer with her Daddy.
We had a great time, Renae was full of sugar and dead tired by the time bedtime rolled around. Next year will be the first time she has a birthday party in English!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Our Baby Girl is 2!

How does the time go so fast?? Jesse and I were reminiscing today about the day Renae was born. After a long and hard labor Renae finally entered this world and the doctor announced, "It's a girl!" For about the next 3-4 days Jesse and I became experts at faking emotions we knew we should have. We wanted to be surprised so we didn't find out the sex of the baby. However . . . we also didn't realize just how much we wanted a boy until we were told we'd had a girl. So we half-heartedly said, "Ahh . . . yay . . ." And even as I held her for the first time, I remember looked at her and thinking, "Ok . . . so you're my daughter. That's weird. I guess we'll figure this out later." At one point, the emotions were so bad that I cried to my dear sister-in-law, "Julie I just want them to put her back in, I want her to come out via c-section, and I want her to come out as a boy!!" Yeah. It was a proud Mommy moment.

Needless to say . . . I finally truly stepped into my identity as a Mother about a year and a half into Renae's life and of course, we wouldn't trade Renae for a million boys. I love being a Mom to Renae. She is a fun little girl and we feel so blessed to have a healthy, happy and cute little girl. She will be a great big sister for her little brother!! Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

A pancake in the shape of a 2 (short of . . .)

She actually blew out the candle on her own!

And this is how I found Renae yesterday . . . .

I'm going to have to be careful she doesn't do that when her brother gets here . . .

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lisboa . . .

During our one full day in Lisbon, we headed to the beach. The water was FREEZING. Turns out the Atlantic doesn't ever really warm up. Luckily, there are pools from when the tides come in that kids can play (and pee) in. This water was slightly warmer. Slightly.

Renae building sandcastles for Landon to destroy.

The three sand experts at work.

Jesse is "helping" Renae build a cool castle.

Little posers . . . (I didn't even tell her to lean in!)

Gotta love the hair-do . . .

That night, we went into town to see the city center for just a bit. Lisbon is a seaport (duh) so the downtown area we saw looked like an old seaworn city. It was great.

The boys watched out for Renae. Thank goodness someone took responsibility for her!

In front of one of two identical fountains.

A nice Portugese man gave Renae some bread to feed the pigeons.
Watch what she thinks of it:

We did NOT walk all the way up to that cool castle.

The Spanish Massons on the original street that lead to the main seaport of the city.

The train station. I thought it looked cool.

And then comes my favorite part of the trip . . .

DINNER AT CHILI'S!!!! They have one in Lisbon and I was SO excited to eat there!

Unfortuntely we had to share the endless chips and salsa with the kids. We were so selfless.

Back at home that night, Mike entertained the kids.
In one full day in Lisbon we went to the beach, visited the city center, ate and Chili's and had fun with friends. Not a bad little trip!! Thanks Beck's!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

We'll Cross Two Bridges When We Come To It . . .

We went to Portugal for 2 days to visit some friends. I'll post more later, but here is a quick synopsis of our 2 day excursion.

We drove into Lisbon via one of the longest bridges in Europe.

Renae said hello to the US all the way across the Atlantic.

We drove under an old aquaduct to get back from the beach.

A nice Portugese man gave Renae some bread to feed to the birds.

We crossed the "Golden Gate" Bridge too.
More to come!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Last Post from Bavaria . . .

I promise, this is the last post from our awesome week in Germany. Promise.

Can you see why we want to relocate?

On the last night, the hotel hosted a great bar-b-que at one of their cabins located further up a nearby mountain. We had grilled steak, potatoes, CORN ON THE COB, and an assorment of other yummy yummy food. The kids were all taken care of so the adults had a nice evening of food and fun with friends.

Not even close to Iowa's sweet corn . . . but it worked.

He makes a cute German, eh?

Jesse and friends enjoying a cool drink of water in the "beerstein."

This was our hotel/conference center. The view was amazing.

We even were able to roast s'mores!!

Thanks to whoever brought the marshmallows from the states!

The "almost" inlaws were there too! So fun to see them!

Someone got a hold of our camera and played photo shoot with Jesse . . .

Renae and I on our balcony at sunset. Ahh . . .