Flashback Friday

I was given a couple of terrific gifts this week.  The first being an opportunity to reconnect with my dad’s side of the family at a birthday party for my cousin and aunt (my dad’s sister).  I was able to re-establish a relationship with this side of my family at the baby shower last month and was thrilled to be included in the small family gathering this week.  The party was at my dad’s mom’s (my Nana’s) house.  It was so nice just to be there among people I haven’t really seen in so long.  J, the boys and I filled up on lots of yummy food.  It was such a nice evening.

Later on, after most everyone had gone home, I asked my grandmother if she had any of my childhood pictures that I could have.  Sadly, I have precious few photos of myself from 0-18-years old.  My parents divorced when I was four.  My mom has been married and divorced three times in all.  My life was always in turmoil growing up.  We moved all the time.  I went to 6 different elementary schools.  Pictures from my childhood have been shuffled around, lost or stowed away somewhere.  I have no clue where they are anymore.

Nana went into her bedroom and pulled out two albums full of pictures of me.  I couldn’t believe it!  She said that she had more pictures of me than any of her other grandkids and that I was welcome to take them all.  Being her first and only grandchild for seven years will do that I suppose.  I was shocked and delighted all at once.  I told her that I would scan the photos I wanted and would return the originals to her.  I certainly did not want to rob her of her photos.  But what a treasure!

My Nana took care of me from babyhood through about second grade.  Most of my fondest, carefree memories are of being with her at her house.  She was kind and I felt so safe with her.  So loved.

Here are a few of the photos that my uncle took of me.  I was four-years-old and we were outside at my Nana’s house.

Thanks to the thoughtful writing on the back, I know that these were taken on February 7, 1980.

The last one is my favorite.

What a gift to see evidence of those happy days once again!


Birthday Flowers

Happy Friday!  I’m sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted…  The past week was filled with fun events in honor of a certain someone turning 4 (Cutie Pie) and another certain someone turning 35 (yours truly).  There were several wonderful dinners with friends and family and more cake and cookies than one should consume in a week.  But it was great.  Really great!  I feel so loved.

I’m sitting here typing up this post as our chicken cooks on it’s beer can stand.  The grill smells heavenly!  Biscuits are in the oven.  The peas will be prepared soon.  The sound of J and the boys constructing a new Lego set is my background music.  I’m so happy J’s home.

J had to leave for DC again this week.  On our birthday.  It wasn’t the best timing in the world but we managed to eek out a nice birthday breakfast before he left.  A colossal chocolate chip pancake for Cutie pie.  Banana Rum Raisin French Toast for me.  Eggs, bacon, hash browns and the biggest biscuit I’ve ever seen for J.

I’ve used the word ‘biscuit’ twice now…

The Friday before J left he came through the door with the most amazing flower arrangement!  When it was placed on our table it was so tall that it reached the chandelier above.  I kept looking at it all week long knowing that he wished he could be here with us.  It was so lovely.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!  I’m off to enjoy a late dinner with my three favorite guys.

Super Mario Bros. Birthday Bash

We had an early birthday bash for Wildman at our house on Sunday.  The theme?  SUPER MARIO BROTHERS!  It’s his latest obsession.  I knew nothing of Super Mario Bros. prior to planning this party so I consulted the Internet for some ideas.  Most of my inspiration came from here and here.

The children each got their own Mario or Luigi hat and mustache.  I had some tiaras for the girls to be Princess Peach.

I made felt mushroom head pouches for the children to keep their collected coins in.  There was no sewing involved!  Score!  We played several games for gold coins: a Yoshi egg hunt, zip-lining onto colored squares that had coins taped to the back and the pinata was loaded with them!  The child with the most coins won a Mario t-shirt.  The winner was Wildman’s friend, O, who collected a whopping 35 coins!

One of the Yoshi eggs contained a “w”.  The person who found that lucky egg won a Mario Bros. cartoon DVD.

The children also played ladder ball for a prize of a Christmas book.

I served lots of veggies and dip, that awesome pineapple salsa, queso, pizza, lime sherbet/7-up punch, as well as lots of beer and wine for the adults.  A paper pieced goomba marked the adult drink tub.

In lieu of a sheet cake or layered round cake, I made mushroom head cupcakes.  The white dots are white chocolate discs used for melting and making lollipops.  I made 3 dozen cupcakes for our herd of 20 children.  Half were white cake and half were carrot cake.  All were a hit!

Luckily the weather cooperated and we had gorgeous sunny skies for the party!  It rained at 11 AM and by 2 PM (party time) all the bad weather had moved out.  Whew!  I didn’t know what I was going to do with all of those people if it rained.  All of our games took place in the yard!  I’m so glad it all worked out.

I made each child a Yoshi treat bag to fill up with their choice of candy from a candy buffet that I had set up on our glass dining table.  The kids were over the moon to get to choose their treats.  I had containers of chocolate coins, Mario fruit snacks, rainbow lollipops, rainbow candy canes, Sunkist gummy candies, gumballs, and extra mustaches laid out for them.

I’d definitely call this party a success!  I had fun preparing for it and the kiddos had a blast all afternoon long.  But given how much effort I put into making all of the favors and decorations, I think I’m going to institute the every-other-year birthday plan.  Next year, I think the boys will get to choose a fun family activity for their birthday.  It’s exhausting hosting birthday parties!!!

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