Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Keeping Cool

First of all, I promise this post will NOT be me complaining about the hot weather. We get so little of it, we have to enjoy every last second we can get.

What do you do to keep cool in the hot weather?
Of course there's the traditional sprinkler in the backyard...

Taking in a splash park with friends...

Finding a little piece of shade...

Or keeping cool like pigs and elephants do, cover yourself in mud!!!

Keep cool! Happy Summer!

Linking up with Wordless Wednesdays:

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Batman Birthday Party

Okay, this is the final post in Gavin's quadrilogy of birthday posts - the PARTY!!! I actually think I've never had a party go this smoothly, with great big thanks to those who helped me with the set-up and clean up.

July in Calgary can be somewhat unpredictable in terms of weather, and we had been having such rainy weather I wanted to have a place where the party could be either indoors or out depending on the weather. Found a great place at a nearby community centre, we had an indoor place to eat and open presents, and a park for the outdoor games. We massively lucked out with really hot weather that day, hot enough that it was nice to get inside to get out of the sun!
Of course no theme party is complete without decorations - most were found at dollar stores and party supply stores.

The kids at our party ranged in age from 10 months old to 9 years old - so I had a few games planned to keep the older kids busy. The younger kids had a good time playing on the playground while the games were going on.
First up: A Riddler treasure hunt. First I gave the kids batman masks and told them we needed Batman and Batgirl to help find the treasure that Riddler has hidden.

I made up 8 riddles, each leading the kids to the next one,

and the final one leading them to the treasure chest - filled with Batman books and water guns.

The water guns were used in the next game. I came across this great idea on Pinterest. I told the kids that Mr. Freeze had captured Batman and is keeping him in a block of ice. The day before, I had frozen Gavin's Batman figurine in a 9X13 cake pan full of water. We took this outside, filled up the water guns and let the kids go at it - melting the ice with the water guns. Even with 10 water guns aimed at it, the ice was so thick the kids had to eventually pick up the ice block and drop it to break Batman free!

Then lunch! We ordered pizza, and brought fruit and veggies from home. My hubby went beyond by making a fruit arrangement that looked amazing! And don't forget the cake (see it here) and singing to the birthday boy.

After filling those hungry bellies we had the bigger kids open the Batman pinata.

Lastly Gavin opened gifts before we sent everyone on their way with a goodie bag.

Thanks to everyone who came and helped make Gavin's day very special for him.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Gavin's Birthday Questionnaire

Continuing on with the new tradition I started with Mikayla's last birthday, I asked Gavin all the same questions for his 4th birthday.

You know what I love? I love 4 year olds. There is no such thing as a one word answer from my little 4 year old. Each question comes with a full 5 minute rambling. In some questions I included some of these ramblings to really catch Gavin's thoughts/personality, but for brevity I kept some answers short.

1. Favourite Colour? Blue
2. Favourite Food/Place to Eat? Strawberries, fruit and vegetables, and maybe some carrots, and broccoli, and cupcakes on my birthday. I do love Red Lobster, but I don't like lobsters to eat, I like to see lobsters in the water when they swim around.
3. Favourite thing to do? Play Wii
4. Best Friend? Big Tristan and Big Liam
5. Grade/Teacher? First year of preschool just finished, with Mrs. B. Up next Jr. Kindergarten in the fall
6. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a "sir", and I want to work with Daddy
7. Favourite Book? The new "Millie" (this is a book we just got on the iPad)
8. Favourite Movie? Cars 2, and Cars 1
9. Favourite animal? T-Rex
10. What makes you happy? Playing with my Dad, and we like to play Cars 2, Batman Lego and Batman Lego 2
11. What are you really good at? Well if I play bowling and I knock all the pins down then I get a strike and a sparkly blue ball
12. Where is your favourite place to go? At grandma and grandpa's
13. What do you like to do with your brother and sister? I like to play cars with Levi, and I like to play Webkinz with Mikayla
14. If you could have a super-power what would it be? I want to be Superman and look through walls in our house
15. What do Mom and Dad do that makes you happy? When I kiss Daddy, or when I'm a giant and Mommy goes in my ear
16. What is one thing you've done that you are most proud of? When mommy and daddy say it's not a Wii day and I don't play even a little bit 
17. What do you like best about school? When I'm the snack leader and we all say our name in the class
18. What would you like to learn to do better this year? Say sorry to Levi
19. What is the scariest thing you've had to do? when I dream about the witches forest
20. What is you're biggest achievement/accomplishment to date? All of them

Sometimes I just don't get what goes on inside his head! His answer to #15 just cracks me up. I have absolutely no idea where the whole giant thing comes from. It was very touching when he told me he wanted to learn to say sorry to his brother better, he has a very loving personality. But he sure has the attention span of a four year old, I had to ask him these questions over two days, and by the end he was saying "that's enough". Can't wait to see how these answers change over the years.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Batman Birthday Cake

Okay I am so excited to do this post because I LOVE the way this cake turned out, I'm so proud of it. It looks even better than I had planned, and the recipe luckily turned out perfect - it was one I had never tried before. It was delicious vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream icing, at my son's request.
I actually managed to plan ahead a little this time, the cakes were baked and fondant made on Tuesday, buttercream made and cakes stacked and covered with buttercream on Thursday, and finally the fondant decorating on Friday was even finished before midnight.
My inspiration (as usual) came from a little bit of Google browsing, and entirely from Gavin's love of all things Batman and the colour blue.
So, funny story with this one. I've got the cakes covered in the blue fondant, and the 4 tall buildings and the bat signal made, ready to be placed on the cake. I'm on the home stretch, and before Gavin heads to bed I show him how it will all go together. Big mistake! Gavin informs me that the bat signal needs to come from Commissioner Gordon's office and that none of those buildings look like his office. Seriously? Well I'm glad he did, I really like the way I ended up placing the buildings after making the police headquarters. And Gavin made no mention of any missing part to the cake when he saw it Saturday morning.
On this cake I tried something else new that I've never done before, I made the shapes of the buildings and the bat signal from foam board first then covered them in fondant and decorated them before they went onto the cake. I had to do this slightly out of necessity, because I really wanted to have the buildings stand taller than the layers of the cake, and because no one has ever told me how to make this happen I figured out a way to do it that worked for me.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Gavin's Birth Story

Time to reminisce about my second, and by far easiest, L&D story. This one looks back at the birth of my sweet Mr. Gavin, who turns four years old today! 
Gavin's birth is pretty much a shinning beacon of light in my memory, I've probably sugar-coated it in my mind. When I'm sharing birth stories with friends or co-workers or random strangers on the bus (just kidding, I never ride the bus!), it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to re-live it!! Well, get on with it then...
July 9th 2008 4:00pm. I was in our vehicle in the parking lot of Canadian Tire with my little 2 1/2 year old daughter, the hubby was inside buying something, I think for the BBQ (he's just informed me it was a rotisserie). When.... gushhhhhhhhhh... yep water breaks 9 days early, crap I'm not ready for him yet, I don't have any bags packed!! (Side note: I never once had bags packed and ready to go to the hospital for any of my three children's arrival into our lives).
I call Jan on his cell to inform him of the change to our plans, he's in the cash line with a stupidly slow cashier. Next call is to my folks, who are going to watch Mikayla for us, and there's no answer, ummmm crap. My message to them goes something like "this is the phone call you are supposed to be waiting beside the phone for", luckily my Dad was just screening calls and was indeed home. So we mosey on home, pack a bag or two and get Mikayla to my parent's place at approximately 5:00pm. My first contraction started just before we pull up to their front door. We kiss our daughter good-bye and we're off. 
So, you have to get the kind of pace we're moving at here, basically we figure there's oodles of time, the first go-around took 30 hours, and I've just barely started contracting. So what do we do? Drive at break-neck speed to the hospital? NO! First we stop to buy a camcorder tape, and of course a Starbucks because we figure we're in for a long night. We finally get ourselves to the hospital, me with soaking wet shorts (so embarrassing in the elevator to be dripping amniotic fluid down my legs) but it works in my favour they rush me into a triage bed, at this point it's 6:00pm.
Now, as soon as I lay down in that Triage bed the contractions start getting a little more intense, we're waiting for our doctor to come see me, the baby monitor strapped to my belly is far more annoying than I remember it being the first time I did this. I get up and walk to the bathroom, and back to the bed and say to my husband "I think I'm a much bigger wuss than I was last time, I think I might need an epidural way sooner". Still haven't seen even a glimpse of the doctor, the nurses inform us she's in with a labour that's going slowly, no worries. So the nurse gives us a check, we're already 5cm, woo hoo they're not sending us home like they did last time. 
7:00pm and Jan heads down to the admitting desk to get me officially checked in. Hereafter are just about the longest 45 minutes of my life! No husbandly support, alone behind a curtain in the triage room waiting for my own room, no doctor has seen me yet and no epidural has been started. Just me and my contractions, oh and don't forget the ridiculously uncomfortable baby monitor. Finally a nurse says to me, "we've got you a room", oh thank God!! The walk from the triage room to our birthing room must have been about 25m, but it felt like I was walking clear across the city. I had to stop every 10 seconds it felt like to try to breath through the next contraction. I nearly sobbed with joy when Jan finally came up to me leaning against the wall feeling rather ill with pain.
It's 7:45pm, and I have finally made it to my own room, I am so ready for that epidural. "Sure" they say "let just check to see how far you've progressed.... oh.... you're 10cm!", I guess this means I'm not getting that epidural, crap! And so the pushing begins, and then ends about 10 minutes later with the birth of my absolutely beautiful perfect little boy at 8:06pm. Oh yeah, and the first glimpse we have of the doctor is literally her walking in the door just in time to catch Gavin!!! And that's it, 4 hours start to finish, with less than 2 hours of really "hard" labour. We had my parents bring the munchkin by to meet her new baby that night, and 18 hours after giving birth to my little man I'm home and vacuuming the living room (we had company coming after all, and I hadn't gotten to it the day before). 

Of course Gavin has been nothing but perfection since that day on... oh wait... the sugar coating doesn't last quite that long! Gavin you have been, and are still, a joy to have in our lives. Your quirks are endearing, your energy enchanting, your devilish grin melts us. We love you so much. Happy birthday.