Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Leo's Lego Batman Party!

Leo turned 3 on February 25th!
I can't believe he's already 3! Every mom who ever says something about her kid's birthday has to say that right? But seriously. Wow. 3 years.

If you know Leo or have been around him for more than a few minutes you'll know he loves Batman! Combine that with his newfound love of Legos and the Lego Batman movie coming out we decided to do a Lego Batman party! 

We are now in our final year of residency (yeah!) so money for extra things like birthday parties isn't abundant, but since we skipped the party last year and Leo is now much more aware of things like parties and actually has little friends - we decided to have a party!

The total cost of the party was really low when compared to having a party at a party place, especially considering we had about 40-50some people and fed everyone lunch! I'd say total I spent around $100 and I'll share what we did.

It was such a fun day and amid all the fun I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I wish I had, but that's life. 

First, the major expense we were able to avoid was the cost of renting a space.
A couple years ago our church had a big "block party" and the teens built an awesome lego table and people donated legos to the church! When I decided on the theme having it at our church was an obvious choice. Since we are members there was no charge for using the church gymnasium (and all the church's stuff - tables, chairs, etc.)  Of course when using something like your church it's proper etiquette (at least I think it is anyway) to drop a little extra in the offering plate on top of your regular tithe.  Anyway!  Having a party for a 3 year old in a big gym was great! We set up about half of the gym and left the other half open for wild kids to run free! It was perfect!

Next the decorations were practically free. I saved all my cardboard boxes from crackers, pasta, mail, etc. and a friend saved me several large boxes from her office and we covered them in primary colored wrapping paper that I purchased at Dollar Tree, Party City, and Hobby Lobby. I found a large roll of red at Dollar Tree because it was Valentine's Day, smaller rolls of blue, green, and yellow at Party City for .99, and a large roll of good quality black paper at Hobby Lobby for $5 with 40% off coupon!
I cut out circles and glued them to the tops of the boxes to make them look like Lego bricks and used them as centerpieces (but seriously a 3 year old's party doesn't necessarily need centerpieces, lol) and with the black boxes I glued on yellow squares to look like a city skyline.

Other decorations were things we had at home - Legos!

Walmart carries Lego themed plates, napkins, cups, etc. for only .99 each! And I used the plastic cups McDonalds gave out in their Happy Meals as a holder for forks and spoons!

One thing I did spend a little money on was silicone Lego brick and men shaped molds! I found a set of 8 on Ebay for $12! I had the intentions of making crayons and chocolates and then decided on just crayons because I didn't want kids to get confused and eat the crayons! ha!
Thankfully I changed my mind because I found that after I used a mold for crayons the wax was very, very, very hard to remove entirely so the chocolate probably would have tasted like wax.
I tried a couple different methods of making the crayons but the best was melting them in the molds in the oven. I bought about 4 boxes of 48 crayons at the Dollar Tree, removed the papers (it is definitely easier to do if you soak the crayon in water for a couple seconds first!) and broke them into pieces, lined them in the molds, placed them on a cookie sheet and put in the oven at about 200-250 (I'm not big on specifics, haha) until they were totally melted - maybe 10 or so minutes. Then let harden on the counter until solid and then put them in the fridge to cool them completely.
They turned out so cute and was seriously one of my favorite parts of the party and planning!
I printed off a couple different coloring sheets on my home printer (so yeah no idea how much that cost.... but like paper and ink we already had you know) of Lego Batman and of a plain Lego man and scattered some different shapes and colors of the Lego crayons on the table.
I also put a few crayons in little clear bags (40 for $1 at Dollar Tree) and gave those out as party favors.

The majority of my party budget of course went to food. I invited A LOT of people to the party. Man, kids parties are hard. First of all we had it at our church and we have so many friends and people we love at our church so they all got invited.  Then I have a lot of friends from my mops group and that's the bulk of Leo's friends so I invited just so many people.  I didn't get a final headcount but I think we had about 50ish people there! 
I made a facebook event to invite people (oh so saved on invitations too!) and made Lee an admin also and a couple days before the party he got a little nervous and was like uhhh how do you plan on feeding all these people? haha clearly he was super involved in the party planning.

My original plan was just like oh we'll just grab some hot and ready's from Little Caesars because it's cheap, right? Well the week of the party I got an email from Pizza Hut that they had 50% off their entire menu when you ordered online! So I called and confirmed I could order 10 pizzas and get the discount AND have them delivered and they said yes!!
So our menu was pizza, macaroni and cheese (that I made), chips, watermelon, rice crispie treats that looked like Lego bricks, and of course cake!
For drinks I stuck to basics and had tea, lemonade, and water.
2 of my sweet friends actually ended up bringing lemonade and a large fruit salad to the party which was amazing and so helpful! Making a mental note to always ask my friends if they need help with food for their kids parties ;)

And then the other expense was the cake, which I made so it was pretty cheap.
I made a shot in the dark post and asked if any of my friends had Batman cookie cutters and was shocked that one actually did! So another $10-15 saved!
I saw the cake idea on facebook and practiced the technique on valentines day and it didn't turn out too bad so I just went with it! I do not recommend making your kids' birthday cakes. Just buy them at the grocery, haha, but if you're like me and likes the challenge, saving money, and how happy it made Leo.... it was all worth it.

It was such a fun party and we have such great friends.
Stuff like this just leaves me feeling so overwhelmingly thankful.
Thankful for that precious 3 year old boy of mine and thankful for all the people in our lives.

Happy Birthday Leo!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Houston 9 Months

Houston's already over 9 months and I didn't do an 8 month update.
I swear I'd blame my unorganized-ness on being a mom or Houston being my 2nd kid, but I've always always been very scatterbrained and behind schedule.

So, at 9 months Houston is probably like any baby - into everything!
He's crawling so fast, cruising around the furniture, and standing independently for a few seconds here and there.  Leo walked at 9 months so we'll see if Houston follows that pattern, but I think it might be a bit longer for him. Maybe 10 months or so.

We had his 9 month check up today and he could do every single thing on the checklist for 9 month old babies! He's talking saying - Mama and Dada appropriately and he'll say baba and makes lots of other little sounds.  I swear one day he said bubbles after I said the word. And he said lasagna once ;)

He just started signing more!! We were at Busch Gardens and I was waiting while Leo and our friend Hannah playing in Elmo's treehouse thing and I was feeding Houston and he was so hungry he was eating everything so I kept saying more? and then it just clicked and he was signing! It's a little like clapping hands, but he was purposefully doing it for food.  *and since I'm just now finishing up this post and he's already 9.5 months he has been signing milk too!! I just love to see him sign and communicate with us.

He loves when we sing and dance. Our favorite song to dance around to as a family is the everything is awesome song. haha. it's a bit ridiculous, but seriously can turn around a bad mood in any of us. If I feel like I've been short tempered we turn on music. If Houston is grumpy, if Leo is bored, whatever - we just start dancing. Even Lee. It's really becoming one of my very favorite things haha because it's totally something we'd only do at home and not in front of anyone else :)

He loves to clap along when we sing If you're happy and you know it and he'll bounce around if he's standing and we start singing. He's seriously so fun.

Houston is a pretty good eater these days. It took him some time to figure out the eating bit. I'd say his favorite foods are still pureed type stuff - yogurt and applesauce mostly. And he loves the baby pancakes that are just egg and banana. He loves banana! But offer him a plain egg and he spits it out. He pretty much eats whatever we're eating at lunch and dinner. Although he isn't a big meat eater. I made chicken and dumplings about a week ago and he ate a huge bowl of it.

While he's a good eater and sleeps amazing at night (12 hours every single night!) he is the worst napper.  I've tried many different techniques, but still some days he goes from 7am-7pm with no nap. On a good day he'll nap twice. At about 10:30 for hopefully like 45minutes-1 hour. Then again in the afternoon around 2 or 2:30 around an hour and half. However... most days he refuses the morning nap or falls asleep for about 5 minutes and then is up again and we retry the name after lunch. OR some days he takes a great morning nap and then refuses the afternoon nap. OR like I said just doesn't nap at all. I've tried to just making him go until after lunch and just take one nap a day and even that backfires on me. Babies.

At 9 months Houston is 20 lbs 10 oz and 30.5 inches tall!  He's a tall boy! 98th percentile for height and only about 67th for weight.  It's funny because I think he's so tiny compared to Leo, but 67th percent is still bigger than average. I think he's just gonna be a long, tall boy.

Houston turned 8 months old in Canada! His first experience with snow!

Houston 8 months and Great-Grandma Coghill 98 years! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Houston 7 Months

This past month was a big one for my Houston!
Sleeping thru the night, crawling, eating, saying mama, teeth, clapping, pulling up to standing... he is in hurry to be like his big brother.

I have probably 50 videos on my phone (why I'm always out of storage...) of Houston up on his knees rocking back and for and sitting up and then getting back on his knees and then dropping to his belly - just waiting to catch him crawling and to tell you the truth, I don't know if I ever did actually catch him crawling the first day. I was just like one day he was all over the place crawling in the Christmas tree and from room to room.

We have to keep all our doors shut now.  He loves to get into the bathroom.  He tries to pull up on the toilet (gross!) and the bathtub and Leo's stool.  I guess it's the room where he is the least so he's dying to know whats in there... even though he is seeing a lot more of it these days now that he's eating and requires frequent baths to remove all the food from his body!  He is a mess!
He is doing so much better with eating the past week or so.  It took him a while to figure out swallowing, but now he can do it he loves food.  He likes to feed himself puffs or little chunks and claps or bangs his tray when he wants more!  I'm telling myself the clapping is his way of signing more, but I doubt it.

I am trying to be better about doing sign with him.  I know that was so beneficial for Leo.  Leo could do so many signs and then became such a great talker with a crazy vocabulary which they attribute to early communication.  Leo signed milk at around 9 months for the first time so I still have time to teach Houston.  We've started very basic with milk, food, and more.

So far Houston seems to prefer yogurt, applesauce, apples, banana, sweet potato, puffs, blueberries, strawberries, and oatmeal.  I force him to eat chicken, avocado, broccoli, eggs, etc. My goal this week is to give him peanut butter because they say early exposure is good for allergies but somehow he's already 7+ months and hasn't happened it yet.

The day after Christmas, so just a few days before he turned 7 months my sweet little baby started jabbering ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma and it was just the absolute best! Leo said Dada first, but I knew Houston was going to be a mama's boy ;)  He will also say Baba - which I've told Leo is what Houston calls him lol, and make lots of other sounds, but he doesn't say Dada yet.

The day after he said Mama he also started clapping! I know Leo was at least 7something months old when he clapped (I remember the day and could look up the date if I tried hard enough, it was our friend Joey's show at the Broadway Palm and we took Leo with us and joked that he learned to clap for their show, haha).

Houston got his top two teeth right after turning 7 months and tonight I was looking in his mouth and noticed the next teeth next to his front teeth, what are they called again? well whatever they are, they're swollen and will hopefully be in any day!
Teething however, brings me to nursing... Houston is now sleeping through the night! Yay!  I think I was just complaining about it in his 6 month update and then a couple days later I woke up at about 7:30 and realized Houston hadn't woken up to eat that night!
That same day I switched our bedroom furniture so he could have his own room and it's been pretty smooth since, with the exception of when we had company and he slept in our room in a packnplay. He woke up in the night then, but now we're back to normal he's sleeping well again. Even with the teething.
We're going to Canada in a couple weeks I'm nervous about how he's going to sleep... but that's life, he'll adapt hopefully.

Anyway, nursing - Houston has been going really well and easy... until a couple days ago when I developed what I think was mastitis. I got super sick and it was miserable, but thankfully only lasted like a day or so.  And then on top of that Houston now has top and bottom teeth and he's already bit me a few times. ugh.  misery.

But at least he is insanely adorable right?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Houston 6 Months

Dear my precious darling Houston. I am so sorry you didn't get a 5 month blog post.  I promise this has nothing to do with you being the second child and everything to do with your mom being a scatter brain.
In baby time a month is a lot, and 2 months is a lot a lot!  Poor Houston will never really know what he was doing at 5 months old because his mom didn't write it down.  It's only a foggy memory of some stuff she'll make up.

Anyway, moving on and forgiving myself of that ;)

Houston Charles is now 6 months!!
This month I've been testing out little nicknames for my baby.  I've been randomly calling him Housty.  I don't know.  I also sometimes come up with Hugh Charlie. or just Huey.
Lee prefers to call him Hous-town.
It's pretty fun.
This baby is fun. SO FUN!

His face just shouts I'm fun! He's always smiling and his eyes twinkle. I'm so in love with this sweet little boy. He makes me want 15 more babies.

At 6 months Houston is sitting up completely unassisted and can even push himself up into a seated position.  He did this for the first time while he was laying on the floor of the sanctuary at church while I was decorating for Christmas. I left him laying on a blanket playing with toys and looked over and he was sitting up and had the biggest smile. He was so proud.
He's so close to crawling!! He's doing the rocking on his hands and knees and the downward dog pose.  He's going to get it so soon.

On Thanksgiving he got his first taste of food - sweet potatoes!  He didn't really know what to do with it. He's also had an apple to gnaw on and help him with teething. haha and to keep him occupied during dinner time. I think I'll start avocado tomorrow if they are ripe.

He is getting his two bottom teeth! About a month ahead of Leo I think.

His favorite toys are his crinkle book and sophie giraffe (that was actually Leo's... is it ok to share teething toys? lol) and he loves the jolly jumper thing.

Sleeping......... well he's ok, but he could definitely be better.  He goes to bed between 7-7:30 most nights and sleeps a pretty good stretch but at about 3 or so he'll wake up to eat and I sometimes bring him to bed with me and he'll eat off and on until morning..... I honestly don't really know what happens.  I wake up to reposition him depending on how I fall asleep and make sure he can't fall out of bed.  It's not the best, but it happens a few times a week.  Other nights I put him back in bed and then he wakes up again at like 5 and I feed him and keep him in bed with me then.  It seems like he's always ending up in my bed!
Full disclosure...... he did fall out of bed once and I felt like a terrible mother.
I think Leo fell out once too, but I barely remember.... so soon I'll forget that Houston fell out too, right?

We still need to move our bed out of Houston's room.  I KNOW we'll all sleep better, but our 3rd bedroom (which is actually the master) is FULL of my craft stuff and quite a mess. another full disclosure. ugh.

Ok, other Houston news...
He makes lots of super cute noises. He completely adores his big brother. He is so easy to make laugh. He grabs his toes and it's the most precious thing you've ever seen.

first time in a high chair! 

first food!

first time he sat himself up :) 


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