wordless wednesday::dressed for success

this girl's got some creative fashion sense...

more wordless wednesday here and here.


1st birthday celebration

similar to daddy's birthday week, little agent gibs had his own prolonged birthday celebration.

on his actual birthday we took him out to dewey's pizza for dinner (umm...that place has delicious pizza.  i think it might be on par with angelo's...).  that kid can pack away pizza...and he's not picky about what kind he eats.

 while waiting for our food, he got to open a couple of presents.  the first half of his present from us is a handmade plush jingle ball.  i messed up at the first attempt (it looked more like a blob than a ball) but figured it out the second time around.  the filling is made from old tees and bed sheets cut into short strips.  the outside fabric was a mix of 2 different fabric remnants from joann's and an old top sheet we never used (way excited that i was able to upcycle that!)  i had emma help fill the ball and stick the little jingle bells in there.  it was also a great geometry, counting and sorting lesson for her.

we had originally planned to stop by malley's for an ice cream treat afterward but the kids and dad just went the day before with gram and pap so we bagged that idea.  instead we went home enjoyed the sunshine and played in the front yard.  malley's happened today after dinner.  he REALLY liked the ice cream and was crawling around like a crazy naked baby after his bath (obvious sugar high, i think).

saturday morning, a special package arrived for him from his aunti michelle.  perfect timing!  a snazzy top to wear for his BYOM birthday bbq...except he wouldn't sit still long enough to get a good photo of him in it.

he thoroughly enjoyed eating (big suprise) ribs and a chocolaty brownie cake for dessert during the bbq.  thanks to everyone who came by!

gibson also got the second half of his gift from us, which we ended up using as part of the party decor...handmade jingle cubes with tabs that spell out his name.  i used whatever fabric i had on hand and thankfully i had enough fabric with colors that go together.  these were much easier to make than the ball.  this time i used a mix of old tees and poly-fil for the filling so that the cubes weren't so dense.  i had wanted to purchase this bamboo filling they had at joann's but it was $22 for 1 lb.!

and since we didn't get to sing happy birthday to him during his party, we sang it to him on sunday.  daddy helped blow out the candle and gibson got to eat more brownie.

then today was his 1 year check-up where he got a couple of birthday shots.  though i don't think those are so much fun.  he is around the 50th percentile for weight (22 lb. 4 oz.), but height was only in the 25th (29 in.).  however, the doctor suspected that gibson was perhaps too wiggly to get an accurate measurement.  emma scored a lollipop on the way out...since gibson is too small to eat it for himself and all that.


do something: weekend may 21 - 23

okay, i admit i have not been keeping up with this.  when things get busy at home, postings tend to be a little sporadic.

so here's some things going on around town that we may or may not hit up...

78th street studios is holding their 3rd friday event from 5-9 p.m. it's free and we have taken the family before. 

do you like garage sales?  they're fun aren't they?  i like going to find vintage stuff or baby clothes. i can't wait until garage sales go into full swing this summer.   anyway, this friday and saturday modern pixie is having a tag sale to de-stash some of her bead supply, housewares, furniture and clothes.  sale goes from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. both days. we just might have to take a jaunt over there...especially since there's vintage furniture involved.

first ever weapons of mass creation fest at parish hall kicks off at noon.  2 days full of art, film and music...woohoo!  there is an admission price of $15/per day or $25 for a 2-day pass.  check it out. 

if we didn't have gibson's b-day bbq planned for saturday, i would totally be in asia town for the first ever cleveland asian festival.  i've got to represent, right?  the event runs from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. at payne ave and E 30th (same area as the asian supermarket, park to shop).  i will be keeping my out next year for the return of this event.

aaron's alter-ego, a.c. jones, is returning full force at the garage bar.  check out mr. drummer boy and the rest of the scoliosis jones family saturday night along with adam's dagger (from the lbc) and homeward bound (from toledo).

the scoop on poop opens saturday at the zoo.  this will definitely be a must see for our family...there is something strangely fascinating and amusing about "dropping the kids off at the pool," so to speak.

happy weekend and watch out for those thunderstorms (what is this?  round two?).



dear gibson,

for the past week, i've been mulling over what i would write for your one year letter.  one year.  how can this be?  my sweet, little bundle...

i still remember clearly the day leading up to your arrival.  contractions all day, and i'm off with your big sister to pat catan's picking up some last minute items for crafts (which in the back of my mind i knew i wouldn't get to any time soon) and ty and emma's birthdays.  those contractions got stronger and stronger to the point where i had to stop in the middle of the grocery store aisle to get through it.  i knew you were coming soon.

but i wasn't ready to go to the hospital just yet.  i even managed to sit (sort-of) through your dad's pre-recorded tv show before calling the midwife, because we knew we would fall behind if we didn't watch it then (and i wanted to eat something before we left).  but by midnight we were getting checked in and settled into our room.

and 4 hours (and 3 very, very, very hard pushes) later you graced us with your presence.  your cries pierced the room and i was so overwhelmed with joy.  i can still remember holding you close, inhaling every bit of your sweet, newborn baby smell...

you've come a long way from this...

to this...

 to this...

you are my little cuddle bug.  i love when you bury your face in my chest as i rock you before bed.  i love your little squeals and giggles, and your knack for getting. into. everthing.  you were a bruiser from the minute you were born.  you've got a laid-back disposition though you will throw a fit when there is something in particular you REALLY want that you don't get to have.  you love to sing with emma or wiggle your little butt to music or daddy's guitar playing.  daddy thinks you're going to be an arborist or a forest ranger or some outdoorsy dude, because the second word you said (after "dada") was "tee" (for tree).  and boy do you love trees.  trees make you smile.  they make you laugh.  they bring a sparkle to your eye.  maybe dad might be right...

i love you, bubba.  you fill my heart to the brim with joy.  you bring even more happiness and laughter to our family than i could ever imagine.  what a precious blessing you are my sweet boy.  i look forward to seeing what God has planned for you.

happy birthday gibson marshall!


wordless wednesday::the face of an angel

more wordless wednesday here and here.

top ten tuesday

gibson's birthday marks the beginning of kids birthdays in our family.  after his is done this thursday, we have 2 pretty much back to back 3 weeks later...emma and ty's birthdays are 2 days apart.

much like christmas time, birthday celebrations can end up a little over board  and wasteful (gift overload, wasteful wrapping paper, over-spending, etc.).  although we think birthday's are important and should be celebrated (need i remind you fo aaron's birthday week?), the focus should be on celebrating (celebrate: to observe a day or commemorate an event with ceremonies or festivities) the event not the gift-receiving.  especially with our kids, we like to keep birthday parties simple so that more emphasis is placed on the celebration aspect of the birthday (i.e. games, songs, etc.). and when things get too complicated you end up being stressed out anyway.  not worth it.

after all that, this week's top ten are just some birthday party ideas we've used (or hope to use) that can help minimize waste and over-spending, less stuff-centric (ha, is that even a word??), and more environmentally friendly.

top ten simple and green children's birthday party ideas:

1. theme. 
[i don't think this is as important for little ones as it is for older kids, but when you have a theme it helps centralize all your party decor and activities.  this will also keep you from over-spending/over-buying on stuff that you may not need for the party.  one year, we had a spy/detective birthday party theme for tyler and the kids came dressed up in their homemade spies/detectives costumes.  we didn't need to plan a whole lot because the big neigborhood scavenger hunt took up most of the time.  i really loved that birthday party.]

2. have kids make their own food.
[this is a great way combine a party activity with snack time if you are serving food at your party.  as long as you keep it simple it will surely be a success.  we had indvidual sized pizza dough (aaron made and prepped the dough beforehand) for kids to top for ty's 6th birthday party and it was a hit.]

3. request guests bring a donation instead of a gift.
[this is an excellent way to minimize the gift-overload, the sea of wrapping paper factor, and provide a learning opportunity for your kids.  this is something we are doing for gibson's 1 year birthday (what does a 1 year old really need anyway? not a whole lot.).  in lieu of gifts, we are requesting donations for the city mission's hope tote.  i hope that this is something we can continue to do with the rest of our kids.]

4. up-cycle items for party decor.
[we don't normally do a whole lot of party decor for our kids' birthdays.  i'm not sure why...maybe it's because the kids don't really care much about that.  but...if you like to spruce up the home/party location a bit why not use items around the house?  we are going to make a simple happy birthday sign for gibson's birthday bbq using old rolling stones magazines.  i'm looking forward to trying this out.]

5. simple, functional party favors.
[melt some old crayons into molds and give them away as favors.  or make a big batch of homemade play dough to hand out as the guests leave.  or we had a friend who gave out simple, homemade shakers as favors, which i thought was quite impressive.  party favors don't have to require large amounts of stuff.  because children (especially if you teach them at an early age) don't really need large amounts of stuff.  when you keep it simple and personal, it will be more meaningful and more appreciated.]

6. e-vites.
[i like them.  i use them for almost every event we have (our wedding was the only exception...though we had considered it.).  if you are more technologically inclined than i am, you can probably design your own and send them out via e-mail.  electronic invitations not only save you some money, but it minimizes waste.]

7. games that require minimal supplies.
[musical chairs brings back some memories for me.  we have done freeze dance for one of tyler's birthday parties before...not only do you get to see some interesting moves but the kids burn off some energy in the process.  or get creative and think make up your own games.  a friend of ours just had a 5th birthday party for her daughter and used the kids' outdoor play equipment as part of an obstacle course type game.]

8. outdoor/natural location.
[you don't need a whole lot of complicated activities planned when you have an outdoor party.  last year, we had emma's birthday at a playground.  after playing, climbing, running, swinging, cupcakes and drinks the party was done.  easy.  now, i will say that having an outdoor party is more challenging if your child's birthday is in the middle of winter...]

9. re-usable plates, utensils and cups.
[we don't do this.  i'd like to, but the only re-usable plates we have are all breakable and there isn't usually enough to provide for everyone.  one of these days, i would like to invest on enough plates, utensils and cups to be used for the kids' birthdays...ones that are durable and resilient if it accidentally gets dropped on the floor.]

10. bulk bevereages.
[individual drinks/juice boxes are convenient, but they do create a lot of waste.  i admit that when we had emma's birthday party last year at the playground, we opted to do the individual juice boxes for convenience sake.  but...it is a lot more cost-effective and sustainable if you serve drinks that can be served in pitchers or jugs (water, milk, lemonade...and if you like serving juice buy the concentrate kind, stick it in a pitcher and add water).]


mom and dad in the 216

anxiously waiting for my parents' visit seemed like it took forever.  we usually only get to see them once a year (either they visit us or we visit them). but while they were here, time flew so fast.  why does that always happen?

and of course, they visit when it happens to be one of the coldest mays in years.  i mean, they arrived to 80 degree weather.  but shortly after, we had a massive thunder storm, frost warning and had to turn the heat back on all in 1 week's time.  welcome to cleveland mom and dad!

regardless, i think they had a nice visit.  we certainly enjoyed having them here...

 they watched emma's swim class...

 came with us to play at the playground...

 we took them out to the rocky river nature center (which was a great hit with grandpa!) and saw many birds, a green frog in a pond, lots of geese and a beaver...

 emma LOVED having ibu around to play with, read her stories and put her to bed...

we walked down to the melt for dinner one evening (with hardly a wait. yessss!)...

checked out the west side market (this was grandpa's first time) where we noshed on some yummy crepes and grandpa bought 6 lbs. of sausages...

 and to spend mother's day with my mommy was the best!

thanks for the visit!  until skype-time...
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