Friday, January 25, 2013

A LEGO Birthday

I had so much fun putting together my son's Lego themed birthday party, I wanted to share a few more of the details.  There are soooo many Lego birthday ideas out there, it was hard to choose! 

Cake, Lego Crayons, Pin the Head on Lego Character

Through Pinterest I found the blog Delia Creates (, which had so many wonderful ideas and some free printables.  Here's a link to her main post about her son's party, which has links to other posts at the bottom. 


I posted earlier about the pictures we took for the LEGO Birthday invitation.  Here's what I ended up putting together.  The center picture was a free image available on Delia Creates, here.  I used to create the photo collage and add the text.  (I enjoy that the site makes it easy to download your final image so you can print locally.)
Lego party invitation

The LEGO Cake
Cake that looks like lego bricks
We had lots of fun making the LEGO cake (yes, I do mean "we"... my wonderful husband helps with the birthday cake process.  He has a much better eye than I do for cutting cakes to shape and adding fun details, like all the mischievous characters above).  The blocks are made from cake baked in mini loaf pans, trimmed to be smooth rectangles.  Each "bump" is half of a regular sized marshmallow.  We found frozen marshmallows (like cakes) are easier to frost.  Toothpicks were helpful to create handles in the marshmallows and sometimes to keep in the place on the blocks.  The frosting is just regular frosting from a can.  My husband created the great colors (have I told you I wouldn't attempt a birthday cake without him?).  I know this isn't the clearest picture, but underneath the plastic wrap is paper with "bumps" printed on it, again from the Delia Creates link above.  My son loved seeing all the characters on the cake but was most concerned with the one near the bottom as it appears his legs are stuck in the cake (really his legs were missing and that was Dad's solution!).

A Fun Favor -- Lego Crayons

We recycled old, broken crayons into a Lego mold I ordered from Amazon (Building Bricks Ice Cube Tray or Candy Mold).  I'm pretty sure I could have melted the crayons in the mold in the oven (the website said it was oven safe) but the paperwork with the mold didn't mention oven temps, so I decided to melt the crayons in a "double boiler" type set-up.  I used a tin can on the inside so I could toss it when I was done, melting the lightest crayons first.  I amazed how well they came out of the molds!  Since it was mostly a family party and only a handful of kids, this was an ok way to do it.  If I needed to create lots, oven would have been tons faster.
Lego party favor homemade crayons
I put the crayons in paper Lego boxes (also from Delia Creates) to give to the kids at the party.


I printed LEGO person color sheets for the kids to color.

My husband and I enlarged a picture of a LEGO person onto a poster, which became a "pin the head on the Lego person game".  I laminated the head so that I could use glue dots and not worry about it ripping each time. 
Lego party activity

Of course after presents were opened, putting new LEGO sets together became a default activity.  We also got out our larger Mega Blocks for a few younger guests.

There were a few other Lego details we did that were fun -- a present wrapped like a Lego and a birthday sign with the number 4 made from legos.

If you're planning a Lego party in the near future, I hope you have as much fun as I did with the process.  The theme was a hit at our house on the gravelly road :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Birthday Photo Overload

We were blessed with so many family members able to travel to help us celebrate our son's birthday -- many over 3 hrs of driving to get to the party at our house on the gravelly road.

We started a few new birthday morning traditions -- a decorated doorway and checking his height on the new family ruler Dad made for our living room.


Opening Presents

Lego cake, number 4

Other fun -- games, coloring and a visit to an ice castle
games, coloring and an ice castle

It was such a wonderful day, though this momma was tired by the day's end.  The birthday boy had so much fun!  (The only not fun part of the day was when he fell during an attempt at sledding.  The hill was icy and his face ended up with a big scrape.  There were many tears but thankfully its healing fine and not bothering him.)

So thankful for extended family and friends who loves our son so much.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy Fourth Birthday!

Happy birthday to my special boy!  It has been a fun and eventful year. 

It has been such a blessing to watch you grow this year, so much less of a little boy now than you were a year ago.  Your stories, questions and responsibilities have grown by leaps and bounds. 

Some highlights of your year as a 3 year old, as told by Mom include:
* You continue to amaze me with your imagination and the adventures you make up when you play. It is such a joy to listen to you tell me about all the crazy things your toys are doing -- even if it is about bad guys and meat eaters, or pirates and crocodiles.

* You are always listening and often pondering.  Its not uncommon for you to ask me questions about a bible story from preschool or Sunday School or something we read or you heard days later.

* You've become a nature observer, which is so much fun. We often go for "adventures" in the "forest" looking for footprints or carefully watching for all sorts of creatures.  Watching the deer in the backyard at dusk, catching frogs and watching for turtles are all fun memories appreciating God's creation.

* You are learning what it means to be responsible -- you now have daily chores and you do a great job taking care of Ratchet.  He especially loves that you never forget to give him his puppy treat!

* You did lots of learning and growing at an early childhood classes last spring and this fall.  You loved "Story Adventures" and "Little Learners", always so excited to go.  It was wonderful to have that special time to play together.

*   We had so much fun travelling as a family this year, and you have become a great little traveler.  We took a weekend trip to Duluth in the spring, and you loved seeing the huge boats in the harbor.  We were able to camp more often this summer, which you enjoyed, especially telling stories by the fire.  Our big trip was to California, to Disney --  the plane ride, meeting characters, your first roller coaster, and playing in the ocean.

* You started preschool one day a week this fall and you've done a great job making new friends, learning new ideas, learning to write your name, and you even know what your "school voice" is.

*  You are waiting for the day you'll become a big brother.  Waiting is hard when you're 3 (well its hard when you're over 30 too) but I love that you continue to ask about and remind me of "when a baby comes to our family".

Dad and I love you so much and pray your year as a 4 year old is full of new adventures, special memories together, lots of learning, and the experiences that will continue to mold you into the young man God intends for you to be someday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A "practice birthday" and lots of birthday prep

We were blessed this weekend to have my in-laws visit, who also brought along one of our nephews.  An early birthday cake, presents, time outside in the snow, and lots of good food.  The cousins had so much fun playing together all weekend long. 

This week is flying by, mostly due to prep for this weekend's birthday party, though we've also had family pictures taken.  We had fun "recycling" some broken crayon into lego crayons (I'll post more about this later).  Today we also made cupcakes for the birthday boy to bring to his preschool class.

Still on the to-do list include fun things like creating a "pin the head on the lego person" game, decorating a cake, wrapping presents, some cleaning and other cooking.  I'll be sure to post pictures from our family birthday gathering and more details on the lego birthday theme.

For now, good night from the gravelly road :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pondering what it might be like...

When I was pregnant, one of my vivid worries was all the "what ifs" surrounding the timing of going into labor.  What if I was at work downtown?  What if I was on the bus?  Would it be in the middle of the night?   What if my husband was out of town on business?   It ended up that all the worry was for naught as I was induced a week past my due date -- 26 hours later I had my precious baby in my arms.

Now I ponder what it would be like to get "the call" that we have been matched with an expectant mom making an adoption plan.  Will she have asked to meet us before choosing us?  Will there be a few months before the baby is born for us to get to know her?  Will the baby already be born?  How will I deal with the worry that decisions might be changed?

One of my favorite things to look for when I find an adoptive mom blog is a post about their "call".  My second is how/when they told their extended family.  Its amazing how much variation there is in adoption experiences.

An adoption blog I read frequently is White Sugar, Brown Sugar by Rachel.  The author is an adoptive mom of two and waiting to adopt miracle #3.  Her posts are honest, wise and encouraging.  (She is also working on a book that I'm think I'll have to pick up when it comes out).

Here's her posts about "the call" for her two little ones:
What's it like getting the call?
Christmas came early

And the most unique way I've ever read of sharing the news with family.

Of course there are tons of adoptive mom blogs out there, and I could link so many other amazing adoption stories.  Its one of the blessings of living in the ever more connected world -- moms can encourage each other with BTDT stories even when we don't live close to each other.  (Thankfully I also know several moms with adoption experience in real life -- huge blessing).

Only God knows what our story will be like so I guess I'll just have to wait and see :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A birthday is coming...

My little boy is just a few weeks away from turning 4!  He's loving his new legos, and we decided to do a lego theme for his family birthday gathering.  I'd seen this cute idea of making a frame out of legos and have your child pose with it to use for on the invite.  So we tried... didn't quite get what I envisioned before he was tired it, but oh well.  The pics are definitely him!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Favorite Photos (Q4 2012 and looking back)

Click. Pray. Love. is hosting a top 12 photos of 2012 to mark the end of the year. 

I like thinking about the year one quarter at a time so first here's a quick look at my favorite pictures from the last 3 months of the year -- most are ones I've posted here before.

Playing in the leaves is always so fun, even if its hard to get a pic that turns out due to all the running and falling leaves :)

A big smile at Grandma's for Thanksgiving

Looking at the lit Christmas tree with his toy spiderman.  I read a few tutorials and to figure out how to adjust my point-and-shoot camera to get the shot.  Its hard to see but the ornament he's holding in this pic was made by my grandma for me in 1992 and the music box inside still works :)

Christmas morning -- pajamas, morning hair, rosy cheeks, and so full of excitement

This last one is not of my little guy but a self portrait.  I was having fun taking pics next to the Christmas tree at my in-laws while my little boy was creating a yarn spider web in their living room.  (Since its of me, I know it doesn't count but I really like it anyway)

In order to do a year in a review here are links to my previous favorites:
Quarter 3
Quarter 2

I didn't create a post for first quarter, but looked through them enough to find favorites.  Since deciding top 12 seemed hard, I just picked my favorite 3 from each quarter.  Sorry that I had to down grade the size of the photo files to get this post done quickly.  Most you can also look at at links or above :)

Quarter 1 Favorites
1)  This pic is from a beautiful January day before his third birthday.  The blue shirt, hat and eyes made this one an instant favorite, so much that I used it on his birthday invitations :)
2)  Kiddo and Dad going for a walk during a March wedding reception.  I so love seeing my guys all dressed up.
3)  I took this one standing on our island stools and he thought that was so very funny.  Love the his plain white shirt and the wood floor as a background.

Quarter 2 Favorites
1) I have this one as an 8x10 in my living room, its probably my second favorite of the year.  Ratchet is definitely his buddy
2) Helping Dad in the backyard, rubbing dirt on his neck (and eventually his jeans) while I tried to take his picture.
3) Its rare I catch a shot of them being sooo silly that's still in focus.  You can almost hear his laughter.

Quarter 3 Favorites
1) So glad we got this one of our family in our beautiful backyard!  I think its my favorite of the year.
2) He loves his super hero cape and his mud boots.  The joy on his face as he was "off to save the day" makes me smile.
3)  My little boy, water and goggles -- just can't go wrong.

Quarter 4 Favorites
(see comments above)

Comparing the first photo in the Q1 set and the last photo in this set you can see how much my little boy has grown up this year.  Thanks for letting me share!


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