Sunday, September 21, 2014

Showering with Friends

I have been visiting teaching Michelle for one year now.  She is from Columbia and has been a blast to befriend.  I found out a month ago that she is moving to Texas and that she wanted to throw me a baby shower before she left.  I was so touched since I didn’t expect a shower for my fourth child.  She said, “In my country, every child is precious and deserves the best whether it’s the first or tenth.  All the women in the church do, make or buy something for the new babies born.” 

Michelle reached out to a few other women, Elsa, Merica, Patty, and Kirsten to help with decorations, games, food and a more central location.  Elsa offered to have it at her house and put on the most amazing luncheon ever!  Patty organized three games (how big around am I?  Can you remember the 21 baby items you saw for only seconds?  and You can’t say the word baby or anything like it or you lose your clothes pin).  Merica decorated this table soooo cute!  The white frame on the left of the table has little blue and white onsies that she cut out individually for guests to write me a special note.  She made a diaper cake, caramel popcorn balls with a note that read “Ready to Pop” and folded tissue into the shape of a diaper with a mint tucked inside.  Kirsten made cookie dough bon bons and helped with the food.  Michelle made Jell-O, quiche, chocolate covered pretzels and strawberries, and this adorable melon baby carriage!  Elsa made all kinds of dips, stuffed mushrooms, and creamy lasagna.  Esther also stepped in and worked the kitchen.

I couldn’t believe how many people came!  I felt so spoiled.  The generosity of all the women was overwhelming.  Elsa had told Michelle to expect about 10 people.  Michelle said, “No.  We will plan for 20-25.”  She was right.

I’m so excited and grateful for all the new things we were given.


Coming of Age

For her birthday, McKenna said she wanted to get her ears pierced.  I told her that her allotted birthday money from us has been spent but if she could pay for it, she could do it.  She received $17 in gifts.  We made some calls and found out that the cheapest studs are $20 but not recommended for first time piercing.  Since you don’t know if you are allergic to metals, they suggest purchasing the 14 K gold studs for newbies.  The cost for those start at $45.  I told McKenna she could save but she decided to spend what she had on a stuffed animal (much to my discouragement).  I figured the piercing conversation was over for a while.

One week later, she sold her doll house on Craigslist for $40 and I was determined that she wouldn’t run off and waste it on trinkets and clutter so I told her she would have to wait two months to spend it.

When she got home from school on Monday, she said “I have $42 mom.  Can I get my ears pierced?”  I decided I would much rather her spend the money on something that lasted and would not end up at Goodwill in two years so I said “sure". 

Hunter did not want to have to witness the piercing, so he stayed home.  I told McKenna she could back out any minute until they pierced one ear.  I could tell she was nervous and Reagan and I felt nervous for her.  A young girl had me fill out paper work while McKenna chose her studs.  I knew from a previous call that if I wanted McKenna to get both ears done at once, the owner and a trainee could do it but it was not recommended since they both had different perceptions and angles.  I was terrified that the young girl was the one in training and did not want her practicing on my daughter.  I decided I would have to be assertive and request that the manager do it.  So, I did.  McKenna said she looked scary with her dark hair, wonky teeth and piercings but from the way that she spoke to McKenna, I could tell that she knew what she was doing and felt a lot better.  She asked if McKenna would like both ears done at the same time and McKenna said, “no” and promised to be brave.  She winced after each piercing but I was very proud of her sitting so still.  We decided not to tell daddy since he was out of town until Friday.  It was a hard secret to keep in.





Now she is asking for some high heeled shoes!  She’s growing up too fast.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Twin Cities Food Tour


Our September date was the Twin Cities Food Tour.  The weather was absolutely perfect and the food was delicious.  Unfortunately, in an effort to look cute, I wore boots with heels and after walking 2-3 miles over the course of 3 hours, my feet were killing me!

We started at a fun little place whose inspiration was the Chinese open markets.  They wanted people to get fresh, locally grown, organic foods available daily at the same location.  Their cheese was amazing!



As we walked, our tour guide gave us a lot of historical information including this iconic sign.  We walked by the national reserve bank and learned about a cute little island that still exists down town.  It used to be where the women were taken to give birth to keep them safe from wild animals and to have the nearby waterfalls drown out their screams during labor and delivery.


This train is crossing the river to the island.



I loved this salad and pizza from Punch Pizza.  They get many of their ingredients shipped from Italy.  Their wood burning bell oven gets 800 degrees and they only have to cook the pizza for 8 seconds!

We went to Kramarczuk’s European deli and enjoyed perogies and polish sausage.  Yum!

Then we went to a restaurant that served food from Nepal.  It was probably my least favorite but still worth trying.  We ate buffalo momos (used to be yak but the farmers sold their yak so we got buffalo).

Our last stop was called Gardens of Salonica.  It is a Greek restaurant where we enjoyed three different desserts including baklava.  It was good but too flaky for my taste.

At the end of the day, we learned a lot about down town Minneapolis and had a great afternoon trying new things together.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Turning 7!

McKenna decided to do a spa birthday this year.  She called it the “Fancy Cider Spa”.  She stamped invitations and was so excited about putting together goodie bags filled with custom designed water bottles, headbands, nail polish, lip gloss, homemade bath salts, chocolate and a wash cloth.  Nathan’s bag had chap stick, combs, and clippers.

I made a poster board outlining the services the girls would receive.  I was really looking forward to a fun evening with McKenna and her friends.


Instead of purchasing a bin for each child to do a foot bath, I brought in the kiddie pool and filled it with hot water about an hour before the party.  After 30 minutes of filling it with 2 QT containers, I noticed a leak!  Thankfully RJ came home with pizza in hand and patched up the broken foot bath.


I made McKenna a strawberry cake with pink vanilla frosting.  I stamped a giant white ribbon to wrap around it but the frosting shown through on the edges.  I wrapped some beads around the top and bottom.  After cleaning off some of McKenna’s play beauty stuff, I stuck them in the top.  She was happy with it and I was satisfied.



When her friends first arrived (because it was the dinner hour), they sat down for some fruit kabobs, ham and cheese kabobs, veggie kabobs, pickles and olives.  After all that chopping and spearing, they sure didn’t eat much!


Our first activity was facials.  I made a yogurt mask with oatmeal, yogurt and honey.  Some kids were more adventurous than others.



Our second activity was called “Pass the Polish.” Everyone started with a different color of polish and when the music started, they passed it to the person on their left.  When Hunter stopped the music, they painted their first finger with the color in front of them.  We continued until 7 fingers were done.  McKenna said she was done with that game and half of her friends were ready to quit as well.  I told them to pick their favorite color and finish up their nails.  I was going to give Nathan the option of painting my nails but he had no problem painting his!  He was such a good sport.


Our foot bath was cold by the time we got there.  The kids didn’t seem to mind since they were sipping and toasting with apple cider.


Up until McKenna’s party, RJ was leery of the next game, “Put the Lipstick on the Daddy”.  However, he was all in when the time came.  “Give them the red lipstick” he said. I blind folded and spun the kids.  They squealed and giggled like crazy after each person’s turn.  They decided it was more hilarious to try to get it in his eye and draw on his face than to actually plant it on his lips.  We even hung a prize (press on nails) over their heads if they could paint his pout.




RJ and I were ready for a nap but it was time for cake and ice cream followed by presents.  I was going to have the kids make their own bath salts but we were running out of time and my confidence in some of their abilities was waning so I put them together with epsom salt, sea salt, essential oils (their choice of peppermint, lavender or lemon) and food coloring.







McKenna got a lot of nice presents from her friends (mostly crafty things which are right up her ally).  In a final attempt to break my back, all the children tore tissue paper up into small pieces and threw it around the living room!  What a mess.  I am seriously thinking I will just take McKenna shopping or something simple next year!

Aunt Amanda got in late Friday night and gave McKenna a gift in the morning.  She made her a princess pillow case and super soft blanket.  McKenna told her that it was her favorite present ever!  She also made Reagan an Ariel dress.  We went to JoAnn Fabrics the next day and Hunter got to pick out material for a blanket.  Amanda ordered him some Oregon Duck fleece with a super soft black backing.  It’s fun to have Amanda visit.


McKenna got the game Fibber from one of her friends.  I got a kick out of watching them play.


Amanda asked if I would highlight her hair.  I tried to hone in my inner Beth and I was really happy with how it turned out.


RJ and Hunter spent their free time on a busy Saturday changing Amanda’s breaks and rotors.


McKenna was so anxious to open her presents from us.  I did wonder after her Friday party why we even did more.  She opened cards from Grandparents then the three gifts we got for her (Our Generation Doll, Our Generation spa set and caboodle).




Finally, I heard the words I had been waiting for… “thanks mom.  You’re the best!”

RJ made a caramel apple pie and we had chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, eggs and hash browns for dinner.


We love our McKenna!