Thursday, August 7, 2014

Amma, Papa and a Birthday Celebration!

After Mas and Pas left, we took a lazy week at home and slowly worked on Matthew's birthday party festivities while also preparing for the arrival of Amma and Papa!  They sure were excited when grandma and grandpa arrived:
 Of course there were lots of stories to read:

 And we got to have the campfire Catherine had been asking for all week:
 Then it was time for some before bedtime stories by the fire:
 And Papa got to carry on with more reading from Calvin and Hobbes:
 My hollyhocks were just about ready to be finished for the year so we decided it was time to make some dolls.  It was one of my favorite activities to do with my Grandma Jennie.  Catherine liked her doll, but was disappointed when it didn't last very long!
 We also headed to the Museum of the Rockies for their Hops and History program and hung around the farm while Amma and Papa tasted some brews.
 But we couldn't leave without the kids leading Amma and Papa around the geckos and stopping in for stories:

 Meanwhile, in the evenings, James and I were at work on our secret project for the kids.  I've been on the lookout for a play set for a while and when one with both swings and monkey bars finally went on sale we committed.  We told the kids a variety of fibs as we constructed the wooden parts.  I think they were honestly surprised but a bit overwhelmed when we unveiled it the next morning!
 It was super nice to have Papa around to help build, but also nice that Amma and Papa took the kids out for dinner and a movie while we put on the finishing touches.
They seemed to enjoy it!

 Then we headed inside for rainbow pancakes and a few presents:
 Matthew was thrilled with his lego sets and got right to work:
 His finished batmobile!
 Catherine couldn't be left out and brought her set of legos down.
We tried to keep Matthew's party simple but there's always some last minute stuff to do around the house.  With a few new sets of legos, Matthew was incredibly intense and focused most of the morning while we worked around the house.   He opened up the first set at 8am right after breakfast and didn't stop until about 2pm (though I did force him to break for a few minutes for lunch inbetween!)
His finished products were a Penguin duck, batmobile, riddler car, penguin minions on an iceberg, bat-submarine and underwater batman, a skyscraper with Doc Oct and a Spiderman car.  It was a full-blown superhero day and he was in seventh heaven!

Speaking of superheroes, if you ask Matthew, his birthday party theme was officially "fighting superhero."  Matthew's understanding of superheroes started last year when he got some batman glasses from McDonald's while we were on a road trip and I encouraged him to go with it for a Halloween costume because I had a cute idea for a dynamic duo costume and it was possibly the last year I could get the kiddos to dress up in pairs:
Because he had no clue what Batman did, we had him watch some of the old Adam West 1960's Batman episodes.  In the past year, various road trip stops have added to our superhero toy collection so his birthday party theme has always revolved around the story of his toy Spiderman and toy Batman "defeating" (seriously, the boy always uses this word to describe it and it cracks me up) the "glowy rock guy."  Matthew's new lego sets introduced us to some new villains and ideas but his understanding of superheroes is still comical at best!  He was even disappointed with the birthday invite as it had Robin on it instead of the "glowy rock guy" but I think he eventually got over it.  

We opened a few more gifts that afternoon:
 And then it was time to test out his superhero training obstacle course.  There was the balancing over the lava pit (filled with treacherous animals like tigers, dinosaurs and hippos of course!)
 Leaping over tall buildings:
 Taking some practice punches with Spiderman:
 Crawling through the Batcave (complete with the logo made by Matthew himself):
 This activity didn't make it past the first few minutes of the party but there were superheroes trapped in the ice to rescue:
 And finally they had to practice tying up a villain:

 Some superhero daredevil antics:
Some quick pictures with Amma and Papa before the party:
 Poor Sky before he got banished to the Master bedroom for the duration of the party.  Flat-coat tails and toddlers just don't mix!
We even got to squeeze in a quick Skype session with Mas and Pas before the party for a few more exciting gifts:

 As Matthew still has lots of sibling pairs for friends and it's always fun to have friends over, his birthday was a family barbeque.  It was tons of fun and all the kids and adults had a fairly good time.  After all the kids did the superhero training course we discovered a villain had stolen the cupcakes!  Luckily the kiddos had all just trained on being superheroes and caught him!
 They saved the cupcakes and then led him to the backyard:
 Where he was tied up:
 And unmasked!  Matthew adorably had no idea it was his papa in that crazy disguise!
 We had dinner and then cake.  Note the Spiderman, glowy guy and batman on the cake (though the batman is kinda blended in and hidden):
 We wrapped up with a superhero gift exchange!  When Matthew started listing off the friends he wanted to include in the party, his list was awfully big.  We made an agreement that he could either have a big party with either no gifts or a gift exchange or a small party with gifts.  He opted for the big party and we agreed on an action figure exchange.  It worked out pretty well and Catherine was definitely stoked about her big Spiderman!
And one last attempt at a family picture with two very excited and very exhausted young kiddos:

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