Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Parrrrrty

So, the birthday party...

Birthdays usually sneak up on me in terms of preparing for a party, but this year Drew knew way back in January that he wanted a Captain Jack Sparrow party (a.k.a. a pirate party). We've been trying to trade off every other year throwing a party and having a smaller celebration, but this year Drew knew it was a party year and his early decision on its theme gave me the rarity of plenty of time to plan. 

Because of this, I had quite a while to puruse through Pinterest looking for party ideas and I'm convinced that Pinterest is simultaneously both the best thing and the worst thing ever created! There were so many ideas for a pirate themed party. ...So many do-it-yourself-it-will-be-easy-and-take-no-time-at-all ideas. And who's a sucker for ideas like those? Apparently, this girl.

Let me introduce you to "my" (me, Jenn, Burke, and Nathan's) oh-so-easy-no-time-at-all (ha!) do it yourself project:

The SS Drew...our very own cardboard Pirate ship. In all honesty, it was easy to make. Grab hubby/brother-in-law, beg them to build and then sit back and supervise as it all comes together! 

Kidding! ...But really. It was easy and yes, the boys did build it, but Jenn and I pulled it all together with the paint and decorations! I actually found the painting to be fairly fun and relaxing. Since I typically did it during nap time or bedtime, it gave me an hour or so each day to sit in the quiet of my garage, uninterrupted, and paint (you know you're desperate for some peace and quiet when...). So for weeks my car sat outside while this ship took up every square inch of the inside of our garage, but the real fun didn't start there. The real fun began way before my car got kicked out.

And I blame Pinterest (again) because on there, I found a link for Mr. McGroovy's cardboard box plans for a pirate ship. When I clicked the link, there staring at me, were all of these amazingly fun things created out of cardboard. The website told me how to get free boxes, had plans for building,  tons of photos, etc. Easy. And like I said, the whole thing was was just so time consuming! Starting with hunting down those boxes. 

Mr. McGroovy's had some tips on getting free boxes that I thought would be a one and done sort of phone call. Wrong. What I learned after seven hundred or so too many phone calls, was how to sound like a crazy person:

Me:  "Hi. I know your store doesn't give away boxes because you recycle them, but can you give me the number of the delivery company you use, so I can call and possibly get their boxes from them from other deliveries?"

Big Box Store: "Uhhhhhh...."

Me: "I just need washer, dryer, or refrigerator boxes for a project"

Big Box Store: "I don't think I can legally give you that number."

Repeat this little phone conversation a bazillion times with a bazillion different stores until finally (finally!) some store has mercy on your craziness and says yes....and not yes to their delivery guy's phone number, but yes to the actual boxes themselves.....score! But, this all doesn't make you the crazy person. Not yet. That comes after you painfully collect one or two boxes a night after calling each and every morning asking the sales people to save them for you and explaining that you have permission to get them. By the end of a week and a half, Nathan (pick-up person extraordinaire) knew most of the store's sales people by name and the people I spoke with on the phone each morning knew me as "the box lady" and had my phone number on file. Oh boy....

We may have sounded crazy, but we got our free boxes and an awesome pirate ship out of the deal, so I can't complain too much. And, although time consuming, it was a really fun project to work on and pull together!

This was the start of the boat. Before we cut the center section down a bit, it was longer than my car, so it really did take up the entire garage. Mr. McGroovy's plans didn't have an enclosed area of the ship, which I had wanted, so my super awesome brother-in-law managed to figure out how to add one on. Those architects...

Our cat Max, claimed the ship as his domain the entire time it was in the garage. Weird cat.

Finally, after weeks of working little by little on the ship (and the boys begging to hop in and play), the day of the party arrived.

Jenn made me all sorts of little signs for the food, and then (thanks again to Pinterest) we came up with all sorts of fun names for things. Sea Dogs (hot dogs), Pirate Jewels (strawberries and grapes), the Catch of the Day (goldfish and Swedish Fish), Pirates Booty (how could we not?), Cannon Balls (Cheeto Cheese Balls), Chocolate coins, Salty Sea Water (water) and Pirate Punch (juice boxes). 

Somewhere along the way, we also decided the ship needed a mast with a pirate flag. I hopped online and quickly found a five dollar (score!) flag on Amazon. The only problem was, I never checked the size. I just figured that if it was five dollars, it was likely pretty small. 

It wasn't. When the package arrived, I opened it up to find a flag almost as big as myself and definitely too big for the pirate ship. Ooops!

Well, of course Nathan, my Dad, and Burke couldn't let that flag go to waste, so at nine o'clock the night before the party, they were throwing together this huge PVC pipe flag mast. (I know it doesn't look huge, but trust me. It was taller than our house and visible from most places around the neighborhood). Can you say, overkill? The boys loved it and since it turned out to be super windy the day of the party, it was perfect flag flying weather.

On the way in, we gave each of the kids a sword and an eyepatch. We couldn't find any swords that didn't just scream "injury waiting to happen", so we ended up making some out of pipe insulation and gold duct tape. Easy, peasy. We had a pirate tattoo station, and lunch and then just let everyone play. 

Captain's First Mate


Captain Jack and his Mates

Burke, Jenn and Emmie

My parents and Christi came down for the party, but Kell wasn't able to come. She skateboards and Drew thinks it is just the coolest thing, so this picture is just for you Auntie Kell. He loved it and we missed you! You're the best! 

Jenn and Christi's baby Elsie

The ship had all sorts of little ports and holes the kids could climb through. I also found "cannons" (small rubber balls) at the dollar store that they could launch out.

A treasure map inside of the covered portion of the ship, led everyone to the birthday party gold....the cupcakes!

And of course, when you hand everyone a sword, we had lots...

...and lots...

...of sword fighting!

Tanner ran around with all the big kids for most of the party, but once those Cheeto Cheese Balls came out, all bets were off. He planted himself and asked anyone who was willing to refill his plate to do so with more of those super nutritious cheese balls (greeeeeeeeaaat parenting).

Emmikins (I'm only naming because I feel like it was confusing because her and Elsie were dressed the same that day)

My dad and Elsie

The next morning the boys woke up, crawled into our bed, and fell. back. asleep. That never happens. Definitely a good sign that fun was had by all....and it's funny because somewhere in the middle of all of this effort and work, I had explained to Drew that next year would be an "off" year and instead of a party we'd take a few friends to do something fun like laser tag. Well, that little stinker went all around telling anyone willing to listen, about how cool his seventh birthday was going to be and how he couldn't wait for it to come; and all the while I'm sitting in the background thinking, if I knew it was that easy, I would have done the laser tag thing this year! Go figure!

Friday, May 23, 2014


Drew recently turned six, and with that, came a week of birthday celebrations!

We started off by heading out with Grandma, Grandpa, GGma and Aunt Karen to watch the Grizzlies play baseball. The boys love going to games and I'm convinced it's a little for the baseball, and a lot for the ridiculous amount of baseball food they get to eat (cotton candy anyone?).

At one point, the Grizzly's mascot "Parker" stopped by to say hi. Where's Collin you ask?....

I'll give you a hint. See that little brown head under the closest chair?

That would be Collin, who took cover under the chair the minute he saw Parker even approaching us. He cracks me up. He has never liked dressed characters and its apparently not changing anytime soon. (I can't really blame him. I was "that" kid, and to this day, they still weird me out too!).

It was a fairly small crowd the night we were there and we sat in the perfect seats for catching foul balls. Early on, the birthday boy caught one (he was only a *little* excited about it), and towards the end of the night, Collin got one too. Needless to say, they were pretty excited. In fact, both boys carried their baseball around in the pocket of their cargo shorts for a good week afterwards showing anyone who would look their way.

We also celebrated Drew's birthday with cupcakes at preschool that week. He arrived to a special sign on his classroom door and a birthday crown waiting for him.

On the morning of Drew's actual birthday we all got up early and did our traditional birthday pancakes for breakfast and then ended the week with a birthday party, which I'll post more on later.

I know I say it every year, and for every child's birthday, but I can't believe he's six already....these years just keep sneaking up on me! ;) 

Happy birthday Drewski! We love you!