Dr. Seuss Themed Kids’ Birthday Party

Let’s first address the elephant in the room. This party took place in December, nearly five whole months ago. But it was so cute, I still wanted to share it!

Anyways, moving on …

Elias was turning 3, and Eva was turning 1 in December, so I decided to do a joint birthday party with family at our house — which we had just moved into in November. I went with the Dr. Seuss theme because (1) it’s adorable; (2) my children love to read; and (3) it was a good choice for a dual boy-girl theme.

My ultra-talented brother and sister-in-law created the invitations for me, as well as a scrapbook page for guests to fill out (much like I did for Elias’ first birthday party in 2011) and super cute cupcake toppers. (They also have an Etsy site.)

Dr. Seuss cupcake toppers

Cute cupcake toppers, made by Irene

It was a fairly simple birthday party, but I still wanted to add something fun and extra special. I decided on a photo booth, and Irene really took the lead in putting it together. She made some really fun decorations and props, and the resulting photos were great. Irene even brought her updated version of a Polaroid camera so guests could see their pictures immediately; those will go into the scrapbook with the notes from family.

Dr. Seuss photo booth

The Patterson family

Irene’s photo props were so darn adorable, the photographer, Tiffany, who did Eva’s one-year photos suggested we use them in the photo shoot. The results were awwwww-inducing cute! Tiffany also did our family photos in the fall.

Dr. Seuss themed photo shoot

Photos by Levenhagen Photography

Finding a Baby Gate for a Split-Level Staircase

Although I appreciate my husband’s creative suggestion to find some discarded baby gates at garage sales and zip tie them together, I thought the better approach to finding a safe and non-hilljack baby gate for our split-level staircase was to buy one made for that purpose.

It was expensive, but I feel much better about the safety of my home.

Here’s what we ended up with:

baby gate for split-level staircase

baby gate for split-level staircase

It’s great! It completely does the job, and I plan to purchase two more for the top and bottom of the staircase.

The specifics:

This is a Custom Fit KidCo Configure Gate with one 24″ Gate Extension.

30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 18: Easy Pregnancies and Healthy Babies

Today, I am thankful for two easy pregnancies and healthy babies.

I’ve had many conversations with friends who want nothing more than to have their own babies. Know that I continue to pray for you. I don’t take it lightly that my journey to motherhood was complication-free.

I also do not take it lightly that I have been blessed with quick deliveries and healthy babies. Some families do not have that experience, and I am well aware of the blessing that it is.

30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 3: Children

Today, I am thankful for children, especially the two I am blessed with.

Psalm 127:3-5

3 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.

Children are worth saving. Children are worth having. Children are worth protecting.

Take good care of yours, and find an organization in your community that puts effort into this.

Here’s one in mine: Hancock County Women’s Resource Center.

Here’s another that helps kids in Haiti: Mission Possible.

Both are great organizations, and there are many more doing great work.

Photo by Levenhagen Photography

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It’s Fall Family Photo Time!

I love, love, love family photos – mine, yours, everyone’s. At my house, you won’t find “fine art” on the walls; you’ll find photos of my family, lots of them.

Recently, we had our family photos taken by Tiffany Levenhagen of Levenhagen Photography.

She is great, and I’m thrilled with how the pictures turned out.

We did a mini session, which means 15 minutes and DONE. If you have a husband and/or small children, I’m sure you can appreciate the awesomeness of this approach.

Here’s how they turned out. If you’re in the Findlay area and need some pictures taken, contact Tiffany!

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Transitions with Kids

Elias and Eva

Last weekend, Ben and I — and our two-year-old and four-month-old — moved in with my in-laws after accepting an offer on our not-on-the-market house April 2.

Gee, transitions are fun with kids! (If we were talking face-to-face, you’d catch the heavy hint of sarcasm there.)

Here’s how my Saturday went:

Elias woke up from his nap (after a hard day of playing with a good friend and her kids) to a house that was mostly empty of furniture. He refused to remove his coat, hat or shoes and proceeded to have the worst and longest tantrum I’ve ever experienced. After lots of crying and screaming and clinging and throwing himself on the floor, he decided he wanted some cereal. Thankfully, I hadn’t packed up the kitchen yet. I gave him cereal. He turned around to take his bowl into the family room and realized that his favorite chair was gone.

“Where my dog chair go?” was asked in that voice indicating there is a meltdown close behind. Think fast, Mom, think fast. In my most cheerful-there-is-no-problem-here voice: “Dad must have already moved it. You can sit on the floor and eat! Doesn’t that sound fun?” Apparently, that was sufficient. Crisis averted. Until he sits down. “Mom, can I watch Curious George?” Yeah, about that. We already unhooked the Roku. “The TV isn’t working right now, sweetheart. We’ll watch it later!” He determined this must mean the the batteries were dead. Whatever keeps you from crying, kid.

After Elias was done eating his cereal (and still wearing his coat, hat and shoes), I packed him and the baby into the car, and we headed to the in-laws for the rest of the evening. Ben continued packing and loading our stuff into the storage unit.

Several hours later, Eva needed a bath. Somehow, I ended up being the only person in the house, and this is where the Saturday Night Meltdown began.

I’m not even sure how it happened, but Elias ended up in the tub meant for Eva — still wearing all of his clothes. There I was, holding the baby and watching my son play in the baby tub, soaking wet. I had reached my limit. So I stood there and cried. Ben came in and told me that standing around and crying wasn’t going to help the situation. So I cried some more.

Fast forward an hour.

I ditched the whole baby in the bath idea. I stopped crying. Ben helped me get the kids ready for bed.

And then Elias starts crying and telling me “I want to go home!” over and over, you know, like a spear straight to my heart. And so I started crying again. And then Eva was crying. And nobody could sleep, including the in-laws, because of all the crying. Until about 12:30 a.m., except for Eva, who Ben stayed up with until 3:30 a.m.

We didn’t make it to church Sunday morning.

And then, because I guess she didn’t want to be left out, the dog ate something gross outside and puked it up on the in-law’s carpeting Sunday afternoon. Did I mention that Ben’s dad doesn’t even like pets in the house?

So, that’s our fun (again, the sarcasm) moving transition story. I am very happy to report, however, that each night has been better than the night before. The kids are mostly sleeping again, and we’ve had much less crying. And Elias is still asking occasionally to “go home,” but all in all, things are starting to smooth out.