Sunday, May 20, 2012


Mario instructed Lucas to go to his room and get his shorts on.  Here's how he looked the next time we saw him!!!  Daddy forgot to explain which body part the shorts belong on...silly Daddy!  Great obedience, Lucas!

Continuing the Celebration!

On Anthony's actual birthday, we celebrated with some birthday doughnuts to start of the day special.

I think he enjoyed them, and I'm loving the sweet bed-head hair!  :)

"How old are you today?"

Lucas was so sweet with baby Reese.
I found him in here talking with her shortly after he woke up.

We took all the kiddos swimming in Meme and Papa's hotel pool.
Lucas and James had fun playing on the side of the pool with all the toys.

my sister Mandy and her sweet baby Reese

This little boy loves the water!

showing off the muscles  ;)

James was busy, busy--as usual!!!

me and my sweet knucklehead

Anthony wanted to swim with his Papa the whole time!
He loved it!

Papa gives Anthony his first drum lesson!

can i keep this sweet girl???
love how happy she is!

the three big boys play on their electronic toys

We took the boys to fly kites at the park
Lucas is doing some stunt flying  ;)

They enjoyed it more than I thought they would.

Anthony does it all by himself

sweet boy

i think Lucas forgot he was holding the string a few times!  haha!

the boys loved this big slide!

big smiles all around


Anthony's turn!
Of course, Lucas is right behind him, copying his every move!


anthony also spent quite a bit of time making "cupcakes".
i think he still had birthday parties on the brain!

not sure where they were going, but they sure had fun getting there!!!

here, anthony was telling me he was flying an airplane

Meme is such a great swing-pusher!!!

We had so much fun playing at the park!
We even brought our cooler and grilled out some hotdogs!  Anthony got to open the rest of his presents too!!!  He loved it!
all tuckered out!
we love it when our family is in town!!!

i had to include one last video--for your listening pleasure!  ;)
one of anthony's first attempts on his new drum!!!
he was a little shy with all the attention.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Garbage Truck Birthday Party!

On March 4, 2012, Anthony turned four years old! So, we celebrated a couple of days early with a garbage truck birthday party and lots of friends! Anthony has loved garbage trucks and recycling trucks for awhile now, and garbage day is seriously the BEST day of the week at our house! Many times he asks either me or Mario to sit with him on the back driveway outside so we can watch the trucks come by. He came up with the idea of this party all on his own, and it was so, so fun to put it all together for him! So, read below for all things trucks and trash!

I replicated the garbage truck t-shirts from an idea I found here.  The blog world has soooooooooo many cute ideas these days!  I ordered the shirts from Target in all his friends' sizes, and I made these using the freezer paper stenciling method.  I free-handed my own stencil to get it the size I wanted.  They turned out oh, so cute!  We delivered the shirts to Anthony's friends ahead of time so they could all wear them to the party.

The birthday boy wakes up excited for his special day. 

James and Reese came in town for the party along with Aunt Mandy, Meme, and Papa.
Trying to get all the kiddos to say cheese at the same time was quite the effort!  :)
I love little Reese in the middle wearing her pink garbage truck shirt!

The decorations outside were easy...just wheeled the garbage and recycling trucks around to the front and tied balloons on them.  It worked out perfectly since Anthony wanted his birthday colors to be green and blue.

I made this cute little wreath using a straw wreath as the base.  I used fringed scissors to cut strips of newspaper and simply wrapped the strips around the wreath, fastening them with tape.  It was a quick and easy project--easy enough to do mindlessly while watching tv!  It was inexpensive too!  I went with newspaper to give it the "recycled" look!

I purchased the "A" at Hobby Lobby and covered it with sticky back scrapbooking paper...same with the garbage truck.  This one actually happened to be my cardboard stencil for the t-shirts!  So fun!  I love it when projects have lots of impact for little effort!

The other decorations included my kids' garbage trucks--they play with these on a daily basis!  Some printable subway art, a banner my mom made for the party, and the cake complete the look!

I made two 9x13 chocolate cakes--one for the body, and the other for the wheels (yes, we had lots of extra from that one!)  We used the gel icing to make the colors vibrant, and yes, that's my free-handed detail work on the truck.  Some days I like to pretend I'm an artist...maybe I should leave the artistic work to my sister Mandy!  :)

I loved the banner my mom made for the party!  The colors matched perfectly, and it saved me a TON of time!  It was even cuter in real life...the pic doesn't do it justice!

Party favors...
Ok, the main party favors were the t-shirts, but since the kids got those ahead of time, I couldn't let them leave empty handed.  I made these cones from old party hats I had laying around--just covered them with wrapping paper and filled them with caramel corn.  There were two side by side, but I forgot to take a pic until after the party!

Now the real fun begins!  We met up with all Anthony's friends at the McKinney Recycling Center for the opportunity to watch the trucks come in and drop off the recycling.  Anthony is posing for this pic outside the center by one of the dumpsters.

Oh, I love it!  His friends look so cute in their t-shirts...even the babies!  All the girls got pink ones and the boys got green! 

Lucas, Anthony, and James are on pins and needles waiting to go inside!

The kiddos are standing here on the observation deck watching this little skid steer push the trash around into one huge mountain.

Well, trash is what he wants, and trash is what he gets!  He's loving it!

All the babies were kicked back and relaxed while the big kids were watching the trucks.  From left to right is Reese, Elle, and Joshua.  Adorable.

This smile made all the party planning 100% worth it!

Our tour guide (not sure if I should call her that because she didn't really guide anything...she just babysat us!) offered to let the kids watch a movie all about recycling.

TV time?  These boys are IN!
Well, the movie was WAY over the heads of 2, 3, and 4 year olds!  I think all were anxious to get back to watching the trucks!  (the boys, anyway!) 

James was off in his own little world--so exciting!

Lucas got into it way more than I thought he would as well.

Of course, Anthony was hooked from the moment we arrived!  I'm glad to say even the girls watched the trucks for awhile.  Sweet Audrey close by Anthony's side. 
(I did see the girls doing ballet twirls in the corner before the morning was over!  haha!)

Our family

Daddy was in on the action too!

Our attempt at a group shot with all Anthony's friends. 
Left to right:
Lucas, Audrey, James, Michael, Caleb, Anthony
(The babies aren't pictured, and Chesed didn't want to be in the shot)
Notice how James and Anthony wouldn't peel their eyes away from the trucks even for a second!

We almost had to drag these two away
(Anthony and James)

We made our way back to Anthony's dump, er house for some gifts and some food.

I know it's insane, but I love how all the kids crowd around to see what gifts the birthday boy got.  I guess it just reminds me of my own birthdays as a child.

(Oh, and there's Chesed on the right--finally got her in a picture!)

Anthony loves his new microphone!

His "big" present from mommy and daddy was a drum.  Yes, I'm brave, I know.  But every ounce of his being loves music--every ounce, that is, that's not fascinated with garbage trucks!  He's really into drums lately and does a fabulous job of keeping the beat.

He is so, so proud while others are singing "happy birthday" to him.

I wonder what he wished for?

Job well done!  Even audrey is excited for him!

Finally the kids are released to the food, cake and gorgeous weather outside!  What a blessing both kids had beautiful days for their birthday celebrations this year!

I forgot to get a picture of all the labeled food, but the lunch included "recycled turkey wraps" and "green garbage smoothies".  I got the smoothie idea from my brother-in-law's sister's blog here.  I remembered her saying in a previous post how she makes them ahead and freezes them with great results.  So, I had to try it!  Plus they are BRIGHT GREEN because of all the spinach!  So, it totally worked with the party!  I used a combination of her recipe and the recipe I found here.  They are almost identical anyway, and they are sooooo yummy. I made them the night before and froze them.  Then I set them out on the counter to thaw while we were at the recycling center!  It worked like a charm!   I find myself buying fresh spinach just to make these! Okay, so back to the topic... Mario even made a truck out of a watermelon to hold a fruit salad!  I love my hubby.  And I love my twin sister who stayed up late into the early morning to help me with all the food.  :)

We just left the door open to let the kids roam in and out as they pleased.  They loved eating outside all on their own!  And they had fun playing on the fort and the swings and slide.

Lucas enjoying his caramel corn and watching the bigger kids play.
I love how happy he is!

And one more picture of my sweet birthday boy!
I think the party was a huge success!  And here we are mid-May now with weather in the upper 80's and he still begs me to wear his garbage truck shirt at least twice a week!  What a nice compliment for a mommy!