Friday, June 27, 2014

Grammy Playtime

Grammy was a HUGE help to us for the boys' 2nd birthday party. We were so thankful that she made the effort and took the time to visit us. The boys were already in bed by the time Grammy's flight arrived, but they left signs on the fireplace to welcome her.

The next morning, Cody and Jaden were so excited to play with Grammy that they didn't even allow her the chance to change out of her PJ's! Grammy is always such a good sport about jumping right into playtime first thing in the morning. :) Here, Grammy is reading the boys a special doggie book she brought along. (She knows just what her grandsons like!)

Jaden was particularly fond of Grammy's piggy-back rides!

During the day, between our party preparations, Grammy made plenty of time to giggle with the boys. They came up with some sort of silly game, here, which involved throwing balls at Grammy, I believe.

Everyone was giggling with this game!

The boys showed Grammy a few special tricks on their new playset. Cody enjoys hanging from this acrobatic bar, believe it or not, sometimes for 20 seconds or more. That's quite a long time for such a little guy! :)

Meanwhile, Jaden was figuring out ways to use this second swing.

After the birthday party, Grammy and the boys experimented with one of their new birthday toys... a bubble machine!

It was amazing seeing how many bubbles came out of this bubble-maker! The boys were running around like crazy trying to pop the bubbles.

Eventually, they learned how to turn off and on the machine by themselves. Of course, getting this close to the button meant that bubbles would pop incessantly in their face... neither boy seemed to mind!

As you can see, this bubble-maker was an instant favorite! The boys couldn't stop giggling. (Thanks so much for the perfect 2-year-old gift, Jenna & family!) 

During the day, Grammy helped out with our snacktime devotions. She was an enthusiastic reader...

and great with the actions. The boys were very attentive!

While Grammy was visiting, we had two special occasions. The first was a belated Mother's Day celebration. I was so excited to give my mom some holiday table runners that I had made for her. My mom was such a great sewing instructor for me last summer that I decided to attempt this gift-project on my own. My sewing skills don't hold a candle to my mom's abilities quite yet, but I'm making progress. :) I'm thankful for such a talented, creative, and loving mother! Love you, Mom!

Our second "special occasion" was not quite so happy-- we had a large, somewhat destructive hailstorm! According to the insurance adjuster, looks like we'll get a new roof, a new front window (the frame cracked in 4 different places), some new siding, and a new garage door (just some minor denting on both). Compared to lots of other homes in town, we actually came out very fortunate. What a crazy occasion for Grammy to experience with us!

Whenever Grammy visits, she is always so thoughtful about taking pictures of some of our everyday happenings-- the things I never think to take pictures of. Here are some of those Schleicher family "regulars."
Most mornings, the boys will climb on Daddy's lap to sample his breakfast.

Yes, this is even after these 2 hungry boys have already had their own meal!

Quite often, when one boy is sad (I think Jaden had just bumped his head in this picture), the other boy will gently rub his brother's back...

...or even give a big hug to the injured party. It's pretty precious to see their loving brotherly care!

Frequently, after diaper changes, Mommy likes to lift the boys up high so they can be "so tall." Both boys are so proud to show everyone in the house how tall they can be.

Here are some pre-naptime reading/giggling times. Some days our reading times can be a bit on the active side. :)

And finally, one of the boys latest favorite activities is watching the printer in action.

After the page comes out of the printer, they will happily grab it...

...and bring the paper over to Mommy or Daddy. Yes, we've had to get used to wrinkled pages, but it's well worth it to see the boys' excitement! :) Thanks, Grammy, for capturing some of these fun moments!

Grammy continued to be a huge help to us in another specific area, even after the birthday party was done. She did a variety of things to help us get ready for our upcoming LONG family vacation. What a gift her time was in this area, too! Grammy helped Mommy make tons of car-activities in preparation for our marathon 3-day car ride. I'll share more about these activities in a future blog post, but this picture shows you at least one example-- felt file folder boards! Grammy worked a long time on cutting out pieces to get the facial features just right. What a fun activity! The face turned out super cute, too!

Grammy also went on a variety of errands with us. First, to Walmart to buy some snacks for the car. While there, Grammy put money in this Sesame Street car for the boys to ride.

This was their first experience on a store riding machine (I'm not quite sure what they even call these things!). The boys instantly loved their ride and asked for "more, more, more!"

Another errand we made was to the library, to check out some audio books for the car. Jaden and Cody showed Grammy our newly designed children's section. Jaden, and then Cody, pull on some phonetic "eggs."

Both boys raise the bar to measure their height.

And then, of course, because this is a library, we had to take some time to pick out a few books and read. :)

Grammy kept the boys well-entertained while Mommy was checking out her books. Grammy made this journey to the library a piece of cake! 

We loved our time with you, Grammy! We appreciate all of your hard work, your willingness to play, your creative ideas, your helpful nature, and your gentle, loving way with your grandsons. You are a wonderful grammy and mother. We love you bunches!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It's Paw-ty Time!

When the boys' doggie paw-ty day arrived, we awoke to blue skies, sunshine, and a comfortable MT day. It was perfect! Our 30 guests started arriving around 10:30. Jaden and Cody's new playset was an ideal gathering spot for the kids (10 of them total) and parents alike.

After a bit of playtime/social time, we started our first game. Daddy led the kids (and any willing adults, too!) in a game of "Doggie Says."

It was funny seeing how the boys (plus their friend Landon) wanted to stick right by Daddy.

The kiddos were GREAT listeners as Daddy gave the directions.

Doggie says, "Lay down!" Jaden was eager to join right in! Cody, not so much.

As you can see, many of the adults enthusiastically jumped right in. :)

Doggie says, "Bark!"

Or maybe this was, "Sit pretty"?? :)

Our second game was a Dog Bone Hunt. Before the party, Mommy used her Cricut to cut out 80 colored dog bones and then hid them in piles all over the yard. To start the game, we gave each child one bone with his/her name on it. The kids' job was to find all the bones of that same color.

Each hiding spot around the yard had a pile of 10 bones (1 of each color).

The kids were only allowed to pick up the bones that were in their color. They all seemed to understand the concept surprisingly well. (Of course, parent helpers are always a benefit!)

Because the bones were all together, whenever one child found a pile of bones, it was a help to all the kids. For our age range of kiddos, this sharing/helping concept worked quite well. :)

Mommy and Daddy both got to help the boys participate in this game. Mommy walked around the yard with Cody,

while Daddy helped Jaden.

Cody and Jaden really seemed to like this particular game and stuck with it until all their bones were found. Way to go, little guys!

Next, we moved on to our craft. Grammy had worked hard to cut out dog ears and dog headbands for each child. Thanks for all your efforts, Grammy!

The kids decorated their dog ears and headbands with crayons...

...and doggie stickers, too. Jaden was a particular fan of the stickers.

Cody and Jaden had a longer attention span than I thought they might for this activity. They probably decorated their doggie ears for at least 5 minutes. :)

Once the decorations were complete, parents helped to staple the ears to the headbands. Here, Landon poses with one of his doggie bones.

All of the kids (except for the birthday boys, of course) were excited to wear their doggie ears for the group picture. Some of the kids specifically asked their parents to staple the ears so they'd be sticking up. We certainly had some dogs with personality!

Abbie, Micah, Noah, Kenzie, Gracie, Ryder, Kody,
Landon (+Andrea), Cody (+Mommy), and Jaden
Precious little Hannah was too young to make her own doggie ears, but she was still stylin' with her own set of doggies!

Even one of our single adult friends, Josh, took some time out to make his own set of dog ears.

While this craft was happening, Daddy and Grammy were busy prepping for lunch. Daddy was in charge of a whole grill full of hot dogs and brats.

Our ever-helpful friend Katie stepped in to be the grill master while Daddy led our group of friends in prayer before the meal.

Grammy's job was setting out all the food. She always works so efficiently and had plenty of extra time to take pics of all our food. Our menu consisted of dog bone pretzels (displayed in doggie dishes from the dollar store) with warm cheese dip,

Doritos and some paw-tato chips,

puppy water bowls (blue jello) and Scooby snacks,

doggone good fruit salad, paw-sta salad,

assorted veggies (to keep you from being sick as a dog),

Hot Dog! toppings,

and, of course, our hot diggety dogs, mini-corn dogs, and brats.

It was pretty cute seeing how some of the kids wanted to keep their new doggie ears on even throughout the meal. :)

Cody and Jaden had their own reserved seating in the backyard.

This is the boys' reaction when we asked them to smile. (Jaden is the ham-of-the-moment.)

After everyone had eaten their lunch, it was on to cake time. We set the cakes down in front of the boys, and Cody's eyes instantly widened. All it took was one taste of the Resees Puffs cereal, and he was hooked! Pretty much all throughout both birthday songs, Cody was picking as many cereal pieces as he could get off his cake. I think it's fair to say that this little guy enjoyed his birthday cake!

We sang happy birthday to Cody first and let him blow out the candle. He actually did blow fairly well, but I'm pretty sure the wind took care of the flame.

Jaden's happy birthday song was next.

He got a little candle-blowing help from Daddy.

Grammy became the most popular person of the hour for Jaden and Cody when she gave each of them a bite of cake.

Both boys would take a bite of cake from her, run off for a bit, and then come back... again and again and again :) for more! What a patient and loving Grammy!

Our final party activity was a sort of last-minute addition. The afternoon before the party, Grammy asked Mommy if she remembered how to make balloon animals. Way back in my years as a baby-sitter, I had given out balloon animals as treats to my baby-sitting charges, but I hadn't even thought about balloon animals in years! I was so happy that my mom had mentioned this great idea-- I was pretty sure the balloon-making would come back to me. Sure enough, that night I ran out to a party store and bought a balloon kit. Within a few minutes, I had made just what I wanted-- a balloon animal doggie!

These animals were a fun little closure to the boys' party.

The kids definitely enjoyed watching their party favors being made right in front of them.

Because it was a doggie party, I had a good excuse to limit my balloon-making to solely dogs. 

Noah's dog is sideways, but you get the idea. :)

Jaden and Cody seemed to be eager to get one of their own...

... but then didn't quite know what to do with the balloon animal once it was made.

One of our friends, another Josh, made a personal request for a sword. At first, I told him I limited my design to dogs alone, but later on I decided to give it a whirl. It seemed to work okay. :)

Before we knew it, it was naptime for the kids all around, and the party was ready to come to a close. Daddy stood by our deck with the boys, saying good-bye and thanks to each guest as they left.

We were so thankful for the beautiful day and for our great group of friends to help us celebrate.

Most of all, though, we are thankful for our wonderful little 2-year-olds. We thank God for their little lives and for the joy they bring to us! We love you bunches, little birthday boys!