Sunday, October 26, 2014

Spider Cake, Face Paint, "Paw"ty, and a Bonfire

Life is full right now.
Lots of things going on, lots of celebrating, and lots of just good stuff.

Aubrey's school had a Fall Festival / Carnival on Friday.
When I was in elementary school, my mom made a chocolate cake and added spooky spiders on top for my Fall Festival's Cake Walk. I thought it would be fun to recreate it for Aubrey's school's "Sweet Walk" this year. Only I found out the day of that you're not supposed to bring a cake (my first clue should have been that it's not called a "Cake" Walk...). Oops. Newbie mistake. Apparently parents are supposed to just make little treats for the kids to pick out. Luckily the PTO thought the spider cake was great, and ended up adding it to the school auction! 

The girls had a blast at the carnival that night. Racing from room to room playing games, getting their face painted, and stuffing their face with food food food!

And speaking of food! This sweet boy got his first taste of cake on his FIRST birthday!
Oh how this cutie-pie is LOVED. It was a wonderful Saturday getting to celebrate this precious one!
His Mama threw THE cutest puppy party for him...

The weather was beyond perfect on Saturday. 
We decided that evening to have a little bonfire out at Zubie's farm. It was so wonderful!
At one point Aubrey stated, "Oh, I just LOVE this day!" :)

Sweet memories were made, and I kept finding myself thanking God this weekend.
This stage in our family's life right now is so full of blessings. It's not always perfect, but there are certainly moments where I feel overwhelmed with gratitude.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Best Friends Forever.

I am getting misty eyed just uploading the pictures to this post.

The sweetest friends you could ever hope to have took time out of their Fall Break to come visit us.

If you've read this blog for any time, you know about Aubrey's BFF Lauren.
The two of them met at a Gymboree class in Oklahoma before they turned one-year old and have been two peas in a pod ever since. 

It had been over a year and a half year since the girls had seen each other.
They've written letters, sent little packages, and texted (via their Mamas' phones).
And when they finally met up again this past weekend, it was as if no time had lapsed since their last playdate.

It wasn't just Aubrey who was able to spend time with her bestie. Words cannot begin to describe the hole in my heart not having Keri 5 miles down the road.  She is absolutely wonderful -- a genuine friend and an incredible mom. Everyone needs a Keri in their life. I miss mine SO much!

Time went by way too fast, but it was such a sweet weekend getting to be back together again -- the "Original 4"!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Skater Girls

Before Fall Break ended, I took the girls rollerskating for the first time.
It. was. hilarious.

And crazy cute.

Oh Aubrey...dear, sweet Aubrey.
Those legs.
It was like watching a cute baby giraffe on wheels...

This baby girl rolled her skates over my toes at least 86 times.
But boy was she cute doing it! 
Go, Mina, Go!

Then Aubrey's girlfriends showed up, and they all rolled out onto the rink like it was nothing.

They all fell multiple times before even getting to the first turn -- giggling the whole time!

I'm just thankful we concluded Fall Break and didn't FALL and BREAK any bones!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall Break

We took a little trip last weekend to visit family and kickstart the girls' Fall Break.

Lots of fun going to the apple orchard, riding ponies, feeding the animals, corn mazes, rubber duck races, Aubrey going "deering" with Pop Pop, and just enjoying this amazing FALL weather all together. It was such a great start to Fall Break...


Friday, September 26, 2014

Aubrey turns 6!

This post is insanely long because the celebration of Aubrey Ruth turning six reached ludicrous levels. I've never known a birthday to drag out as long as this girl's, and the ironic part is that there wasn't even an "actual" party!

As Aubrey approached her sixth birthday, Daniel and I gave her a choice: a trip or a party.
She has been saying her one birthday wish is to go to the top of the St. Louis Arch, so -- without hesitation -- she chose TRIP.

The closer her birthday got, the more I think she was starting to secretly wish she had chosen "party".
To jazz up the "trip" I decorated the car with some window markers, curly ribbon, and balloons. She LOVED it.

Did anyone notice the Snackeez in her cup holder?! Aubrey saw a commercial for this thing when we visited grandparents. She's talked non-stop about how she NEEDS one of these. "It holds a snack AND your favorite drink, Mom!" I thought it actually made sense for the road trip, and it sure made for one super happy girl!

Once we were all loaded up, and had FROZEN playing in the headrest DVD player, we were on our way to ST. LOUIS!

First pit stop: dinner.
And what's a road trip without a meal at Cracker Barrel?!

We realized the girls had never been to one. They thought it was the coolest restaurant ever! And the fact that they could order pancakes for dinner blew their minds.

Aubrey was determined to "win" the Peg Game.

We finally drove into St. Louis past bedtime with two squealing excited girls in the backseat.

Daniel reserved rooms at the Union Station hotel downtown.
When we arrived, the hotel concierge presented the girls with little backpacks filled with a train whistle (why?!), coloring book / crayons, Union Station water bottle, a sucker, a sticker, and a cookie. As if they weren't excited enough!

The hotel (the old train station) was fun to explore and the girls loved watching the nightly light show display on the ceiling.

Oh, before I forget!
All Aubrey thought we were doing in St. Louis was going to the Arch.
Well, St. Louis has tons of stuff for kids, so Daniel and I planned out a full weekend of surprises.

To make it feel more like an actual "birthday", we let Aubrey open a small gift before we left. Inside was a charm bracelet. Before each "surprise" she would open a little package containing a charm that gave a clue as to where we were going next. As the trip progressed, her charm bracelet would fill up. At the end of the trip, she would have a bracelet full of charms to remember this special birthday.

(I had originally envisioned a lovely sterling silver charm bracelet with precious forever-lasting heirlooms dangling from it. After a quick search, I realized all that was going to cost waaaay more than I wanted to spend on a six year old, so I went the $5/charm route. )

So, first up...
Charm #1: Gateway Arch

Aubrey was out-of-her-mind excited. Her birthday wish came true!


Her most favorite part was riding up to the top.
Me, on the other hand, I almost backed out at the last second.
The older I get, the more of a wuss I become.
These three faces convinced me to face my fear, and I did it.
I almost threw-up in my scarf on the way up, but I did it.

We were assigned elevator / pod 6, which was pretty perfect considering that number is super special! :)

The three of them loved looking out the slivers of windows at the top, while I mentally talked myself down from a full-on panic attack. Daniel took the photo below from one of the little windows. I would have passed out if I had looked down like that. It actually makes my heart-rate go up just posting it.

I've never been happier to be back on solid ground. 

In the end, I was glad I didn't miss out on such a momentous moment for the birthday girl.

Charm #2: Star / The Magic House

This place was SO fun! Aubrey had an absolute blast!
Especially when she was the only one who successfully worked the be-inside-a-bubble exhibit.
Daniel got pretty excited about it... ;)

Charm #3: Butterfly / The Butterfly House

Fun fact: St. Louis turns 250 this year!
Which meant there were birthday cake displays at lots of the area attractions.
Of course, when you're 6 and it's your birthday trip, you think the cakes are for YOU. ;)

Charm #4: Penguin / St. Louis Zoo

So, sad news. The penguin exhibit at the STL Zoo is closed while building a new polar bear habitat.
Luckily Aubrey had just as much fun playing on the sign in front of the empty exhibit. ;)
We did end up seeing lots of cool animals, catching a Sea Lion show, touched real sting rays, rode the train, and the carousel so all-in-all it was a wonderful day in Aubrey's world.

And before loading up the car to head back home, Aubrey picked out a souvenir from the gift shop (a rare treat!) and was conked out before we were on the interstate to drive back home...

The whole weekend she kept thanking us and saying it was the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER.

The night before she officially turned 6, she lost a tooth!
Would you believe that the Tooth Fairy left her a teeny-tiny birthday present?!
Inside the mini box was this little charm for her bracelet.
There are no words to describe Aubrey's happiness and excitement when she opened it.


For school, Aubrey wanted to bring a special treat for her class.
She'd been talking about her idea for awhile, and finally we made her vision a reality.
Birthday bots!
We made 24 of these little guys.
The kids in her class went nuts over them, and Aubrey was downright giddy passing them out.
She also got to bring home Birthday Bear from school, which delighted her to no end.


When she got off the bus, Zubie was waiting for her with lots of fun presents.
She also took us all out to eat at a hibachi restaurant. The girls were mesmerized by the whole experience. I don't think they've ever been that good at a restaurant! It was perfect!


Then, the following weekend, Grammy and Pop Pop came for a birthday visit. They brought a slew of presents too, and we had birthday cake (picked out by Aubrey from a pic she spotted on Pinterest, ha!). After cake, we went down to the river for the local Dragon Boat races and carnival booths, and then ended with a nature hike lead by Aubrey (of course!).


I kinda hope she picks "party" next year... 


And just to document, like I've done for the past two years, here's a breakdown of all of Aubrey's favorites:

Favorite color? Purple and Blue
Favorite toy?
 Tiger (souvenir from the STL Zoo)
Favorite drink? Pink Lemonade
Favorite food? Breakfast foods
Favorite tv show? Peppa Pig 
Favorite outfit? The one I'm wearing right now!

Favorite game? Tag

Favorite animal? Cheetah

Favorite song? Jesus songs 

Favorite book? Fancy Nancy: Apples Galore

Best friend? Hope, Wells, Eliza, and Lucy

Favorite thing to do outside? Play freeze tag

Favorite holiday? 
What’s one thing you don’t like to do: Eating bacon
What do you want to be when you grow up? Teacher