Monday, August 25, 2014

Ava's Back to School Pirate Party!

Though this summer was definitely amongst one of our best ever, I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to the beginning of the school year! For us, the routine and schedule of the school year, combined with the excitement of special events that are a part of having a school-aged child, is something we definitely miss, particularly as the summer begins to wind down and those initial welcome stretches of nothingness seem to stretch on and on into, well, nothingness. 

This is the last year Ava will be in preschool before heading off to Kindergarten next fall (oh, how I wish she was able to go this year - she's SO ready!), and so to usher in the new year, we hosted a back to school pirate-themed party at our house this past Saturday! Since Ava will be returning to her school from last year, a lot of her classmates will be returning and in her same class again, as well as some new friends and some friends that were in the class next door to her room last year! As such, the party felt much more like a reunion in a way, and definitely was the perfect way to kick off the back to school season and start getting the kiddos in the mindset!

Lucky for me, I won a giveaway for local event planning company Woo Who Events, which was where the idea of a pirate party was born! The owner, the wonderful and extremely talented Melissa Morgan, provided all the entertainment, which was a huge relief for me! She showed up in full pirate regalia, with a rolling suitcase full of balloons for balloon swords, face paints to paint all of the kid's faces, and pirate-themed stories to tell! It was absolutely perfect!

I cannot recommend Melissa strongly enough! Every single parent present at the party asked about where I had found her and commented on how wonderful she was and how great and cohesive everything was! 

Now, bring on the school year!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ava Meets Elsa: A Frozen Party at Kaleidoscope Toys!

After a rough end to last week (Ava was goofing around on a barstool, then flipped it over on herself with it landing on her eye, effectively giving herself a major shiner and waking up with it basically swollen shut the next morning...), we were so happy to have a Frozen party to attend at Round Rock-based Kaleidoscope Toys over the weekend. Nothing quite like the promise of meeting Elsa to raise Ava's spirits!

While meeting Elsa - and getting to take pictures with her - was the highlight of the event, it wasn't the only thing we did. We started off rotating between coloring Frozen-themed pictures and working on a craft box project with a Frozen twist. 

The kids also got to play with some "snow" - a pretty awesome creation that felt both cold and the right texture, and was made with water and stirring like you'd expect to make playdoh. And, what Frozen event would be complete without a sing-along? I may never successfully get "Let It Go" out of my head...

(Pardon the black eye in the pictures. It looks significantly better than it originally did, thanks in part to make-up, but mainly due to the passage of time.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Naps are Rare!

You know your child doesn't nap often when you take this. many. pictures. of the occasion! California was apparently exhausting.

He was just SO cute.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Mom's Guide to Home Organization!

Are you frazzled by your family's hectic schedule and chaotic household? Then try Debbie Lillard's "A Mom's Guide to Home Organization." This book walks you through simple processes and tips for organizing your time, your belongings, and your space. It also addresses how to teach your children the life skill of being organized. Written by a busy mom for busy moms, you can buy it today on Amazon.

Austin Bucket List: Peter Pan Putt Putt and Mini Golf!

I generally spend my summers crossing things off of my Austin Bucket List, and this summer was no exception. Now that Ava is older, and since we've had a relatively mild summer compared to usual, we crossed off one of our most anticipated items when we visited Austin's famed Peter Pan Mini Golf & Putt Putt Course this past week!

First and foremost, if you've been putting off visiting due to the heat, know that while it does warm up, they are open starting at 9 a.m., and there is a ton of foliage providing shade even on those hot summer mornings. We arrived around 10 a.m., and managed to stay for about two hours when you count our snow cone break before we were too hot to hang. Not too bad at all, considering it is mid-August!

One of the most awesome things about the course - other than the fact that it is BYOB (!!) - is all the fantastic themed decor. From the pirate at the entrance, to the Peter Pan and Tinkerbell holes, and the other awesomely painted holes (check out the portly pig and the dynamic dinosaur!), your child is sure to be visually entertained, even if their golf skills are a bit lacking. Poor Ava didn't stand a chance, seeing as how I was attempting to demonstrate how to swing a golf club (it was her first time using one!) while wearing Jackson and he kept moving his head trying to see what I was doing and blocking my view. I'm pretty sure I said, "Well that's an example of what NOT to do..." multiple times, while fishing golf balls out of the bushes...oops.

Check out our fun morning putt putt golfing:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Our Final Day: A Trip to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk!

Where I'm from in California isn't exactly your typical, California-esque scene. There's no beaches, it's not full of tanned and gorgeously fit people - it's a mountain town where people go to retire, complete with scenic views and snow (gasp!)! Even so, what trip to California would be complete without a stop at the beach? Ava had never seen the Pacific Ocean, and had only been to one beach prior - a Texas coastal beach at that - so we packed up, said our goodbyes, and headed to the coast to sunny Santa Cruz, California, to meet up with my best friend and her new husband for a day at the Boardwalk!

It is hard to imagine now that we're back in the triple digit temps, but it was actually a wee bit chilly there that day, so much so that we didn't spend too much time in the water, other than to let Ava splash around a bit, and to show Jack the Pacific:

And it was so great to see my bestest friend, who I hadn't seen since my bachelorette party and who recently got married in Hawaii! I've known her - and her family, who also came to the Boardwalk - my entire life!

The boardwalk itself was fun, though Ava was in that in between age where she was too big for the little kid arcade games, and too small - or, in all actuality, short - for the big kid rides, so we didn't do too much!

After a few hours of family fun at the Boardwalk, it was time for our vacation to end, and we headed thirty minutes down the road, back to the San Jose airport and back home! Though it was an exhausting few days, it was definitely the best trip home we've ever had. I'm already looking forward to next year, when we'll hopefully visit Disneyland!!! 
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