Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Weekend Rewinds!

Our last two weekends (and the week in between) have been so eventful that I thought I'd cram it all into a quick recap! In case you just want the highlights/lowlights: I'm in Florida right now to see my dad. Caroline just recovered from a terrible virus (possibly her worst one yet). Thomas had a successful tubes surgery. Lindsey came to visit.
Right after my double mastectomy I received the most thoughtful gift from the sweet ladies at the daily details, the most beautiful beauty bar in Uptown Charlotte! Two weekends ago I finally got the chance to cash in my gift and check out this amazing new place! I enjoyed a blow out and got my eyebrows tinted for the first time ever (and am now obsessed!)!
A huge thank you to Kiri for treating me to such a relaxing morning!
Later that night Matt and I attended one of the most fun weddings ever at the Charlotte City Club. We danced the night away and stayed out way past our bedtime. It was awesome...until the next day when we had to be parents. Lesson learned. 

The following week Caroline was sent home Wednesday from school and was out the rest of the week. We took her to the doctor for what I was certain was hand, foot, mouth but doctor said she just has a nasty virus with severe mouth sores. She was in so much pain, couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, was on Motrin/Tylenol around the clock and was on a popsicle and ice cream diet for 3 loooooong days. Everything hurt her mouth sores and she was just overall excessively irritable. I also think her two year molars popped through around the same time so wow, it was one heck of a week. Oh, and Lindsey came to Charlotte for a quick work trip and got a front row seat of our wild show.

On Thursday, Matt's mom thankfully came in to town to watch Caroline while we were with Thomas for his surgery on Friday morning!
Thomas rocked his surgery and we were home just a few hours later.  The doctor said Thomas had so much fluid built up in his ears and it was so thick there was no way antibiotics would have ever cleared it. Oh, and that he's probably been in pain for awhile. Cue the mama and daddy guilt for not pushing for tubes sooner.
After a long snooze on mama he awoke back to his normal self! We were amazed that he didn't require any Motrin or Tylenol either! The rest of the day he chased his sister, laughed, ate like a champ and went back to his normal routine! Such a rock star. 
By Saturday morning Caroline was finally feeling better so we visited the children's museum. Grandad and Mimi came too.
The kids were so worn out from running around the museum that they came home and took solid naps.
That night Matt had planned a surprise date night for us as my Mother's Day gift! He lined up a fantastic afternoon for me too - manicure/pedicure, a blow out and then reservations for dinner! Seriously, how did I get so lucky?!
For weeks I annoyed him with questions like "how far away is the restaurant? have we been before? what should I wear? what kind of food?" He would respond with the most bizarre answers to keep me guessing too. So when our uber pulled up to Passion8 I was unbelievably excited (and impressed) that he was able to surprise me with a completely NEW place we'd never been before...just a few minutes from our house too!
It was then that I pulled out a little surprise I had up my sleeve - Couples Table Topics! It's not unlike us to be out on a romantic date night only to find ourselves recapping work projects, hashing out to-do lists, discussing our kiddos, etc. Matt had put so much work into a perfect date night that I wanted to make sure we really spent the entire time enjoying each other over meaningful (and super fun and funny) conversations.
We arrived to the restaurant an hour before our reservation so we could sit at the bar for drinks and appetizers. During that time we asked each other question after question. Each question would send us on long tangents filled with fun memories, hilarious stories and thoughtful discussions.
After pushing our reservation back (a few times) we finally decided to grab our table and continue our questions!
The food was unreal. We started with their infamous calamari (tossed in jalepeno honey citrus butter), fried duck bruschetta and duck fat fries. For our entrees I ordered the stuffed chicken and Matt ordered the ribeye. We were beyond impressed with everything!
Matt knocked this date night out of the park.

Last night I jumped on a plane for a very quick trip to Florida. My dad has recently been in and out of the hospital after coming down with a nasty cold and although he is back home trying to get healthy he is definitely in a little slump and everyone is worried. So after seeing Thomas rebound so quickly from his procedure I booked a trip home. I arrived late last night and my dad thought I was my sister when I walked through the door. He was completely stunned and speechless. For hours he just stared at me in disbelief that I am even here!

So today and tomorrow I'll be spending some time with him (and also nagging him to follow the doctor's orders)!
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Monday, May 23, 2016

Caroline's Mickey Mouse 2nd Birthday Party

On May 7th Caroline turned two and we celebrated with friends and family over the most perfect afternoon of hot dogs, cake, bouncing and more. It was pretty much her dream party. Here's a recap of the best day in way too many pictures!
Before our guests arrived we took some family photos with Taylor. She knocked them out of the park and was magically able to get Caroline, Thomas and Jackson to cooperate for dozens of pictures in under 15 minutes! She even got them to wear Mickey ears! Huge success.
Proof.
How cute is this birthday girl in her smocked Minnie Mouse dress?
My good friend Sara made these adorable Mickey shirts for Thomas and Jackson.
 
 
 
 Time for the party to begin!
We had just over 50 guests attend the party, half of which were kiddos! Thankfully the weather was perfect and we were able to host the party in the backyard. 
Mimi and Grandad surprised Caroline on the morning of her birthday with a bouncey house! I've never seen this girl so dang excited. She's been in a few of these recently so before the house even finished inflating she had already kicked her shoes off and spent the entire party bouncing around with friends.
We also filled Caroline's pool with 6 bags of sand for the kids to dig around in.
Last year the biggest hit of the party was the water table so we made sure to have that out, erghhhh, next to the sand box....
By the end of the party we had a mud pit in the pool and in the table! ha! We totally saw that coming though and loved watching the kids have a blast with it.
For lunch we set up a hot dog bar. This was probably one of the best food buffets I've ever done because it required very little work to put together and I could leave it unattended the entire party! So once the party started I didn't have to worry about replenishing or reheating any items.
I owe a huuuuuge thank you to my friend Kristen for giving me the Hot Diggity Dog sign, all the hot dog bar recipe signs, some fun pom poms and a few other things which made our buffet such a hit!
The Hot Dog Bar cast of characters:
  • Hot Dogs & Buns: The morning of the party I slow cooked 60 hotdogs in a crockpot on low for 4 hours (by themselves, no water added) and dumped them into disposable warming trays right before guests arrived. So easy. 
  • Baked Beans: I poured these in another disposable warming tray and let them slowly warm in the oven for about an hour before the party. Again, so easy.
  • Chips
  • Dill pickles
  • Cole Slaw
  • Condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish
  • Toppings: lettuce, onion, tomato, bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers, chili
  • Serve ware: Red, yellow & black napkins, red & yellow plates, red & yellow forks
I also had a few snacks available for the kiddos: cheerios, animal crackers, pretzels and Mickey shaped cheese!
And for drinks we served milk and juice boxes for the littles and mimosas, beer and rose for the adults!
I was so unbelievably impressed with the $17 cake that Harris Teeter made for Caroline!
We have ordered their round white cake with raspberry filling many times before and it's always such a huge hit. They really do make the most incredible tasting cakes! And they nailed the design too!
Caroline of course made sure to run her fingers all over the cake before passing out slices to her friends.
 
 
 
Caroline's best friend from school was also by her side the entire time. These two are so dang cute together and share birthdays one month apart. Here they are just chatting over cake together like best buds. Gah, I have loved watching this friendship grow!
Once all of the kiddos were loaded up on sugar it was time for more bouncing, sliding and belly button flashing!
 
 
 
 
 
I am still in disbelief that this picture actually happened...
I have to admit, not being stuck in the kitchen replenishing food items or being attached to my camera trying to capture every moment made all the difference for me. This year I actually mingled with guests, played with my kids, drank a few mimosas and enjoyed the party. I am so thankful Taylor took the photography off my hands so I could focus on what really mattered and what I want Caroline to remember...
All of Caroline's friends took home Minnie Mouse cookies as a party favor.
 
 Spoiled.
 And that's a wrap! 
 
Well, actually, let me leave you with one last moment of icing kisses goodness...
 
Party Sources
Photography: Taylor Stading Photography
Caroline's Smocked Minnie Mouse Dress: Smocked Candy Etsy Shop
Thomas & Jackson's Mickey shirts: Facebook // Blog // Email
Mickey Mouse Welcome/Goodbye Signs: Free Pinterest Download
Little Tikes Jump n' Slide Bouncer: Amazon
Fisher Price Spiralin' Seas Water Table: Amazon
Disposable Pop Up Sterno Warming Food Trays: Amazon
Disposable Red & Yellow Napkins, Plates and Utensils: Walmart
Minnie Mouse Cake: Harris Teeter
Mickey & Minnie Cookie Favors: Delicate Delites
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