Sunday, April 28, 2013

3rd Birthday(s)

That's right. BirthdayS. Since we had so many family members in town at the same time, I thought that I would just do a family party for Owen. However, when I told him his birthday was coming up he said, "My friends are coming!" I said, "Oh really? Who is coming?" He said, "Sophia, and Tucker, and Lightening McQueen!" Hmm...well, I didn't think I could get Lightening to show up, but I figured I could fulfill his wish for a friend party as well. I also asked him what kind of party he wanted. He said, "A tiger cake!" I was pretty sure this came from watching a number of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood episodes and seeing Daniel Tiger have a birthday and a tiger cake. But over a month's time, his answer never wavered. So a tiger party it was.

We celebrated his family party a little early. We tried to arrange it so both sets of Owen's grandparents would be there, but couldn't quite get it to work. However, we were able to have Grandma and Grandpa Van de Wetering, Aunt Kerry, cousins Hadley and Elena, Aunt Megan and Uncle Mitchell. It was great to have so much family in town.

I went downstairs to get Owen once everyone had arrived. I told him that it was time to come upstairs for breakfast and that we had a surprise for him. I hadn't mentioned anything about celebrating his birthday and he said, "You do?! What is it? It's my tiger cake!!!"

This was his happy face at seeing his guess was correct. So glad I could make his wish come true. :)

We started by having a delicious brunch of spinach and bacon quiche, fruit, orange rolls, and juice.

Following breakfast, we opened presents.

Another pig book from his Mama. I liked this one for his birthday because it was about a pig who got a surprise birthday party at the end.

He also got a wheelbarrow with garden tools and a dry erase/chalkboard easel from us.

A train set from Auntie Kimmie:

A mama/baby animal matching set from Grammy and Grandpa:

The Velveteen Rabbit book and a stuffed rabbit to match from Auntie Kerry, Hadley and Elena:

And then we ended with what?...A TIGER CAKE!

We sang to Owen and he tried to blow out the candle. He must have been aiming his breath wrong because it wasn't working. The all of a sudden, after about four blows, he sucked in and the candle went out. It was hilarious and so cute! 

Then, while we were getting plates and ice cream, Owen decided to dig right into his cake by giving it a big LICK. Awesome. :P

A cut out with a big lick on the side. :)

And a couple of pictures of Elsie with Auntie Kerry and Uncle Mitchell, just to prove she was there. ;)

I think Owen really enjoyed his family tiger party.

Next up was his friend Tiger party. I decided to save most tiger-themed activities for he and his friends. (Unfortunately, I don't have a ton of pictures from this party. It was kind of overwhelming to have our first large event hosting a group of kids and their parents, while coordinating activities for the party. So sadly, pictures took a back seat.)

The friends (and parents) in attendance were: Sophia & Audrey (Haley & Braden) Molyneux, Tucker & Calvin (Holly & Curt) Smith, Chandler & Preston (Adri) Nye, Lucas & Sabrina (Debbie) Montero, Felix (Kelli & Kyle) Murray, and Griffin (Jacklyn & Tyler) Fellows.

After most friends had arrived, we started with Pin the Tail on the Tiger. Look at Miles' awesome art skills!
After "pinning" their tail, each child received a tiger tail of their own that we tucked into the backs of their pants.

Once each child had gone and received their tail, they were sent outside for a game of "Catch a Tiger by its Tail." We had the kids run around the backyard and chase each other and try to yank the other kids' tails. I was slightly worried about the potential of tears when children temporarily lost their tails, but for the most part it went really well. I think the kids enjoyed running around and were distracted when after losing their own tail, they were quickly told to run after other children and get theirs. Chandler was the biggest and oldest child there and was hilarious as he just bolted from one end of the yard to the other to avoid losing his tail. The kids must have liked it though because they asked to play again.

After running them ragged, we sat down for lunch. I attempted to do "themed" food to the best of my ability, but opted to round it out with a good 'ole non-theme-related pizza. :) Otherwise, we had Cheetos for "tiger tails," a "forest" of veggies, tiger-faced mandarin cups, and chocolate-dipped "tiger tails."

Following lunch we opened presents. Owen loved them all! There seemed to be a car/truck theme going on with presents. Owen was in heaven. He also got his very first board game - The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, as well as play dough, sidewalk chalk, and a butterfly net.

Again, lacking in pictures. So here are a couple of he and Elsie playing with a parking garage car set and a dump truck.

We ended with a tiger pinata. Here is a picture of it:

And all the goodies inside (minus the candy):

We went youngest to oldest. I learned from this experience, that the kids probably could have beat on it for hours and probably wouldn't have made a dent. Next time I'd give them each a little more time (or a second turn) to work at it. After all the kids went without any damage done, we moved on to the adults. Holly went first and knocked a couple things out, then Adri went and pounded it so hard it broke off the hanger! (Don't mess with her!) ;) So since it was no longer easy to swing at it, Miles went primal on us and tore it open. It was pretty funny, and the kids were really excited when everything came raining out of it.

And Elsie was a huge fan of the tiger balloons. Something for everyone to enjoy!

I think it went well. It was a little crazy organizing and keeping everything flowing quickly. But I think everyone had fun. Here are a few "after-party" pictures of Owen with his tiger mask and tail.

Catch a tiger by his tail...

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Owen has recently learned about making trades. Mostly because he takes things Elsie is playing with and I ask him to find something else for her. So now, when he sees her playing with something he wants, I tell him to trade her toys. A couple days ago he wanted his kitty. He quickly swiped it and brought in a replacement.

"Here, baby Elsie. You can play with the iPad."

Fair trade?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


A LOT is happening all at once. Miles and I have been looking for a home for a long time. Years, even. We've had a lot of ups and downs in our search, and been so close to buying/building on multiple occasions. After our last fiasco, we were kind of unenthusiastic about looking. Every so often, we'd scan the MLS and see if anything popped up that interested us. But it felt as though we were looking at the same homes over and over and over. Too small of a yard. Too much work needed. Too expensive. Not a good location.

Then one day, Miles sent a few links to me. I told him I was interested in checking one out and called to set up a walk-through appointment. The realtor told me that they were under contract, but they had countered and were waiting to hear back from the buyers. He said we could still come and look at it if we wanted. We went out a couple days later. Upon the first inspection, I really liked it. It definitely needed some paint and a few "fixes" here or there, but seemed to be a really nice home and was offered at a good price. We talked to the realtor about the offer that was in and asked him how good it was. He said it was decent, but that if we wanted to make an offer, they would consider it. Miles and I talked about and later that day called him with an offer. Within 24 hours, he told us that the sellers had withdrawn their counter offer to the other buyers and had accepted our offer. And just like that, we were on our way to buying our first, real home. It was so crazy how everything happened so fast. I couldn't believe it!

Unfortunately, due to changes in loan ownership, we weren't able to close as quickly as we had hoped. Once we got that all taken care of, we quickly got painters in to start work completely revamping the look of the home. The family that had lived there had been renting for 10 years and had chosen some "interesting" paint colors and designs. We ended up having them paint the entire home minus the kitchen and two bathrooms. Since it was such a big job, they didn't have it finished before we were ready to move in. My mom came out to help us pack and move, so we wanted to make sure and utilize the time she was around. We ended up moving in on the last Saturday of March, the Sunday before Easter. We also moved in while the painters were still finishing up. They didn't finish everything up for another 9 days. It was a little crazy, but well worth getting it done right away! (Before and after pictures will follow in another post)

Another big change for us has been Miles's job. In January he applied with a company called Instructure. Within a couple weeks, they gave him a good job offer that greatly increased his salary. However, they stated that they would not have a job for him until the first of July due to a hiring freeze. He gave a general acceptance to the job, with the understanding that a lot could happen in six months and we weren't sure where we would be.

After finding and signing on our home, Miles gave notice to his employer at SSI. We decided it would be a good opportunity for him to quit a regular 8-5 job in lieu of working for himself. He has wanted to do this for some time, but we had concerns of how well he would do financially, as well as whether or not we would be able to purchase a new home without full-time employment. Since we had signed on our home and he had a "backup" job waiting for him, it was perfect timing to try it out. However, SSI came back with an interesting offer. They were in the middle of a big deadline that no one else could do. It would set them back tremendously to have to hire someone new and train them to complete the job in time. So they asked Miles to stay on as a "contract" worker earning the same salary with opportunities for bonuses when deadlines were met. He could also work from home, on his own hours, and would be able to officially quit mid-June. This was awesome, as much of the work did not require a full 40-hours and he could work from home, while also doing work for himself and his own personal company. Win, win, win!

We'll have to see how it all goes, but for now, that is the plan. :) In the meantime, we are adjusting to our new life in Lehi, and enjoying the large amount of extra space we have. :)