Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Small Group Family Retreat 2010

Top 10 Reasons to vacation with your small group family:

1. Family time.
Our annual beach trip with our growing
small group family was at Kure Beach, NC this year.
Weather was in the 80's, in the middle of October
and our time together was so much fun!

2. Beach time.
Endless hours of playing in the sand
with friends
Joshua and Audrey.

3. Eye Candy.
Get to see your husband all tan and handsome.

4. Great views.
Our beautiful house was located right on the beach.
We had spectacular beach views and
easy direct access for the kids.

5. Built-in Babysitters.
There's always someone playing
or watching your child. They are
always entertained!

6. Fresh fish
Six of us went on a charter boat and went
deep sea fishing. So fun! Lindsay is in the
midst of catching a 6-ft shark. I'm not kidding!
Sadly, the shark got away.

I caught one, too!

Breaking a curse.
Patrick had been on two fishing trips
and had never caught anything before.
Not this time!

7. Great food.

Everyone took turns making
dinner for everyone. We had everything from
T-bone steaks to Chinese fondue to fish of the day
that Patrick, Scott, Lindsay, Brad, Paul and I caught!

Asian Fondue with beef, shrimp, squid,
fresh vegetables and noodles. Dee-lish!

8. Little Princesses.
Getting to see princess Shelby, the
newest addition to our small group family
and enjoying princess Audrey, too.

9. Spending time with great couples.
One of the couples from last year that were dating
are now married, Jeff & Kat.

And you remember
the Bendecks from Atlanta?

10. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!
Best thing hands down was I got to spend
time with my three boys. We stayed all week
to enjoy our family vacation, after others had left.

The boys had a great time, and so did we. We're already planning
next year's beach trip. Woo hoo!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Caelan's Dyno-mite Party

Well, my original idea of not having to clean the house or cook a lot of food for my second son's 2nd birthday was quite successful. I had to do neither. The temptation, though, to not go overboard was too irresistible and for my little two year old, what started out as a simple birthday party for his friends, turned out to be this:

Where did all these people come from? Just kidding. Since our venue was free--Dinosaur Park in Ashburn, we decided to invite Caelan's friends and all their siblings, too. Well, I guess we forgot in our planning, that our friends have like three kids now, so we had quite the crowd. But you know what? I loved every minute of it. It was a beautiful day in the park to celebrate.

So, here are some highlights of the party:
(there are a lot of pictures to enjoy, the scary
thing is.... these are only like a few of them!

We had kids of all ages.

and sizes.

This is me on the right--above--wearing a dinosaur like shirt.  It's fun to add to the theme!

And for the creative part....Soryda's Party in a Box. The adults got a gourmet boxed lunch with turkey and provolone focaccia sandwiches, sun chips, fresh fruit and a brownie square. Everything was homemade, and it was yummy! I'll give a way a little secret: I went to the Giant food store salad bar and smiled nicely at the Manager and asked him if I could have 30 plastic containers each of the large and small. He gave me that, along with 35 mustard and mayonnaise packs for a whopping $4.00. Score! Coffee filter for the chips and a cupcake holder for the homemade bite size brownie.  Orange napkins and green cutlery tie the colors together.

The kids...well, what a treat! They got turkey and cheddar sandwiches, but not just ANY sandwich, they got a dyno-mite one! William Sonoma sells these cute dinosaur sandwich cutters, which I also used to make the cookies.  Giant food deli bar provided the little plastic salad containers and I matched a foam dinosaur stick-on (Michaels Craft store) with the same color cupcake paper holder for the fruit. 

Everyone got dinosaur spine cupcakes, which Patrick made and I frosted, in neon orange and green. Another tip: I asked the Target bakery section for two 24 cupcake containers. They gave it to me for free.

The birthday boy got a special dinosaur cake made from two cupcakes (cut a head and a tail out of one cupcake, the body is another cupcake, and frost them together and add a lot of chocolate chips!)

And for favors, everyone got a dinosaur cookie to go!

Yes, I know. I don't know when to stop. It was very fun for me. And Patrick and my mom helped out tremendously. If I hadn't said it before, I'll say it again: my husband is amazing. To end our day, the kids went on a dinosaur egg hunt, and that was REALLY fun. Even the birthday boy managed to find some treats!  I ordered the big dinosaur egg shells from but you can probably find a lot at the Dollar Store around Easter.

Caelan even had a dino sweatshirt on. :) The kids had a great time because they just ran around in the park, and the parents got a chance to hang out and talk. I couldn't have asked for a better party. We hope your dinosaur birthday was special for you, Caelan. I know you won't remember it, but after having seen these pictures and CLICK HERE for all the pictures, I'm certain you'll enjoy these later in life! Also, here's a little video clip of you singing Happy Birthday to yourself. I couldn't resist!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Caelan turns 2!

How did two years go by so quickly? In the hospital delivery room, I remember being afraid for his life and after I heard his cry, my own tears came rushing in. He has brought us joy every moment since.

One week

One month

4 months

one year


Things to note about Caelan:
  • First thing he says when he wakes up consistently, without fail, is "Joo!" for juice.
  • He loves brushing teeth. He's a great sleeper.
  • He's still quite attached to his yellow blankie and still puts two fingers in his mouth when he's feeling tired.
  • He follows Micah around with swords, and says everything Micah does.
  • He can recall pretty well how his day was by telling you 5 or 6 key words of who, what, and where. It's amazing how he remembers and can articulate his day.
  • He's a mama's boy and always wants to cuddle with me and gives me sweet kisses throughout the day, especially during moments he knows he's been naughty.
  • For about 5 months, he was quite a bully to Micah, but now seems to have backed down since Micah beats him back up.
  • He enjoys his brother--those two are never apart in the house except when they are napping.
  • When he hears the garage door open around 6 p.m., he yells "Daddy, home!" and finds a sword and runs down to meet him. If it was a false alarm, he'll stand there crying at the garage door, "My daddy!" It's heart-wrenching.
  • His dimples have gotten bigger if that is at all possible. He just lights up when he smiles.
  • He's the first one to initiate prayer at dinner, and if one of us is missing, he will call us by name so that we can pray. It's usually me...and I get a loud, "MOMMY, Pay!"
Happy Birthday Caelan!