Thursday, May 23, 2013

For the record.

Hope you weren't expecting some great declaration. This is literally for my records. I can't be expected to hang on to a sheet of paper for the rest of his life, can I?

Calvin's four year stats:

Weight: 37lbs 9oz, 65th percentile
Height: 42 inches, 82nd percentile
Vision: 20/25 in both eyes
BMI: 29

He continues to be a year ahead in all areas except fine motor, where he's on par with kids his age.

For those who have been wondering and/or praying for us (thank you), Calvin's long-awaited eval appointment is next Wednesday. We're not entirely sure what to expect, but we hope this will be a positive first step for us and for him.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bam! Pow! Zip! Calvin's superhero party.

This kid of mine is all about superheroes right now. I'm not entirely sure when or how this obsession began, but I believe it might have something to do with his underwear.

Nothing cuter than a tiny tush with Spider-Man on it.*

Given his recent interest in masked crusaders, a superhero party seemed like the clear choice for Calvin's fourth birthday. He was pumped. I was, too. I know people think I'm crazy and over-the-top with these parties (I know this because they tell me so) but I love it. I do it for my kids, obviously, but I also do it for me. There is nothing I love more than shopping, crafting, and setting a table,** which are three of the four pillars of birthday parties.

The fourth, of course, is food. While I love that pillar with my whole heart, I do not love cooking that pillar. So this year I decided to focus my time on things I enjoy, like making skyscrapers out of cardstock, and pay people to do the rest. I ordered a three-foot sub from Subway and cupcakes from Byerly's. The rest of the food was limited to stuff that required little to no effort: pb&j for the kids, carrots and dip in cups, watermelon,  chips/cheese balls/goldfish in little boxes, Izze sodas, and SuperV juice boxes.

Food: DONE.

(Party guest alert: You can expect this same spread at all future parties. Sorry, my creativity does not extend to the food portion of the program.)

The decorations were also simple and inexpensive. I ordered the invitations from Tiny Prints, and added a favorite picture of Calvin running around the yard in a cape to the back. The red tablecloth was purchased for Calvin's Mickey Mouse birthday party a few years ago. I bought two yards of superhero fabric from JoAnn Fabrics, trimmed the selvage, and used it as a runner. The centerpiece is 11x17 black cardstock I folded like an accordion, then cut into skyscraper shapes along one side. The windows were drawn with a white paint pen. The cupcake wrappers, toppers, and sprinkles were from Etsy (thanks for the gift card, mom and dad!), as were the felt star and lighting bolt bunting strung across the mirror and Calvin's birthday shirt. I found free superhero saying printables online, printed them and stuck them on wooden skewers in the sandwich. The mini superhero figurines, star/4 candles, punch balloons, and streamers were purchased at Dollar Tree. The plates and black and white polka dot napkins were from Target.

Outside, we hung superhero sayings along the fence. I bought six sheets of poster board at Dollar Tree, along with a three-pack of permanent markers. I freehanded the words, scribbled them in with marker, and then cut jagged edges around them. Took me all of 20 minutes.

My biggest project was cape-making. I made nine capes in various colors and sizes so each guest (ranging from 5 months to 5 years) would have their very own. I found a no-sew tutorial online, but decided to sew the shields, stars, and velcro on to make them a little nicer. (My mother-in-law helped immensely by sewing on the stars/shields.) The cost of felt and velcro for nine capes? $12...and I have a bunch left over because I wanted more variety in the colors. Talk about a cheap favor.

Finally, I wrote a newspaper article about our little superhero. My collegiate newspaper editing and layout skills came in pretty handy there...amazing how something can come back to you after all those um, uh...couple of years.***


*Except maybe a Spider-Man costume wedged into a tiny tush.

Our happy, partied-out four-year-old.

All in all, this was probably the least amount of time and money I've put into a party (minus the streamers, those were a pain), but I think it was one of my favorites...and I'm pretty sure Super Calvin would agree.

 **Except Jesus. And my family. And diet coke.
***TWELVE. How have I been out of college for twelve years?

Superhero invitations
Superhero cupcake toppers
Black star cupcake wrappers
Superhero bunting
Superhero sprinkles
Superhero birthday shirt
Superhero cape tutorial
Superhero printables
Mini popcorn boxes

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lessons in gifting.

Alternate title: Calvin's Fourth Birthday
Alternate title: Why Spend Money on a Bike When a Free Rubber Snake Will Do?

This is the first year Calvin has been old/interested enough to play with other neighborhood kids. Which is both a good and bad thing (more on that later). But the other kids all have bikes, so we thought his fourth birthday would be the perfect opportunity to purchase the a big-kid bike! Who wouldn't love getting a bike for their birthday??

My kid.

Of course.

To be fair, it's not that he didn't love it. I think he does love it...sort of...but he's in this phase where anything he can't do/can't do well frustrates him. And since he's never had a bike before...well, it frustrates him.

Here's the look on his face when he opened his "bike hat."

And when Nate rolled his bike around the corner.

I would describe his reaction to the bike as apprehensive. He liked it, he wanted to do it, but he just wasn't sure. I think his first ride up and down the alley lasted all of five minutes.

And then he asked to go back inside to his snake.

Forget the $$$ bike that Nate spent a couple hours putting together. He preferred the teeny, tiny rubber snake that came inside a bucket of used ocean animals I got for $4 at a consignment sale. (Why was there a rubber snake in a bucket of ocean animals? I don't know! Why was there a DOG in there? Or a hippo? Clearly these people did not invest the same amount of time I did into preparing toys for consignment.)

We told him it was a water snake, because that seemed a kinder, more logical explanation than "some mommies aren't as obsessive/compulsive or as good at organization as your mommy."


I am so happy he had a great birthday and loved his gifts. Even if he loved the ones that erroneously found their way into a stranger's bucket more than those that were lovingly selected and shipped and assembled and hidden away by his parents.

 Love my big four year old!
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