Monday, December 27, 2010

Jedi Star Wars Party

Andrew celebrated his 6th birthday with a family party on his actual birthday! We usually don't do that, since it is 3 days before Christmas. We offered to throw him a party with all of his friends from church and school, but he decided he really just wanted to do Cousin Camp again, but with a Star Wars theme this time and on his ACTUAL birthday.

My family and a good friend helped me make these Jedi robes for Andrew and each of his 5 guests.

Here is our schedule for the party games.

When our young Padawans arrived we played a Star Wars Lego Bingo game. We used Star Wars gummies as our markers.

Next we played a game called Musical Masks. I placed several laminated Star Wars character masks on the floor and played Star Wars music. When the music stopped, each child had to tell the name of the character they had landed on.

We played a game called Save the Princess. We had hidden pictures of Princess Leia inside of 6 silver balloons. We showed the children the infamous "Help me Obi Wan Kenobi" scene.

Then they were challenged to use the "Force" to save the princess. Andrew tried to sit on his balloon to pop it. Then he tried to lay flat across it. Even with Chad pushing on him, it wouldn't pop. We finally had to use scissors a lightsaber to save her. The other balloons luckily did not prove quite so stubborn.

The young Padawans continued to practice using the force with this Restore Order to the Galaxy game. They used their hoods to blindfold themselves and tried to destroy the enemies ships.

The Scavenger Hunt game was next. I handed Andrew a Star Wars backpack. A clue was hidden in the side pocket. Each of the children took turns finding clues throughout the house. I had found lots of little Star Wars toys that opened and a few pez dispensers that I hid the clues inside of. They placed the clue and the toy in the book bag before heading to the next clue.

The Scavenger Hunt ended outside with a special ceremony where they were each awarded their own light saber. (Nerf ones we found on sale).

They were then prepared for official Jedi training with Jedi Master Uncle Chad/Daddy. They practiced their balancing skills over hot lava.

They practiced their aim with flying discs.

They practiced their Jedi jumps on the trampoline. (He took off his robe because the trampoline was wet).

They ran an obstacle course with Master Yoda on their backs.

The favorite part of the training was racing the monster truck Landspeeder.

When the Jedi training was completed, armed with their light sabers, the young Jedis set off to destroy Darth Vader and get candy!

We went inside for refreshments.

Nana, Papa, Grandma, Grandpa, and 4 of Andrew's Aunts were there to celebrate with us, too! We ate Padawan Pizza, Death Star Doughnuts, Light Sabers (grapes on lollipop sticks), Lava Laces (red Twizzlers), Wookie Cookies, C-Cheese-P-Os, and Yoda Soda. My sister, Emily, made this fabulous cake!

We ended by opening presents. Each cousin went home with their robe, light saber, Star Wars Silly bands, coloring books, Star Wars Lego Ships, and Star Wars stickers.

Even Molly got dressed up for the party in her brother's t-shirt.

That night, Andrew got to stay up late and watch Star Wars: A New Hope for the first time. He was so excited that he was actually speechless. For perhaps the first time in his entire life. When he finally found his voice (several minutes into the movie) his one word reply? "AWESOME!"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Andrew's 6 Year Old Favorites

Food:  Pepperoni, Olive, and Cheese Pizza
Color: Gold
TV Show: Cyber Chase
Movie: Star Wars (which he saw for the first time last night)
Super Hero:  Spies
Song:  "Revenge of the Sith" by John Williams
Best Friends: My Cousins
Book: Star Wars Epic Battles
Toy:  Birdie (a stuffed bird that chirps that he bought with his own money)
Sport: Soccer
Animal: Bird 

Andrew weighs 39 pounds and is 41 and 7/8ths inches tall.
That is the 4th percentile for height and the 11th for weight.

I will post a lot more about his big day soon.  Just wanted to get his annual interview up before I forgot.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Andrew's Birthday Celebration at School

 Since Andrew's birthday is over Christmas Break, they celebrated his birthday on the last day before break.  We brought in popcorn, Fruitables juice boxes, and bird whistles to share with his classmates. 

His classmates each made birthday cards with pictures of cake that they colored for him as their response to the question of the day.   They each shared what kind of cake they made for him. Most of the kids named a specific flavor (chocolate, lemonade, strawberry).  Except for the girl he says he is going to marry.  She said she made him a Star Wars cake.

We had a two hour delay the last day of school, due to icy roads, so we combined his birthday snack with lunch. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's the Most Scientific Time of the Year

Christmas is a magical time in a child's life.  A time of wonder and excitement. A time to believe and a time to anticipate.  And at our house, a time to estimate.  Yes, Andrew has learned all about making charts at school with two columns.  One with your estimation of what something might be and a second with the actual result.  At school, I think they are estimating beans and counters.  Somehow Andrew has decided that this would work really well with Christmas presents.  So this morning I found him next to the Christmas tree, paper and pencil in hand, investigating each of his own presents.  "I'm feeling textures and shapes, Mommy.  I need to make a good estimate of what I think might be in here.  I will keep this list next to the tree and when it is Christmas morning, I can see if I am right."  He has even gone as far as comparing the sounds of other toys in our home with his presents to see if the sounds match.  As you can see from his face, Andrew is taking this very seriously.  

In a related story,  Daddy has created a new rule in our house.  "No one may touch any more presents until Christmas."  (Because Andrew has successfully guessed at least one almost all of them).

Lazy 5 Ranch

I am not a very spontaneous person.  I am a planner.  I have every moment of each day planned.  I am a mother of 3 small children, so my plans are flexible.  Which really means I have five or six back up plans in case things don't go well.  I had planned to take my bird obsessed children to the Raptor Museum on Friday.  But when we found out late Thursday night that the Raptor Museum did not have live bird shows on weekdays, I needed a backup plan quick.  I googled "fun things to do with kids in Charlotte" and found the Lazy 5 Ranch.  I copied the address and we headed there instead.

I am so glad we went!  It was an amazing day. The Lazy 5 Ranch is a privately owned zoo.  They allow you to drive your van through a 3 and a half mile safari trail, roll your windows down, and feed the animals from your van.  I thought that perhaps the animals would be behind gates and would reach their heads over to get the food.  Nope.  They are allowed to roam free on the reservation and block your car and knock on your windows until you feed them.  Seriously.  We laughed and we laughed, especially Molly, as the animals surrounded our car refusing to let us move forward. If we forced our way, they chased our car.

  We saw giraffes, rhino, emus, llamas, rheas, pigs, cattle, deer, zebras, elk, camels, swans, and OSTRICHES! I have to admit, the ostriches were a little too intense for me.  And I think all of their other animal friends felt the same way.  Every time we tried to feed an animal that was not an ostrich, they ran up and pecked the other animals out of the way.  And they were very messy eaters who spilled food all inside our car.  (Unlike the very polite rheas who ate neatly and shared with the llamas). What a neat experience it was.  At one point Chad was nipped by an ostrich.  I jokingly commented, "How many people can say they have been bitten by an ostrich?"  Andrew piped up, in complete dead pan, "How many people can say they have been bitten by an ostrich...I can say that, that is really easy."  A few more years till this one gets sarcasm, I think.

After the safari, we parked our car and headed into the gift shop.  The boys each picked out a stuffed animal bird toy that chirps and peacock feathers as souvenirs.  Molly really wanted this purple hat, but for $13, we decided a picture of it would suffice.

In addition to the safari you can drive through, there is also a petting zoo.  We spent over 2 hours walking through and looking at all of the animals.  Not once did the kids complain or say they were tired or hungry.  In addition to your normal petting zoo animals, there were dozens of different kinds of birds (which made my novice bird enthusiasts delighted).  There was even an awesome Noah's Ark playground to play on.

I imagine that it is even better in the spring, with all of the new baby animals and the wagon rides and all of the animals on display (some were inside due to the cold temperatures).  We will definitely visit again this spring. Though I can't imagine enjoying ourselves more than we did on Friday.  It is so rare to find an activity that ALL 5 of us have a good time at, even the baby.  Although, if I visit again, we will do the wagon ride instead.  Our car needs to be detailed badly now.  ( more llama slobber inside my car).

When it was time to go, we hopped in our van to go get some lunch.  (It was 3pm and we had only had snacks since breakfast).  However, our van wouldn't start.  So while Chad called and arranged for a tow truck and rental car, the hungry kids and I went and spent another hour exploring the petting zoo.

I think that all of the fun we had that day together made the fact that our car broke down easier to handle.  Even though we were stranded and hungry, seriously, no one complained.  Not once.  We didn't want to break the spell of our fun day.  We laughed, and were grateful that it broke down in a parking lot instead of in the middle of the animal safari with the scary ostriches (the tow truck operator said he has towed several cars out of there over the years) or on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in the cold.  We were grateful for great friends who covered for us and our responsibilities at the ward party that night.   We hopped into one rental car, drove to the car rental place, changed it for a second, went to the repair shop, and then finally got something to eat around 6pm.  I am so proud of my kiddos.  They were real troopers.  And I am grateful for fun backup plans!