Saturday, January 30, 2010

FOUR!



























Oh me oh my, my boy is FOUR! Lots more sentiments to come when this mama isn't scrambling to get out the door to a b-day movie with the fam. Happy B-day to my most favorite little man! Mama loves you, Handsome! :) Happy B-day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Snow" Much Fun! :)

Just a few snowy pics to show ya' how much fun we've been having in the white stuff that has poured down upon us lately. The kids have loved it, but I admit this mama is tired of it...tired of the bitter cold, tired of snow and ice and mostly just tired of not seeing the sun (or even just blue sky) and green trees. This kind of dreariness puts a damper on this FL girl's heart. All that being said...that it does put a smile on my face to see my kids enjoy this time of year even in spite of my nasty "wanting some warmth" mood! :) haha :) So....with that I will leave you with some snowman/snowball fun that the kids had (mostly S&D) a couple weeks ago in our front yard....
The first pic shows how fascinated Ash was with our snow family....the second she was nice enough to give me an ornery/squishy-nosed smile :) (fyi Hailey had just knocked the head off my snowman (on the right)...thanks, Hails!) :)
And here's Shelb and Dyl...they actually helped me make the snowman (Hailey was in school and Ash was napping)....Shelby made the one ALL by herself (on the left)....she was VERY proud of herself...and even prouder that she made the BIGGEST snowman of all. She's so funny :)
Here's Ash with the snowman that's bigger than her....she wasn't so sure of him....
first she sized that snowman up...
then she had to tell me what she thought of him :)
Then S&D had a good down-home snowball fight :)
Shelby looks like she's winning...
But, it didn't take long for the tables to be turned...the little brother is a fighter!
Here's Shelby showing Dylan the ins and outs of rolling snow balls...she was awesome at it...better than me. She's a very determined little girl!
Can you tell how proud she was of herself?! I love this girl! And is it me or is she looking very grown up? Gosh, I still remember like yesterday when she was Dylan's age....and now going on 6. Time needs to just slow down a bit :(
So, there ya' go...a few more pics to pass the time and to show you how cold we Bloomy people are right now. I hope you FL folk are grateful for sun and warmth! Cuz, I long for spring and warmth and color right now :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

LOL!

Nothing like a lil' bathtub hair fun to brighten the day. D&A apparently had some nice "dos" going on this weekend during tubby time. Daddy snapped these pics while I was busy with party plans downstairs :)

Gosh, I love these kids. I know God had many reason in giving me these little blessings (along with the other two not pictured :))...but I'm certain one good reason was to make my heart smile every day....and they do :)

And can you tell who needs her first "salon haircut"?! Hopefully she gets one at Cookie Cutters this weekend! That should be an experience all in itself for our feisty Ash! :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

All Revved Up--The Racecar Party!

Well, as you can tell it's "feast or famine" for me as far as the blog pics/posts go! But, I do the best I can so I really shouldn't be so hard on myself :) So, here ya' go...a little revved up b-day fun courtesy of Dylan's 4th birthday party on Monday! Usually we have it in Feb, but due to my upcoming unknown Feb. jury duty status I had to preplan this year and have it before he turned the big FOUR! Anyway....as you all know our boy is obsessed with cars. He owns just about every matchbox/hotwheels that's been sold in the store recently and he is usually never w/o a racecar in his hand. So, it was a no brainer to have a car party for him this year. We opted for the Disney CARS theme since we'd just been to Disney and he loves Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater. Sooo....hopefully you can tell who our cake was meant to be. We didn't go all out on detail (trust me, I wanted to...being the perfectionist I am!)...but I like our Lightning McQueen/Dylan car rendition and so did out boy! He was sooooo excited by his CARS cake! And Kev and I were super excited by our first success with fondant...it was our 4th fondant cake and the first where it didn't taste like gum (less cornstarch did the trick!) and the first where I didn't go overboard with wiping it down (remember the splotchy baby cake in FL for Ash's 1st b-day? :)). Anyway...this cake was super easy (fondant is so easy to work with!)......and super cute. We were proud of it!
Here's our b-day boy waiting for the party to begin! The racecar shirt and hat were courtesy of Nina and Pops in FL. Nina is my awesome shopper even from afar. When she heard I needed some racecar attire she stepped right up and found it. Perfect for the party! I love the Lightning McQueen hat...she got it not even knowing that was the cake we were making :) And I love the blue shirt that looked great on him. We opted not to get the expensive button down Disney CARS shirt....Dylan is much more comfortable in t-shirt-y man shirts! :)
Here's the b-day boy with his b-day cake :) Again, such an easy cake....mostly thanks to the awesome 3D Cruiser cake pan I got at Hobby Lobby for $7. Now I can make Shelb a beetle car too for her 6th b-day! YAY! Gotta love Wilton!
Dylan with one of his b-day balloons from Nina and Pops in FL. We love personalized stuff...and Dylan was super excited to see his name on a balloon! We only blew up one Dylan balloon since the dollar store has a policy on not blowing up regular balloons...they made an exception for us, thankfully :)
Dylan at the CARS party table. This is the only shot I got of the b-day table all decorated. I just ran out of time to take better pics and the kids ate their cake/ice cream and snacks so fast that I never got a pic then either. Darn :( But, it was a cute table decorated with Disney CARS stuff and all Dylan's little CARS cars.
Another coincidence that Aunt Mary got him CARS wall cling-ons. I let him open them early so he could have them for the party. He loved them!
The food/treat table (minus the snacks/drinks that I hadn't set out yet). In addition to our LM cake we also had stoplight cupcakes and some other goodies...chocolate car lollipops and candy cars...more about that later...
Another pic of Dylan and his Lightning McQueens...real and cake :)
Being silly...it's a past-time of Dylan's :)
S&D help with the party set-up. Actually all the kiddos helped...it was nice to have mini-helping hands! Below is me and my Pit Chief B-day boy. At the last minute we made all the kids name badges that said "Pit Crew" and their name. Dylan was, of course, the Pit Chief! :)
Posing by the front door waiting for friends to arrive!
The front door sign was made courtesy of the big sisters...Hailey did all the printing of "Welcome to Dylan's Motor Speedway" (4th Annual Race). Shelb colored all the car pictures. They did a great job!
Then the kiddos arrived....some played in our front room with the cars toys we had set out (sorry, didn't get a pic of that)...and above is the only pic I got of the kiddos putting together their racecars. Actually we had to revamp this idea. My plan was for them to make their own racecars. I had found some cute little ones at Hobby Lobby that they could put together and then race, but they were too complicated almost for daddy Kev, so no way 4-5 year olds could do it. So, I got some dollar store ones that they just had to decorate with the decals. This took long enough. But, most the kids did great....and they were cute pull-back racecars in the end.
Here's Dylan with what I thought was his racecar...now looking at it I see it's Hailey's (marked with an "H"). I think daddy was busy putting decals on Dylan's car at this time....he's a kid at heart that Kev of mine :)
Dylan and Drew try out their racecars on the track (made by daddy out of old wood from our basement....see, keeping old clutter can come in handy sometimes!) :)
Then it was time for the big race! We had hoped all 9 kiddos could race together, but there wasn't enough "rear-end" room for them to sit next to each other :) So, we did 2 heats....this was the first one....Ben, Rachel, Shelby, Dylan and Ethan........Ben won!
Then the girls went...Hailey, Hope and Minette....surprisingly the youngest gal won...yay for Minette! :)....then we had a race between the 2 winners...Ben and Minette. I think Ben won, but I gave them both prizes for being great racers!
Then it was time for "pin the racecar on the track". Hailey made the board for us...I loved it! The official name of the game was "1st to the Finish"...a theme from the CARS movie, I think?!
I have these pics in reverse order, but you can see what happened....we had trouble keeping the kids from "feeling for the finish line" (aka. cheating!) :) So, we did a few rounds of this...and ended up having to take their cars off the board and marking it with pencil so they wouldn't feel for each other's cars at the finish line. Next time we know to make the track circular or figure eight! Ya' live and learn! :) But, they still had fun.
Dylan did pretty good...I actually think he won (w/o cheating), but I don't remember.
Shelby asked that I post this picture. She posed especially for it :)
Then it was time for cake. I love this pic. He's got a lot of hot air in him, huh?! I love Hailey and Ash cheering him on too :)
And in a matter of minutes he had his cake gone and was asking for more. I never even saw him actually eat cake so I still wonder if he had any...he was begging for more right away. Still eats baby food, but he loves his sweets!
The older girls eating in their corner of the room :)

Then it was time for the "Race to the Finish Relay" This was also a last minute game that we hap-hazardly planned. Special thanks to Daddy Kev for throwing together most of it. We split them into three teams. First the kiddos had to put together cars made out of cardboard (add wheels, headlights, steering wheel, etc). They did pretty good....then they had to race to the living room and take a pit stop...
the pit stop was the candy cars we had made. They had to put these in their trunks (or some put them in their hoods :)). This is where I wish it had been June and we could have done this outdoors....would have been much more fun to have more room. Three teams of 9 kids racing around our very small main floor was a bit of a challenge. But we managed and they seemed to have fun (even the big girls joined in :))
Then they did a figure eight back to the dining room and had to get a ball through the tire (I never managed to get a pic of that...there was so much chaos at the time)....and then they ran back to the living room for the 2nd pit stop/checkered flag (flag on a pencil). They finished the race way faster than I thought they would...mostly b/c I think some of the kids were confused (aka...cheated and took shortcuts) :)
Then it was time for presents. I missed almost all of this too cuz Ben's mom came to pick him/Hope up at this time. But, I know Dylan had a ball opening all his gifts. His wonderful friends gave him so many cool, new things!
I think his mouth is wide open as he and Minette check out the awesome gifts! :)
Dylan and his Best Bud, Minette. Bless her heart....she had been so sick the entire week before (missed preschool both days) and then Monday came down with an ear infection. She fell asleep right before the party and came a little late....but we were soooo glad she showed up. Dylan just adores her and it wouldn't have been a complete party w/o her there.
Miss Tonya (Minette's super mom!) helped Dylan and Minette set up one of Dylan's new robot/matchbox toys! Very fun. The end of the party was just letting the kiddos play with all Dylan's car stuff. I actually had a Disney cars foam frame craft to do with them, but Kev and I both agreed to ditch that idea and just let them play. I'm glad we did...4/5 year olds don't need (can't handle) that much structure and I don't think they would have sat through a craft anyway. I was sad not to use the cute crafts, but it's just another thing to return to the party store that saves us money :)
Minette was the first to leave. Dylan couldn't help but hug her....he loves his best friend, Minette! :)
Dylan and Drew...both CARS fans, obviously :)
LOL...leave it to Ethan to not want to take a normal, smiley picture :) Gotta love him! :)
I was so mad at myself for not getting a group picture earlier. I just totally forgot to to do it when Minette was there....so this is the group, minus, Hope (who had left to go to piano), Hailey who was a bummer and didn't want to be in the picture, Minette who had just left, and Ash who was getting her 2nd poopy diaper of the day changed by daddy :) Ah well...it was still a cute pic and I can photo shop those missing kids in if I ever scrapbook :)
A crazy-face pic of the group. Rachel and Shelby just had to sit in the cardboard cars! :)
The birthday boys, Ben's b-day is the day before Dylan's (this Friday) and his b-day party is on Sat (Dylan's real b-day)...we're looking forward to his winter olympic fun! :)
After the party...Dylan took a real liking to his cardboard car. It is now his "matchbox/hotwheels" storage area and he drives it everywhere...who would have guessed...free cardboard=hours of fun :)
Ash was so good during the party....she just sat and ate and then played. Thank goodness for easy babies (who love food!)! I love this smiley girl!
Like father like son, both love their racecars! :) LOL!
This is the one day this week that S&D actually got along! Check out their trunks (hoods)...Dylan stores all his cars in his and Shelby has all her party loot in hers....
Biggest Sis and Lil' Bro....before Hailey leaves for ballet....
The littlest Steg kids...aren't they cute being all smiley :)
A pic courtesy of photographer Shelby :) Hard to believe our little man is almost 4!
A self-portrait taken by Dylan :) Kinda scary, but kinda cute :)
Is this toddler cute or what???? I love this pic of her. Can you tell she's a stinker though!? Gotta love her!
Dylan with all his loot. Thanks to all his wonderful friends for all the great gifts and special hand-made cards! He is loving playing with all his cool, new toys!
I love this close-up pic of him. He's so handsome. What a blessing my man is!
And the little rascal of the family!
This is actually the day after his party (I found his old Disney CARS pj's (way too small!) in a pile of old clothes)....so we thought we'd try it on and stand in front of the b-day cars sign) :)
What a sweet boy my Hot Rod guy is...and a ham too!
And a little rewind too....to show off a few more fun pre-party pics. This is the morning of the party (above). Dylan was soooooooooo excited to see his cake that morning for the first time sitting in the fridge. But, he was soooo bummed that he was the last to see it (he slept in that morning). Then he found out Ash hadn't seen it yet, so here he is showing it off to her. I think she was impressed! :)
Here's Dylan this past weekend sorting through and helping me with his goodie bags...
Sorry this is sideways...can't fix it for some reason...but here's what went in every goody bag....and they all got an additional CARS prize too.
Ash was tired of all the party prep and she wanted some peace...she she chose to drink her milk under the table :)
The car cake before fondant...covered in homemade buttercream.
Daddy's the fondant king....truly, he should go into business. He looks mighty fine in an apron too! FYI...that red fondant was tough to make (color-wise)....we almost pitched it cuz it was too bright and almost pinky...but we decided just to go with it. Dylan's fav. color is pink anyway! :) haha
Ash eating the oreo cookie wheels we decided not to use on the cake (we used fudge-striped cookies instead). She was excited to consume the cookie rejects!
Me with our smiley car masterpiece at midnight...I say "ours" b/c truly Kev did at least half of, if not more of the work this time. I think I see another cake-maker in our fam!
Dylan helping make his chocolate cake! YUMM!
Yes, he reaped the benefits of the leftover cake mix! :)
Crazy Choc. Face!
Daddy helping make the candy cars...
Actually, everyone helped and we had a candy assembly line going on.
Dylan with the finished product.....fyi...we used peanut butter crackers for the car base (we couldn't find big enough packs of cheap gum) and then we used 4 reeses cups for the wheels (Dylan used mints for his wheels) and then 2 mini hersheys candy bars...one for the back fin and one for the front fender. All put together by glue gun. So easy and so cute and a yummy pit stop treat!
Can you tell he just wants to dig into that chocolate!
Dylan with his race car fleet (or maybe a fleet is what you call ships...but either way he had a nice team of cars going on!) :)
The girls helping wrap the chocolate car lollipops we made.
Dylan helping make them...
All done....they looked much better from far away :)
And the invite we made. I had no intention of making invites. Not a thing I spend time on usually. But, I couldn't find CARS invites right away so I looked online and found this car idea. Very cute and somewhat simple....and cheap too. I had to cut out the cars and glue everything, which got messy....but I loved the outcome. The insert was super easy too and at the last minute I included the wallet pic of him hugging Lightning McQueen at Hollywood Studios in December on the back of the slid-in printed invite.
Helping get the invites ready to mail.
He was pretty excited about the car invites :) (FYI...they said...Dylan's Turning Four! Rev 'em up and shift into gear. It's Dylan's 4th birthday and we want you here!) Here he is with the racecar team of invites :)
So, there ya' go...a "few" pics to tide ya' over. It was a fun party, but like all good things it came to an end. And we were mighty exhausted after our weekend of prep. All-in-all it went well, but I just felt very absent-minded during the whole ordeal. Some days are like that I guess :) I think the birthday boy had a good time and that's all that really matters to me! :)

More to come with the big birthday weekend coming up this weekend. A busy birthday Saturday and then some go-cart racing in Indy on Sunday with the Steg. fam! Can't wait! My little man is growing up. Before we know it, he'll be racing a real car around town and all grown up!