Set Phasers to Fun!

Posted September 20th, 2014 by Sally and filed in Doozy, Family, Kiddos, Party Time

Since Noah’s actual birthday was on a weekday, we elected to celebrate on the following weekend with a real party.  He had requested a Star Trek party, so we boarded the Starship Enterprise for a celebration.

Noah - 4th Birthday Invite

As I was planning the party, I did some searching on the web and Pinterest for ideas, but didn’t find much off-the-shelf party stuff. I loved this post of  kid party ideas but found lots of stuff for adults, too. We were going for a smaller-scale party and didn’t plan too much in the way of decor.  Mostly, the kids wanted to bounce in a bouncehouse, so we rented one from the base like we did last year.  This time, we got one with obstacles in the middle so they could “explore” the alien planet with less gravity than we have here on Earth. ;)

For decorations, we hung our standard birthday banners, some new Star Trek fabric banners, the big 36″ balloons (Noah named them Kirk, Spock and Scotty) and that was about it.  Noah really wanted me to hang up curtains into the dining room so that he could pretend it was the Enterprise and make the “swoosh” sound when he walked through.  I couldn’t find the curtains we had used for Ava’s party, though, so he had to make the sound without the visual effect.  It ended up ok anyway.

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Noah Birthday - Party (6)

Since we had a small group here for the party, we did things backward.  Cake and ice cream first, then presents, and then lots of bouncing.  That gave us adults time to fix dinner before the kids were hungry and also gave them an outlet for all that sugar. It worked out so well that we might do it that way from now on. Reverse birthday parties rock!

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Ava made Noah a fleece Star Trek blanket as a gift. 

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He loved it.

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Grama made Noah a whole set of Star Trek shirts – Kirk, Spock & Scotty – and they get worn every day they are clean. On the other days, he wears his Reds gear.

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In addition to the costumes, Gramma and Grampa send some of Matt’s old Star Trek toys our way. The transporter room and shuttle craft were huge hits (with both the big and small Trekkies in the house). To stick with the theme, Noah received a full armory of phasers.  Matt made him three (a real one and two prototypes) and Uncle Michael made two as well. Once he had opened his communicator from Auntie Brooke and a model Enterprise from us, he was a real-life space voyager.

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Auntie Moe scored an awesome sound machine that makes the “swoosh” door sound when you walk by it, so he has one less doorway to make the sound himself when he walks by.  We hung it in the doorway between the playroom and the kitchen so we get to hear it a LOT.

After presents, the kids bounced while we made hamburgers and then we all shared a meal together.

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Image re-creation from last year’s bounce house.

We sent everyone home with their own Star Trek command badge, a phaser, and an TOS Pez dispenser.

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All in all, I think Noah had a great time and we have 1000% more Star Trek stuff in our house. We got to keep the bounce house through the long Labor Day weekend, so we enjoyed it for several hours in spite of the sporadic rain. Now that the party is over, we play Star Trek daily but, since we can’t play baseball all winter, it’s sort of nice to have a go-to indoor game to play for the quickly approaching Ohio winter.

Live long and prosper, Noah!

Noah’s 4th Birthday

Posted September 20th, 2014 by Sally and filed in Doozy, Family, Kiddos, Party Time

Noah’s birthday this year was on a Wednesday, which meant that school and work were non-negotiable. Plus, Matt was away TDY, so we were celebrating as a group of three rather than four. His party was planned for the following weekend, but I still wanted to mark the actual day with some fun.  So, Ava and I took our guy out for a fun evening and kicked off his celebration as we picked him up from school.

We started, of course, with cupcake delivery for snack time in his classroom.


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He had been wearing that big, goofy hat all day and LOVING it.  We served chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting (his request) and topped them with Star Trek command badges. Noah loved hearing his class sing him “Happy Birthday” and we apologized profusely to Ms Donna for leaving her with a classroom full of sugared up kiddos.

When we got home, we opened a couple of small gifts (because what good is a birthday without presents, right?) and Skyped with Grammie. Our gift to Noah was a set of tickets to a Dragons baseball game that night. His gift from Grammie and Grandad paired nicely with ours and he was soon all geared up to go to the ball field.

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After we answered numerous phone calls, we headed out the door to dinner. Noah picked his favorite place and we yummied on burgers at Five Guys.  We headed downtown and to the ballpark after that. Heater (the Dragons mascot) always hangs out in the plaza in front of the gates before the games, so Noah immediately ran over to say hi. He LOVES mascots (#minorleagueheroes) and always scores a photo op with them at the ballpark.

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When Noah told Heater that it was his birthday, he got the royal treatment.  The whole Green Team swarmed and he was treated to a special birthday song, lots of laughs and some fancy balloons.

It’s hard to tell from the video, but his first balloon sword totally deflated mid-song. If you know Noah, you also know that such an occurrence could have put him into a major funk. But, the Green Team magic was at work and kept him in a comical mood.  The team was cracking up and, when they were done singing, Noah said, “I did not see that coming!”  With a new sword in hand for Noah and a green kitty for Ava, we finally went in to watch some baseball.

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The kids were SO good for the whole game and were respectful of their neighbors with their balloons.  In fact, the man behind me tapped me on the shoulder in about the 5th inning and said, “Relax! They’re doing really well. You should be so proud of how they’re behaving.” So I did and I was.

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The game started at 7pm, which is about 15 minutes before bedtime around here, and we left after the 7th inning stretch because it was a school night.  BUT, Noah and I were up on the big screen while we sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” so I think that was pretty much the high note to leave on anyway.

There are two things that are absolutely always true about Noah – he loves baseball and Star Trek in equal measures and with his whole heart. Since we’d be enjoying his other passion for his party, it made good sense to celebrate baseball for his big day.  We couldn’t love our little baseball man more and love watching him grow up.

Happy 4th Birthday, Noah!

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Dreaming Big

Posted February 14th, 2014 by Sally and filed in Family, Holidays

Two weeks from today I’ll work my last full-time day at Sinclair. This is a change that’s been hanging on our hearts and our minds for months and months and we finally took the plunge just before Christmas.  All that said, it couldn’t really be more fitting that my two-weeks day comes on another significant day, Valentine’s Day. What better way to celebrate such a turning point than with a day consumed with honoring the love our family shares together? Really, love of family is the driving force behind the choices we’re making now.

In November, Ava put together a playlist of songs for her dance party birthday party and one of the songs on the list was OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars.” Its driving beat and upbeat message have made it a family favorite and it was on heavy rotation as Matt and I were making choices about how we wanted to live our life going forward. For me, this song became an anthem of sorts…a reminder of all of the options we are lucky enough to have and of the freedom that comes from truly dreaming big.

Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars
Yeah, we’ll be counting stars

I see this life
Like a swinging vine
Swing my heart across the line
In my face is flashing signs
Seek it out and ye shall find

Old, but I’m not that old
Young, but I’m not that bold
And I don’t think the world is sold
I’m just doing what we’re told

I feel something so right
By doing the wrong thing
And I feel something so wrong
By doing the right thing
I couldn’t lie, couldn’t lie, couldn’t lie
Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.

-OneRepublic, Counting Stars

So often, I’ve lost sleep thinking about all the little moments we were missing at home and with our kids and rather than taking time to count the stars, we’ve been counting up the wrong things. Little moments are, in fact, our big dream.  It’s the whole thing. To live them, notice them, collect them, treasure them. When I search my heart for what I truly want in life, I have found that I only really want to have done good work. To get to do good work for a family I love? That is a big dream, indeed.

To capture this dream in a tangible way, I took the moments we’ve collected this year on Instagram and made a video. These little moments…these snapshots in time…these are our big dream realized. It is truly beautiful.

And, hey, Matt? This video is your Valentine’s Day gift, as are all the moments I know are ours to share in the future. Thank you for making our dream possible by doing the work you do. LYS.

After-dinner Entertainment

Posted September 25th, 2013 by Sally and filed in Doozy, Family, Kiddos, Whoozy

A snippet of life after dinner in our house. Two thumbs up for turn taking, right? The rest is, well, just creativity run amok.

Settling In

Posted July 21st, 2012 by Sally and filed in Adventures, Family, Military Life

I like to joke that, by now, the stuff that makes up our “house” is sort of like a pop-up tent.  Usually, within a week of getting our boxes of stuff, we’ve got everything unloaded and pictures up on the wall.  I think seven moves since I started with the Air Force and five since we’ve been married means that we’ve learned to do this move thing fast.  So, it makes sense that, upon arrival in Dayton, we painted every wall in the house within the first 36 hours, set up a new playset, pulled out giant bushes from the front garden bed, and cleaned up the yard all before our boxes had even arrived! Gotta get done moving before you can get on with living!

Thank goodness Grammie & Granddad were along to help.  I’m not sure we’d have gotten nearly so much done without Granddad’s expert painting and carpentry advice and Grammie’s superior child-wrangling skills.  By the end of the fourth day in Dayton, we were all ready to cut loose and enjoy some down time.

Settling In (3)

Then, five days after we arrived and put together a newly clean house, freshly painted walls, and clean carpets, it started raining just in time for the moving truck to show up. Figures.

By the end of that night, we were all able to eat on clean plates at the dining room table and sleep in real beds with clean sheets.  Not too shabby.  By the next night, we had made a home-cooked meal and the kids’ rooms had pictures on the walls. We were exhausted, but starting to feel settled.

Grammie and Granddad had to go back home after a couple more days, but we got so much done while they were here to help.  In fact, we cleared out all but two boxes before they left. It sure put us in a good spot to be able to start working on the projects that make a house a home. So, we dug out the toys…


…and hung up the pictures…

…put away the books…

…then mowed the lawn.

And, on the tenth day, we decided the rest could wait and we’d probably better think about living a little.  So we did.

Ahhh.  Home Sweet Home.