Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Olive's Birthday Recap

Olive had a fun birthday weekend.  She picked all her favorite things to do and it was a blast.  Many of the things we'd hoped to do have yet to open, but we still managed to have a great time.  She got to pick the menus, the activities, the order of events, movies, etc.

She had a 7 themed lunch.  I either cut things into 7s or put 7 of each item on her plate.  It's such an easy birthday tradition to keep up.

She opened gifts in the morning.  Fletcher was right there to see what she got.  He was so sweet and eager to help her.  They were both excited to have new toys to play with.

All my planner loving dreams came true.  Olive asked for her own unicorn planner this year!!  She writes in it each day, asking me about dates and activities and it's just the cutest thing ever.  I remember starting to keep a planner in 6th grade.  I've had a paper planner every year since then.

We got Square Donuts for breakfast and donut cake.

The house looks a bit like a bomb went off with all the new toys :)  Olive picked dinner - take out from her favorite Mexican restaurant and a dinner picnic.  It was so good!

We headed outside to do some stomp rockets.  They LOVED it.  They all took turns stomping, jumping and chasing the rockets.

She got some birthday mail.  Cash is a super fun surprise :)

We sang Happy Birthday!  It startled the baby and made him cry.  We all laughed because apparently he'd never been awake for a birthday song before :)

Then Fletcher did his best to not help Olive blow out her candle this year.  haha

We are so thankful for Olive!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Easy DIY Donut Cake

Thank you for all of your kind words yesterday!  We really appreciate your love and concern for Fletcher and our family!

Let's pivot to something happy today... DONUTS!

I always let the kids pick their birthday treats and Olive requested sugar cookies and donuts.  Our local donut shop - Square Donuts - is her favorite.  I hopped in the car early on the morning of her birthday to get a dozen donuts on her actual birthday.  They're $9.09/dozen which makes for a very affordable birthday cake option.

She got the idea to stack them.  I had offered to form them into a #7 and put a candle in them, but she thought a stacked donut cake would be fun.  She was right.  It turned out great!

You just need a few things:
a dozen of your favorite donuts (a variety works well)
*optional: a cake plate.

We learned a few things along the way:
1. Donuts are really best the day you buy them.  This cake needs to be made the same day you buy them.
2. Start your stack with the glazed donuts on the bottom and the icing donuts higher up.
3. Wait to stack them until about an 1-2 before the party so the donuts don't get too stuck together.
4. Sprinkle the whole cake with some sprinkles.

Donut cake success!

Would anyone in your family enjoy this cake?

Monday, June 1, 2020

Fletcher Got Attacked

I was supposed to be writing a fun birthday recap post today, but our weekend didn't go as planned.  Fletcher ended up in the Emergency Room Friday night and we're all still shaken up about it.

I always share the highs and lows of life here so I'm coming here today to document this..

Let's rewind back to Friday night.  It was Olive's birthday and we'd had a wonderful week celebrating her.  We were playing outside and enjoying the gorgeous weather.  We played in the driveway and some neighbors stopped to talk to us like they often do.

We were visiting, talking about Olive's birthday presents at the end of our driveway.  They had their dog with them like usual.  He had a tennis ball and Fletcher was carefully throwing it back and forth with the dog while he was on his leash.  Fletch was being careful and we were all right there.

I've replayed the next few minutes in my head a million times since Friday night.

It all happened so fast.

****Fletcher was attacked by our neighbor's dog.  We'd love your prayers for his healing.  If you don't want to read a play by play of the events of that awful night, stop reading here and we'd really appreciate you sending all your positive thoughts, prayers and well wishes his way!!****

Fletcher was done playing and we were all just standing there wrapping up our conversations.  He took one step forward and out of nowhere the neighbor's dog lunged and him.  The dog bit down on his right arm and drug him out to the street.

I've never seen an attack like this.  It was like something out of a movie.  The dog lunged to attack and then snatched Fletcher away from us.  We all screamed.  They jerked the dog back, he released Fletcher in the street and we are so thankful that the dog let him go quickly.

Fletcher started screaming grabbing his arm.  Kevin was right there to scoop him up in the road.  I was holding Leo and trying to keep Olive away from the chaos.  When he got him back into our driveway, we quickly realized the severity of everything.  His arm had multiple puncture wounds and the blood was coming out of his arm like a fountain.  The dog was taken home with one of his owners.

Kevin handles emergencies really well and is super clear headed.  I am so glad he was right there, too.  I felt like I was moving and thinking in slow motion.  He took off his t-shirt right away and made a tourniquet around Fletcher's arm to try to stop the bleeding and stabilize his arm a bit.  I ran back to the house with Leo & Olive to get towels.  The dog owners were devastated.  They are our friends and we talk to them regularly.

Nearby neighbors heard all the commotion and came running to help.  They took care of the other kids while we tried to regroup and figure out the quickest way to get Fletcher to the hospital.  Fletcher was shaking, shivering and so upset.  He couldn't even process what had just happened to him.  He kept asking to please stay home and just put bandaids over the bites.  He hates bandaids so it was heartbreaking for him to offer to get those instead.  We reminded him that he'd need some medicine and smart doctors to help his arm to heal.  We were all in shock.  Olive stayed with a neighbor.  I loaded up all the boys and zoomed to the ER.  I called my parents crying on the way there and asked them to pray for Fletcher.

Due to COVID-19 only one parent was allowed at the ER with Fletcher.  I anticipated this and it broke my heart.  Fletcher was begging me to go with him and I knew I couldn't.  That was impossible to explain in the moment.  I dropped Kevin and Fletcher off at the ER doors and cried my whole way back home.  I hated leaving him there, but I knew Kevin would be the one who could handle this really tough situation best.  I'm also still nursing the baby and couldn't leave him.

I got home, retrieved Olive and we tried to settle down.  We talked about the events of the evening and tried to focus on the positive parts of her birthday instead of the attack.  We prayed for Fletcher and just hung out for a bit.  She said she wished there was a way to delete memories from your brain.  I called some friends to explain what was going on and asked them to come over and stay with Olive and Leo.  I knew I'd have to go and get the boys at some point.  They dropped everything and came over right away.  They helped with both kids while I was trying to stay connected with Kevin at the ER. 

Kevin was texting me pictures and keeping me in the loop.  Fletcher had arm x-rays done and thankfully nothing was broken.  I was so focused on all the blood that I hadn't even stopped to consider that this 60lb dog could have broken his arm in addition to biting him.  He had multiple puncture wounds and some would require stitches.  Everything had to be cleaned out and sterilized.  Kevin was asking me to pray for Fletcher because he was so upset and in lots of pain.  I was just nauseous about the whole thing.  This was his first ER visit where I couldn't be there to comfort him.
He later told me that each wound had to have a shot in it, be cleaned and flushed out.  He said it was just awful watching Fletcher go through that part.  I was hoping he could have some kind of sedation or sedative, but the doctors told Kevin they don't like to go that route. 

Finally around 12:15 Kevin called and said they were getting closer to getting released.  Fletcher had gotten 6-8 stitches in several different spots.  Fletcher was in really good spirits and was super chatty with me on the phone telling me all about this blue stuff that was now in his body (stitches), that shots made him cry super hard (he had to get a shot in every puncture wound), how he had to be super careful, that his belly hurt (he ended up with claw scratches on his belly) and that he could not wait to see MOMMY!!  I waited in the parking lot until 1:30 when they were FINALLY released.

The hospital is understaffed right now.  It's not busy at all and that made everything move so slow.  Darn COVID!  I carefully gave Fletcher hugs and kisses and he fell asleep almost immediately when he got in the car.  We got home with him at about 2:00am.  Thanked our friends for staying with the other kids and put him to bed.

Kevin and I debriefed about the day.  Cried and just felt awful.  Fletcher is the sweetest, friendliest guy and we just hated seeing him go through this.  Kevin was sore from carrying Fletcher around all evening, sore from holding him down along with 3 other nurses for the procedures and tense from all the stress.

There's nothing we could have done to anticipate this attack.

This was a dog we were familiar with.  We were being careful and watching Fletcher closely.  We were in our driveway and all right there when it happened.  This was a total freak accident, but we were/still are having major parent guilt about it.  As parents, you just want to protect your kids from everything, but this attack felt extra awful.  The dog owners/our friends have done their best to make amends, apologize and no longer have the dog.

Given a few days to reflect on the attack, we are so thankful that the dog let go of him fairly quickly causing puncture wounds vs rips/tears.  Fletcher's injuries could have been catastrophic had he been shaken, been bit multiple times, etc.  We are thankful that the dog bit his arm instead of his neck or face.  We are really thankful his arm didn't get broken and that his wounds will heal.  We are very thankful for all the friends that stepped in to help us that night.

We've decided that we will be extra cautious around dogs and our kids from now on.  I know that most dogs are good dogs, but after witnessing this, we will always have our kids be friendly, but extra careful around dogs.  A lot of people are out and about with their dogs now that the weather is nicer so we'll have plenty of opportunities to practice being careful around dogs this Summer.

Prayer requests:
1. Fast healing for Fletcher.  He can't take a bath or swim until everything heals.
2. Easy removal of his stitches.  He had a really tough time when he got his staples removed last summer so I'm dreading this a bit.
3. Healing for all of us.  We're all traumatized.  I don't want him to fear dogs, just to be careful around them from now on.

Kevin texted me these pictures from the hospital.  I wont publish any of his arm.

Fletch had gotten so upset and cried so hard that he wore himself out.

Ready to see Mommy!!!  1:30am

The boys slept in until noon the next day.  Fletcher woke up in pain in the middle of the night, but was able to fall back to sleep after some medicine.

My parents surprised Fletcher with the sweetest balloon bouquet and bear on Saturday.  He loved it.

We have to keep his arm wrapped and check on his bites every day.  We are trying hard to make sure he takes it easy.  Puppy got a matching arm wrap.  He also gave himself "treasure map" tattoos on both of his legs :)

 We tried to take it easy the rest of the weekend to recoup from this scary, scary experience.

Friday, May 29, 2020

She's 7: Birthday Favorites!

Happy 7th Birthday Olive!!

It seems like just yesterday we were living in Salt Lake City, I was teaching and we couldn't wait to welcome you into the world.  You were the easiest, sweetest baby.  You've always been the best traveler, eater, helper and you have always known exactly what you want.  You're smart, funny, sassy and dresses are still your favorite.

You are our favorite girl.  We love you tons!  You always SHINE BRIGHT.

7 Favorites About Our Birthday Girl:

1. You love to help.  You look for new jobs to do, new things to try and are eager to take on new responsibilities.  You keep your brothers safe and are the best responsible girl. 

2. You love to learn.  You've really missed going to school these last few months.  You are reading a ton independently and you have even taken over doing story time.  You love to read.  You're always learning new things.  This year you've been working on learning how to dribble, play basketball, climb trees, make your own bed, set the table, etc.

3. Your current favorites - pink, dresses, Crocs, art, crunchy veggies, salty crackers, playing outside, climbing trees, Bun-Bun the bunny, playgrounds, unicorns, movie night, riding your bike, gardening, LOL dolls, Barbies and craft kits.

4. You are always up for an adventure.  You love to travel, visit new places and you say that you'd love to live at the ocean.  We love traveling with you!

5. I love hanging out with you.  You're getting so good at basketball.  It is so fun shooting hoops with you.  You're so brave, silly and I can't believe how fast you're growing up.  Love you!  -Daddy

6. You're so sweet and gentle with me.  You love to hold me, snuggle me and are always helping put in my paci.  You are a great big sis. -Leo

7. I love to climb with you!  I really like sleeping with you in our big kid room. - Fletcher

If you have a 5-8 year old girl, here are some gift ideas for her.

These are Olive's favorite things:

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Linking up with Momfessionals Friday Favorites

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Olive's Family Birthday

We decided that this past weekend would be a good time to visit our extended families.  We hadn't seen the majority of them since Fletcher's birthday party back in early March.  We washed hands more and everyone was more aware of germs than usual.

Many things are opening back up with caution in Indiana and people are getting out and about more.  We are all being careful with being out in public and are really only hanging out with family.  We did not plan a friend party for Olive because it felt a little too soon to do so.  We were eager to celebrate Olive turning 7 with family as well as introduce the family to Leo.

I shared all the party planning details of Olive's birthday yesterday.  Today's post will be a family heavy post.  I'm sure it's not that exciting to most of you, but it's special to us.  There's nothing better than sharing your kid's milestones with the people you love most.

We did a dinner party with Kevin's family on Saturday night.  His mom grilled delicious burgers for us and helped me host as always.  I didn't manage to get pictures of everyone.  Turns out it's hard to host a party, care for three little people and snap all the pictures.

We were really proud of Fletcher.  He was so happy for Olive.  He was happy to hand her gifts, was excited to see her get things she loves and was a great brother for her whole birthday weekend.  Sometimes it's hard when the other kids are getting extra attention and he just was happy to be along for the ride.

Jordan cousins!

Leo loved meeting all of his Great Grandparents.  He's got 4 of them!!

His 2nd set of Great Grandparents.  He was sweet and snuggly with everyone.  They all ohhh and ahhhhed over him.

On Sunday we had a lunch party with my family.  My mom helped me with all the hot food and helped me host as always.  These cute cousins were so excited to see each other!  Here's their first picture as a group of TEN!!  They really have the best time playing together.  For a few months out of the year, this bottom row of girls are the same age.  Right now they're all 7!!

My favorite party hostess helper :).  Look at her cute Happy Birthday sign.  My parents worked together to make this block alphabet set.  She changes the message seasonally or for special occasions. 

Lots of hand washing, baby admiring and snuggling going on here.  Leo is lucky to be the cute caboose of the family.

Look at all these smiles meeting Leo!

This was the first year that Olive could fluently read her cards and the messages (with a little help on the cursive!)  It was so cute to see her doing this part by herself.  When did she get so big!?!

So many girls.  So much excitement over tiny toys!  Especially the rare ones :)

We had the best birthday weekend!  I loved her sweet LOL dress and all the LOL doll decorations.  She said the party came together just like she imagined.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

LOL Party + My Party Hacks

Olive turns 7 this week and we've been looking forward to celebrating her all month long.  We opted to skip a friend party this year due to all the COVID-19 restrictions and just focus on doing small parties with our family.  She knew exactly what she wanted - an LOL doll themed party.  I picked up party supplies, made all of her favorite foods and we celebrated with family.  It was wonderful!

If you've been around here for very long, you know that I love throwing parties.  I look forward to celebrating all the things.  I wanted to put a different spin on my party post this year.  I thought I'd share some behind the scenes party hacks with you.  These are all things I've learned over the years that make party planning easier for me.

Watch for 10 of these *** throughout the post to read my party hacks.

Let's party!!  (I'll put links at the end of the post to anything I can.)

***Be sure to ask someone to snap pictures for you if you're busy trying to host.  I always ask my sister to take pictures during my parties because I know she'll get good shots and she'll tell me things like - turn the candle around the other way so that the 7 will be the right way for the camera.

***Pick three different patterns/colors for your napkins.  It'll add interest and fun layers to your table.
***Pick one item to inspire your party colors.  I picked the LOL doll tablecloth from Wal-Mart and selected colors, patterns and designs to go with it.
***Shop around to find an eclectic mix of party supplies instead of buying every item in a set.  I got the napkins from Walmart and Meijer.  Straws from Kroger and Dollar Tree.  LOL doll cupcake pics from Amazon, plates from Meijer and tablecloth from Walmart.  Mix and match!

Olive opted out of the traditional birthday cupcake and requested sugar cookies instead.  I made those, chocolate dipped Oreos and added in a classic chocolate chip cookie since that's always a crowd pleaser.  People seem to enjoy a little dessert buffet.

***Plan the menu around the birthday girl's favorite foods.  Oreos are life!

*** Melt 3 squares of white chocolate almond bark in the microwave until smooth.  Dip half of Oreo in almond bark.  Lay it on wax paper to dry and add sprinkles immediately.  Let dry for a couple of hours.  The kids loved these and they were so easy!

*** Fresh flowers seem to be in short supply at my local grocery stores.  I only found tiny bouquets of $10 tulips.  It would have taken 3 or 4 bouquets to fill a vase.  I did not want to spend that kind of money on party flowers.  I opted to buy this $9.99 beautiful flowering plant instead.  It was huge and so pretty on the drink table.  Bonus: I will repot it and enjoy adding it to my indoor plant collection.

 Hearts, stars and #7 shaped sugar cookies for the birthday girl!

 Chocolate chip cookies.  I added rainbow sprinkles to go with the theme.

***Sundae sprinkles are perfect for any dessert.  They're bigger, brighter and cheaper than the sprinkles you find in the baking aisle.  These are found in the same section as the sundae toppings.  These rainbow sprinkles are from Meijer.

We tried something new for favors this year and it was so fun!

Olive has 9 cousins on my side of the family so we planned this for them.  We added all of her favorites plus things we thought the kids would love.

1. Hand decorated bags for all the  kids
2. LOL Pez dispensers
3. Pez refills
4. Airheads
5. 3 Musketeers
4. Pink Starburst
5. Lip gloss/chapstick
6. Silly straws
7. Reese's
8. Waterproof Vinyl Stickers

*** Let the birthday girl go through the line first.  Then shuffle the bags and call the kids up one at a time to load up their bags.  We talked through quantities - one Pez dispenser per person, a couple of candies per person, etc.  It worked really well and all the kids enjoyed picking out their own flavors and favors.

 The LOL doll table cloths were so cute!  I put one on the adult table, one on the island and did a plain pink one for the kid's table.

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