Monday, June 26, 2017

Dinosaur Party.

  Caleb turned 3 on June 16th and we invited our friends and family over to celebrate this past weekend (his bday always coincides with Father's Day so we try to space his party from that). His party was so much fun! It turns out that 3 years olds love a good party and are way too much fun to plan for and celebrate. He has a handful of little friends and cousins that he loves and they all had a blast together on Saturday. Since they're all getting a bit older, they don't need us (parents) as much and truly play together!

  Months ago, Caleb told us he wanted to have a dinosaur birthday party. Its sort of funny because, while he does like dinosaurs, I wouldn't have said really say he's into them. We see them at the museum every time we go and he loves the exhibit while we're there. But we don't actually have many dino toys or anything. I think the anticipation and regular chats about his upcoming dino party just increased his love for them and the entire party planning process was so much fun. And now that we've been talking about dinosaurs non-stop for the past month or so- I would say he is fully into them now :)

Can you spot the swipe Caleb made in the icing before we started singing to him??

  I know that everyone approaches kid parties differently (hi, pinterest). I like little details and adding some personal touches, but have a limited budget and a main focus of making the party fun for the birthday boy. I had three goals at the onset of planning Caleb's 3rd birthday: to not become stressed/overwhelmed, to keep it simple-ish, and for Caleb to have fun. I'm obviously biased, but I think we nailed all three!

(the empty cake stand held the dirt pudding cups!)
  The menu was really simple and took little/no prep! We had pizza delivered from Pizza Hut (SO affordable) and ordered a basic cake from Wal-mart. I actually couldn't find a local grocery store to do a dinosaur cake like I wanted (not dark/Jurassic park themed). So instead, I just ordered a sheet cake in the colors I wanted and had them only add the words. Then I printed out a T-Rex silhouette, cut it out, traced it onto the cake with a toothpick, and then piped around it with store bought icing. Not winning any awards, but Caleb loved it! I think the cake was $20? And I love a delicious, sugary icing covered grocery stored cake.

  Other than the pizza and cake, we kept everything else simple (notice the theme?). Veggies and dip, watermelon wedges, grapes & blueberries, Bugles, and (not pictured!) cups of dirt pudding. I also added two small bowls of mini pigs-in-a-blanket and crackers because Caleb had been specifically telling us he wanted to eat dinosaur cake, crackers, and hot dogs at his party 😂.

  Since Caleb is only three, he isn't terribly into games/party activities. I wanted to do something, but to also make sure it was easy enough for 3 year olds. So I made a little dinosaur dig! Originally, we had planned for the party to be outside and to use our big outdoor sandbox for the dig. But lots of rain the day before the party meant our backyard was just too soggy and we moved the whole party inside. I was bummed for a hot second, but then remembered that we do love our house and it actually worked out perfectly! We used our DIY sandbox for an inside Dino Dig- I just put a dropcloth down to help catch the loose sand and left the tools nearby for kids to use. You guys. I was sort of afraid it would have been a waste of effort (it took me a few tries to get the dinosaur fossils to come out right). It was a HIT! I think every single kid spent some time digging for bones, and not because we ever formally announced it. We just set it up in a prime spot and kids just discovered it on their own. I think we had 13 kids there, ranging in age from 1-5 so it was fun to see that it was a fun activity for them all! (and now Caleb has a bag full of dinosaur bones leftover to play with!)

  The only other fun thing I added for the kids was a handful of inflatable dinosaurs. I spent $35 and it was worth every penny. The kids loved them! The giant T-Rex was a hit with most (some were a little scared) and they took turns wrestling with him or pretending to ride on his back. I'm not even sad that we have them leftover because I imagine the boys will love getting them out from time to time to play! I lost my phone during the party and didn't pick up my camera much, so I didn't get any photos of the kids playing with the dinosaurs- but I promise they were a hit. Here are some before and after photos of Caleb still loving them...and the BEST video of him seeing his giant T-rex for the first time.

Caleb and T-Rex from katie rush on Vimeo.

  Lastly, I put together simple favors for all the kids. I snagged different mini-dinosaurs at the dollar store and tied a thank you and some dinosaur temporary tattoos to each. I set them in a basket by the front door so they could grab them on their way out. Caleb was really excited and kept randomly giving his friends their favors throughout the party because I made it super clear to him when we bought them that they were for his friends (and not for him to play with in the weeks leading up to the party!).

  The entire party (and planning process) was just plain fun. Being a parent has so many different parts, and having the chance to intentionally do things that bring our kids joy is one of the best! My most favorite thing from the whole day was just watching and hearing Caleb- with his friends, family, his dad, and watching him take in the wonder of it all. Celebrating him was the best! (Tyler was, in fact, at the party. He was just busy eating, dumping sand everywhere, or going down for an early nap and too busy for any family photos!)


Happy Birthday banner: free printable
Favor tags: free printable
Adopt A Dinosaur: Dollar Tree
Dinosaur Tattoos: Amazon
Dinosaur Dig: DIY sandbox
Dino bone molds: Amazon sand molds + Crayola air dry clay
Excavation tools: $.50 paintbrushes from Wal-Mart and Amazon magnifying glasses
Dino cake: Wal-Mart and myself
Inflatable dinosaurs: Amazon
Extra large inflatable T-rex: Amazon
Dinosaur invitations: Etsy

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer reading.

  I just looked back in my blog archives and realized that this is my 5th year doing my library's summer reading program. That makes my nerdy heart so happy! I've started enrolling the boys too and it's fun to see them get into it (and by them, I only mean Caleb because Tyler is too little/wild to care!).

  I'm trucking away at my reading goal for the year (20/24!) and figured it was time for an update on my reading list. And, since we're heading out for vacation our family trip in two weeks, I need some new recommendations!

Here is what I've read since my last update in March (I'm actually surprised by the amount since I took basically all of April off from reading). My favorites are highlighted!

  • Home: Sort of a dark premise and I picked it up based on another book from the author that I loved. It was just ok and I had a hard time getting past the dark/unnecessary beginning. 
  • Everything I Never Told You: Meh. It was a book club book and we all showed up thinking we didn't love it but had so much to say about it!
  • The Fifth Letter: really fast read and interesting premise. Not amazing, but good.
  • The Royal We: Oh. My. Goodness. I COULD NOT PUT THIS DOWN. So so good and maybe my favorite read of the year? So, so, so good and fun. 
  • When In Doubt, Add Butter: I totally grabbed this off the shelf because of the title and cute cover. It was cute and easy to read. 
  • The Underside of Joy: A really sad book. I don't know that I loved it, but I'm glad I read it. If you like more serious books that make you think- its great for that! 
  • Here I Go Again: A silly, girly book. I liked it and loved how it ended! 

Ok, that's what I've been reading. Now hit me with your best/favorite beach reads! I'm talking fiction and something that you just can't put down!

(See my Summer Readings from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Checking in.

  Whoosh! How has it been almost two weeks since I've really blogged? Life is full and busy in the best ways right now. To be more specific, life with a 1.5 and 3 year-old takes ALL the energy and creativity and brain space that I have 😂

  Here are 10 things on my thankful list from that past 2 weeks:

Rain after a week without
Seeing God answer big prayers
Caleb's excitement over his new cross
Making it to bedtime
Chick fil a watermelon mint lemonade
Catching up with a best friend
Hiding Scripture in my heart
Holding new babies
Our family rhythms
Chats with Justin

  I actually lost my thankful journal months ago (I think I may have left in the Domincan Republic...) so I've been mentally taking note of three daily thankfuls before I fall asleep. Sometimes Justin and I swap ours- when we aren't too tired! I've said it a million times, but making an effort to daily track things you are thankful for is research-proven to be lifechanging!


Friday, June 16, 2017

Caleb. (3 years)

  Our sweet boy is 3 today! There is so much about Caleb at this exact age that I love. It is also really fun to look back over the last few years and see his unique personality stand out. We woke Caleb up early to take him on our traditional donut run and he came downstairs to a big balloon and one of his presents, a new dinosaur! After donuts with dad (and mom and Tyler), both boys had well checks at the dr. and then we finished up our week at Grace Kids' Camp. The boys are napping now, but we promised Caleb we would take him to 'Pizza Choo Choo' (a Pizza King that has a train driving around all the tables) for supper. He is beyond excited! We have a little party with friends and family planned for next weekend, since his actual birthday always falls close to Father's Day. Overall, a simple and fun day just celebrating our guy. I want it to always be that for him, a day where he feels extra loved and celebrated!

  At three years old, Caleb is a sweet kid. He feels things deeply and always asks us if we're happy or sad. He also becomes frustrated easily and is learning lots of ways to manage that (no more biting!). He loves babies and caring for others and stops several times a day to exclaim that something is 'aw! so cute!'. Caleb has zero interest in rote learning, and prefers to explore and experience things. He is really into pretend play right now and can be found building a train with his toys, playing doctor, making his toys talk, or on his 'ship' in our backyard.

  One big part of Caleb personality today that, looking back, I can see has been around since he was a baby is his cautious spirit. He is not terribly adventurous and needs to feel things out for a long time before he trusts them. People, places, experiences, food, all things. He often looks to me and therefore is pretty attached to me (loses himself when I leave him, but calms down after a minute or two). His cautiousness can be sweet and also challenging, so we're working on appreciating both parts I can already see how it will serve him well as he grows up!

  Over the last six months, Caleb has started to be interested in Jesus and it is one of the sweetest things for us to watch. He knows that Jesus loves him the most and often asks if we pray for Jesus to help mommy/daddy/anyone when they're sad or scared. The Easter book we read this Spring talked about a cross, and he became really fascinated with that- especially since I always have on my cross necklace. Since then, he's been asking for his own cross. So we bought him one to hang in his room! He'll happily tell you that I wear my cross (and now, he has one in his room) to help us remember that Jesus loves us. Just recently, he has been asking where Jesus is. We're trying to explain that Jesus lives in our hearts and, when he's older, he can ask Jesus to come live in his heart too. He's really excited about that!

  With his birthday on the horizon, I've had grandparents/friends/family ask what Caleb is 'into' right now. That's sort of hard to answer because he honestly loves anything that you make seem exciting. Paw Patrol, being kind, dinosaurs (he's having a dinosaur party!), swimming, sports, trains, etc. His biggest passion is just doing something fun with others. His love for other people is just really deep. If we're at the pool or playground, he simply wants to be with the others and often goes up to big kids and introduces himself "Hi! My name Caleb Henry Rush. What's your? Let's play!"

  My most favorite things about Caleb right now are: his love for others, the way he gets excited with his entire body (he literally cannot contain his excitement and will exclaim I SO EXCITED and start shaking), his cautious spirit, his genuine interest in Jesus, and his love for others.

The stuff only parents care about: Caleb is big! That's not a shocker to anyone. He is in the 85% for heigh and 94% for weight. Completely proportional and at the top of the scales for everything growth-wise. Also, 95% potty trained! Just need to work on night time/naps.

  Every single night we pray with the boys and we pray the same things- that Jesus help them grow to be brave, kind, and to love Jesus. On Caleb's third birthday, I can't think of anything to add. I hope he grows to be brave (brave to be himself, brave to do hard things), to be kind (to love others always and no matter what), and to love Jesus!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday. (weekly round-up)

  PHEW. That seems to be the best word to describe my feelings about reaching the weekend! This week has been a doozy, and for no particular reason. (Ok, today's emergency pediatric dentist trip and somehow being able to save a hanging tooth does call for a glass of wine, I'll give you that).

  I was telling a friend over breakfast this week that the boys have been wearing me out lately- and I didn't mean it as a complaint at all. I think that's what most people hear when they talk to young moms- tiredness and complaining. I'm not sure that's always the case though, at least the complaining piece. A speaker at Bible study this past semester made the point that we were created to be used up. Meaning that God didn't intend for us to store up money and energy and possessions, since we can't take them with us. Instead, we want to end this life being used up and emptied out because we went hard and lived fully. When I heard that, I immediately translated it into motherhood. I am beat at the end of each day. I fall into bed and truly feel as if all of my energy has been used up throughout the day. That's a great thing!! It means I gave lots of attention and energy and intention into my time with the boys. A pretty neat way to look at it, right?

  Anyways, this week was a doozy and the boys are crazy (I'm 90% Tyler is to blame for Caleb nearly losing a tooth today) and we're all excited to go out to ice cream tonight (surprise, Justin!). But its the weekend! I'm working an event for my sister's company and hopefully getting ahead on some small plans for Caleb's birthday party. Maybe we'll take the boys to the pool? The last family trip ended in double skinned knees, so we'll see 😂

Here are some of my favorites from around the internets this week:

I'm giving strength training a serious go this summer and this at-home arm circuit is amazing

The boys are 1.5 and 3 years, so I just remembered last week to check their CDC milestones. I'm a nerd and its a ton of fun to see how on track they are!

I bought this swimsuit back in January and LOVE THE HECK OUT OF IT. If you are a bit bigger-chested (is that even a phrase?), this suit is amazing.

I have it on my to-list to buy some of this better-for-you sunscreen. Tyler has sensitive skin, so it seems great for that. Plus, I just like that it comes in a convenient stick!

I may have shared this before, but if you're a parent (or just familiar with kids' books), this is HILARIOUS.

I love this resource for things to do with kids in Indy.

Happy weekending!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer Bucket List. (2017)

  I made a bucket list last summer and we worked through nearly all of it. It was lots of fun to have an intention and a list to help guide our summer days. So I did it again! This list is more of a 'here are lots of ideas to try' and less of a 'we have to do these'. No pressure, hopefully lots of fun. 

  Can I be honest? Ages 1.5 and 3 are exhausting. The boys are ridiculously fun right now, and I mean that. I love the stages they are in! It just so happens that their super fun stages take tons of energy and teaching and redirecting and disciplining. Basically, the best things in life take work. I feel like I'm not the first to coin that phrase? 😉 I hope our summer bucket list will help me be intentional with our time and set us all of for success! I'm planning to look at it each weekend and choose 2-3 things to put on my paper calendar for the upcoming week. If we cross them all off by the end of August, awesome! If not, that's ok too. 

  My favorites on the list are: get sno-cones (I'm obsessed with sno-cones), go on dates (I would love one-on-ones with the boys and Justin!), mail postcards, beach trip, and visit a fire station. 

  What's on your summer bucket list?!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Goals. (June)

(see May goals here

How are we almost a full week into June?? Gah, summer slow down.

The new month sort of snuck up on me so I'm late to the goal-setting game. Here's a recap of how May's goals went (two out of four isn't bad!):

Run/Walk with the boys 3x/week. I did it! Some weeks I even ran 6/7 days, so I'm calling this a complete win. The last week of May/first of June had a ton of rain so I need to get back into the swing again. It's going so well and I'm remembering why I love running. 

Summer bucket list and a day date. Oops! We actually tried to have a day date, but couldn't line up a sitter. And I need to simply sit down and make a bucket list. Doing it today!

Plan Playdate with a Purpose. Planned! You can read all of the details here

Organize file cabinet. Nope, not at all. So I'm carrying it over to this month!

  To be honest, it just felt great to set tangible goals again. It had been awhile (over a year?) and I figured it would take time to get in the groove. I also learned last month that I think I have more time on my hands than I really do. The boys, work, and house things truly mean my days are jam-packed, in the best ways. It was good to track my time and see that this is the case, because often I feel guilty for not getting more things done or letting other things go and feeling like I'm wasting a ton of time. I learned this month that truly isn't the case (I mean, I'm sure I waste a little time) and I don't need to beat myself up for how I spend my time.

  Ok, onto a new month! I'm carrying over a few of last month's goals and adding in some fun ones.

Get to the gym 2x/week. Since I'm pretty much back into running/walking with the boys, I want to be more consistent with the gym. I know at-home workouts are all the rage right now, but I love the gym. I love the time to myself, the separation from the physical space I spend 90% of my time, and the change of pace. Going to the gym usually means being up around 4:45, but it is always worth it. So I'm aiming for 2 days a week this month!

Day date and anniversary plans. A day date needs to happen. We also need to up our babysitter options so we have more for scheduling things, so I'm going to call a few more neighborhood high schoolers this month. I also really want to plan a night away for our anniversary next month and that takes a bit of planning. Any fun night-away ideas for me? 

Celebrate Caleb and Justin. Caleb turns 3 this month and two days later is Father's Day. Both are really, really important things and I want to celebrate both of them well. Traditional donuts, maybe a Caleb only date, and a fun Father's Day are on the calendar. I want to keep each no-fuss and plan enough ahead that they go smoothly!

Organize file cabinet. Carrying this one over from last month! Not terribly glamorous, but really necessary. 

Plan for Noonday Fall shows. Guys. I go so back-and-forth with my role as a Noonday Ambassador. It has been really challenging to pick up steam and find many people interested in hosting their own shows (blows my mind!). So, this Fall will likely be my last season as an Ambassador. I'll reach out and round up as many fun Trunk Shows as I can and then I'll simply transition into being a hostess. Maybe that's better? I love Noonday and would love to host my own Trunk Show each Fall, Spring, and Summer! But anyways, the specific goal for June is to reach out and schedule at least 3 Trunk Shows for Fall. (Want to host a Trunk Show Aug-Dec? Let me know!)