Friday, May 29, 2009

Connor's Fourth Birthday--crafty fun!

THE VIDEO

I already posted this on Facebook, but just in case you missed it, here's the video of Connor's fourth birthday celebration. It was super fun, and I hope it'll remain in his memory a long time. I know I remember my fourth birthday party with surprising clarity, so it's my hope that his will be something he looks back on just as fondly.


video



THE DETAILS

A couple folks have requested details on the creative aspects of the party. Here's all the fun stuff we did. Please accept my full permission to copycat anything you see that you like! All craft items were purchased at Hobby Lobby:



It all started with the invitation. Just cardstock and parchment, some "ivy" stickers, and I used some leftover feathers from the hat and arrow projects you'll see below.














Archer's caps for the boys, made of craft foam and adorned with a red feather each:


Super easy to make! Simply cut your foam in the above flat shape, bend, wrap, and staple. Chin strap optional.

Boys also received "Merry Men Tunics." I took a stack of green tee shirts, cut out the necks and tattered the sleeves. The boys put them on right over their clothes:


Little girls came already dressed in their favorite "princess" costume from home. I have discovered that nearly every female child over the age of 19 months and under the age of twelve owns one, no questions asked. When they arrived, I fitted them with "Maid Marian crowns," made with more craft foam and a dash of gauzy tulle stapled to the top. The girls decorated them with flower stickers:



Very very sweet.




Now that everyone was looking festive, it was time to carry out the theme with decorations.



Rustic road signs:
Prince John's "Treasury":




Sherwood Forest indoors (it started out rainy that day):


And target practice everywhere! You can get a package of 10 rifle targets from Wal Mart's Sporting Goods department. The beauty of bows and arrows is that most young kids aren't going to be able to fire them off, much less aim them correctly. It's harder than it looks. Nobody gets hurt!


















We finished off with a viewing of the Disney animated version of the movie, ie. the inspiration for this whole blessed affair. The boys were especially rapt:



Each young guest departed with a small gift from Robin Hood himself, a "treasure bag," filled with plastic coins (I did some research on the chocolate ones and found that most are of questionable quality/origin. We decided cupcakes were sweets enough for everyone.), plastic "jewels," and a rubber bouncy ball. These came enclosed in a faux leather pouch, which was just a little craft felt and some twine to cinch it, and tied on were two "genuine" Robin Hood arrows. Remember when I started making those? They're wooden dowels wrapped with florist tape and adorned with feathers. I stuck craft foam "arrowheads" on the ends to up the safety factor and those bad boys were good to go:


Now, there are countless ways to jazz an affair like this up to the hilt. Connor and his friends are still developing standard attention spans, so we didn't bother with games, but you can always add in events like "jousting" with funnoodles, "target practice" with beanbags, or an obstacle course in which contestants "rob from the rich to feed the poor" by carrying water balloons from one location to another. We didn't know anyone who was willing to dress up as Robin Hood and display his marksman skill, but if you know someone who can, it's a classy touch.

And that's it, in a nutshell. Our proudest moments came when reports started rolling in of little boys who slept in their costumes that night. Next year, though...I'm thinking Chuck E Cheese. I need a vacation.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reflecting on a year...

Things Connor Learned When He Was Three:


to buckle his own seat belt

to bowl

to pedal a tricycle

to poke his own straw into his juice box and open his snack

to jump on one foot

to kick a soccer ball and fasten his shin-guards

vowels, syllables, long and short sounds

addition and subtraction

to pick out his own clothes

to button and snap

to make his bed

to brush his teeth

to read “big kid books” like Tiger Can't Sleep without help

to build a castle in a sandbox

to count to thirty, unassisted. To one hundred with help on the tens

that a skinned knee is not a mortal wound

to bravely try new foods, like olives

that live theatre can be even better than a movie

that planting a seed is an exercise in patience

that the dentist isn't scary

that every patch of grass is not a potty

that sometimes people we love die

That Mommy and Daddy love him, even when they're furious

that earthworms poop, just like everyone else

that he shouldn't write the word “poop” on his schoolwork

that toothpaste makes excellent fingerpaint, but it's controversial

that cartoons are make-believe

that not everything we eat is healthy

that God sees us, even though we can't see Him

that it's a good idea to wait until your sister is napping to build a block tower

that sometimes, pointing out how someone is different can hurt their feelings

that sleeping is virtually impossible when you're expecting a visit from Santa Claus

that girls love getting flowers

that grown-ups cry when they're happy and when they're sad

that peanut butter and jelly is the balm that soothes all evil

that occasionally, the best part of a football game is getting ice cream with Daddy afterwards

that nobody really knows where Heaven is

that green beans turn to liquid when they're held in your mouth for thirty minutes

that caterpillars don't bite

that box turtles don't bite either, but they pee

that God loves him more than Mommy and Daddy do. And that's a LOT

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cracking good toast!

Connor's birthday present is complete. I put the finishing touches on this little fella tonight:





Ten points go to you if you can name this little guy correctly.




Time's up. This is Gromit. Isn't he cute-ums? If you haven't heard of Wallace and Gromit... they're a series of animated films starring a goofy bald dude named Wallace (he's British and he loves cheese) and his mute dog who is clearly the brains of the outfit. The entire catalogue of films includes three shorts and a feature-length (one more feature-length has just been released in Britain, entitled Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death...it's set in a bakery. Expect highbrow humor, obviously). My love affair with these little guys began in high school. I've passed it on to my kids. Ask Connor and he'll tell you, they're his favorite movies. We own every DVD and he's about worn them ragged.




He's nuts for the little dog, Gromit. Problem is, it's darn near impossible (and fairly expensive) to locate any memorabilia promoting the characters. The only stuffed "Gromit" I was able to dig up was a tiny stiff miniature one. Not ideal for snuggling, which I know he'll want to do at night. And it was unavailable at the time. So I decided I'd make one. Believe me, this has been an exercise in experimentation...but hooray--Mommy's Gromit is plushy, snuggly, entirely hand-stitched (with luuuuv!), and measures an ample 18"! Maybe not something Toys R Us would want to mass-produce, but in our household, he's sure to be loved thoroughly.

My personal favorite touch is his little leather collar, complete with engraved license:



I've totally got dibs if Connor decides he's not interested. Is it his birthday yet?????

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Videos!

I finally got the videos to load!!!!!

You're getting a double feature this afternoon. The first is the footage I promised back before Christmas of Connor reading from the Bible. The second is hot off the presses from last night's Little Promises Preschool Choir performance. Apparently my son is under the impression that we belong to a Pentecostal church...




video video

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

OPTIMISM...

Days on end of rain make us Medlins downright melancholy...




Even a bit insecure...



But it makes for marvelous puddles in the garden...




And sometimes it helps us meet new friends...



And it certainly makes things delightfully green...




The best policy is to just grin and bear it...



Isn't that better?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Birth and Birthdays


Everybody and their Aunt Tilly is having babies lately! I've been busy cranking out cards. Here are a couple I put together. Connor scrawled "Welcome Baby" inside. That's the best part.


Can I admit to being positively giddy with planning Connor's big Fourth birthday party (FOURTH? Gak! Where did the year go?)? His chosen theme this year is "Robin Hood." I went to Hobby Lobby today and started experimenting with materials to enhance the theme. I cranked these out today. They're just thin wooden dowels (2 dollars for a bag of 30 at Hob Lob!) outfitted with red feathers and florist tape. They'll eventually be fitted with foam tips.




Am I really going to outfit a bunch of preschoolers with primitive weaponry?

You bet.

Just not until they're headed home.