Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Indianapolis Zoo

We had originally planned a trip to the Indianapolis Zoo at the end of the summer, but we were so busy preparing for school, remodeling, and enjoying the air conditioner that it didn't happen.  So, we went over fall break instead.  Best.  Decision.  Ever.  I've never seen so many animals out and close to the fence.  I guess cooler weather IS better to see the animals.  Audrey was in awe of most of the animals.  She was pretty serious that day, although we did get some smiles out of her occasionally.  I also liked going because she got to spend the whole day with her grandparents (Gary and Michele took off work to come) and it was pretty cute seeing the kids come to the zoo in their Halloween costumes.  Because it was so chilly and Audrey doesn't like wearing costumes (yet), we put her in regular clothes.

Here are some of the better pictures we got with my camera:

Petting the fake snake at the Reptile House


Riding the carousel with Daddy.

Afraid for her life!

The giraffes were so close!

Once he realized we weren't going to feed him, though, he ambled away.



Lion!  Audrey loved to see the "cat".

Cuddling cheetahs.



We found this cute little play area near the flamingos.  Audrey LOVED the slide!

Elsa (from the movie Frozen) was visiting the zoo!

This tiger was would pace around the rocks and logs and then come rub his head up against the glass.  Every time he came by the glass, all the little kids screamed.

Seeing the tiger up close after the bigger kids left.


We even went to a dog show to see some amazing dog tricks.  Audrey liked to say "woof" when they were running around.
Note to self.  Only go to the zoo in the fall.  This is seriously the best time to go!

Trick-or-Treating at Grandma and Grandpa Knittles' House

Yesterday, we were finally able to get out to my mom and dad's house to trick-or-treat (which also means I'm finally able to blog about it and put up pictures and not ruin the surprise of Audrey's costume!).  This time, Audrey knew exactly what to do.  The last several days, Audrey has been allowed to have a small amount of Halloween candy, so she is starting to understand what's in the wrappers.  She also knew how to pick up candy piece by piece to put in her bag, although she did do some deliberating as to which would be most delectable.

After we took the bowls away (she would have emptied them if she could), she then wanted to pick each piece out of her bag and lay it on the floor to examine it.

My sweet nephew Calvin the Cow is going to be six months old in a few days!  Next year, Audrey's going to have some competition in that candy bowl...

Calvin wanted his costume OFF.

And since he was crying, Audrey wanted to get away from him!
I love these little munchkins!  I already can't wait to go trick-or-treating next year!


Most years our ward has a trunk-or-treat party.  If you're not sure what that is, basically we trick-or-treat in the parking lot of our church out of the back of our trunks!  This way, we can all trick-or-treat together and it's less driving around or walking.  Last year we didn't take Audrey because she was only about a month old, so we felt a little weird about that.  This year, I think she did enjoy going from trunk to trunk with the other kids and learning that you get candy.  At the first couple of trunks she just stood there, then at the next couple I showed her how to put the candy in her bag, then the cars after that I put her hand in their buckets and made her drop it in her bag.  Finally, I thought she was ready to do it on her own, but she ended up trying to give the people at the trunk the candy from her bag that she'd already collected.  Well, at least she knows how to share!  By the end of the evening, she finally mastered it, and she LOVED pulling individual pieces of candy from the bowls to put in her Batman bag.

Kyle and I dressed up for this, too.  Since I was taking Audrey around, I made my outfit match hers.  I went as Catwoman.  Kyle stood by our trunk handing out candy to kids, and since there was a trunk decorating contest, he dressed up like Indiana Jones to match our Temple of Doom themed trunk.

Audrey and me leaving the church to begin trunk-or-treating.

Batgirl and Catwoman!  I had everything already except for the ears, gloves, and jacket.  The ears and gloves we bought, and the jacket is actually my sister-in-law's that Kyle took from the guest bedroom closet when we were last visiting (thanks, Kels!)

All Kyle's idea.  The palm leaves are actually something I had stuffed in my closet at school, and the skull is something I set out in my room at school, too.  Kyle painted cardboard to look like stone, set out a mask his dad brought us from Guatemala, and threw some fake webs all over the trunk.  The treasure chest is something Kyle's grandpa made him when he was a little boy, and that's where Kyle put the candy.  Also, did I mention he had the Indiana Jones soundtrack playing in the car as kids came?  We won the contest.

"You call him Dr. Jones, doll."

As Audrey was trick-or-treating, she ran after some of the bigger kids and tripped on a crack in the parking lot.  She got a little road rash on her nose and forehead.  Poor girl!
After we finished here, we went to campus since they were doing their dorm trick-or-treating the same night.  Everyone thought we looked great and gave us a whole bunch of candy.  We considered it a very successful night!

Trick-or-Treating at Grandma and Grandpa Byards' House

Over fall break we spent a night in Indianapolis with Kyle's parents.  A few hours before we left, we realized that this would be the last time Audrey got to see Kyle's parents before Halloween was over, so we figured we should pack up an outfit for Audrey to put on for her grandparents.  We got out the costume box (packed full of kid outfits I've been picking up for super-cheap at garage sales for the last several years) and determined that about five or so outfits would fit Audrey right now.  Once Kyle realized the Batgirl outfit would fit Audrey this year (the tag says 2T), he insisted that we stop looking at the rest of them.

So...not bad for throwing it together a few hours before we left the house!  We had everything already!  The dress, the gauntlets, and the cape were the actual outfit.  We dug out a long-sleeved gold shirt out of Audrey's closet, and she had the black tights and black boots.  The hairclip is thanks to our friends Kim and Phil Call, who gave them to us to stick on a headband for Audrey before she was born (we're still getting use out of them!).  The batarang is Kyle's toy and the bag held comic books that Kyle had purchased earlier in the month.  I was pretty impressed with us!

Waking up from her nap and getting out of the car...a little confused about where she was.

Audrey actually really hates being in costumes and started to cry.

All better now that Grandma has me!

We went trick-or-treating at the Gundersons' house, my in-laws' next door neighbors.  It was the first time Audrey solicited candy from someone who was NOT a relative. 

Mr. Gunderson left to go get the candy.  Audrey didn't really know what to do.

Still NOT thrilled about being dressed up, even after we came back.

After a half hour or so, she warms up to it!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Audrey's Wizard of Oz Themed First Birthday Party

I decided a long time ago that Audrey's first birthday party was going to be Wizard of Oz themed.  Kyle and I figured for each of our kids, we'd throw a very elaborate (in our opinion) first birthday party.  We'd make lots of things, go all out on the decorating, etc.  After that, we figure each kid would probably be old enough to at least express what kind of birthday party they'd like and we'd sort of follow their leads without going too extreme.  Since I flat-out refused to have a Batman birthday party for Audrey, Kyle left me in charge of choosing the theme, and I thought Wizard of Oz would be adorable!  I spent a good portion of the summer researching on Pinterest different ways to pull off this Wizard of Oz look, and I was pretty pleased with the results!  It took FOREVER to do the decorating (I took off work on the day before the party) and I'm so grateful everyone else was willing to help pitch in food so I didn't have to make all of that, too.  I think one of the best things about the way the party looked was everyone exclaiming about the small details.  I was slightly proud when my cousin asked me to plan her next birthday (she's in her twenties).  I think I could quit my job and make a career out of this, but I'd probably be too stressed out!

We sent out an "Over the Rainbow" invitation to Audrey's party in mid-August.  My super-awesome husband looked at one of the ones I liked on Google and painstakingly created it on Photoshop:

This is what Kyle based the invite off of.  I have ours saved in a file, but obviously won't post it here because it has my parents' address on it.

Here's our best attempt at a Wizard of Oz themed party:

The balloons took about two hours to blow up, string with fishing line, and hang up with a ladder.  However, I like the floating look the fishing line gives!  It's cute, but so, so time-consuming.  Only do if you have helpers.  Thanks, Pinterest!

Found awesome "Over the Rainbow" streamers at Party City

This "My Wish For You" box has a slot at the top for putting notes in.  It locks on the side, too.  The whole idea is to write notes to your kid and let them read the notes when they're older.

I recycled these terra cotta pots from our wedding decorations.  I painted them all up different colors, put quotes from the movie on them in Sharpie, and put different flowers/fillers in them to set around the garage.  This wasn't a Pinterest idea...all my own!  I don't know what to do with most of them now, and I hate to throw them away.  I guess I can take them to school and set them out somehow...
Audrey's photo albums from her first year.  We have up through 11 months in the albums now, and all I have to do is add her 12 month pictures and these to the albums!  600+ pictures (including ultrasound, bump, and maternity pictures) to date and put in sleeves takes A LONG TIME.  But it was worth it!

I printed this to put on the trunk as a shout-out to Professor Marvel, the fortune teller Dorothy visits at the beginning of the movie.

Yellow butcher paper.

Sign on the restroom door.  Pinterest idea!

Also Pinterest!  Kyle made these on Photoshop though, so I didn't have to make a REAL signpost!

So this is the scarecrow that sits outside our house in the fall.  We usually stuff him with leaves, but I wasn't dragging leaves back to Portland.  So, Kyle and I took walks with Audrey to campus and scooped up any Daily News issues of the campus newspaper we could find to stuff our scarecrow.  It took a lot of newspapers!

I originally wanted to make the refrigerator an Emerald City, but we were conflicted about this because we figured we'd need to get things in and out of the refrigerator for the party.  So, I think my mom came up with this idea.  I had a poster board and extra streamers, so this worked perfectly!

Some of the pots I made are on these tables and are hard to see.  We had an awesome spread!  And yes, we did give all the foods a Wizard of Oz name.  Most of the names are similar to ones I found on Pinterest, although we did make quite a few up ourselves.

Brats.  Kyle came up with the food name "If I Only Had a Brat".  He was so proud of that fact and I'm pretty sure he told everyone at the party that he was responsible for this clever additive.  It's better than the first one he came up with, which was "Meat Tornados".  I vetoed that one because it sounded dumb.

Totos (Hotdogs) in a Basket (Buns)

Mom made the "Yellow Brick Road Mac and Cheese", and Betsy made the "Emerald City Seven-Layer Salad".  The pot at the back says, "Ding Dong! The witch is dead!" 

You can't really see the name here, but it's Mom's "Poppy Field Cheeseball".  And the pot says, "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!"

Michele brought the "Land of Oz Fruit Tray"

My grandma brought the "Gale Farms Vegetable Patch" (the veggie tray).  Then also we have animal crackers and pumpkin dip.

"Tin Man Hats" (Hershey Kisses) and "Munchkinland Candy" (Skittles)

Kyle bought this sign online for the party.  Beside it is my iPod and speaker, which we used to play the movie soundtrack in the background.

The house that landed on the Wicked Witch of the East is really a set of shelves with black plastic tablecloths draped over them.  I drew and cut out the windows and taped them on the house.

So these are just regular knee-high white socks with black electrical tape for stripes.  I already owned the shoes (idea from Pinterest).  Kyle printed off the witch's death certificate from Google (my idea).

Water and "Glinda the Good Witch Juice" (Pink Lemonade).

So this window frame was my idea!  I think everyone said that it was one of the things they liked the most, which I was proud of.  It's actually a window frame that came out of our house when we replaced windows five years ago, so it's super-old (1928).  We've been keeping them in the garage, not really knowing yet what to do with them but wanting to do something...I actually thought I'd use it for a project at school, so I had already cleaned it off, distressed it, and had Kyle knock the glass out of it.  I ended up bringing it along and taping blue and green paper on the back of it.  I then drew a tornado in black marker.  Then, Mom and I hung it.  Easy peasy!

I wanted something besides flowers in some of the pots, and Hobby Lobby was putting out some interesting Christmas decorations, so here's what I ended up with!

This is the Wicked Witch of the West puddle.  My sister cut out the puddle from green paper and we taped it down.  We stuffed her hat with newspaper and just set it on top.  I was afraid people wouldn't know what it was, so I wrote a quote from the witch on the puddle.  It says, "You cursed brat, look what you've done!  I'm melting, melting!"

Kyle also purchased these McDonald's toys online for a couple of bucks.  The complete set came with Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda.  All of them came with a piece of Yellow Brick Road that hook together in a long chain.  We ended up using them as centerpieces.  Now I have them at school in my room because they are just so gosh darn cute!

Baby food jars that were also recycled from my wedding.  These are filled with Skittles and also used as centerpieces.  I'm pretty sure I saw a similar idea on Pinterest, so I won't take credit for that one.

Also found this on Pinterest.  I bought some ribbon with rainbow dots on them, cut them to be about the same length, and Mom taped them on with purple masking tape.  Mom also happened to have a Lion bib put away somewhere, so that was just perfect!

"Over the Rainbow" cupcakes that I made (funfetti with vanilla icing and sprinkles).  I finally got a reason to use my Pampered Chef cupcake stand!  We also had Melting Wicked Witch ice cream (mint chocolate chip), which is Audrey and Kyle's favorite!

Finally, the best part, Audrey dressed up as Dorothy.  I found the tutu and bow at Once Upon a Child in Muncie and bought Audrey some new onesies to wear.  Mom found the shoes on clearance at Walmart...and they were the perfect fit!  The shoes were the most darling thing, and Audrey actually kept them on!  I think she just liked to look at them occasionally...

My brother-in-law Matt and my nephew Calvin

Calvin has "ruby slippers" on, too!

Audrey loved playing with the extra balloons that were laying around the garage.

Audrey did so well with presents.  I guess I didn't realize it, but Kyle said it took about half an hour to open all of them, and Audrey just sat in my lap patiently while we opened them.  By the time we got to the last few presents, she got the concept of ripping the wrapping paper off.  She did NOT like to slow down to look at the clothes when she opened those, though...she liked opening toys a lot better :)

There are tons more pictures of us opening presents, but these are some of the better ones.

Audrey also got some big presents!  This rocking horse was made by hand by Kyle's grandpa!  How cool is that!  Audrey didn't really know what to make of the horse, but she thought he was interesting and sat on him.

My parents got Audrey a kitchen set to go with her play food.  We actually just got this up at our house a week later (we couldn't bring everything back at didn't fit in the car!).  She loves to open and shut everything and turn on the grill.

One thing Audrey also found interesting was the trash from the presents :)

After we had cupcakes, Kyle and his parents put together the wagon Gary and Michele got Audrey.  She LOVES riding in this!

Cake time!  Audrey SMASHED her cupcake into her face with no hesitation.  It's like her whole life had been leading up to that single moment.  I'm glad I had the video camera ready, otherwise I could have easily missed the smash!

We let her get as messy as she wanted!  I also put her ice cream directly on her tray and she loved trying to hold the ice cream.  Audrey had cake and ice cream in her hair, on her face, on her belly, and on her legs!

Before we put her in the bath, we let the puppy lick the icing off her legs and belly.  Audrey thought that was pretty cool!

She also thought it tickled when he licked her foot, so she might have kicked the dog in the head...
I also tried to get pictures of Audrey with everyone who was there, but somehow I didn't get one of her with my sister or brother-in-law and my mom never jumped into one, either. Also my brother, Nick, and his girlfriend, Janelle. But we got most everyone else!

My cousin Hilary came!

Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Knittle

Audrey with Daddy, Grandpa Byard, and Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Byard

Great Grandparents, Mommy, Audrey, and Grandpa Knittle
Grandma and Grandpa Byard
Not able to come but there in spirit were my aunt and uncle Brett and Teresa who live in Oklahoma and Kyle's other grandma who had a class reunion in Michigan on the same day.  Also Uncle Jacob, Aunt Kelsey, and Brian.

Overall, Audrey was a great sport!  I thought she'd crash after the party was over and we were taking things down, but she didn't.  She stayed up super late and slept hard until the next morning.  She was pooped, and so were we!  Thanks to everyone who helped put the party together and also traveled from further away.  This was probably my favorite birthday to date, and it wasn't even mine :)