Family Night: Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Hola!  Me llamo Erin.  Tengo cuatro anos de espanol en la escuela y vivo in Honduras para tres meses.  Tambien, I was una maestra para muchos ninos que hablo mucho espanol, pero no hablo espanol muy bien.  No se como conjugate verbs correctly, especially in the past tense.  Que horror!  But I try.

I thought it would be awesome to have un noche de espanol during our Cinco de Mayo celebrations, but no one else in this house speaks as well as I do.  And that’s saying something, folks.  So I just threw in my favorite spanish phrases from time to time.  Senora Funk (mi maestra de espanol en la escuela secondaria) would be proud… and she would probably call Geric a tortuga, because he tends to do things at a slower pace than most.

We actually celebrated Cinco de Mayo on quatro de mayo.  The boys had a tickets to an Angels game on Cinco de Mayo so the celebrations had to take place a day early.

And I don’t know if you know the history of Cinco de Mayo and why it’s actually celebrated more in the United States than in Mexico, but I read up on it.  You should too.  Que interesante!

Jacob and I started the day off early while Elijah was napping and Caden was at school  We prepared our dessert… mexican brownies, that turned out asi, asi.  Not my favorite.  Even forgot to take a picture of the end product.

The boys worked together to make a pinata out of a paper bag,


and Caden helped me make our first batch of homemade tortillas!  They were super easy to make, but if I do it again I think I’ll invest in a tortilla press, just for kicks.


For dinner we ate Chipotle Bean Burritos.  Que delicioso!  We found a bunch of funny cheap dress up supplies at the party store (a sombrero, a flower for my hair, maracas, and a mustache) AND for our beverage… Margaritas!  I made them virgin margaritas, so the boys could have some too!




The best part was Saturday morning when I asked Jacob what he wanted for breakfast and he said he wanted a margarita with his oatmeal.  Perhaps I should’ve changed the name… ay ay ay!

After dinner we went out back and hit the pinata.  (Just a side note: Elijah had a meltdown right before dinner, so he did not partake of family night.  Pobrecito.)  I didn’t want to fill it with candy, so I had let them each pick a toy from the toy section at the grocery store earlier that day.



After the pinata fun, we went inside for a mexican hat dance.  So fun!  And so funny!  It started out with just some normal bailando, pero…


Jacob got tired…


and Caden chaneled his inner Billy Elliot!





This one I’m saving for his senior yearbook!


Oh, the hilarity!

Elijah woke up just in time to bust a move… although I think he thought the maracas were microphones.



All in all, another fun family night!  To see the rest of our family nights, click here.  Feel free to steal one, I promise you will have a good time.  Que bueno!  

Claro que si!  

Adios amigos!

Hasta la vista!

Okay, seriously, bye!




Happy Birthday Caden

I can’t believe that six years have gone by.  No, six years have flown by since the day you were born.  Crazy.  Because I remember it like it was yesterday.


I had done the whole “dress rehearsal” thing at the hospital the day before, and they had sent me home where I spent the whole day walking around the neighborhood with your Maw and your Auntie B.  But nothing happened until early the next morning.  I made really, really, really sure you were coming this time before I woke up Daddy and we drove to the hospital.  And 13 hours later (after some excruciating pain, that I swear I am not holding against you) you changed my life forever.

Not only were you born on my birthday, so I had a birthday present that could never be topped, but you completely shattered the world I once knew, in a good way of course.  You are my first-born.  You are the kid that made me a mommy, my best role in my whole life.  The one that will never be topped.  In the days after you were born, nothing else mattered, except our little family.

And you were perfect.  I had no idea (because you were all I knew) but you were such a good baby.  You rarely cried, and you even put yourself on a schedule… that I took all the credit for.  Don’t worry, your brothers both made me see that it was actually all you, and not me at all.

You’ve always been a Momma’s Boy.  From the get go. You always liked me the best.  (It’s true!)  I said it was because I was the one that fed you, but I think we just have a special bond.  Probably because for a good twenty months while Daddy was working, it was just me and you.


Then your brother came along.  And at first you had a rough time with that.  To be perfectly honest, I was a little scared to leave the two of you in the same room while I ran to the bathroom, because you had a bit of a jealousy streak.  But eventually, you realized that he was a pretty fun guy.


And now, he’s your best friend.  I’m sure of it.


Caden, you have a heart of gold, my son.  Can you be impulsive?  Yes.  Can you get excitable and aggressive?  Of course.  But overall, you are our protector.  You never run too far away from mommy, and I don’t think you’re afraid you’ll get lost, I think it’s because you want to keep your eye on me.  You always know where you brother is at all times.  You never forget to pray for your friends and family.  You help your little buddies out on the playground when they are too small.  You have such a big heart, Monkey.  And I love that about you!


You are also our little adventurer!  You definitely lead the way in the imagination arena around here.


Swing sets are pirate ships, bunk beds are caves, and bikes are motorcycles that you ride to China!  Your mind is so creative!


And your artistic abilities cannot be beat.  You have made me some of the most beautiful paintings and drawings.  If it wasn’t for you, I would have just a boring old white refrigerator.


Your favorite place to be is in the water.  You started swimming when you were three years old, and you’ve never looked back!  You do back flips off the diving board and you swim in the ocean, when the waves are small enough.  Mommy and Daddy were both swimmers, so it makes sense that you’re a little fish too.



and now…


When Elijah came along, you could not be more thrilled.  You still had a hard time sharing me with one more kid, but you and Elijah had a special something between you two from the start.  You loved to sit on the couch and hold him and you’d ask me all these questions about him.  Once he was a little more alert, you could make him laugh like no one else around here!  He loves you!  When he wakes up from his nap, if you walk in to his room first, his face lights up and his bounces up and down in his crib.  I have no worries that he will eventually fit right in to the little posse you and Jacob have already started.


I love you with all my heart, Caden Matthew, but you know you have a little bit of a naughty streak to you, as well.  You are a destroyer, which I think just comes with having testosterone running through your veins.  But you have been known to get in to things that I never would have imagined a child would ever get in to… like this…


and this.


I can’t forget the special relationship you have with Daddy.  You guys definitely do “man things” together that mommy has no part of.  You like to help Daddy with yard work,


and you like to wrestle together, and try to conquer super Mario brothers together.  Lately, the two of you have been playing baseball together (with Jacob, too) and you are becoming quite the little athlete!  I love going to your games and cheering for you!


One more special guy in your life has to be Pop.  I know this might hut Maw’s feelings, (sorry, Maw) but Pop is definitely your favorite.  Don’t believe me?  Remember THIS?  I don’t know if it’s because you’re the first or it’s because you’re the first boy (poor Pop only had girls!) but you guys love each other a lot!  Your relationship with Pop is one of the biggest reasons Mommy frowns when Daddy talks about moving to Australia.  Crazy, Daddy!


Well, my Caden-boy, I love you more than words can say.  You amaze me everyday and I am truly, truly blessed that God picked me to be your mommy.  I know that He has big plans for you!  He has a destiny for you that is so great and so awesome, and I know that you’re going to run full force for it!  I know that you are growing into an amazing boy who will one day be an amazing man, and I am so blessed that I get to watch it all unfold.

Happy birthday, Caden!

Hau`oli Lā Hānau

The Givler-Nelson’s came down last weekend for Kristin’s 34th birthday and the 4th of July.  So, we had to throw her a party.  And a luau seemed like it would be a great time, right?

Here’s the party in pictures:

Dad BBQed the orange chicken and teriyaki shrimp skewers.  He’s the big kahuna.


The finished spread!  Yum!


We had pineapple cupcakes with coconut frosting for dessert.  Delish!


The boys had a hula hoop contest.



I love my boys!


Aunties with nephews.




The birthday girl and family.


Caden took a turn with the big kahuna hat.


Even Elijah dressed up!



Pop with his boys!


Abby (with a mommy kiss on her cheek) in her tutu!


Emma cracking up at Harley.


I don’t know why I didn’t get any pictures of Geric and Rob, but they were there.  Happy birthday, Sis!  Hope you had a great day!

Holy Birthday, Batman!

I’ve decided birthday parties are “my thing.”  They’re kind of like a giant family night with other people, so it makes sense.  But I love having a theme and thinking of a bunch of cool things to do with my kids and their friends, and just make it a really special time.  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely stress out the day of the party, and Geric likes to steer clear.  But in the end, it’s always a blast!

Jacob decided he wanted a Batman party for his 4th birthday, and I thought that would be super fun!  I sent out an invite on facebook, which made it really cheap and really easy, and really easy for guests to RSVP, too… even though some of them still didn’t.  You know who you are!  I mean, how hard is it to click “accept’ or “decline?”  And I think “maybe” shouldn’t even be an option.  I mean, I’m not asking you to commit your first born child to me, I’m just asking for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.  Make a desicion, people!  Sorry, just had to vent.

What was I saying?

Oh yes, Batman party!

Here’s a few pictures of the decorations before the guests arrived.

The food table with yummy cupcakes!



The happy birthday signs!


The craft area!


As guests started arriving they got a really cool Batman cape that I made out of felt.  Yellow for the boys and pink for the girls!  They were even embroidered with their names.  (I know people.)  They were a hit!  Parents told me their kids didn’t want to take them off when they went to bed at night!  Success! But I forgot to get a picture!!!!! Can you believe it???  Me neither!  So, here’s a picture of Jacob wearing his cape today.



After they got their capes, they came over to the craft area to make superhero masks.  They had fun. But the elastic bands were way too small! Thanks Joann’s for the newborn sized cardboard masks.  I’m not sure they would even fit Elijah!  We shoved it on Judah’s head and took a picture anyway.



After the craft time we ate lunch, and then it was game time!  The first game was the freeze dance, since Mr. Freeze is one of Batman’s nemesis’.  I downloaded the music from the original animated series of Batman and the kids had to dance ’til they heard the music stop, and then freeze.  Then we all raised our Batman bracelets and yelled, “Batman!” to get the music going again!  So fun!



At the end of that game Geric came out with a note from the Riddler!  He had kidnapped Batman and left us riddles to solve in order to find him!


One of the riddles led us to Pop!


But we ended up finding Batman out on the front porch!


The we tied him up and hit him with a stick!  Yay!


The actual handle broke off, so we ended up having to tie him to the tree with a noose… hide your eyes, kids!


Makenzie was so sweet.  She tapped Batman.  She’s the dainty little female I need to visit when I feel overrun by the testosterone in my house!


Candy!  Dive in!


After the pinata we sang Happy Birthday and had cupcakes.


Jacob got embarrassed during the song and had this cute moment with Geric.


Then, we went swimming.  Here’s some cute, wet kids!




We also bounced in the bounce house!


So did Elijah!


And here’s some of our guests!







We ended up waiting to do presents until most of the kids had left, which was actually kind of nice.  We didn’t have to bat away all the “helpers” who like to “help” open presents.  (Don’t be offended. My kids like to “help” other birthday boys and girls, too.)  Jacob made out like a bandit and got some awesome new toys!  But now, I’m pretty sure I have to send out thank you cards since no one was there to thank in person.  It’s on my “to do list.”  I swear.

So, it was a lot of fun!  I was pooped and my kids slept well that night.  Always a good sign.

I’m thinking of starting a party planning gig.  What do you think? Would you hire me?

**Jacob is not motherless.  She is just the photographer and thus, looks absent.  Sad, really.**

Love Day, Family Night

Before we get into family night, I thought I’d let you all know I settled on “Queen of the Jungle.”  Good call, Stef!  Love it!  Sums up my life pretty accurately.  🙂

Okay onto Valentine’s Day!  Yay!

I was never really a hater of Valentine’s Day, even when I was single.  Once I got married, Geric bombed our first Valentine’s Day BIG TIME!  And just because I’m declaring that publicly does not mean that I’m holding a grudge.  I swear.  Because since then, he has made it up.  In fact, I don’t really know why I decided to share that, but I did.

Anyway, my point is that since the kids have arrived, the day pretty much revolves around them.  And, honestly, it’s a lot more fun that way.

What does that say about my marriage?  Hmmmm…

Anywho, we started off the day with pink heart pancakes.  Always a hit!



After breakfast Caden passed out heart stickers to everyone.  He asked if he could put one on Elijah and I said it probably wasn’t a good idea because he might pull it off and put it in his mouth and choke.  (I know, worst case scenario there, but you never know!!!)  Anyway, as I was putting Elijah in his swing later on, I noticed this:


Caden said he put it in a spot where he wouldn’t grab it!  Hahaha!  And thats my only picture of Elijah on Valentines Day!  How sad!  But he seriously slept a lot, through most of the day actually.  No wait, here’s one from my phone:


In the afternoon we started decorating for dinner.  We were supposed to watercolor, but since Caden and Jacob threw the watercolors over the fence into our neighbors yard (Seriously?  Seriously.) we decided to use crayons instead.  I had the boys think of everyone they loved and I wrote their names down on paper.  I cut out hearts around them and then we colored the hearts (they were supposed to paint here.)  We were going to hang all the hearts from the light above the table, but they thought of so many names that that seemed like a very daunting task.  I opted for taping them to the fireplace mantle instead.  Nice.



We decorated our table with new valentines placemats (from Gammy), flowers (from Ger), candles, and fancy glasses.  Beautiful!


For dinner we ate spaghetti and heart shaped meatballs.  Yummy!


As we were eating we listened to Love Songs on the KOST, KOST 103.5.  Did you just sing that in your head?  Because I was singing it as I was typing.

We were going to play a game after dinner involving numbers and a dice and love, but time was running short and Caden has school tomorrow, so, we all went around and told each other something we loved about each other.  It was actually really sweet.  I got all teary eyed a few times.  Can someone say hormonal?

For dessert we ate chocolate covered strawberries.  The benefit of eating by candlelight is that you don’t realize how messy your children’s faces are… until the flash goes off!




Here’s my sweetie and I!


Then the boys and I cuddled on the couch for some “Be my Valentine, Charlie Brown” while Geric cleaned the kitchen. (Told you he made it up!)


Fun!  Simple!  Great way to celebrate the day!  Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!

Christmas Day

This year was the year of the bike!  Don’t you remember when you were little and Christmas morning was the year of the bike?  I vividly remember waking up with my older sister and running to the Christmas tree to find two powder blue bikes with striped banana seats!  One of the best Christmases ever!

Well, this year the dream came true for my big boys!

Here’s the set up Santa had left the night before.


And here’s the big boys waiting in the hall for their loot.  Look at those cute sleepy faces.  Melts my heart.


Look at how excited Caden is to see his bike!  Love moments like this!


They tried them out in the family room before we took them for a spin in the neighborhood.



Jacob’s helmet fits just right!


Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve

We hosted Christmas Eve at our house since we had the newest baby.  It was nice because everyone came to us, but I did NOTHING!  Geric cleaned the house and got everything ready, and family all pitched in for food and we had a delicious dinner.  Here are some pictures of the day!

Auntie B with Jacob


The Givler-Nelson’s (or is it Nelson-Givler’s… I can’t ever remember!)


Cousin Kristyn, Caden, and Maw


Geric, Papa Gary, and Auntie Tiff


Gammy and Simon


The sisters hijacked my camera!  (But look at how cute this picture turned out!)


Maw and Pop with all their grandkids… they gained three new ones this year alone, who look incredibly happy to be partaking in this photo op.


My bundle of joy and me!


The boys opened some presents


Harley was there too, in all her drooling glory.


And my favorite photos from the evening… my mini-Hugh Hefner (just in style… not in any other way!!)


and Geric got a snuggie!  Or he became an altar boy!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Happy Birthday Pop!

My Dad is turning 59 today!

Holy cow, that’s old!

Last year in his fifties… yikes!

(I only make fun because I love him so much!)

His present this year was this cute picture I took of the boys in their 49ers garb.  (Jacob is just wearing their colors because Old Navy didn’t have a shirt in his size.)


Happy birthday Dad!  You’re the best!