Waco Central Library

Books before kindergartenOur family is full of book enthusiasts, we’ve got teachers, librarians, academic bloggers, writers, the list goes on and on. So there is no surprise that Betty and Bobby also love to read. One of the babies’ favorite things to do is visit the library, we typically head to the Waco Central Library due to weekly Toddler Time and their 1000 books before kindergarten program.In order to encourage a love of reading and to help prep little minds for school the library encourages families to read 1,000 books with their children before starting kindergarten. In this program, the children are given a paper filled with stars on both sides, after each read the child colors in a star representing the book they just finished. I really enjoyed that they count each read over each book because once Betty gets attached to a story, she wants to read it over and over. If fact, we read so often Betty has memorized majority of her books, and can frequently be found “reading” them out loud to herself or to her little brother. After completing each page (100 stars) we head to the children’s section of library to trade it in for a new blank page, and start the process all over again. The librarian then moves Betty’s name card to the next section on the wall, and lets Betty choose a prize.img_20200130_1007294796612338338260784.jpgBut this visit went a little differently, this round Betty’s name was moved from the 900 club/ section on the wall to the wall of Fame! She then posed for a photo (above) which will eventually accompany her name on the wall of fame; and finally, her favorite part, she chose a book of her very own to take home! Betty picked the Knight and the Dragon, by Tomie DePeola. Which we promptly took to a comfy chair to read.img_20200130_1049343258399453900420811.jpgimg_20200130_1013296033355116677986061.jpg the Waco Central Library also has a pretty awesome children’s section, rows and rows of books, comfy reading chairs in all different shapes and sizes, computers, puzzles, a play kitchen complete with pretend food and cooking tools, and Bobby’s favorite – soft blocks. Both kiddos could spend hours and hours there. (sometimes we do!) I wanted Betty to be confident for her wall of fame photo so I let her pick out what she was going to wear. She chose her “Books before boys” sweatshirt, pink fluffy tutu, and her new favorite conversation hearts bow from B3 Wraps (use code: Betty to save on your orders!) It was a chilly 54 degrees so I added long grey socks and her grey leopard print boots. img_20200130_1007185286076935806060489.jpgPrograms for children, teens, and adults are also available at the Library, but this one was perfect for our family since the babes are still little enough to participate. It really got Betty excited to read books and color in the stars, plus she extra pumped up for trips to the library; knowing her name would be moved and a prize would be chosen. We grabbed Bobby’s first blank page of stars and have already started his 1000 books. I am so excited to watch him go through the process and grow his love of reading.img_20200130_1046543342876346509209108.jpgIf you find yourself in Waco with your kiddos be sure and check out one of the libraries, they are awesome for learning, fun, and making friends.wp-15804502887629103355239900692634.jpg

Baby’s first birthday

Making it through the first twelve months is such an amazing milestone for both baby and parents. Baby has blossomed into a toddler becoming more and more mobile and vocal. As a mom, seeing my son turn one was bitter sweet: I’m so excited for how far he has come, but also so sad that my little baby is growing up. 

When I hosted my daughter’s first birthday party I got stressed and even overwhelmed at some points. Don’t get me wrong everything turned out fine and we had a blast, but I knew that I wanted to take a more laid back approach to my son’s party. With that in mind I started planning Bobby’s wild ONE party when he was about six months old.

The idea was to choose a theme that would work for a Texas January. Which means it could have been anywhere between 35 – 65 degrees. So a lodge/ forest wild ONE seemed the perfect fit. Plus we can re-use some of the buffalo plaid decor at Christmas. For my daughter’s party, I made many of the decorations on short notice which contributed to being stressed. This round we grabbed balloons, table cloths, and banners (more banners) months ahead of time, for less than $40 (including shipping). It was a good thing we ordered so far in advance since shipping from this site can take six weeks or more. To save ourselves some time and stress we decorated the afternoon before the party. Seeing everything in place made it very easy to make a list of items we still needed to grab before the party. We did the standard 1- 12 month photo banner and added a “my first holidays” banner (not pictured.) Table cloths went down on the sign, snacks, and goodie bag tables; and our wild one balloons hung above the gift area. Other than that we didn’t do much decorating, we figured with the majority of our guests being under ten they would most likely be on the floor or outside in the bounce house. 

Part of the cash we saved on decor went toward a cake smash photoshoot with Willie + Rose Photography, which has become a family tradition. These photos will last forever so I definitely think it is worth getting them done by a professional. We used our favorite shots for his party invites and thank you notes. Another budget efficient tip we used was only mailing invitations to out of town family and opted for a Facebook event for the remaining guests.

Keri’s Kreations makes the best custom treats in Waco, TX; they are almost too beautiful to eat. Keri did the cake & cookies for my daughter’s birthday so naturally she is who we chose for Bobby’s forest themed cake and woodland animal cupcakes to serve at the party. Both the the cake and cupcakes tasted like heaven. Bobby did not dig into his smash cake as expected, which was a bit of a bummer but I think he was taken back by seeing everyone sing to him. 

Although we we’re aiming for a laid back celebration, I’m a sucker for a good theme party and always looking for a reason to bust out a costume. Bobby’s first outfit has been dubbed the little stinker. He was such a good sport with this one he loved the little footie paws and kept rubbing the fuzzy section on his belly.

Bobby really enjoyed this little skunk outfit gifted to him at Christmas (thanks Uncle Nat), but couldn’t keep it on for the whole party. He started getting a little sweaty about an hour in. Assuming things would get messy we brought something to wear for after cake. Comfort is key, so we chose buffalo plaid joggers from B3 Wraps (using the code “Bobby” saves on your orders) and a custom birthday T-shirt from Hustle Darling. This was also one of the outfits from his birthday shoot.

Originally I hadn’t planned on doing goodie bags. I read an article about parents not wanting cheap little toys that break and the risk of food allergies or anti-sugar households and basically all the things that could go wrong, but my mom found the cutest little Pinterest project a couple days before the party, and I couldn’t help myself. So we put our own spin on it and made s’more kits with chocolate chips, marshmallows, and teddy grahams. The mix was put in snack bags and I added tags made out of cardstock. We thought a cheesy-yet-adorable bear pun would put it over the top, so I made stickers from mailing labels with my Cricut. I think they turned out super cute!

I told Bobby’s dad the day before the party that I felt much less stressed preparing for this one. To which he replied “second child syndrome” and chuckled. He was obviously joking, but I would be lying if I said that it didn’t sting a little. As a mother to siblings I strive to give both babies the same amount of effort and affection. I’d like to think that Bobby’s party was less stressful because we were able to use the knowledge gained from hosting Betty’s first birthday to make it easier for everyone involved to focus on the fun. The lesson I learned from hosting both is that the best part of any party is celebrating with people you love. Seeing all of our friends and family play, smile, dance, and laugh in honor of Bobby’s birthday was the highlight of the day. All the decorations, costumes, and gift bags are useless when you don’t have anyone to share them with. Our little family is so incredibly lucky to have people that show up for us and our babies.

 

Christmas lights in the village

Mayborn Christmas villageSince today is the last day of 2019, I figured if I wanted to squeeze a Christmas post in, I better do it now or forever hold my piece. My daughter and I added a new tradition to our list this year, the Mayborn Museum‘s Christmas lights in the village. Baby Bobby was sick so he & his Dad had guys night in, while Betty and I headed out.

Betty chose to wear her favorite holiday outfit. Which just so happens to be a dress (shocker) this one is pink with vintage Santa and holiday stocking pattern. We scooped it from a local boutique, here in Waco, called Junque Queen’s. We paired white knee highs and soft pink Ugg boots. We got these adorable boots from a friend, and have no shame in our hand me down game.  The look is finished with a coordinating B3 bow (don’t forget to use code: Betty to save when ordering from their website or the VIP group on Facebook.) It was pretty chilly so we added white, a faux fur, crop jacket to stay warm.

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After paying the entry fee, we were given glow in the dark necklaces, and headed to meet up with cousin Claire & her parents. Betty received a family membership to the Mayborn as a gift for her birthday, so going to the lights was just $5 per person for us (member rate). Once we made our way outside the girls were shocked by all of the lights, especially the tunnel at the entrance to the village.

After running through the light tunnel we made our way to a couple of cute photo opt areas set up by the staff. First was exciting for the girls, because they got to sit in Santa’s sleigh. The second included hay bales and an old timey wagon. I loved that all the guests were willing to take photos for each other, helping to preserve the night’s memories. Christmas may give people the warm and fuzzies, but I like to think their is a kindness built into the people here in Waco.

We continued through the village noticing cute Christmas activities offered at each of the village’s tiny buildings. Since the girls are unable to write legibly, yet, we skipped writing a letter to Santa at the schoolhouse, however it is a must try for next year.

We soon made our way into the line for Santa and only had to wait a few minutes for our turn. Betty always claims to be ready to meet him until it is actually her turn, at which point she very clearly wants nothing to do with the poor guy. So no Santa pic this round. But, I was able to snap a photo of my favorite cousin duo scoping out the pioneer home while waiting in line.

We saved the best part (personal opinion) for last, the petting zoo!!!! I’m about 98% sure if we would have tried the petting zoo first, other activities would have received zero attention and no participation.

There were donkeys, piglets, bunnies, goats, llamas, chickens, and even fluffy little puppies! I’m sure I left some off the list, but it is not my fault I was totally overwhelmed by their cuteness. All of the animals were well behaved. Only one of our group members, got poo on their shoe.  one out of five isn’t too bad. The puppies completely stole the show for me. So soft, fluffy, and friendly. Both girls gently pet each animal and had smiles as big as their faces would allow.

After sanitizing our hands we regrouped and headed toward the exit. Only to find the fox and the crow jammin’ out along the path. Our little ladies immediately started dancing their tiny hearts out. Unfortunately, we caught the tail end of the song and a break was announced. The band noticed how crushed our tiny princesses were and suddenly a Christmas miracle occurred, the singer asked if they’d like to hear Jingle Bells! Of course they did, so it was played specially for them and the dance party continued just a little bit longer, which made our entire night.

We passed snack and hot cocoa vendors on the way out, and decided on chips & queso from Fuego, before venturing back inside the museum. Fun fact: Betty loves chips & queso above most other foods, and requests it at every restaurant we go to.

There was no chance of making it all the way to the car without these two stopping to check out the enormous Christmas tree in the lobby. So we had a mini photo shoot and let the girls explore the beautiful ornaments. This was such a wonderful experience, I cannot wait to see what next year’s version is like. Fingers crossed everyone is in good health next year and the whole family can enjoy it.

First trip to the movies

So I’m sure, if you guys have kids in your life, you know that Disney’s smash hit Frozen had a sequel (Frozen 2) premiere in theaters recently. My daughter & niece love frozen, huge surprise I’m sure. They pretend to be the dynamic sister duo all throughout play time, they read Frozen books, sing Frozen songs, my daughter even insists on having Anna bread for breakfast (the bread wrapper has subtly started putting characters on it….and it’s working we have Frozen bread, well played HEB) it’s nuts. So obviously I had to dress them in full character gear and take them to the sequel for their first ever trip to the movie theater.

My daughter digs Princess Anna. She has started introducing herself as “Princess Anna” and even corrects me when I call her Betty. So Anna was an obvious choice, we grabbed her a Princess Anna costume at the Halloween and toy liquidation store during their after Halloween sale (75% off.) This kit included the adventuring winter dress and pink cape Anna picks up on her way to find Elsa in the original movie. Anna buys this dress in the scene where she first meets Kristoff. Betty is a girly girl and normally wears piggies & a bow which is worked out because Anna rocks pigtails too! Betty’s Frozen bow is from B^3 Wraps (use code Betty to save when shopping their site.)

Betty dubbed my niece, Claire, Princess Elsa while playing one day and it stuck! Claire is only 18 months old and it was difficult finding a costume that small so we grabbed an Elsa dress for her from Amazon. The train on this one was my favorite part!!! This is the dress Elsa switches to while singing her epic solo “Let it go” (if you didn’t read that in song form, we can’t be friends.) Claire paired her dress with a sparkly white headband but, in true Elsa fashion, opted for a crown over a bow.

Anna & Elsa wouldn’t be the same without Olaf. Betty & Claire wouldn’t be the same without Bobby! our little Olaf was so chill about wearing his costume. I honestly thought it was going to be so hard to get a picture but I actually had a more difficult time with the Princesses. The Halloween liquidation store is also where we snagged this three piece set:

• White body suit with brown sleeves (branches)

• Fluffy snowman body

• Velcro Olaf face/ hat

Bobby paired this with his brown stride rite sneakers (the same ones from our Thanksgiving post.) He actually wears these sneakers a lot since they can easily be dressed up or down.

We decided on the Waco Hippodrome since it’s our favorite local theater. I remember coming to the Hippodrome, in fourth grade, to watch the Nutcracker. Getting to leave school for the day and getting dressed up (little lace gloves and everything) with my bestie is one of my favorite memories. But that was before it was renovated and turned into a movie theater. Now they have movie screens, reclining seats, and waitstaff that brings you appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, candy or even beer throughout the movie; you never have to leave your super comfy chair. We made it a family affair including my niece, her parents, my tribe of 4, and the grandparents. I think we set the bar for going to the movies pretty high but it was totally worth it. Everyone had so much fun. Even Bobby who slept through the entire movie.