Monday, January 28, 2013

WG 10

When we moved to Colorado, almost 10 years ago now, I knew NO ONE! Well, besides Mark's family. But here I was a 21 year old girl, fresh out of college, and newly married, living away from home with NO friends! I was lonely, and clingy, and hoarding Mark to myself. He had had about enough of this strange girl I had become and decided it was time that I make some new friends. So he connected me with a group of girls, some of whom he knew from high school but hadn't talked to in years. And he told me I should be friends with them. I thought he was crazy, and that I would look needy. But they kindly invited me to see the Nutcracker with their Thursday night Women's Group, and I accepted their offer. And I am SO GLAD that I did! Because that one show turned into a Christmas pajama exchange, which turned into coffee, and Bible studies, and flower pen making, and cake baking, and walks, and mini golf, and weddings, and babies, and laughs, and deep conversations, and prayers, and tears, and life long friendship! 

Oh, how glad I am that I took a leap of faith in meeting with these sweet girls that night. I am so glad that Mark challenged me to do something new. I am so glad that this group of girls welcomed me in. And I am so glad that God orchestrated the lives of these 7 girls to come together to do life! 

Their group had started meeting 10 years ago this January. And we decided it was the perfect time to do some big time celebrating of this special group that we have! 

We booked a hotel downtown and went away for 24 hours of togetherness in Denver! 
I was so excited to have a little girl time! The boys weren't so sure about me leaving! Ha! But Mark is Super Daddy and I knew he could handle it! 

We met up Saturday afternoon and drove downtown together. 
We stayed at the Embassy Suites right by the Convention Center. 

This was the view from our hotel room. 

We checked in and then went to the Aveda Institute for spa treatments. Unfortunately, I had THE WORLD'S WORST manicure! I ended up getting it for free in the end! Ha! But it was still fun and the other girls really had a relaxing couple of hours being pampered! 

Then it was on to the hotel happy hour! 
Free wine and apps! Yes, please! 

We chatted and laughed for a couple of hours! 

Then we headed up to the room to get all dolled up for our night on the town! 
It was fun doing our hair and makeup together! It was like we were back in college! 

We walked a couple of blocks and took the bus down to Larimer. 

This city night sure was a long way from my usual take out, p.j.'s, and Netflix! 

We had dinner reservations at 9:00 p.m.! 9:00! I don't think I've gone out for dinner that late in a VERY long time! It was wonderful! 
Our whole group in front of Osteria Marco! 
{From Left to Right: Natalie, Jenn, Sarah, Rachel, Heather, and myself}
Sadly, Kim couldn't make it this weekend! We really missed her! 

This sketch was hanging in the restaurant, it really reminded me of my friend, Kerri! I used to LOVE pigs when I was growing up! Isn't that strange? But didn't most little girls have some animal they just LOVED! I took this picture and texted it to her because she always used to draw me pictures and pass them to me in notes! Remember notes? Do kids still write them, or do they just text!? 

Heather and I at dinner. 

We shared a yummy ricotta cheese appetizer, two delicious salads, and three unique pizzas. And we were stuffed. 

After dinner we hung out for awhile outside on Larimer and met and chatted with Natalie's new boyfriend and a random and intriguing bike taxi driver. 

It was lightly sprinkling, but it was simply divine to be carefree! 

 We stopped for an after midnight chocolate snack at Walgreens, walked back to our hotel, to put our comfys on, and stayed up until 1:30 or 2 chatting and answering questions like, "If you could be an Olympic athlete in any event, what would it be." 

And then we SLEPT! Oh, we slept! Uninterrupted sleep until almost 9 a.m.! No getting up in the middle of the night to take my 3 year old to the bathroom. No getting woken up at 5 a.m. to pop in the paci. Heaven! 
We had a wonderful complimentary breakfast at the hotel that morning. Omelets made to order, hash browns, bacon, sausage, bagels, muffins, pancakes- anything you could want! 

After breakfast we ended up chatting around the table for an hour or so until we were the last ones left in the restaurant. And it was perfect, that it US! I just love that we can talk for hours. That we can be open and vulnerable. That we share our challenges, struggles, insecurities. That we celebrate our joys and accomplishments. 

After breakfast we hugged goodbye and headed back to our families. I am so blessed to be a part of this group. And I look forward to seeing where the next 10 years bring us! 
P.S. My time away was wonderful, but when I got home, the hugs I received from 4 cute boys were equally as wonderful! They had a great time as bachelors- playdates, McDonalds, baths, Sonic and more! They lived it up! Mark is a fantastic daddy and handled it all amazingly! They had a ton of fun, but I could tell they were so happy to have me back home! That is the best feeling in the world! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Nolan turned 5 on December 30th. We were in Chicago and were lucky enough to celebrate his actual birthday with my family. But once we got back to Colorado, we also knew we wanted to celebrate with Mark's family and a few of his best friends from school. With the busyness of Christmas and travel and other family birthdays, we decided to wait a few weeks to have a party for Nolan. A few months ago, he had told me that he would like to have his party at Jump Street. So I looked into it, and it was actually reasonably priced and the thought of not having to clean my house or clean up after the party was enough to have me sold! So Jump Street it was! 

I loved not having to plan too much, since we've had quite a few parties lately. But of course, I couldn't let his special day go by without adding a few special touches. 
The night before, he helped me bake cupcakes. His favorite- vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. 

We went with a Star Wars Legos theme- 2 things he is very into these days! 

I made a quick invitation to pass out to his 2 friends at school and then I just emailed family about the party- keeping it really SIMPLE! 

A few more party preparations...
I brought along the Birthday Chair sign I made and used when we celebrated in Chicago.

I found Lego wrapping paper at a party store and I designed these little gift tags to attach to our gifts. 

We bought these blow up light sabers at Target and made the thank you notes. 

Nolan had fun deciding who each one would be for depending on the Lego Star Wars guy that was on the tag. 

Then we were all set to party! 
Daddy took a half day and since the party was on MLKJ Day, none of the kids had school. Too bad everyone had the bright idea of going to Jump Street on a day off! It was packed! But that didn't stop the fun! 

We bought Lego candy to spread out on the table and use to decorate some of the cupcakes. 

Nolan and I worked on building the number 5 out of Legos to add another fun detail! 

And Jump Street had a few little ways to celebrate Nolan as well. 

Once all the kids were was time to JUMP! 
Brooks hung out with Opa in the little kiddie area.

While the big kids partied on the bouncers and trampolines! 
This is Nolan and his good friend Sam, they have been in the same class for 2 years now. And they are such good buds. They sure can make each other laugh! Nolan is always coming home from school with stories about funny things that Sam says! 

We always have to check out the video games too!

And this is Nolan and Evan. Evan was new to his class this year, but they are inseparable at school! 

Taking a water break! 

Heathy had a BLAST! 

These kids bounced and bounced and ran and bounced some more! 

Payton was very excited because she has always wanted to ride the mechanical bull, but it costs extra money and she has never been able to. But it was included in the party package if you are 8 or older! So she went for it!
Way to go P! 

They also got to go in the foam pit, which is usually extra money, but was also included in the party package. 

Payton and Brady were the only ones who wanted to wait in the long line to try it out! 

Cohen and Landon climbing. 

And after about an hour and a half of jumping we took a break to sing to Nolan and have cupcakes! 
Most of the kiddos at the party table! 

Our cupcakes! 

I found the toppers as a free printable online! SCORE! 

Nolan was so funny when we sang Happy Birthday to him this year. He was kind of shy and sang along to himself! Silly guy! 

5 year old boys being goofy! 


Brooksie hanging out in all the crazy! 

Oma building a creation with Lego candy. 

I think everyone enjoyed the cupcakes! 

 Then it was on to PRESENTS! 

He got Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders from his brothers. And some books too. Mommy and Daddy bought him some new p.j.s and a Yoda flashlight key chain for his backpack. 

Payton made him a "bouncetastic" card! 

And the Syers fam gave him Sock 'em Boppers gloves to bounce the punching bag they gave him for Christmas! He LOVES it! And look at his sweet little smile in this picture. Precious! 

He got Star Wars Angry birds from Evan and a Motor Cycle guy from Sam. 

Cohen gave him a new Star Wars Lego set- one we don't have yet! Yay! 

After thank you's and hugs we even had a little extra time for some more playing. 
Brady, Sam, and Opa played a little air hockey. 

And everyone bounced a few more times. 

Then Nolan passed out his light saber favors. 
The second they were in these guys hands, a battle erupted! 

Boy energy! 

Cohen's fierce face with light saber in hand. 

Heath getting Oma! 

Everyone was exhausted after such a fun afternoon! 
When we got home Nolan and I had a great time playing with all his new toys! 
We tried out Sock 'em Boppers immediately. 

And we played a round of Chutes and Ladders- Mommy won. And a game of Candy Land too- Nolan won. We played Star Wars Angry Birds, built Legos, and read books! It was a perfect way to end the day with my favorite 5 year old! 

Nolan Bradley...we are so blessed to have you in our family! You are a joy! 

But sorry to say it, but this will be the last year I plan 3 birthday parties in a month and a half! Too crazy! Each boy is so special and deserves their own special thang, but next year we will be having one big blow out bash for all 3 boys!!! This Mommy is exhausted! :)