Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Princess in Wonderland

We celebrated Princess E's fourth birthday on Saturday with an Alice In Wonderland themed party.

It started with a really cute invitation that did a great job of setting the scene. Katy found it on Etsy. She sent the information and got it back in a printable file. I thought it looked great.

Then Katy went to work setting the scene for the party at their home. Most of the decor was done with paper. Katy and I were able to put all the pieces together on Saturday morning while Travis and Grandad took the Princesses out for a long lunch at a restaurant with a playground. Aunt B and her granddaughter, McKinzey, came early to lend a hand.

The tea party menu was simple fare that kids would like: cupcakes, popcorn, cookies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Koolaid. Princess E had her very own little cake. Aunt B furnished a few of the beautiful teapots from her collection. We served three kinds of tea in real china cups. Our little guests especially seemed to enjoy the raspberry hibiscus tea served with sugar cubes (it was pink). There was also chamomile tea and English breakfast tea for the adults.

One of the parts of the party that the little ones seemed to really enjoy was the Mad Hatter's Shop. Each party guest made her very own mini-top hat which was attached to a headband. Both Katy and I gathered up scraps of lace, tulle, ribbons, beads, sequins, and buttons from our craft supplies. McKinzey, who is 11, supervised the little girls in decorating their hats. In some cases, their Moms helped too. McKinzey also manned the hot glue gun, which was safely placed on the kitchen counter-top out of reach of all the little ones. I must say, there were some pretty cute creations including the one that McKinzey made for me.

The final touch was an Alice in Wonderland dress for Princess E to wear to the party. She loved it and so did I. I really enjoyed making an old-fashioned dress with puff sleeves and a pinafore. I used a size 4 girls pattern, but I had to add two inches in length. At four years old, she's clearly going to be tall like her mother.

Katy and I worked long-distance from both San Antonio and Corpus Christi to put together all the details for this party. We used a shared Pinterest board for pinning ideas and then decided on the specific details we wanted. I made the "WONDERLAND" banner from instructions we pinned. Katy hand lettered all the other signs and gathered all the other supplies.

I spent the past few days putting together a photo book as a keepsake for Princess E. I started making these for the girls on Princess E's second birthday. Each of them gets her very own book for each birthday. I love doing them, and it takes the pressure off of Katy. Several of us take the photos and Katy doesn't have to worry about taking photos while she's trying to run the party. I'm usually able to make a keepsake album for around $30. We watch for Groupon or Living Social deals on albums and buy them. I've used several different sources over the years including Shutterfly and Snapfish. This time I used Picaboo. Unfortunately, their program doesn't allow me to share the book on my blog. I like this style of books better than the scrapbook-style books that I used to make by hand. They may not have all the cute little decorations, but they are more durable. The girls can handle them while they're little and will still have the keepsake for years to come.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Sweethearts

I've been busy with some preparations for Princess E's birthday party this weekend. There will be plenty of photos next week. It's an Alice In Wonderland theme. I've made her a beautiful Alice dress to wear. It's hard to believe that she will be four years old next week.

Grandad and I will celebrate Valentine's Day tonight with a special dinner at home. Then tomorrow morning we are off to San Antonio for a weekend with our little sweethearts.

I captured this photo a couple of weeks ago when Our Little Princesses visited. They were sharing their milk at our weekly family breakfast. There is a big bright window behind them that gave it the glow at the top.

Happy Valentine's Day from Grams ... or as we say in our family ... Happy Valenta's Day!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Grams Made It - 5K

If you've ever clicked on Grams Weight Loss above, then you know my story. If you haven't, you should go read it. In a nutshell, I had gastric bypass surgery in 2006 and lost around 125 pounds. Although I've never lost all my excess weight, I've been successful in keeping off the weight that I did lose. This has required a drastic change in lifestyle, not the least of which is exercising.

The exercise has been a continuing challenge. At first it was hard just because my body hurt. My knees had been abused by carrying around all that excess weight and they were not happy about my new penchant for using them for exercise. But my knees and I persevered.

Grandad was very supportive and he needed to lose a few pounds too, so we started a walking regimen. We were up to walking two to three miles at least three times a week when we were sidelined by Grandad's heart problems. You can read more about that here and here.  After his many procedures, we tried several times to start walking again, but he just could not recover enough to get back to it. For a long time he couldn't handle walking one block. I didn't get back to walking on my own, for many reasons. In addition to multiple trips every week to one doctor or another, I was juggling every single thing that needed to be done around the house ... every ... single ... thing. I simply did not have the energy or fortitude to exercise.

Then, a couple of months ago, a friend posted on Facebook that she was going to do the Color Me Rad 5K in Corpus Christi and invited me to join her. At first I kind of laughed. She is a runner and I am most definitely not. I thought about it for a few days, then I sent the Color Me Rad people an email and asked if they welcome walkers as well as runners. I got a prompt response that walkers were indeed welcome. I started to talk about it with some friends and family and we decided to do it.

Katy signed us up as Team Better Halves. If you are not familiar with Color Me Rad, here's what their web site says about it:
Start out as clean as a newborn babe, and throughout the run, you'll coat your chaffing thighs with Color Bombs of blue, green, pink, purple, and yellow until your face, shirt, and body come out silkscreened like a tie-dyed hippy on the other side.

Each section of the run adds a new explosion of color to your clean, painter’s palate until you cross the finish line into a final blitzkrieg of color.

 Here are our before and after photos.

Mary Lou (my next-door neighbor), Grams, Princess E, & Katy
Saturday was the most gloriously beautiful day you can imagine. We could not have asked for better weather or a more beautiful place to walk. We walked from Whataburger Field through Heritage Park and then down Shoreline Drive to the Lawrence Street T-Head and back.

Photo in extreme lower left is us crossing the finish line. Bottom right is the post-race celebration.
I must say, we had a blast. I never knew that runners (and walkers) were so much fun. We started at the back of the final wave and finished very near the end. I can walk 5K, but I'm not fast.

Here are a few more photos to show you what I mean when I say people were having fun.

I believe they said that the young lady in the wedding dress was celebrating her divorce. There were several people who actually got down in the street and rolled around in the color. The woman in the pink shorts was celebrating her birthday. And, yes, that is a man wearing a tutu. There were several.

It was a great experience. I especially enjoyed sharing it with Princess E and Katy. Princess E and I did our first 5K together on the same day. I hope it's only the beginning of a healthy lifestyle for both of us.