Monday, February 28, 2011

Logan's first birthday!

My friend Kristi has this sweet little baby, Logan. We is the littlest kid in our group of friends and really has been adopted by 7 other moms. We threw Kristi a surprise baby shower before her 3rd son was born so we also decided Logan needed a surprise bday party for his first one!

It was just Logan, Amara, and one other little boy ( all the other kids were in school) and then a bunch of moms!

Presents (all new stuff-no hand me down toys or clothes for this little guy!)
And CAKE!!! What a party! Happy Birthday Logan!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Moms Group Mommy/Daughter Event

Tonight was maybe my favorite night of 2011 so far....The Mommy/Daughter Event for The Moms Group. Guess who planned it? Me! Uggg! I've got so much on my plate right now that I'm doing tons of things but not many of them well and it it breaks my heart.

I did however decide to plan this event and the Mommy/son event in the fall because I thought The Moms Group needed this events and I wanted them and I was willing to do the leg work so I could participate in these things and have these group memories with my kids.

I decided on a Girls Night In/Sleepover Theme for our 1.5 hour event at a local church. I pulled everything together and with a little help from some friends who helped with supplies, baking, and making a wonderful video, it was an awesome night!

Here we are in our PJ's before our date began!

We headed to McDonalds first. This was a BIG deal for us and my very favorite part of the night! For financial and waste reasons, our kids NEVER get their own happy meals when we are buying. And therefore, they never get their own toy. They share the meal and they take turns getting the toy. This time Amara got her own meal and her own toy and she was so happy.

We say for a long time and just chatted and giggled about the night our PJ's! It was fun!

There were stations at the event! Loud girly music on the speakers. The girls and their moms could make a beaded bracelet, decorate a foam door hanger, decorate a cookie shaped like a dress, crown, or butterfly, or paint nails.
Mara loved working on her foam door hanger!
Everyone had a great time!
Mommies and daughters worked together for about an hour on the stations
Mara and I show off our awesome beaded bracelets we worked on together!
Our rule is no nailpolish until she's three but for this night, we put on some nail art stickers and a tiny bit of clear polish with green sparkles. All was off by the end of the night but she had fun for awhile!
Then the icecream sundae bar. Everyone brought toppings and we loaded up! We gathered and watched a 10 minute video of all of our daughters and us through the years ( we each submitted 5 pics and my friend Kathy made the most wonderful video that we watched on a huge projector screen). While we cleaned up, the kids had a dance party!
What a great night!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Minute to Win It...and other neighborhood antics!

Tonight we went over to our neighbor's house for a much needed get-together ( when you are with people ever night out in the yard 6 months of the year, you go through withdrawl in the winter).

All the kids were at my house with an older neighbor babysitter and the adults hung out at Lori's.

We all brought food and drink and spent lots of time catching up and then we began to play games.

Brian and I ( and the kids) love watching Minutetowinit on NBC and the games are so fun. After our New year's EveParty we decided these games are perfect for just about any gathering and we spent an "Us" night this week getting them ready to play...
chopsticks collecting keys and penne pasta on spaghetti and rolling marbles
spinning and stopping quarters
Flipping beer lids
Knocking down cups with balloons
Hanging hangers
Keeping balloons afloat!
We had a BLAST and loved having another opportunity to be together!

Swimming, Gymnastics, New Bikes, and as Snowman....lots to catch up on

We've had lots going on at the Fulton House and very seldom a spare second to think, much less document it on the blog. Our evenings have been filled with swim lessons, gymnastics, meetings, dinners with friends, and trying to recover in between!

Mara and Al both took swim lessons in February so we got a monthyl membership to the Best Western so we could swim anytime. While Mara did NOT do well with her swimlessons, she has enjoyed going to the pool other times!
Alaric loved being one on one with his favorite babysitter, Emma!
Floating, dunking his head, working on his kicking and arms, etc
He's also doing gymnastics for the second spring. Its a simple class with a ton of kids but its giving him some confidence with what he's capable of doing and he loves meeting new people!

On a warmER day last week we got out both kids' new bikes. Mara took off- Alaric is a bit more tentative with his higher seat and loose training wheels but we are trying
We brought our neighborhood friends to the pool on Presidents Day and had a blast!
We had to drag Mara out of the water she loved it so much!
And just today....the kids made an Illini snowman with the best packing snow of the season in record time- what fun!
March is moments away and we begin our huge preparations for Alaric's Superhero BDay party and all that goes along with it....and a household of other March birthdays!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

McKinley's Chili Cookoff

Today was our favorite fellowship event at church....the annual Chili Cookoff! Most year's Brian competes but even if he doesn't, we all love to EAT! There are three categories....regular, vegetarian, and hot and spicy. This year, my sister-in-law ( a former winner) was going to bring a veggie chili but Veronica decided she wanted to help too and ended up making the chili all herself. With a little guidance, she picked all the ingredients and the quantities and did the stirring and everything- the cookoff's youngest ever competitor!

Here V is by the Vegetarian sign!
V and her Daddy getting ready to have their first bowl of Veronica's chili!
The chili stations were all over Westminster Hall and congregation members went back and back and back in order to try each option!
Our beautiful Fellowship Hall!
The Bechtel Family sits together
Brian's Hot and Spicy entry! Made with deer steak and bacon and BEER, of course!
While Veronica didn't place in her first competition, Pastor Keith made a BIG deal about her participation and made her feel amazing...even gave her a special $1 prize of her own!
Brian on the other hand, won second place!!! Go Brian!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's the Valentine we made for aunts and uncles and grandparents and Godparents. Alaric did all the roofs, Amara did all the windows, and they both signed their names to the back.
We A "Door" You!
Alaric's teachers, principal, and secetaries got other special treats.

The kids woke up today to heart shaped toast with sprinkles, apples arranged in heart shapes, a new book, and a small treat in their love bugs! What fun breakfast was today!
Alaric wanted to make sugar cookies so after lunch we did and we decorated them and distributed them to all our neighbors! Share the love!
Dinner was hotdogs in the shape of hearts and also heart shaped cheese.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our Winter Weekend Getaway!

What a wonderful weekend getaway we had at the Grand Bear Lodge and Indoor Water Park at Starved Rock!

We had been saving and looking forward to this weekend for awhile and it was also part of Alaric's Christmas gift to go to a water park!

We were all smiles!

The place we great, the water was warm, and it wasn't crowded at all.
The slides were a big hit with all of us!

Next door is an indoor amusement park. It had numerous, fair like rides that all of us could enjoy! All the rides were included with our weekend package AND we got 100 free tokens for all the video games!
The kids loved all the rides...except this was really too scary but Al wanted to try it. It was one of those that goes around and around in a circle. Alaric was freaking out and I had him look at me the whole time as I talked him through it. He said the up part was fine but the down part was bad. Oops!
This one was a huge hit!
We lvoe Grand Bear Lodge
And the Grand Grizzly!
We spent lots of time relaxing in our room too- having snacks and "picnics" on the bed while Brian and I indulged with a few beers!

Alaric loved all the video games and since we didn't pay a penny for them, Brian and I loved them too!
the Tilt a Whirl was an all time favorite- lots and lots of spinning!
we beat our cabin fever and had a great time together as a family!