All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


Happy 4th Weekend!

We had a darn good weekend!  Hottie had Friday off so we kicked off our Independence Day festivities a day early.  The weather was perfect and the kids were on their best behavior (until they weren’t, but that was rare), so we really maximized the outdoor family time.

On Friday, Matthew had camp and Bryson had a strange rash, so Hottie dropped Bryson and me off at the pediatrician on his way to drop Matthew off at camp.  I took the running stroller with me and dressed appropriately to just run home from there, but I felt guilty about ditching Hottie on his day off when I know he loves nothing more than getting a coffee together  😉   The doctor was super efficient for walk-in hours (grass mites – who knew?) and we were done before Hottie was back.  We ran a bit while we waited for him to pick us up.  We ended up getting drive-thru coffee and some donut holes for Bryson and then Hottie drove us to a trailhead and we ran home from there.  Our community does an amazing job with linking up all suburban trail systems, so I was able to run 5 miles back to our house without having to cross busy street without an overpass or underground tunnel.  It was a beautiful run!

We picked Matthew up with Ji.mmy Joh.ns in the car waiting for him and headed to the park.  The kids played, we stood and ate, and I got some super cute pictures of them in the covered bridge and along the creek.  It was a great way to spend the morning before naps!  Naps HAPPENED for 2+ hours so I mowed the lawn and Hottie washed our cars.  We had our favorite dinner as a family (curry bison burgers which Bryson gobbled his up while Matthew ate leftover salmon from the night before) and then we went out for ice cream.  Baths happened on time and Bryson was in bed by 8:20.  Matthew and Hottie camped out in the backyard, leaving me to myself to make this AMAZING brussels sprout salad and this sparkler cake for the next day.  I finally dyed cake batter, which I’ve never done before, and it was super cute.  I did not take a single picture of my cake, but it looked just like the one below without the thin sliced strawberries on top.  The layers were blue, red, and blue and I added fresh blueberries to the frosting between the bottom and middle layers, and fresh strawberries to the frosting between the middle and top layers.  I’ll be making it again next year!  I’ll be making the brussels sprouts salad again next week!  After cooking, I sat in bed and spent some much needed alone-time while everyone slept – it was wonderful!

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Saturday started EARLY… at 3:45 AM.  HA!  I woke to the sound of a door opening and a bunch of “Shhhh.. they’re sleeping.”  It got too cold outside for the boys so they headed inside to sleep in Matthew’s bed together.  CUTENESS!  Bryson then woke up at 6:05 and snuggled into bed with me for his morning “Ogurt.”  I gave the boys until 7:00 to wake up but no luck, so Bryson and I went for a nice 5 mile run.  We arrived home about 5 minutes after the guys woke up so we all got ready together and headed for the parade.  WHAT FUN THAT WAS!  I was the official candy collector (of the candy that didn’t get picked by the kids = tootsie rolls) and Bryson was the official candy taster.  We saw lots of politicians due to Iowa being the first state in the nation to vote in the primaries (ick) and a lot of fun trucks.  Success!  The candy was mostly mediocre and that reminds me I need to toss it out now that everyone’s asleep.  HA!

We had lunch and then naps… well, Bryson had a nap.  Matthew tried to sleep but couldn’t, so he got to help me finish prepping food for our dinner family playdate with some new friends.  The cake was a hit (the twin boys kept tasting the frosting and put the cutest finger prints in the side of the cake – making it obvious that Landon is the lefty and Andrew is the righty!), we learned that children need to be taught not to hold their friends under water (I shudder when I think of all the times we’ve stepped out of the bathroom with the boys in the tub together – they don’t understand that dunking is not a good idea even if the other kid likes it), and Matthew had a really great time with one of the boys.  Bryson kept to himself but came out of his shell when he got in the pool (clothes on) and hit it off with Landon who is more docile than Matthew and Andrew.  HA!

We headed home to grab some things for fireworks and headed to the park by 8:30.  This is when our day went from great to horrible in an instant.  We got tickets for the bounce house and let both boys go in.  We kept checking on them, keeping a close eye on the exit.  I saw Matthew at one end so I headed back to the exit where I met up with Hottie who had just seen Bryson on the other end of the bounce house.  Hottie asked where Matthew was, I said just on the other end, he looked, and… no Matthew.  He was gone.  I wasn’t too concerned at first – there’s no way he could have gotten far.  Wrong.  He was nowhere in sight.  NOWHERE.  Hottie took off to look for him as I loaded Bryson in the wagon and asked some moms to keep an eye out for him.  As I panned the area over and over again, I started to panic.  This hadn’t happened before – not like this.  There was a sea of people and Matthew was not amongst any of them.  When I realized that he was not in the section of the park that I was in, I looked for a city festival worker to help me.  When he asked me what Matthew was wearing, I fell apart.  I mean – I sobbed, started to hyperventilate, and then almost threw up.  The guy called the police right away to help and I heard him put out the alert on the walkie talkie that a 4 year old boy named Matthew was missing.  JESUS.  He assured me that this had happened many times earlier in the day and that the kids are always found.  I nodded, fighting back tears (I remember blinking back tears, trying to nod confidently, and biting my lower lip.. oh, the lower lip is my tell), but it was getting dark.  This was different.  He told me to come back to where we were after a bit of looking and he was off like a shot rounding people up to look for him.  I decided to cross the road into the other part of the park (the bigger, scarier, too-close-to-the-road part of the park) when I heard Brian yelling for me.  He had him.  He had him in his arms.  Matthew had slipped out of the bounce house, thought that WE were lost because we weren’t there, and decided to find us.

“I got out of the bounce house and you were lost. I went to find you because you were lost. I found another Mommy (this is what we’ve taught him to do – yay!) and said, “I can’t find my daddy, he’s lost. Do you know where he is? I need help.”  She picked me up and held me until daddy came. She was nice. She had on green (correct) and was eating popcorn.”

I don’t think I’ve cried happy tears like I did last night – total relief!  Seriously, at one point, I thought to myself, “he’s gone.  GONE.  He is GONE!”  He asked if I was mad and of course I wasn’t.  I then had to call off the search, thank everyone for their help, and go and meet this woman who picked up my kid and kept him safe for us until we found him.  All of that was done through tears and nervous smiles.  The festival guy said, “this is the 10th one today, and we’re still 100%.  I know it’s scary, but it will happen again.”  He was a rock – he was just the right person for me at that time.  Amazingly, this all only lasted between 5 and 10 minutes.  It felt like a lifetime.

With the drama behind us, we went “back to the car where we will wait for fireworks” (Hottie’s words).  Hottie came prepared with a picnic blanket, camp chairs, bubble blowers, glow sticks, etc. so there was no shortage of things to do.  Matthew stayed right next to one of us at all times – he had to be touching us at all times once we were back at the picnic blanket.  We obliged, and quite happily.  Fireworks started, they went on forever, Bryson and I packed up our stuff (he lost interest in the fireworks quickly), and we were out of there.  The kids fell asleep on the way home and transferred into bed without a peep.  Hottie and I sat up together, equally relieved and happy to be home with both boys safely in their beds, and watched a movie until 1:00 AM.  It was… perfect!

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Today, Sunday, was another beautiful day but I didn’t run.  Instead, Hottie got up with Bryson 6:05 (AGAIN) and I went into Matthew’s room to sleep in with him – we got up at 8:00 (that is WAY late for me!).  We tooled around the house, made breakfast hot dogs for the kids, and took a family shower before we went out for a late breakfast/brunch.  Bryson fell asleep on the way home with his sunnies on his forehead and was tossed in the crib while Hottie and Matthew did some “house projects” together for a little bit (sanding and re-staining wood windows).  At 1:50, I called it nap time and I crawled into bed with Matthew and slept with him until 4:15.  It was …. wonderful.  Hottie got more windows done while we all slept and then he made the boys’ favorite dinner, which Matthew thanked him for over and over and over again!  We went out for ice cream (again) and then the boys had baths and went to bed.   My first order of business was to order these disposable ID wrist bands  and Road ID tags for the boys’ shoes.  Done and done.  And here I am, with a sleeping Hottie beside me and my laptop right where it belongs before heading off to bed myself.

Great weekend – even with the scare of our lives!



Happy 2 & 4!

Yesterday and today are all about birthdays! Matthew turned 4 yesterday at 11:54 AM as we ate lunch with Hottie, and Bryson turned 2 today at 8:03 as we decorated his cake!

These boys are full of spunk and energy and I think the next year is going to be exhausting! But I KNOW it’s going to be great!!!

Happy birthday, sweet (and naughty 😈) boys of mine! We love you both so very much!!!


Birthday Party 2015!

The party is over.


It was a busy day starting with lawn and yard work at 7:00 sharp before a quick shower and errands. I love a freshly mowed lawn, especially for the kids to play in! Everything was tip top in the yard by 8:15 and I had 45 minutes to shower and dress before picking up cupcakes. Hottie fixed the shower heads so I took my time, enjoying his hard work to make my showers relaxing (rather than painful from too much pressure). I love my rare showers without kids in there with me. 😁

Hottie took the kids to the store for buns, and to just get them out of my hair so I could wrap everything up the way I wanted them. He knows me so well! The cupcakes were ready on time so I got home quickly to construct the cake.

Decorating the cake was, in a word, FUN! It turned out just as I wanted and I finished it right before the boys walked in. They loved it! And then they asked for their donuts. Ha!

We got all of the serving dishes out last night so we were really in a good place by 10:00. The cupcake toppers were on and the cupcakes were on their serving plates and platters, the cake was ready and safe from little fingers, and the banner and door sign were hung. We just needed the food to arrive.

10:30 came, and 10:30 went, and we had no food. No one was answering their phones so I was a bit panicked. Did I forget to verify the date on the quote? A quick check confirmed the date was correct. Whew! At 10:50, they called to say they were close. They arrived at 11:05. The party started at 11:00. But they were very efficient at setting it up and the food was ready by 11:10. Not bad considering the 35 minute delay!

Everyone but one family came, so we had 33 people including us. That’s small for us… Most of those people were family. It was a really good sized group. Manageable. The bounce house was setup out back, t-ball was ready in one part of the yard, basketballs were out by the court, and a water table was fresh and clean in the adult seating section. It was an outdoor haven for the kids. Inside, the kids played in the cool (I mean temperature!) basement and left the adults upstairs to eat and visit. Over half of the food was consumed and only two bottles of wine were drunk (and no beer… that surprised me).

The birthday song was sung at 12:05 (goal was noon) and the house was empty by 1:06 (goal was 1:00). The house was clean by 2:45 and the kids were napping by 3:00. And then I headed off to a friend’s son’s birthday… Because one party wasn’t enough for me. Ha!

The only pictures I took are here. We have some of the boys blowing out candles on the SLR, but they’re not that great. Ugh!

It was fun, but I’m glad it’s done!


Almost Ready!

My cakes are baked and leveled, my chocolate graham crackers are pulverized into “dirt,” my fondant decorations are hardening, my chocolate for the frosting is chopped, and my raspberries for the filling are thawing. I’m in a good place with this birthday party right now! I can’t construct my construction cake until the boys are in bed, for obvious reasons.

So now I focus on dinner… after I rest!

(I got distracted while writing Matthews name on the yellow “sign” so I made a new one. It was still drying, so I used the messed up one for the layout diagram.)


Party Re-Vamp

I’m exhausted.  My kids hardly give me a moment of peace these days.  If Bryson falls asleep to nap, Matthew fights his for an hour.  By the time Matthew is asleep, I get about 20 minutes to myself before Bryson wakes up (too early).  Today, Matthew fell right asleep and Bryson fought it and fought it, screaming and screaming, sending tension through my shoulders.

I just want to make their damn birthday cake, but by the time they’re both asleep, I’m only left 20 minutes and honestly, I’d rather just sit, dammit.

I had these grand (well, not really that grand) plans and now I’ve hired it all out.  I’m not even kidding.

Food?  Being catered.  By the time we buy everything I need to cook what I want to cook, it costs the same.  Then add in the time to prep and cook and my head was spinning.  My favorite place is catering the party with chicken skewer pita sandwiches with Gyro sauce and veggies (build your own).  They’re also bringing their amazing hummus (it’s ridiculous).  Done.

med fresh

Cake?  I’m only making the top tier for them to blow out candles.  I’ll be making white cake for their real birthdays on Wednesday and Thursday, so why make a whole other white cake now when I was always planning on having cupcakes in addition to the cake?  Stupid.  I don’t want a lot of cake left over like last year (really, I would like that, but my ass wouldn’t).  So I will just be making the top chocolate part of this little masterpiece (?) and will put some little fondant signs on the sides, make some fondant cones, whatever.  I can do those things late at night without making noise, and working with fondant relaxes me (isn’t that weird?).  They will blow out their candles and they will like it.  Then they will eat cupcakes (they don’t even like chocolate cake, but the digger can’t dig up white dirt!).  I’ll be making the awesome raspberry chocolate cake I made for Hottie last year for his birthday.  I’m ordering 4 dozen cupcakes for this party and the guests – we’ll keep the chocolate cake for us once candles are blown out.  Done.

Cake front

(After inserting that picture, I’m feeling guilty about not doing the whole damn cake.  Hmmmm… we’ll see.  No, we won’t see.  I’m just doing the top tier, dammit!)

Party favors?  Purchased as planned.  They are cute, they smell good, and they sent them in the bigger bags I requested so I can add something to the bag.  But what to add is the question.  I don’t want to put any food in there because it will absorb the soap smell.  I wasn’t thinking on that one.  I may just leave them with just the soap and call it a day.  Yes, that sounds good.  Done.


Decorations?  Purchased as planned!  They arrived the other day and they are just perfect.  I wanted these same decorations and theme last year for Matthew’s birthday but hopped on the Cur.ious theme because I knew he’d outgrow it by now (and he did), so I put this on the back burner.  Good thing I did, because this theme is perfect for the two boys who play trucks and construction site all day long together.  The banner, door hanging, and toppers look as great as, even better than, the photos.  Done.

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I am doing purchasing/hiring out just enough to make it look like I know what I’m doing.  I do know what I’m doing, I’m just burned out beyond belief and don’t want to work on party supplies, cakes, and favors this year.  I just don’t.  I’d rather use my limited free time to sit at my computer and hammer out a few posts on my blog (loser!).  I told Hottie today via text that I feel like a bad mom for not wanting to work on this.  He said, “No need to feel terrible.  They’ll love the party just the same.”

He’s right, they will love it no matter what, and Matthew keeps saying that he doesn’t even want a birthday, so who cares if he doesn’t love it!



It’s All in the Details

The 4th of July weekend marks a very important milestone for me – the end of 2 months of celebration!  With B’s birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Matthew’s birthday, and Bryson’s birthday, we have a very busy May and June.  It’s no secret that I go a little crazy for the boys’ birthdays, and I start planning months in advance.  For Matthew’s first birthday, I think I was planning in February.  This year, with two birthdays to plan, I started in January.

May was my “practice cake” month and B got a (to die for) chocolate cake for his birthday that made us learn that Matthew doesn’t like chocolate cake.  “Just white cake, pwease!”  I tried out an orange mimosa cake that was terrific, but a little more involved than I wanted to do with so many other things needing to be done leading up to each party.  We settled on a terrific white cake (wedding cake recipe) with real buttercream frosting.  By the end of Bryson’s party – we were all caked out.  Matthew didn’t even want cake for his own little birthday party with family after Bryson’s party.  “No cake.”

I cleaned up the party decorations in record time this year.  I couldn’t get them down soon enough.  With Matthew’s first birthday, his banner hung for MONTHS before we finally took it down.  Bryson’s hung for 24 hours.  HA!  I was anxious to move his banner into his room though, so that’s really why it came down.  But by Sunday afternoon, there was no hint of birthdays with the exception of the poms and stars hanging from our entry light because we just really like them.  🙂

I’m anxious for next year – we won’t go crazy for Bryson since he’ll be turning two and won’t have a bunch of friends to invite because, well, he’ll just be two!  We’ll probably just do a family party for the two boys together and then Matthew’s birthday party.  I’ve already decided that the family party will have that wonderful chocolate cake I made for B’s birthday this year – they deserve something different!  I need to start thinking of themes for Matthew’s party.  We have plenty of time for that… but come February, I’ll be ready to start planning out the details!  😉

Matthew’s Party:

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Bryson’s party:

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Birthday Boy #1

Matthew turned three today. He woke up to the sounds of his dad’s and my voices singing, “happy birthday,” to him; then heard Zoom sing his birthday song from outer space for the first time to him; ate cake for breakfast; went to summer camp (where they made a special birthday crown for him that he wore all morning!); had lunch at his favorite restaurant (chipotle) where his dad met us; took a nap snuggled up to his mom; went to speech therapy which he enjoys a lot; played soccer with his coaches and friends; had his first-ever ice pop; had dinner at “the chicken house” (Panera); opened his presents (a scooter and a remote plane), helped put together his gifts; played; bathed; and went to bed exhausted. I think it’s fair to say it was a fun birthday!

Matthew, you are the light of my life! Your snuggles melt my heart like nothing else on this planet and your smile can change the course of any day for the better. You are my first gift – the one that softened all of the pain leading up to finally getting you. I love you more than you know, and I already worry about the day that you replace me with a new woman of your dreams. 😉 I love you, I love you, I love you! Happy birthday, sweet boy!


The Monday Snapshot – An Obsession with Cake

There is something about me that many people don’t know.

I love cake.

And more importantly, I love to make cake.

I took a fondant cake decorating class years ago so that I could decorate a fancy cake for B’s 30th birthday.  A great friend of ours was also turning 30 a few days after him, so we combined their events together into a big night out at a local summer camp.  This was extra special for me because we held the event at the summer camp I attended from the time I was 7 until I was 14.  We had a rocking good time, with a flier invitation and camp events scheduled for the entire 2 days we were there.  It was, in a word, AWESOME!

So the cake.  I made a 3-tier cake (chocolate, white, and strawberry tiers) and it took HOURS.  12 hours, in fact.  I had  to ask B to help me finish it the night before because we were cutting it close.  He pitched in and it was a lot of fun.  Getting the cake to camp was a BIG deal – it was very heavy and needed to be constructed on-site.  No biggie, but it added stress.  It looked pretty good… but it didn’t look as good as I wanted it to look.


It didn’t taste good.  It tasted normal, and decent enough, but not GOOD, you know?

After making at least a dozen cakes including the big birthday cake, I packed up my cake decorating kit.  I was burned out.

For Matthew’s first birthday, we had a fabulous birthday cake from a local bakery.  The design was clean and simple, but the flavor was amazing!  One tier was strawberry daiquiri (pretty good) and the top-tier was orange mimosa.  Oh my, that orange mimosa cake was a hit.  It quickly became my new favorite, so much so that B got it for me the next year for my birthday.  On my birthday, it was dry… not good.

For Matthew’s second birthday, we just got cupcakes.  I love cupcakes, but let’s be honest… they’re a cop-out for someone who loves cake.  😉

This year, for both of the boys’ birthdays, we’re getting proper cakes.  I was thinking of doing cupcakes again, but then saw my friend’s son’s cake and I was obsessed instantly.  I quickly found examples of what I’d like done and sent them to the cake maker.  The cake that she made LOOKED terrific, but it was a box cake.  Again – box cakes are great… but they’re just sort of… meh.  If I’m going to have a gorgeous cake, I want it to taste as good as it looks.  So…

I’m trying out a new cake tonight!  B is out-of-town, and I am making an orange mimosa cake from scratch.  It looks very straightforward and sounds fantastic!  If it’s good, I’ll do one for B’s 35th birthday to ensure I can do it again (because you know, the cake is actually ALL about me!) and then make it for one of the tiers of Matthew’s birthday cake.  I’ll have the cake gal decorate it, but I’m going to see if I can make and frost the cake and then deliver it to her for decorating madness!

Wish me luck!

Cake ingredients





The Monday Snapshot – 2!

Someone turned 2 today!

We had a terrific day – it was packed full of fun and excitement! We wanted to have a memorable day before we become a family of 4 tomorrow. Here is what we did:

6:15 – Matthew woke up (WHY so early all the time, Little Man?!?!)
10:15 – Breakfast at our favorite place downtown (La Mie Bakery)
11:15 – Science Center for the first time – it was a hit!
12:45 – Stopped at B’s work for a visit with his coworkers – they wanted to see the birthday boy 🙂
1:45 – Asleep in the car (oh no! Please stay asleep when I transfer you to the crib!)
2:00 – Nap (successful transfer!)
4:45 – Up from the nap – woke up a bit fussy (usual)
5:00 – Matthew went out to the garage to find his big present – his Strider Bike (“A BIKE, a BIKE!”)
5:10 – Played a little basketball (with the football) out back
5:30 – B took Matthew on a ride in the Burley for the first time – he loved it!
5:40 – Matthew wanted (and got) another Burley ride 🙂
5:50 – Matthew tried out his new BIKE!
6:00 – Matthew had is favorite meal for dinner – Chipotle! (Carnitas, guacamole, and strawberries)

6:15 – Hung Matthew’s room-darkening mural!
6:20 – We all went for a drive to get some frosty beverages
6:40 – B took us to the Corvette dealership just to take a look (not at all seriously looking, but thought it would be fun – and Matthew did love it!)
7:10 – Took a family walk to the neighbors’ to take them leftover cupcakes from Matthews birthday party. He got to play with his best friends, V and W!
7:30 – B’s and my best friends came by for cupcakes – Matthew was a show-off (and threw his new lantern at their 9 month old – ugh!)
8:30 – Bath time!
9:08 – Bed time
9:34 – Sound asleep

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Happy birthday, sweet, sweet boy!  I love you so much!