Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Mollys take Chicago

On the day Molly was born, Cory and I were thrilled beyond belief, but also completely in the dark about what life with this little bundle of joy would entail. We did, however, know a couple things as certain as we knew the sky was blue.
1. We knew Molly was loved completely.
2. We knew she was the cutest baby ever born (natch).
And, 3. We knew that when she was old enough, Molly would be going on a trip to get an American Girl Doll with Cory's mom and sister.

This trip has been planned since her birth. I mean, we didn't have the plane tickets or anything, but we knew it would be happening. Aunt Amber and Mommom have been telling Molly for years that when she turned 5, she would get to go to get an American Girl Doll. Molly knew this would be happening. She was counting on it. And, the day finally arrived.

See, I'm a little old for American Girl Dolls. I read a couple of the books when I was younger, but I never had a doll, or any of the accouterments that go along with. But, Amber (though only a couple years younger than me) had a Samantha doll. And, she was very into the whole genre. So, Amber and Joan wanted to pass this along to the next generation of Lafferty girls.

I do realize at this time that almost all males reading this will have absolutely no clue what I'm talking about. Feel free to travel over to wikipedia to learn all about the phenomenon that is American Girl.

We hadn't really planned for the trip to take place exactly on Molly's birthday, but it just happened to work out with work schedules and vacations. On May 28th, Molly's actual 5th birthday, we all headed to the airport for a girls' trip to Chicago. Molly had been telling Cory ever since we planned it that she was going on a Girls' Trip, and that Girls' Trips were better than Boys' Trips. I guess she was trying to make him jealous, though I do happen to believe it is a true fact. It kind of broke my heart, though, when Charlotte brought out her own suitcase and thought she was going with us.

Molly's Gigi got her a new suitcase for the trip. The polka dots were actually quite helpful in always being able to find it. Plus, Molly thought she was hot stuff with her own suitcase that she could pull.

Molly and Mommy waiting to get on the airplane.

We tried all sorts of transportation on this trip. Waiting for the subway with Amber and Mommom.
The plane flight was uneventful, and with only a few minor hiccups, we made it from Midway, through the subway system, and walked to our hotel. Molly was a pretty good trouper about the travel part. I only had to carry her suitcase up and down the stairs, other than that, she pulled it.

We checked into the hotel, and what did we find? A bed for Molly's American Girl Doll. That sealed the schedule. We would have to go get the doll that day. We had considered waiting a day, since our scheduled tea party wasn't until Tuesday, but once Molly saw that bed, she was convinced that she needed her doll immediately.
Molly was amazed by the bed for her doll in the hotel room.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pirates and Pixies ahoy!

I know that at some point, Molly's birthday parties are no longer going to be big backyard parties. I know one day, she'll want to invite school friends. Friends whose parents we don't know. Probably mostly girl friends. And, one day, she'll insist on a Barbie party. Or, she'll want it at Chuck-E-Cheese.

One day, Molly will have incredibly definitive opinions about everything related to her party. I'm preparing myself for that day, that birthday party.

But, this year, Molly still let Mommy have her fun.

So, for her 5th birthday, we planned a Pirate and Pixie party!

I still like to have big outdoor backyard parties with all our friends and their kids. These kids include a lot of boys, so I knew we needed a more gender-neutral theme than Barbie (Molly's original idea for a party theme). I just didn't want to overload the poor boys with pink frou-frou and hooker heels. I was blocked, trying to come up with something fun for boys and girls (last year's superhero party was a big hit, so I had a lot to live up to). Finally, a friend of mine told me about a theme she saw, and I loved it.

Pirates and Pixies.

It pleases boys and girls, and I could already imagine the cute pictures!

The planning was rather rushed and haphazard, but it still managed to come together pretty well.

Treasure chest full of goodies for the kids to wear during the party. For the girls, I had wings, crowns and pixie wands. The boys had hats, pirate bandanas and eye patches. I ordered the wings, crowns and wands online, found the pirate hats and eye patches at Hobby Lobby, and the pirate bandanas online here.

The deck. I was trying for a pixie forest whimsical feel. We draped pink, green and white tulle across the roof of the deck, then hung lanterns in the middle. 

Cory turned our canoe into a pirate ship, complete with flag and plank for walking.

The cake table. I looked and looked for a good idea for a pirate and pixie cake. Couldn't find one. So, we had to do two separate cakes. And, when I say "we," I actually mean "my mom."

First up: the Tinkerbell Pixie cake. Molly thought it was beautiful.

And, the pirate treasure cake. It was awesome looking and delicious!

Molly's Aunt Sarah came in town and provided beautiful face painting for the party.

Even I got in on the act.

Pixies Wands or Harry Potter Wands? You decide.

The food spread.

The trick: finding a creative pirate or pixie name for all the food.

More food.

And more.

We held a treasure hunt. All the kids had to complete an activity, then they got another piece of the map. The first game was to rescue the pixies from the pond by throwing them rings.

Next up: Shoot the pirates with straw wrappers.

And, of course, walking the plank.

Catching the pixies from the tree.

And finally: the buried treasure!

Happy Birthday, Molly!
I got one last big, fun, outdoor hurrah! I will prepare myself for the future parties in which I get no creative control, but at least for this one, Molly let my imagination (and Pinterest) go crazy. Thanks, Molls. And, happy birthday to my first baby girl.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Moms on the Moove

Hey guys, guess what? I'm still alive. It's been awhile, and I know you've all been waiting with baited breath for the run-down on my fourth half marathon in 29 days. My computer started screaming at me (literally) and I couldn't get on to write about it, but with Running with the Cows completed, I am officially in the Saturn level for Half Fanatics. You are looking at Half Fanatic number 2398 right here:

And, yes, I do know that I look a little crazy, too. There's a whole story behind the outfit. I'll get to that in a minute.

So, Running with the Cows was the last half marathon in the Heartland 39.3 series. Thus, after finishing, we not only walked away with a cow medal, but also a 39.3 medal. Glorious. Two medals! You know how much I love my race bling. I was in heaven.

Here's the list again:

  • Rock the Parkway - April 14
  • Kansas Half - April 22
  • Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon - April 29
  • Running with the Cows - May 12
  • Hospital Hill - June 2

  • I can't believe I'm that far through the list, now. When I first wrote it out, it looked kind of intimidating (and crazy, but well, you all already know that about me). I ended up finishing the series with a total time of 5:50:48, which put me in 43rd place for women (out of 282 total women finishers). They don't give extra medals for 43rd place (I know, rude right?), but I'm still happy. I had tons of fun and didn't hurt myself. Really, I couldn't have asked for any better results.

    I had actually been looking forward to Running with the Cows since February, right after we finished our Disney Princess Run. While in Florida, we saw lots of people dressed up in costume. With princesses and mice and fairies surrounding us, the 13.1 miles felt like we were in a parade . I kinda-sorta dressed up, but nothing anywhere close to the other costumes we saw. When Kelli, Anne and I saw a girl dressed up as Jessie from Toy Story, complete with cow print running capris, we immediately thought of our upcoming Running with the Cows race. How amazing would that be?!? 

    Being the wordsmith that I am, I  thought that we needed a clever saying on our shirts to go with our cow print bottom halves. In the Orlando airport, in the delirium of sleep-deprivation and vacation-exhaustion, I came up with the brilliant saying, "Moms on the Moove." Yes, I'm telling you. It's brilliant. And clever.

    We had a good three months to work on our costumes, in between running three other halfs, of course. We looked into the cow print capris, but Kelli has a friend who could make skirts for us out of cow-print fabric she found online. Score. (Did you know cow print spandex existed? Yeah, me neither. The things you can find on the internet, wow.) She even had enough fabric to make us cow-print headbands, because the skirts were not awesome enough on their own.

    Then, I convinced Cory (in yet another brilliant move) that his website,, should sponsor our shirts. Score, again. Of course, then we had to actually devote part of his web site to running. We came up with participant-reviewed races. I wrote some, and Kelli and Anne are supposedly working on theirs (ahem). You, too, can review any race you've run. It's fun and helps out fellow runners know what to expect and what races they should do. (Katie H., I'm looking at you!)

    So, here are our outfits, in all their glory:

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    A couple chic bowlers

    When you hear "bowling," your first thought is all about the fashion, right? 

    A couple weeks ago, a friend asked if we wanted to try out this deal in one of the KC Parenting Magazines. It was for kids' bowling. Every Thursday morning, at the Olathe Mission Bowl, they offer kids' bowling for $3 a kid, plus a small drink. I said, sure. Why not? Always fun to try out new things with the girls.

    So, we piled into the car on Thursday morning and headed over. I was a little worried that the place would be crazy busy and that it would be overwhelming. I needn't have worried about that. We were meeting two other moms with their kids. (Six kids total, but two are babies, so they didn't bowl.) When we pulled into the parking lot, I started to worry that we had the time or day wrong. There were no other cars in the parking lot. The sign said open, though, so we unbuckled all the kids and trudged in. Inside, it was typical old-bowling-alley style. But, nary a sign of any other bowlers. We made sure the deal was still on, and went ahead.

    For $6 and change, we got two games of bowling, plus shoe rental and a drink for each of the kids. (Really, the drink didn't do us any good since neither of my kids drinks soda, but I guess it's the thought that counts?).  The girls were so excited for this. I had been telling them about it since the day before and they couldn't wait to go bowling. After we checked in, the lady at the counter handed them bowling shoes. Bowling shoes? For kids? How adorable is that? Both Molly and Charlotte couldn't wait to put on their new shoes. It was just like shoe shopping, which, of course, my girls love.

    Charlotte was thrilled to get to wear bowling shoes.
    We got all ready and headed over to our lanes. Because there wasn't a soul there other than us, we got two lanes for the four kids to share. Molly was up first, and I showed her the basic gist of bowling. Thank god there were bumpers, otherwise the balls would never have toppled a single pin. Her form left a little to be desired. Ok, a lot. She essentially carried the ball with both hands, set it down and tapped it forward with her fingers. It was not a fast operation. I think sometimes she even forgot that she had rolled the ball by the time it got down to the pins.
    Look at that technique.
    Call the PBA right now!

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Half crazy?

    Well, I'm back from Oklahoma City, guys. And, I can now officially be registered as a Half Fanatic. Yes, in fact, there is a club dedicated to the fanatical running of half marathons. And, I have now met the criteria for entry.

    Fanatic: noun. person overenthusiastic about an interest. synonym: crazy

    Yup, it's official. I'm crazy. Woohoo!

    Ok, let's backtrack a little bit here. Remember I'm participating in the Heartland 39.3 series? A series of three half marathons within six weeks of each other. Apparently this particular series was started for the very purpose of giving people a way to qualify for entry into the Half Fanatics. Well, that's the rumor around town anyway. Originally, I was just going to run the three halfs that make up the series. But, then came a little hiccup in the plan. 

    A friend had also signed up for the series. But, after signing up, she realized she couldn't run Rock the Parkway (RTP) because she was going to be out of town. She still wanted to do the series, but substituted a different half marathon in the place of RTP. (Shhhhh ... probably not technically allowed, but another friend ran in her place for RTP, and she's still doing three halfs in six weeks, so it's still the same amount of work.) She's from just outside of Oklahoma City, and the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon happened to be taking place smack dab within the time frame. What luck! She signed up for it. Then, she convinced Kelli to sign up for it. Then, they convinced me to sign up for it. 

    Peer pressure. What are you going to do? (I am going to be a horrible example to the girls for standing up to peer pressure. But, really, peer pressure to run versus peer pressure to do drugs? A little different, right?)

    Anyway, that is the story of how I got to a third half marathon in three weeks:

  • Rock the Parkway - April 14
  • Kansas Half - April 22
  • Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon - April 29
  • Running with the Cows - May 12
  • Hospital Hill - June 2

  • Honestly, the best part of this third half marathon was that it was in Oklahoma City. Not that I particularly love that city (though it was much cooler than I was expecting), but that it was not around here. Which meant we had to road trip it out of town. And, we road trip in style, let me tell you. We rode down in the rockin' mini van with no kids. No kids, I tell ya. Now, you may think that would mean fewer restroom breaks. But, with three women who are trying to hydrate before a race? Well, let's just say we got to visit a variety of rest stops between here and Oklahoma City. Between those and all the cows we saw ... it was just a really exciting drive. It's a good thing we had lots to talk about. (Though the cows did put me in the mood for the next race on the agenda!)

    So, we got into town and realized the entire downtown of OKC was under construction. And, not only that, but our hotel was just a stone's throw away from the arena the Oklahoma City Thunder play in. And, they had an NBA playoff game that night. We decided to just park the car and hoof it around town the rest of the day. We explored the expo (not much to see), then went on a walk around the downtown area. It was actually really cool. They had a river walk area with places to eat, and you could even ride on boats down the river. Kansas City really needs an area like that.

    OKC's Bricktown area.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Charlotte rides a duck

    Between music class and picking Molly up from preschool, Charlotte and I had a few minutes to spare today. So, we stopped off at a park close to Molly's preschool. Charlotte slid down the slide approximately 486 times. She would say "one more time" as she climbed the stairs to go down the slide. Then, she would say it again. Then again. And again. I'm pretty sure she's confused on the exact meaning of that phrase.

    Other than sliding down the slide a billion times, Charlotte also wanted to ride the duck springy-thing. (Ok, I honestly have no idea what to call it. Anyone have any clue?) Anyway, I took a picture and then remembered taking her picture on that same duck years earlier.

    So, without further ado ... 

    Charlotte at 7 months riding the duck springy-thing:

    And, Charlotte at 2 years and almost 3 months riding the duck springy-thing:

    You may now thank me for fulfilling your daily cute quotient. You're welcome. 

    And, seriously. Any idea what that thing is called?