Pirate Birthday Party

I know, I know it’s taken me SO long to get this post written.  I am SORRY!  But I’m here to finish telling you about Avery’s pirate birthday party!  I had a really good time getting this all ready.  I enjoy these parties more and more each time I plan one!

The Invite:

I took some inspiration from several different invites I had seen online and designed my own.  I did a search for clipart online and came up with some a great compass!  I used Photoshop Elements to design this.  I used the Rapscillian font for ‘Captain Avery’ and I used HP PSG for the rest of the lettering.  The grandparents had quite a good time with this party invite.  We got mail addressed to Captain Avery!

The Decorations:

I took a black table cloth and covered the table.  I then took a red table cloth and some burlap and put it in the middle of the table for a ‘center piece’ of sorts.  I got red plates to stay with the pirate theme.

Of course we had this banner too.  If you missed my tutorial for it you can find it here.

The Games:

No good pirate party is complete without a treasure map!  We played ‘X Marks the Spot’!  I took a 12 x 12 piece of tan scrapbook paper and ripped the edges so it looked old.  I suppose you could burn the edges too but I took the safe route!

Then I made a red X and put each child’s name on it for them to place on the map.  I just free handed the X.  We blindfolded the kids and spun them around and let them ‘pin’ the X on the map.  Closest kid won!

We played a couple rounds of pirate bingo too.  Easy for the kindergarteners and fun too.  I found them on this site and printed them out.

We also did a ball and chain game where we tied a balloon to each child’s leg and they had to pop each other’s balloon.  This one was great but I got no pictures as they were all running around.  Also a word of caution my older son got a little carried away and stepped on and held his brother’s balloon so the string cut into his leg a little.  It was a crying fit at his own birthday party!  Not sure what the remedy would be for that.

 The Food:

For a snack I prepared blue jello and poured it into clear cups a little less than 1/2 full.  Once the jello was mostly set I shoved a couple colored Swedish gummy fish into the jello so it looked like they were swimming.  After trying them I would recommend putting them in at the last minute as the fish got kinda gross.  I think if you just cut a slit in the jello it would work just fine.

The cake turned out really well!  It was a litlte different than I envisioned.   My inspiration was this cake. I am not a fondant girl so I didn’t do the white dots on the bandana but it still worked.  I also thought he needed a little scruff since he is a pirate after all so I used some chocolate sprinkles to give him a little beard.

Along with the pirate cake we had some pirate cake pops.  I dipped them in white and then dipped the top in red to make the bandana but couldn’t for the life of me get the edible markers to work on them so they didn’t get a face.  I also did cupcakes with little pirate flags on them if you look on the left side of the picture.

I didn’t take a picture but we served ‘pirate fingers’ (pigs in a blanket) for the kids’ meal.  They were a big hit!  Easy to make and something different!

The Fun Stuff:

These were waiting for the kids when they arrived at the party!   Then my husband had a little tattoo parlor to give them each a pirate tattoo.  I found those at PartyCity as well as the eye patches and earrings.  I had a friend tell me to check the elastic on the eye patches before the party as she had once bought them and they didn’t fit the kids at all.  Luckily these were great!

Each kid had a compass by their plate that they got to take home with them.  Every pirate needs a compass!

The birthday boy had a pirate hat because he had it from his Halloween costume.  So many more things i could have done for this party but it was great just as it was and fun was had by all!

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DIY Pirate Party Banner Tutorial

My poor neglected blog.  I have been so busy with LIFE since Avery’s surgery.  I am so sorry my readers:)  But I have some exciting things coming I promise!  Here is the first…

I had a pirate themed birthday party for Avery’s 6th birthday.  After Blake’s party I had some experience under my belt.  I did more things than I normally do for their parties but I figure why not go all out!  So here is my tutorial for a banner:

I printed out the letters for “Happy Birthday Avery” using the Rapscallion font.  Took a couple tries to get them the right size.

Once I had them printed I used a cup and drew circles around them and cut them out.  Not all of them were perfectly centered but you get the idea!

Then in order to dress them up a little I used my trusty little red Sharpie marker to draw a red edge on the circle.

The you need to get the triangles made.  I used 12 x 12 scrapbook paper to make them.  I got three out of each one.  Each triangle was 8″ long and 5 3/4″ wide.

Next I used my handy glue stick to put the letters on each triangle.

Once I had the letters glued on I punched two holes on either side of the circle to put the ribbon through.

Then I just strung the ribbon (I just used plain old ribbon you can buy at Michaels or Hobby Lobby) through each of the letters.

Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the full banner hanging but you get the gist!  I had a hard time keeping it up with the weight of the paper but I’m sure if I had been more creative it would have been no problem!  You certainly could make smaller triangles and it wouldn’t be so heavy.

I’ll be back with more Pirate Party ideas soon!

Happy 6th Birthday Avery!

I would like to wish a happy 6th birthday to my loveable, funny Avery.  You always keep us laughing.  You are so caring and loving with all the kids who invade your house daily and I love that about you.  I love that you can make us laugh even when we are mad at you.  I love how you have that way to make people love you just by walking into a room.  You are the strongest and bravest little boy that I know.  I can’t wait to watch you grow into a man.  To my future governor and father of 9 children…I love you!  Hope it was the best birthday yet!

Hospital stays are the pits…

Just a warning…this may make me sound ungrateful but I promise I’m not!

This hospital business if for the birds!  I don’t enjoy the stays here and neither does Avery.  I am losing patience every moment that we’re here.  Avery has been irritable the past two days.  Crying over everything and nothing at all.  Now don’t get me wrong I, of course, think he deserves every ounce of being irritable but I can only handle so much of the crying.  I have been close to tears several times today with frustration.  The hospital added to that by moving us up to 5th floor and out of the cardiac unit.  They are full down there and apparently feel that Avery is able to handle being out of there but I’m not comfortable with it.  I just want to stay where the drs are easily accessible and where the nurses only care for heart patients.  The move also means that we won’t get the same nurse that we had the past two nights and we LOVED her!  I think the lack of sleep here and the stress of the whole situation is just taking a toll on me!  After tonight we also won’t be getting a room at the Ronald McDonald House which will be not very fun because we’ll both get to squeeze onto a fold out couch that is probably the size of a double bed.

Tonight we are letting Blake stay here and I believe I will be sleeping in Avery’s room.  We have had a better day today than yesterday and I’m hoping the trend continues.  He has been sitting in the chair quite a bit today and that is good because he will breathe better that way.  He has had more of an appetite today so that is also a good thing.  Right now daddy is feeding him a pudding cup and he has mac and cheese on the way.  Tomorrow is to be a day of walking the halls and getting moving a lot more.  Medically he is recovering great!  Once we get all the meds to be oral we should be ready to go home…I think.  Early this coming week is the last I heard and as far as I know there have been no setbacks except the vomiting of the previous days.

I leave you with a picture of my buddy sitting in the chair today…

Hospital – In Pictures

Playing the waiting game…watching the tower crane work outside the hospital.

Day 1 just after we got to see him.  Looks rough but what you can’t tell from the B&W is that he had great color in his face and we were super thrilled!

His hand.  Something so innocent about little kid hands.

Mommy with Avery…not very often mom is on that side of the camera.

Day 2…getting some much needed sleep!  Fought it all afternoon but he needed it so much.

Things are going really well right now.  Chest tubes will be out tomorrow and he’ll feel so much better.  Can’t wait to have my happy boy back.

Day of Surgery

I am so happy to report that things have gone so well today.  As well as I could have hoped for.  Avery was the bravest kid I’ve ever seen.  He was cool as a cucumber as we were prepping for surgery (honestly more interested in the GameCube than what the doctors were saying) but I requested that he get NO versed (sedation medication) because it tastes awful and they can’t give him anything to drink.  He went back like a champ and helped get onto the table to be put to sleep.  He picked out his favorite Dr Pepper lip gloss and they put the mask on him.  He laid there calm while I stroked his hand and drifted off to sleep.  I shed a couple tears because it is hard to see your baby like that but I knew he was in wonderful hands.

We had the support of our pastor, Jim, during the beginning wait which was great.  We got a lot of updates today compared to normal.  We had met a male nurse in the elevator on the way to the pre-op appt yesterday and made friends so he saw us this morning and took it upon himself to keep getting us updates.  We are so appreciative and we don’t even know his name!

The surgery went well and the doctor was very pleased with the way things looked when he finished up.  He is hopeful that this is the last surgery he has to perform for Avery.  Any future valves will hopefully be able to be replaced in a cath procedure which means NO incisions and no more scars!!  That is the best news I’ve heard in forever!

I am thinking they will wake him up tomorrow some time…depending on how things go.  I can’t wait to have my talkative, funny baby back.  With that I wanted to share a funny story from yesterday…

We were going for his pre-op appt and ran into Dr Baker who is his cardiologist that performed his cath back in August.  We said hi to him and then we went to the room.  We said something about Dr Baker and Avery told us ‘he doesn’t work here anymore’.  When we asked him what he meant he told us that he quit and went to work at a liquor store!  OMG…NO idea where he got this idea but we were rolling!  We shared it with Dr Baker today and he got a kick out of it.  Can’t wait to hear what else he will come up with before he leaves here!

Surgery in A.M.

We are at t-minus 12 hours until surgery.  We had pre-op appointments today and they went well.  He saw his cardiologist first and he gave him the go-ahead.  Then we went over to the hospital to get paperwork figured out and bloodwork done along a visit to child life.  The child life specialist spoke to him about what will happen tomorrow and showed him some pictures so he knows what to expect.

He seems to be okay with everything but he had a nightmare about surgery last night.  He came into my room and said he was scared.  When I asked what he was scared of he said his surgery.  So we talked about it a little bit and he said he was nervous about them poking his chest.  He calmed down and went back to sleep and that is all I’ve heard about it.

I am nervous but hopefully can get some rest tonight.  We have to be there at 7:15 in the morning and he is to start at 8:45.  Thank you to all who have offered any sort of support.  All the prayers are very appreciated!

Be sure to check his caringbridge to stay on top of updates:  www.caringbridge.org/visit/averycomo

Telling the Kids…the aftermath

I will say that I am feeling amazingly better than I did yesterday when I wrote this post.  After a long emotional day we told the kids at supper last night.  Blake seemed unfazed and Avery was upset that his surgery was on Wednesday and he had to miss art!  He cried for a few minutes about missing school but after we talked to him a little bit he calmed down and realized it wasn’t the end of the world.  Then after we were finished it seemed the right time to give them their birthday presents (early).  They each got a Nintendo 3DS.  At least this will distract them from thinking about the surgery too much and Avery will have something to do while waiting in the hospital.

I want to thank EVERYONE for their wonderful support.  Thank you all for the kind words and prayers you are sending.  Thank you to Naomi for the beautiful flowers and also to my husband for the roses.   Everyone has been so wonderful!

Telling the Kids

How do you tell these two little faces that their world is about to be turned upside down?  How do you tell the blond that he is going to miss out on school and his friends and hunting and probably some of hockey season?  He’s going to be so sad and probably a little bit angry.  Heck I’m angry too…that he was born with this and that he has to deal with this his whole life!

BUT what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?  So we’ll muddle through this the best way we know how and that is by being honest and leaning on each other all the way.  I’m scared to death to tell my kids tonight and I can’t even think about it today without tearing up.  I’m feeling very weak and vulnerable today.  I wish we could just go to sleep tonight and we’d wake up a week from now with this all behind us!

Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers over the next couple weeks.  It’s going to be a tough time for all of us.

If you’d like to keep up on his progress you can visit his caringbridge site:  www.caringbridge.org/visit/averycomo

I have a heart baby…what I’ve learned

There are so many things to be learned by going through something like this.  I feel like we’ve learned SO much about ourselves and the people around us.  Here is a little bit of what I’ve learned…

…that we have a strong family.  Our family has been there for us throughout this entire journey.  They have comforted our tears, offered words of support, provided relief when we need a break from the hospital and so much more.  There are people in my family that I never knew had such kind hearts and I am so grateful that I have gotten to know them better and learned how kind they can be.

…that we surround ourselves with wonderful friends.  Our friends have been a great support system too!  They have brought baskets of food and activities for us, visited us when we needed it, taken care of Blake when we had to be at the hospital and SO much more.  We have had several offers of help already this time before we are even in the hospital.  We are so lucky.

…that we were put together to take care of each other.  My husband and I are very good at taking care of each other which is what a couple is supposed to do but we are GOOD at it!  It seems that we know what the other needs and provide that in the right moment.  I am so glad to have a wonderful husband.

…that a heart condition does not define a person.  I don’t think of Avery as ‘the kid with the heart condition’.  I think of him as my child.  I discipline him the same way I do Blake.  We expect just as much out of him as we do his brother.  I don’t want people to feel sorry for him and pity him because of this…he is a ‘normal’ little boy with a scar on his chest.  Honestly if we never told anyone I don’t think anyone would know he had a heart condition.  He has more energy than most of us do on a daily basis.  He’s just a normal as any other 5 year old.

…miracles do happen!  After going through all that we have with Avery we have to believe in miracles.  First off the miracles of babies is the first and biggest miracle.  For everything to form correctly and have no defects in their tiny little bodies can only be explained as a miracle.  Secondly we have seen miracles at work.  With Avery’s heart taking off and beating properly one hour before his surgery time we can only believe that was a miracle as well.

I will have much more to share as Avery’s next surgery comes up on October 12th.  This one is going to be a little tougher I think as he is much older and will be more aware of what is going on during the whole process.  I will keep you posted.