Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Despicable Three

It’s costume time again and I am beyond thrilled that the gremlins agreed to a theme again this year. Last year I really had to sell the idea of dressing as a group (although the final choice of trio was brought to a kids’ vote). This year, there was barely any discussion. We walked out of the theater after seeing Despicable Me 2 and we were all on a giggling high. I said, “It would be fun to do Despicable Me costumes for Halloween,” and Ben & Grace’s faces lit up! (Noah doesn’t really care what he wears. Like Seinfeld, he will wear whatever he has to wear to get the candy.)
Thanks to summer movie fun, these costumes have been in the works since July. In fact, I purposefully bought cheese balls for Ben’s birthday party so that I could save the big plastic jug and turn it into a minion head. I thought I was so ahead of the game. Then I went and waited until the last minute to get any of the actual costume making done (surprise, surprise). I sewed my last stitches this afternoon… just in time to hand them over to B, G, & N and have a little photo shoot when they came home from school. There were some frustrating parts, but I am mostly pleased with how they all turned out. I am 100% pleased that the kids are excited to wear them!
Now on to the nitty gritty of costume making… these photos were my inspiration:
I made Noah’s costume first, since it was the most involved. I referenced this tutorial and tweaked things as I went. I cut down the container and stuffed some batting inside the head to make it fit better. I drew the mouth where Noah’s head landed and cut that out.
I wrapped more batting around the outside before covering the entire thing in yellow fabric. (My mom picked up two plain yellow shirts from a screen printing shop. I used one as Noah’s top and the extra one to cover the head.) The goggles are made from wide black elastic, two canning jar lids spray painted silver, and eyes that I found online and printed. The hair is made from pipe cleaners. The teeth are white foam that I duct taped to the inside of the head. For the overalls, I looked around to try to find some cheap ones online, but I kept striking out. (I needed overalls for both Noah & Gracie). Then I remembered that I had a ton of heavy blue fabric left over from a previous project. I bought a pattern at a 99¢ sale (McCall’s 6592), grabbed some buttons when I was in Hancock’s, and ta-da… two pairs of overalls for $3.50.
The finishing pieces of N’s Minion costume were black gloves (Wal-mart) and black boots (Ben’s old rain boots covered in black duct tape). I do not think he could be any cuter. My favorite part? He calls himself a "BeeDo BeeDo”.
Little Agnes was up next. I made G & N’s overalls at the same time, so that was done. The only difference is Gracie’s have red buttons, a plain front, and I cuffed the pants up higher the way Agnes’s are.
Gracie’s t-shirt is from Wal-mart. (It was in the little boy’s section and had long gray sleeves that I just cut out. Her yellow socks are also from Wally World, and her red scrunchy may have been mine back in the day. (Children of the 80’s… unite!) The biggest challenge of the Agnes costume was the hair. I feel like the wig is a complete train wreck (don’t look too close) but it will have to do. I found it at Jo-Ann's for a few bucks. Have you ever tried to put a cheap wig of hair up into a pony tail (and have it stay)? Well, good luck to you. It was/is a mess. I stitched a toilet paper tube wrapped in black paper to the scalp of the wig and then tied black string around the hair all the way up to make it stand up (something Gracie specifically requested.) I’m fairly certain it will not survive the rigors of trick-or-treating/Fall carnival going… but at least I got a picture of her stand up hair. :)
Grace’s favorite part of the costume is the stuffed unicorn. She gladly shouts, in her best Agnes voice, “It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!”
Ben’s costume was last and it was definitely the most simple. The black knit pants and oversized sweatshirt came from… you guessed it… Wal-mart. (At this point I think I deserve some sort of compensation for typing “Wal-mart” so many times in one post). I cut the ribbing off the sleeves and bottom of the sweatshirt and hemmed them to make them look more like Gru’s jacket. I cut the front of the sweat shirt right up the middle and attached an oversized silver zipper. The scarf is made from gray and black fleece and is just pieced together. His bald cap was the hardest thing to track down because I needed it in a child size. I finally ended up finding a kid’s “Lex Luthor Bald Cap“ online. He is wearing his homemade football pads (from two years ago) under his shirt.
I think Ben makes a handsome Gru… and he certainly has some Gru-like moves. :)
What do you when the costumes are done and everyone is happy? Have a Despicable Dance Party!
Oh my goodness, I love them.
Happy Halloween, ya’ll! I hope you get lots of treats. :)
PS. Check out our other Halloween themes:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Five B Ranch

The Barrick family has been on the waiting list for a puppy from Five B Ranch for about seven months now, and today we had the opportunity to stop by on the way back from Grammy & Grandad’s house. We had such a good time and are even MORE excited about the day we will get to bring one of these awesome dogs home!

Gracie really liked Bindi Blue. She was a big, sweet girl who will hopefully be having her first litter this winter.

This little cutie is Bitzy Lou. She was a pup from Lisa’s summer litters that is going to be joining the breeding program when she’s all grown up.

My personal favorite Five B doggie is Mr. Bosco. Oh my goodness, I have never seen such a big dog!

Pictures do not do him justice. His head… that ginormous head. It was insane. He could not be sweeter, either. Noah was a little scared of him at first.

Once he figured out how gentle he was, he just wanted to give him treats...

…and maybe take him for a walk. (We all thought it was best to veto that idea.)

Lisa has two breeding males, but I’m really hoping we get to bring home a little Bosco boy. I mean, seriously, how fantastic is he?!

Be on the look out for the new Barrick boy – hopefully coming to our family sometime in the next year. :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

This year’s birthday included some Mommy/Daughter pampering and a yummy dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.




= birthday bliss!

Snuggles from my gremlins.


My handsome date.


Happy 34th to me and thank you thank you to the hubs and kiddos!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Gracie’s New Haircut

Gracie’s hair has been growing and growing and looking a little scraggly lately. Brian was heading out to get his & Ben’s hair cut and he offered to take her, too. I sent him with a picture of a little girl style with notes under it like "side part on the right" and "a little face frame" and "long layers". God bless him, he didn't bat an eye. Is he not the sweetest hubby/daddy ever?

I apparently over estimated the skill level of the stylists at Great Clips, but Gracie still came home with a pretty cute bob. The most important thing was she was loving it!


One of her swim team coaches gave her that little heart necklace. She loves it and wears it all the time. She calls it her “Am-wu-yet” (Amulet).


Monday, August 5, 2013

Austin Getaway

Sweetie, Paw Paw, Dee Dee, Aunt Cindy, Uncle Curtis and Niki all joined together to give Bri and I EIGHT kid free days! I took the week off of work and Brian took a couple days and we headed out of town for a short vacation.

We made reservations to go zip-lining Sunday morning, so we left the house bright and early. We drove the scenic route and were able to take our time. We hit up a couple antique places on the way, including one that was in and around a family’s home in the middle of nowhere. There were animals (in pens and wandering around) everywhere – alpacas, geese, cats, dogs and 3 or 4 large birds in cages. It was a little different.

We arrived at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours and our tour guides got us started right on time. There were 7 people total in our group and we enjoyed talking and laughing with them while we zipped through the trees – I can’t wait until the kids are old enough to do it so we can go back!

Geared up and ready to go!


There were a number of these rope bridges to cross between the platforms. The pictures do not adequately portray how high up we were… eeeeee!



We didn’t have the good camera with us, so it was hard to get pictures of us actually zip lining. But I promise we really did it – multiple times – and it was really fun!


This was the last zip line, which was also tandem. Brian and I raced. I cheated and went on “2”.

He still won. I’m not bitter.


Zip lining was definitely a success! When we were all done we were ready to head to our hotel and change out of our hot and sweaty clothes. We may have also taken a nap. We had to balance out the excitement of the morning! :)


On Sunday night we stayed at a hotel near the airport (courtesy of a free night voucher from our travel agent neighbor – thanks Melissa!) Although the location didn’t include the best scenery, the staff was so nice and it was very clean and the room was pretty and comfy. Two thumbs up for the Courtyard Marriott.

After nap time we headed out to dinner and a movie. We ate at the Catfish Parlour (very yummy) and then we saw The Heat (funniest movie we’ve seen in a LONG time). My stomach hurt when it was over from laughing so hard for so long.


On Monday, we checked out of the hotel and headed out to bum around Austin. We walked around and did some shopping on South Congress and ate lunch at Guero’s. Then we drove over to the antique mall. We saw lots of foofy antique stuff but also a lot of cool things like over sized wall letters and stuff. We searched and searched for a “B” but they were fresh out. We did find a large framed mirror that will be perfect for our guest bathroom for $40 – a friggin’ steal! Even the lady who checked us out looked at the tag in disbelief.

When our shopping was done, we headed over to our second hotel – The Barton Springs Resort. Unfortunately there was a mix up with our reservation and instead of having a suite for us at Barton Springs, like we requested, the lady we were working with mistakenly made our reservation at the Omni near the airport. You know, the side of town that we had just left. It eventually got worked out, although they would not agree to honor the rate we were quoted for a suite and gave us a regular room instead. We were not too impressed with the staff at the Omni. They acted like they were doing us a big favor by letting us stay there, and the room was “eh.” I was much more impressed with the hospitality at the Airport Marriott. They treated us like royalty even though they knew we had a free voucher. That spoke volumes.

I will say that the property at Barton Springs was BEAUTIFUL. This was the view from our room.


For dinner we went to the Oasis on Lake Travis. Last time we were there was for one of our dating anniversaries (2002? 2003?). A lot of the property has been rebuilt since then after a bad fire destroyed a lot of it in 2005.


It was crazy to see how low the lake is now. The view was still gorgeous.


We probably should have waited until a little later so it wasn’t so hot – the sunsets out here are awesome!


We wanted to hit the pool/hot tub after dinner so we headed back to the hotel. At one point, Brian asked, “Do you think we should go to a club or something?” After we both stopped laughing we pulled into a Red Box and picked up a movie to watch after pool time. We are a wild pair, let me tell you!

It was a really fun mini vacation! We are so grateful that the kids were in good hands and enjoying themselves in Louisiana. Next up is trying to get some work done on the kitchen cabinets while the gremlins are still gone. :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Friends

We’ve been having a few play dates lately with some peeps that we’ve just met at church. It’s such a blessing when the mommies, daddies and kiddos all hit it off! They invited us over for swimming and lunch.

(Ben, Caleb, Jake, Emily, Grace & Noah – Baby Levi was off somewhere taking a nap).


Thank you to Sara and the mini Sisams for a fun day ~ and especially for keeping the Teddy Roosevelts flowing! ;)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Trip to the Zoo

It’s been forever since we’ve spent time with the Ivans and Heistands, so Missy, Kristi & I decided to meet at the zoo to see some animals and play in the river area.

It was so fun to see these two friends play together – they’ve been buddies since the day Ben was born. :)


In fact, the picture below was taken almost exactly 7 years ago!

(Funny side note – in this shot Missy had just found out she was pregnant with the twins – although I don’t think she knew it was twins just yet. During our zoo trip, she announced that she is pregnant for a 3rd time – little Ivan #4 is due in February!)

Ben and Mia and Missy

We visited the bears, monkeys, reptile house & hippos on the way to the river bank. We also stumbled across a little nature activity and the kiddos jumped right in.


We grabbed a quick lunch and then it was swim time. Everyone was grateful for the cool, shady river bank and a chance to dig and splash!


Oh my Gracie Girl


And my Noah Bug!


Group shot on the river bank.
(Padon was hiding behind Gracie.)


One last group shot before heading home.
It was a hot, fun day with great friends!


Monday, July 15, 2013

McKenna Children’s Museum

I’ve been wanting to take the kids up to New Braunfels to check out their children’s museum, so I was really excited that Brian bought some tickets when they popped up on Groupon. The kids really enjoyed the indoor and outdoor play areas (although it was a little drizzly the day we went). I took way too many pictures, but there was just so much to see! :)

Na na na na na na na na…




They had a small aquarium with some alligators and turtles in it, which apparently caused Ben to make this creepy face.


We headed outside the first chance we got (while there was a break in the rain). Noah made fast friends with Mr. Seal.


Then all 3 gremlins hopped up onto Mr. Camel.


Noah tapped out some sweet tunes on the piano…


while Grace made her own music on the xylophone.


Brian & Ben were testing out the different elements on the ginormous water table.


Speaking of ginormous, they had this really cool climbing thingy. You can see teeny Grace starting to make her way up.


And there’s Ben all the way at the top.


Ben put together this see saw in the foam area and then he took his brother for a ride.


After the kids tried everything outside, we headed back in. Grace went straight for the grocery store.


Noah, knowing how much his sister loves carbs, reminded her not to forget the bread.


With the shopping done and the groceries put away, we headed to the hospital. The boys did a full work up on Daddy in the ambulance.


Gracie scrubbed in just in time to admit this newborn into the nursery.


She gave him a clean bill of health.


Noah headed to the next room to play Dance Dance Revolution (or whatever this floor-video game thing was).


My junior scientist spent some time looking at slides.


Brian did a few more activities with Ben while I took Grace & Noah into the art room.


I love the colors Noah chose for his painting.


I did NOT love how he sucked on his paint-covered fingers when he was done.


Brian came in to check on us and it was a few minutes before I realized he didn’t have Ben with him. I went out to look for the man child and found him wandering around looking worried and sad.

His art project pretty much says it all.


“Please tell me where your going from now on!!!! (angry face)"


One of the last areas we visited was the space station. Ben put on an astronaut uniform.


Then we took turns seeing how fast we could play the sort the planets game. Brian competed with his eyes closed.


The boys headed outside to run around for a few more minutes while Gracie played dress up on the prairie. She and I were sitting on the teeny couch in the cabin having a nice tea party when a kid climbed through the window behind us and shouted, “I’m robbin’ yo house!” There’s nothing like a little pretend crime to bring you back to reality.


Make-believe burglaries aside, we enjoyed ourselves and would recommend visiting the McKenna Children’s Museum – especially if you can catch one of the Groupons for a deal on admission!