Monday, April 3, 2017

Daxton's 4th Birthday: Star Wars Style!

Holy Cow, looking back on Daxton's birthday party last year and all the prep that went into it, is EXACTLY why we just went to Disney World this year instead of another party ๐Ÿ˜‚

I have to admit though, that I LOVE to plan parties and although this was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun.  It also helps that my husband, Dallas, works insane hours February and March, which give me plenty of time to be creative and plan big parties.

For the past couple years Star Wars has ruled our household.
I suppose that will probably not change for several years to come, so I've embraced it.  So when Dax asked for a Star Wars birthday party, I immediately jumped to Pinterest to copy countless ideas from more creative people than myself.

Here's what we came up with...

For invitations I found a picture of a lightsaber handle and cut a hole at the top.  I then inserted green and red construction paper with the party info inside, so when the kids pulled on the paper it looked like a light saber extending.  It was pretty cool and totally not my idea!  (Thank you Pinterest!)

The decorating was pretty intense and tons of fun.
I had a VERY understanding husband and excited son to help out which made things a little easier.  We covered our playroom with yellow and black streamers dangling from the ceiling to make the roof look like we were in outer space.  We also covered every wall and window in countless yellow stars and other Star Wars pictures and paraphernalia.  For little gifts thank you gifts we turned bubble wands into light sabers, star wars tatoos and stickers, and they each got to keep their costumes we made (jedi robes and light saber pool noodles.)  We had all sorts of fun games, including "pin the bun on Princess Leia."

As each of the kids entered our house, they were able to find their very own Jedi tunic.  Since there were a couple little ones that ended up joining, I made sure to make each Jedi their own name tag.  I sure love a good label and excuse to use my laminator!
The robes were SUPER easy to make and didn't require anything but a pair of scissors and a measuring tape.  I found light weight fabric from Michaels (since it's so stinking hot in south florida) and cut long rectangular pieces.  I used the width of my sons back (shoulder to shoulder) as a basic measurement for each of the robes.  I then made one cut straight up the middle and stopped halfway.  That's it!  I then cut small belts out of a darker fabric to tie around their waists for belts.  Super easy, inexpensive, and the kids loved them.

One whole wall of our playroom was covered in black butcher paper and I found the cutest Star Wars border at the local teacher supply store.  Kids could decorate the wall with all sorts of stickers and coloring supplies.

We had several different stations for the kids to explore while we were waiting for everyone to arrive and get dressed.  I had a lot of fun coming up with fun labels for each of the tables.  "Build Rey a starship to help her escape Jakku" was our table that kids could play with model magic (a cleaner form of playdough) and all sorts of cookie cutters and tools for them to use.

"Save Finn and his buddies from the Sarlacc" was a huge hit with the kids.  This table had four different trays filled with colorful kinesthetic sand.  There were several different star wars figures hidden in the sand the kids could find and then burry again.  We ended up keeping this sand out for weeks after the party since it was so much fun for everyone.

The kids were sweet enough to let me snap a few pictures in their Jedi robes with their light sabers.

Jedi Masters Jack and Dean

Jedi Masters Levi and Julian

Jedi Masters Olive, Emily, and Claire

And our adorable birthday boy!
Jedi Master Daxton

All of our cute little Jedis!
These pictures make me laugh so much.
Just imagine a whole bunch of crazy kids with all the parents behind the camera trying to get everyone to smile.  At the end everyone was yelling cheese ๐Ÿ˜‚

For one of the main activities we did a Jedi training similar to what they do at Hollywood Studios at Disney World.  Our friend and super Star Wars fanatic, Brian, was amazing enough to lead the Jedi training.  He even had his own Star Wars Jedi costume to wear!  He seriously killed it and the kids LOVED every second!

Brian started with showing them three basic moves in a specific order.  The whole group practiced those three moves together and then they got to each take turns using them on Brian.  It was so much fun seeing all of them so focused and having a blast.

Seriously, Brian was amazing!
He was so great with each of the kids and had the best reactions when they used the force on him!

Daxton using a force punch against Brian

Jedi Master Jack taking his turn

Jedi Masters Olive and Ethan showing off their skills

Practicing their skills one more time as jedis.  Love their cute little jumps in the picture on the left.

After their light saber training with Brian, we continued with our Jedi training in the back yard.  The kids loved doing all the different obstacle courses and activities we had planned.

We played "Don't drop the stormtrooper."  Dallas was amazing and hand drew little storm trooper masks onto each of the hard boiled eggs.  It was a good thing we hard boiled them, because there were several that dropped them in the grass multiple times.  Each of the kids were incredibly focused! 

Daxton's face below made us laugh!
He was so determined to hone his Jedi skills.

Each of the kids got to do the obstacle course several times and some even tried running with their egg stormtroopers by the end.  Even little Claire tried carrying her little egg!

Another major hit with the kids was their balance training!
This was another idea I found on Pinterest with a super easy concept and yet the kids LOVED it.  All we did was buy a couple red plastic table clothes from the dollar store and used a few of our extra brick tiles from our back yard.  We told the kids the red table cloth was lava and they needed to jump from rock to rock without falling into the lava.  They all loved it!

Some of the kids jumped fast from brick to brick while others were very focused and went super slow to make sure they didn't fall in the lava.  The rest of the obstacle course was pretty simple with cones and hula hoops to go around or jump through.  The kids spent at least 15 minutes doing the obstacle course over and over.  These jedis had a great time!

When they were finished with the obstacle course, we put on some music and started the bubble machine.  We called this activity, "Party like a Wookie" where the kids got to use their light sabers to try and pop all the bubbles.  There wasn't much wind so in order to spread out the bubbles, Dallas walked in a circle along the outside of the yard while the kids popped bubbles in the middle.  It was pretty fun and loved any excuse to use their light sabers.

Because Daxton's birthday last year fell on Easter weekend, we thought it would be fun to do an asteroid hunt as one of our activities.  After the jedi training we brought everyone inside to eat lunch (pizza--keeping it simple) while a couple people hid all the asteroids outside in the yard.  The asteroids were really easy to make.  I bought several snack size treats and wrapped them in small pieces of aluminum foil.  The looked like perfect little asteroids with yummy chocolate inside.  I made over 100 of them, so the kids had tons of candy and asteroids to find.  Plus since they were wrapped in foil it was easy for us to make sure there were no asteroids left behind to ruin our grass.

Our last activity we did before birthday cake and presents was our Darth Vader pinata.  The kids had a blast "using the force to destroy Darth Vader."  I love the pictures I was able to capture below.  Their facial expressions are priceless and all were very determined to bust that pinata open!

Seriously, look at Dean, Daxton, and Olive's faces in the below pics!  So amazing!๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Brian was a life saver during this activity.  Since Dallas was manning the pinata rope and I was taking pictures, Brian made sure the line of kids did not get wacked in the head with the pinata stick...and that was a tough job!

Daxton's final birthday swing to crack open the pinata

Everyone running to grab the candy

Daxton requested a storm trooper birthday cake and I have to say, I was pretty impressed with how it turned out!  Cooking is so not my forte so I was very happy it looked at tasted great.  Monica was incredible and made the cutest chocolate light saber cupcakes which the kids loved.

Blowing out his birthday candles

Opening presents...
His friends were beyond generous with their birthday gifts so Daxton got so many fun things!  He got an amazing storm trooper gun from Olive, the hungry hippo game from Jack, a massive millennial falcon from Levi and Dean, star wars walkie talkies from Ethan and Janie, just to name a few.
He has such thoughtful friends!

We were so excited that our Aunt, Uncle, and cousins were able to swing by at the end of the party as well.  They got him the coolest Chewbacca and Stormtrooper, with lots of great hugs as well.

Once everyone had gone home, we let him open his presents from mommy and daddy.  We knew he would get lots of fun toys from his buddies so we figured we would get him fun costumes this year instead.  Dressing up was a new interest he had been showing and we had no costumes at our house, so we found some great deals on Amazon and stocked up!

Here are all the costumes he got for his birthday...
Stormtrooper (with his awesome new stormtrooper gun from his buddy Olive)

Fireman and Construction worker


One of my favorite shots from our little birthday boy after the party had ended...
Holy cow, did we have a lot of fun!
Thanks to the most loving supportive husband, lots of hours on Pinterest, and great friends, we made Daxton's fourth birthday a great success!
It was so much fun!
Feel free to steal any and/or all ideas from this post...I stole them as well๐Ÿ˜

Girls' Trip to Disney in March 2016

Disney is always super fun.
But Disney with friends is magical!
Living just a three hour drive south of Walt Disney World has been a blast these last few years.  We've loved all our trips up to Disney and especially loved the ones we've been able to do with buddies.  It's pretty awesome to be able to do playdates at such a magical place!

Monica, Jeni, Arianne, and I all got annual passes to Disney World and spent a good portion of our adventures up in Orlanado this past year.  Last March we tried something new, by all renting a house together for the week.  You can find some pretty inexpensive town homes and condos in the area, due to people needing to compete with all the massive hotels and lodging options.  Between all four of us, staying four nights, we each paid around 100$!  We each had our own rooms and three bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, living room, pool, the works.  It was great!

We drove up on a Monday in two cars; Monica and her daughter Claire rode with Daxton and I.  While Jeni and her daughter Olive rode up with Arianne and her two sons, Dean and Max.
Before checking into our town house, we decided to do a half day at Magic Kingdom.

Our whole crew walking down mainstreet

(L to R) Me, Dax, Claire, and Monica in front of the entrance to Magic Kingdom
(R) Daxton and I riding the monorail to Magic Kingdom.  Daxton LOVES the monorail!

Our whole group riding the Jungle Book.
Watching the kids react to all of the different things they saw was so sweet!

We also had tons of fun riding the Magic Carpets of Aladdin.

We of course had to stop for Dole whips while in Adventureland!
Best photo bomb ever below :)

We rode a few more rides, grabbed dinner, and then found a great place to watch the nighttime Electrical Parade.  The floats were SO fun!  The kids loved listening to the fun music, watching all the twinkling lights, and seeing fun characters go by.

That next morning, we were right back at Magic Kingdom bright and early!  Dax and I rushed to do Peter Pan before the crowds got into the park, while Jeni and Monica rushed to get in line to meet Anna and Elsa.  Daxton and I got pics in front of the castle on our way to Peter Pan.

We also saw the mice from Cinderella, tried desperately to pull the sword from the stone, and walked through Cinderella's castle.

After riding Peter Pan, we met back up with Monica and Jeni.  Jeni's husband, Brian, was able to drive up late the night before and join us for a few days at Disney as well.  Monica and Brian took one for the team by taking Claire, Olive, and Daxton on the tea cups.  The kids LOVED it!!  It makes me so sick though, so Daxton never gets to ride it when it's just me and him and Disney.  He was a very happy boy to be able to ride the tea cups!

Arianne joined us at Magic Kingdom as we were getting done with the tea cups, so we continued our fun down in Tomorrowland by driving cars.  Claire was super cute dressed up as Anna with our two crazy boys.  Daxton loved being able to drive on his own!  Monica took Dean and Claire, since Max wasn't tall enough to ride yet.

I love these pics Arianne snapped as we were leaving!

We also were able to catch the show in front of the castle and somehow managed to get a picture of all the kids.  We were quite proud!

After the show, we split up for the afternoon.  Monica and Jeni took their girls to meet princesses, while Arianne and I took the boys to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and to get another Dole whip.

After exploring Adventureland, Arianne and I took the boys back over to Tomorrowland where we rode Buzz Lightyear and the People Mover again.  It was SO fun to see Daxton and Dean interact at Disney together.  They are such good buddies and treat each other so well.

That night we all grabbed dinner, went swimming, and crashed from all the fun at Magic Kingdom!  The next morning turned out to be pretty crazy.  As we were driving to Hollywood Studios Jeni and Brian's car broke down.  Jeni and Brian ended up pushing it down a very busy rode while Monica steered and I drove my car behind with my emergency lights flashing.  With how crazy drivers are down here, I didn't want anyone to get hit!  They were able to push it up into a parking lot a half mile down the street.  Monica and I gave Brian a ride to a car rental company and then we headed to Disney with Arianne.  We were so glad that Jeni and Brian were able to get their car taken care of and rental car set.

On our way to the rental car company Monica had to squeeze inbetween two very large carseats in the back seat.  It was pretty impressive!  

Monica, Arianne, and I with our kiddos at the entrance of Hollywood Studios.

We all went on Toy Story Mania and then split up for a bit.  Monica and Claire went to go see Beauty and the Beast, while Arianne and I took the boys to do Star Tours.  The kids loved playing with the lightsabers Arianne brought.

One of the best pictures from the trip for sure!
Best buddies on the Star Wars speeder

Later that day Daxton and I split off from the group for a few hours.  Daxton wanted to see the Indiana Jones show so badly, while the rest of the group wanted to do Tower of Terror and meet characters.  It was really nice to be with friends that were flexible and fine with us exploring on our own.  Daxton LOVED the Indiana Jones show, especially all the fighting and stunt work.  I loved just watching his face react to everything!

After the show Daxton loved seeing the tanks and other Indiana Jones paraphernalia along the exit pathway.

After Indiana Jones, Daxton and I made our way over to the Star Wars launch bay.  This is where he almost lost his mind!  Out patrolling in the courtyard where a couple talking storm troopers.  He followed them for at least 20 minutes just watching and getting more and more excited every time they turned to talk to him.  It was such a cool experience seeing him light up.

Inside Star Wars launch bay Daxton about lost his mind being able to meet Chewbacca!  It was so sweet to see how excited he got.  Especially when Daxton showed Chewy how he spoke Wookie :)  When I got home and looked through the pictures I zoomed in on the picture and realized Daxton was hugging Chewy so tightly that he was caressing the upper thigh leg hairs!  Absolutely hilarious!

Dax couldn't get enough of all the fun things to see in the Star Wars launch bay, especially all things "Dark Side"

On our way back to the town house that night, we drove through the Chick-Fil-A for a treat.  When we looked back at Dax, we saw him passed out cold still clutching his chocolate shake.  Needless to say, he had a great day at Hollywood Studios!

The next day we all spent at Epcot.
I was so glad we got a group picture of all of us at the entrance!
(L to R) Arianne, Dean, Claire, Monica, Me, Daxton, Olive, Jeni, Max, and Brian 

We first took turns going on Test Track where Daxton had a blast and loved designing his own car and climbing inside of all the trucks and cars on display.

Then Monica, Jeni, and Brian took the girls to meet princesses while Arianne and I took the boys on Living with the Land and then Nemo and the aquarium.

We loved the boat ride Living with the Land!
It was so cool to see the new ways being explored for growing food and all the interesting plants and flowers in the gardens.
The boat ride was also a great time to take silly selfies :) 

Some of the interesting growing techniques used.

Afterwards, we took the boys on the Finding Nemo ride which ends at an awesome aquarium.  The boys had a blast looking at all the different marine life.

It was so fun seeing Dax and Dean literally freak out and squeal with delight as a shark swam right in front of them.  They also loved watching the spotted eagle ray.

Dax and Dean also loved looking at all the baby clown fish and learning about different types of sharks.  A volunteer had several examples of different shark jaws and then Dax and Dean got to figure out from pictures which shark matched which jaw.  It was pretty cute to see them love learning so much.

A few other cute highlights from Epcot with my handsome little man.

As we were leaving, we got to meet Minnie and Pluto at a secret meet and greet.  Daxton is at such a fun age for meeting characters!

I even hopped in for a quick photo.

After spending a great day at Epcot, we spent the evening having a blast at the pool.  The kids spent tons of time going down the water slide over and over.  That night Brian drove back home to be at work the next morning and Monica's husband, Ivan, drove up to spend the weekend with family.  It was funny to always have someone's husband taking care of our group.

The next day we all split up.  Monica and Ivan left to meet up with visiting family.  Jeni and Olive decided they wanted to spend another day at Magic Kingdom, while Arianne and I took the boys to Animal Kingdom.

We love Animal Kingdom!
It was so fun to show Arianne, Dean, and Max some of our favorites since it was their first time visiting the park.

Us in front of the Tree of Life

The boys had a blast climbing on all the different tree trunks and rocks in front of the Tree of Life.  We also were able to see a bunch of parrots fly by.

Our first adventure was going on the Safari.  They kids had a blast looking at all the different animals along the way.

We saw hippo, giraffe, wildabeasts, elephants, rhinos, and lots of different animals.

After going on the safari, we took the kids on the gorilla trek.  The boys LOVED running free through the different paths and seeing all the different animals.  My favorite is the Okapi, what an interesting animal!  

The boys loved the hippo enclosure where they were able to see lots of colorful fish, a massive hippo skull, and a very active hippo swim by.  The gorillas were all resting, but we did manage to see a Silverback gorilla close to the path.

Other highlights from Animal Kingdom included meeting Minnie and Mickey in their cute Safari outfits.  They were both so sweet with Daxton giving him fist bumps, hugs, and letting him kiss their noses.

Such a happy little boy!

We were also super excited to meet Russell and Doug from Disney's movie Up.  Daxton had literally just seen the movie about a week before our trip and was SO excited to meet them.

I love that sweet excited little boy so much!

After a morning full of adventures and fun, we made our way back to Africa to play drums and see the Lion King show, which was amazing as usual!
These boys could have spent forever banging on these drums!

These two little buddies were SO stinking sweet together.
They giggled and laughed the whole day.  They both really loved Lion King as well.

After Lion King, we made our way over to Dinoland where the kids had a blast riding Dinowhirl and playing in the Boneyard digging pits.  It was a great last day of Disney.

These two sweet boys absolutely melt my heart!
On a sidenote, it was this picture below that made me first realize how gigantic Daxton is.  Dean is a month older and almost a whole head shorter and he's not short for his age.

After Animal Kingdom, Daxton and I drove over to Magic Kingdom to pick up Jeni and Olive.  We picked up some dinner on our way home and the kids quickly passed out.  Jeni and I had a blast talking for the three hour drive, especially with two quiet kiddos in the back seat.
It was the perfect ending to a very fun trip with friends.

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