Monday, May 31, 2010

A Spongebob Party

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Spongebob Squarepants! For Cole's 6th birthday we had a Spongebob party. My sister and brother-in-law were so kind to let us have the party in their spacious backyard!

Some of the decor: a banner (that I tried to make in Spongebob font, sort of worked) and Squidward looking thrilled to be at the party,

The pineapple house and Spongebob's pet snail, Gary,

Patrick Star,

Mr. Krabs and the Krusty Krab,

My favorite part of the decorations: the Bikini Bottom Art Gallery with contributions from all of the kiddos.

Once it was party time, Cole had fun greeting all of his guests. Here he is hugging his Great Grandma Lyla.

Clay was the master griller and did a great job grilling up some crabby patties (hamburgers) and chum (hot dogs) for us.

Cole provided some entertainment by performing a few of his favorite Spongebob scenes. Here he's performing "Bubble Stand", saying, "Now it's time to bring it around town..."

Here he's singing the song "To Love a Patty". I love the words: "Oh baby, they may call me a fool..."

Any true Spongebob fan knows that one of Spongebob's favorite things to do is JELLYFISHING!!! (These balloons were supposed to be jellyfish but the streamer legs didn't want to stay on--it was a windy day).

We weren't truly authentic and didn't use nets. I just made a simple fishing pole and found some pretty good prizes to attach to it at Party City for $0.50 each. Here's Lukey fishing for a prize (you'll notice his latest scrape above his lip from a fall on the playground.)

All the kids lined up for the pinata.

Cole taking his turn.

I had to include a picture of this. I asked my sister's husband if he had some rope we could use for the pinata and before I knew it, he was drilling a hole in his roof and attaching pulleys. It was the most sophisticated pinata set up I had ever seen. Thanks Todd!

Getting some candy.

Clay made a Spongebob cake for Cole.

Cole's favorite part: opening his presents. Clay and I got him a new bike (well, new to us) that fits him so much better! My mom had taken Cole earlier that day to make this monkey at build-a-bear. He loves it!

His sweet cousin Molly! She bought him this ball with her tooth fairy money!

It was such a fun day. Thank you all so much for all the wonderful gifts and birthday wishes.


The morning of Cole's birthday, we woke him up really early so we all could have a little donut party before Clay had to leave for work.

Here's a couple groggy little boys.

Cotton Candy

Cole's school had it's annual Fun Fair a couple weeks ago. The boys went on a few rides but I think what they were most excited about was the cotton candy.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

M.ission P.hinally A.ccomplished

Clay's graduation was on Friday!!!! He received his second master's and is now officially a Master of Public Administration (MPA). One word keeps going through my mind...

Hallelujah!!!!! I am so happy that he is done with school and that this chapter of our lives can come to a blessed end.

There's the obvious reason for exclaiming "hallelujah" at a time like this: for the first time in almost seven years of marriage, he doesn't have to study.

Then there's the other reason, the main reason: I was beyond devastated, beyond depressed, at the death of Clay's career as an anthropologist. I felt broken when it happened, and I saw no way of ever feeling happy again. Our's was such a sad story. I went on this way, for about 6 months.

It was then that Clay decided city government was his new career goal. He applied to SC and soon had a scholarship in his hands. It was like Heavenly Father had just put a huge band-aid on our family. The pain in my heart lessened more and more every day. And now that Clay has graduated, I'm not broken anymore. Heavenly Father has saved me from despair. Hallelujah to Him, for making everything "all better".

Here's Clay getting his diploma from the dean.

I loved the hoods that the graduates wore. I told Clay I had to get a picture of his hood.

Me and Clay after the ceremony.

Clay with his good buddy Brian.

On Thursday, Clay was invited to an awards ceremony. Here he is receiving the Dr. Tang award. This is what his pretty plaque says,
"In the spirit of commitment, enthusiasm and achievement as personified by Dr. Shui Yan Tang, this recognition is awarded annually to a Master of Public Administration student that best exemplifies and promotes academic excellence, service to SPPD beyond the classroom, involvement in the Public Administration profession, excellence in public employment, and the advancement of professional development."

We were so happy to have Clay's parents come visit for a couple days to be part of the ceremonies. Suzanne even ironed Clay's robes for him. And Cole was thrilled about having a sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa.

Congratulations, Clay!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Terms of Endearment

Three important facts for this post:

1. Our computer isn't letting me add pictures. If I could add pictures, I would have used a picture of my mom and a picture of the sunrise.

2. My mom loves to use one great word repeatedly (which we laugh not at her, but with her about.) For example, for a few months she loved the word, genre and it was used as often as possible however malappropriately. There have been other words/phrases that have cycled through her vernacular as well (i.e. bringing sexy back, sketch).

3. My dad served his mission in Italy and dazzles us all by speaking Italian from time to time.

One morning, my mom heard him use the phrase, "Bella giornatta" which means "beautiful day". This was her first time hearing this phrase after almost 30 years of marriage and once she heard it, it seemingly spoke to her soul. Bella giornatta, she thought. Yes, that's it! This moment was an epiphany of sorts and she decided then and there that Bella giornatta would be her new idiom, and new nickname indeed for all those in her life whom she loved. To my mother, we were now all bella giornatta, even my dad and my brother (despite the obvious feminine adjective and noun). And of course, we can't resist calling her bella giornatta in return.

One may argue that this new term of endearment doesn't make a lot of sense. We don't usually greet family members with "Oh hello, Beautiful day, how are you?". Yet somehow, in regards to my mother, it fits.

Being with her is refreshing and renewing. And when I go visit home after a few weeks of being away, I can't help feeling, when she's giving me the first of many hugs, like the sun has just come out, like my mother is very much a sun, and that this moment is like a new, glorious day.

Her face radiates joy, light, warmth, and love. And unquestionably, any day spent with her, is a beautiful day.

So here's to my beautiful mother, mine and everyone's bella giornatta.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New Camera

Clay bought this for me. I don't deserve it, but I will love it and care for it. To me, memories are what it's all about. I love snapping pictures of EVERYTHING, especially our little boys who are always growing and changing.

It came with so many manuals and DVD's that I still need to study. I don't even know photoshop or anything about editing pictures. I figure I'll have time to really learn everything post graduation. So far, I've just been using the easy auto settings. Even with just the auto setting, I love how the pictures turn out, and the sound the camera makes is thrilling.

Some downtown fun

We got to babysit cousin Connor last Saturday which was so fun! I'm all about free activities so I thought we'd go explore downtown.
We started off at campus, touring the fountains. This was a little gamble, as I wasn't sure if Luke and Connor were old enough to actually obey my "don't get too wet" advice.

They were doing so good staying dry. I was very impressed with them.

This fountain, however, was a little more tempting...

and Connor just couldn't resist! (Aren't I terrible to hold off comforting him so I can take his picture?) It should be noted that it was a very hot day, and I wouldn't have minded being soaked myself.

Then we walked down to one of the science museums (FREE!) which has great "discovery rooms" which aren't the most scientific in nature, but fun for little ones.

Doing some gardening.

Riding on a camel at an Egypt inspired exhibit.

For this you have one kid on each end that they talk to each other through.

Another discovery room.

I love keyboards and mouses that are adapted for kids--so cute.

Luke getting ready to launch.

Totally worn out.