Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Airplane Themed Birthday Party

Decorations and Activities

We decided to host Ryan's birthday party at home this year, now that we actually have space. I made some banners and signs, and my husband helped me by putting up the outdoor decorations. He made the number "3" out of balloons taped to the garage, and put a large sign into the ground with arrows pointing in different directions for the Terminal, Gate 3, Arrivals, and Departures.

We set up an Airplane Making Station with sample paper airplanes and plenty of paper, and a "Flight School", where our young guests could attempt to aim and throw their homemade airplanes. (Of course, moms and dads needed to assist with the airplane folding, since most of our guests were under the age of 3).

I cut apart a banner from the Disney Planes movie and used the pictures of Bravo & Echo, Dusty, El Chupacabra, and Ripslinger to hang above the Airplane Making Station.

Arriving Flights

When our guests arrived, they were encouraged to put name badges on their little co-pilots and to write a message in Ryan's Flight Log. I made this book on Shutterfly and used pictures that I had recently taken of Ryan wearing a flight jacket, hat, etc.

Departing Flights

For the goody bags this year, I filled little boxes with airplane stickers, airplane pretzels, and a few small airplane-related toys. The sticker on the outside of the box says "Thank you for flying Ryan Airlines". I also had a basket of make-your-own cardboard "Dusty" planes, which involved simply punching out the pieces and putting them together.

The set of 3 small stacked suitcases on this table were from Amazon. I picked up the wooden airplanes at a craft fair and painted them to match the colors of the party decor.

In-Flight Sweets

Cupcakes and Cake Pops: from a local bakery, Cake and Confections.

I made the labels and cupcake toppers using scalloped and circle punch-outs from Michaels.

Airplane Cookies: from Etsy seller LaPetiteCookie.

Mini Muffins (Carrot and Quinoa): I made these

Cinnamon Rolls and Doughnuts: from the bakery

Planes Pretzel Snack Packs: from the grocery store

Gummy Airplanes: from Amazon

Flying Tootsie Roll Racers: made out of a tootsie roll, stick of gum, 2 lifesavers, and 2 rubber bands

Disney Planes Plates, Cups, Napkins, and Flatware: from Party City

Dusty Crophopper Cake

Cake: from a local bakery, Cakes and Confections.

Ryan is pointing to the part of the cake that he wanted a slice from: "Dusty's eyes!"

In-Flight Bites (Snacks)

I kept the menu relatively simple, since I didn't want to spend any $ on catering or to spend too much time cooking/preparing everything. I served: orzo pasta salad, carrots/celery with ranch dip, tomato and mozzarella bites, chips and buffalo dip, chex mix, popcorn, fruit, and turkey and cheese sandwiches. For the sandwiches, we originally tried to cut them into the shape of planes (see above), but it ended up being time consuming and wasted too much bread, so I just made regular turkey sandwiches.

Our Friends and Family at Ryan's Party
(click each picture to enlarge)










Future Pilot in his flight jacket and hat

I know that children probably change their mind about what they want to be when they grow up about a million times, but lately Ryan has been answering, "a pilot, so that I can fly planes really fast!" It may or may not be because he saw (and loved) the Disney Planes movie last month. Ryan has always been obsessed with race cars, but now he thinks that airplanes are even more fascinating!

Ryan had a wonderful 3rd birthday. We celebrated all weekend long! We are so thankful to our family and friends who came out to see Ryan for his special day. It has been almost 2 weeks, and he still brings up things from his birthday party and talks about how much fun he had. I can't believe how quickly our little guy is growing up. He continues to amaze and entertain me each and every day. I love him so much that it hurts.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

First Day of School & Primary Classroom

Ryan's first day of school

This is a huge week for Ryan. Not only is it his birthday week, but it's also his first week of school! We woke him up bright and early on Tuesday morning and took pictures outside before dropping him off at his new school. He had been waiting for this day for so long, and seemed eager to march right on inside and prove to mommy and daddy that we truly have an independent boy on our hands. 

Not a tear was shed, except by mommy, who just could not wait until 11:45 to pick him up because I missed him so badly my heart ached. I arrived super early, in hopes of catching a glimpse of him and thinking that it would somehow make me feel like he wasn't experiencing a whole new part of his life without me. Which, of course, is exactly what he was doing.

It is completely healthy and necessary for Ryan to have some time apart from me to grow into his own individual person, emotionally and socially, but it has been extremely difficult for me to let go of the thought of him as being my "baby." Honestly, I know that he is only there for a couple of hours, but still, I am used to knowing every detail about his day. When he comes home from school, he gives me vague bits and pieces (for example, he has a lot to say about "the owl song" and making snacks) but I want to know more!

Regardless, I am proud of Ryan for how well he seems to have adjusted to his new routine, and I am thrilled that he has the opportunity to attend this wonderful school and to learn in this type of environment. We are so very fortunate to have this little boy. Sometimes I still can't even believe how blessed we are.

We got to visit Ryan's classroom and meet (actually re-meet) his teacher a few days before he started school. He seemed excited about everything and remembered his teacher's name right away. Of course, I wanted to take pictures of all of the Montessori materials because I find them absolutely fascinating.

Here is Ryan's primary classroom (3 to 6 year olds):

Each class also has their own vegetable garden outside and there are several different outdoor play areas. I love how everything at the school is child-sized and easily accessible for students to do things for themselves.

I was a little worried about Ryan being independent enough to do the bathroom routines completely by himself, since he often asks me help him to do things like tie his pants or reach the soap/towels, and he sometimes needs reminders to take a bathroom break when he is caught up in working on something. But, so far so good... he hasn't had any bathroom issues at school!

I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings! They will go on their first field trip to a pumpkin patch in October, and there is a picnic and a special "Stone Soup" day coming up. Soooo much fun!  I LIVE for this type of stuff!

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