Fatherhood - an endless series of of trips to Target.
You are such an amazing hands-on dad. I know it can be difficult dealing with our threenager at times but you do an incredible job of it. I love you and couldn't ask for a better partner in crime. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!! ❤️
On Sunday we took Parker to Touch a Truck and had a fun time getting up close and personal with some of his favorite vehicles. There were excavators, a dump truck, a firetruck, an ambulance, laser tag and so much more. They even had one of the Mercy Air helicopters land in a field for all the kids to see. Tickets were a little spendy but all the money went to Max's Ring of Fire which raises money for kids cancer research so I had no problem handing over the green. I would recommend this event for anyone with a truck loving kid like mine.
Side note: As an event pro, I can say that this event was well organized. There were a ton of volunteers on hand to help kids get in and out of trucks and the marketing and branding was well thought out. If anyone from Touch a Truck is reading this post I just want to say thank you for what you do and for putting on a great event. I can't wait to come again next year!
If you follow me on IG @parkerproject, you know we are always stopping to check out construction trucks parked around town. This was the first time Parker had a chance to sit in a seat and push all the buttons and levers. Here he is in a mini excavator. Mind blown.
Climbing into the cab of a dump truck with Tuan's help. This is very much a hands on experience for kids and parents. Wear comfy clothes and expect to be climbing in and out of trucks with your kiddo.
Superheroes and Star Wars characters were also on hand for photo ops.
Here comes the helicopter! After it landed, the kids were able to get up close to check it out.
What is it with kids and garbage trucks? Parker was excited to sit in the cab of the garbage truck. He also explored the flaps, arm and trashcan and wanted to climb in the back to see the compacter. Checking out the compacter did not happen. Ewww.
My shy guy was thrilled about seeing Captain America and the girl Captain America but he didn't want to pose for pictures. Instead he followed them around at a distance like a crazed stalker the entire time we were there.
"Mom, I peed in the toilet potty just like a construction guy." I keep telling him it's called a porta potty but he calls them toilet potties.
We met up with our friends for a snow cone break at the Kona Ice truck. There were a number of food trucks vendors at the event serving everything from BBQ to pizza and lots of places to sit and eat.
Look at Mr. Grumpy not wanting to take a picture with me. We were trying to get him to sit in the bucket of the big excavator for a photo op but he was not having it.
Picking up hooks on the back of a flatbed truck.
The back of a UPS truck. I told Tuan he needs to volunteer for a FEDEX truck to be at the event next year so we can score some free tickets.
The kids were able to honk the horns in many of the trucks. If you don't like noise, this is event is not for you.
This was the highlight of Parker's day. He was able to sit in the cab of a BIG excavator.
Everyday I wake up and I'm grateful that I get to be Parker's mom. It's not always easy but it's always FUN especially now that he is so good at communicating and making jokes. Little man makes me laugh every day with the things he says, reminds me constantly that I am beautiful and shows me that he cares by helping me with all my medications every morning and night.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas! I hope you are feeling a small slice of of the happiness and love I'm feeling in my heart today and everyday.
We have this large photo of baby Parker hanging on the wall in our bedroom. This morning Parks decided he wanted to recreate the photo. The end result is below. Ha! This kid. His sense of humor is fantastic.
There is an event coming up that my truck loving kid is going to lose his mind over: Touch A Truck. Touch A Truck is a fundraiser for kids cancer put on by the Max's Ring of Fire Foundation. I've never been to this event before but we are definitely planning on taking Parker this year.
If he gets this excited over a dirty excavator parked in front of our neighbors house he is going to be over the moon when he sees all the constructions vehicles, emergency vehicles, military vehicles and cars that will be at Touch A Truck. We hope to see you there!
I want to capture this moment in a post before it passes. Parker is growing and maturing so quickly. Everyday he comes up with a new joke or makes a comment that catches me off guard. His current obsessions are bird watching, picking dandelions, construction trucks and eating rice and noodles. Here are a couple of pictures of him rocking the tee I picked up for him in Brooklyn. He's such a ham! I want to tell him to stop growing up but it's so exciting to watch him become his own little person.
Over the weekend, eighty (yes 8-0) of our closest friends and family joined us to celebrate Parker's 3rd birthday at Nickel City. Throwing a birthday party is always a challenge since we have such large families but I'm really happy with how everything turned out and Parker had a blast! Keep reading for tips on how to put together a semi-DIY, low(ish) budget Wild Kratts party. A full buying guide is available at the end of this post.
The lighting in the party room made everyone look orange. Here's the best family photo we were able to capture. For some reason Parker felt compelled to touch my face. Special thanks to Phillip at Ink Press for the matching t-shirts. We are that family now.
We took over 3 of the party rooms at Nickel City because of the size of our party. As with all my parties, I created a focal piece that reflected the party theme. It's important to have something that make guests say "Wow!" when they walk in. The birthday banner was bright and colorful and I surrounded it with handmade paper vines. Since we could not attach anything to the walls, I used a photo backdrop frame to hang the decor on. The banner and paper vines provided a lot of bang for my buck. The vines were made with kraft paper and all the leaves were either hand cut or cut with a the Cricut machine using the Create a Critter cartridge. I legit brought a hot glue gun, twine and leaves with me on my business trip and crafted in my hotel room in order to finish all the decor.
I was out of town on a business trip the entire week prior to the party so I didn't have anytime to bake a cake. Luckily, there's a great bakery in Bonita called Hans and Harry's! I ordered an undecorated, 2-tier, fondant covered cake for $75 and decorated the cake the match the party theme. The snake, the grass and the Wild Kratts symbol in the front are all made of fondant. The Createrra and Martin are a toy set available on Amazon. The cake was vanilla with strawberry filling as requested by the birthday boy.
My sister Tania designed Parker's party invitation as well as all the printables at the party. Hooray for talented siblings! I love this "Born to be Wild" sign with Parker's Wild Kratt avatar.
I baked some chocolate cupcakes (now known as poop cakes) to compliment the vanilla cake. The cupcakes are topped with brown buttercream and these fun little pipe cleaner trees I found at Do It With Icing. By clustering the cupcakes together, I created a mini forest of tiny trees. Thanks Brandon for helping me frost the poop. The kids at the party loved telling me how poop-ular the cupcakes were. Why do kids love poop so much?
Tania created a few tented food signs for the party. We placed an "Herbivores Only" sign by the veggie trays, "Waterhole" sign by the drink station and "Jimmy's Favorite Food" by the pizzas. Just a few small details to tie in the Wild Kratts party theme.
[Thanks for coming early to help decorate Giao & Thuy!]
Parker and Tania winning tickets in the arcade. He ended up with a whopping 3500 tickets to redeem.
The adults had fun too! Thanks Kristen for coming over to bake with me Friday night. You are such a life saver. Together we made blue jello cups to represent the ocean and a mini cupcake forest to represent the trees. If you know the Wild Kratts theme song you know what I'm talking about.
The mini bowling alley is one of Parker's favorite things at Nickel City. He gets so into it!
I was able to work with Nickel City to come up with platter pricing for the food. At first they told me I had to order off their regular menu per person and I was like, "Are you kidding me? I have to order for 100 people." So Steve came back with pricing for trays and I was a happy camper. The food is nothing to rave about but Nickel City is an arcade so I didn't expect much. Everything was very kid-friendly. We ended up ordering pizza, tater tots, veggie trays (off the menu), nachos, chips and popcorn.
Parker skipped his afternoon nap on the day of the party and ended up falling asleep while eating pizza. Silly guy. The staff at Nickel City allowed us extra time in the party room to accommodate Parker's nap.
[Cake cutting time!]
[Parker is shy and does not like it when we sing happy birthday.]
Here's how things went down at Nickel City. There was no party before ours so I was able to show up at 11:30 AM to start setting up the party. FYI, helium tanks are not allowed inside Nickel City but you can blow balloons up outside and bring them in. Our party hosts provided me with all the nickels to hand out to the kids (each kid receives $10 worth of nickels). Guests signed in at the entrance so Nickel City can keep track of how many people actually show up. As they arrived, we handed out nickels and everyone had a chance to play games in the arcade. When it was time to eat, an announcement was made over the intercom. After lunch, everyone continued playing in the arcade until it was time to cut the cake. After the cake cutting was done, everyone went back into the arcade again. At the end of the party, we gave each kid (and some adults) a walking animal balloon complete with a little tag of that particular animal's creature powers.
Everyone I worked with at Nickel City was professional and accommodating especially Steve, the owner/manager, and our two party hosts. Thank you!