the life and times of lauren, andy, and mainly, our little dean beans…

An animal-filled August!

Posted on October 12, 2014

August seems so distant now that the leaves are changing and the temperature is dropping (not that I’m complaining, I love fall!). August always starts with Nonna’s birthday, yay! and ends with, well, summer stuff I would guess. We had a pretty animal filled month, a trip to Stone Zoo to see Wally (the zoo was pretty small, but the birds of prey show was pretty cool), a trip to Southwick Zoo for noah with the school (it was a huge zoo, pretty cool, but we didn’t have enough time to fully explore it), and a trip to the always awesome Davis Family Farmland (petting zoo/water park/bouncey house extravaganza) with the Boros & Karl families. We ventured down South for a Paw Sox game, em and noah definitely enjoyed cheering on the team, but really loved running the bases after the game, short but sweet fun! There was a very yummy Blueberry picking trip to Smolack Farms with the Hayes family and a great trip to a Cape Cod beach to meet our good friend Matt and Nikki’s adorable baby Cade. And as I mentioned before, ended August with a very summer-like trip to Boston Common with the kids’ first ever ride on a Swan Boat! There were also two trips to the Emergency Room within a week, oy. emily had a tumble from our climbing wall on the swingset, cut under her chin deep enough to need stitches. She won a free trip to the ER, and they had to give her drugs to calm her for the stitches that apparently made her quite amusing according to Lauren (essentially drunk). Then two or three nights later noah decided to jump from his dining room chair and did a pretty bad faceplant. After 45 minutes of a bloody nose, Lauren headed back to the ER with patient number two. Both of them are ok and all better now, and hopefully no more trips to the hospital!

emily definitely has a flair for the dramatic. These days when she doesn’t get what she wants or more often when we ask her to do something she doesn’t want to, she just flips a switch, starts crying, stomping, and, most importantly, waving her arms around with floppy hands because somehow the proportion of shaking body parts is directly related to how upset a toddler is. She is still very much a grazer when it comes to eating. Most dinners she takes a few bites declares she is done and asks if she can go play. This is followed by a few walk-by nibbles every once in awhile and capped off with a fit when we say dinner is done and put everything away (clearly she needs at least 2 hours to eat dinner). When it comes to snacking she LOVES “bunny cheese” as in cheese bunny crackers (not cheese made from bunny milk, that would be weird). emily has two favorite activities: play-doh and drawing “happy faces” (well, really three, the third being anything noah does). She loves play-doh, mainly just  stuffing it into the various play-doh contraptions we have, and getting it all over my office!

noah meanwhile continued his obsession with baseball. It was pretty much required that we play wiffle ball after or before dinner every night (if it was before, good luck getting him to come up for dinner!). I eventually switched him to a thinner bat as he was blasting every pitch and then eventually I had to start wearing a glove as one too many times I tried to barehand catch one of his line drives, ouch! Just like with every other game, he makes up rules as we go along that keeps everything in his favor. In baseball he is always asking if every hit he gets is a home run (and if he runs, it always is… as he can run the small diamond we have a lot faster than I can run to get the ball). When we play hockey he makes his goal smaller and smaller until it basically doesn’t exist. In board games he sometimes throws a fit if the outcome isn’t to his liking. I guess being a gracious loser is a learned trait, one that takes time and maturity (something Ohio State fans are still working on). GG and Papi gave noah a balance bike that he took to very quickly, hopefully first step to moving to a real bike with no training wheels. For now he’s bouncing off his feet scooting along at a pretty fast pace. noah has also picked up some new sayings like ending a declarative statement with the always informative, “for real!” He has been having a tough time with the transitions in upper preschool, almost all of his friends left to go to k1 in the boston school system. Luckily he still has his buddy Linus and we have been able to see his other friends at playdates. noah also gets to spend time with his science idol, Mr. “He knows all” Will. It’s pretty awesome, noah gets to learn about the ocean, bugs, weather, the solar system, basically answering every preschooler question about the world around us. noah loves learning from him, noah often tells me things that I suspect get a bit mixed-up in the retelling, but noah refuses to budge. If he believes Mr. Will said it, that’s it, it is infallible.

Here’s the pics:

BBQs, beaches, & batman

Posted on September 1, 2014

Lately, noah has been getting up on the weekends around 7am coming into our room and asking if he can play in his room (YES, and you know, you don’t have to wake us up to ask!!!). Besides taking out every toy imaginable and making a huge mess (and sometimes waking me up again to find something), he also often plays dress-up to hilarious ends. Putting on full costumes from his closet (fireman/spiderman/batman/etc), usually it’s a complete ensemble, but when emily gets involved he dresses her up (and presents her to us) in various mash-ups to form ridiculous combinations (fireman’s hat/superhero cape/hula skirt/luau necklace). If only I was less lazy and was willing to get out of bed and get my camera!

emily is all about doing things on her own, she doesn’t want to get help climbing or putting stuff together or building or eating. Little Miss Independent, she is. Except when it comes to noah, she will follow him around and do whatever he is doing. Sometimes they are on the same wavelength and are cracking each other up, other times they are fighting over toys or complaining about what one or the other is doing to one or the other of them. All in all, I’d say it’s pretty standard siblingness, usually all in good fun. But, oh man, when one of them erupts and then the other, there’s just no calming them. Well, emily can be soothed usually, noah on the other hand just continues escalating until he wears himself out. Good times. noah has also discovered “the scream” a useful tool for causing the most possible disruption and annoyance in others. More good times. On the plus side, he is still hilarious and adorable and maybe 30% of the time a really good kid who is happy to go along with anything. Plus he looks like us, so we kind of have to keep him. ;)

July was a month to remember. It started with the City Year BBQ where noah went into overdrive (and basically ran around in circles for over an hour after pushing emily around in a plastic car) and ended with our now annual trip to the Rhode Island house (a friend of my mom’s kindly lets us have it for a week each summer). In between there were a lot of BBQs and festivities. We visited our friends Jeff and Sharon and their children Bennett and Nadia on July 4th (and because of the rain the only fireworks were on em’s dress). We checked out the Newton July 4th festivities again (noah and emily both got to take part in the mini (emphasis on mini) races and see friends Barrett, Sloane, and Henry. We had a day at Larz Anderson flying kites with Micah and his parents Hsindy and Victor (check out the adorable pics of em and Micah flying a kite together and playing with a beach ball which I had to chase down the hill on more than one occasion). Lots and lots of baseball in our backyard, sometimes just sometimes with friends including best bud Patrick and cousin Matthew. There was oddly a lot of Batman mask wearing (not sure why, but it became a thing). And then there was the trip to RI, one of the favorite weekends for noah and emily (they love the beach, me not so much, but I love seeing them love it!). We all love the swimming pond in the back, and floating around on the various flotation devices my mom brings down (including a small boat!). We also had a nice visit from our good friends Dan and Sheila and their daughters Mia and Evie (which included a trip to the very delicious Matunuck Oyster Bar where we somehow managed to have the kids stay seated and eat while we all ate – and noah even tried an oyster and clams!). We also got to make s’mores with the kids for the first time, they approved, mainly for the chocolate involved, and saw fireflies the same night! The beach trip involved lots of boogie boarding/surfing, sand castle making, and wave jumping all to the glee of noah and em (who eventually also napped in a little tent).  Other than that, we also had a trip to the zoo with Ada & Matthew and Layla & Kira and their respective parents. And a BBQ with Quinn, Gwen, Clara, and Ceci that involved lots of baseball and soccer and in general running around chasing and bumping and other nuttiness. Lauren and I also made it to a wedding in Rochester sans kids who got to play in a real live baseball game with Papa and, of course, venture to a beach again!

Here’s the pics:

summer, summer, summertime

Posted on August 16, 2014

noah and emily have been quite the handful lately! They find ways to escalate their play very quickly. They’ve come up with games like “choo choo train” where emily holds onto noahs shirt and they march/run around the house together bumping into things. They also have found the joy in teasing a sibling i.e. anything they don’t want, DO IT! That and egging each other on when they are doing things they shouldn’t be. Oy. Speaking of which, emily managed to draw a masterpiece on one of our couch cushions a while ago (good thing you can flip them over!).

Other than couches, emily loves drawing on paper. She is constantly running into the office, grabbing paper from the printer and scribbling like crazy. She’s very prolific in her output, which brings down the selling price of each of her works of art, but I think she is willing to sacrifice sale price to get her artwork to the masses (bonus: usually it comes folded for easy shipping). She is also obsessed with going on the swing, anytime we can get outside she wants to be on the swings (“Underdog mommy! Blast off daddy!”). She is still a very strong minded toddler, one of her favorite phrases is “I CA-NOT daddy!” for things we want her to do or “I CAN daddy!” for things we don’t want her to do. She likes putting “ey” at the end of all her nouns, especially “milk-ey.” She also has created a new game where she asks Lauren to say a particular word when emily says a particular word. For example: “mommy you say Gah-raf (giraffe) when I say “shorts!”

noah, meanwhile, is still all about baseball. Every chance he gets he wants to be outside being pitched a wiffle ball. The problem is he is so good at hitting, and he hits it really hard, and when you pitch to him you have to be pretty close due to the shape and size of our yard. So after getting smacked with the ball a couple times I think I have developed a bit of a flinch after every pitch! After I tried catching a 150mph line drive off his bat with my bare hand I decided I should maybe wear a glove. I’m actually kind of surprised the Sox haven’t called him up after they traded away their whole team. noah is prone to getting a lot of boo-boo’s due to his constant activity, thankfully band-aids are the cure-all. noah has also been into doing things with the “guys” lately. He sometimes informs us that he is only going to do a certain activity or go somewhere with me, or Papi, or Papa, or Marvin or all of us, but not the girls! He’s gone from mainly requesting Lauren to snuggle every night to almost exclusively asking for me. We’ll see if it swings back the other way.

The rest of June was lots of outdoor play, pool and sprinkler fun, baseball, basketball, soccer, swings, you name it! noah and I also went to our first Sox game of the season, which he absolutely loved and refused to leave until the field had been cleaned and cleared. It was a pretty perfect game since it was one on back-to-back home runs including one by noah’s favorite player, Big Papi! We also had the pre-school graduation where each pre-school class performs music and dance routines, it’s exactly what it sounds like, cuteness overload! This year’s theme was summer which meant bathing suits, hula skirts, sunglasses and Surfin’ USA (and I was able to help with the look and feel). Hard to believe this is noah’s last year at his daycare, he’s getting so big! We also had a trip to the aquarium and my mom’s retirement party (which noah attended on stage with my mom!. And since noah has asked about it so many times, we finally went on a Duck Boat Tour, noah particularly enjoyed getting to drive it when it was on the water (it is a truck and a boat!). So here’s some of the pics from June:

T-ball, Storyland, and spring!

Posted on July 6, 2014

So this post will attempt to catch up on the two months or so that have passed. I don’t know how it is possible but it feels like I have less and less time (and energy) to edit photos. Thankfully, my prolific photographing of the kids has slowed a bit, a tiny bit, well, maybe not much. The kids certainly haven’t slowed down, and neither has their photogenic adorableness.

So this spring was an eventful in more ways than one! At work I had the biggest event of the year (and maybe 25 years) as we celebrated City Year’s 25th Anniversary at the Boston Pops with President Clinton. While at home we celebrated my sister’s, my dad’s (with a surprise 65th birthday party), my birthday, lots of BBQs (both on our lovely newly painted deck and around the neighborhood), and a trip to Storyland in NH (more about that later)! We continued with swim classes for both noah and em, emily for the first time started transitioning to class without my mom, just with the teacher. It’s hard to believe after almost four years of being in the pool every weekend with the kids my mom is now just a spectator. They’re getting big! noah, meanwhile ventured into a new(ish) sport this spring, t-ball, to tremendous success. We already had an inkling he would like it given his love of all things red sox and general joy for wiffle ball. The t-ball league is probably the most organized sport he has taken part in so far, not really games, but actual, real drills like throwing, catching, hitting, running, the works. And he got to do it with two of his neighborhood friends, Gwen and Quinn. It’s pretty amusing watching pre-schoolers run the bases (let’s just say they break a few rules and may miss a few actual bases and might just entirely forget to go near home plate).

emily has lots of great new sayings. She likes to assert her independence, often telling us she can do it, “her very own self.” She is big into saying “yeah” instead of “yes.” One of our favorites is at bath time when she asks for “pan-shoo” (shampoo) because of the ensuing fun with the soap suds.  She and noah have also decided that guitars sound like “bampa bampa bampa,” and so they pick up the blow-up guitars from emily’s 2nd birthday party and rock out bampa-bamping all along. emily has really gotten into puzzles over the last couple of months. She is an expert at putting together the animal alphabet puzzle at my mom’s house, she has memorized every piece. It’s incredible the amount of information they can retain. She has followed in noah’s footsteps with loving “The Little Blue Truck” books, she sometimes sits down and flips through it herself saying a majority of the words from the book on her own. When it comes to dessert noah is still all about the chocolate ice cream while emily has developed an obsession with “sprinkles” and will just eat a cup of sprinkles instead of ice cream when we go to JP Licks. She is still an avid singer, often when we put her down to bed she will just sing to herself for a long time before going to sleep. What does she sing? I am glad you asked. She is quite the DJ, she creates her own mash-ups. It might start as BINGO (was his nam-o) and then halfway through transition to the Wheels on the Bus or You Are My Sunshine, there’s really no limit to mixes she’s willing to create. She, and noah, and every other child with ears has become obsessed with the Frozen soundtrack, and the song to end all songs, “Let it Go.” Both she and noah know all the words (or some version of them) and happily, loudly sing along with it any chance they get.

So, Storyland. Lauren was able to throw together a quick trip for us to New Hampshire that included a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad (an hour trip on an old railway line, noah ate it up), a full day at Storyland and before we left, a round at Pirate’s Cove mini-golf. Storyland was awesome! It was everything you would want in an amusement park trip: no lines, no wait, no scary rides (although noah would beg to differ, he did not like spinning rides that made him queasy), not too many extra costs, not too many overwhelming cheesy characters, no meltdowns, and a condo we rented that was directly across the street so Lauren was able to walk em over for her nap! We got there first thing as it opened and immediately got a ride on the antique cars. Luckily noah has a while to work on improving his driving skills. Then we took a ride around the park on the train (one of em’s favorite rides). A highlight was noah’s first roller coaster, the “polar coaster,” which he mainly enjoyed, only got slightly scared, and I mainly enjoyed other than the sudden stop that banged my knees! Then there was “tea” with cinderella (we were the only ones that signed up for that day, so it was a private gathering!), which both emily and noah really liked. noah was clearly nervous and enthralled while em would just go right up to her and then run around on her own. We also got to go on a “safari” ride all together and both noah and em rode on the flying shoes. While em was sleeping noah and I got to explore the tractor ride and play excavators and we discovered the massive foam ball room: basically a bunch of vacuums and air guns so, a room where foam balls are flying everywhere!. noah also got his face painted… his ENTIRE face painted like a Spider-Man mask. As soon as it was done he showed off his “Spider-skills.” emily and Lauren would met us at the ball pit post-nap. I think that’s where we spent the most time, noah was pretty happy just stuffing the balls in the tubes to make sure the “kids upstairs had enough to play with.” Always the considerate one! We ended the day with the water rides including my favorite, the flume ride which has a massive downslide at the end, fun and splashy! We pretty much covered the whole park in one day. And it was a good day. The kids were still riding the buzz from the day at bedtime, so it took a bit longer for them to go down, but totally worth it. The next day we had a great brunch at Peaches and then got in a little mini-golf before heading home. All in all, a great, quick trip!

city year summit and gala!

city year summit and gala!

Happy Mother’s Day/Passover/Easter!

Posted on May 15, 2014

Happy belated Mother’s Day! We celebrated Mother’s Day by staining our deck (Lauren and I), not ideal, but boy are we happy to have it done!!! And really, every day should be Mother’s Day, there’s no way we could ever celebrate all the mom’s out there enough. I know we are infinitely appreciative of having both our moms nearby for our children and for ourselves. I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow asking my mom for advice. Thanks for all that you do moms, you rock!
In emily news, she continues to fully explore the terrible twos! She can be very particular, especially about food. By particular, I mean, for example, one morning I have her a pancake cut up into pieces. “What’s this ridiculousness,” her eyes said as she immediately started screaming/crying, “WANT BIG PANCAKE!!! NO CUT, DADDY!!!” I futilely attempted to explain there is in fact no taste/nutritional/metaphysical difference, clearly a waste of time. So eventually I caved and made a new, whole pancake. This did not sooth the tantrum beast because now she was unable to eat it (too big!). So what did I do? Cut it into pieces. And repeat step one, tantrum over me cutting it. Le sigh.
The good news is she can still be as sweet as ever and makes the most adorable giggle faces and pretty much everything she says is the cutest thing I have ever heard. Our favorite is how she calls polka dots: “Paka dotes.” I also like how she is always telling me “can do it daddy!” Independent, she is. She picked up “oh my goodness” from someone too, hilarious (and us laughing just eggs her on!). Meanwhile, noah has discovered the hilarity and annoyance of “potty words” so he and emily love to throw out a volley of “do-do!” “Poopy!” “Pee-pee!” “Do-do head!” We are trying the whole “you can only use potty language in the bathroom” thing, sort of works. emily is making attempts at using the potty (with some successful trips), but we’re not pushing it.
emily has learned the jacket flip trip, although most of the time she insists on going out without her jacket on (“too hot”, no matter what the weather is), thankfully that shouldn’t be needed for much longer (maybe?!?). Both noah and emily love to do “cheers” at the table, sometimes with a bit too much aggression (spillage!)!
noah has been learning so much at school and it is amazing to see how much he soaks it in and applies to everything he sees and does. He loved the lessons on Antarctica, especially penguins (they became his favorite animal). He would tell us new facts every day about how penguins move on the ice or what they eat or how they only have one mate for life (ummm, do you know what that is?). And whatever he learns about he wants to see in “real life.” He told Lauren several times he wants to go to Antarctica and when she told him we would need to get a lot of gear for that he would check in on the progress of getting the stuff. And when she suggested going to the aquarium to see the penguins he was uninterested because HE wants to be on the ice too!
And then there was the lesson on environmentalism for Earth Day. He got very excited about recycling and “repurposing” stuff in our house and would constantly remind us about not leaving lights on and even reprimanded me for throwing out something that could be recycled (for the record, I always recycle!). It’s also so awesome to see how social he is and loves to talk to anyone about all these things he learns and sees and does, no one is spared his adorable stories!
We have a lot going on these days. In April we had lots of birthday parties! We had Harrison’s 1st birthday, Linus’ 4th, Patrick’s 4th, Juliet’s 4th, and Shelley and Papa’s birthday! We got to celebrate at the Children’s Museum and at a ballet class and for Papa we got to have a surprise 65th at his home! We also took noah to see the globetrotter’s, which he loved, especially the train ride there and all the silly tricks the players did. We visited Olivia and got to try out skateboarding. And of course there were Passover and Easter celebrations! For Passover we got two nights at G.G.’s to hang out with some of the DeNats and Mistrettas, and noah, Matthew, and emily got to search for the Afikomen! For Easter brunch at Nonna’s we got a big Easter egg hunt (there were less kids than usual so the baskets got pretty full!). noah absolutely loved the bunny ears I got for him on my LA trip, he wore them almost all day!
Here’s some pics from the last month or so:

emily is two!

Posted on April 14, 2014

So after noah’s big superhero extravaganza we had to gear back up and plan for emily’s second birthday (noah, meanwhile, immediately moved on to planning his 5th birthday party, it’s Cars themed in case you wanted to prepare). Whereas noah had very, very particular interests, emily is kind of game for anything. So we weren’t sure of what to theme the party, and then Lauren suggested music and it was all so clear. emily sings ALL THE TIME! She loves music, so it was perfect. We picked four of her favorites to put on the cake (I’m a little teapot, Baby bumble bee, The wheels on the bus, and, of course, Back in the USSR or as our kids know it “THE AIRPLANE SONG!”), ordered some blow-up guitars plus kid sunglasses, and made a mix CD of emily’s favorite rock songs. So not so crazy as noah’s party, nor nearly as large, but on par with noah’s second birthday party, so we’re being fair! It was nice to have a more laidback gathering, although, I won’t lie, I did miss getting crazy with the decorations and set-up, so I put all my energy into the mix CD packaging and a few record designs I put up. emily had a blast with her friends and actually ate the cake this time (for her first birthday she refused, which now seems even more crazy as she LOVES chocolate). And I got some pretty cool shots with the sunglasses on the kids, it’s pretty much instant cuteness.

The next day emily got her big gift, a dollhouse! noah and I were definitely into it, although play with it has been off and on. em likes to put everyone to bed while noah likes to tie things from the ceilings and roofs and swing them around. Clearly different play patterns. noah got a stomp rocket and scooter for his birthday. The stomp rocket has been a huge hit, we’ll see how long it takes before we lose all the foam rockets to roofs and trees!

and stomp rocket... (nice wing span!)

and stomp rocket… (nice wing span!)


emily is still in love with reading, and has started to read books to herself (that is she has memorized books, or enough of a book to flip through it and tell herself the story, it’s adorable). She is still eating pretty much everything, although can be picky about when she will eat things and has found new treats to obsess over: currently cashew nuts and raisins (and still loving yogurt drops, obviously). She loves to imitate or follow noah’s lead when they play together. Whether it is running around the house playing “chase” or pretending to throw bananas at each other at the dinner table, or singing a song together, they definitely amuse each other. And they still fight over Lauren’s time, I’m only worth fighting over if Lauren happens not to be around, but I accepted that fate a long time ago. emily is still loving swim class and along with noah continues to progress into quite the fish. Her favorite part is jumping into the pool, so much so that she decided to bring that into her everyday life and now attempts to jump off of everything (yay!), thus adding gray hairs to both lauren and my head.

noah really likes to talk about how strong he is and flex his muscles (picture him grimacing while flexing his muscles so hard that he shakes, yes it is hilarious). He is pretty much stronger than anything and anyone according to him (including metal, wood, professional athletes, etc.). Although sometimes he admits I am stronger than him when I have to help with something (and by association I am therefore stronger than all other dads, so beware!). He has also been doing this annoying sing-songy taunting voice to brag about stuff he gets or things he has that others don’t.

Both kids still end up in our bed most weekend mornings. We used to be able to eke out a little more sleep this way when noah was little, unfortunately that is not the case with two munchkins. emily is unwilling to just lie quietly regardless, it is much more fun to mess with noah and giggle and kick and fight over being next to mommy. Very relaxing.

Other than Emily’s birthday party we also had lots of “Mardi Gras” celebrations. Mainly because noah and em love playing with the plethora of beaded necklaces my mom has at her house. So lots of wearing and collecting of beads and dancing with them. We also went to the Japanese Showa school for the celebration of Hinamatsuri. We got to meet Ada’s new baby brother, Nicholas, whom emily was fascinated by (she read him books!). Lauren went away for work to Seattle and got to bring Noah’s toy Flash for company to keep up the tradition I started last year with sending photos back along the way. It’s a great way for the kids to feel connected even when we are away.


So here’s all the shots for March including some funny ones from his school the teachers posted:

noah’s superhero 4th birthday party spectacular!

Posted on March 20, 2014

noahSuperhero4BdayInviteFinal2 noahSuperhero4BdayInviteFinal2

noah’s 4th birthday party was quite the extravaganza, which shouldn’t surprise anyone by now. He decided on a superhero themed party long ago and I was pretty psyched to make that a reality (well, his idea was more like TMNT and Spider-Man themed, but I broadened it a bit!). As you can see from above, I decided to go with the classic red/yellow/blue theme with touches of green for noah (his favorite color) and black dots (halftones harkening to the old school comic book printing resolution). More importantly, as you’ll see below, I decided to go crazy on creating some custom activities for the party itself. But first, we needed to find a space to host this nonsense (one of the issues of having winter birthdays: always have to find indoor spaces!). We were lucky enough to find a public space, Curtis Hall in JP, that could be rented for a very fair price (especially when you look at how much the gymnastics and other thematic spaces cost!) and most importantly, it was a blank canvas we could decorate as we liked (signage was all printed by me, streamers, WHAM/BAM/etc, tablecloths, balloons from Oriental Trading)!


First things, first, I set out to make a classic telephone booth for our mini-superheroes to change in (not that any of them actually have ever seen or know about a phone booth. But, you know, big red box they can climb in and out of, they’re sold on it.). Shout out to Yale Appliance who was the first (after many) appliance stores to respond positively to my odd request (a fridge box for a superhero party!). I was inspired a lot by this blog I found, and many other sources I reference on my pinterest page, but I definitely added my own touches. And we all got to paint it together, including noah who loves “helping” (mostly it helps, but also leads to a lot more clean-up afterwards, but worth it!). The best part about this phone booth is the phone is actually a working phone, well, sort of. There is a coin slot I made that you can put the coins in and they will fall out the bottom (as simple as putting a diagonal piece of cardboard in the bottom so they slide out). The keys can be pressed in (I took apart a toy register and put new stickers over the buttons), but they don’t do anything (although there is a SUPERNOAH button that seems to work pretty well at getting him to come! :) ). And for an added touch of authenticity, I bought one of those retro handsets that can plug into your cell phone, so you can actually make phone calls with the phone (noah LOVED this!!!).


As you can see below, the kids really got “into” it! :)


At the same time I obsessed over painting an entire refrigerator box red (that did not fit in our house FYI, thanks mom and dad for letting your living room be superhero look and feel creation station for a couple weeks!!!), Lauren took on making custom capes for all the children. No small task when you invite about 30! She found this video from Jo-Ann Fabrics that worked perfectly. The key is to get thin fleece which you can cut without finishing the edges (it’s like felt, but more flowy, so more cape-like, if you will). I made stencils for all the letters (which we did in felt), and a lot of fabric glue later, ta da!!!


Bonus: the window bars in the room worked perfectly for hanging the capes! noah got his own very special satin green cape that nonna sewed for him as his birthday present. It actually took a little coaxing for him to put it on (I think he was a bit overwhelmed by it all, being just post-nap), but once he did, he was flying around the room with it like, well, a superhero!

The best part of this party (other than the photobooth, but we are working up to that), was the open flow of it. We set up several activity stations that the families could partake in as they liked. No pressure to do any one thing at any one time, everyone could just play wherever they wanted. There was a mask-making station to complete their superhero transformation (we ordered the cut foam masks from a shop on etsy, got some glitter glue, which, BTW takes too long to dry, and foam star stickers).


Then we had a coloring station with three designs i made and printed out in black and white for the kids to color in: A superhero skyline complete with mini-superheroes, a SUPERGIRL, and a SUPERBOY sheet. Because who doesn’t love to color in superhero drawings?

gwendrawing drawingTable

Another favorite station was the “Brick Busting” station which was as simple as a bunch of cardboard bricks in red, yellow, and blue in front of a polka dot tablecloth and KA-POW/SMASH/BOOM! signs. You don’t have to ask a pre-schooler twice to knock down a wall of bricks. Luckily for us, my mom already had a large set of these cardboard bricks, but if you don’t have them you can always use a bunch of painted shoeboxes. Check out the craziness that ensued:


The biggest attraction by far, for the young, the old, and everyone in between, was the photobooth. I had seen online many people do the superhero photobooth with painted buildings in the background, but I just had to take it one step further and make an actual city to pose in. I actually hemmed and hawed about whether or not to do it, because I had already created a pretty sweet backdrop that on its own was a good photo op (thanks Microprint for printing it and all the signage!). I took my superhero skyline and added “stick figure” superheroes, kind of think this should be a series (I borrowed a couple of the bodies from the noun project, thanks noun project!). Check it out:


But then I painted one of the cardboard boxes we had been collecting and lined them up, and without doing anything else, noah was in LOVE with them. Based on the fact that he could move them himself, hide in them, play in them, set stuff up on them, and just basically be king of his own little city, he was loving it. So I couldn’t not do it at that point. This led to a marathon session of painting (I decided to reverse my invite design and paint the buildings red/blue/yellow and the windows black) and taping the corners for “outlines” (I used Duck Duct Tape, there is a specific one that is thinner and cuts cleaner). Followed by a marathon session of Lauren and I cutting the duct tape to make windows (noah even helped with this too). Upon seeing the finished project he did seem less than impressed, mainly because he wanted to know where the “green building” was (did I mention his favorite color is green?!?!?). So I added a little SUPERNOAH HQ on top of the yellow building complete with it’s own blinking LED glow stick. And, now he was impressed:


But to really make this superduper fun (pun intended), we needed some superhero props! A few Hasbro superhero masks later, some Clark Kent glasses, a couple superhero accessories, and one big homemade barbell (cardboard poster tube + 2 foam balls, some paint, some foil tape, and duct tape), and voila! Superhero fun ensues…


To say people had fun in the photobooth, would be an understatement, see for yourself (and BIG thank you to Megan for working the camera for this and of course Elliot for setting it all up and shooting the rest of the party!):


Other than that, there was the small matter of a cake. We went to our usual spot, Party Favors, and gave them our usual overly detailed specifications which thankfully, they delivered on. noah was very excited about it, especially the characters on top and the whole “I GET TO EAT A BIG PIECE OF CHOCOLATE CAKE” rush. If only characters from Marvel, DC, and TMNT could get together more often in the name of deliciously, sugary sweet birthday cake. Here’s the cake shots and a few others from the general party fun:

And one last shot of all the pieces I printed out for the party (if anyone you know is having a superhero party and wants these or the designs, let me know!):


Thanks to everyone who helped us prep, prepare, create, set-up, transport (no easy task to get a 7 foot high telephone booth somewhere!), photograph, clean-up, and just attend and make this birthday extra special for our little supernoah! He thanks you too!


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