It has been quite the exciting week here in our neck of the woods. Hurricane Sandy rolled in on Monday and left quite a mark in our surrounding area. Brian was able to come home a little early from work on Monday as they sent everyone home early before the worst of the storm rolled in. Around dinner time the wind really picked up and by 8 p.m. we were without power. We lit candles and the kiddos all got their flashlights out to have some fun. Thankfully, we were spared much damage compared to so many others we know (who had trees fall on their homes, finished basements flood, and are still without power). This is one time when living in a house with small trees surrounding us was a blessing as there really aren’t any large trees that are within distance of hitting our house. By late Monday night we were wondering if our house was going to blow over! We did have some siding come loose (that my husband took care of by climbing up on the roof, while it wasn’t too windy of course!), and because of being without power for almost 24 hours we did get water in our basement. However, since it isn’t finished this wasn’t too big of a deal. We had to get rid of the carpet remnants that we had down there, but other than that there wasn’t much damage. We really were quite blessed as we have a gas fireplace and gas stove, so thankfully we had plenty of heat and a way to cook and heat water while we were without power.
I have never seen so many massive trees taken down by the wind! As we drive around, the damage that so many fallen trees have done is devastating to so many. As of today we still have many friends who are without power. Brian was actually without power at work all week until yesterday around 10 a.m. Anyone who knows Brian will understand how frigid he was while at work for the past few days! He was incredibly thankful when the power came back on. The schools in our area were out of school all week long due to power outages, and today we held church in a different location because the Christian school that we meet in is still without power!
Some dear friends and neighbors who were without power until yesterday hung out with us this week, so that was a highlight for the kids. They were secretly hoping that their power would never come back on so that they could see their friends every day! I don’t have any great pictures of trees down around our house, but if you want to see some of what you would find if you drive around our area, you can check out my friend’s blog who are the same friends that were hanging out with us this week. They had 2 huge trees fall in their yard, thankfully not on their house. The pics that she posted will give you an idea of just how strong the winds of Sandy were when they came through our area.
In other exciting news, we (and by we, I really mean just me!) survived two crazy busy weekends of celebrating Hailey’s 10th birthday! The first weekend we had family in town to celebrate with us and then last weekend I took Hailey to NYC on Saturday to visit the American Girl Doll Store and to see Annie on Broadway, and on Sunday she had some of her girlfriends here for a cooking/baking party. I waited until early Saturday morning when I woke up Hailey to tell her that I was taking her on a surprise trip. She was completely shocked and it was a blast waking her up to surprise her. We took a bus trip, and another part of the surprise was that my mom (“Mimi”) was joining us! We arrived in NYC around 9:30 a.m. at the American Girl Doll Store. Even I was surprised by how enormous this place was! It has 3 floors and is pretty much every little girl’s dream come true! We spent the first hour just walking around looking. Due to some incredibly generous family and friends Hailey knew she had quite of a bit of spending money and wanted to chose wisely how to spend it. After an hour of walking around looking, she was set on buying the new historical doll, Caroline. She already has the doll Kit, and as a surprise I packed her along since everyone knows that you are supposed to bring your doll with you when you visit the store! As part of her birthday present, Hailey’s cousin gave her money to get her doll Kit’s ears pierced since Hailey got her ears pierced for her 10th birthday! So that was a fun surprise for Hailey and was quite the experience being in the “doll hair salon.” After we finished up at the doll salon, we headed to the café upstairs for our lunch reservations. They really think of everything at this store including giving you a portable chair that attaches to your table for your doll! It was around that moment of walking into the incredibly feminine café and seeing tables and tables of moms/daughters/female friends that I knew Brian made the right decision in having my mom come along instead of him, ha! The three of us girls made some wonderful memories together. After lunch we finished up at the American Girl Doll Store and then headed outside to do some walking. We decided to head to Times Square to give Hailey the full NYC experience! We went into some stores such as Toys R Us, M & M, and Disney. Hailey loved everything about our trip and thoroughly enjoyed taking it all in! After walking around for awhile, we headed to the theater to see Annie on Broadway. This was a wonderful show with an amazing set and we all loved it! After the show, we stopped at Starbucks and then headed to the bus to catch our ride back home. Although it was a long day, it was filled with adventure and excitement and I loved watching Hailey enjoy it all.
The next day was Sunday, a day that Hailey was long anticipating! She had been planning, decorating for, and talking about her baking/cooking party for weeks! Since we were going to be baking/cooking at the party, I decided to use cupcake liners for all of the decorations. We had a blast making streamers, pom-poms, wreaths, flower lights, and a large pom-pom ball with the cupcake liners! I’m pretty sure I have never stayed up so late for so many nights in a row, but it was all worth it (thank goodness we don’t do birthday parties every year!). Her friends party started out with having each girl decorate their personalized apron. They used fabric markers, buttons, and stencils to beautify them and make them their own! Next, they each made their own individual pizza for dinner. While the pizzas were baking they make fruit and veggie kabobs to go along with their pizza. Then after they ate their dinner they got to decorate cupcakes and assemble mini apple pies for dessert! While the pies were baking we played a game called “What do you remember?” I filled a tray with all different things from the kitchen, allowed the girls to look at it for one minute and then took it away. They had to write down as many things as they could remember in 3-4 minutes. It was fun to see the girls work together in pairs to try and remember the items … and sometimes to try and figure out what it is called! To wind down while waiting for the parents to come, the girls watched one of the American Girl Doll movies that Hailey got for her birthday. We were so thankful that the weather held out ok for her party on Sunday before the storm rolled in on Monday!
Here are some pics of the birthday happenings …
October 24th – Our 2 birthday girlies!
I made the usual Ice Cream Cake Torte for dessert at the family party … can’t believe our girl is double digits!
Hailey with her doll Kit in front of the Kit stand
Hailey and Kit – both with pierced ears!
Mimi, Hailey, and Kit
Mommy, Hailey, and Kit
Hailey with her purchase, the new historical doll, Caroline
Mimi and Hailey in Times Square
In the theater getting read to see Annie on Broadway!
Hailey with her girlfriends and sister at her baking/cooking party
All of the girls with their beautiful aprons!
Some more of the decorations
Up close of the Party Pom-Pom ball … here are instructions to make your own! This was Hailey’s favorite and I would’ve made more if they didn’t take so long to make!
Cupcake Flower Lights … inspiration found here! Hailey did a wonderful job making these on her own!
Inspiration for the Cupcake Liner Pom-Poms found here! Both Hailey and Sydney were a huge help in making these by folding the many cupcake liners while I glued them together.
The best part about many of these decorations is that I am planning to save them for future birthday parties. There has to be some benefit to having 4 girls, right?! Sydney has already told me that she wants to have a baking/cooking party for her 10th in a few years, so I’m sure the decorations will be used again … of course, knowing my girls, they will find some things to add to it as they love finding ideas on pinterest with me!
To anyone who made it this far … thanks for reading along and hearing all about how we celebrated our Hailey girl turning 10!