Sunday, September 30, 2012

Katie’s Birthday Trip

My friend Chelsie and I have kids very close to each other in age. One day while Chelsie was over, we talked about how obessed Katie and Haley were with their American Girl dolls and wouldn’t it be fun to take them on a trip to the American Girl Store in Denver sometime? We decided to be fun and spontaneous and just do it instead of talking about it. So we planned a very quick getaway with just the oldest girls and the babies to Denver. Since Katie’s birthday was coming up, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and made it a birthday trip.

To announce the trip to her, I set up a little surprise.



She was thrilled when she walked in and saw her doll with the traveling case on the table. She still has the little Denver banner.

We got up very early in the morning (like five o’clock early) and drove to Denver in Chelsie’s van. We got there at about two and went straight to the AG store. And the girls were in heaven.





We made an appointment to get Kanani’s hair done at the doll hair salon, since her long, tangled locks we in need of some serious love. She also got her ears pierced. Katie is very jealous of this and wants her own pierced desperately. She got to pick out one purchase for Kanani, and she chose a gymnastics outfit, which is appropriate since that is Katie’s current love.

After the AG store Chelsie and I did some fun shopping for us. We visited the Lego store to pick up prizes for the boys waiting at home, and then we went to the Container Store and Ikea. For dinner we went to the White Chocolate Grill. The White Chocolate Grill is a “doll-friendly” restaurant, which means they provided booster seats for the dolls and gave the girls a free dessert for bringing their dolls in. By this time it was quite late and we were spent, so we went to the Embassy Suites and crashed.

When I gave Katie her card detailing what we would be doing in Denver, I told her that the Embassy Suites had a pool and she could swim to her heart’s content. Somehow, Katie got it into her head that I had purchased a “Swim to Your Heart’s Content” package, which gave them special privileges not available to the normal clientele. Every time she told someone what we were doing, she would say, “And we got the ‘Swim to Your Heart’s Content’…” When it got too late to go swimming, Katie was worried that we wouldn’t be able to use our package, so we promised the girls we would go swimming in the morning before we left. So after a good swim and a hearty breakfast we hit the road to head back to Albuquerque. We ran into horrible traffic on the way home, which added over an hour to our trip. We also got pulled over cop for running a stop sign that we couldn’t even see, but Chelsie managed to talk her way out of a ticket. By this time the two girls were getting irritable, but who could blame them? Really, they were remarkably well-behaved, considering how little sleep we’d had over the past few days and how much time we spent driving.

We finally arrived home, and Katie and I immediately joined the rest of our family to go to the Isotopes game. It was Sandia’s night, and we’ve always enjoyed taking the kids to one game a year. Poor Katie was so tired at the game. At one point she just started bawling because she couldn’t even function. She crashed hard on the way home. Despite her exhaustion, she was able to look back on our trip and say she had an amazing time. So did I, to tell the truth. A girl’s weekend was just what we needed.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Let the birthday extravaganza begin…

Starting with Aaron’s birthday in July, we have 5 birthdays in very quick succession (and this does not include members in our extended family). Apparently we did not plan well when having our children, since Katie and Bridget have birthdays five days apart and Averi and Paul’s birthday’s are 9 days apart. It get’s pretty crazy around here in August and September. Now that we’ve finished the last birthday (until my big three-oh in February), I feel like I can finally sit down and catch up with our life.

Aaron requested black forest cake for his 32nd birthday. Good choice, my love.




I’m quite impressed with what I gave him for his birthday. (Is it okay to say that?) This year, his gift was a “Passport to Love.” I planned dates for every month of the year, with a different country as each month’s theme. I made boarding passes for each country, detailing the date and time of our date, with information of what we’ll be doing on the back. I also purchased a few gifts to go along with the theme of some of the months. I packed everything in a suitcase and he got to unwrap his presents and his dates. We’ve had so much fun so far with our dates, and there are several that I’m really looking forward to.

Here’s our itinerary (with some editing, so that I don’t embarrass anyone. **Wink, wink** And I embarrassed Aaron just by writing that.):

July—United Kingdom

Fish and chips at Two Fools Tavern

“A Winter's Tale” at The Vortex

Eat banoffe pie for dessert

August—Central America

Visit the Albuquerque Museum Of Art And History to view “Exploring Art Of The Ancient Americas”

Dinner at Pasion Latin Fusion

Watch Jurassic Park


Salsa Festival in Old Town

Dinner at El Norteño

Watch Rango

Make homemade fried ice cream


Greek Festival at St George Greek Orthodox Church

Dine at the festival—gyros and baklava!!

Watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding


Serve kabobs, a tagine, couscous, dates, nuts, and oranges

Watch Casablanca

Learn to belly dance


Dinner at Chez Axel

Go to the opening night of Les Miserables

Learn phrases from the language of love


Eat Chinese food with chopsticks

Paint the Chinese characters for “I love you” and frame them

Play Chinese Checkers and mahjong

Light a Chinese Flying Lantern


See if there are any events going on for Black History Month

Dinner at Talking Drums restaurant

Visit the Zenith African Caribbean Market

Watch Out of Africa


Create food that would make an Italian mama proud

Go to “Madama Butterfly” at the Journal Theater

Enjoy some gelato


Give each other henna tattoos

Make delicious Indian food

Eat sitting on cushions while listening to Indian music


Make schnitzel, dumplings, and other hearty fare

Game night! Play German board games

Strudel (or another dessert!) from Dagmar's for dessert


Make delicious Caribbean-style food

Watch The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Piña coladas

Spa night

Here’s a sample boarding pass:

UK Boarding Pass

This present was extremely well received. So much so that I’m worried I won’t be able to top this in the future. But I’ll give it the old college try.