Robot Party – Upgrading to 3.0

My daughter turned 3 and she wanted a robot party. First let’s acknowledge that she wanted a ROBOT party! Mama was so proud! Of course, my husband was amazing… yet again. We make such a great team, I say “what if we did this ____?!” and he laughs, tells me I am crazy, then within days builds a prototype that is beyond amazing and better than I even imagined. He’s truly the best. The best.


This fella just hung out. A massive robot welcome guests.


Build-A-Bot. Pick your parts (head, body, arms, legs…) and build your own robot!



The Robot Maker 3000.


Punch a hole in one of the boxes.


Pull out your own Robot!



Mini robots were made of a slinky, crayons, candy and googly eyes!

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No two robots were the same. Thought, they all were similar. ūüėČ


Each kid got a headband with antenna.


The food was all themed.


Cupcake Bot 3.0 Instead of a cake, I baked cupcakes and made this robot cake stand using recycled products and $1 store finds. I loved this project and it turned out fantastic!



My girl turned 3, so she got 3 robot candles on her cupcake.



Coffee canisters make for great Robot cutlery holders.



a coloring station full of printable robot pages.


Exhausted, happy and satisfied!


My family. Happy 3rd Birthday Etta.


A Ghostbuster Birthday Party!

My little man wanted a robot party for a year, then two months ago it turned into a Ghostbusters party. If you know anything about my husband and I, we say Yes And like a boss! Here’s the evidence. Granted, I put down the camera and enjoyed the party, but I got a few photos before that happened.


Homemade Proton Packs, Ecto 1, and ID badges.


Giant Ghost Trap!


Closer photo of some of the Proton Packs and ID Badges.


Nothing quite like a homemade Birthday Banner


Costco pizza, always a hit.



My happy 5 year old!


I printed the ID’s and ordered badges in bulk for cheap.


How amazing is this box creation?!


Stay Puft Marshmallow station. The kids all got to make marshmallow people and then eat them!


Stay Puft Marshmallow Station & Ghostbusters coloring pages.


If it’s a Ghostbusters Party, you gotta have Twinkies. “That’s a big Twinkie.”

Of course there was so much more food besides pizza and Twinkies, but I neglected to take photos of the veggie platter, lentil bruschetta, assortment of crackers, guacamole and chips. Oh and of course we had beer and wine!


Extoplasm Juice! Lime Sherbet and 7 Up. Kids loved it.


Proton Pack, Volunteer Ghostbuster shirt, ID Badge. He’s ready to go!




The Ghost Trap was filled with balloons containing pieces of candy. The ghosts escaped and the kids had to pop the balloons, stopping the ghosts! A candy reward is always helpful!


Stop those ghosts!


30 minutes later we used the Ghost Trap again. This time to catch ghosts. We ordered plush ghosts online, the kids lined up and, one by one, blasted a ghost that zip lined down to them into the ghost trap. Of course each kid got to keep the ghost they captured.



A real attempt at a group photo!


My big boy wearing his proton pack and inside the ghost trap!


Gift bags had slime, ghost stickers, and ghost poofs (marshmallows).


We ordered a Costco cake and a sugar image topping from Etsy. The number 5 Ghostbuster candle was a great touch!



It’s over and it was amazing!




Our¬†parties are ridiculous and fun and amazing. The joy on my kids faces, the imagination and love that go into planning and executing it, the bonding my husband and I have in the process… well, we love it! Theme parties have¬†a fun¬†impact and if planned right, are a fraction of the cost¬†most kid venue parties are. This party was certainly one of a kind! Happy 5th Birthday Crosby, you’re dad and I will turn any cardboard box into a playful adventure with some duct tape and¬†imagination. We love you kid!

Our Firefighter turned Four!

Fireman Crosby’s 4th Birthday Party!¬†

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My husband made a fantastic cardboard fire truck with a ladder on one side, and a hose on the other side. The kids played in this all day (and for the next week).

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Each kid was given a fire extinguisher and a fireman hat.

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The play house was fitted with construction paper flames. The kids used the mini fire extinguishers (which we filled with water), they squirted the flames and saved the house from burning down!


There was a table with coloring pages of girl & boy firefighters, and a temporary tattoo station.

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I used the flames as a backdrop for the table. We served 3 Alarm Chili, Rookie Mac-n-Cheese, Rescue (pin) Wheels, Fire Sticks, Smokey the Gummy Bears, Fire Poles, not pictured were the Fire (fruit) Sticks Рpineapple and strawberries.

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This was a BIG hit! We got scaredy cats from Amazon. When the siren alarmed, we told all the kids to line up, they needed to save the scared cats from the tree. My husband was on the other side handing them through as the kids climbed the step stool and saved their own cats. Everyone got to keep their cats, and they were all excited because they each saved their cat!


Finally time for the cake! We ordered a cake from Costco without any decoration, asking that they only write¬†“Happy Birthday Fire Chief Crosby” but the cursive Fire Chief looked terrible and the writing was so small, so I removed it and decorated over it. Best mistake ever! It turned out far better than I could have imagined… just check out Crosby’s face the first time he saw it!

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That was one truly happy kid!

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Happy 4th Birthday Crosby! He’s growing so fast. These are the moments and the memories that will never leave us. My sweet boy is FOUR! He’s kind, playful, silly, smart, and pure joy. We love you Crosby, so much!

My dad, here now.

My dad was truly amazing. He was smart and kind. He was incredibly funny, but I didn’t really realize it until he was gone. He was that guy who built everything and helped all the neighbors with all their projects. He was an engineer. Recently I learned so much more about him, like how he was solely responsible for shutting down a possible leak in a bomb and how all the Air Force wives showed up at our house to be with my mom in case he died. He survived that. Eventually what took him was cancer. A slow and horrifying disease. If you have ever watched anyone die of cancer than you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, you have no idea. You can’t even fathom it. Instead of reliving all the gruesome details, because that actually isn’t healthy for me, I focus on his life and the love he shared. But recently I have been drawn back to the difficult holiday season in 2003, when I flew home overnight to be with my dad for the last 2 months of his life. This, it turns out, was the most powerful time I spent with him, even though he had no power at all.

I took the night shift so my mom could sleep. This gave me time alone with my dad, to talk and share stories. I told him things I never thought I would. He shared stories about his childhood and my grandpa being a spy. We laughed. When I cried, he said to me “Don’t be sad for me buddy, I lived a good life. Fight¬†for the kids with cancer, they aren’t given the chance to fully live life.” When it came time for him to go to the hospital because he just couldn’t be at home anymore, I drove in the ambulance with him. I stayed the night with him. I was there when the Dr gave him 3 weeks. Granted, he sent me out of the room, but he eventually told me because to hold all that to oneself in that moment just isn’t okay. After that moment my mom never left his side. Well, once when we made her go home to rest and shower, but she never did again. Her love for my father was astounding. Theirs was a great love story that ended far too soon. We all spent the next month and a half in the hospital, by his bedside. Every day. Every night. Saying I love you, over and over, and it still wasn’t enough.

The pain of losing a father is unbearable. He was 59 years old. He would never walk me down the aisle, or meet my future babies. He wouldn’t be there to answer the one million questions I would have to ask. He wouldn’t randomly visit me in LA anymore. No more 3 am phone calls when he was getting ready for work and I was getting ready for bed. No more random phone calls that consisted of a single joke that would make him laugh so hard then he’d hang up. None of it. It was gone. And I had to still exist. I had to walk each day with people having no idea my heart and soul were utterly broken. I had to see people complain about nothing as if these tiny problems were of substance.

Life is actually joyful if you know the difference. To make the choice to live each day to the fullest. To live in the now, because tomorrow is unknown. Even in the worst moments, their was love and laughter. Even at my dads funeral, I had to laugh. We played his favorite music and out of nowhere the sound shot up, very loud. I believe it was Jimmy Buffet playing. Nobody was in the booth. The CD was normal, no sound issues. It happened twice. I fully believe it was my dad messing with us. Telling us not to be too serious and sad. I had to laugh, and I did, and it was wonderful.

This leads me to now. Today, Father’s Day. This past week. I have spoken to my dad quite a bit suddenly. I always reach out to him in moments of need. But this week has been full of emotions, for I have asked him to be there to welcome Bianka to Heaven. Bianka, a 5 year old beauty. Her mom calls her a butterfly, beauty dancing here on earth but only for a short time.

When I was 3 years old we moved to Maple Street and my family became best friends with the Kucelin and Blagdon families. This friendship has never wavered. We aren’t blood, but we are family. Aunts and Uncles. And it’s the Kucelin family that is living the nightmare right now. I am broken hearted for what they are going through, but they are living in the now, and loving every moment to the fullest, just as they should. So I have asked my dad for a miracle, and if that miracle isn’t possible, I have asked him to hold her close and protect her, welcome her and love her until her parents one day join her.

So dad, thank you for always being there for me on Earth, and always being there for me in Heaven. I know you walked me down the aisle, I see you’re spirit in my kids. I know you will keep Bianka safe. Thank you for being my dad, here now.

To follow Bianka’s story check out her Facebook page:

Or her mom’s blog:

Cowboy Crosby’s 3rd Birthday

Crosby turned three and wanted a cowboy party! The party was hands down the best we have ever thrown. So much fun, playfulness and creativity!


We created an entire western town in our drought ridden back yard. We had a saloon, bank, jail, wanted poster and hobby horses!


The town was made out of cardboard boxes.


We got hay bails, threw over some blankets for extra seating. A fake fire with tissue paper helped finish the look.


I painted the Fort Crosby sign on scrap cardboard. It turned out so great!


Each kid got a cowboy hat and bandana along with a hobby horse!


The hobby horses I google searched and found lots of options on how to make them. My husband and I made a dozen in two nights. It was incredibly easy, fast and cheap.


We made cake, cupcakes and homemade icing. Oooh sooo good!


He was a happy boy!


I said “Look like your in jail.” This was priceless!

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This was easily the best kids party we have thrown.

For the privacy of our friends kids I have not shared their photos‚Ķ that much. ūüėČ

If you’re going to call me fat…

This post I never published. It is originally from Nov 11, 2013.


If you are going to call me fat, you have a serious problem.

Clearly this happened to me. ¬†Why else would I be pushed to the point of writing a blog post about it? ¬†When he said it, it was in response to a room full of playful banter. ¬†So my initial instinct was to laugh it off. ¬†I know somewhere deep down was meant as a joke, but honestly it didn’t play that way. ¬†So I laugh then I followed it up by saying “I’m pregnant. ¬†You know… busy making a life.” ¬†Moments later he said it again and this time¬†¬†I awkwardly responded with “It doesn’t bother me!” Which it clearly did, and then I say “Hey I’m making a human! ¬†What’s your excuse?” ¬†To which the room gave a roar “OOoooh!!!!” and his reply, “No excuse, but at least I won’t still be fat after the baby comes.”

“No excuse, but at least I won’t¬†still¬†be fat after the baby comes.”

The not-so-playfulness that was happening earlier was for some reason acceptable to me up until that moment. ¬†Why does this man think in any scenario that calling another person fat is okay? ¬†It’s not okay. ¬†That was the moment that I let you get away with saying something truly horrible. ¬†I just awkwardly laughed, turned my back and continued my work. ¬†I just sat with it. ¬† Giving you a power that you didn’t deserve. ¬†Giving up my self respect.

I am a woman who is doing the best I can. ¬†A pregnant woman. ¬†And that’s it. ¬†I wanted to say I am doing the best I can. ¬†But let me clarify what DOING THE BEST I CAN really is. ¬†Because he clearly has no idea.

  • It’s being the mom of a two year old boy. ¬†Giving him non-stop attention, love, encouragement. ¬†Teaching him constantly new words, new skills. ¬†Defining every thing. ¬†Playing cars from the moment we wake up to the moment he goes to bed. ¬†Dance parties, diaper changes, melt downs, laughing fits. ¬†It’s hearing “mommy mommy mommy!” a billion times a day and knowing no matter what I have to stop what I am doing to look him in the eyes so he knows that I am there, for him, always.
  • It’s being a wife. ¬†Loving a man who is doing everything humanly possible to support me and our family. ¬†Supporting him through his career, his improv shows, his meetings, his his ups and downs.
  • It’s teaching middle school kids. ¬†With all their excitement, emotions, story sharing, football and walking dead recaps. ¬†It’s teaching them theater, encouraging them, never making them feel like they will fail. ¬†Helping them to take risk and do something new and terrifying every single day and making it seem like it’s fun. ¬†It’s listening, active listening. ¬†It’s patience at it’s best, because they are in middle school. ¬†It’s making the girls feel powerful and the boys pay attention.
  • It’s driving on the 405 freeway while it’s under perpetual construction and not losing my mind.
  • It’s making a healthy breakfast (not cereal) and healthy dinner for my family as often has humanly possible. ¬†Even if that means putting everything in a crock pot before I leave for work.
  • It’s teaching improvisation to the College Team. ¬†Attempting to teach something new and fresh before I take a leave for a few months. ¬†Making the player schedule, the rehearsal schedule, the coaching schedule, asking to get paid every week by college kids who have no money.
  • It’s teaching improvisation to High School kids. ¬†Answering to everyone about what I am doing, how I am doing it, why it’s different from last year, how to make it better. ¬†It’s constantly having to prove to others that I know what I am doing and to trust the process. ¬† It’s watching the program grow, selling out shows and reffing them. ¬†It’s being proud and knowing that they can do better and figuring out how to help them achieve that.
  • It’s going to rehearsal for shows I am in. ¬†Rehearsing for the middle school shows I direct. ¬†Rehearsing when I know I won’t be performing for a while, but still mustering up any semblance of energy to make a rehearsal.
  • It’s parent teacher night. ¬†One on one parent-teacher conferences. ¬† Meetings at lunch, visiting other schools on days off. ¬†It’s endless work.
  • AND if that’s not enough, it’s doing all of that while simultaneously being pregnant. ¬†Making a human. ¬†The heart, skeleton, lungs, liver, brain, legs, fingers and toes, lips, eyelashes, throat, fingerprints‚Ķ should I go on? ¬†Because that is what I am doing every second of every day for over 9 months. ¬†All while I go to work, take care of my family, love on the dogs and take care of myself.

So Mr. calls a lady fat. ¬†What have you done today? ¬†Yesterday? ¬†The last 8 1/2 months? ¬†Because I can guarantee you don’t hold a torch to me. ¬†I am badass. ¬†I am powerful. ¬†And you‚Ķ well you¬†have no clue. You have never experienced life as I have. Your path makes you believe that saying rude comments makes you powerful, but the truth is, you just revealed yourself as a lower class human. You lost my respect. You lost your power. You lost, not me.

Etta’s birth and the immediate aftermath.

This is an old unfinished and previously unpublished post from Dec 14, 2013

It’s almost 2 am and I am wide awake. ¬†Not because my newborn baby woke me up. ¬†I absolutely wish it was because my newborn baby woke me. ¬†It was my neighbors baby in the hospital room next door that woke me up. ¬†Poor baby was so unhappy with whatever scenario was happening in that room. ¬†Be it diaper or breast feeding, something had that babe very upset. This is the part that has me worried about post partum depression. ¬†The events that happened were so out of control and unforeseen that I can’t even wrap my head around it. ¬†And yet, here I am sitting in the middle of it, at 2 am. Tuesday 12/10: ¬†I had been contracting for a while, but specifically on Tuesday towards the end of my work day they were becoming regular. ¬†I was doing parent teacher conferences and joking with all the parents about how ready I was for my girl to be born. ¬†That’s when my contractions really started to kick in. ¬†Sitting on the 405 in rush hour traffic I started to time them, as it was really apparent that they were coming at regular intervals, approximately 8 mins apart. ¬†At home, my mom who is here visiting to help during this time, had made dinner and we all sat down to eat. ¬†Put Crosby to bed and showered. ¬†Hung out for a while, still timing and eventually around midnight decided they are 5 mins apart and it’s time to head to the hospital. After all, aren’t second babies supposed to come fast? ¬†Get to the hospital or run a risk of no epidural! ¬†We check in and the contractions are 4 minutes apart. ¬†It seems like today is the day! ¬†But then again, there isn’t a lot of pain with these contractions, but they are indeed contractions. ¬†I am on the monitor and yes, those are contractions coming and a regular pace. ¬†I am not really dilated much, almost 2cm. ¬†So it was time to walk. ¬†Kurt and I walked and walked and walked. ¬†Then they checked again and I was for sure 2cm. ¬†So we rested back on the monitors and waited until morning. ¬†I was almost 3 cm. ¬†My Dr came in and chatted with us. ¬†After giving us various options, we opted to go home and labor at home. ¬†I could spend the day with Crosby and prep for baby girl. ¬†It seemed like the smartest option. ¬†If I didn’t go into more active labor by Thursday then I could induce. ¬† Thursday 12/12: ¬†I was 39 weeks to the day. ¬†I was 3cm dilated and some decent amount effaced. ¬†Contracting randomly and regularly. ¬†I was getting induced. ¬†It was simple really, break my water and see what happens. ¬†A few hours later add pitocin and let labor progress. ¬†Everything was moving along perfectly. ¬†Hours passed, all signs are great. ¬†I had my epidural and the contractions were strong, I could still feel pain, but bearable pain. ¬†The “magic man” gave me a dose of something stronger to ease the pain, it worked, I felt nothing. ¬†My Dr checked me and I was 7cm and fully effaced. ¬†She said she’d check again in two more hours. ¬†It was maybe 10 minutes later she came back. ¬†Something was wrong suddenly and the baby was in distress. ¬†I was on oxygen, everyone was in my room. ¬†She wanted to see me push. ¬†Wait what? ¬†She wanted to see me push? ¬†But I am only 7cm. ¬†Then before I knew it things were happening. ¬†The bed dissembled, the table of instruments uncovered, my Dr in her full on scrubs and I was told “If you were a first time mom we’d rush you into an emergency c-secion, but because you are a second time mom we are going to see you push first.” ¬†What is happening?! ¬†So I push. ¬†I push so freaking hard, but I am only 7cm. ¬†Am I about to have an emergency c-section? ¬†What happened to my baby? ¬†Screw this, I have to seriously push! Push again. Again. ¬†They are all shocked. ¬†Every face in the room, shocked. ¬†Positive responses about my pushing are coming at me. ¬†I push again, again, again. ¬†Yes. ¬†Everyone seems happier with the scenario. ¬†I push again, again, again. ¬†Wait. Now give tiny little pushes. ¬†What she’s here? ¬†Already! ¬†It’s not even been 20 minutes! ¬†I’m a fucking rock star pusher! ¬†We wait a second, unwrap that cord that’s around her neck and then one more push and she is out! ¬†Her head is blue, her body pink. ¬†She is handed to NICU immediately. ¬†This happened with Crosby too. ¬†But in 10 minutes she will be handed to me and all will be fine. ¬†Then the faint cry, but it stops. ¬†Okay, now someone tell me what is happening? ¬†I am still in position, delivering the placenta, getting stitched up from a tear. ¬†She has to go the NICU. ¬†Okay, dad’s going with her. ¬†Okay. ¬†What exactly is wrong? ¬†Dad comes back, they have to intubate her. ¬†She’s not breathing well on her own. ¬†Then an hour later more is revealed after the NICU Dr visits. ¬†A machine is breathing for her. ¬†She’s not breathing on her own. ¬†Nobody seems to know what happened, or why it happened. ¬†Millions of babies are born with cords wrapped around their necks and turn out fine. ¬†This cord wasn’t hard to unwrap. ¬†I couldn’t fully grasp what was happening. ¬†My daughter was in serious distress and there was nothing I could do. It feels terrible not being able to hold your child after they are born. ¬†To not get that immediate skin to skin contact. ¬†To not hear them cry or kiss their heads. ¬†I didn’t even see her face. ¬†I didn’t know how much she weighed or how long she was. ¬†I was numb from the waist down, and with all the overwhelming information coming at me, I was becoming numb everywhere else. We did get to go in and see her. ¬†It was brief but wonderful. ¬†No holding, just looking and a simple touch on her arm or leg. ¬†Then it was over. ¬†I was given some strong pain management, it knocked me out of sorts. ¬†How anyone functions on pain meds is beyond me. ¬†I couldn’t even see straight. ¬†I remember Kurt saying they are taking her tube out. ¬†It was late and I couldn’t get up. ¬†He left the room and came back. ¬†She was breathing on her own with oxygen assistance through her nose. ¬†This was huge. ¬†This was the best news yet! ¬†Then I passed out. Friday 12/13: ¬†Friday the 13th. ¬†I would get to see my baby! ¬†I woke, pumped and marched my way down to NICU and there she was. ¬†All the color back in her face, hands and feet. ¬†I saw her eyes and her face for the first time without a massive tube and tape all over. ¬†I held her hand in the incubator and talked to her and she respond to my voice. ¬†I was told that I could hold her after her feeding at 11am. ¬†So I waited, right there with her. ¬†Finally just after 11am I held Etta for the first time. ¬†She was so small and a million tubes and wires were connecting her body to machines. ¬†None of that mattered, because I was holding my baby girl. ¬†My sweet Etta. ¬†My mom, Kurt and Crosby all showed up. ¬†Eventually Kurt would get a chance to hold Etta too. ¬†I came out of NICU and saw my boy Crosby. ¬†Giant hugs and kisses were exchanged. ¬†He’s like medicine for the soul. ¬†Chatting with me and playing. ¬†He didn’t get to meet his sister, but having him there for me was the jolt of joy I needed. ¬†Everybody left pretty quickly. ¬†Crosby needed his nap, I needed to pump, Kurt was tired. ¬†The day started to slip in. ¬†The realization of how bad it really was. ¬†How Etta almost didn’t make it. ¬†How serious the situation still was. ¬†And I found myself alone, with all these people checking in with me and updating me on the situation at hand. ¬†I didn’t want to fake happiness to people and I couldn’t quite express the true level of my fear or my sadness. ¬† I started to cry uncontrollably. ¬†Quietly to myself. ¬†I was pumping, because everyone was telling me to pump, she needed my milk. ¬†But not a drop was coming. ¬†Not a single drop. ¬†Pumping and pumping and pumping. ¬†Nothing. ¬†I was failing in every possible way. ¬†I couldn’t even give her my milk. Kurt arrived at 4:45 and I cried. ¬†At 5pm we went down to NICU and could see her but couldn’t hold her. ¬†Told to come back at 8pm. ¬†At 8pm we went back and had our best visit with her yet. ¬†A new nurse allowed me to feed her by bottle and hold her. ¬†We spent an hour with her until we had to leave so she could get tests done. ¬†She was improving and it was noticeable. ¬†She’s going to be okay. ¬†The nurse also said something to me that helped my heart. ¬†She told me of course I wasn’t getting a drop out, my milk hadn’t come in and though I had my first pumping with plenty of milk, it was stored up from weeks of preparing for baby. ¬†She said, Etta is getting formula, which isn’t the first choice, but she’s getting food. ¬†Babies out there with their mommies right now are crying because they want to nurse but mommy’s milk hasn’t come in. ¬†So they will just keep crying. ¬†And it hit me. ¬†I was being so hard on myself. ¬†The series of events that happened came so fast and severe that I felt like I had to punish myself for not being able to detect it or stop it. ¬†I couldn’t protect Etta from getting hurt or having the hardest start to her life. ¬†But being a mom doesn’t mean I have to be a superhero. ¬†It means I am human and experiencing all these things for the first time too. ¬†I am allowed to have these emotions. ¬†To feel such great sadness, fear and loneliness. ¬†Because that is what I am feeling.