Imagine what you could do if you knew you could not fail.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Barbie Birthday Party

On Friday I spent my day getting ready for Samantha's birthday party. I decorated her cake while Alexandra took her afternoon nap. This is Samantha's barbie cake.

Samantha was so proud of the cake. As soon as she saw I was working on it she exclaimed, "She's BEAUTIFUL!"

I also prepared all the little gift bags for the kids - complete with candy, a bracelet, and their very own new barbie outfit.

The party went from 5:30pm to 9:00 pm. We started out by having all the kids do makeup. They loved this activity. Each girl brought her own barbie from home. I had the girls hold their barbies up to their face and have a friend do their makeup to match the barbie they brought. Here are some action photos and finished products.

It was really cute to see how hard the girls tried to get the makeup just right to match the barbie's faces. They would study the barbie faces very closely and then request the colors necessary to complete the look. Then I touched up all the girls with glitter powder.

After doing makeup we headed outside for a relay race. I told them that we were going to see how good they were at playing barbies because the best part about playing barbies is changing the clothes. Each girl placed her barbie on the patio. I divided the girls into 2 teams. For the race they had to run to the patio one at a time and undress their barbie. Then run back and tag the next player. When all the barbies were undressed, they had to come back one at a time and dress the barbie. The winning team had to have all their barbies dressed the fastest and be sitting down. The girls got a real kick out of this activity and they were so excited.

After the relay race our next activity was going to be watching a movie, but I could see the girls had WAY too much energy to be watching a movie. So I had them play a quick game of "deer" (ball tag).

The kids ran and ran and ran until they couldn't run any more. Our backyard was the loudest in the neighborhood with all the little girl screams. :) This game actually only lasted about 10 minutes and then all the girls were tired out.

I brought them all some water and had Samantha open a surprise gift from us. It was Barbie and the Diamond Castle movie. She and Athena have been wanting to watch this new barbie movie and none of the other kids had seen it yet. Thank goodness. They were thrilled about this pick and we all ran in to get set up for the movie. Jeremy and I got the girls situated down in the theater room and then went up to pop a lot of popcorn.

I think that movie watching should be a part of every party. It was so nice to have such low-key downtime in the middle of the party and all the kids were fully entertained.

After the movie we came up for cake and ice cream. The barbie cake was a hit and I was quite satisfied by the oohs and aahs of admiration. Here is Samantha blowing out the candles.

It was really fun to watch Nathan have such a fun time at the party. He hasn't attended very many birthday parties in his young age - only the ones Athena and Samantha have had. He was laughing up a storm with the girls and making jokes. I enjoyed seeing him thoroughly enjoy himself.

Of course, after cake is presents. Samantha ended up getting 3 barbies from her friends, and 2 from Jeremy and I for her birthday. I don't think she will need a new barbie again for several years! She also got a jewelry making kit, slippers and a book, and a stuffed animal giraffe.

We had 1/2 hour left until it was time for the parents to arrive, so I sent the girls downstairs for some free time to play barbies. All the girls who came had a blast and I'm so glad the party turned out to be a success.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

On Samantha's Birthday

Samantha's birthday ended up to be a crazy busy day. We only had a little bit of official birthday time because Athena had dance and I taught aerobics that night. I made her favorite dinner - the Philly Steak & Cheese sandwiches and they did turn out mighty fine. Afterwards Grandma and Grandpa came over to bring her a card and watch her open her gifts. Samantha was really happy they came over.

Here is Samantha opening one of her favorite gifts - a new headband! She never lets me do her hair, she always just wants it in a headband. We are getting quite the collection. I don't think she has taken this out of her hair since I've given it to her.

Athena had her fun by being the one to deliver the gifts in her own special way.

These are all the presents she received from Mom and Dad on her birthday. Playdough, playdough ice-cream machine, barbie, ken, barbie vanity, and a headband.

Happy Birthday Samantha! I'm so happy to have you in our family and I'm happy to celebrate you. :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tuesday in the DR

On Tuesday we decided to "go into town", or just get away from the resort for a little while. We rented some taxi vans with our friends and went a few places. It was quite interesting to be out and about. The roads were really scary because all the rules of the road that we know seemed to go out the window. There were huge potholes in the road, big enough to swallow a car. All the vehicles would go around the potholes and at times we thought we were playing chicken with the other drivers. It was easier to not look in front of us. People also would pass us and not really check to see if a car was coming in the opposite direction. I think if I ever came here again, I would not rent a car, but leave the driving to the natives.

We passed several orchards full of banana trees. Here is a picture of one:

Our first stop was at a local school. Some of the people in our group brought school supplies to donate to a school. I sure wish I would have thought of that. It looked like the kids didn't have many learning tools. This school was surrounded by a fence.

There were 2 rooms at this school. This room had first graders. The other room had all the other kids up to 9th grade.

We visited both rooms and our friends gave the supplies to the teacher. Then we left.

The teacher sent this kid to lock the gate as we were leaving.

Our next stop was at the mall. I think this was a wasted trip because the mall was high-end shops and things I wouldn't buy. They did have a Hard Rock Cafe there and Jeremy bought a necklace in the gift shop.

We also had some fries and a drink inside. Here is a picture of our group. A lot of them were itching for something recognizable, so they ate more than we did. :) I ended up getting some Larimar earrings for myself and Athena and Samantha from the mall.

After the mall we were all very hot and sweaty, so we went back to the resort for a swim. We took this picture of the courtyard as we were going back into our room.

Ahhhh, refreshing.

Oh, and we slipped in a picture of our balcony. Here it is. We must have gone out there for a minute before hitting the pool.

After swimming, it was once again time to get cleaned up for the evening and go and eat. We went to a Mexican/Dominican buffet that was offered at the resort. I really enjoyed the food there.

After dinner the evening's performance was a circus. The performers were coming around before dinner and doing little acts here and there. This guy was teaching Tanya, from our group, to juggle.

The buffet had several carvings made out of squash. We took a picture of this pirate carving for Nathan.

After dinner we were off to see the circus. It was interesting, but I've seen better. I guess it gave us something to do.

Again, after the performance, the MC told everyone they had 3 minutes to come up and take pictures of the cast. Jeremy ran up there and got this picture.

When the circus was finished, we didn't really want to go to bed yet so we walked around the resort. I really liked this huge palm tree. I'd been watching it for several days and wanting a picture, so when I saw it with the night lighting, I figured now is as good a time as ever to get a picture. This tree has one trunk and then branches out into the huge fan. It's so pretty!

We headed out towards the beach and noticed there was a fantastic lightning show going on down the coast. Our friends, Morgan and Kristy, came and watched the lightning show out on the beach for about 45 minutes. This was a very nice evening. Watching lightning is one of my favorite things, and to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore it couldn't be any better.

Jeremy spent his time trying to get pictures of the lightning. I think this picture below is the best one he came up with. Still, I'm amazed he was able to get a picture of it at all.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sleep In Day?

Today the kids don't have school. I was looking forward to this because I thought maybe, just maybe I'd have a chance to sleep in a little instead of getting up and getting them off to school. Well, how dare I? I did manage to stay in bed until 8 (normally I get up at 7:45). WOW! The problem was with what I encountered when I got up.

Last night for Samantha's birthday Jeremy and I gave her a playdough machine that makes little ice cream sundaes. The creativity was in full swing in the kitchen and the kitchen was a disaster. There was playdough all over the table, chairs, floor, and mashed into the bottom of everyone's feet.
This is what the kids were so busy creating.

They also decided to fix their own breakfast. Athena and Samantha had kindly fixed up a drink for the 3 older kids complete with lids and straws. I'm surprised all the cups have lids on them because even I have a hard time tracking down the lids. Good job, girls.

They also each had a little plate of snacks fixed ever so nicely. Their breakfast/snack consisted of Marshmallow Mateys, animal crackers, and a single blow pop for each of them.

At least I know they can take care of themselves if need be . . . in case of emergency or whatever. See if I sleep in again!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We Have a Birthday :)

Today Samantha turns 7. I really like kid birthdays, it's fun to make it all special for them. Today I am going to bring BlowPops to her school for her to give her class. Then for dinner she requested Philly Steak & Cheese sandwiches dipped in au jus sauce. This is one of her favorites and I'll admit, I do make a MEAN Philly Steak sandwich. Tomorrow I will be throwing her a party with her friends. She wanted a barbie party, so that's what it'll be. I'm making a barbie cake for her party. I wrote on the invitations for each little girl to bring her barbie and we will do various activities with the barbies, watch a barbie movie, and have some free time to play barbies and ponies. I guess that's a dream evening for a 7-year-old little girl.

I am just now posting this picture of her. I took it when we got back from our trip because when we returned, she was missing her front tooth! She is holding it up in the bag. She is very proud of her missing tooth. Samantha sure is growing up. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday in the DR

Again, I didn't take the camera out with me during the day, so all I have are night pictures. :)

Monday we snorkeled a little more and then headed to the swimming pool to get our drinks at the swim-up bar. Then we swam for a couple of hours. We also took part (Jeremy did too) in a water aerobics class, and then in a little salsa class that the animation team was teaching by the pool. Monday was just a really fun, relaxing day. We ate lunch in the buffet when we got hungry and swam some more - until dinner time. Then we went to our room and got cleaned up for dinner.

Here is Jeremy all cleaned up and ready to eat. We had reservations with our group to eat dinner in the French restaurant. We took pictures in the lobby while we waited.

Here we are with our friends Kristy, Morgan, and Andrew.

Our dinner group on Monday was 10 people. From L to R we have Shawn, Tanya, Andrew, and Brock.

Then the rest of us, from L to R: Stacy, me, Jeremy, Kristy, Morgan, and Kevin. For dinner I ate a shrimp salad that was actually quite tasty, some chicken and rice, and for dessert I had creme brulee. It would have been better if it were warm, but it was still good.

After dinner we changed our clothes, walked around the resort a little bit, and then went to the evening's entertainment. When we got there we saw that it was Love Connection - Perfect Couple 2008. It seemed like it might be entertaining so we stayed. When it came time to start, the workers came down into the audience to select 4 couples and guess who they picked. Yes that's right - Jeremy and I! Turns out we were the evening's entertainment for an hour. Oh great.

We had to compete in 4 different activities to see who would win. The first activity was for Jeremy to sit in a chair and say the word "Majestic" without taking a breath. Majestic is the name of our resort. I had to run across the stage and get a balloon and pop it on his lap. I was supposed to pop as many balloons on him as I could before he ran out of air. Well, we bombed out because when I jumped on his lap with the first balloon, I was going fast and I accidentally also hit into his stomach and there went all his air!

For the 2nd activity, I had to sit in this chair with a glass between my knees. Jeremy was blindfolded on the other side of the stage. The worker put a water bottle with a hole in the lid between his legs. I had to direct him to my side of the stage by talking in the microphone and then get him to fill up the glass with water that was between my knees.

I effectively got him to my side of the stage, but when he got up to where I was, he squeezed the water bottle very hard and sprayed my whole face with about 1/2 a bottle of water (or so it felt). I was dripping and laughing so hard I could barely talk in the microphone. We failed miserably because Jeremy only got about 1/2" of water in the bottom of the glass.

For the 3rd challenge we had to reenact the main dance from the movie "Dirty Dancing". The one to the song - I had the time of my life. I think we did the best on this one. Surprisingly, Jeremy even did leaps across the stage! :) I'm so proud of him. Here he is trying to do the final lift with me. It didn't work though because he was supposed to hold me at the hips. We still did pretty good at it though, all things considered.

For the 4th and final challenge we had to pop 4 balloons in 4 different positions. I think we were the fastest at this. Here I am popping a balloon on Jeremy's lap.

And here I am popping the final balloon for the win.

When it all came down to it, the audience voted by screaming the loudest for their favorite couple. The screams were loudest for Jeremy and I and the couple you see on the left. They were from Spain. They ended up awarding the other couple the prize of a massage, necklaces, and some other little things. Darn it! We ended up with yet another bottle of rum each. Hooray - for all the good it did us. :) I would rather have had a bottle of Dr. Pepper. Oh well. I guess it makes for a good memory, right? Thanks Morgan for sitting in front and taking pictures for us.

After our little stint on stage, we went dancing again at the disco with our friends. Then we stayed out until 2 am talking and getting bit by mosquitoes outside a little burger joint at the resort.
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