Wowwww! I can't believe our son is already 2 years old! WHAT?! Seriously, who put the time machine on forward?? Wasn't it just yesterday that I found out I was pregnant? Amazing!!
So if you don't know already, my goal is to create every birthday celebration for Andrik in an eco-friendly way. This year not only did we celebrate Andrik's 2nd birthday but it was his best buddy, Kien's 2nd birthday party too. Our good friends, the Touissants (Yvonne and Kent) and Dalmacio and myself thought it would be a great idea to have a duo celebration for our two beautiful boys! We met this wonderful family over a year ago when we first joined Holistic Moms Network. Yvonne just so happened to be the leader of the San Fernando Valley chapter. Soon after joining, we all hit it off and became very close friends. The mere fact that Andrik and Kien are only 13 hours apart AND that we had home births with similar birth stories just blocks from each other is a trip in itself! It's as if we're living parallel lives or something. Wait - it gets even better! So not only are our boys practically like twins, Yvonne and I are both leaders of conscious parenting groups, we're both mixed with Asian with a little bit of this and that in our blood, AND both our husbands are funny guys and always strangely getting sick at the same time (don't ask)! So yeah... it just made sense to celebrate it together!
And to tell you the truth, I was actually very grateful too because Yvonne is an amazing coordinator! I mean, I love to coordinate gatherings too but because at the time we were taking care of our furry girl Chachi - it was alot for me to handle. So I was sooo glad that Yvonne and I planned things together...I wouldn't have been able to do it without her by my side! :o)
But before I get started on the duo birthday, Andrik had a special solo birthday celebration on the day of his birthday, Wednesday 2/26/11. For the past couple of months, he had been mentioning that he "missed the land" - which was the beautiful place we lived in Topanga for a few months before moving to our present home. We had grown to love the families and individuals that lived there but at this point hadn't had a moment to come by and visit. Well it was definitely due time that we did - and what better timing than to celebrate Andrik at their Wednesday potluck dinner! I wish I would've taken a picture of the feast because it was amazing! But at least I have the memory of the yummy food that my belly consumed that night! What's most important though was the captured moments of Andrik connecting with his friends.
Here are a few pics from that night:
|Learning how to play the flute with Skywalker|
|Playing percussion with Daddy and Jarreau|
|Beautiful Isaiah drumming|
|Andrik and Isaiah in the drum circle|
|Andrik learning to play guitar|
|Andrik having fun with Angel and Jenny along with Yanika & Pathfinder in the back|
So after an eventful evening with everyone from the land, it was time to finish organizing everything for the eco-friendly duo birthday party for Sunday. Thankfully Yvonne and I are both on the same page when it comes to living a more "green" lifestyle.
We both agreed that we wanted party favors that the kids could actually use and not just be forgotten and thrown away into our landfills. After wonderful research on Yvonne's behalf, we decided on these two: Eco Stars Recycled Crayons and Flavorful Memories Plantable Herb Favors. Now what child doesn't like drawing with crayons? Even if she already has a box of them at home, a couple more given as gifts will surely be used up for some creative project. And these star shaped recycled crayons are adorable! And what we really liked about the plantable herb favors is that this gives children and parents an opportunity to learn about gardening together, as a family - that's if they don't already have a garden. And if they do, well this just gives them more flavors to work with. Speaking of flavors - the seeds that came in the cards are dill, basil and parsley - talk about great selection! I can't wait to start our garden soon so I can make as much pesto pasta as I want (mmm I love basil)! :o) The best part about the seed packets is that the paper the seeds are in can all go directly into the pot or ground and are biodegradable! You know that's got a BIG green thumbs up in my book (yes, pun intended)! :o)
So I have a confession to make...remember how last year I had every single thing eco-friendly - all the way down to the utensils, plates and cups? Well unfortunately this year, most of that stock was used up. What I did have alot of was utensils. A huge bag, as a matter of fact, from when the office of the company I work for closed down (I still work for the same company, just now from home thankfully). Anyways, I couldn't bare to see a huge drawer full of knives, forks and spoons be thrown away (each utensil had its own drawer that's how many there were). So I took all of them. Let's just say I've got plastic knives for years to come for future birthday parties (the knives drawer was the fullest)! So anyways, unfortunately due to finances, we were not able to purchase all the green stuff like we had done last year (we had just spent alot when our girl Chachi was sick and had to be put down). The landlord of the house we just recently moved into had forgotten to take with him 2 big bags full of styrofoam plates...I know, even typing that word on here gives me the shivers...Ugh...Yvonne and I had gone back and forth about the decision to use them and I may get some upset readers on here about this but money was tough for both families and Yvonne and I had come to the realization that these plates will either be sitting there in the house or could be used for the party. We had a choice to either to be in a constant battle of having "toxic" thoughts about using them because we were needing to use the rest of our monies towards food OR we could release all those negative thoughts and feelings and just feel good with what things we are able to do that is eco-friendly. So we chose the latter.
Ok now that I've confessed my "sins" (oh geez, even that word as I type is so ridiculous coming from a spiritual being such as myself)...Ok so let me rephrase that - now that I've released my guilt around that st...st...styrofoam (yes I stuttered) dilemma - I can now easefully move onto my favorite topic: FOOD! Yvonne and I decided to keep it simple yet yummy. Ok truthfully it wasn't as simple as we thought it would be but it was indeed yummy! The organic menu included:
~ Black beans (made by Yvonne)
~ Spanish rice (made by Dalmacio)
~ Hummus (made by moi) along with carrots and celery sticks to dip with
~ Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (for the kids)
~ Hummus and cucumber sandwiches (for the kids)
~ Scrumptious gluten free, vegan cacao cupcakes (made by Yvonne until 4am the day of the party - I swear I love that woman! She basically chose gluten free and vegan so that Andrik could enjoy a cake without wheat/gluten or dairy. I suggested using cacao just because raw cacao is just so much yummier).
~ And Homemade lemonade (which my mom had made the morning of the party. Remember that part where we thought it was going to be a simple menu? Well this is where 2 hours of making lemonade definitely became unsimple - is that even a word?)
Ok here's a funny story. So about 8-9pm or so the night before the party, Yvonne asked if I could make the lemonade for the party. To save on costs, we had decided to make lemonade since her and Kent have a lemon tree in their backyard. I had been asking her for about 2 days before the party, if I could help with anything (especially since Yvonne was just getting over being sick) and she finally surrendered and knew that she could use some help, which I was very happy to do so. After putting Andrik to sleep, I went to their place and of course had no idea that I would not only be picking up the lemons and their juicer to make the lemonade the next morning but we needed to pick the lemons too. Did I mention it was around 10pm or so by this time? LOL It was quite funny seeing both Kent and I walking through the backyard in the dark, making sure not to step in any dog poop. Between that, coming across a black widow and then me and Yvonne having to go back in the yard to pick another 50 lemons later on - it was quite the funny scene. I felt like I was in a comedy at that point (or perhaps it was the delirious state I was already in).
So moving onto the day of the party. Here's where things got a little sticky or shall I say, wet. We chose to have the celebration at the Franklin Canyon Park - a beautiful park with nature trails, a nature store, a lake and a duck pond. All week it was nice and sunny but of course the day of our sons' celebration, it started to rain. We had been monitoring the weather forecast and it kept saying that it wouldn't rain until around 3pm. LOL - it was actually quite the opposite. It rained throughout the party and then stopped at around that time. All morning Dalmacio and I had been stressing out about the rain and if we should have a Plan B and just have everyone at our place. But thankfully both Yvonne and Kent felt we wouldn't get rained out (this is before we found out that it would soon start raining more after guests arrived) and felt we should stick with Plan A. And ya know, I'm actually thankful for this because they helped Dalmacio and I to get out of our comfort zone and embrace the weather. Ok so normally when it's drizzling outside you would think that no one would want to head out to a party in the woods but surprisingly, they did! I mean what's wrong with a little rain, right? Unfortunately some of the guests on our side didn't show up due to the rain but everyone on Yvonne & Kent's side did (just goes to show their friends are definitely more into nature - LOL).
Soon after all the guests arrived, everyone huddled underneath the 2 EZup's (thank God I went with my instincts on this one and requested Daddy get them out of storage!). What Dalmacio noticed was how the rain truly brought everyone closer together. People from both parties got to know each other and really connected. It made everything, as my son likes to say when he's cuddling in bed with me under the covers, "nice and cozy". And what kid doesn't like playing in the rain? All the older kids had a blast! We tend to forget as adults the fun aspect of being out in the rain. Of course what made it even more fun was my good friend Sarah Peters from World Citizen Baby who brought out the eco-friendly face paint for the kids faces! The best part though was the music. Sarah brought a bunch of drums, shakers, pandeiros and other musical instruments and scarves for the kids to play with while she played her guitar, berimbau (an afro-brazilian instrument normally used while playing Capoeira) and a flute throughout music time. Thankfully there was an enclosed area right outside the nature store where the forest rangers allowed us to gather for the kids to play music.
So what started out at first to be a stressful morning ended up being a beautiful day in nature (it was truly breathtaking) and it was definitely a birthday party to always remember! I can't wait to see what next year will bring us..Ok wait- rewind, did I just start thinking of plans for next year's birthday party? Come on woman, enjoy this year with your son first before planning a 3rd one! Sheesh... :o)
With that, I'll end this post by sharing some pictures of that memorable day.
|G-Da & Nona with Andrik|
|Dana, Clif & Myles|
|The Best Nanny in the Whole Wide World! Cindy a.k.a. Ninny|
|Uncle Rel & Eva|
|Daddy the Monkey and Auntie Blonde Eye|
|Jaime, Kent, Kien, Mama and Me|
|Tia and Me|
|Daddy, Irma, Adam (to the left) and Nino Vinny and Auntie Leah (to the right)|
|Daddy and Uncle Rel playing the berimbau|
|Look! It's Nana and Pappa in the back!|
|Todd, Jen & Isaiah|
Here are some professional pics that Yvonne's friend took of that day:
|Auntie Yvonne, Uncle Kent & Kien singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider|
|Darth Vader playing the drums|
|Auntie Sarah playing the guitar|
|Auntie Sarah playing the flute|
Phew - I'm exhausted just reliving this whole day, or shall I say week! Well here's to 2 Mama's that pulled off an adventurous birthday celebration for their 2 beautiful boys (with the help of 2 wonderful daddies of course - who arrived extra early to the park to save the benches, setup the EZups and make the kids' sandwiches. Oh and can't forget all the help from the grandparents too)!
Next up, look for the post on the eco-friendly birthday gift that Daddy creatively made for Andrik. I'll give you a hint, it has to do with landscaping. LOL Ok that's all you get for now. Until next time, happy celebrations to you and your family! :o)