Monthly Archives: April 2015

The news no one ever wants to hear

About two weeks ago, I received a phone call from my Mom.

She said “Kate, I have some bad news. . .  Dad has leukemia.”

I think my world stopped.

My first response was “Dad? My Dad?”

And then tears.

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My Dad has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. It is a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer, so fast-moving that the doctors said if he had gone in 2 weeks ago it might not have shown up. He will require chemo, which has already begun, and a hospital stay of at least 4 weeks to minimize the risk of infection. He will also need a bone marrow transplant.

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We are encouraged that he is young (only 58) and in good shape (remember that he is my running buddy!) and relatively healthy, according to the doctors, and thus a step ahead in terms of fighting this disease.

So, needless to say life has been a whirlwind lately.

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This blog has always been about sharing my life. And this is a huge part of my life right now.

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But, I won’t be sharing routine updates here. Our family has started a Caring Bridge site for Dad (Team Tom!), so if you are family or a close friend and want to read daily updates, that will be the place to go for information.

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Thank you in advance for your prayers, positive thoughts and support.

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Weekend Update: 4/27/15

Oh Monday. Here we go again.

Thankfully, I have the memories from a great low key weekend to power me through. . .

The weekend kicked off on Friday when Luke and Scott joined me for lunch.

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And Friday evening ended with this. . .

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Saturday = family time. We hit the road in the new ride.

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Checked out a local thrift sale, ran some errands, and finished at the park.

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afternoon = nap time.

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Saturday evening = trip to the grocery store. I know, cray cray, right? Winking smile 

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We HAD to go to the store, because I HAD to make a batch of Special K bars. Laura happened to mention that she was going to make a batch, and then I mentioned them to Scott and well, one thing led to another. . .

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Before dessert, we had dinner = chili + this cornbread. SO good!! And is there anything sexier than a man cleaning? Love it. Winking smile 

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Sunday morning was an early morning. Luke decided that he was awake at 6:30am. So, we quick got dressed and headed out the door so Scott could sleep in.

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Caribou Coffee for the win.

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Then, we came home for some family cereal breakfast time.

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The rest of the day was Sunday perfection. A few errands, nap time and a evening run.

In this picture, Scott is complaining about the elevation of said run. My best decision of the day was to hand over the jogging stroller in the first mile. Winking smile 

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How was your weekend??

I am linking up with Katie (and Erin) for Marvelous in my Monday!

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Filed under Recap, Recipes, Running, weekend update

It’s all about Balance {balance bar giveaway!!}

In a recent effort to define the nation’s level of balance, researchers* found that 98% of Americans believe achieving and maintaining balance in their life is important, however, only 14% report that they always feel balanced. To help bridge this gap, Balance Bar Company, makers of Balance Bar® uniquely balanced energy nutrition bars, has launched The Balance Project, a multi-year, multi-platform program to open a dialogue that will aid in improving America’s levels of balance.

And I’m participating because, like everyone else,  I am always in search of better life balance!

You know who else is participating? Gabi Reese – seriously, how cool is that? She is going to be providing advice, tips and her personal insights for addressing and achieving balance in these areas.

“One the biggest reasons I see people fail at achieving their health and wellness goals is because they don’t go into a program with a balanced approach,” explains Reece. “I’m thrilled to share my perspective on balancing busy lives, families and work with healthy diet and exercise habits that anyone can incorporate into their lives.” – Gabi Reese

I also L.O.V.E. balance bars. They taste great and they are based on the 40/30/30 nutrition model – a proven formula developed by scientists to help maintain blood sugar levels already within a normal range and that represents the caloric ratio the body needs to enjoy lasting balanced energy and help satisfy hunger for longer; 40% of total calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 30% from dietary fat.

To kick off The Balance Project, Balance Bar has offered to do a giveaway!

Awesome, right?

The giveaway includes:

Balance Bar tote bag
notepad
iPhone card holder
box of (15) Balance Bars

There are 4 ways to enter. Please make sure to leave a separate comment below for each entry.

1 –> leave a comment below telling me what flavor of Balance Bar you would most like to try!

2 –> Follow Balance Bar and Running4Cupcakes on Pinterest.

3 –> Follow Balance Bar and Running4Cupcakes on Facebook.

4 –> Tweet the following with a link back to this post:
I want to win the @BalanceBar #giveaway hosted by @runs4cupcakes *insert link*

The contest closes at midnight on April 30th  and I’ll announce the winner shortly after. If I don’t hear from the winner within 48 hours, I’ll pick someone new.

Good luck!

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Filed under giveaway, product

Friday Favorites: 4/24/15

Whew. What a week. I am definitely doing the Friday dance today!!

Looking forward to a very low key weekend with lots of family time.

Here are the little things that made me smile this week. Smile

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Fro yo date with Luke to celebrate his first day at his new school.

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I Heart Radio.

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I just switched from Pandora to I Heart Radio at work this week and I am loving it. No commercials. Good stations. Win. Win.

Egg cups.

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I made a big batch of my favorite egg cups last weekend with Jennie-O  breakfast sausage. Meal prep is so helpful for getting through the week. How come I don’t make time for it every weekend??

New car!

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We order our 2015 Highlander 6 weeks ago. And it’s here. And I love it. I’ve never had a brand new car before so it’s pretty exciting. Fingers crossed that I don’t run into anything, mkay?

Octonauts.

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So, we let Luke watch some shows on Netflix. And before I had him, I was super concerned about the quality of cartoons that he would potentially want to watch. I mean, when we were kids, we had awesome ones, right? The Jetson’s, Duck Tails, Tailspin. Anyway, lately, he’s really into Octonauts, which if you have kids, you have to check out. It’s cute and information, but be careful, the theme song will totally get stuck in your head!

Hope you have a great one! Whatcha up to??

Linking up with Friday fun with both Heather and Clare!

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Reading Recommendations 6

Hey guys! Happy Thursday!!

Today, I’m popping in today to share some of my recent good reads. . .

Orphan Train

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Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

–> I didn’t realize it was based on a true event until I was done with the book. According to my sister, there is some family connection with the real orphan train. Super interesting. It’s a sad and heart-breaking story to begin but where their lives take them is inspiring and heart-warming. Grade: B+

If I Stay  (Book 1 of 2)

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Now a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia’s story will stay with you for a long, long time.

–> I liked this book a lot better than the second book. I thought it was sweet and heart breaking. And even though I knew there was a second book, it kept me guessing the entire time what would really happen in the end. Grade: B+

Where She Went (Book 2 of 2)

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Picking up several years after the dramatic conclusion of If I Stay, Where She Went continues the story of Adam and Mia, from Adam’s point of view. Ever since Mia’s decision to stay – but not with him – Adam’s career has been on a wonderful trajectory. His album, borne from the anguish and pain of their breakup, has made him a bona fide star. And Mia herself has become a top-rate cellist, playing in some of the finest venues in the world. When their respective paths put them both in New York City at the same time, the result is a single night in which the two reunite – with wholly satisfying results.

–> Interesting. Sad. Can get a little boring. Grade: C+

A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean

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“In the end, I know I rowed across the Atlantic to find my heart, but in the beginning, I wasn’t aware that it was missing.”

In June 1998, Tori McClure began rowing across the Atlantic Ocean solo in a twenty-three-foot plywood boat with no motor or sail. Within days she lost all communication with shore but decided to forge ahead — not knowing that 1998 would turn out to be the worst hurricane season on record in the North Atlantic. When she was nearly killed by a series of violent storms, Tori was forced to signal for help and head home in what felt like disgrace. But then her life changed in unexpected ways. She was hired by Muhammad Ali, who told her she did not want to be known as the woman who “almost” rowed across the Atlantic. And at thirty-five, Tori fell in love.

A Pearl in the Storm is Tori’s thrilling true story of high adventure — and of her personal quest to discover that embracing her own humanity was more important than superhuman feats.

–> Uplifting. Inspiring. Awe-inducing. Grade: A

The Storyteller

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Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t.
Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shame­ful secret and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths to which we will go in order to keep the past from dictating the future.

–> Haunting. Heart wrenching. Graphic. World War II fiction. Some of the parts of the story are so real, I don’t think I will ever forget the imagery painted by the author. Grade A- (I gave it the minus because I am not sure I would have read it, if I would have known how graphic and descriptive scenes from the concentration camps were, however, I think it was a really really good book.)

This won’t hurt a bit

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Michelle Au started medical school armed only with a surfeit of idealism, a handful of old ER episodes for reference, and some vague notion about “helping people.”
This Won’t Hurt a Bit is the story of how she grew up and became a real doctor.
It’s a no-holds-barred account of what a modern medical education feels like, from the grim to the ridiculous, from the heartwarming to the obscene. Unlike most medical memoirs, however, this one details the author’s struggles to maintain a life outside of the hospital, in the small amount of free time she had to live it. And, after she and her husband have a baby early in both their medical residencies, Au explores the demands of being a parent with those of a physician, two all-consuming jobs in which the lives of others are very literally in her hands.
Au’s stories range from hilarious to heartbreaking and hit every note in between, proving more than anything that the creation of a new doctor (and a new parent) is far messier, far more uncertain, and far more gratifying than one could ever expect.

–> Anyone who is interested in the medical field or what it’s like to be a medical student/resident/new doctor should read this book. It is 100% #truth about the real life day to day and year to year struggles/triumphs/process of becoming a doctor.

Looking for more? Check out my other reading recommendation posts:

Reading Recommendations
Reading Recommendations 2
Reading Recommendations 3
Reading Recommendations 4
Reading Recommendations 5

Linking up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!

Have you read any good books lately??

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Trip Recap–Wisconsin Dells

For Luke’s 3rd birthday, we took a family trip to the Wisconsin Dells. For non-WI folks, the Dells is basically an area in the middle of WI that has tons of water parks, attractions, shows, restaurants, and is a total touristy summer vacation destination, especially for families.

We stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge. It was overall decent. Obviously, the outdoor water park area isn’t open yet, but the indoor part was more than enough to keep Luke entertained. We totally lucked out and went in the middle of the week, so there weren’t too many people around. The front desk people told us that the following weekend, they were 100% booked. Crazy!

Anyway, we got there on Wednesday afternoon. Luke got Wolf ears.

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We hit up the water park for a few hours. Luke loved that they had water slides that were small enough that he could go down alone with Scott or I catching him at the end. He also did pretty good “swimming” around a bit in his life jacket.

Afterwards, we hit up Famous Dave’s for dinner.

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Luke wanted a drink of Scott’s beer, and so we figured for his 3rd birthday, why not. .. . haha. He took the smallest drink ever and then spit and wiped his tongue. Hilarious.

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Water park = amazing naps.

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And for Luke’s birthday dinner, we took him to a train restaurant where all food and drinks are delivered via train. It was basically a 3 year olds best day ever.

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And it delivered birthday ice cream.

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And no birthday trip is complete without birthday doughnuts with sprinkles, right?

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It was a great family trip!!

We got there on Wednesday afternoon and headed out Friday morning which was a good amount of time for us and Luke. The Great Wolf Lodge was just ok – the water park was pretty good, but since there are SO many options at the Wisconsin Dells, I would probably check out another place before going there again.

Have you ever been to “The Dells”??

Linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday. Smile

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Filed under baby, Recap, vacation

Weekend Update: 4/19/15

Hey there. How was your weekend? Mine was just ok. While we had a really nice family weekend together, we also got some really bad family news. While, it is too personal to share on the blog at this time (but please know that Scott, Luke and I are all ok!), I would appreciate any prayers for my family during this difficult time.

But, I still want to share my weekend with you. . .

78 degrees = lunch outside.

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And afternoon sprinkle ice cream cones.

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And 3 family running miles.

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And Laura surprised us with cupcakes from Nadia Cakes.

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A quick stop by my office on Saturday morning.

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And a trip to the Lake.

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Grandma Mary asked him to make sure the lake was still there. . . so we sent her a picture of Lukie telling her that it was still there. Adorable.

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Luke had been asking to eat at Old McDonalds for a few weeks now, so we thought it would be a nice treat on Saturday afternoon.

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And Saturday afternoon included a family run and nap time.

Then, Laura came over for dinner and we tag teamed chicken parmesan (<—lol super old post alert!). OMG so good!

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Sunday morning = breakfast at Panera.

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Grocery shopping.

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A rainy afternoon = Revenge watching on Netflix

and a wet 3 1/2 miles.

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Family dinner ended the weekend.

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Rainy Sunday night = cuddling up on the couch.

How was your weekend??

I am linking up with Katie (and Erin) for Marvelous in my Monday!

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Friday Favorites: 4/17/15

Man, Friday already? Why do weeks on vacation go by so much faster than regular weeks? Scott and I both took this week off of work to hang out and spend some extra time with Luke around his birthday – 3 years old yesterday!!

Full recap of what we’ve been up to the past few days next week, but for now, here are the things that made me smile this week.

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As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments or with your own Friday Favorites blog post (and link up!) with what little things made you smile this week.

My number one thing from this week – LUKE’S HERE!! Smile

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Of course we had to celebrate with smoothies at Caribou.

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Abby looking pretty after getting groomed. And even though she hates the bows and they only last for about 2 minutes before she paws them out, I love them.

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Checking out the Eau Claire Children’s Museum. It was awesome. So many fun exhibits for Luke to play with and explore.

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Ok, and fun for Mom and Dad too. . .

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Pink sparkly toes.

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BODYPUMP 93. Launch last weekend was amazing. And I am really loving this release. Triceps are my fav and lunges and shoulders are killer!

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New cross fit shoes! My running shoes just weren’t cutting it for wall walking. I tried the Nano 4.0 that everyone loves. . . but it wasn’t for me – the Nano 2.0 are awesome. And even though I am a total pink girl – I love the purple/yellow combo.

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Hope you have a great one! Whatcha up to??

Linking up with Friday fun with both Heather and Clare!

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Filed under Abby, body pump, cross fit, Friday, Recap

Things being a Mom has taught me

Today, my little baby boy is 3 years old.

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#1 – where does the time go?

#2 – I literally cannot imagine life without him.

And I am so grateful for all the things he has taught me over the past three years.

1. patience. I wasn’t the most patient person before Luke was born and I’m still not the greatest, but I am much better. Because you cannot survive motherhood without taking a deep breath and practicing being patient every. single. day.

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Lately, I’ve had to be patient while Luke picks out the perfect pair of socks for the day, or picks out a toy before we get in the car, or because “Mom, I just gotta. . .” And, so I take a deep breath, and smile. Because all too soon, Luke will be big enough to pick out socks without Mom’s help, he won’t need to take a toy to school. . .

2. appreciation for early mornings.

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I would tell you that the number one thing I was worried about before having Luke was about sleep. I really really really liked sleep. I liked to sleep in, I liked to sleep uninterrupted and it wasn’t a good thing when that didn’t happen. Now, there has been a shift. Don’t get me wrong – uninterrupted sleep and sleeping in = still awesome. But there is something special about being up before the sun, listening to baby babbling or playing trucks with your 3 year old. And it is always a nice feeling to look at the clock at 9am and be amazed that it is only 9am and you still have the rest of the day to do things.

3. love for afternoon nap time. see #2. it’s all about balance. Winking smile

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4. the joy that a simple kiss, hug or an “I love you” can bring. heart melting.

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5. the beauty of a solo trip to Target. enough said.

6. that there is nothing better than a sleeping baby. Literally nothing.

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7. you are never quite prepared for the next step in your child’s life – whether that is rolling over, walking, or the terrible twos. . . it all goes by too fast! Way too fast. And there is nothing you can do about it.

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8. Being in the bathroom alone is overrated.

9. ponytails are #necessary. I was referring to my ponytail. . . but around 18 months, Luke went thru a phase where he loved having a “pony” in his hair.

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10. it’s the journey not the destination. And all you have to do it smile and enjoy it.

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I love you Lukie more than I ever thought possible. I love watching you grow and become your own little person, an amazing mix of me and your Dad. There isn’t anything better.

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Luke’s 3rd Birthday Party {fire truck theme}

On Saturday, we had friends and family over to celebrate Luke’s 3rd birthday.

This boy is all about trucks and has been especially loving fire trucks lately. So, this party was everything fire trucks.

A huge thank you to my little sister, Laura, for helping with the party and for making all the decorations. She did such an amazing job. If you are interested in someone making super cute decorations or crafts for an upcoming birthday party or event, just shoot me an email and I’ll get you in touch with her!!

She made this cute welcome sign that I put on the front door.

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Luke was SO excited for his birthday party. It didn’t start until 4, so for the whole day; “Mom, is it my birthday party yet?”

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For the party favors, I bought kids fire chief hats online and then Laura put their names on the back.

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And then I found these cute puppies online too. And Laura made the adorable sign to go with them.

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And what is a fire truck theme party without some flames. Check out what Laura did on the window!

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And finally, she made the banner. So adorable. And amazing that I have a sister who is that crafty. Love it!!

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And OMG, I can’t believe I almost forgot – she also made his shirt! A fire truck with a “3” on it with his name.

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At one point, Scott said to me “Thanks for organizing Luke’s party and for hiring Laura as the party planner.” Winking smile

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And then it was time for the party. . .

play time with friends.

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We had pizza for dinner, with fruit salad and chips with dip.

Then, presents.

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And then cake! Jodi made the cake for us again this year and it turned out super cute.

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And all the kids. . .

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It was just wonderful. So much love and friendship for us and Luke. Thanks to everyone for coming and the great afternoon.

After everyone left, we let Luke play with his new toys for a little while and then it was time for bed.. .  while he wanted to take all his new toys with him to bed, we let him pick one. And he picked his new big fire truck.. . And we found him sleeping like this 5 minutes after turning off the lights.

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Such a big boy but still my little boy all at the same time. <love>

Linking up with Becky for TYT.

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Filed under baby, crafts, Laura, Recap