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Saturday, March 29, 2014

A pirate’s life for me!

Although Alexa’s 4th birthday was March 13, we had the official celebration “pirate style” on Saturday (March 22) at my sister & bro-in-law’s in Edmond. I probably went a bit over-the-top with the theme this year, but I wanted Alexa Hope to know just how very much she means to us. I want every birthday I am privileged to be with her to be a big celebration. Plus . . . I like the details. It’s just fun for this Mama. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t say I had A LOT of help making it all come together. I always have big ideas and lots of vision. I am horrible at executing it. Many, many thanks to ALL of my family for helping make our lil’ pirate’s day sooooo special. Yo ho! Let’s go!!

I am always at a loss with what to do with A’s birthday cards, so we decided to make a visual display on her door this year including friends’ artwork and even her hospital bracelet. I feel like we get more mileage out of the cards this way.

You will appreciate how excited Alexa was to celebrate her big #4. Maybe she forgot this was the day she got to eat chocolate cake and open presents. Details first, then the party celebration & pirate games.


I decided if God gave me my hand back, I was going to put it to good use. I’m oh-so-thankful to be able to do the things I love again . . . write and draw. No invites purchased off Etsy this year, I made them, took a pic and texted them to the guests . . . it made for cheaper postage too! Chris couldn’t believe I could save money.

This was the entry table complete with treasure chest and loot for the party-goers including eye patches, pirate hats, bandanas & maps. Alexa’s favorite item (something that Mama’s not too hot about) – the balloons. No doubt, we will probably have these balloons until mid-May. Alexa can’t stand to let them go – even deflated.

The number “4” served as both a decoration and pinata. Alexa has continuously mentioned a pinata for her party, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a “pirate” pinata. I thought the “4” was a bit more tasteful. Even this Mama has limits on the pirate them.

I wanted to make a “green” banner this year – meaning one we could reuse for other special occasions. This was made from unfinished wooden circles. Chris drilled two holes in each one. The circles were then primed and painted (front & back) with chalkboard paint. I have fifteen circles on-hand for any occasion and can easily switch out the twine for another kind of ribbon.

For “Jake the Neverland Pirate” fans, this was my nod to Skully. Captain Hook’s hook is in the background. Tic Toc Croc flanked the other side of the banner.

I tried to stick as close to “Jake and the Neverland Pirate” theme with a mast with blue & white sails.

Perhaps I am most proud of this handmade version of “Bucky,” Jake’s pirate ship. Back in February, Alexa wanted us to buy her the real “Bucky,” but I couldn’t stomach the cost. So with box cutters, a rehabbed right-hand & many prayers, I fashioned a ship out of cardboard. It was bare bones until I could think through how to make Bucky come to life. With the help of foamboard, duct tape, cardstock, spray-painted twine, dowel rods, painted wooden spools, black markers, a working bell, spinning wheel & a crow’s nest made from a Solo cup – Bucky is ready to set sail. Many, many thanks to my parents-in-love who took all of my ingredients and helped me craft this ship into a beauty. It’s amazing what a ridiculous amount of man hours & a hot glue gun can accomplish! I told Alexa she has to play with this until she was eighteen!!

The spyglass and binoculars were made with toilet paper & paper towel rolls wrapped in duct tape and twine.

I had a blast coming up with the pirate menu and appropriate names. We also served baked potatoes and called ‘em “rocks.”

The orange-tinged saltine crackers came from a cracker mix I got at Occasions in Norman. It was a-m-a-z-i-n-g!! If you need an easy appetizer. This is it! I can’t remember the name, but I can get it for you if you are interested.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include Rylen’s amazing nails she painted just for A’s party. Although it is upside-down, Rylen painted “A is 4” on her ring finger. A gal suggested Rylen should be hired out to paint nails for girls’ birthday parties. I agree wholeheartedly. If Rylen can do this sort of artwork on her own hand, what could she do on someone else’s!?



We started out with a treasure hunt where Alexa had to find her presents (hidden throughout the house) based on the locations marked on her treasure map. She had a blast.

Alexa checking out birthday loot with her friend, Abram, who was visiting from Washington DC.


Even sweet Abram got into the mood with a Jake wig and hook.

Pop & Alexa, no doubt, sharing a silly moment as Pop plays with her new swimming toy.

Mama & Daddy gave Alexa her big gift on Sunday (after Daddy & Opa had a chance to assemble it). Check out her face the first time she caught a glimpse of her trampoline. She loves to jump with her cousins on their trampoline, so we were pretty sure it would be a hit.



It’s not an official birthday party unless there is official birthday song singing, official candle-blowing, official group picture posing . . . oh, and some official pirate “arrrrrrrrghing.”




Here’s the lively pirate crew in happy, “arghing,” and party-blowing poses. Seriously, the party-blowers this year made an awful noise. Every dog in the neighborhood was howling. Both of our families aren’t afraid to be silly. We are thankful our friends, Jon, Laura & Abram (who joined us from Washington DC) weren’t afraid to join in the fun.



We had a blast playing some friendly but also competitive games – some with a pirate-theme but mostly just because. We had a timed “wrap your partner in toilet paper” race. There was a timed “hook” the most jewelry game. (Everyone but Alexa had to be blindfolded.) We challenged the kids to see if they could stack five apples (which took the majority of the evening). We all enjoyed a good laugh watching family members try to break the pinata . . .

Alexa finally did the trick with lots and lots of hitting. And, the most fun competition of the day was an obstacle course. Every family member had to participate with an eye-patch minus Alexa. The obstacle course included “rowing” to shore where we had to run up and down the stairs, then hop on stones across “the water.” Then, it was outside to race around the mailbox, throw three bean bags into a hula hoop, spin three times with your head on a sword and “walk the plank.” We all got an ab work-out laughing at dizzy adults try to walk the plank. And just so you know, no adults were harmed making these videos.






Alexa with Ama & Opa (Chris’ parents – Charlie & Karen)

Alexa with Mimi & Pop (Kelsey’s parents – Eddy & Marilyn)


Alexa with Uncle Mark, Aunt Holly, Rylen & Layton – (Kelsey’s sister)
And . . . that’s a wrap, mateys!! Happy 4th Alexa Hope. We love you!!