Arts, Crafts & Motherhood

  • Nicole Hanks

If there's one thing every birthday needs, it's a theme! I love a good themed party. Cooper's first birthday party was Chicago Cubs themed, and his second birthday was Mickey Mouse. This year, he was finally old enough for me to ask him what he wanted and he said "airplanes!".

My first stop for party planning is Amazon. I ordered balloons, plastic and inflatable airplanes for decor, and styrofoam airplanes for the kids to put together for a fun game.

I went to my local grocery store to purchase bakery boxes and lids to use for the in-flight meals. Each meal box had a small sandwich from Jersey Mike's, a bag of chips, and chocolate chip cookies. They were perfect for sending home leftovers with the guests!

After lunch, the kids assembled the styrofoam airplanes. We then set up a "runway" using painters tape and had the kids stand in a line behind another line. They took turns throwing their planes down the runway to see who could stay within the lines. They had so much fun and played a lot longer than I expected!

We then switched gears to decorate pilot badges! Before the party, I asked the mom's to send me a photo to use. I printed them and put them in between the foam badges. The kids decorated them with foam letters, stickers, and glitter. When they finished, I added some string for them to wear them around their neck. Cutest pilots ever!

  • Nicole Hanks

This was our first family trip in a very long time, and our first vacation as a family of 4! I was extremely nervous as to how Cooper would do his first time on an airplane, but he did incredible! We flew first class, which helped a lot. For Cooper and for mama! It was a good thing too, because we spent 2+ hours in our seats before we even took off due to a maintenance delay. Once we were on our way though, it was quick and painless.

We were all hungry and tired from the unexpected delays, so we found the closest place for lunch we could which happened to be a Mexican Cantina Grill. It was really good and right near our hotel and the water!

We stayed in a first floor suite at the Catamaran Resort Hotel and it was amazing! It was exactly what we were looking for. We wanted a place that would allow the kids to be able to play right off the patio while also offering us great views of the water. It was absolutely perfect!

My mother-in-law joined the fun by flying in the day after we got there and stayed with us for the rest of the trip. We spent the next few days visiting the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and a private surf lesson!

Jaden fell in love with surfing on this trip. He and JD took a private lesson with an instructor, Davo, from Surf Diva. Davo was an unbelievable teacher and Jaden was a natural on the waves.

This trip was so much more than I expected and everything we needed! We spent quality time as a family and there was something for everyone. Relaxation, entertainment, great food (wait until I share with you our final night's dinner) and we couldn't have asked for more perfect weather. I can't wait to visit again!