As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Showing posts with label birthday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label birthday. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Nothing else mattered anymore

12 years ago today you were born.

I remember the first time I held you in my arms and how I knew at that moment that nothing else mattered anymore.

Happy birthday, Bryce!

I love you with all my heart!

Love mommy

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tips for a Successful Birthday Party at the Movies

Bryce’s 12th birthday party today at the movie theatre watching Monsters University was a complete success so I figured I’d share everything we did and give some tips for having a birthday party at the movies.

Invitations – Since we were going to the movies I made the invitations look like movie tickets. You can download and customize the template to go with any movie you are going to see.

Name tags – Name tags are a must for me at any event. In Monsters University they are going to school and have their own Monsters University Student Identification Cards, so I made student identification cards for all of our guests and used monsters from the movie as their photo identification. It’s perfect for name tags, table place cards, or labeling your party favour loot bags!

Birthday cake – We ended up ordering our cake at our local Safeway grocery store. Unfortunately Safeway didn’t carry any Monsters Inc. or Monsters University trademark cake designs and apparently you’re not allowed to just give them a design that is protected to print onto the cake due to copyright laws. Their is a loop around it though! If you create your own design using images that aren’t in the book of cake designs at your bakery, and they won’t let you just give them a design due to copyright laws, then you can get that design developed into a photo. When it’s developed into a photo it’s technically your property. Weird way to have to go about it, but it’s legal!

Decorations and Party favours – One big piece of advice: If you are having a party at the movies and the movie hasn’t been out for awhile, or it’s not a big named movie, you may have difficulty finding decorations or party favours to match it at your local retail stores. I called everywhere I could think of twice with no luck. I ended up finding a Canadian website called Open A Party that had everything I was looking for and more! The prices were perfect! The only problem was that we’d have to pay extra in shipping (almost the same cost as our purchase) to ensure it arrived in time for the party. After contacting Open A Party, they offered to help pay for the extra shipping fees, and we got our decorations on time and in our budget! If you are buying your decorations online, make sure you buy them 2-3 weeks in advance.

Thank you cards – We were thankful for all of our guests taking a day out of their summer break and Canada Day long weekend to celebrate Bryce’s birthday with us! Always remember your P’s and Q’s!

Ok, so all of that is done and it’s time for the party.

Tip #1: The movie theatre birthday party coordinator recommended that our guests arrive 30 minutes before the movie showtime to have time to order popcorn and drinks and decide where everyone was going to sit in our reserved section in the theatre to watch the movie.

Reality: We arrived 45 minutes early so we could meet our hostess, decorate the party room, and get settled in. Then we waited for our guests to arrive, and waited, and waited some more. After everyone was accounted for, we placed our order for popcorn and drinks and headed to the theatre and didn’t have time to arrange who was sitting where. Turns out somehow we were 5 minutes late and the movie pre-shows had already started which meant we were walking into a dark theatre and couldn’t really talk to set up seating. It ended up working out, but it just would of been nice to go in earlier and feel a little less rushed and a lot more organized.

Suggestion: Make sure you are in the theatre 5-10 minutes before showtime so you can get organized. If possible, ask your host to direct any late guests to the theatre, and make sure you make room for them too!

Tip #2: Make sure you and your movie theatre birthday party coordinator are on the same page. They may be hosting the party, but you’re paying for it to go the way you want it to go. I must of called them a dozen times with questions and confirming things. I made sure we could tape up decorations. I confirmed what they provided as far as food and utensils went. I even asked at one point if they provided a knife to cut the birthday cake and what size their tables were for table covers. I was thorough. They probably thought I was nuts. Anyways, when I started to order the decorations and party favours I wanted to order these cute Monsters University keepsake cups but Daniel insisted that the Kids Tray Combos came with a collectors cup and topper themed from major movies that were playing. I called and asked if the Popcorn Parties Kids Tray Combo came with collectors cups and it was confirmed that they did. You could only imagine how thrilled I was when she told me what kind: Monsters University Collectors Cups! It was going to save us money and it went with our theme!

Reality: Each guest got a Kids Tray Combo which included a popcorn, a drink, and a treat. What they didn’t get, which I was so very disappointed and angry about since I did call and ask about it... yup, you guessed it, there was no Monsters University collectors cup and topper that I was assured came with the Popcorn Parties Kids Tray Combo order. Next time I’m getting these minor, yet meaningful things in writing.

Tip #3: Your party package comes with a host. Take advantage of this so you can enjoy the party too!

Reality: I cut the cake and my friend handed it out to our guests. Our hostess helped serve it too. I started picking up empty cups and plates to throw into the garbage. Our hostess helped clean too. She was doing a great job. It was me that didn’t let her do it. I just kept playing the mom role.

Suggestion: You really have to sit back and enjoy the party and assume this ain’t your hostess’s first rodeo!

The only thing I didn’t like about having a birthday party at the movies is that you didn’t know what the exact time of your party starts until the Tuesday before the weekend of your party. This made it very difficult to give your guests a time. Instead, you had to give them a time frame, give or take an hour. So you’d have to contact all your guests who were coming and let them know the exact time. If that doesn’t bother you, then you should start planning your next birthday party at the movies now because it’s great!

After all said and done, Bryce had a great time, and that’s all that matters.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

P.S. Monsters University was pretty good for a prequel. :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Monsters University thank you cards

Bryce’s 12th birthday party is this weekend and we’re going to the movies to watch Disney Pixar’s Monsters University. Our invitations were made and sent out, name tags were made, birthday cake was ordered, decorations and party favours were ordered, so the last thing to do was make Monsters University thank you cards.

Not only is it the first weekend of summer break but it’s also Canada Day long weekend, so we are definitely thankful for our guests for joining us to celebrate Bryce’s birthday.

Going along with the Monsters University theme, I found a graphic online of all the monsters in the movie and printed it onto the paper and then folded the card like a tent.

Then Bryce and I sat down together as I wrote a little thank you message and Bryce signed the card. (He’s very into writing letters in cursive lately.)

Stay tuned this weekend to see how Bryce’s Monsters University birthday party went!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Monsters University decorations and party favours from OpenAParty.com

Bryce’s 12th birthday party is this weekend and we’re going to the movies to watch Disney Pixar’s Monsters University. Our invitations were made and sent out, name tags were made, birthday cake was ordered, so the next thing to do was get Monsters University themed decorations and party favours.

Last year Bryce’s birthday theme was World Wresting Entertainment and our only option for WWE decorations was purchasing them online but we couldn’t afford it so I ended up making my own.

This year turned out to be just as much of a challenge finding anything remotely Monsters University party supplies-ish. I tried every local store, twice! Nothing in stock! I knew my options. Bust out the felt paints to create my own decorations again or cross our fingers to find affordable products online with affordable, reasonable, extremely cheap shipping to Canada.

Open A Party: Great Party's Start Here! Canada's #1 Birthday & Party Supplies Store!

That’s when I discovered Open A Party: Great Parties Start Here! Canada’s #1 Birthday & Party Supplies Store!

Open A Party had everything I was looking for and more! The prices were perfect! To put it in perspective, five party favour items for 8 people (including the cost of the loot bag itself) was $2.56 per person including tax! Crazy awesome, right?

Each loot bag contains:

  • a sheet of Monsters University stickers
  • a Monsters University party mask
  • a Monsters University eraser
  • a Monsters University note pad
  • and of course, the loot bag

We also got 8 party hats and 8 blowouts, and a scene setter to use as a backdrop for pictures ($16.77 CDN total including tax). Like I said, perfect!

One problem. If I placed my order that day (Monday, June 24th, 2013) then I wouldn’t get it in the mail until Thursday, July 4th, 2013 (6 days too late.) We couldn’t afford to pay for faster shipping (it was almost as much as are purchase).

I was about to give up on the idea of buying decorations when I was browsing around their website and read that they encourage you to put the date you require your package by when you place your order. That way, if for whatever reason, they can’t get it to you by then, they can contact you to either arrange for faster delivery or to refund your purchase. Maybe they could rush my order!?

I decided to place my order anyways and in the comments section, I wrote this:

To whom it may concern,
My son has autism and is currently into Monsters University so we are celebrating his 12th birthday this upcoming weekend at the movie theatre watching Monsters University. I figured I’d make it a theme party and find decorations to match and have been looking all over my community for anyone selling anything and even party supply stores aren’t carrying the products despite the movie coming out last Friday. So I turned to the Internet, and for a week comparing prices and costs and what someone had in stock and such and just discovered yours this weekend. I wanted to speak with a Live Agent that you mention on your website information pages, however I don’t see any where to click to talk to one, so I’m sending this message along with my order and my fingers crossed instead as I don’t have time to wait for email conversations back and forth.

Here’s my story. I really would like these products no later than Friday, June 28th, 2013 without having to pay the $40-$50 extra in shipping (almost the same as what’s in my shopping cart.) I’m not able to afford it. On your website you write, “Our party specialists will be able to tell you if it is possible to ship your party sooner then the estimated delivery date given by Canada Post. Often we can prioritize your party and ship it faster if your party is soon,” and I hope that means you work with your customers. Is their anyway I can pay the $11.95 and get it here no later than Friday? I know I’m a little late on ordering things online for a party that’s in 5 days, but I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to afford this party as is, and I just want my son to be happy and his friends to go home with memories created by your products. My husband and I write a blog where we share our lives and experiences as people who love someone with autism if you’d like to know more about our story: http://www.BubblesMakeHimSmile.com and we hope we can share his birthday party memories their too! THANKS SO MUCH! Hope to work with you.

The next day I didn’t hear back from anyone so I followed up, and an Open A Party representative quickly replied:

Hi Tanaya,
Yes your order is packed and ready to ship today. It will arrive on July 3rd using the shipping method you choose at checkout. I have spoken to my supervisor and we can upgrade your shipping to FedEx Economy to arrive on the Friday the 28th, the cost of this is $38. We will pay part of it but will still require an additional payment of $6.00. Please let me know if you want to proceed with the order or not today. I will invoice you now for the $6 and it can be paid by credit or PayPal. If payment is received by 3pm today your order will ship out.

Kind regards,
Cindy

Wow! I was not expecting that at all! I figured they were going to either ask for the full cost of priority shipping or refund my money to cancel my order. But to help pay for it? It’s just so amazing! We’re so appreciative! I’m still at a loss for words even as I write this.

We’d like to give a huge shout out and big thanks to Open A Party – Canada’s #1 Birthday and Party Supplies Store, for graciously helping us cover the costs of priority shipping so we could receive Bryce’s decorations on time without breaking the bank.

If you haven’t guessed it already, our order came in the mail today (two days before Bryce’s birthday party, and a day earlier than expected) and everything is perfect! So this is our loot bag! We added our Monsters University name tags to add a personal touch, and that’s that!

We’re probably going to get a couple dollar store table covers and balloons to match the colour scheme, but I think we’re pretty much ready for this party!

Stay tuned all this week for more Monsters University birthday party updates and ideas!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

PS I realize this is a long blog post just to show the decorations and party favours we got from Open A Party, but I wanted to share how great people can be! Thanks again, Open A Party!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Monsters University birthday cake

Bryce’s 12th birthday party is this weekend and we’re going to the movies to watch Disney Pixar’s Monsters University. Our invitations were made and sent out, name tags were made, so the next thing to do was get a Monsters University birthday cake.

We’ve been getting Bryce’s birthday cake from the same bakery for as long as I can remember. This year their prices went up and trying to stay on budget, we ended up ordering our cake at our local Safeway grocery store. Unfortunately Safeway didn’t carry any Monsters Inc. or Monsters University trademark cake designs and apparently you’re not allowed to just give them a design that is protected to print onto the cake due to copyright laws.

Their is a loop around it though!

If you create your own design using images that aren’t in the book of cake designs at your bakery, and they won’t let you just give them a design due to copyright laws, then you can get that design developed into a photo. When it’s developed into a photo it’s technically your property. Weird way to have to go about it, but it’s legal!

The cake won’t be ready until Saturday, but I’ll update this post with a picture so you can see what it looks like.

Stay tuned all this week for more Monsters University birthday party updates and ideas!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Update: Here’s our Monsters University birthday cake.

A piece of advice, be careful if you get coloured icing... the blue icing stained everyone’s lips, teeth, and tongue!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monsters University name tags

Bryce’s 12th birthday party is this weekend and we’re going to the movies to watch Disney Pixar’s Monsters University. Our invitations were made and sent out, so the next thing to do was make Monsters University name tags because their were a lot of people are coming!

Seeing as some people may not know each other, I wanted to make name tags for our guests to wear. Since I’ve made everything about this party Monsters University themed, I immediately thought of making Monsters University student identification cards! Cute idea, right?

Bryce's Monsters University Student Identification Card

Well, this isn’t my idea, as a lot of other people seemed to have shared my thought too, but I ended up downloading an identification card graphic online and making my own customizable template. It turns out that you can create your own Monsters University Student and Faculty Identification Cards online using Pixar Place’s MU ID Maker! It’s perfect for name tags, table place cards, or labeling your party favour loot bags!

I made faculty identifications cards for me and Daniel to wear and student identification cards for all of our guests and used monsters from the movie as their photo identification.

Dean Hardscrabble Monsters University Faculty Identification Card
Dean Hardscrabble, Faculty

Professor Knight Monsters University Faculty Identification Card
Professor Knight, Faculty

Here’s the student identification cards I made for Bryce’s guests. There are way more monsters to choose from for the photo identification, but I just used the ones most people are familiar with and also members from the Python Nu Kappa (PNK) sorority.

I seriously had too much fun with this...

James P. Sullivan (Sulley) Monsters University Student Identification Card
James P. Sullivan (Sulley), Student

Mike Wazowski Monsters University Student Identification Card
Mike Wazowski, Student

Randall (Randy) Bogg Monsters University Student Identification Card
Randall (Randy) Boggs, Student

Scott (Squishy) Squibbles Monsters University Student Identification Card
Scott (Squishy) Squibbles, Student

Don Carlton's Monsters University Student Identification Card
Don Carlton, Student

Terri Perry Monsters University Student Identification Card
Terri Perry, Student

Terry Perry Monsters University Student Identification Card
Terry Perry, Student

Art Monsters University Student Identification Card
Art, Student

Naomi Jackson Monsters University Student Identification Card
Naomi Jackson, Student

Carrie Williams Monsters University Student Identification Card
Carrie Williams, Student

Heather Olson Monsters University Student Identification Card
Heather Olson, Student

Crystal Du Bois Monsters University Student Identification Card
Crystal Du Bois, Student

Britney Davis Monsters University Student Identification Card
Britney Davis, Student

Taylor Holbrook Monsters University Student Identification Card
Taylor Holbrook, Student

If you click on a graphic it will open into the actual size so feel free to save it and edit it, or just save it and print it, and write in the name by hand!

Stay tuned all this week for more Monsters University birthday party updates and ideas!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monsters University birthday party invitations

Bryce’s 12th birthday party is this weekend and we’re going to the movies to watch Disney Pixar’s Monsters University. I just wanted to share our movie ticket inspired invitations that I made for his party!

Bryce's Monsters University invitation

If you are having a party at the movies, feel free to grab our birthday party invitation template (.xcf file) and change everything to go along with the movie you are going to see!

Stay tuned all this week for more Monsters University birthday party updates and ideas!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

PS If you’re having a Monsters University themed party, be sure the grab the Monsters AG font here!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wrestling themed birthday party

We celebrated Bryce’s birthday this past weekend with a birthday party at Club Aviva. Club Aviva is a gymnastics facility that includes an in-ground foam pit, in-ground trampolines, in-ground 30 feet TumbleTrak, and three above-ground trampolines. They also have all of the traditional gymnastics apparatus including bars, beams, vault, as well as a double-mini trampolines and an 80 feet rod floor for trampoline gymnastics, and a variety of smaller scale equipment for preschool gymnastics. It was the perfect place to host Bryce’s wrestling themed birthday party.

More specifically, the theme was World Wrestling Entertainment since Bryce is really into wrestling and all things related right now. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an ounce of any WWE decorations at any of the party supplies stores I went to and wasn’t about to pay a hefty shipping fee to find things online. We were only going to be in the party room for an hour just for food, cake, and opening up presents so I didn’t feel like we needed a ton of decorations, so my main focus was just the cake and balloons.

We got Bryce’s wrestling ring cake custom-made at a local bakery. We added three black candles that we got at a dollar store on every corner to make the posts and stringed theme together with red ribbon for the rope.

I got black balloons from a dollar store, a helium tank and Elmer’s Paints paint pens from Walmart and painted the WWE logo on them myself. They turned out really nice and authentic. Just a side note, but the paint is really light, so the possibilities of customizing your own balloons is endless.

Ok, onto the good stuff. Club Aviva’s birthday parties are 2 hours long with 60 minutes being play and 60 minutes designated for food, cake, and opening up presents time. The first hour you spend 20 minutes at 3 different stations. The first area is a gigantic bouncy castle slide apparatus. This thing was insane! The kids were just flying up and down it, and Bryce really enjoyed it too.

Next was Bryce’s favourite part: the trampolines. There’s a huge foam pit where you can swing off a rope or jump from a trampoline to get into. Bryce gave the rope a try, but he wouldn’t let go. It was really cute to see all his friends cheering him on and encouraging him to let go, but he just wasn’t ready for it, but he had a ton of fun on the trampolines.

The last area was free-play with a smaller bouncy slide, a rope swing, some balancing beams, and a gymnastics floor to use as you pleased. I considered it a cool-down, because at this point, all the kids were pooped out, including me!

The last hour is food, cake, and presents in your own personal little dining hall and kitchen. Bryce’s cake looked amazing, and he kept looking at it with a huge smile. It made my day.

We appreciated everyone who took the time out of their busy summer to come celebrate Bryce’s 11th birthday with us. We had a blast and hope you did too!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bryce!

My son turns 11 years old today which makes me 24 now... *cough*

Wow how time flies when you’re having fun-ky diapers to change, bottles to warm, tantrums to calm, milestones to meet, boo-boos to kiss, “just one more” bed time story to read, backpacks to buy, teachers to meet, sitters to bribe, birthday parties to plan, and moments to Kodak.

I love you, Bryce.

You can grow up all you want but you will always be my little baby.

Love mom

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy 10th Birthday B Dawg

We celebrated Bryce’s 10th birthday at the Vancouver Aquarium!

We really enjoy the Vancouver Aquarium and make sure we take time out of our busy schedule to go at least once a year. It’s a family tradition of ours. If it was up to me though, we’d go every weekend. We always have a great time when we are there, but there was something special about being Bryce’s birthday that just made the experience even more amazing and a little extra special.

We let Bryce plan the whole day at the aquarium. They have a map pamphlet which has pictures of all the attractions and we’d ask Bryce, “What animal do you want to see?” and he’d point to it, and say the name of the animal. Needless to say we spent a lot of the time visiting Spinnaker and the other dolphins.

We always get a souvenir or two from the gift shop as we leave. Bryce immediately went for the giant dolphin stuffy and I grabbed a giant beluga whale stuffy for him (my favourite part of the aquarium).

We weren’t planning on getting a birthday cake cause it was just the three of us celebrating, but decided to stop by the grocery store to pick up one. It was a generic cake but we made it ours and gave it a little flare.

Happy birthday little monkey!

Love mommy and daddy

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 9th Birthday, Bryce!!!!!!!!!

Today Bryce turns 9 years old and of course we just had to celebrate with some bubbles!

Happy Birthday, Bryce!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

It’s almost impossible to have a birthday party for Bryce on his actual birth date, especially since it’s the day after Canada Day (July 1st) and in the summer/holiday time, so that’s why we celebrate Bryce’s birthday with a party a week or two before.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

9 Balloons

Today we celebrated Bryce’s birthday early and had a party at Crash Crawlys. (His birthday is July 2nd). He was a little overwhelmed with the environment, but after his friends started to arrive, and Daniel went up with him into the tubes, he started to warm up a bit. It was hectic and chaotic at times, but in the end, it was a success and we had a great time.

After two hours of playground time it was time to round up all the children and eat lunch and then eat some cake. I custom ordered my amazing Backyardigans cake, and the bakery did such an awesome job on it.

One of my favourite parts of the day was when it came to the group shot of my little birthday boy with all his friends. They were all wanting to stand next to Bryce for the picture. It was really a beautiful sight. After food and cake came presents. Unfortunately the time allotted for food and cake and presents is a short 45 minutes, so we had to go through the presents a little quick. But Bryce’s friends helped him unwrap some of his gifts. What started as everybody sitting at their spot turned into a swarm of children surrounding Bryce because they were all wanting to help.

Crash Crawlys is such a fun place and you know all the cool people go. We even saw the Kung Fu Panda himself, actor Jack Black, sitting in the lounge area during our time there. Daniel asked Mr. Black if he could get a picture of him with Bryce and he was extremely kind enough to take a moment out of his time for a quick photo. (Thank you so much Mr. Black!) I don’t know if Bryce recognized Mr. Black’s voice, but he was the voice of Lenny in Bryce’s favourite movie Shark Tale.

I really thought that was just the icing on the cake for a great 9th birthday!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya