Another Sweet Pop Up

When we discovered Los Angeles had yet another interactive pop up happening it wasn't a question of if we could go, rather how soon can we get tickets?
This experience - Candytopia - was dedicated all sugary confections. But, it wasn't just vats filled with candy, though I'm sure my kids wouldn't have minded that at all. There were several rooms with which we traveled, filled with interactive pieces, art works, and installations. All of them made up of different candies. 

The entry was a teaser for what was to come. Plastic figures of massive lollipops. All of them Julia tried to eat. Countless times I could be heard saying, "No, Julia, we can't eat those. They aren't real!"

After a few minutes, it was time to enter.
We were greeted in the Candytopia library, where clocks were suspended from the ceiling, a knight in shining armor was created of candies of all sorts, and a guest book the size of an elephant was available to sign our  names.
After snagging our first piece of candy, we moved into a gallery, where portraits were hung, jeweled beads were suspended, and a throne of mirrors was available to perch upon.

Next to every art piece was a sign indicating how many pieces of candy was used in the creation, along with what types of candy were used. 

I'm kicking myself for not capturing more of the portraits and famous paintings, all done in candy. There was one of Willie Wonka, the Mona Lisa, and several others I'm forgetting. 

Moving forward, we headed under the sea. An entire room where we felt as if we were in the ocean, surrounded by creatures of candy.

Then it was into a room where optical illusions were abound.

Keep in mind, with each new room, we were treated to more sugary delights. And, I was the mom who stopped her kids from eating any more candies after the second one was handed out. 

As we moved along, we entered a room that I can only describe as psychedelic. The music, colors, and pieces of candy art were all slightly trippy.

Last stop, the one we'd been so anxious to get to from the get go... The marshmallow pool!
Just as it sounds. A massive pool filled with marshmallow-esque bits for the kids to jump, "swim", and toss around. Quite probably their favorite part - minus receiving candy every 10 steps. 
The rooms and art pieces were fabulous, the candy so tasty, the colors vibrant, talks of unicorn poop (kids love that unicorn poop), and the kids loved it all. Candytopia may be our favorite pop-up, yet... 

To see even more of the experience, I've included a short (less than 2 minute) video; clips I couldn't quite get in photos, and a better sense of some of what I've been describing.

Candytopia from Desiree Macke on Vimeo.



Another trip around the sun has brought  the sweetest little man I know to year six.
Thoughtful, compassionate, and caring. I don't think I've met anyone with such a big heart.
Silly and sweet, and without a doubt, a momma's boy.
Cheers to my favorite six year old.
Five was good, but I know six is going to be the best yet.
Happiest of Happy Birthdays to my main man.


A Great Wolf Celebration

A few months back we started prepping for Marcus' sixth birthday. We tossed around party ideas, venues to go to, even parks to rent out.

As much as I love party planning, I just couldn't muster the energy or excitement to do the same party we've basically been doing for six years.

Scott and I suggested to Marcus that in lieu of a traditional party we go somewhere fun and experience something we might not otherwise do.

To our surprise, Marcus agreed.

Marcus asked his best friend to join us for a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge.

I briefly contemplated bringing my "good" camera, but ultimately decided that high humidity and constant splashing wasn't probably the best exposure for it. Cell phone pics are all we have. If you followed along on our adventures in my Instagram stories, many of these pics are repeats. So much of the weekend was spent in the moment celebrating Marcus that many times I simply didn't even think to snap a pic.

Upon arrival, the lobby had us all oooh'ing and ahhhh'ing. Antler chandeliers. Large, overstuffed furniture made of knotty woods, a fireplace so massive six people could easily sit in front of its flames.
This wall of flowers gave me a sweet little thrill, and the boys played along with my photo taking shenanigans. 

A peek at the water park had the kids beyond excited. And a look into our room to see bunk beds that looked like a wolf den set the kids all over the top with giddy squeals and giggles.

Most of Saturday evening was spent going down slides, being tossed around the wave pool, and dancing around in the splash area.

Post dinner we were treated to birthday decor and cake all ready for us in our room.
Then it was time for a trip to the arcade where the boys were set on getting as many tickets as possible, while Julia happily pressed buttons and imagined she was truly playing games.
We wound down the night with a bubble dance party which delighted Julia the most.

Sunday morning was much of the same. Another round in the pool had Marcus going down a few slides on his own, as well as Marcus and Scott getting the chance to boogie board.
Before our time was up we made one more stop in the arcade to spend the last few points we had, grab a game of 10 pin bowling, claimed a few prizes, and made a stope in the resident candy store.
As we drove home I listened to Marcus talk about his favorite part of the water park (the wave pool), how much he loved the arcade, and how his weekend was so much fun. Marcus is still talking about Great Wolf, and how much he would like to go back.
Any doubts I had about not having a traditional party were immediately erased. I'm not sure we'll ever revert to traditional birthday parties again.

Marcus' Great Wolf 6th Birthday Celebration from Desiree Macke on Vimeo. (For my own memories sake, a 2 minute montage of our weekend, including footage of water slide and boogie board action.)


Loose Tooth T

I had no alternate titles for this post. In fact, I didn't have any. But, after reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and getting to Marcus' favorite line (can you guess which it was?), this one only seemed appropriate.

It was a big weekend in our house. After months and months and months of dealing with wiggly teeth, Marcus hit yet another big boy milestone.

From here on out, there will likely not be any additional follow-up on teeth lost, but this go around seems fairly significant. We worked so hard to cut those first  baby teeth, and now, seemingly seconds later, those very same teeth are truly a memory.
In typical Marcus fashion, he took his sweet time to lose his first tooth (he was 5.5 months before he cut these same teeth). We've been wiggling and prying since well before Christmas. And this weekend, just 20 days shy of his 6th birthday, Marcus' first tooth came out while flossing.
Marcus' was beside himself with excitement, and couldn't wait to see what the Tooth Fairy had in store for him (for the first tooth, $5 was the going rate in our house). The next morning I could hear Marcus spring from his bed and sprint to check his tooth pillow, which conveniently hangs on his door knob so the Fairy doesn't disturb him as he sleeps.
The next evening, again while flossing, Marcus lost his second tooth. With the same excitement as the first. That night as I was tucking Marcus into bed I mentioned to him how he was growing up entirely too fast for my liking, and that I needed him to slow it down. He looked up from his pillow, and in the sweetest voice said, "I'm sorry, Momma, I can't. I'm just so sorry, Mom." I didn't cry, but I sure wanted to.

I had Marcus take a quick inventory of the rest of his teeth, and I was relieved to learn that no other teeth were even remotely wiggly.

The following morning we discovered the Tooth Fairy only brings $1 for every tooth after the first one lost. Seems fair, right?
As exciting as all of this has been for Marcus, I'm admittedly more emotional about it than I thought I would be (and probably should be). They're just teeth, after all. But, it seems like this is just one more thing to remind me that the very last bits of baby in my first baby are literally falling away, and right before my very eyes.