Tuesday, March 1, 2016

This girl's gotta fly: Andrea's second birthday

I swear, it's been so long that coming back here feels like a celebration, and what better way to celebrate a blog post than writing about a birthday!

This little angel face turned two on February 7th.
My doll baby!

When I was planning her birthday, I originally thought I would go with a Wall-E theme, because at the time, she was watching that movie at least twice a day.  But as her birthday drew closer, she became obsessed with Paw Patrol and it only seemed right to have a Paw Patrol birthday party.

As usual, Drew didn't want me to go overboard, and instead of completely disregarding his request, I tried.  I really did!  I had the party on a Friday morning; I didn't even call it a birthday party, I told everyone it would be a playdate with cupcakes.  That's it!  

However, I won't do that again because even though the party was great, it was indeed a birthday party and everyone should have been there.  Sofia was at school, Drew was at work, my mom wasn't there; it truly was a playdate and that wasn't right.  My only concession was that the party wasn't on her actual birth  Now, I will say that it turned out well and I was happy to make the morning just about Andrea.  

Even with a pared-down party, I still had to have my birthday party elements.  I really love getting birthday shirts for the girls so I had to have one for Andrea.  I plan on taking all the shirts and making a quilt for both the girls, maybe for their 18th birthdays?  Although, just thinking about them being 18 makes me black out because I can't take it.
I loved how it turned out!

The party was on a Friday morning, so instead of trying to come up with dog-themed food, I went with a brunch theme.  Brunch parties are so easy and you can't go wrong with breakfast food.  I make sausage egg and cheese egg cups, I had a plate with blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and grapes, cupcakes of course, blueberry muffins and juice boxes for the kids and mimosas for the moms.  It came together quickly and easily and I was really pleased.  

I'd planned to get a large piece of white fabric and make a potato stamper of some paw prints and use that to cover the island but I ran out of time.  Plus, if I'd stamped the fabric I wouldn't be able to use it for other occasions so we're going to call it a happy accident instead of procrastination.
I cut little holes in the fabric to gather it up and I can change the ribbon for 
different occasions.
It was a simple spread but it turned out perfectly.

I strung a simple banner across the mantle and that was it for 
decorations.  See! I know how to do small birthdays!

I got cookies as favors for the guests;
they were paw prints and bones and they came out
so cute! I'm definitely having these cookies
at all future birthday parties. 
Here's a better shot of the cookies.
They really are perfect; not too sweet, just soft enough
and of course the decoration is always perfect.
I email the ladies and send a picture of what I want and they always deliver!

Group shot of all her little friends.

It was a laid back party and 
I'm pretty sure all the kids had a good time.

Kissy face with my sweet girl.
I'm so thankful that I got to be in a picture with her!

And then we had to take a selfie because the 
morning light was just that good.
Look at those dimples on my baby!!

She didn't open presents until later that afternoon, and of course Sofia
wanted to help.  That's why I'm *kinda* glad it was just Andrea at the party
because she needs some time where it's all about her, you know?

Her actual birthday was Super Bowl Sunday, and we
went to a friend's house to watch the game.
I knew it would be a late night so we went over there ready for bed.
I put Andrea in the pjs and slippers she got for her birthday and they were
so cute I could barely handle it.

At two years old, Andrea is hyper-articulate.  I'm not surprised because Sofia talked early too and Andrea is the same.  She speaks in complete coherent sentences and never uses baby talk.  Now she has a little baby voice, which makes it even cuter when she says things like "Mom I'm hungry, let's have some burgers!" You can see her little mind working when she wants to say something and she says exactly what she means and she is very sure of her place in this world.  She was born with that confidence and independence and my only goal in life is to do my best to make sure she keeps that confidence and self-assurance as she grows up.

She wants to do everything Sofia does and she's taken to calling her 'MY Sofia.'  They are sweet together 90% of the time, but of course they have their sibling rivalry.  But honestly, it's not that bad.  They truly love each other and they really look out for each other.  Just last night, Sofia was having a tough time and was sitting on my lap crying through her problems.  Andrea came over to her and patted her knee, saying "I know you're upset Sofia.  It's ok, it's ok, I know."

We're still nursing, although it's pretty much just for naps and bedtime.  She's so active during the day that she doesn't stop to nurse, although there are random moments in the afternoon that we'll sit on the sofa and nurse.  Truth be told, I wouldn't mind cutting back to just one session a day as I'm more than ready to have my body back but at least she's not nursing 24-7 and I'm getting some breaks.

She eats very well, although I'm wondering how long that will last, as Sofia used to eat well and is now the pickiest eater on the planet.  For now, I'm just celebrating the fact that I have at least one kid who'll eat what I put in front of her.  While she doesn't necessarily have a favorite food, what continues to surprise me is that she likes spicy food.  I mean, not set your mouth on fire-type spicy, but she loves salsa and she eats grown-up food all the time.  On the other hand, Sofia won't eat unless it's super bland and I swear, she can taste one kernel of spice and she turns up her nose.

Andrea is not in preschool yet.  I had Sofia in a mom's morning out program at 18 months, but that's because it was just her and I felt she needed to be around other kids for socialization.  With Andrea, she's likely my last baby and I want her at home with me for longer. Plus, there are a ton of kids in our neighborhood and she's got her sister to play with so I'm definitely not as concerned about socialization.  When Sofia goes to kindergarten in the fall, I will put Andrea in a program for a couple mornings a week and that'll be plenty.  I have no idea what life will be like with two kids out of the house at the same time.  I don't even know what I'll do with myself.  

Who am I kidding; I'm going to sleep.  A LOT.

Andrea is a funny, happy baby.  There is always a light in her eyes and I really love just being around her.  She is such a sweet baby and she's always wanting to share whatever new skill she's learned.  Every day, she's like "Mommy watch this!" and she'll jump and then belly laugh, so incredibly content with herself.  Sofia's in gymnastics and Andrea tries to do cartwheels and forward rolls like her big sister, except her forward rolls are just her putting her forehead on the ground and then sitting on her bottom, and her cartwheels look more like lunges, but they're perfect to me and I cheer for her every time she does it.

Andrea's cartwheel

I am so madly in love with her and I'm so incredibly blessed that I get to share her life with her.  She is my baby and I love everything about her.


Monday, December 28, 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year

So, how about my triumphant return to blogging?!  HA!  One post a month does not a triumphant return make, but that's all I've got my friends.  I write in my head all the time but when it comes to getting it on the computer, life ends up happening and I never get around to it.  Oh well, let's talk Christmas!

This is the first year that Sofia really gets what's going on, and despite my Santa misgivings, Sofia has decided all on her own that Santa is real and we're going all in.  I still won't do the damn Elf on the Shelf, but for now I won't burst her bubble with Santa.  It's actually really interesting because neither Drew nor I have even really talked about Santa, which goes to show you the power of influence that school has on kids, even this young.  She already knows that Santa brings presents on his 'sled' and you have to go to sleep for it to happen.  We'll go with it for now, but I still have my misgivings.

This is the first year that I really got into decorating the house and I have to say, it was so validating to have Sofia get excited about all the details in the house.
I bought some red seat cushions for our porch furniture and sewed green pillow covers and switched out the bow on the door wreath and it looked so festive!

Remember Andrea's crib skirt fabric?  That was back when I didn't know how to do sewing math and if something called for one yard, I bought eight yards just to be safe.  Therefore,  I have a TON of leftover fabric and the burlap and gold was just right to make a runner for the dining room table.  I cut it to length, hot glued the hems and I had a nice free table runner!  I found the red sparkly candles at Marshall's and Sofia LOVED them.  The early morning light hit them just right and the sparkles made her day.  "Mom!  Check out these candles!"  

The girls each had gingerbread houses this year and I nearly had a heart attack because they kept wanting to eat the candies and all I could think about were the toxic dyes and preservatives and I must have said "Not for eating!!" a million times.  Next year I'm making my own gingerbread houses.  I think every parent has their one thing they go nuts over, and mine is definitely food.  I'm not as neurotic over other stuff, but food will put me over the edge.

Anyway, when I was single and living in an apartment, this was my Christmas tree and it sat on my dining room table.  It plays We Wish You a Merry Christmas and every day I'd put another ornament on the tree.  Now, it's on our dining room table and it's *my* older daughter who's putting the daily ornament on the little tree.  So cool, right!

ALSO, check it!  I sewed those placemats!  They were such a festive addition to the house and I'm so looking forward to using them every year; I even put a decorative border around them and everything!  Of course, it's still me we're talking about here so they're not perfect rectangles and the decorative border isn't straight but they'll do!

I have a crap-ton of jars of various sizes so I went to Target and got some sequin trim and decorative garland and made a little centerpiece thing and put some little candles inside; it took me about ten minutes and I love how it turned out.  I went to a gift exchange in the neighborhood and came home with the Santa mugs and the girls promptly claimed them and thoroughly enjoyed having hot chocolate in *their* Santa mugs.

Also, here's Santa on a plate.
Why did I get two mugs but only one plate at the gift exchange?

I was trying to get them to say cheese, 
but it looks more like an 'arrgh.'

This is also the first year we've had actual stockings.  I got them from Pottery Barn and they had S, M, L and XL.  The mediums looked too small so I went ahead and got the large ones and when they came they were enormous!  However, they're growing on me and I think they go well in the living room.
They are huge though; It's almost as big as Sofia!

My sofa pillows got the festive treatment too!  I have one big pillow and that got the green pillow cover and the other three small ones got the red and cream chevron.  I'd intended to use the red and white striped fabric but next to the existing cream pillows and throws, the white made the cream look dirty.  So those became the placemats and the chevron worked out perfectly.  

Christmas cards are my absolute most favorite thing about Christmas.  I love everything about them and I get a little thrill every time I got one in the mail.  I have to find our earlier ones, but my plan is to decorate our stairs with our yearly cards.  

Christmas morning was awesome.  The girls loved their presents and seeing the look on their faces was priceless.
I live for matching Christmas pjs.

I wanted the girls to get presents for each other and of course right now, it's more of a thing for Sofia than Andrea and I'm so proud of Sofia because if you ask her what Christmas is about, she'll tell you Christmas is about giving.  Now, picking out the gift for her sister was a bit rocky because I know she would have liked it for herself, hence the identical Pup Pads.  But it was still sweet to see them give their gifts to each other and I hope they'll keep it up as they get older.

Now if we're being honest here, I'm quite glad the holidays are over.  There were a ton of parties and I went out more this month than I have since the kids were born and I do NOT have the stamina for that!  I'm exhausted!  Not to mention, Drew was gone for the majority of the month so all the shopping and decorating and Christmas concerts and going to see lights and Disney on Ice and school parties and cookie exchanges and baking and cooking and staying up late and wrapping and wrapping and wrapping ALLLLL fell on my shoulders.  I need a nap.  But as stressed out as I was, it was truly worth it and I know that's super cliche, but it really was.  The girls had a wonderful time and it filled my heart to the brim to see their faces and watch them really get the magic of Christmas.

It was a good Christmas and it's been a good year; I hope that you can say the same and I hope that next year is even better!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fall traditions

Fall is over, my friends.  The Christmas stuff has been out since late October and that gets on my last nerve.  One holiday at a time, punks.

I love fall.

So let's have a quick look back before we say goodbye to Fall 2015 and gear up for the craziness that is the Christmas season.

Halloween!  I actually didn't used to get into it, but peer pressure is real out in the suburbs, my friends.  My neighbor was busting out the ghosts and shit like at the end of September.  Then my other neighbors started pulling out all the stops, putting up the spiders and lights and tombstones, so I figured I better do *something.*
Did you know that patio furniture is stupid expensive?  Because good God, it is.  One morning, I was online and saw that someone in my neighborhood was selling two chairs and a table for $50 and I snatched that up in the blink of an eye; it doesn't come cheaper than that.  The pillows weren't anything I was interested in, and that's what spurred me to sew my first pillow covers.  I bought a tablecloth from JoAnn's for $3 and I cut it up one night the girls blessed me with a long night's sleep.  That first attempt took me an hour but I'm super proud of how they came out.
I even got the pattern to match up on the back side!

I picked up some orange cushions from Pier 1 and I got my Halloween porch!

I also went to Home Depot and got a mess o' mums and some pumpkins.
Sadly, every last one of those poor mums died because I have a black thumb
but they sure were beautiful while they lasted.

This fall marks the first time that Sofia was really into painting pumpkins.
I was so excited at how much she was into it.
Her masterpiece had gold glitter eyes, a gold mouth, 
a ring of navy hair and pink ears.  It was awesome.

Andrea's was more abstract.  She slapped that paint and glitter on there
and was like "It's gorgeous Mommy." I fully agreed.
Our gym had a big Halloween party and it was actually a ton of fun.
I'm including this picture because I'm so proud of Sofia being able 
to write her own name.  The kid is a genius, what can I say.

I live for matching everything; as long as the girls will let me, I will dress them alike.
It also helps when Target has buy one get one free sales on costumes.  Holla!

All that was before Halloween; we spent the actual holiday in Myrtle Beach because they were doing work on the house (AGAIN) so the girls got to do their trick or treating at the hotel.  

This was right before we were going down to the activity center for their Halloween party.

I tried to get a more posed shot of them, but I'm such a ridiculous amateur that 
I put my poor babies in what was pretty much direct sunlight and I was all, "Smile pretty!"
My poor kids.

The girls had a blast checking out their loot!

I was afraid that they would be the only kids in the hotel for Halloween, but they weren't alone, and the hotel did a great job with all the activities for the kids.  There was a dragon egg hunt and everyone got a 'best costume' prize.  The girls each got 'best big sister witch' and 'best little sister witch.' It was so cute, and I'm keeping their little certificates.

So Halloween was a success; hopefully we'll be in town next year and they'll actually get to do the whole neighborhood thing.  But you know? It was pretty awesome the way we did it too.

Also, the beach.
Always, the beach.

And then came the rest of fall.  We took family pictures, and I switched out my porch decor.
My neighbor's 18-year-old daughter took this, can you believe that?
Talk about skills!
This is going on the Christmas card for sure!

My mums bit the dust, so I clustered all the pumpkins near the front door
and added a wreath that I made in about twenty minutes and 
it makes me smile every time I come up the driveway.

I bought another $3 tablecloth from JoAnn's and this time it only took me 
about twenty minutes to sew the pillow covers.
Right now I'm down to about fifteen minutes and most of that is lining up the fabric
and making the cuts.
When I make my Christmas pillow covers, I'm going to post a tutorial because it's 
so easy I'm kind of addicted now.

Alas, I don't think I'm going to get my bookcases done by tomorrow, but you know, it was fun to dream for a little bit.  However, I WILL get them done by the end of the year.  Hell or high water, my friends.  I mean it.

We're having friends over tomorrow, we're going to stuff our faces, fall deep into a food coma, and then, and ONLY then, will I think about decorating and celebrating Christmas.  I have big plans and I have lots of places inside and outside my house that I want to decorate so for real, stay tuned.  But for now....

One holiday at a time, punks.

Turkey turkey fall fall!!

PS - I was going to do a post outlining all the things I was grateful for, but it was sounding like gross humble bragging and just saying I'm thankful for my family and my health and that bullshit didn't come close to how I feel so I'm just going to say that I am STOOPID blessed.  I know JUST how blessed I am, how fortunate I am, how awesome my life is, and for a moment every single day, I give thanks because truly, it's a good life I have.

It's a good life indeed.



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