Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Birthday Party for Little Loves: Garden Party Yummies

Dear Em,
This is a four part Series covering your Garden Birthday Party. You can also read about the Garden Party InvitesGarden Party Decorations, & Garden Party Favors

No birthday celebration would be complete without yummy treats- garden style. Actually, not all the food was garden style. Some of the food at the party was there simply because it tastes yummy & was fairly simple to make. For instance, we made calzones. They may not go with the theme, but everyone loves them.

For much of the food, we tried to have a little fun & put a garden party spin on it. We filled terracotta pots with tissue paper & put chips & other snacks in them instead of filling regular serving bowls.

Then there was dessert. The year before, your aunt & I made sunflower cupcakes. They were complete with little M&M lady bugs. Super cute, super time consuming.

I thought about making them again or making another kind of flower & tried to wrap my head around the time I was going to have to find in order to decorate flower cupcakes (I'm not a professional & decorating the cupcakes takes me forever). Then we went to another birthday party & saw the most amazing thing: a cupcake cake. From the top it looks like any other cake, but underneath the frosting it's all cupcake. You don't have to take the time to cut the cake or even find plates & forks for everyone. Where does this amazing creation come from? Stop & Shop.

I went to Stop & Shop, explained the color scheme & garden theme, & ordered the cupcake cake ahead of time. When your daddy went to pick it up, it was beautiful & exactly what I had wanted...except they had made a cake with 25 cupcakes instead of the 50 I had ordered. They remade a new one just before our guests arrived, but never gave us any type of discount for the inconvenience. In fact, your papi also bought the smaller cake. They were going to throw it away unless we bought it & your papi couldn't bear to think of it in the trash. Everything turned out cute & yummy in the end, but if I ordered a cake from Stop & Shop again I would probably confirm with them a few thousand times before the day of the party.

Your grandma jumped right into the theme & made a yummy batch of dirt. Doesn't sound appetizing? It's a fun dessert with pudding, crushed Oreos, & gummy worms. She put it in a potting plant with yellow flowers & a hand shovel as a serving spoon. Super fun, right? Also a super big hit, especially with all the little loves.

Of course, you also had to have your very first smash cake. So, when we ordered the other cake, we also ordered a small cake that was decorated similarly. We put it in front of you, sang happy birthday, & let you go for it. It was a smashing success.

Sigh, it's been so much fun reminiscing about your sweet 1.5 garden birthday party. How can it be that a whole year has already gone by? Right now we're gearing up for birthday party 2.5. We'll be celebrating on your 2.5 birthday this Saturday, & I can't wait to recap all of the fun. In some ways, we went more low-key. There is certainly much less DIY for this party (which kinda makes me sad in my heart, but we're still DIYing much of your new room so I guess it's ok), but still some super fun surprises.

I can't wait!

I love you so,

Monday, June 25, 2012

Goodbye Crib

Dear Em,
This weekend was jam-packed full with wedding events, projects, & adventures. It was also filled with yet another milestone. You no longer sleep in your "cribby."

Friday night was your very first night sleeping in your big-girl bed. You've been super excited. We've been working on your room for two weeks. As we placed each new thing in your room, your eyes lit up with anticipation of having a new big-girl room.

The strange thing about this milestone? Daddy & I weren't exactly there for it...& that was a little sad for us. Your new bed was put in on Friday & the guest bed was moved into your old room. Your daddy & I had a rehearsal dinner to go to on Friday night & knew we would miss your bedtime. We also knew we had lots of company staying with us, & we needed a guest room. So, your nonnie & my cousin put you to bed in your big-girl bed for the very first time.

Daddy & I still got to be there the first time you saw your big-girl bed. You jumped right up & stretched  & rolled across it, a huge smile covering your sweet little face. You giggled & awed & ooed in excitement. But only for a few moments. You immediately became worried about your lamby & other stuffed animal friends being able to make the transition with you into your new room. As soon as I assured you that lamby & the rest could come too, the smile reappeared on your face. You ran down the hall to your crib & started pulling your lovies out & running them back down the hall to your new room. You are so precious.

Daddy quickly took your crib apart to make room in the new guest room (your old room). It was kinda weird. We were in such a rush to get things done & get out the door on time, I didn't have any time to really take it all in. I mean, your crib is gone. I remember helping your daddy put that crib together. My belly was large & round with baby & I carried dreams in my heart of what you would be like. I remember the first time you slept through the night in your crib, the first time you stood up in your crib, the first time you threw everything out of your crib.

Sigh, it all has sped by so fast. Now you're a big-girl in a big-girl bed. How did that happen?

Your nonnie reported that you did great your very first night in your new room. You sang & told stories for a while before you fell asleep, but that's typical. You never tried to get out of your new bed or cried with unfamiliarity. Like all the rest, you were ready for this next milestone. Yet again, it was your daddy & I who weren't quite ready & were holding on to the little bit of babyness you had left.

It's official. We have a big-girl, a walking/talking/potty trained/big-girl bed sleeping/stubborn/sweet big-girl.

I love you so,

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Busy Living

Dear Em,
I love this little blog & knowing that someday you will get a glimpse of what life is like for our little family of three as you grow. I love putting words to page that you will someday read.

But right now, I'm just busy living.

It actually makes me laugh to write that, because it makes me think of you. The other day you were playing. You were twirling & jumping & laughing & smiling. As I watched you, I felt like my heart was going to burst with love. I asked you to come over & give me a kiss. You looked at me and said, "I'm just too busy, sweetie" as you went right back to twirling.

Right now things are a little crazy for me. I'm busy working & playing with you & spending time with your nonnie & planning date nights with your daddy & taking night-time walks at the beach & spending time with friends & putting together your new room & planning your 2.5 birthday party. OMG, it feels like a lot, but it's a lot of fun.

I find myself having a hard time squeezing time in for some of these blog posts. I find myself thinking about the living I want to be doing while I write them. So, I'm going to give myself a little of a summer break (yesterday was the first official day of summer, you know). I'm not going to stop writing altogether, but I'm not going to force myself or feel bad about not writing five days a week either.

Because right now, we're just busy living...& laughing & loving & adventuring & hugging & playing & creating & sunning. Sigh, I love our sweet life.

I love you so,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Birthday Party for Little Loves: Garden Party Favors

Dear Em,
This is a four part Series covering your Garden Birthday Party. You can also read about the Garden Party InvitesGarden Party Decorations, & Garden Party Food

Of all the things from last year's garden party, I think I enjoyed putting together the favors the most. We ended up with a fun variety of favors. When the kids first arrived, there was a basket full of hats & headbands, all from the Target dollar section (love the Target dollar section). There were different colored flower headbands, shamrock headbands, cute little bee beanies, & little froggy hats too. Some of the kids wore them, some just took the hats home later. Either way, it was pretty darn cute.

Next, we put together fun gift bags. We bought plain purple & green bags & decorated them with the first initial of each child that was coming. We used pretty paper from the craft store & letter stencils to make the initials. The bags were filled with coloring books & crayons, bubbles, temporary tattoos, books, silly string, & water squirters for each child to take home.

My favorite favor was the flower pot each child got to bring home. It was my favorite, it was a favor and a party activity. The kids had so much fun planting them at the party. So, maybe the parents did most of the work. It was still super fun to watch families plant together.

I bought the terracotta pots at a craft store for $.99 each. We used a green sharpie to write the first initial of each child on the pots. We bought potting soil & plants from the hardware store. I think we found your little shovels & bee watering can a Toys R Us. You still like to use the shovels & the watering can when we do gardening projects together.

I think the favors were fun but pretty easy projects. They were also fairly inexpensive. You were the absolute cutest in your little flower headband. Actually, you continue to be the cutest in your little flower headbands, because we use all the leftovers for dress-up. Win, win!

I've had so much fun thinking back on your garden party. Next week will be the last of the garden party recaps. I saved the best party for last: food!

I love you so,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When it starts to feel creepy...

Dear Em,
We're in the middle of putting your bedroom together. There is furniture & mess's kind of my nightmare. I won't be able to truly rest until everything is in it's place.

Last night we were talking about the transition into your new room. Your daddy was talking about moving your video monitor into it. We love your video monitor. With it, we've watched the private singing concerts you've put on in your crib (twinkle twinkle is one of your favorites). We watch you pull books into your crib & read to your stuffed animals. We've even watched you put Minnie Mouse into time-out because she was not listening to you. It's been amazing to capture those precious moments that we'd know nothing about without your video monitor.

It's also nice to use the monitor to see when you've finally fallen asleep or when you're quietly waking up. Rather than waking you up with the sound of opening your bedroom door, it's convenient to be able to silently peek in. With this change into a new room & big-girl bed, the video feed will help us to see if you're staying in your bed now that you won't be in a crib anymore.

As we talked about this transition, your daddy started thinking ahead to some of the next transitions in life. "When do we stop using the video monitor?" he asked. I hadn't really thought about it, but it made me sad in my heart to do so. I cherish the precious moments we capture with the video feed.

Having no definitive answer, I answered with "I guess when it starts to feel creepy we'll stop using it? When she starts to want her privacy?"

"So, when she's thirty years old?" Daddy replied.

No, not thirty. I'm not sure when. I'm just glad that today is not the day.

I love you so,

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day Weekend Recap

Dear Em,
We had an amazing Father's Day weekend. Since my daddy lives in North Carolina, it's not often I get to celebrate with him in person. Last Wednesday, he surprised us by telling us he was flying up this weekend. So, this Father's Day weekend we got to spend time with your daddy, your papa, & your papi. It was so much fun.

On Saturday, your daddy & I took papa & papi on a Newport adventure. We went to the Newport Storm brewery to do a tour & tasting. It was so fun to learn about the brewing process & to find out that Newport Storm was started by a bunch of college friends who really liked beer. They had a dream & now they're living it right here in Newport.

Cheers to celebrating Father's Day with my daddy.
The dads standing where all the brewing magic happens.
Tasting beer with three of the best Dads I know.
Afterwards, we took them out to lunch at Coddington Brew Pub, a place your daddy has been hoping to go for a while. The food was yummy, & getting to spend time with just the dads was the best. As we crossed back over the Newport Bridge, we could see planes from the air show zooming by. My heart was so happy after spending the afternoon with three special guys.

On Sunday morning, we woke up early & let your daddy sleep late. You, Nonnie, Papi & I took a drive out to Narragansett to check out the Point Judith lighthouse & the Narragansett wall.

Then we picked up some crabs & lobsters in Galilee, right where the fishing boats come in. There were tons of lobsters! You liked that some of them had "pink bracelets" around their claws. You were happy to check them out, but didn't want them to get too close.

We went home to pick up a well rested Daddy & our cousin. We loaded into two cars, but Papi & Daddy had no idea where we were going. They were surprised when we pulled into Gillette Stadium. We had Five Guys burgers & fries for lunch before heading over to the stadium to tour the Patriots museum.

A precious moment with Daddy & Papi.

It was your papi's very first time at Gillette Stadium & it was so fun to share that special experience with him. You were excited to see "where Tom Brady lives." We got to pretend we were part of the offensive line, try to kick a field goal, use instant replay to review penalty calls, & stand in the huddle with the team. There was a short movie about the history of the Patriots. After being a fan for so long, Papi said the movie almost brought tears to his eyes.

Standing in the huddle at the Patriots museum.

Our little family outside Gillette Stadium.
We returned home to enjoy a yummy little lobster bake. Well, Nonnie, Papi, Daddy, our cousin, & I enjoyed the lobster bake. You were pooped & went straight to bed.

It was an amazing weekend. The best part? Sharing the weekend with our family & three of the best dads we know was incredible. These three dads give us so much love & joy. We're so fortunate to have such amazing guys in our lives, & it was a blast celebrating them.

I love you so,

Friday, June 15, 2012

love letters

From here.
Dear Em,
This weekend is Father's Day weekend. Want to know a funny story about your daddy? He & I dated for a long time before we got engaged & got married. We did a lot of growing up together.

Needing validation & reassurance one day, I asked your daddy how much he loved me. He looked like he was really thinking about it for a moment & then said, "I don't know, like a truck load?" A truck load?! Are you kidding me?! Of all of the large things your daddy could be thinking of to compare his overabundance of love for me, he chose one small truck load?

After a lot of whining & complaining from me to tell me something bigger & better than a truck load, your daddy looked at me, smiled & said, "ok, like two truck loads?" Sigh, that's your daddy.

After that, it was kind of our thing. I'd ask him how much he loved me. He would tell me a truck load. I would pout, & he would laugh at me.

I can't remember the first time I got the answer I was looking for. Maybe it was when we were in the middle of frustrating wedding planning. Maybe it was in the middle of me being frustrated with the largeness & sickness of pregnancy. One day after years of asking, I asked & he told me he loved me to the moon & back.

Then you came along. If you asked your daddy that very first moment you came out & he held you in his arms, he loved you to the moon & back. If it was possible to articulate more than that, it would have been more than that.

I love watching the two of you now. You have a bond like no other. You two like to make milkshakes together, jump on trampolines together, talk about poop together, & laugh together. Sometimes, I love to go out just so I can give you two special time together. Most of the time, I like to stay so I can watch you two.

I'm looking forward to this weekend. I can't wait to celebrate your daddy, the incredible man & amazing dad he is. We're so lucky, lucky in love.

I love you so,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

El Tapatio

Dear Em,
I am still way behind on posts. Tonight we're going out for the once a month dinner we do with our friends. So, it's probably about time I post about dinner from last month. About a month ago I went out to dinner with friends from college. The plan was for your daddy to come too, but I accidentally planned the dinner for a night when our babysitters (Grandma & PaPa) & back-up babysitters were out of state. So, Daddy was sweet enough to let me go while he stayed home with you.

It's a shame that Daddy couldn't come, because he loves Mexican food. We try our best to find (what we think is) authentic Mexican restaurants. His favorite place is still Pancho Loco, in Connecticut, where he orders the Chicken Mole. He says it's so spicy, it almost burns your face off. I say, why would you voluntarily eat something that makes you feel like your face is burning off? Anyway, I digress.

As I walked in to El Tapatio, I was thrilled to be greeted by a mariachi band in full costume. SOOO fun! I met up with one of my friends at the bar & we were serenaded as we waited for the others. It made it kind of hard to have a conversation, but still so fun.

As we were brought to our seats, I was again reminded why I love eating at El Tapatio. Everything is bright & fun. Even the chairs are works of art.

For this time, my appetizer was a couple of margaritas. The raspberry one was wicked yummy. Nice & tart, the way I love it. I also ate probably the entire basket of tortilla chips & salsa that were on the table. I was hungry.

I ordered the Burrito Tapitio, a soft flour tortilla stuffed with rice, refried beans, & shredded beef. It's topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sauce, sour cream & guacamole. I asked for some jalepenos for an added kick. Firstly, the burrito was humongous. I felt slightly better that I cold bring half of it home for your daddy & then he could enjoy the food too. Secondly, it looked amazingly yummy.

The burrito was so good. It had all the things I think a good burrito should have, with just the right seasoning. After just half of the burrito, I was stuffed. I sat back, enjoyed the company of my friends, the atmosphere, the mariachi band (who had wandered into our dining area), & even some dancing (which I don't think is typical for this restaurant). It was such a fun time.

Laughter & yummy food is such a perfect combination, don't you think?

I love you so,

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Birthday Party for Little Loves: Garden Party Decorations

Dear Em,
This is a four part Series covering your Garden Birthday Party. You can also read about the Garden Party InvitesGarden Party Favors, & Garden Party Food

I'm in the middle of putting together your garden themed big-girl bedroom, & it's fun to think back to your garden themed birthday party (what I should really be doing is putting together your birthday party we're having in a couple weeks, whoops). I wanted simple, but fun decorations that went along with the theme. Just having the party outside gave us much of what we needed. Our backyard is green & surrounded by leafy trees. I wanted to add fun & whimsy & pops of purple, green, & yellow too. I was psyched when I found these tissue paper pom-poms. They're easy to DIY, crazy inexpensive, & a fun way to bring pops of color to a garden party.

First I bought lots of tissue paper from the craft store & then I set out to make 20 cute poms. Making 20 of them can be really time consuming, but I was lucky to have my mom, sister, & cousin staying with us. We sat at the dining room table together & chatted & laughed while we filled the table with poms. They didn't look exactly as amazing as Martha Stewart's. We had a tough time making them into full circles. Instead, they were kind of half circle poms, but I still think they looked super cute.

The morning of the party, we filled the yard with tissue paper pom-poms. Of course you helped.

Your grandma made a banner at work using the yellow & purple colors. You loved the butterflies & flowers. We had a flower covered box to put cards in. We covered the tables in green & purple table cloths & added bouquets of flowers to the top of the tables (which helped in keeping the table cloths from blowing away). It was cute & simple & fun.

The best decoration of all was the beautiful little flower who giggled & danced & smiled as she ran all around the party.

You weren't just a cute little flower, you were pure sunshine to everyone who came. Watching you play & squeal with delight to have all of your friends & family to play with all at made my heart happy. I have a smile on my face just thinking back on it.

Tune in next week for garden party favors.

I love you so,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thanks a lot, Disney...

Dear Em,
Recently, you've been overheard saying things like:

"It's hopeless."

"It's hard to be a teenager."

"It's not possible."

and my very favorite...

"My mother just doesn't understand me."

At first, I was all like "where in the world is this coming from?" I don't even know that the word "hopeless" should be a part of a 2.5 year old's vocabulary. After asking you what I don't understand & telling you that I understand that I love you (& wondering why the heck I'm having this conversation with a 2.5 year old) for the 44th time, I actually started to listen to the words they were saying in the movie you were watching.

You've watched The Little Mermaid 3 frequently in the past few months, & it turns out all of these one lines are straight out of the movie. In the movie, Ariel has a child & the child is just as rebellious as Ariel was when she was younger. Her daughter almost gets them all killed in her love for adventuring. Clearly you are too young to understand the irony of how well Ariel (as a mommy) understands her daughter afterall. Instead, the movie has armed you with the words of a teenager.

And suddenly, parenting has gotten more challenging.

Thanks. Thanks a lot, Disney.

I love you so,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wicked Busy, Wicked Amazing

Dear Em,
Here's our weekend recap via photographs...

See this mess? It's going to be your new room. This was the project I worked on during my "free-time" this weekend. I'm almost done painting.

We took a saturday morning walk at the wall, just me & you (Daddy was throwing a bachelor party). You told me it was "nice to say good morning to people" as they passed. Seriously, you crack me up.

We matched!

Dance performance at the gazebo.

After a nap (for you, not me), we headed to a family outdoor birthday party.

All the cousins!

 We headed home with enough time for me to change my clothes & throw some buffalo chicken dip in the oven (I accidentally literally threw half of it in the oven...huge mess...sigh) before I left you to play with Grandma & Papa while I celebrated a friend's bachelorette at Foxwoods Casino.

I didn't see any tigers, but there was plenty of Victoria Secret for the bride. I got her a pair of RedSox undies. I know. Scandalous, right?

Beautiful & hilarious Bride-to-Be. Fun Girls. Good times. Sadly, just as the party was really getting started, I headed home so we could leave by 6:30 Sunday morning to head to the MMRF Race for Research.

You & I set a 5K personal record (which really isn't saying much, but I was proud of us). I'm so thankful to everyone who helped us raise $400, our team raise $4000, & the event raise over $350,000 for cancer research...bringing the world that much closer to a cure. As we ran you chanted, "Go Mommy Go!"You made everyone around us smile, & I felt like I had my own personal cheer squad. It was definitely the highlight of the event for me. I think the highlight of the event for you was the bounce house, face arm painting, & balloon making we discovered after the race. 

After that, we headed to a friend's after-race BBQ. When we got home, we were pretty pooped from a Sunday packed with an early morning wake-up, a 5K, limited nap time, five hours in the car, & super fun times. Luckily, Daddy was back from his friend's bachelor party. We were so content to collapse & snuggle together, just the three of us.

I was a little afraid our weekend was packed with too much amazingness, but we made it. I just might need another weekend to recover from my weekend. Sigh, remember summer vacation? Why did I give those up after college?

I love you so,

Friday, June 8, 2012

love letters

Dear Em,
This Sunday we're running in the MMRF Race for Research together. Would it amaze you to know that a father & son race in the Iron Man competition together? This story is from 2007, but I saw it for the first time at a sales meeting. There I was, blinking back tears, in a sales meeting. What an incredibly beautiful story of strength, determination...& of course love.

"Our message is: Yes You Can. You can do anything you want to do as long as you make up your mind & do it."
- Dick Hoyt

I hope you will always know, just like Dick says, there is nothing you can't do if your heart is in it & you do your best.

I love you so,

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

a post about poo & pee

Dear Em,
We can't believe how amazing you've taken to potty training. Sure, we've had a few bumps & accidents, but that's to be expected when you're learning something new.

Here are some things we've learned through our potty training experience...

- For a while I was afraid to take you out of the house. We couldn't very well take your potty seat with us, but it grossed me out thinking of you going potty on public toilets. I asked a friend about it. She bought disposable toilet seat covers for her daughter. We bought them too & love them. It's much easier than spreading toilet paper over the seat, they flush right down the toilet, & I think the sesame street pictures made big, public toilets less scary for you. Sigh, I love when there are other mommies who have gone through a stage with their kids before I have with you & we get great pointers.

- You're very social as you go potty. You like to give us potty commentary. "There's more poop in there," you grunt as you sit on the toilet (referring to inside your body). You also like to look down as you sit & watch the potty process. It's really hilarious. One day you told us, "there's weeds in my poop!" I looked to see what weeds could possibly be...I'm going to stop there before we get into an in-depth poop conversation. I'll just tell you it wasn't weeds.

- You've had a few accidents, but many times when we went to get you from school & you were wearing different clothes it was because you had peed on your outfit while going on the toilet. We had to work on making sure you scoot your bum back & lean forward a little bit. Holding up dresses was kinda a process at first too. Now you're a pro.

- You like to talk to your poop & pee. "Bye-bye pee-pees," you exclaim as you flush the toilet. "Come out poop," your order as you sit.

- You still wear a diaper for naps & bed only. We talk to you about not going in your diaper before we put it on you. When it's time to take it off, you get really excited & celebrate when it's still dry. For a while, your diapers were always dry. Your daddy actually accidently put you down for a nap without putting a diaper on you. We were both sighing with relief when I got you & your clothes were still dry. Recently it's been about 50/50 if you're dry or wet, but you've been sleeping later (almost 8am most days). We could wake you up earlier to have you go on the potty...BUT, your daddy & I enjoy our sleep. I realize this may bite us in the bum later when it's a difficult process for you to go completely diaper free. Right now I don't care about that. I mean, I have a 2 1/2 year old who lets me sleep until almost 8am on weekends. I'm going to milk that for all it's worth.

- At school, you would tell your teachers when you had to go. At home, we've found you wait until we ask you to go. Maybe it's because at school other kids were telling your teachers they have to go? So, we ask you to go once an hour whether you've said you have to go or not. It actually works out. Typically I have to go, & it reminds me to remind you.

- It's an amazing feeling not having to change poopy diapers anymore. I was a little scared of how we would do in the outside world without the security of having diapers. It actually feels really liberating. We had debated about putting pull-ups on you the day you were a flower girl (I mean, you only have one flower girl dress). In the end, we knew you could do it & you did! Looking back, I'm so glad we didn't go the pull-up route. Having to change you would've only made the whole hectic day more stressful.

You've done so well & we're so very proud/thankful we don't have to change anymore poopy diapers. Thank you for being you.

I love you so,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Birthday Party for Little Loves: Garden Party Invites

Dear Em,
This is a four part Series covering your Garden Birthday Party. You can also read about the Garden Party DecorationsGarden Party Favors, & Garden Party Food

We're in the midst of planning your little birthday party. To lead up to it, as promised, for the next several Wednesdays I'm going to talk about birthday party celebrations. I tried to come up with a cool title that linked Wednesday to Birthday parties, and wracked my brain for a whole 60 seconds but couldn't think of anything. So, "Birthday Party for Little Loves" which just happens to be posted on Wednesday it is!

You know by now that we celebrate your half birthday. Sure, we get together with your grandparents & aunts & uncles to celebrate your actual birthday (typically in both RI & NC). Your birthday just happens to fall in the middle of Christmas & New Years- a tough time to try to get all your little friends together for a celebration & a cold time in Rhode Island to plan a fun birthday party. Plus, I cringe a little every time you get a birthday present wrapped in Christmas paper.

Last year we threw you your first half birthday bash. You were 1 1/2. Although you were very verbal, you didn't have many specific likes or dislikes. You were already showing signs of being a girly girl, so we planned a garden party...Actually, I take that back. The theme was really just flowers. Looking back now, a garden party would've been a much more cohesive theme than just flowers. Oh well.

Let's start with the invites. To save money, we made our own. I chose a yellow, purple, & green color scheme which we carried throughout the party. First, I stenciled sunflowers all over cardstock paper. You kind of helped. By helped, I mean you tried to touch all of the painted papers as they were drying on the dining room table & got paint everywhere. By the time I had gotten one page from you & had placed it back on the table, you were on to the next.

I held you in my lap & sang you your ABCs as I used our printer to print the words for the invites. After this, I learned to wait to work on invitations until after you are sleeping. At least we can say you were involved in the creation of your party invites.

 I think they came out really sweet, & the hand-painting was a fun, personal touch.

We sent the invitations out to extended family, some of our close friends, & five or six of your sweet, little friends. We have a large backyard, & wanted to share your special day with all of our family & our best friends. I think 50 people were invited overall, which didn't really seem like a lot until the day of the party. On the day of the party, it was kinda overwhelming for me to enjoy your birthday celebration while hosting such a big group. I actually pretty much missed you smashing into your first cake, because I was serving everyone else. This year we're going much smaller & just planning a party for you & your little friends. While we'll miss having all of our family with us, we've learned that you don't have to throw a massive party for it to be a special party.

Next week we'll talk super fun DIY flower garden party decorations. It's so fun to recap your first birthday party, don't you think?

I love you so,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Dear Em,
The weather is kinda dreary today. It was been for the past few days. When the sun is shining, one of our favorite things to do is stop by the Dels Lemonade truck near our house & enjoy one of our favorite things about Rhode Island.

They have a bunch of flavors but lemon is the best. It's frozen, with chunks of lemon throughout (that sounds gross, but it's wicked yummy). It's amazingness in a cup. From the beginning, your daddy has told me that in order to be a true Rhode Islander, you can't use a straw or a spoon to eat your Dels. You have to kind of smoosh your cup, mae out of wax paper, & squish your Dels up to eat.

You're already a true Rhode Islander.

I love you so,

Monday, June 4, 2012

Race for Research

Dear Em,
Next Saturday, you & I will be "racing" in a 5K. I will sloppily trying to run & you will be (probably crankily) strolling. The style of how we do the 5k is not what is important but more the reason behind it.

The 5K that we will be "racing" in is the MMRF Race for Research. Did you know less than 5% of patients diagnoses with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, live more than five years after diagnosis? With all the amazing revolutions & innovations this country & this world have seen, cancer is still something we haven't beaten. I'm hoping we can help change that.

"The MMRF was founded in 1998 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Kathy was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer that originates in plasma cells. The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure.

An outstanding 90% of total budget goes directly to research and related programming. The MMRF has been awarded Charity Navigator’s coveted four star rating for nine consecutive years, the highest designation for outstanding fiscal responsibility and exceptional efficiency.

The MMRF has facilitated unprecedented accomplishments including helping to bring four new drugs to market that are now standard therapies for patients with multiple myeloma and being used or explored as treatments for more than 30 other cancers."
- From the MMRF website

This is my 4th year participating & your 3rd (well, your first year you were still in my belly). We "race" to honor those who have suffered because of cancer. We "race" for those who can no longer race. Mostly though, we "race" for hope, hope that someday the word "cancer" will not be a death sentence. I hope that someday you will see a world that is cancer free.

If you would like to sponsor us in the MMRF Race for Research, you can go to our participant page & donate online. If you would like to join us in the Race for Research, you can go to the MMRF Race for Research homepage to learn more about future events.

I love you so,

Friday, June 1, 2012

love letters

The BestMan & Groom.

Dear Em,
Don't tell your Daddy I posted this, because he'd probably kill me. Lucky for us, he doesn't read this blog & the three people who do won't tell him...right?

Precious moment with your God Daddy.

Last weekend your daddy's best friend (who is also your God Daddy) married one of the most amazing women we know. For us, it was a family event. I was a bridesmaid, you were the flower girl, and your daddy was the bestman. Your daddy took the role of the best man very seriously, it was such an honor for him. Your Uncle B & he have been best friends since childhood, & he wanted his big day to be so very special.

The bestman speech is pretty much all he could think of since the moment he was asked to be the bestman, or more accurately (for a while) he thought about how to avoid it. It haunted him. He claims that he's not a writer or a public speaker, that role he gives to me.

Well, after a beautiful ceremony, in the midst of 205 people, this is the speech that your daddy gave for his very best friend...
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