Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wedding Shower Wednesday: Bride Donut Cake

Dear Em,
In some ways your Aunt Andrea & I are alike. She loves donut cake. I love donut cake. We thought, what better dessert for her wedding shower than a donut cake from Allies Donuts?

When we opened the box, we were a little surprised by how orange the orange skin sprinkles were next to the white dress sprinkles. Sigh. It's a shame they don't make different skin-tone sprinkles.

While it looked just a little bit silly, it was unique & really fun. The bride was happy with her slightly funky looking bridal donut cake, & it tasted wicked yummy (you may have had more than one piece)...& that's what truly counts.

I love you so,

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Not Doing Our Best

Dear Em,
We were in the middle of a tough week. There had been tantrums galore. I know every study coming out nowadays says not to take things away as a punishment, but Daddy & I had no idea what to do. Your nastiness was off the charts. EVERYTHING was causing a meltdown or a tantrum.

Trying to nip the whole thing in the bud, Daddy & I gave you consequences with every nasty tirade you went on. We took away TV. We took away desserts. We sent you to quiet time in your room. Nothing worked.

I woke up one morning to you screaming at me because I asked you to put your clothes on. You told me that I wasn't your mommy anymore & you never wanted to see me again. Later that afternoon, while I was trying to help you get ready for dance (which we debated not letting you go to, but ultimately didn't want you to miss it), you screamed at me again. Just inches from my face. I'm not proud of how I reacted.

I called Nonnie while you were in dance that night. I was on the verge of tears. Everything was awful & nothing was working. Nonnie just listened. She didn't judge. She made a few suggestions, but mostly she just let me vent.

After we tucked you in that night, Daddy & I talked. I didn't want to excuse your actions. The way you were acting was not okay. But maybe part of the reason you weren't giving us your best, is that Daddy & I weren't giving you our best. We have been so busy over the past few months, that when Daddy & I finally have a second that isn't planned, we've grown accustomed to collapsing in a chair & zoning out in front of the TV. We've been exhausted. You've been exhausted. It seems like every moment of every weekend has been planned, & we spend our week days just trying to hold on. We've been rushing everywhere, & when we're not rushing, I just want to curl into a little ball & get some quiet time to recover.

While you've mostly been with us on our weekend adventures & they've included fun activities, all the little things seemed to be lacking. When was the last time we had a dance party while I made dinner? When was the last time I sat down & read with you, not because it was bedtime, just to read to you? When was the last time we played a family board game or played magnatiles together or played playdough together or worked on puzzles together? Maybe part of the reason you were acting the way you were acting is that was the only way to get a reaction from Daddy & I?

So, you & I had a talk the next day. We talked about how frustrating it feels for me to have someone screaming in my face. We talked about how I wasn't proud of how I was reacting to you screaming in my face. We talked about better ways to communicate. We talked about making better choices.

Then the three of us loaded into my car & went to the park after work. Your smiles & laughter told me everything I needed to know. You didn't need jam-packed expensive adventures. You needed quality time with your Mommy & Daddy. You needed this. Our family needed this.

We all went to bed much happier that night. The next few days went a lot better. We had more dance parties & less tantrums. Just the way I like it.

I love you so,

Monday, April 28, 2014

Your First Car Wash

Dear Em,
On a sunny day a couple weekends ago, you had your first car wash. Daddy filled up a bucket of soap, & you set to work.

You were extremely thorough, even spending a lot of time drying off your little car afterwards. You had a blast! The stinkin' cuteness was incredibly entertaining for Daddy & I to watch.

Also, these pictures are from Daddy's phone. You changed the settings in Daddy's iPhone camera so that all the pictures have kind of a vintage look to them. Daddy is not sure how you did it or how to change it back, but he thinks it gives his photos "a cool look."

I love you so,

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Perfect Spring Day

Dear Em,
When I have a perfect moment, it's something very hard to recreate...partially because of how much it's been built up in my mind. Fantastic trips, the perfect bite of food, & time spent with friends & family...I've tried to experience some of my favorite moments all over again, but it never seems to completely live up to that first perfect moment. 

We had a moment like that. It was actually a whole spring day. It was three years ago & was one of the rare Saturdays when we didn't have anything planned. It was the beginning of spring, one of the first really sun-shiny days of the year. 

Daddy & I put you down for your afternoon nap, grabbed the monitor, & headed into the backyard without coats or jackets. I was working on decorating our stairway & had set up our picnic table with frames I wanted to paint. Daddy put the Red Sox game on the radio & he drank a few beers while I sipped cold sangria. We both just soaked up the sunshine while listening to the game & working on my project. 

When you woke up, you joined us outside. You & daddy kicked a ball around the yard & we pushed you on the swings. It was really so simple, but so perfect. Ever since then, Daddy & I have remembered that day as THE perfect spring day.

We were recently surprised with a Saturday with no plans. When we awoke to the sun shining, Daddy & I wondered if we could have another perfect day. I was skeptical. Our day three years ago was just so precious in my mind. How can you recreate perfection?

We decided to try & headed outside for the whole day. First, we tackled some yard work. 

Daddy put the Red Sox game on the radio. I soaked up some sun on the trampoline. You played with your "buddies" on the swing set & drove your car around the yard. We ate outside in the fresh air.

We built a fire, & Daddy & I helped you roast s'mores. You grinned with chocolate & marshmallow yumminess covered the sides of your mouth. Instead of taking you inside for your bedtime ritual, Daddy read you two books outside with the fire pit glowing.

I took you inside to shower off the smoky, fire smell before tucking you into bed. You told me that it had been "the best day ever!" I rejoined Daddy back outside, monitor in hand, & we watched the fire glow as the sky went completely dark. We both agreed. It had been the best day. We had the gift of another perfect spring day. 

It may not seem like much to many. We didn't go anywhere or doing anything elaborate. But to me, I had my family, our home, the sunshine, relaxation, & the Red Sox (& a couple beverages) was total perfection. Not exactly the same as our first perfect spring day. You can't completely recreate the exact same day, & that day from three years ago will always remain as a precious moment in my heart. But we had created a new family memory, that I will hold dear for a long time to come.

Thanks for all the perfect days we've shared & all the perfect days to come.

I love you so,

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wedding Shower Wednesday: Pink & Glittery Prizes

Dear Em,
We had so much fun with the games (toilet paper bride & newlywed game) at your aunt Andrea's shower, & I wanted the winners to take fun prizes home with them. Since the ladies at the shower would be traveling to the wedding, we all thought that travel themed prizes would be perfect. We looked at sunscreen, chapstick, & finally luggage tags. I love luggage tags. I feel like I can't get enough items to distinguish my plain, black luggage from everyone elses plain, black luggage in an airport.

So, I did a google search, an Amazon search, & an Etsy search for luggage tags. Nothing seemed to be quite right. I felt like everything was either expensive or cheesey. I emailed the other bridesmaids with some of the options I found, & they all agreed we hadn't found the perfect luggage tag for Andrea's event. We just knew we could do I did.

I ordered 12 clear acrilic luggage tags. With shipping, it cost a little more than a dollar a luggage tag. I bought gold & pink sparkly paper & used a business card to trace 12 rectangles into the gold paper before cutting the rectabgles out. Then I cut out 12 pink, glittery hearts using our heart punch. I used a glue gun to fasten the pink heart to the gold background. Before sticking the glittery insert into the clear acrillic tags, I used pink pen to print "Name", "Address", & "Phone Number."

I loved how quick & inexpensive these were to make & how super cute they came out. They were the perfect prizes for our pink & glittery (with a little bit of travel) theme. The only downside is that the white strap doesn't seem to fasten securely. You loved the luggage tags so much, we kept one for your own suitcase. I think we'll take the white strap off & just use ribbon to securely fasten the tag to your suitcase. 

I can't wait for you to travel with your glittery & pink luggage tag.

I love you so.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Spring

Dear Em,
We didn't go crazy decorating for Easter this year. I never got around to updating our Easter door hanger & forgot about putting up our paint chip Easter eggs, but we did welcome spring with back door decorations.

I put up the letters, & you smiled as you read the words aloud. You've been anxiously waiting for Spring for a long time. Then you filled the windows with sunshines & flowers & rainbows. I can't think of better illustrations to say hello to one of our favorite seasons. I think Spring has said hello right back this week with some gorgeous weather. To celebrate, we'll be spending a lot of time outdoors.

I love you so,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014 Recap

Dear Em,
Easter was late this year, & all year I have been hoping that we would be able to celebrate the late holiday with warm weather. Well, the New England weather did not disappoint. You could feel God in the sunshine all weekend.

This month had been so very busy for us, other than reading books, we didn't do much to prepare for the Easter holiday. Instead, we fit a bunch of celebrations into this one weekend. We started with a sleepover with your best friend. I had some easy Easter crafts prepared, & the two of you had a blast crafting away.

You woke up Saturday morning & Daddy made you bunny pancakes, with bacon for the bunny ears & chocolate robin eggs for eyes & nose. Daddy is so creative.

We headed to the Roger Williams Zoo to meet the Easter bunny & take pictures before spending a gorgeous day checking out the animals.

On Sunday morning, you woke up & came into our room for morning snuggles & cartoons. I snuck downstairs to finish helping the Easter bunny set up. When I returned, you told us you were hungry for "bref-kast." I told you that the Easter bunny had left you some surprises. Your eyes grew wide. You had forgotten all about Easter. Your surprises started with bunny ears & flower headbands for us to put on, your first clue to the 25 clue scavenger hunt, & a few eggs to filled with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peanuts, cheez-its, & gold fish. Since you were hungry, you gobbled down the treats & continued gobbling down the treats as you went through your hunt.

Nonnie worked with the Easter Bunny this year & asked the Bunny to deliver a Princess Aurora costume. You wore the sparkly, pink costume for the rest of the hunt.

You love, love, love scavenger hunts. I love watching your excitement as you find each new clue (& eat each new snack). I was struck by how much you've grown. It was amazing to me how little help you needed this time as you did your hunt. I'm dazzled by how you develop & grow year after year. You found your Easter Basket in mine & Daddy's room, & you were beyond thrilled to find it filled with treasures. It was the most adorable thing ever.

You were happy to finally eat "bref-kast." We were surprised that you were still so hungry after all the snacks you ate throughout your scavenger hunt. Daddy made us corn fritters! It is my very favorite breakfast that my Daddy makes, & I've only been able to eat them a few times a year. I was thrilled when Daddy offered to tackle the recipe for the first time this Easter...we all were. They were delicious!

You spent the rest of the morning playing with your new treasures.

We face-timed with my family before meeting with Daddy's family later in the day. It was the perfect way to spend the day with so many people we love. You got to enjoy another scavenger hunt at Grandma & Papa's house before we headed to Daddy's aunt's house, to celebrate with a whole home full of family. And since you had only snacked on fruit, chips, goldfish, peanuts, & cheez-its at our house, we let you enjoy all of the candy & desserts you wanted for the rest of the day.

Absolutely contented, you lost the battle to sleep on our way home. Daddy & I smiled as we watched your eyes droop & eventually close.

I think this was my favorite Easter yet. It was an amazing weekend to celebrate God's forgiveness & God's blessings with people we love.

I love you so,

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