Monday, August 17, 2015

Our Little Texter

Dear Em,
You've discovered the world of texting. Since you don't have your own phone, you need to use someone elses...which means yesterday I didn't have access to my phone for the majority of the day. You were busy with it...texting.

So far, you've texted me & Nonnie, & writing little love notes to us throughout the day is your favorite thing. Your messages typically consist of small phrases about how much you love us & a whole lot of emojis. You love it when the iPhone suggests the word that you're trying to type so that you don't have to sound out & type out the whole thing. You're a little bit of a demanding texter. You expect a response right away, & will type "Why aren't you texting me back?" if more than a few minutes have gone by without a response. It's kind of hilarious.

I can't decided if this is the cutest thing ever or the beginning of a really big problem. Sigh.

I love you so,

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Butterfly Birthday Party: DIY Party Hats

Dear Em,
I think we've been pretty successful so far at throwing entertaining birthday parties with fun themes. We go with the theme when picking out the invitations, & we've let you & your little friends dress-up in the themes for most of your birthday parties. That's kind of as far as we've taken your birthday party themes up until this year. I typically get a little lost in the details.

We went to one absolutely stunning birthday party. EVERYTHING went along with the theme, down to the smallest detail. I was absolutely stunned & inspired about how much everything seemed to fit together so beautifully & brilliantly. This year I wanted to focus a little more on the details. I created a Butterfly Birthday Party Pinterest Board. It included DIY pins that looked like they wouldn't drive me crazy with complexity while also being cute.

That's why I decided this year I would make your party hats. I found these on Pinterest. They were adorable, & I knew I could easily create something fun & similar.

Rather than cutting out a ton of butterflies, I bought a butterfly punch from the craft store. While watching TV, I punched out beautiful, little butterflies out of scrap-booking paper. I was so excited that this DIY was really going to be as easy as it looked.

A few days before your party, with six other DIY activities to focus on, Nonnie casually mentioned that it might be easier to purchase purple & green party hats rather than trying to construct them ourselves. She was right, but purchasing party hats wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. It was then that I learned how hard it is to find/buy party hats in one color. I can't even tell you how many stores I scoured, searching for purple & green party hats. Every store had multicolored hats with patterns or hats in rainbow colors. Augh!

I turned to the Internet. With only a couple days before the party, I grabbed the only purple hats I could find that had free 2 day shipping. Green wasn't even an option. Sorry to all the kids who don't like purple.

When the hats came in, Nonnie took this DIY project right out of my hands & made them look beautiful. She used a glue gun to fasten my butterfly cutouts to each of the hats. They looked perfect.

In the end, the hats weren't the complete DIY project I planned, but you loved the butterfly birthday hats...& I think everyone else did too.

Oh, & by "DIY," I mean the only thing I did myself was punch out the butterflies. Ha! Thanks, Nonnie!

I love you so,

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Little Mermaid at Theater by the Sea

Dear Em,
I've heard about a little community theater right near the ocean in Rhode Island, but this weekend we went to our very first show. Back in May, Daddy saw that they would be performing The Little Mermaid & gifted us all tickets for my birthday. I've been excited ever since about taking you to your very first live theater musical.

You asked if you could wear your Little Mermaid costume, & Daddy thought there was no better place to rock it. We drove the short ride to Matunuck with our windows down. The weather was gorgeous. We entered the small, quaint theater & were helped to our seats. They offered us a booster seat so that you would be able to better see from your seat. We could feel the ocean breeze coming through the doors of the theater.

As the music began to start, I wasn't looking at the stage. I was looking at the excitement on your adorable face. I watched your excitement as bubbles floated down from the ceiling. You gasped in delight  as Ariel entered the stage. All of the performers were incredible. The whole play was fun & entertaining, but I think Daddy & I found ourselves watching you more than anything else. When you weren't fidgeting around & kicking the back of of the chair in front of you (it must be hard to get comfortable when you're wearing a boot in the summertime), you were completely enthralled & taken away by underwater world that played out in front of you. Daddy & I shared many smiles after stealing looks at your absolute happiness & delight in those moments.

It was a magical first live musical experience, & we can't wait to take you back next year.

I love you so,

Monday, August 10, 2015

July Family Kayaking Fun

Dear Em,
I'm still catching up on July posts, & you'll be able to tell in the photos because you're not wearing a pink cast or a walking boot (it's what you're rocking now, & it's kinda a long story) in any of the photos.   We haven't had a ton of kayaking fun this summer, but the times we have gone have been amazing.

Wanting to switch things up a little bit, Daddy researched places to kayak in Rhode Island. He specifically looked for a place where you could get out & swim around, because you get bored sitting in the kayak for long periods of time (I totally understand that, I felt the same way when my mom would take us out in a rowboat when I was younger). Daddy found a spot that has been 15 minutes away from our house all along: Burlingame State Park. I knew they had a campsite. I had no idea that they had a free swimming/boating launch/picnic area. It was the perfect spot for our family kayaking adventures.

You started with a little swim.

We all loaded in the kayaks. You, Nonnie, & I went in the large one. Daddy paddled in the single kayak. You took my phone & took photos while Nonnie & I had the tough job of paddling.

The sky was a beautiful blue, with a few perfect, cotton-puff clouds scattered across the sky.

You asked if you could help paddle.

Letting you paddle can be a dangerous thing. Everyone needs to take cover. Daddy figured you were getting antsy & looked for a great spot for you to swim. He found a single rock that was easy to climb & just right for you to jump off. You had a blast jumping & splashing & swimming.

You rode on the back of the kayak on the way back, your little feet dangling in the water.

This past weekend was perfect kayaking weather, but we're trying to rest up your ankle. It's been tough for all of us being cooped up rather than enjoying all of our summer favorites (the toughest part is just trying to get you to sit), but thinking about our perfect morning in Burlingame puts a big smile in my heart. Plus, I know this spot will still be waiting for us to re-explore once we put you back together again.

I love you so,

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Your First Camp-Out

Dear Em,
Daddy & I love camping. In fact, daddy bought me a tent for my 21st birthday. Before you were born, we went camping every summer. Since you joined our little family, we've been fearful of what camping might be like with a little. Would you be able to fall asleep at night? Would you wake up at the first hint of dawn? Would you miss your toys & books & electricity & be crazy bored at night?

We decided a backyard camping night would be a good test. Our summer has been pretty full, but this past Saturday night we squeezed in your first camp-out. You & Daddy set up the tents. He looked a little exasperated at times (I was inside cooking dinner), but you guys got both tents up. To add a little Emma style & flair, you decorated the inside of our tents. You & Nonnie had worked hard that day coloring numerous pictures for our tents, & our friend, "Aunt Erin," helped you tape them in the tent.

We ate outside with Nonnie & friends on our patio. I have to say, it was one of the best looking camp sites I've ever been to.

After dinner, Daddy got a fire going in the fire pit. We sat around & roasted marshmallows & made s'mores. You had more than your share, & that may have contributed to the bouncing energy you had. You were giddy with camping excitement. You begged to stay up until midnight. Daddy gave me a look that said "that would be the worst possible thing we could let her do," & I happily agreed to a midnight bedtime.

I suggested we lay on the hammock & quietly look at the stars. You swung & bounced us around on the hammock until I was fearful of my life (& absolutely covered in the drink I was drinking).

Eager to share your exuberance, I suggested that Daddy would be able to better point out the constellations. The two of you sat in an Adirondack chair as he pointed out the big dipper & various other star formations.

At 10pm, I declared it was midnight & time for bed. "I stayed up until midnight," you happily declared. We snuggled together (on an air mattress) as I read a few chapters of Magic Tree House book we had been reading. We said our prayers, & I tucked you into your sleeping bag. I turned on your sleep sheep, & we all quickly fell asleep to the sound of the ocean.

To my surprise, you slept until 7:30 the next morning. Once you saw "Aunt Erin" & I were awake too, you happily joined us on the air mattress. We snuggled up & read a few more chapters of The Magic Tree House while every one was waking up.

To me, our camping experiment was a great success. You didn't wake up at dawn. Daddy was a little more hesitant to declare our test a win. He worried about your exuberance & loud bellowing nature from the night before. "Maybe we can try this again in a few years," he suggested.

You didn't want to wait a few years. "Can we camp out again tonight," you asked with such an excited look on your face. I talked to you about Daddy's worry about you being too loud at night. When you're at a campground with lots of other people, you can't yell & scream. You'll keep everyone awake. "Oh, I'll be much quieter the next time, Mommy," you assured me. "I was only loud this time because I was excited about my first time camping. Next time won't be my first time, so it will be much less exciting."

Ha! Well, I guess if that's the case, we better look into booking a real camping excursion later this year.

I love you so,

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Conversations with Siri

Dear Em,
You had Nonnie's iPad in your room. You've been playing with her educational apps lately. "These apps are going to help me get ready for kindergarten," you tell me with importance. I heard you mumble something, & then I heard Siri's muffled reply. Her reply went something like, "I'm sorry. I don't understand." Then I heard her say the word "Princess," but I didn't catch everything.

Surprised that you even know how to use Siri, I went into your room to ask what you were talking to her about. You looked at me solemnly & said, "I don't know," in a way that clearly told me you did. You just didn't want to tell me. Maybe you were afraid you weren't supposed to be talking with Siri? Maybe you were really embarrassed about what you asked? Maybe you asked Siri something really bad? A million questions swirled around my head, but your mouth was buttoned shut in a hard line.

I smoothed your hair & told you I wasn't going to be mad, I just wanted to know what you had asked Siri. I told you what I had heard of her response & asked if I had heard right. "Did you ask Siri about Princesses?" It was at that moment you burst into tears. "I don't think I'm ever going to be one," you said as you collapsed into my arms. "I even wished it on a wishbone, & it didn't come true. I'm never going to be a princess." My heart melted as you shared with me your greatest desire. While it might not be the most practical dream, it's yours & it crushes my heart to see your misery in not obtaining it.

"Oh, Sweet Pea, there are so few Princesses in the world. There aren't any in the US. You will have to move away to a different country to become a Princess. Is that what you want?"

You looked at me, & dried your tears. "I thought they were only make believe. You mean, Princesses are real?" Suddenly your dream of becoming a Princess was alive again.

"So, what did you say to Siri," I asked you, still curious about the exact conversation. "I said, 'I want to be a Princess,'" you told me very seriously. And that was that. You continued to hug me tight as I held you. I smiled to myself thinking about the serious conversation you had with Siri & how you had shared your most precious wish with an iPad.

Sigh, it's these hilarious & precious & vulnerable & innocent moments of childhood that I wish I could hold onto forever.

I love you so,

Monday, August 3, 2015

Next Stop, Vegas, Please

Dear Em,
A couple weeks ago I went on an impromptu work trip to Las Vegas. I say impromptu, because I only found out that I was going a week beforehand. That week was a whirlwind of preparing for the trip & fitting in family time. You were pretty bummed about me leaving for a week, & I was kind of bummed too. Summertime in Rhode Island is my favorite, & it goes by so quickly. I was going to miss a whole week of Rhode Island summertime fun with you.

My work trip was packed from morning until night with workshops. We were challenged to learn & do so much in a week's time. I barely felt the hot Las Vegas sunshine at all that week. Still, I was determined to explore & enjoy some of the glitz & glam that was Las Vegas.

I tried to call you twice a day, in the morning when I was getting ready for my day & just before you went to bed. I also texted you (via Nonnie's phone) pictures of the lights, the fun, & the interesting things I saw in Las Vegas. I started by exploring the beautiful Bellagio Garden. It was ocean themed with sea turtles, lit-up jelly fish, Nemo fish, & even a mermaid.

One of my very favorite things in all of Vegas is the Bellagio Fountain, & this trip I was lucky to see the musical fountain performances several times. My favorite time to watch was after dark, with the Paris Eiffel Tower lit up & glittering behind.

During one of our fun work events, there were performers. I was in awe over the juggler balancing on a large ball (& my coworker & I had managed to dress almost completely oppositely).

After work one evening, two of my friends & I walked to the huge Ferris Wheel (it looks a lot closer than it is) & went for a ride. From the top, there were panoramic views of the entire Las Vegas strip. We saw all of the large hotels & casinos. On the way down, we could even see the Bellagio fountain.

There was a gelato shop near our meetings, & when we had ten minute breaks I would grab a yummy gelato snack. In the shop there was a giant chocolate fountain. There was also a life sized sculpture of a woman made completely out of candy, chocolate, & sugar. When I sent you the picture, you said you wanted to eat her all up.

We went to Carmines for a team dinner one night. I felt like I had been transplanted back to Rome as we walked by a beautiful fountain on the way there. Carmines served delicious, family-style Italian food, but I think my favorite moment was when they brought out a giant dessert called the Titanic. Then one of the waiters sang a song in Italian to celebrate the fact that three of my coworkers had birthdays that week.

We had one completely free night, & some of my friends & I booked tickets to see Jersey Boys. I love musicals, & this one was incredible. Just a few minutes into the show I looked up at the lead character & thought he looked so much like a friend of mine from high school. After looking into it, I realized he was my friend from high school. He was absolutely phenomenal in the show, & it made me so happy to see him doing something in life that he loves (he was also the lead of our high school musical). We got to talk to him after the show, & it was so fun to catch up.

After passing all of our assessments, we celebrated the last night. In true Vegas fashion, Elvis & Showgirls made appearances that night.

Between the challenging work & the late nights & the time change, when I got home all I wanted to do was catch up on sleep & snuggle with you. I got a little bit of that, but then I had to get ready for a good friend's wedding. While I got ready, I asked you if you would draw me a picture of my Las Vegas adventure. Your final result made my heart smile.

You looked through my pictures for the word Las Vegas & used that to title your drawing. Pictured from left to right is: the tall Las Vegas buildings, the Caesar's Palace Fountain, the Bellagio Fountain, Las Vegas lights (the yellow things that look like lolly pops), the Chocolate/Candy Woman, the Bellagio Garden (a jelly fish, flowers, a mermaid, Nemo fish, & a sea turtle), me on the ferris wheel & the ferris wheel pod, me standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Carmines sign, the Titanic dessert (on top of the Eiffel tower), & the juggler balancing on top of a ball.

While I brought home a few souvenirs for you, I didn't bring back anything for myself. My fun memories were the perfect souvenir. Thank you so much for capturing my memories in your artwork.

I love you so,

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