Archives for September 2014

First Birthday Bash!

We continued to celebrate Little B’s birthday into the month of September with a fun, little party for family and friends. Turning one is a big milestone, so it totally deserves multiple celebrations, right?

In my typical fashion, I overthought every element of the party (an occupational hazard of a career in event planning is that it has a way of taking some of the fun out of personal celebrations). Starting with the location.

I wanted to keep things pretty casual and cost-effective, but there was no way we could host a group of 30-plus people in our tiny house. I thought about renting a picnic area at a local park, but wasn’t thrilled about having to deal with permits or inclement weather. The local play places (such as Nest and Smith Playground), were nice, but pricey. These options will be great for the future, but with a guest list comprised of mostly adults and kids that aren’t really walking yet, they didn’t seem like the best fit for our group either.

At a loss, I asked for ideas on a local parenting message board that I frequent, and someone shared that they hosted a first birthday party at a frozen yogurt bar in their neighborhood. This seemed like a brilliant way to keep the kids and adults happy. So of course, I stole the idea and called up at Zoey’s in the Italian Market. They had a small, private room in the back that was the perfect size for our group and every flavor of frozen yogurt and type of topping imaginable Perfect!

I considered a few themes, but in the end, decided to keep things simple and just focus on the birthday girl and her milestone age (that, of course, didn’t stop me from obsessing about what color plastic utensils to buy, of course. Everyone who works at the Party City in South Philly now knows that I am insane.).

The pink/orange/polka dot/chevron decor followed from the adorable printable invitations, banners and favor tags that I purchased from Etsy seller Ooodles and Doodles. We added in a few DIY elements, including a chicken wire picture frame to display her monthly photos (thanks, Checkter!) and cupcake liner flower centerpieces that I stayed up way past my bedtime to put together (if you are wondering, I debated over just the right colors/patterns of said cupcake liners for way longer than necessary. Everyone who works at the AC Moore in South Philly also knows that I am insane). We brought in hoagie trays from Sarcone’s and a seriously delicious Funfetti cake with vanilla buttercream from Whipped Bakeshop and we were ready to party.

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And, of course, everyone had all the sweet treats that they could handle! (It’s a little hard to appreciate in these photos, but I would like the point out that the birthday girl fit right in with the color scheme with a special outfit from Etsy seller PDS113. She also had an adorable headband from Pretty Little Elm, that didn’t stay on for long).

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Vanilla yogurt and mango sorbet for the birthday girl!

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She was scooping up yogurt by the handful during these photo ops!

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With Auntie B, Uncle B and Joey!

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She had no problem smashing up her cake here!

We were so fortunate to be able to celebrate B’s special day with our amazing family and friends.

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With Grauntie, Granny, Lola and Lolo. Even after several takes, we failed to get a photo in which everyone was looking at the camera.

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Former carpool buddies, plus one!

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B’s newest friend + the youngest party guest, four-week old Carmendy and her dad, Richard. You must click over to Louisa’s blog for the story of how she made her entrance into the world.

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Jack, B’s future husband.

Thanks to everyone who joined us!

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The after-party, at home

The Little Moments

Kurt Vonnegut said “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” As I scroll through the photos we have taken recently, I am reminded of what a valuable piece of advice this can be.

After a somewhat stressful first birthday weekend, we wanted to have a low-key day for just the three of us to be together. We decided to head over to Franklin Square Park for a ride on the carousel.

I placed B atop one of the shiny horses and she grabbed right on. As I held on to her, I could just sense her anticipation as we waited for the ride to start.Birthday_Week-46

When the music started and the carrousel begin to turn, I thought she would be scared. But, when I looked at her, the first thing that I saw on her face was wonder. And, after that, that pure contentment. There is something magical about seeing the world through a little one’s eyes. It doesn’t really take all that much to make them happy. And, in that moment, without cake, balloons or any real fanfare, B looked like the happiest darn baby on the planet. And, that made me the happiest mom on the planet.

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Yes. Sometimes the smallest moments really are the best moments.
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Little B: 12 Months

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Little B is one!

I have been getting weekly e-mails from Baby Center all year, with the subject line “Your Baby This Week.” When this week’s update arrived in my inbox, with the title “Your Toddler This Week” I almost cried. In my mind, of course, B will always be my baby, but it still makes me a little sad that every time I blink, she seems a little bit more grown up. This time last year, she was a sleepy, little blob and today she is a bouncy, giggly little girl.

During the past month, she learned how to stand up on her own and has become an expert cruiser. She has yet to take any steps by herself, but loves to walk by either holding on to our hands or the furniture. All. The. Time. When we try to let go, she gets a bit panicky, so I often wonder if the reason she hasn’t started walking yet is due in part of a lack of confidence. One of her favorite activities lately is to chase Chester or I around the house when the other one of us is walking her around, so at least we will continue to burn a few extra calories until she decides she wants to take off on her own.

When B does actually stop moving, she likes to climb up on one of our living room chairs to look out the window. She loves to know what’s going on in the neighborhood and waves at the cars that whizz down the street and the hooligans that congregate in the schoolyard. It’s particularly cute when she and Tracy peer out together. They are truly best buds.

I am constantly amazed at how much she understands and how quickly she learns new things. We get so excited when we hear a new “word” emerge. She is all about “dada” these days, and we have heard her say things that resemble bottle and bubble. She strings a series of sounds together that I swear sound just like “I love you” which, of course, melts my heart.

She will shake her head “no” when asked just about any question (when we ask her if she wants her diaper changed, I can see why she responds this way. But, she also does it when we ask her if she wants a snack. Who refuses a snack?!). She has learned how to blow kisses, give high fives, raise one finger when we ask her how old she is and point out the red balloon in Goodnight Moon, her current favorite book. We decided that it would be adorable to teach her “jazz hands,” but so far she only does it one-handed. It’s a work in progress!

She tipped the scale at 19 pounds, 12 ounces (more than tripling her birth weight) and measured almost 28.5 inches (9 inches more than when she was born) at her most recent doctor’s appointment. Her diet now includes a wide variety of finger foods. Some days, she is ravenous and will eat everything we put in front of her and on other days, she is only interested in Cheerios. But, she will at least try everything we put in front of her, which I hope will continue. We got the go-ahead from her doctor to transition her to whole milk, and she has taken to it pretty well so far.

Officially, she still just has two tiny teeth (bottom front), but we can finally see her two top teeth poking through her gums! And, man, have they been giving her a rough time this month. There are times that her level of anger and frustration from the pain makes her almost demonic. I feel terrible that we can’t do more to help, beyond giving Orajel and extra hugs. I’m glad that she won’t remember this time years from now.

One of those cranky days, unfortunately, coincided with her first birthday. I could tell as soon as she woke up that it was going to be a rough day. We tried to make the best of it, but between being out of sorts because of her teeth, short on naps and just generally overwhelmed by the festivities, there were plenty of tears and stress–for all of us–that day.

I know that where babies are concerned you need to manage your expectations, but I really was excited for us all to celebrate the day together and I really wanted her to have fun. So, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t just a tiny bit upset with how the day went. Luckily, we still managed to take plenty of photos, so as I look back on the day I have realized that there were some really sweet moments after all.

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Checking out her birthday loot!

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Enjoying a pancake breakfast

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A new ride


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Digging into cake

We celebrated this milestone a few different ways beyond the actual day, and I have few other posts about those festivities coming up.  In the meantime, I can’t resist sharing some of the sneak peeks from our one-year photo session at Valley Forge Park with Amanda. As I have mentioned before, I am so glad that we invested in photography during the last year. The family photos are particularly special to me; we don’t have a ton of photos of the three of us, since one of us is usually behind the camera.

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I expected that she would have a blast smashing a cake to bits. Who wouldn’t love to have a whole cake to themselves, right? Well, B wasn’t really into it. She poked at the icing for a bit, smeared some on her legs. Finally, she decided that she had had enough and kicked the cake over. It was a unique reaction to say the least, but still adorable!

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It’s been amazing to watch B grow every day. I just feel so darn lucky that I get to be her mother. I am sure that I will always miss the newborn days just a little bit, but I know that there are plenty more memories and milestones ahead for our little family (and, I’m glad that I know a whole lot more now than I did this time last year!). So, bring on year two!