Tag Archives: birthday

Two for the Show

It’s taken me a couple weeks, but I wanted to post about the big celebration we just had for my little girl. So, here it goes! My daughter’s second birthday party was a kind of Horseracing/Kentucky Derby/1920′s Jazz themed event. I called it “Two for the Show” and sent out invitations that looked like the first page of the Daily Racing Form.

The party itself had Kentucky-ish food, mint juleps, a lemonade birthday cake, and cake pops. I sort of kept everything in the green, brown, silver, burlap, and white color template. I made these pennant bunting things with colors I liked and put little toy horses in apothecary jars and decorated the tables with burlap runners. My serving table was boards laid out on hay bales.
Anyway, I will show you some pictures and you can sort of see what I did.

Oh, and there were two ponies, one miniature. My daughter LOVED riding them. She was totally unafraid, as many kids can be around horses, and she had such a good time riding that I think maybe some future lessons are in order.

I made posters of my daughter at birth, age 1, and now and put house-numbers onto the foam board they were mounted on.



I put toy horses in some jars, mint in others.


I used canning jars for cups and served basil lemonade and mint limeade. There was also a small pitcher of mint juleps, of which I drank more than anyone…



the birthday girl and I


my daughter finishes her first of 4 cake pops… you can see the bunting I made overhead



blowing out the candles on her big cake


the tiny flags on the cake match the bunting and they also say “2 FOR THE SHOW” if you can’t see it…



My sweet little girl had so much fun and sugar, the food was all eaten up, the kids enjoyed the daylights out of the ponies, and no one lost any money to their bookie, so I’m pretty sure it was fantastic party. I had so much help, those people know who they are and they have my tremendous thanks.

Onto birthday three!

Birthday 2.0

My Darling Two-year old,

If you were a racehorse, this would be a really big year for you. Since you are a toddler, this is supposed to be the year that parents dread: “The Terrible Twos.” Well, I might be biased, but I don’t think you could ever be terrible. Check back with me in a year and see how I feel, but I’m fairly confident on this one.

In the past year, you have improved on so many skills like running, coloring, eating, putting on shoes, and babbling. You are great at puzzles, following directions, and spotting squirrels and pigeons. You make us laugh, you make us think, you make us really confused sometimes, but you also make us happy, your dad and I. We can’t get over how charming and adorable you are, how genuinely sweet you are and how curious, silly, and beautiful too.

After your first birthday, you started becoming more and more independent, always wanting to try things yourself and playing more on your own. I would continually be surprised when you understood me and acted on my words. It happened so gradually but it seems that you understand everything now and I have no idea when that happened. I ask you to go throw something away and you do. Amazing.

You continued to be delighted by Sesame Street videos, music, dancing, and playing at the playground. You always want a new ball, to touch the balloons, other kids’ sand toys, and to feed the squirrels. Your favorite foods have consistently been fruits, but dessert-y things are taking a strong hold. You eat your broccoli and yogurt, so I’m pretty happy with that. I just wish I didn’t have to beg you for almost every bite.

There were several weeks last January-February where you started waking up every 10 minutes all night long. It was pretty awful, I’m not going to lie. I think you can go back and find the posts from that time and re-acquaint yourself with how whiney it made me. You went through a pretty nasty sleep regression in February 2011 too; what do you have against the month of February? Are you that sick of winter by then? I tried everything, I really did. Your dad finally had to step in and get you back to bed in the middle of the night and then as soon as it started, it was over. And then there was some amazing sleep for awhile there. Things sort of got back to normal, but there have been small improvements along the way. The first time I laid you down not-quite-asleep, you popped up, but then laid back down and fell asleep on your own, I thought I would dance with joy (except that I didn’t dare breathe, lest it wake you up).

And then on July 25th, your dad put you to bed without me being home. I… there just are no words.

In the next year, I hope for many more new feats of growing up. I think you know that big girls use the potty, don’t nurse anymore, and get to use Twitter. We’ve discussed what these things mean, but I’m not so sure you are on board right now with the first two. I’ve been reluctant to push you, I’d prefer if you’d see the benefit in wearing fancy underpants and just snuggling and want to take steps on your own to make those things happen. I would also like to hear some more talking. You’ve really been holding out on me with the words. It would not only be tremendously helpful to have you verbally communicative (the whining and pointing is only going so far), but I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. I bet it’s awesome. I bet it will heavily include the cat. You have come pretty far, but I know this year you are really going to blow us away.

When I try to remember you as a 13 month old, I see you as I see you now. I feel like you’ve always been this way even though I know all the new and cool things you can do. When I look at photos from when you were a newborn, I can hardly believe it was you and that it was just 2 years ago. I feel as if I’ve known you forever but simultaneously, that you have only been with me for a little while. I guess baby-time moves like that. Other parents tell me that this time flies and that all-too-soon I will be nostalgic for these days when you are still so little. I have no doubt that this is true. I am self-aware enough to know how I will miss you at this age, and I remind myself of it every time it takes me over an hour of holding you to get you to go to bed. Does it make the frustrating nights any less frustrating? Maybe not, but it makes me appreciate the value of time more. If it were my last night on earth, all I would want to do is hold you until you fell asleep. I know that.

I hope you have a wonderful second birthday, a third year of life as extraordinary as you are, and that we all come out of it unscathed.

Love, High Fives, and all the balloons ever,

Your Mom-mom-mom-mom

Ready, Set, Prevaricate


I’m getting ready for this big Second Birthday party we have coming up this weekend, but I’m in that weird space where I have a lot of stuff to do but can’t really start much of it yet. I’m making a lot of lists…

I have hosted a big party every summer for the past 6 years now, so when I had a summer baby, that party just got rolled into her birthday. I kind of have my routine down, but it still makes me nervous the week before when everything is up in the air and I can’t see it coming together without a few sleepless nights. It almost always does, but I have also been pretty lucky.

Right now, there is a pennant-bunting sewing project in the works, which involved 3 of us standing in the backyard debating how many feet it is between the house and the garage, and an exchange of foam board sizes that needs to happen tomorrow.

I’m using this Pepperplate menu/recipe app to consolidate all the food, desserts, and drinks I’m making, as well as my grocery list. I hope that helps, I know that having an ipad really makes an app like that worthwhile. In the grocery store, I have an e-list I can check off as I go, organized by store section. Also, having the recipes all stored and with me while I’m shopping is also amazingly convenient.

I still don’t know what shoes I’m wearing, what my final guest list will be, or how I’m decorating the cake pops, but by god, the croquet set has been cleaned.

So you know it’s going to be awesome.

Birthdays

So it was my birthday last weekend. Don’t worry if you didn’t send a card. I’m old enough that I don’t really care about that anymore. I just would like my husband to buy me a present (check!) and to eat whatever I want (check!). I did forget to pre-order for a healthy child though…

My daughter woke up on my birthday with a huge fever and no desire to do anything but sleep, nurse, whine, and cling to me. It was about 92 F outside and the humidity of a jungle. We left the apartment to find air-conditioning at the bookstore downtown, but all my kid wanted to do was sleep on my shoulder. There was a lot of walking around inside while she slept. She was better the next day, so I suspect she had way too much sun/not enough water the day before when we were outside at two different picnics.

I remember really liking my birthday. I don’t know when that ended. Sometime in my mid-twenties? I think I turned 26 and was thinking “okay, I can stop now.” But then 27 showed up, then 28… Then, you just try to turn 30 without weeping. I was pregnant and very distracted with moving/baby showering/partying/going to cool things like a Lady Gaga concert. It’s probably the best way to turn 30, if you ask me. You almost don’t even notice! But since then, birthdays are just a yearly reminder that I’m not accomplishing very much, that the clock is ticking, that I’m probably going to need that botox sooner rather than later.

As much as I’m growing to dread my own birthday, I have this cute little girl whose birthday I love and is conveniently about 6 weeks after my own. Her party last year was fabulous, all miniature foods and drinks, little black dresses, and cocktails. Yes, I had a cocktail party for my 1 year old. No, she did not drink any of them. Calm down.

Her second birthday party is set to be pretty awesome. I can’t wait! I have a lot to do before then, especially the week before, but I’m excited. She will be so much more aware of the festivities this year, that will be nice. The party is mostly planned out in my head, it’s all execution at this point. I have a pinterest board… my husband some would say I go too far, but I do routinely stop myself from trying to pretty interesting things, so I DO have some sense of proportion. I have, this year, decided against adding turrets to the top of my mother’s house (venue) to make it look more like Churchill Downs. You know, things like that.

There is of course the cake. I am no cake maker, I have no formal pastry experience, but I do like a baking challenge. I am going to try to make a cool layer cake with buttercream frosting. I have tested a few recipes and have yet to settle on one. You only get one Second Birthday cake, so you know it has to be perfect. My daughter hasn’t yet determined what HER cake flavor is. Mine is carrot cake, not because carrot cake is my favorite, though I do like it. It’s carrot because when I was a kid, that’s what I had a few times and so I just asked for it every year after that. I had no idea that carrot cake and thus cream cheese frosting was really hard to assemble in the high heat of summer. My mom’s friend and neighbor usually made my cake in the walk-in cooler at her work. Someone should have told me; I would have been fine with chocolate! But that’s what happened, and now my birthday cake is carrot.

Someday my kid will have her own flavor, even though I would like not to have aged in the meantime, I can’t wait to find out what it is. I’m hoping for chocolate raspberry.

Of Parties and Schemes

No more fancy hats, mom. Someday I will be able to utter this thought and you'll have to listen.

Is it crazy that I have already mentally planned my daughter’s 3rd Birthday party? She’ll be a year and half at the end of next month, so I understand if you are like “well, a little crazy.”

But I figure that I only have a couple more of the kid’s birthdays where I get to choose the concept and things. Pretty soon, she’ll be demanding “Dora the Explorer” parties or whatever kids will be into in 2014. And I’ll basically have no say in the tastefulness and creativity of the idea.

I enjoy planning parties. I really do. I like to think I’m not too bad at it. My sister and I have hosted a themed party every summer for the last several years and when the baby came along in August, it seemed natural that our summer party became her birthday party. And I know that Julia might think I’m far to into all of this for my own good, but I can tell you that she’s no stranger to the elegantly executed event. She’s just faster at banging out the stunning results than I am. I like to procrastinate and ruminate.

And more than anything, I like coming up with fantastic party ideas. It’s what I do during the long hours of sitting in a dark room putting my baby to sleep or back to sleep. I think of cool party concepts. Is there something wrong with that? What do you do? Try to recite Shakespeare? Decide on the top 5 albums of the last decade? Invent underhanded compliments? Sums? Mentally reorganize the room? (I do a fair bit of the last one.)

Anyway, I am well on my way to putting the theoretical finishing touches on this summer’s party. I mean, I still have to DO all the things for it, but as least I know what I’m going to do. Knowing is half the battle, right? So, I’m off and running on the 3rd birthday and I think I’ve got a nice concept. Naturally, this made me leap briefly to “I wonder what we could do for her 4th birthday?” I stopped myself. Surely, by then, she’ll have her own opinions. I probably only get the next two to really exert myself. And then it’s “My Little Pony” all the way down.

Unless, she develops a taste for anime….. hmmm….

My little peach and her Umbrella

For my daughter’s first birthday, I gave her a pair of rain boots, a matching umbrella, and the book “Umbrella,” by Taro Yashima.

In the book, the 3 year old NYC girl “Momo” (which means “peach” in Japanese), gets a pair of boots and an umbrella for her birthday and then can’t wait for it to rain so she can use them. It used to be one of my favorite books when I was little. The book has wonderful illustrations that I have always remembered. The use of color and shading– it’s a child-like vision of the world but created by a master illustrator.

My daughter loves her boots almost as much as Momo; she puts them on in the house, barefoot, and runs around in them. I bought the boots a bit big, so they are just starting to fit well now, 3 months later. She’s still a bit small to carry the umbrella by herself, but she tries. Anyway, it was raining, but not freezing, a couple days ago, so we decided to take advantage of the moment.



When blowing out daughter’s first birthday candle, I made a wish for her, since she was too little to make her own. I wished that it would never rain on her parade, but if it did, that she’d always have the most fabulous umbrella. In many ways, I think she does.

The Big 01!

I made it through an entire year of parenting. Holy freaking crap!

In that year I:

-Moved across country

-Changed jobs

-Hired and fired a nanny (this is the woman who proclaimed that my son was teething since he was 4 months old when in reality he didn’t cut a tooth until last week)

-Have NOT gotten a full night’s sleep

-Moved in with my parents (incidentally, if there is anyone who would like to purchase or lease a lovely house in Texas so I can stop living in the bedroom next to my parents, please do let me know!)

-Despite insane obstacles, continued to breastfeed and pump (ask me about the number of airplane bathrooms, empty hotel conference rooms, basements, grocery store bathrooms, rental cars and other bizarre, very marginally-clean places I have pumped in the past year. While you’re at it, ask me about acquiring dry ice in Harrisburg, PA and getting said dry ice through airport security and while I’ve piqued your interest, don’t forget to ask me about the countless arguments I’ve had with various hotel managers about using their freezers.)

But enough about me

In that same year, a little tiny alien-looking blob of a baby turned into a little human who laughs, loves, walks, crawls, throws balls, chases the cats, and hates to eat anything other than cheerios while swinging on a swing.

Yay for cute little humans!