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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lucy's 1st Birthday, "I Love Lucy" Theme.

Months ago we threw around the idea to have an "I Love Lucy" themed 1st birthday party. It seemed cute enough, and I mean--heck, we do love Lucy, so, appropriate, yes. Of course I looked around online and quickly found out that this is not a popular birthday theme. Like, at all. Therefore, the creative factor would be up to me. Fabulous.

I admit I was not super into the idea of a party at all. But if I force myself to buy/have invitations designed, then I always end up having the party. See how that works? We decided on just a small family party so I didn't have to stress hardcore about numbers.  I set out to have my friend Kristen from Little Laws Prints to make me up some cute invites. As usual, she delivered.

(sorry for the crappy instagram photo)
The rest of the stuff just sort of fell into place. I promise I spent all of 10 minutes the Friday night before the party hot gluing a few things. Then a little bit of time at my parents actually setting up. But mostly, I just collected some things from Etsy shops or online party stores over the last month and used my normal party-planning crap to execute. It pays to have a garage full of random things, I guess (not sure my husband would agree).

(Cookies were given to me by the fabulous Kristin of TheKakeLady. Cake made by my sweet sis-in-love, Lyryn. Photos by Lyryn, too!)








This adorable We Love Lucy banner came from Little Bird Paper Shop on Etsy. She was incredible to work with and I highly recommend her. She makes all sorts of fun paper goods for parties and more.

The month to month pictures were just a simple polka-dotted ribbon with my favorite clothes-pins. Nothing fancy, I told you--I had very little 'extra umfph' to put into this party. Also, the big I love Lucy heart was a half-hour-before-the-party commission for my brother. The spot was big and empty and he helped me out. Thanks, buddy :)


It TORRENTIAL downpoured two hours before the party. That's why everything was set up indoors. Typically, I love a good outdoor party--especially the dessert and treats table being outside. I just couldn't risk it with the weather. It did turn out being a nice day when miraculously the sun came blazing out and dried everything up, but oh well.

I did my streamer-wall thing behind the drink table to try and deter your eyes from the ugly wallpaper border (sorry mom) in my parents kitchen. I blew up a picture of Lucy, had a few polka-dotted straws for fun (the kids love 'em), pink lemonade and water. Done. (adult drinks not pictured. *wink*)

The day before the party I hit up a florist, requested a bunch of red and white carnations (because they're cheap) and babies breath. So I made a bunch of my own little bouquets, and used the ribbon and I love Lucy logo to fancy up the mason jars. (That was my 10 min hot glue project the night before.)

(you may have noticed I painted my formerly yellow highchair white for the party....I love it in crisp white!)

See that gorgeous birthday hat? Sigh. It's the prettiest. This came from Lil Lids on Etsy and let me tell you, Lora is so easy and kind to work with. She truly made my little idea come to life! Lucy loved her hat and it looked darn cute on her :)   (use code Lucy 1 for free shipping on Lil Lids!)

I didn't even take a photo of the other food table. We served...wait for it....pizza. Then we had our usual array of MY MOM ROCKS food. She made a ton of sides...like pasta salad, and fruit salad, and a big green salad, too. We had the usual popcorn and chips snacks, and everyone's bellies seemed happy and full.

THEN it was cake time.

Lucy loved it. We just gave her a massive piece and let her dive into it. She only wanted to pick up all the little black polka-dots and eat them. Fabulous. It was way cute, though. 

(those are the balloon strings back behind my head--not my hair all wonky, I swear.)


A video for good measure:

   

 Birthday girl gets some lovin'.

Always so grateful to my parents for opening their home so generously to us! They're the best. 

So thankful that Lyryn is always willing to snap photos for me so I can be present with the family. She's truly got a gift behind the lens. Many of the photos in this post are hers, so thank you for letting me use them, Lyr!

our smiley girl WOULD NOT GIVE UP A SMILE at all during this part....kind of makes me laugh. :)


STOP. That photo of my girls?? dead.

***

During dessert time I made root beer floats in true 50's fashion. No photos to prove it. BUT--they were delicious.

A small family party seemed to do the trick. A little I Love Lucy and polka-dots made a perfectly cute and fitting theme for sweet Louie.

No more parties for me for a loooong time :)

***

Birthday Banner- Little Bird Paper Shop
Birthday Hat- Lil Lids (code Lucy 1 for free shipping!)
Birthday Cookies-The Kake Lady



Monday, July 29, 2013

Dear Louie, on your 1st birthday.



Oh Lucy,

You are 1 today.

It's true that in hindsight, time goes by in a flash. In the moment, baby, the truth is, some of the new days with you were l o n g. It took a lot of practice getting used to being a mom of two. You stuck in there with me girl, as I changed and grew. As I learned what it meant to care for two babies now. You were flexible and mostly easy, and I appreciate that you were a go-with-the-flow-kid.

You withstood the pokes and prods of a proud older sister all year. She loved you from the very start. Girlfriend was obsessed with you. I know she still is, although sometimes now that you're all up in her business she can be a little....testy, let's say. But the other day when she proclaimed in the bathtub, "I LOVE being a big sister, I'm the BEST big sister there is!" she meant it. She believes it. You two are a pair, alright.

Which leads me to my favorite moments of all time---the two of you meeting. I'm so glad to have some of these moments in photos and video:



Louie, you have found your voice. You have a will and way, that's for sure. You let us know when you're all done with any activity, and ready to MOVE! ON! NOW! When you're sad you come running with open arms for one of us to hug and hold you and love on you. When you're happy you BEAM. Your entire body smiles. You have the best smiling eyes ever. Everyone comments on what a joy you are.

You have a daring, adventurous spirit that is taking some getting used to on my part. I find you just hanging out, standing on a chair in the middle of the living room. Since 9 months you could fly up 3 flights of stairs faster than I could blink and I'd find you in another part of the house. You do things that scare me. You stand on a step and dangle your foot out as if you're going to leap--then you give me that eye and little smirky-smirk. I fear for our future--I fear the possible ER trips. I don't know what you're gonna be when you grow up, but honey, you have no fear and that scares your momma a little. Go easy on me, k?


Lucy, we're bonded, girl. You love your momma. I've kept you closer and have broken all the 'rules' with you. I think it's a second-kid thing. I just don't care and I know that eventually, you'll be a big kid. So I savor your baby'ness. Truth be told, I've been ready for you to wean now for the last month--but you have no interest. I didn't hit my 1 year breastfeeding goal with Emeline (got close, 11 months!), but we've officially made it, girlfriend. You're a good partner and have been easy from the start in that department. I pray that you'll naturally wean in the next few months. I think as a second kid, you really enjoy that time just us. I get that. So I go with it and feel blessed we've gone this long.

Sweetie pie. I'm just gonna be frank- I wish you'd sleep better. You still kinda suck in that department at night. Too many night-time wakings. You'll have a good few days (good=waking up only 1 time)....then something goes wrong. A tooth. A cold. Whatever. And you're up 3-4x a night. I'm tired, but mostly used to it. The truth is I just suck at hearing you cry. I let you go sometimes, but you have some pipes and I fear the neighbors may think something serious is going wrong--so I get you, we cuddle. See? I'm a rule breaker, and I'm the one who suffers ;) You'll sleep one day, I tell myself.


Oh Lucy. I love seeing you with your Daddy. You two are amazing together. When he comes home from work, you run to the gate and get down on your knees to peek through the railings....whispering, in that raspy voice of yours, Da-Da-Daaaa. When you see him you begin to flail your arms and wave. You're always the first to get a kiss when he gets home. You like to tackle and nuzzle into him. You know he's the one who plays (much better than momma), but he's also good for a shoulder ride to see above the crowd.

Sweetie girl, you are the one who will give me gray hairs out of stress and panic, I know it. But you have also helped unlock another piece of my heart that I never knew needed to be. Thank you for being my second baby girl. We're so blessed to call you ours.

Happiest 1st birthday.

All my love and a million wet smooches,

Momma


***

Had so much fun celebrating her yesterday. A birthday party recap post coming this week, promise.



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Friday, July 26, 2013

That time I forced my brother to Body Pump with me

I am really excited. My little brother is home for a few days, in from his sunny, beautiful San Diego place of residence to his regular-ole-PA hometown. The brother that whenever I post a picture of on instagram, someone always strokes his ego and calls him a Justin Timberlake lookalike. Whatever.

ANYWAY.

He decided to come home for a strategic visit. You know what I mean. Where you can hit a few important things at one time while also seeing family? One of those. 

Basically, my older brother just had a baby. Well, he didn't--but his wife did, ahem. So, there's a new baby to be met. They also bought a new home and settled the day before having Evan (crazy huh??), which is an exciting life event, and Lucy's 1st birthday party is Sunday. Three relatively big things that he can meet/see/attend.

So last night, we were all hanging out at my brothers new house. Declan, Emeline and my little brother (we call him "Wit" by the way) all met and held the baby for the first time. Which, by the way--my husband is a sucker for 'dem babies. He's all "baaaabe, don't you want anotherrrrr?" To which I quickly snapped back at him DON'T YOU DARE GO THERE YET, FOOL. And I know what you're thinking (since a few of you punks people said this on instagram), but last time he wanted a baby, a few months later you were knocked up with Lucy. HUSH, yo. Seriously. I promise, I am not even a tiny bit ready. Not even a tiny bit. Like, all of these babies around me and I don't have an ounce of baby fever. Not an ounce. They are damn cute, though. MOVING ON.


After all of the above people got sucked into the baby-cuddles and left baby-zombies wishing for one of their own (I repeat: I DID NOT)--we went to Dairy Queen for a fatty snack treat.

We're sitting there and I get this GENIUS!!!!IDEA!!!!! to invite my little brother to the gym with me in the morning (today). All peppy and full of a million calorie mini blizzard I ask him to come with me to mom-hour at the gym--and PRETTY MUCH without skipping a beat he obliged. BUT THEN I got this other genius idea and , "ohhhh you should do BODY PUMP with me!" came blurting out.

To which he replied, "well, if I go to the gym, I'd rather...you know, actually--work out".   [[NOW IS THE PART WHERE ALL MY FELLOW BODY PUMPERS OF THE WORLD GASP IN SHOCK AND PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE]]

JUST FOR THAT, he is going with me to Body Pump this morning. Where he will be the only guy in a class full of all women, and I cannot wait to see him sweat and cry like a little baby for thinking that body pump is like friggin' Prancercise or something.



Because, fo' real. These guns don't come from no prancercising.

Cannot wait to get this show on the road. Is it 10:20 yet?? I've never been so excited for an exercise class in all my life.

****

Hollerrrrr.


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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The going ons of what's going on.

This week we're just trying to get back to somewhat normal. Of course, our life is not the normal we were used to before Declan's dad passed away. It just won't and can't be the same. It shook us to our core, especially my husband, and I am so grateful for the prayers for him, his family--and the continued prayers, too. Those who have been there know that losing a parent is just awful, and so hard. We are taking everything one day at a time.

The service for him on Saturday was so special and honoring and I know that it helped us all in a way, as hard as it was. At the end, Emeline sang two verses of Amazing Grace. She's not scared of a packed Church. She grabbed the mic, and said "mom, I wanna do this all by myself, go back there" (well ok then) and then belted out those verses like it was her job.

All I have is an instagram picture and a crappy phone quality (that's not even the original) text'ed to me. SOoooooo here you go.


It's been hard to really focus on the fact that in 5 days, I HAVE A ONE YEAR OLD. But that's the case and I can't deny it any more. I've been putting off her party planning because, mainly, I've been drained from this week, as is everyone else--emotionally and physically. So I still just have a box full of birthday stuff sitting here in my kitchen, hoping our little family party can somehow come together on Sunday.

I have a one-coat painted highchair. It needs another coat. I haven't planned the food, the cake, and I've not done proper birthday pictures for her. But last week, while I needed a mini distraction--I attempted some birthday pics and here are my favorites.

Headband and Romper from The Hairbow Company--check them out, such crazy good deals!

(I may or may not have given her a huge lollipop to distract her--don't worry she only got a few licks :) )
You know what's kinda cool? When new life comes at the perfect time.

I think God knows what he's doing. Last weekend I got to spend some time photographing a new baby for some friends of ours. I needed those newborn snuggles bad. Then, I got the news yesterday morning that my friend Ash had her little girl, who I also have the privilege of photographing this weekend. THEN, I became an aunt for the SIXTH (!!!) time last night, as my brother and his wife welcomed their 4th little person, Evan Keith.

I had the chance to put Lucy down and rush to the hospital to take a few of those freshy-fresh pics.



There's something about those first hospital moments that are so dang precious it almost makes me consider getting pregnant again. But not for a long, loooong time.

Welcome to the family, Evan.

As much as I don't advertise being a (P)hotographer, there are lots of times I kick myself for not having a blog just for documenting the pretty photos I've been getting for the random shoots I've been doing for friends and family. I think I'll add that (ha!) to my to-do list (yea right).

happy wednesday.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm there not here.

Earlier last week my friend Tahnie from A Happy Girl asked me to guest post on her blog. I hardly do guest posts (okay, I never do anymore)--because I just don't have the time. But this girl just pricks at my heart in ways I can't explain, she is such a fighter and I really just adore her sweet heart.

Wait until you see what she made me write. It was challenging and stretching to say the least.

I wrote all this prior to losing my Father-in-law, obviously. Trust me, this week I have no time for extra writing. It's been...very tough, to say the least. Speaking of which, thank you for the love and prayers poured out on my family during this time. I read each comment. We feel the prayers. Those of you have reached out and actually helped us in a practical way, too--I love you. There are truly no words other than thank-you, a million times over. A hot meal is such a labor of love. A gift card for the family. Flowers. Fresh cookies and bread. Little things like that show you care and are thinking of us mean more than you know.

Thank you.

Check out my post at A Happy Girl here. 



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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

a good one went home.

(declan's dad, Attila, holding Lucy for the first time)
The last few days have been a whirlwind in the worst way. My good-hearted, amazingly loving Father-in-law passed away Saturday morning in his home. It was the call you never want to receive, and I believe my pain is only a tiny fraction of the pain my husband, his siblings and his mom feel right now.

It's absolutely gut-wrenching. I think losing a parent at any age is awful, but my husband is 26. It seems unfair. And yet we all know that we were just blessed to know him & be loved by him for as long as we did.

Declan's Dad was a gentleman. He treated women with respect and kindness. He spent many years as the stay-at-home parent and Declan has fond, fond memories of having a lot of quality, one on one time with him. They fostered many children in their home, and he had the chance to show 26 children what a genuine Father's love looks like. He is gentle, slow to speak, quick to listen, and a damn good cook, too.

The lessons he taught my husband will never be forgotten and his amazing legacy of being an amazing daddy and husband is something I get to witness everyday through his son.

I feel blessed to have known him for as long as I did, and to have him as one of my 'parents' for the last 6 years. I feel blessed that he always accepted me with open arms into their family.  I feel blessed that he got to love on both my babies, and stare into their sweet, newborn faces within a few days of them being born. I feel blessed that I got to share in the experience of his amazing meals he so much loved cooking for his family. I feel blessed that I'd get to witness heartfelt conversations between him and Declan often. I feel blessed that I get to hold the sweet and genuine compliments he gave me close to my heart.

He will be sorely missed. And that barely scratches the surface.

This is a hard week. I think many facets of life just feel like a big blur right now. It is a big blur. It's hard to function normally when nothing is normal right now. Add in that both my girls are so sick right now (they have classic timing, always), it's just. Overwhelming.

Our family covets your prayers during this time. Prayers for my husband as he walks this walk of grief, his siblings, his sweet momma, his dad's only sister, and the grandbabies. Prayers for healing for the girls, too would be appreciated.

Thanks so much.


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Thursday, July 11, 2013

I've thought of that moment, what would I do? It came. I think I did it right.

I've talked before about raising daughters, about it's challenges, about body image talk and how I have to be so careful because their little brains are so maleable, so moldable---soaking every little thing in. It's hard.

It's hard to change your way of thinking, of certain verbiage. It's hard to change your tune away from saying words like skinny or fat and replacing them with healthy and strong, but we do that here, now. We're really careful about it. On the random occasion those words are thrown around (cough::my mom::cough:: example, Look at you all skinny and fit!) I try to gently correct back to healthy. Being healthy. (In her defense, she's just being nice to me, and doing what moms do. :) )

ANYWAY.

All this to say--even I am retraining my brain away from all that stuff. Away from being self-deprecating or poking at my flawed areas and being critical, and only caring about the scale. Rather, trying to notice the slow, gradual changes and feel good knowing my hard work is responsible for it.

So the other day, I had this random itchy rash on my body. I used a new body wash that had honey in it, and I'm pretty sure I reacted to that. Emeline was curious and I was sitting in the bathroom, when she asked to see. I lifted up my shirt and showed her the hardly-noticeable-to-the-eye itchy rash on my belly.

See that? Right there. It itches mommy.

      Oh I'm so sorry, mom!

Then I saw her eyes as she noticed them. My stretchmarks. They live under my belly button area. They're faded, but they're still very much there.

      What are 'dem? You have a boo-boo, mom?


(hard to see them as well here, I tried to get them highly visible-
trust me, deep and very there--)
In this moment I knew would come one day, I thought--this is it. This is my make it or break it moment. Katie, be The Mom, the example you wanna be for your daughter. Don't sink into the trap of I hate my ugly stretchmarks and for the love, don't you dare make a face, or an "ugh" or sigh in disgust. In other words, blazing letters came flashing in my head, DO NOT SCREW THIS UP.

Oh, those? Those are called stretchmarks.

She repeated me, saying something that resembled the word, but not quite getting it.

        But, what are 'dem?

Then that's when I told her. I told her they're the marks my body gave me when she was a tiny baby inside me. I reminded her of what it was like when Lucy was inside my belly last summer. She giggled as she remembered. I told her how my belly has to stretch out reeeeal far to make room for her. And these are the marks that my body made so I could always, always remember how special it was to be pregnant with my girls'.

She replied with a content "Ohhhh!" and a giggle. Seeming very much intrigued yet happy with that answer. Happy to learn about such a little history in the form of marks under my belly button.

And just like that, she was bopping around the bathroom onto the next thing.

I thought to myself, you did it. 

I knew the day would come and she would be curious of my stretchmarks. What those marks on my belly were and why were they there. I knew how easy it would be for me to make a disgusted face like I do with my girlfriends or my sister when I talk about them. When I talk about how wearing a two piece will never be the same, or how hard I may work but these darn marks will never go away.

But I always hoped I wouldn't leak any of that to my daughters.

One day maybe I can be as accepting of these history marks as my kid was. She may only be 3, unable to wipe her butt properly or blow her nose without a little help, but somehow I still learn from her every single day.

***

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

And I'd like to take a minute just sit right there I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air*

*absolutely no meaning--just on my brain randomly.

Um. HI.

So many things. So many random things.

First of all--nobody blogs anymore. It's kind of sad. It's also kind of awesome because I spend less time reading blogs and more time doing valuable things, like taking more instagram photos. Kidding. Not really. But really. Has the novelty of blogging worn off? Is it a summer thing? I do hope some people come back. I kind of miss the authenticity of it all. People writing honestly, about life, their family, whatever-the-heck-they-want. No one comments anymore, either. It's like a no-mans land out there. That's okay. When I want to write, I'll pop into this desert space and just chatter to myself like a cool kid.

Hey. Like I'm doing now. Do I hear crickets? ah, well.

Basically, when people ask how I'm doing I just feel like I can say--we're okay. We're in a good place. An okay, content with stuff place. I often have to remind myself that it's a good thing. No big things happening. Just normal life and that's great. Jobs are going well. Kids are being annoying, I mean, awesome. Exercise and health stuff is going same old, same old. Summer is hot as heck, but we're surviving. Life is fun, and sometimes boring, but not in a "we're bored and have nothing to do", but just-like, it can be repetitive sometimes, but oh well-kinda way.

What I'm loving more than I expected to this summer:

I enrolled my kid in her first VBS (vacation bible school for all you who don't know the lingo) ever this week and she is loving it. Tonight is day 3 and kid is crazy-excited to go each and every time. I grew up doing VBS here and there and it's fun. It's a little structure, yet, fun structure. Songs, dancing, playing games, someone else watching my kid for two hours a night. Did I say that?

I'm proud of her, though. While other kids are crying she's all BYE MOM SEE YA LATER, CAN YOU LEAVE NOW? And I'm all--okay, big kid. My wish is your command. Then I come home and drink a beer (kidding) (only one night) or go out to dinner with friends. Or, we get wild, and grocery shop sans toddler. Amazing how much easier that is. Anyway.

In other news, I've pretty much given up on running. I just am kind of in a season where I'm over it. I think the heat killed me. I was at least running one or two times a week outside with my little family but when the humidity crept in a few weeks ago with blazing temps? Nah, girl. I don't play like that. I'm a winter runner. I can handle cold, heck, semi-frigid temps. I cannot do the humidity-running thing. I also cannot do the treadmill thing. Therefore I have completely replaced running with a bunch of other fun things that, truthfully? I'm enjoying more right now.

I've decided that it's okay. I'm allowed to take a break from running and do other stuff. I don't know why I feel guilt about this. It's stupid. I still workout, like, a lot. But I just don't feel like running. There, I said it.

Can we talk about how I almost have a 1 year old? Soon I'm gonna have to be all, "Oh yea, she's 3 and she's ONE(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)" and for some reason that just feels wrong. I've done basically a whole lot of nothing for her party and have decided to keep it tiny, and I mean, tiny as in-just our big family and that's it. The idea of feeding so many mouths stresses me out and I hate having to decide and be choosy between groups of people and different circles, blah blah blah. So, just family. Lame? Maybe. But they love her and that's what matters. We are celebrating Lucy and that's that. Small. She will be celebrated. Cake will be smashed. Pictures will be taken. That's all she needs, right?

I have mastered the art of working out every day but hardly showering. It's amazing slash gross. Just don't come too close to me, ok? Basically, you throw your hair in a pony tail, but a cute ponytail. You know what I mean? A little poof in the back. Throw in some earrings and you look semi-put together. Splash a little body spray on for good measure. Ba-da-bing-ba-da-boom. I think I should start taking advantage of showering at the gym while they watch my kids, too.

....nevermind. That sounds like too much work.

ANYWAY.

This is what leaks out of my brain after getting interrupted sleep seven (yes. SEVEN.) times last night. One teething monster (responsible for 5x) and one overstimulated (I assume?) toddler who awoke to ask me to sing her a song (stop laughing. at 2am no less) and for a drink of water. This is complete and utter word vomit.

That's ok. I felt it and I went with it. I've told myself I will write when I want, and that's what I'm doing.

Sayonara. 


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Friday, July 5, 2013

a little 4th action

I'm not a recapper. But I haven't been taking my camera out much recently and I'm trying to get myself in the habit again. It's pathetic, really. My phone is just so much easier. But I really need photos larger than instagram format one day, you know? :)

Anyway. We had a nice, easy going day. After I kicked myself in the butt at the gym by doing the one and only class offered that morning, Body Combat--we went off to my parents for a lunch cookout.

The kids sprayed my Pops--he didn't stand a chance.

 Lucy got her normal Pop Pop lovin'. These two are quite the pair.


The cousins were crazy cute together. The older girls are all getting to an age where they're playing so nice together and we caught them marching around having their own parade in the yard, having squirt gun fights, and just enjoying each other. 

This will be the last pic with just 5 cousins--because my sister-in-law, Kesh is expecting her 4th baby (a boy!) any day now. We're all excited for another squishy babe around here.

lucy's face staring at my parents dog just makes me laugh :)

After all this fun, we went to get the girls napped--and while they were napping? We went to town with the power washer on our house and deck. We're getting it all ready for a weekend of staining. Don't be jealous. 

Once the kids woke up (like super-duper late), we killed some time at another local fair. I ate amazing fries and gross pizza, and don't feel all that bad about it. Oh, a sno-cone, too.

We're watching fireworks tonight so we didn't take her out last night, instead we watched Monsters Inc at home on the couch all cozy. Halfway through, we heard fireworks, ran outside, and turns out our neighbors put on a massive display for us. Pretty sure my kid thought that was the coolest thing ever. I was, however, slightly scared our homes would catch fire. The good news is, we're all in one piece this morning and the homes still stand.

Hope your 4th was filled with fun, too.

happy, happy weekend, loves.




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