Party Central

Rose’s first birthday party went by in the blink of an eye. Remember when I said not to plan a party two weeks after moving into a new house? I meant it. Everything was perfect and we had so much fun and it was awesome for our friends to see the “before” of our home. But, yeah. Two weeks. In that time span we got all of our boxes unpacked (except for the basement, of course – we’re not that good), furniture arranged and rooms fully functioning (especially the kitchen), and decorations hung and food prepared.

But most importantly: I found my pants.

My mom was SO SO SO OMG SO helpful and made these beautiful and delicious cupcakes:

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And she didn’t stop there. Chef Gigi also made a pasta salad, caprese skewers, and cowboy caviar! I managed to make a crockpot of pulled beef for sandwiches which completed the party spread. I thought everything turned out delicious – we certainly didn’t have much leftover to indicate otherwise! 

I didn’t get great detail shots of the food and decorations. That was a total fail on my part. I was so busy just trying to snap pics of all the people and ROSE – obviz – and I failed you, my trusted blog readers. My apologizes. If you come over I’ll give you a cookie.

Can you see the polka dot “confetti” tablecloth in behind the cupcakes? That thing took me FIVE HOURS to hand paint and I didn’t even get a damn picture of it. (I did that pre-move.)

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I am in love with that tablecloth. Everything I made for the party is all stuff that I can reuse for future birthdays – which was totally done on purpose. I wasn’t about to spend hours making stuff to just throw it all away.

You can see a cloth-scrap banner below, hanging on the fireplace. It was SUPER easy to make. It took about 2 hours total and I promise you that no matter what craft-skill level you think you’re on, you can pull this one off.

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All you have to do is cut thin strips of fabric (or use ribbons – I wish I would’ve done that) and tie them on a piece of yarn or string. Once they’re all tied on, trim them with scissors to give it that cascading look. It really is as simple as that.

Here’s a ridiculously easy decorating idea: (this is from my Instagram feed so the quality is terrible – sorry.) I printed out all of Rose’s monthly photos as 5x7s, and hung them on the wall in a grid with just some bubbles of masking tape.

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I didn’t even measure it out. EYEBALL ALL THE WAY. Steve is shuttering.

Sorry Aunt Marci. This picture is too good not to share with the world.

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I told you the food was good. Could she be enjoying it any more?

In the picture below you can see that I reused some of the lace doilies from our wedding. That was a really convenient extra touch that made the space much more festive.

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Gigi and her little baby. I managed to capture this sweet moment among the chaos:

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party_1(Photo Credit: My awesome cousin who I can always count on to take photos and email them to me frantically after I realize I didn’t take many :)

After our guests mingled and ate and chatted and drank it was time for CAKE SMASHING!

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Except there wasn’t any cake smashing.

She gingerly poked at her cupcake with a candle. And then Steve fed her a few eager bites. And then it was over. I told her the lack of enthusiasm for cupcakes makes me wonder if we really are related.

The “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” banner was something else I wasn’t planning on doing – but when we were waiting for our moving date to approach and living with my parents, I had to keep my busy hands occupied. They’re pretty straight forward, but definitely time consuming. I cut the flag shape out of felt squares, folded over the top and sewed a pocket for the string, and glued on some hand-cut felt letters. That’s pretty much all there was to it! But, like I said, it definitely took me a good solid few hours to finish.

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My favorite part of that entire day was the chocolate kisses that Rose was liberally handing out. We couldn’t get enough! She kisses with her mouth open. Big, wet, sloppy chocolate kisses.

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We were VERY happy to have Cousin Caroline there to help out with unwrapping presents. It would’ve taken Rose until her second birthday to do it on her own. Watching the two of them shred into the presents was another one of my favorite moments from the party.

Rose is totally thinking, “Huh. So, that’s how you do it!”

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Rose got a swim outfit – complete with swim cap, sunglasses, swim robe, and flip flops. We were all but rolling around the floor laughing. I mean. COME ON. Could this get any cuter??

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Although Rose LOVED her new dollhouse from Grandma and Grandpa, her tent and big-girl chair from Gigi and Saba, her ball popper, and lawnmower, and piano, crayons, books, and all of the various adorable outfits and accessories….

The big hit was definitely this singing card from Aunt Molly. Go figure.

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The birthday party was definitely a success. We LOVED having our family and friends there – and are especially grateful to the ones who drove 2 hours each way!

We were all pretty worn out the next day. Rose and Steve spent a good portion of the afternoon watching Sesame Street with their bellies hanging out.

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Or at least, Rose’s belly was hanging out. Sesame Street was bookended with hours of playtime with all of her new toys!

If you have any questions about the DIYs feel free to leave them in the comments. I didn’t take pictures as I was creating them like I usually do. (This moving transition has totally thrown things outta whack.) But I hope to be back to my DIYing ways SOON.

I owe you guys a house tour and plans of what’s to come!

Officially a Kid

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I’ve typed ten different intro sentences to this post. And with the end of each one I hear the “click click click” of the delete key – I don’t even know I’m doing it. I’m speechless. Dumbfounded. How has this little girl been in our lives for an entire year? I don’t even know how to write about what I’m feeling. I’m not sad. I’m not surprised. Maybe it’s a little bit of relief? Excitement for what’s to come, is definitely at the top of the Emotions List.

All I can say is Rose, you are a huge pain in our ass, but we love you more than that word can even define. It’s not even love anymore – it’s beyond that. Thank you for making us laugh every single day. You can be exhausting and frustrating, but one look at that 5-tooth grin makes the world okay again. You are our Mush Mush, our Rosie Poesy, and our Munch Face. Mom and Dad love you from here | to here | , around the world and back.

To my readers, I’ll be back this week with a post about Rose’s first birthday party. I didn’t take as many pictures as I had hoped – which I should’ve planned for. Hosting is a busy job! But I did snap a few good ones. Until then, have a happy Tuesday! Do something nice for someone today. :)

And away we go!

So, here’s our big news:

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In September Steve and I decided it was time. We were both ready to move home. After an interview and some house shopping and lots of waiting to hear news of an offer, we were back in good ol’ OH (IO!) by December. Once we made the decision that our time was up in Indiana, it felt like we blinked and our Hoosier days were behind us.

I am leaving behind a tremendously wonderful group of coworkers who I have the privilege of calling my friends (and one special bff in particular – a shout out to my pal and new business partner — not-so-subtle FORESHADOWING, I know — more on that later). I’m lucky enough to stay on remotely at my job, for the time being, so the goodbyes weren’t too terribly sad.

I haven’t had time to take decent photos of the house yet — I didn’t even take empty-roomed “before” pictures! Everything changes once you have kid, man. Here are just a few from my Instagram feed…

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I should mention we moved in four days ago.

There is a TON of wood. WOOD TRIM WOOD PANELING WOOD BUILT-INS WOOD CABINETS. It’s everywhere. It’s a beautiful home, but it needs some updating. There is bright mauve carpet in Rose’s room. How you even find bright mauve carpet is beyond my comprehension, but it’s there. I promise.

It’s so fun to be in House Love again, and to be able to see each room’s full potential, instead of just seeing the ugly carpet and wallpaper. Oh yeah. I forgot to mention there’s wallpaper. Lots of it.

We have our work cut out for us — this is going to be a HUGE year! I won’t be blogging daily but I hope to keep up with you guys in some normal fashion.

But for now?! UNPACKING. We have Rose’s birthday party in two weeks and I currently can’t even locate my pants.

Uh huh. Oh yeah.

Life is good. I have lots of news to share.

YOU GUYS. I’ve been gone for, like, ever.

This has been me for the last few months:

I miss you guys and I’ll return later this week to share some major updates (NO, I’M NOT PREGNANT) and perhaps a few pictures of our giant kid, who is definitely no longer a baby.

I hope you all are grand, and I can’t wait to get back to it!

Radio Silence and The Fourth Month

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I know. That’s about all you’ve heard from me in a few weeks. Summer, man! It seems every single minute of every single day is packed full of goodness. And most of those gooey, delicious bites usually don’t involve spending time writing. Sadly.

We are finally getting around to a few finishing touches on the front of our house — re-landscaping took us a good 5 weeks. I can’t wait to share some pictures. Although the outcome doesn’t necessarily mirror the amount of hours that were put in — new plants are small! — it still looks like a different house to me.

Somehow Rose is now four months old. How did this happen?

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We have turned a corner with her colic and I am pleased to say that our sanity has mostly returned (I’m a realist. I know it may not ever return). Our evenings are no longer spent fighting back tears as we take turns holding/bouncing/shushing a screaming, inconsolable baby. Now they are spent with smiles, laughter, and SO MUCH TALKING.

Seriously. This girl talks all the time. We are in for a real treat when she starts to learn words.

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Watching her discover her feet was probably one of my favorite milestones so far. That, and rolling over. You should’ve heard us cheering her on. As if screaming out supportive ovations would’ve given her the extra boost she needed to flip over like a pancake. As soon as she figured out how to roll over IT WAS ON. All she does anymore is flip front to back and back to front as soon as you set her down.

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Her smiles come from inside her gut, and her giggles all but knock me over. I’ve never heard a sound so sweet and I feel like, for the first time, I’m meeting my daughter — the real her.

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Don’t get me wrong, she is still a baby. She still fusses and cries when she’s hungry, and has cases of The Cranks, but the happy times are finally far outweighing the grumpy times.

Her alertness and propensity for learning continues to blow my mind. It seems she teaches herself something new every day, and I know that’s only going to continue to flourish.

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Even though we’re still only sleeping in three hour shifts, our lives are whole lot more manageable than they were a month ago. It’s hard to believe this little peanut screamed so hard for long. I can finally say, to other mothers dealing with colic, THINGS GOT A LOT BETTER. We’ve finally approached the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s so bright and beautiful.

This Post Brought to you by Hormones®

I was having a particular rough week when one of my nearest and dearest friends sent me an email that brought tears to my eyes. It was exactly what I needed to hear. (Read?)

I thought if it could make at least one other person feel the way it made me feel, I should share it with all of you.

To the mom who’s breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing
gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage!
You’re a good mom.

To the mom who’s formula feeding: Isn’t science amazing? To think
there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn’t produce enough
would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You’re a good
mom.

To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so
friendly on the bank account. You’re a good mom.

To the disposable diapering mom: Damn those things hold a lot, and
it’s excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You’re a good
mom.

To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn’t easy doing what you
do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be
amazing. You’re a good mom.

To the mom who works: It’s wonderful that you’re sticking to your
career, you’re a positive role model for your children in so many
ways, it’s fantastic. You’re a good mom.

To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week
because you’re too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You’re
feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren’t complaining! Sometimes
sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it.
You’re a good mom.

To the mom who gave her kids a homecooked breakfast lunch and dinner
for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they’re
learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age for the rest of their
lives. You’re a good mom.

To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their
manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain
order with children in a place where they can’t run around. You’re a
good mom.

To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle:
they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their
minds don’t they? We’ve all been through it. You’re a good mom.

To the moms who judge other moms for ANY of the above? Glass houses,
friend. Glass houses

I don’t know where this originated — if anyone knows who to credit this to, please let me know. Otherwise, just let it sink in. I hope it made one of you as happy as it made me.

xoxo

A Whale of a Tale

More accurately it was a bunny of a tale. And even more accurately, it was six bunnies. But I’m obviously getting ahead of myself. See how my brain works? Look, a sparkly object!

Last Saturday started like any other summer weekend. Steve and I had been taking advantage of Rose’s naps to fiddle in the yard. Nothing too strenuous, mind you. Don’t go thinking we were actually working that hard. Well, Steve was. He was gingerly planting grass seed in our balding yard. I had gone inside to tend to the waking baby, and we were happily minding our business when Steve came inside after wrapping up for the day. At that point it was about six o’clock… ready for dinner.

I was daydreaming about what we were going to have. Maybe some take-out? Should we just fix salads? I always look forward to my meals and think about them well in advance.

My thought bubble, which was illustrated with delicious edibles, quickly popped when Steve reluctantly told me while he was tinkering in the yard he found an exposed bunny nest. And he went on to tell me there were… WAIT FOR IT…. dun dun duuuuuun….

TWO BABY BUNNIES OUTSIDE THE NEST.

[Cue dramatic music]

Knowing the Ace Ventura wannabe that I am, he knew I was going to investigate. He took the human baby and I frantically made my way through the back yard. Sure enough, I get out there and I find not two, BUT SIX BABY BUNNIES!

[Cue the most dramatic music you can imagine]

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Ok, so that’s not my picture (thanks Buzzfeed). But that’s about what they looked like. Imagine six of them. And even smaller. Their eyes weren’t even open yet. BABIES, YOU GUYS. The cute factor was off the charts and I wanted to snuggle them to death.

And there it was about to be Mother’s Day, and there are six orphaned bunnies in my yard with nowhere to go, and all of a sudden I have aneurism. I was destined to be their new mother. But then I quickly realized I already had my hands pretty full with a particularly cranky human baby, so I tweaked my destiny to be The Best Bunny Caretaker That Ever Lived until I could find a more permanent solution.

I couldn’t have just left them there. If the nest was somewhat in tact I just would’ve gently placed them back in there and hoped the mom returned. But nightfall was swiftly closing in on us. There were owls! And hawks! And probably coyotes or moose or chupacabras or something! (Disclaimer: there are no known moose living in Indiana. And I’m pretty sure chupacabras were made up by acid-laden hippies in the desert.)

Since my destiny was to save those six bunnies I put on some gardening gloves, lovingly filled the inside of a shoebox with scraps from their nest, and carefully placed all of the baby bunnies in their new semi-permanent home.

Once they were safe and sound I could figure out what to do next. I scoured the internet for someone to help these poor, little guys. I made about a dozen calls and finally found a gentleman about 30 minutes away who was a licensed wildlife rehabilitator AND had the capacity to take on these little dudes.

So I did what any normal person would do: I loaded up the car with my baby and my husband, and obviously the bunnies, and we drove 30 minutes into the country, to Richard’s house we go.

Over the river and through the woods we finally arrived. I pathetically approached the driveway with my grass-filled shoebox. Mind you, this all happened in the span of about 30 minutes. I put my dinner plans on hold for these bunnies. This was serious, you guys.

Richard led us back into his garage-turned-animal hospital where I was about 50/50 he was either going to be our bunny-saving hero or murder us. Luckily, he didn’t murder us. He heroicly scooped up our new pals and placed them in a rehabilitation cage with a few other baby bunnies he already had. This guy devotes his whole life (and his own money) to saving wildlife. He had wall to wall cages and aquariums filled with snakes, baby raccoons, baby bunnies and squirrels. I told him he must really be an animal lover. He responded, “Yeah. It’s just really rewarding to nurse them back to health and set them free.” My heart kind of melted into a sappy puddle on the floor. This guy was way more Ace Ventura than I’ll ever be.

We signed some paperwork (it’s a non-profit organization, so although they use their own resources and homes, it’s still a pretty legit operation), I said goodbye to my new babies, and we went on our merry way.  I felt so relieved that they were in good hands. I was, and am, so grateful there are people out there that have such big hearts.

On the drive home I slightly questioned my decision making. We did just drive to a house in the country, meeting a man from the internet, with our 3 month old baby in tow. Thankfully, Richard turned out to be quite the hero. But more importantly, it was time for dinner.

Because my blood pressure was skyrocketting I didn’t exactly think to take any pictures. Below are the two blurry photos I snapped from my phone in the bumpy country car ride: 

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I called my pal, Rich a few days ago to check up on my little babies. He happily told me that all six bunnies survived and were taking their bottles. They are doing so well! I think now we can all sleep a little better tonight.

Jump, Jump

Kris Kross will make you jump, jump.

If you’re a child of the late 80’s / early 90’s than you will have no choice but to pathetically sing this line in your head repeatedly. And because you were probably just a kid, you don’t know the rest of the lyrics so it will literally be just this one line. Over. And over.

You’re so very welcome.

How could I resist such a perfect segue to a video of Rose in her jumper seat?

I sent this video to my best friend and her reaction was “I feel like she is going to be walking tomorrow!” I can’t disagree. This baby wants to use her legs alllllll the time. We pull her from a laying down position to standing just by letting her hold on to our fingers, and the look of accomplishment on her face is priceless.

But I mean, what do you expect? You already heard me say she’s going to cure cancer in a few weeks, so she may as well starting running marathons, too.