Finn’s 1st Birthday

We had a small celebration for Finn at home while my mom visited, but I still wanted to have a theme and a little bit of decoration. So we went with Where The Wild Things Are for my little wild one.

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

I can’t resist a baby boy in suspenders and a bowtie – how cute is he? And he happily smashed and tasted his cake!

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

That was good practice for his second cake smash! (These were different days.) Harper had two cake smashes, so I had to keep things fair.

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Harper was excited to make Bubby a birthday card!

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn felt very loved with all the gifts from family. I don’t know who had more fun opening and playing with the new toys – Finn or Harper.

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

When I asked Harper what she wanted to get Finn for his birthday, she said “A Fulham house!” So she painted a bird house in Fulham colors and I added the Fulham badge. It’s a great accessory to his new train table.

Finn's 1st Birthday

Finn's 1st Birthday

Happy 1st Birthday to my little baby, who will always be my little baby!

harper is three!

Our little baby girl is three years old! Already? I seriously feel like we just celebrated her 2nd birthday – this past year has been a blur. But when I look back at pictures of her last year, she has changed so much.

She is a charming little girl and has lots of friends at school. She’s turned into quite the leader since she’s the oldest in her class. She is still pretty shy when she meets people or at morning dropoff, but she warms up quickly. She gets herself dressed and asks to put a dress on every day after school. But she also loves wearing her Fulham soccer kit (just like Daddy’s) every Thursday for soccer. She is starting to make up songs and sing to herself as she plays, make up words, and read books to herself (narrating what happens on each page.) She’s a big fan of Disney princesses – her current favorites are Merida, Rapunzel and Anna/Elsa. She’s generally very well behaved and when she has a rough evening it’s always because she didn’t nap at school. Her favorite food by far is shrimp. She always requests “shrimp and noodles” for dinner. She’s not at all a picky eater. She eats pretty much anything we put in front of her. This past year we’ve noticed more and more that she is very detailed oriented and particular about certain things – she definitely gets that from me. And she’s very good at negotiating what she wants.

We had Drew’s mom here for Harper’s birthday so we did a little celebration at home the night before Harper’s party with her friends. Harper had requested a pink and purple Frozen cake and luckily my grocery store offered exactly that! So I decorated the dining room with a few Frozen details and balloons – she was thrilled!

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Before dinner, we took her outside to see her present – a trampoline! Drew took a few hours putting it together and she thinks he “made” it for her. She loves it!

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

After she got good and sweaty, we came in for dinner and cake. She was pretty psyched to have three candles to blow out!

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

She was licking all the frosting off and I said, “Eat the cake, sweetie, that’s the best part!” And she looked at me and said “That is NOT the best part, Mom.”

Harper's 3rd Birthday

After cake it was time to open gifts!

Harper's 3rd Birthday

A baseball glove and girly accessories!

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

She got princessy things, books, walkie talkies (these will be helpful to me too!) and clothes.

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

The next day we had her party at a local kids gym where she and her friends could run around and burn some energy. It was simple for me, I just had to bring cupcakes and favor bags! She had a perma-smile the whole time and loved running around somewhere new with all her favorite friends. It was pretty darn cute to watch.

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

The whole time, Finn was happy to sit with Gram and watch all the big kids run around.

Finn and Gram

We had cupcakes which were 75% frosting – so all the kids were sent home on a sugar high!

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

The following Tuesday was her actual birthday and more presents poured in from her loving family. More clothes, a stamp set, a baby doll with accessories and a Rapunzel dress (that she has worn every day since!) This girl was spoiled!

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

Harper's 3rd Birthday

It was a few days that she won’t soon forget. She still talks about her party and lists all the friends that were there. And we just can’t believe we have a 3 year old!

Harper - Years 1-3

harper is two!

My little girl is now 2 years old! And she’s definitely a little girl – or as she likes to say “big girl!” Because we spent the weekend before her birthday in Nashville, we didn’t have a party, but we both stayed home from work and had a fun family day.

When she woke up, we gave her a present from Grandpa and Gramoo – a Disney castle with figurines (instant hit!) After breakfast, we went to a new playground to run around for a bit.

Walking the mini village

Playground time

Playground time

After her nap, she got dressed up in her birthday outfit and came out to the living room where her new play kitchen and table and chairs were set up! She loved them!

Harper's 2nd Birthday

The play kitchen and table and chairs have since become a favorite activity. She puts her dolls/stuffed animals in the chairs and sets the table for them, saying “Elmo plate, Harper plate, Mommy plate.” Then she says “Elmo all done?” Her favorite part of her new play kitchen is the water dispenser in the fridge – she pretends to fill little cups of ice water for us. She also loves cooking strawberries and talking on her play phone to cousin Avery.

Harper's 2nd Birthday

Harper's 2nd Birthday

Thanks to Aunt Lisa for the fruits and veggies to stock her fridge. She thinks carrots are just Olaf noses.

Harper's 2nd Birthday

We went outside to open a few more gifts and take some pictures. Thanks to Aunt Kari for the play-doh set and art book!

Harper's 2nd Birthday

Harper's 2nd Birthday

Harper's 2nd Birthday

We each had a cupcake and we blew her candles out for her because she didn’t blow hard enough. And we capped off the evening by going out for dinner.

Harper's 2nd Birthday

What this 2-year-old is up to…

Harper likes to say her letters and numbers and points them out when she sees them. Her favorite letters to identify are H, D, M and U. She likes to count when she’s doing something like climbing steps or eating. She’s been working on her colors and says them right about 50% of the time.

She’s been stringing more words together for phrases and still mixes in some gibberish, but we’re getting good at deciphering her language. Like one day we thought she was saying “Abu Dhabi” but she was saying “Harper diapy.” And she calls her blanket “bacon.” She sometimes mixes up “s” words. She’ll say “poons” for “spoon”, “outdise” for “outside”, “neeze” for “sneeze” and “kirts” for “skirt.”

She refers to herself in the 3rd person but I’ve noticed just recently she says “me” or “mine” in some cases. She’ll say “Harper me” instead of just “me” though – so cute. So she’ll say “Harper outdise?”, “Harper all done”, “Harper lunch”, “Harper mine!” She loves to say hi to the cats – even if she’s crying or whining she’ll completely snap out of it when she sees a cat and says “Hi Margot!” or “Hi Maeby!” For a while, she called them both “Meow-kitties” but then she got their names. Now she’ll yell at Maeby to get off the counter – “Maeby! Down, down, down! Thank you Maeby!” She also says please, thank you and sorry (they must work on this at school.) Sometimes she’ll say thank you where she should say please, or say sorry when she doesn’t need to – it’s super cute.

When she wakes up in the morning she immediately starts chattering to herself about things in her crib or in her room. And then starts the “Mom? Mommy? Mooooooom. MOOOOOOOM!” And sometimes she gets frantic if she drops her lovie out of her crib – “MOM! HARPER DROP LOVIEEEEE!”

Other phrases she says a lot: “Anna! Elsa! Olaf!”, “Daddy work”, “watch Ariel?”, “Daddy, Mommy, Harper, baby, family!”, “I love ya Mommy”, “nigh nigh Mommy”, “Tickles!”, “Harper toot!”, “Hands and face!” when she’s done eating, and “Bye fwends!” when she leaves school.

She really enjoys school and her friends there. She’s just moved to a new room with more kids her age, but 5 of her friends that she’s been with for the last year came with her, so the transition was easy. Her teachers love her and say she’s very bright, a social butterfly and a good leader and listener, although she’s quite shy in the mornings when we drop her off.

She refers to herself as big sister now and likes to pat my belly and say “Baby!” She loves anything to do with babies right now. I think she’ll be a great big sister and will love to help.

Her favorite music right now is: Ariel! (Little Mermaid soundtrack), Anna!Elsa!Olaf! (Frozen soundtrack), Annie! (Original Broadway soundtrack), Belle songs! (Beauty and the Beast soundtrack), Sound of Music soundtrack, Woody song! (Toy Story “You’ve Got a Friend”), Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, and sometimes she’ll tolerate Wilson Phillips if she’s distracted. Paul Simon’s Graceland album has always been a favorite since she was itty bitty. I recently tried to get her to dance with me to “All About That Bass” and when the song ended she said “More bass?”

She also loves pretty much any video I show her on Youtube, particularly songs from Disney movies, videos of cousin Avery and videos of cats. I recently showed her a video of ballerinas dancing to the Nutcracker and she was mesmerized. “More video more video!”

Besides the toys she got for her birthday, she currently loves: baby doll (she named Baby Anna) and doll stroller, her purse (filled with random things), Elmo, Woody (from Toy Story), play-doh, slide, soccer ball, books (Olivia is a favorite at the moment) and puzzles, stickers, any playground, rides in her wagon or tricycle and evening walks around the neighborhood. She also likes dancing (like at my cousin’s wedding or at a kid’s concert.)

I recently took her on a walk in her tricycle (that has a long handle on the back for me to push her) and I popped her back on two wheels which she got a kick out of and she held both arms in the air while I did it. I said “Wow you’re a daredevil!” And I put her back down and she said “More devil? More devil?” LOL

She’s been a good eater lately too. I wouldn’t say she’s super adventurous in trying new things, but she definitely scarfs down her favorites and asks for more. Maybe it’s a growth spurt. She’s really into lettuce salads now! At her 2-year checkup she was 85% in weight and 86% in height!

All in all, I think she’s got this being-two-thing down pretty well. She’s pretty happy and smiley most of the time and we just love her to pieces!

Harper

avery’s first birthday

I recently traveled to New York for my niece’s first birthday. I left Harper at home with daddy and flew by myself! What a treat! Everyone, including me, missed having Harper there, but I was happy to have time to devote to my little niece! (The girls get to see each other in September, so we’re looking forward to that!)

Her party was in Prospect Park in Brooklyn on a beautiful day. Avery had so much fun!

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery didn’t know what to make of her cupcake at first, but after a little taste she was not shy about helping herself!

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

The next day we had fun in the park before I had to head back home.

Playing in the park

Playing in the park

Playing in the park

Avery is 1!

Avery is 1!

Playing at the park

Playing at the park

Playing at the park

Playing at the park

harper’s 1st birthday polka dot party

We traveled back to IL a few weeks ago for Drew’s brother’s wedding and thought it would be a great opportunity to throw Harper a 1st birthday party while family was in town. We had the party at my mom’s house (where I’ve had all my parties – bridal shower, baby shower.) My sister, brother-in-law and cute niece came from New York just for the occasion!

I decided to do a polka dot theme – simple enough to tie the decorations together. I ordered a custom polka dot dress on Etsy for the guest of honor. Drew and I had to wear polka dots too!

My sister, mom and brothers helped decorate while we were busy with wedding festivities.

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Of course with all the photos I’ve taken of this girl in the past 12 months – I had to highlight a few!

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

The decorations looked great, the food looked delicious and the birthday girl looked adorable in her polka dot dress. Everyone was ready to party…except Harper. Sadly, she had come down with a fever the night before (while at the wedding…) and was quite out of sorts the whole weekend. (She ended up having a high fever for 4 days straight, a rash from the fever, an ear infection and a molar poke through a few days later. Needless to say, it made flying home the next day pretty unbearable.) So Harper was not in the mood to be around a big group of people, but we tried to keep her comfortable and happy.

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Snuggles from Mamie always help!

Harper's 1st Birthday

Hanging out with Aunt Lisa and cousin Avery!

Harper's 1st Birthday

Time to sing Happy Birthday and blow out her candle!

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

She didn’t want to have anything to do with smashing a cake. “What’s a cake? Why are you putting this thing in front of me? Why’s everyone looking at me?” I stuck her finger in the frosting and she did not like that one bit.

Harper's 1st Birthday

I tried to get her to have a little taste. It’s good I promise!

Harper's 1st Birthday

“Hmmm this isn’t so bad.”

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

After that she perked up a little bit.

Harper's 1st Birthday

Spinning around on daddy’s shoulders helped too.

Harper's 1st Birthday

So the smash cake didn’t get smashed. It barely got touched. But that’s ok – it was fun to try!

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Then we went outside and played with bubbles.

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

Harper's 1st Birthday

It was fun to see friends and family and for them to finally meet Harper – even though she was scared of almost everyone. That’s life with a baby – you never know what to expect and you just gotta go with the flow. Thanks to my family for hosting and helping with the party! Harper is lucky to have some many people love her!

scenes from a birthday

My birthday started bright and early – like every day lately. I’ve been under the weather and so has the baby. I wish I looked this cute when I’m sick!

Harper

Despite appearances, it was a groggy day for both of us. Until the afternoon when my husband arrived home early to bake me a cake and cook dinner. Not just any dinner – steamed mussels in a white wine cream sauce! Fancy! Thank you to my sweet husband for making it a special night.

My Birthday

Three of my favorite things: wine, cake and baby feet.

My Birthday

My Birthday

My Birthday

lord have mercy on my next thirty years

30th Birthday
Photo courtesy of Flickr user josche

Happy 30th Birthday to my darling husband.

New York - 8/2010

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “My Next Thirty Years” by Tim McGraw