Tag Archives: birthday

Emma’s 4th and Annabelle’s 2nd Birthday Party

17 May

We celebrated Emma’s 4th birthday and Annabelle’s 2nd birthday with friends on the Saturday after Emma’s birthday. (The girls’ birthdays are only a week and a half apart on the calendar so we are doing joint parties for now!)

This year, we did a mermaid/beach theme because those are currently a couple of Emma’s favorite things, and Annabelle likes whatever big sister likes. Emma wore her mermaid costume from Halloween (for about the first 30 minutes) and I found a dress for Annabelle that looked mermaid-ish but could still be worn for other things.I tried to keep the decorations inexpensive, or use things I already had (like all the shells, I had collected on beach vacations). After spending oodles on Gerber daisies last year (unknowingly), I went with regular ones this time. 

I had taken a lot more pictures of the decorations with Travis’ phone, but he updated his iPhone soon afterward and couldn’t remember his iCloud password, so they were all lost. 😞

For an activity this year, the kids made “I Spy” bottles. I emptied bottles of ICE sparkling water, added sand from the decor section at Walmart, and found small trinkets at the dollar store and Big Lots, which I put in a muffin tin for easy assembly. The kids put one of each thing in their bottle and the adults helped superglue the bottles shut. I printed out a list with pictures of all the things they had added so they knew what to look for when playing with their bottles later. The girls have really enjoyed theirs! After the activity, it was time to eat! We had turkey and cheese croissants (with googly eyes to look like crabs), fruit salad, trail mix, goldfish crackers, and spinach & artichoke dip with chips. All Pinterest ideas but I ran out of time to make tent cards with creative names so the food choices probably seemed pretty random. 😂Then it was time for cake! I took the easy route this year and bought a tuxedo mousse cake from Costco. After cake, we opened gifts quickly and then went outside to play because we finally had a nice warm day! That doesn’t happen often at the beginning of April.  After most people had left, we tried to get a family photo. The girls were not very cooperative. Oh well. That night, we took advantage of the warm weather and the girls took a pool bath on the deck. So fun!!

Emma’s 2nd Birthday Party

8 Apr

Today was Annabelle’s due date. Since Emma’s actual birthday was just yesterday, we decided to have her party early so that we didn’t have to worry about having a newborn and throwing a party (or having to cancel the party because I was in the hospital). Good thing we did because Annabelle arrived the weekend after we had Emma’s party!

Since Emma loves dogs, we decided to have a puppy theme. We kept things pretty lowkey, though, because she’s only 2. There’s plenty of time for more elaborate parties later on. For party decorations, we did balloons, streamers and paw prints that I printed at home (and colored in by hand, since our printer is out of yellow ink).

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We invited all of our immediate family, as well as a few of Emma’s friends. We had a great turnout! My parents, Travis’ parents, Trav’s brother, and Emma’s friends all came — so there were 6 kids under 5 including Emma (though one was a baby). (I now realize we didn’t take pictures of Emma with all the grandparents or her friends that day! Bummer.)

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For the one activity that I planned, I cut dog ears out of paper that the kids could decorate with markers and stickers, and then make into a hat/headband, but the kids were much more interested in playing with toys, so that’s what we did for the first hour of the party.

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Then we ate lunch — again, we kept it simple with Papa Murphy’s pizza, fruit salad, carrots & dip, and puppy chow.

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For Emma’s birthday cake, I made a pawprint — which was just a 2-layer round cake with 4 cupcakes for the toes. The red frosting did not turn out how I had envisioned. Next time, I will just buy the can of frosting with a cake tip instead of trying to squeeze it out of a ziploc bag! At least it tasted good.

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After the kids were done eating, we sang Happy Birthday and had Emma blow out her candles (she had help from mommy).

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The kids ate cake and then we opened gifts. Emma received fun toys from her friends, a pair of rain boots from G&G Kluthe, a Radio Flyer trike from mommy and daddy, and a stool from G&G Moen.

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The party ended “on time”, but I told everyone to feel free to stick around as long as they wanted, and they left about an hour later. We gave each kid a goodie bag with a couple packs of Scooby Doo fruit snacks, puppy stickers and a small bottle of bubbles.

It was a great party!

10 Ways I’ve Changed in the Past 10 Years

15 Jul

Today is my 31st birthday. This past June marked my 10-year anniversary as a born-again Christian. A person changes a lot in 10 years, but even more so when your entire paradigm and reason for living do a 180. So needless to say, most people who know me now would not recognize who I was back then, and vice versa. There are the obvious things that have changed, such as, I got married, moved to Denver and back again, and had a baby. But here are 10 not-so-obvious ones (in no particular order):

  1. I value friends who ‘get me’. My whole life, I’ve always had 1 or 2 really good friends that I did everything with. It wasn’t until I moved to Colorado that I realized how rare it is to find a friend who really understands you. I still have a couple of really good friends (who I met as an adult) and even though we don’t live in the same place geographically, we can talk on the phone or in person and pick up right where we left off.
  2. I value family more. I have been extremely blessed to have an amazing family and family-in-law. Travis and I moved back to Minnesota primarily to see our family more. Ten years ago, I enjoyed time with my family but I didn’t go out of my way to see them. We didn’t have any of our family in our wedding party. But in the past 10 years, I’ve seen plenty of friends come and go, and realize now that family is for life. I want to continue investing in those relationships, and grow closer to my siblings and their spouses.
  3. I am more confident in who God created me to be. I used to really struggle with feeling like I needed to be good at everything, and being scared of someone finding out that I wasn’t good at something. That mindset prevented me from living life to the fullest: I refused to try rock climbing in high school because I was scared I wouldn’t be good at it; I avoided playing sports at cookouts and parties because I didn’t want to reveal my ineptitude; I wouldn’t play Big Buck Hunter because I SUCK at it. But over the past 4-5 years, God has shown me that I don’t have to be everything; I can just be me. And I am not good at sports, trivia, shooting games, remembering dates and numbers, estimating distances or sizes, or recognizing tree species.
  4. I exercise and eat (mostly) healthy because I enjoy it. Ten years ago, exercise and dieting were solely means to losing weight. I obsessed over my body image constantly and struggled a lot with binge eating, which I compensated for by severely restricting calories and using exercise as ‘punishment’. When I started doing endurance sports in 2009, exercise turned into something I really enjoyed. In 2012, I did a book study at church called Love to Eat, Hate to Eat. God really did a work in my heart during that time, because since then, I hardly ever struggle with binge eating or body image. Praise be to Him! (As a side note, I fit into all of my pre-pregnancy clothes now!)
  5. I don’t spend more money than I make. I used to be horrible about using credit cards to buy things I couldn’t afford. My generous parents bailed me out more times than they should have. When I graduated from college and got a job, I read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover (thanks to my bro Jeremy!) and got serious about living within my means. A year later, I got married. Travis is a saver, so he has also really helped rein in my ‘spender’ personality. We’re just getting going on using YNAB (You Need a Budget). I love it so far. Mint.com wasn’t cutting it.
  6. I wear yellow gold jewelry and pearls. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in yellow gold or pearls. They just weren’t my bag. A few weeks before we left Colorado, I bought some new earrings at Charming Charlie’s to replace my entire earring collection that got stolen out of our house when we were showing it (!?!?!?), and when I got them home, I realized that they were all yellow gold (color, not real obviously!). Ha.
  7. I buy timeless clothes, not trends. I feel so old saying this, but “at my age” I want my clothes to last for at least 4-5 years, if not longer. I don’t want a ‘time stamp’ put on my clothes by buying something that is majorly trendy. Examples: fluorescent colors, high-low/mullet skirts, ombre dyes, chunky necklaces, etc. I mocked the girls in college that wore UGGs with skirts and sweatpants (and there were a LOT of them). That said, I do buy into trends when they’re something I really like. Examples: tribal patterns, skinny jeans worn under tall boots, non-UGG boots, scarves.
  8. I dress modestly. Ten years ago, I dressed to attract attention from guys. Short skirts, plunging necklines, you name it, I wore it. But after hearing a talk about modesty during a Summer Beach Project, I got rid of all my revealing clothes and now I only buy/wear things that are modest. I’m not Amish about it – I still wear strapless dresses and shorts that fall above my knee. But the motive/idea behind it is to protect my brothers in Christ from stumbling, and save some things for my husband’s eyes only.   
  9. I’m all about practicality. I used to buy whatever I liked or wanted (hence my overspending). Now, it doesn’t matter how cute something is; if it’s not practical, I’m not buying it. Practical, to me, means that: I will use it often enough to justify the price; it goes with my existing wardrobe or house decorations; I don’t already have something similar to it; it is versatile in color/purpose; and I will enjoy using it (no more uncomfortable shoes for the sake of fashion!). 
  10. My taste buds changed. Ten years ago, I hated even the smell of coffee and thought butternut squash was the grossest vegetable next to pickled beets. But I developed a taste for coffee while studying abroad in Venezuela, and discovered that butternut squash is actually quite delicious. Pickled beets are still gross though.

And just to keep it even: 10 Ways I HAVEN’T Changed in the Past 10 Years

Some of these are review…

  1. I don’t buy into trends. I refused to get an iPod when they first came out, but when my Discman broke, I finally caved. I reluctantly got a touchscreen smart phone in 2010, thinking I’d prefer a real keyboard (touchscreen is definitely the way to go). I didn’t join Facebook until 2010. I still refuse to buy any Apple products.
  2. I suck at history and trivia knowledge. 
  3. I hate scary movies.
  4. I hate rollercoasters.
  5. My first response to being disappointed or hurt is anger. It takes a lot to make me cry. Unless I’ve given birth to a baby in the previous 6 months.
  6. I love writing and reading.
  7. I suck at sports. I have no hand/eye coordination.
  8. I am better at expressing myself in written words, than by talking.
  9. I get extremely nervous when talking in front of a group.
  10. I love watching hockey. Playing it is another thing… see #7.

Emma’s 1st Birthday Party

10 Apr

We had a small, simple party for Emma’s 1st birthday, and just invited Emma’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Those in attendance were Grandma Sheri and Grandpa David (my parents), Grandma Beth and Grandpa Al (Travis’ parents), Carolyn (Trav’s sister), Matthew (Trav’s brother), Diana (Matthew’s girlfriend), and Drew (Carolyn’s son) – and then of course, me, Travis and Emma. My siblings were unfortunately too far away to make the trek, or were out of the country.

For decorations, we went with a pink and green theme. I made tissue paper pompoms and a word cloud that described Emma.

IMG_5579 (Large) IMG_5610 (Large) IMG_5605 (Large)The party started at 11 am on Sunday with brunch (well, actually we didn’t eat until noon…). On the menu were biscuits and sausage gravy (a tribute to Emma’s nickname of Biscuit), quiche, fruit salad and ‘brunch punch’. For the cake, I made The Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Shortcake cake. Everything was delicious and turned out well!

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IMG_5608 (Large)Unfortunately, since the party had gotten started later than planned, Emma needed a nap before the rest of the festivities. So while Emma took a short 40-minute nap, the rest of us did dishes and hung out.

Once Emma was awake again, it was time for cake! We gave Emma her little smash cake first and watched her destroy it. She was so interested in the frosting that we had to hold her arms until everyone had their cameras ready!

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She only ended up eating some of the frosting, and then just smashed the rest of the cake around. It was a big mess by the end!

After Emma was done with her cake, we dug into the main cake. Oh. my. goodness. So delicious.

IMG_5681 (Large)Once we all had our sugar rush, we moved on to the gift opening. Emma was actually able to tear the wrapping paper once we got it started, so she semi-unwrapped her presents. She received a lot of great stuff, including a piggy bank, baby doll and stroller, books, clothes, sound puzzles and this fun activity house.

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IMG_5689 (Large) IMG_5685 (Large)Emma was pretty excited about the baby doll.

All the adults were exhausted by that point, so we just sat around talking (some napping) and watching Emma play with her toys (and trying them out ourselves). Once we got our second wind, it was time for Emma to do some finger body painting!

I got this idea from the blog Fun at Home with Kids. It was a hit! Emma was fairly tentative about it at first, but after about 5 minutes, she really got into it… as you can tell.

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IMG_5728And that was it! Emma went down for another nap (her naps were strange that day – too much excitement!) and our parents all had to leave soon after the fingerpainting, so we took a group picture (unfortunately, without Emma) and they got on the road. Carolyn, Matthew, Diana and Drew stayed for dinner, which was really fun. A great way to end the day.

IMG_5739 (Large)Emma’s actual birthday was on Monday. We didn’t do anything that special, but I did dedicate the day to quality time with Emma, instead of multi-tasking while watching her. We spent some time outside and had some ‘water fun’ in the bathtub. Pretty lowkey but it was nice after the whirlwind of Sunday!

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One Year… {A Letter to My Daughter}

7 Apr

My Dearest Emma,

You are one year old today. Happy Birthday! Daddy and I bought you a baby doll and baby stroller for your birthday, and it’s amazing to think that a year ago, you were the size of that doll. So small. So delicate.

Now you are a curious and independent girl who loves to investigate and take apart everything. Your favorite thing is making a mess – whether of your birthday cake and ‘finger’ paints yesterday, or drawers and cabinets full of tupperware, toiletries, papers, books and sometimes, your own toys (though you’d much rather play with adult stuff!). You aren’t interested in the toys that we give you to play with – you want to decide on your own.

You are constantly excited – giggling, belly laughing, bouncing up and down, waving your arms and legs, making your ‘oh’ face of excitement. You are learning new things every day – you can give Grandpa five, wave, clap, play peekaboo, open and close doors and drawers, follow people into another room and find tiny objects on the floor that aren’t visible to the adult eye.

You still don’t like being held much – you are a mover and a shaker! You love to be on the go, and that makes going down for naps a challenge. You love the puppies, and often crawl very fast toward them. They are a little scared of you and your wild ways, so they don’t often sit still to let you pet them, but you have gotten much better with being gentle and not grabbing handfuls of fur when they do stay!

You love being outside. When sledding the past couple of weeks, you had a toothy grin painted on your face the whole time. You have ridden a tractor, a snowmobile and a wagon for the first time, and you rode up the driveway being held in the front seat of the car. So much excitement!

You are very detail-oriented. You love playing with zipper pulls, buttons, caps, door stoppers, and always check out when something has a screw, bolt or other sort of small inconsistency. When we took you to the aquarium in Denver, you didn’t pay a ton of attention to the fish. But when we got you in the elevator, you were entranced by the fake steel rivets on the wall.

You love to eat! The foods you like to eat all the time, all day long are cheese, strawberries, grapes, clementines, and yogurt. You also like bananas, applesauce, butternut squash and mango, but you get sick of them a lot faster. You still like to be fed purees fairly often, but you also like finger foods. It depends on your mood. You just started drinking cow’s milk this past week and the transition went great – in fact, when you drank your first bottle of it, you showed absolutely no reaction or even recognition that the taste was different. That was the case when switching from breastmilk to formula too.

You have started to love your Daddy more. When he walks in the room, you light up. You get excited when you hear his voice, and you love it when he rough-houses with you (even though sometimes it goes slightly too far and you get scared). You still prefer me (Mommy) when you’re sick, hurting or tired, but it warms Daddy’s heart when he can take care of and soothe you, so let him do that more, ok?

You are loved. Your cheeks are kissed at least 500 times each day. It’s just so hard to stop! We squeeze your chubby legs, play the drum on your ‘snare belly’, and spike your hair all because we love you – every inch of you. You will never understand how much your daddy and I love you – we don’t even fully understand it ourselves. It’s a love that goes deeper than words. You are a part of us. We will never be the same since you came into our lives. This line from “On the Night You Were Born” says it well:

“Heaven blew every trumpet

and played every horn

on the wonderful, marvelous

night you were born.”

Love,

Your Mommy

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The Big 3-0

15 Jul

Today I turned the big 3-0. I feel like I’m officially an adult but it also feels a bit surreal that my 20s are over. Milestones have that kind of effect. I felt it when I got my drivers license. When I went to college. When I graduated and got my first real job. When I got married. When we bought a house. And then when I got pregnant and gave birth to Emma. They’re those things you anticipate so much for so many years that when they finally happen, you can hardly believe it.

Turning 30 doesn’t bother me. Age is just a number. I’m not a huge fan of the physical changes that come along with getting older but I can embrace it as an opportunity to really learn to not put my stock in physical beauty. Mostly, I am just excited with the new adventures that my 30s will bring – growing our family, learning how to be a godly mother, taking fun vacations, creating more memories with my husband, moving back to Minnesota (?), going deeper in my relationship with God. I’m sure I will see challenges and perhaps sorrows, but there will be joy.

Enough musing. How am I celebrating this big milestone? Well, last Saturday, Travis and I left Emma with some friends and went on a date. We drove up to Boulder and went shopping at lululemon for my birthday present – a pair of black Wunder Under crop pants. I’ve been wanting a new pair of black running/yoga capris for a while, have heard lots of raves about lululemon, but just haven’t been able to justify spending that much money on workout clothes. But it’s not everyday you turn 30.

Then we went out to eat at the Walnut Brewery near Pearl Street. I had lobster and shrimp tacos that were AMAZING. It was such a fun evening, and it was so nice to have time with Travis, just the two of us, and drink a glass of wine. Emma did really well with our friends too, so that was good.

Today, I started off with some coffee, then went to a yoga class while Travis watched Emma, and tonight we’re going to have tacos for dinner. My obsession with Mexican food that started during pregnancy hasn’t disappeared! This coming Friday, I’m having a girls’ night with friends – we’re going to watch a movie and eat ice cream. And then later this fall, my family is talking about doing something big to celebrate my mom and uncle turning 60 (my mom’s birthday was on July 13) and my sister-in-law also turning 30 this year. Fun!

Birthdays definitely look different as an (official) adult than they did when I was younger, but they’re still a great excuse to have fun with friends and treat yourself a bit. I love birthdays!

Weekend Fun

30 Jul

Two weekends ago, my mom was in town and we had a girls’ weekend. It also happened to be our birthdays – hers on Friday and mine on Sunday. Friday night, we took my mom out for dinner at a inconspicuously delicious Italian place called Abrusci’s.

On Saturday, we drove up to Georgetown and rode the Georgetown Loop Railroad.

We got tickets for the parlor car, which included a drink and chips or cookie for free!

The whole trip only took an hour, which was the perfect amount of time to experience the railroad without getting bored.

The day we were up there, the Triple Bypass bike race was going on (so named because they go over three mountain passes). That just looked brutal. But part of me thought it looked kinda fun… I’m not sure I’ll ever be into biking enough to want to do something like that though.

After the train ride, we continued on to Frisco and ate lunch at the Butterhorn Bakery. I’ve officially declared this my mountain spot. Everything is delicious and portion sizes are huge.

After lunch, we continued driving through Glenwood Canyon and then headed down to Aspen. It was a very beautiful drive, although a little south of Glenwood, it started pouring. Cars going both directions were driving through massive puddles and I was a little freaked out. But we survived and made it to Aspen by about 4 pm.

We stayed at the Aspen Meadows Resort (got a good deal through Hotwire) and it was a nice hotel but I wasn’t overly impressed. They did have a free shuttle to downtown so we took advantage of that and did some shopping scoffing. Holy crap things are expensive in Aspen! I kind you not – the cheapest store there was J. Crew. My mom actually found a sweater that cost $1,000. We ate dinner at Jimmy’s Bar & Restaurant. I had quinoa-stuffed zucchini cannelloni. It was good, albeit interesting. My mom ordered meatloaf and it was really good. Best meatloaf I’ve ever had.

The whole experience made me realize how wealth is completely relative. I never feel poor in Denver and yet I go to Aspen and feel completely out of my league.

But Aspen does have the whole beauty of nature thing down and that definitely made this trip worth it. On our way back the next morning, we drove up Independence Pass. So awesome. The road near Aspen is so windy and narrow that you’d think it would freak me out (and it probably would if I wasn’t driving) but I loved it. The views near the top are nice too.

And with that, our short girls’ weekend was over. My mom was in town for a school nutrition conference and it started that afternoon so while she went to that, I took a nap and bummed and then Travis, me and her all went out to eat downtown at The Keg in LoDo. It was a good, l0w-key birthday. My mom stayed until Thursday, so we had lots of time to hang out and chat. It was so fun having her out here!

This past weekend, Travis was helping a friend fix their swamp cooler so I took the pooches for an overly ambitious hike at Chautauqua in Boulder. I was planning to take the Gregory Canyon Trial to Ranger Trail to Saddle Rock Trail, for a total of 3.5 “hard” miles (according to the map). Well, apparently hiking at sea level a month ago doesn’t equate to hiking now at altitude. It didn’t help that I got going late so by the time we got out there at 11, it was 85 degrees and sunny on a shadeless trail. (There were plenty of other crazies out there though.)

About 30 minutes up the trail, I was only about halfway to the end of Gregory Canyon. Both the pooches and I were dying so even though I felt pathetic, I turned around. This was my first real hike in Colorado this year (and it’s almost August!?), so I can’t be too surprised that this was the outcome, especially after doing nothing for a month.

Turning around ended up being a good call because I’m pretty sure Katy overheated. And I did what you’re not supposed to do – give her a bunch of water. She puked at least 4 times. Oops. (She is fully recovered now though.) Charlie refused to drink any water. She’s too smart for me.

Even though my hike was shorter than planned, it was still pretty and I enjoyed getting out there.

That night, Travis and I went out to eat at Bonefish Grill and then played mini golf with some friends from church. We ended the evening in the best way – frozen yogurt. Mmm…

Sunday (yesterday), we went to church and then spent the afternoon watching the Olympics (I also took an hour and a half nap). It is so awesome to have relaxing weekends (definitely worth fighting the urge to be productive). Both Travis and I had very busy springs (him with studying, me with training) and we are both just ready to do nothing for a while. Ahh…