A Tale of Two Parties

My darling creative, sparkling, wonderful Em turned six last month, and she is so loved it required two parties!

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The first party was for three of her friends after school on her actual birthday.  Em is an artist through and through, and to celebrate that each friend celebrated her inner artist!

Art Birthday Party invitations! #artparty #bdayinvitations

We got a little excited about these invitations…there was a little extra glue going on.  But it was all Em’s idea and she was super creative with how she wanted to decorate them!

When the girls arrived after school, there were art supplies waiting for each of them at their seat.

An Art Party @ Rub Some Dirt On It An Art Party @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Each girl painted her own picture on her canvas, and then we filled cupcake necklaces with sand art.  They all loved it and the time flew by!

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And of course, colorful cupcakes!

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It was a really fun way to celebrate her actual birthday and she felt super special.  She felt even more fabulous that weekend, when all our family came up for her family party, this time an animal theme she designed all her own!

The cousins loved the animal masks, and the girls all wore matching dresses made by Nana.  It was so adorable to see them all together!

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Em used our many Schleich animals to decorate her cake and Nana and Papa’s house, and there were plenty of “party animals” to go around!  Her ideas for animal touches were so fun! I’m glad I let her help decorate this year instead of trying to surprise her as usual.  She really knows what she wants, and her vision is always great!

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Including these creepy-eyed stuffies (not my favorites but my kids LOVE them) in lieu of goodie bags for the kids!  They were such a hit!

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Em knew exactly what she wanted for food as well, and with some creative wording, she was able to get all her favorite foods at the party!  Such a smart lady.

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Em remembered how Papa orchestrated a scavenger hunt for her presents last year and made a request for another go round.  He obliged and she tracked down all the amazing gifts bought and made for her, including a professional easel handmade by her Auntie Amanda.  What a lucky lady to have such a beautiful day!

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Mmmmm….and a yummy cake made by Auntie Jenny.  Loved by so many, this precious girl.

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Happy birthday, dear Em!  You deserved every minute of happiness from your celebrations!

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Easter Blessings

These little bunnies and I have had a very busy week.  School vacation is a blessed mix of laziness and adventures, sleeping in and staying up late.  What with all the long drives, visitors, evenings with friends and daytime excursions, the blog and its obligations kind of slipped my mind.  But I wouldn’t want to forget to commemorate this Easter and all the fun we had, so here we are again!

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The day before Easter, we drove down to Massachusetts to spend the night with family.  Then we woke up Auntie Amanda and Uncle Chris bright and early to play, open Easter baskets, and have some fun before heading over to Grammy’s for dinner.

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My aunts and uncles, my kids’ aunts and uncles, lots of food, handmade name tags, and plastic eggs made for one very festive afternoon!  I love watching my kids connect with extended family, especially mine since we’re so far away.  I grew up with them in my own house, and having my kids love and appreciate them means everything to me.  It’s an extra blessing in my book.

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And in the spirit of Williams family Easters past, there was an epic egg hunt, for all the bunnies, even the big ones!

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After the egg hunt, there was room for one last cupcake and some more cousin fun before we hit the road to get our pup from the kennel.  We all (especially Little H!) made the most of it.

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One, two, three, four, five times blessed…more than that.  We had so many wonderful reasons to smile that day, and I’m glad I took a minute to reminisce and appreciate it all!

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A Paw Patrol Paw-ty!

Little H had a pretty fabulous family birthday party over the weekend, if I do say so myself.  It had a lot to do with the guest list, with lots of family making the trek up north to celebrate us, but the birthday girl herself was pretty darn cute.  It doesn’t hurt when big sister takes the time to make sure you are party ready, from your fingers down to your toes.

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Thanks to Pinterest and the dollar store, I found plenty of easy ideas for Paw Patrol party food, including serving it in these over-sized dog bowls with silly pup wording.  I’m pretty sure the Chew Toys were gone before the party even started, and I may have made my kids addicted to Cocoa Puffs!

Paw Patrol Bday Party @ Rub Some Dirt On It

With the party set up, it was time to welcome family and enjoy the unseasonably warm spring weather.  What a day!  All of Little H’s cousins were there to celebrate, and because they range from teenager to not-much-bigger than H, I called in reinforcements.  Nothing brings cousins big and small together like bubbles, and nothing makes me happier than bubbles and sunshine.

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Indoors, nothing made Little H happier than an entire house decorated with the Paw Patrol everywhere she turned, filled with people who love her, yummy food, and awesome gifts.  It was the perfect day to be a three-year-old.  Or related to a particularly fabulous three-year-old!

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And cake!  Mmmm…an extra perfect day to be three.

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Such a glorious celebration, so much love!  So grateful to everyone and so proud of Little H.  Happy birthday little one!

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It was definitely a day to remember!

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And Then She Was Three

Over the weekend, something pretty wonderful happened.  This little one turned into a big girl.  Little H is three, and she has the spunky and silly personality to show for it.

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She had a lovely, fun-filled, delightful birthday morning.  We got a late start because we were so busy having pancakes before Daddy went to work, opening presents (two books and the Air Patroller from Paw Patrol!), and picking out the perfect birthday dress (not entirely a tomboy, after all!).  We went to Morning Garden and shared apples and buns with friends, Mommy finished knitting H her very own little kitten, and planted wheatgrass.  Then home for lunch and a nap so when the big kids were done with school, our adventure could continue.

After school (and many birthday hugs), we went to Lego Club at the library, where Little H continues to amaze me with her creations.  Apparently I need to let her use our Legos at home more often!  Then we went over to Pizza Chef where we met up with some friends (mostly Jax and Em’s friends from school, but they are such sweet kids, they make Little H feel like one of the gang).  She truly felt loved and very special!

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This was just day 1 of a three-day celebrating extravaganza.  An epic Paw Patrol party with family was up for the next morning, as well as a sunshine-and-fun-filled Sunday morning outside.  On her actual birthday, though, Little H felt the love from near and far, with family and friends.  We are lucky to have this precious little girl, but she is sure lucky to be so loved as well!

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Happy birthday to our darling baby girl!

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My Valentines

I am the kind of mom who savors every moment of my kids’ childhood, knowing as sure as I look at my seven-year-old son that these moments are fleeting.  That’s why I love Valentine’s Day and the opportunity to stop and tell my children (and yes, my husband, too!) all the marvelous things about them that I adore, and celebrate our love as loudly and as joyfully as I can.  Because these four people are my heart, and I’m not afraid to show it.

Like when JDubbs and Em go to the Father-Daughter Valentine’s Day dance.  The look on his face as he hugs her tells me that he’s not letting these moments go by unappreciated, either.  He knows this love is gift.
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And the next day, when I got to take these two goofballs to apres ski, just us three (which hardly ever happens anymore), I just had to stop to appreciate the moment…and take a silly selfie.

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And of course like that night, after the kids had gone to bed, when JDubbs and I pulled out our bag o’ hearts from Valentine’s past, love notes from us to the kids telling them individually and collectively how very loved they are, how proud they make us, and what makes them special.  I know it looks like a serious undertaking, but saving them every year just means we add a few more and by the time these kids are teenagers, our Curtains of Love are going to be more like a forest!

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Valentine’s morning is outdone only by Christmas as the day I cannot wait for them to wake up and see their happiness.  Little H, who doesn’t remember seeing them before, gasped at the sight of all that love.  The big kids squealed with delight and I could hear them exclaiming, “I forgot about this!” and “Look at this one!” as they read them to each other and pointed out especially favorite memories.  This will always be worth it, every time.

A curtain of love to show your kids how much you love them. Put love notes outside their bedrooms every Valentine's Day that tell them why they're special. Keep them and repeat every year! #valentinesday

Valentine’s Day may be a super-commercialized holiday with cards at $5 a pop, but the spirit behind it, to let the people you know hear how much you love them, is very much who I am and want to be as a parent, friend, wife, family.  My heart is happier with days like this in it.

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(thanks to Little H’s dear Miss Kelly for this lovely little Valentine for her as well)

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Christmas At Home

For the first time ever, since JDubbs and I were dating, married, or had kids, we stayed in our home for Christmas.  Yes, we have spent most Christmas mornings at home lately but this year we did not travel for the entire winter break, and to be honest, it was awesome.  While my older sister’s kids are still in middle/high school, and my younger sister and her new husband are still a duo, we felt it was fair to ask them and my parents to head north for the holiday.  That plus a very merry schedule full of gingerbread houses, visits with Santa, Christmas lights, decorating cookies with friends and sledding led to a wonderful extended Christmas indeed!

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On the night before Christmas, like every year, JDubbs read to the girls since Jax was down and out early with a strange stomach bug, and then we and Grammy got the house ready for Santa to come!  They had been such good kids, we knew he would.

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We were right!  Christmas morning was utterly delightful.  I’m so lucky to have kids who don’t expect everything under the sun for Christmas, who watch with gratitude and happiness while others open their gifts, and who are truly grateful for every present they receive, big and small.

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In the afternoon we went to Nana and Papa’s for more Christmas cheer, to eagerly await cousins, aunts and uncle, and for Mommy to get her one photo of Jax in his Christmas sweater with his sisters before he stripped down to his new Gronk jersey and went out to play with his new scooter and football Santa brought him.  Em got a scooter, too, as well as a new soccer ball from Daddy.  Considering it was warm enough to go outside with jackets (not an inch of snow yet this year!), we were happy to spend the afternoon stretching our legs and running off the extra energy from Christmas candy.

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Cousins arrived, the kids’ table was set, and it was time for presents and playtime all over again.

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The big kids had a matching pj sleepover at Nana and Papa’s, then we spent the weekend together, exploring wintry Vermont.  Sunday morning more aunts, uncles, cousins, and Grampy arrived!  The merriment just kept on coming.

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Who knows when we will be able to spend another Christmas entirely at home? I know that no matter where we are, as long as we are together, our holiday will be wonderful, but getting to spend it beginning to end in our home, with days upon days of family arriving was more special than I would have thought.  Loved our first Christmas at home! Hoping we can celebrate another soon.

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#NYEveSelfies

Everyone in the universe is going to be taking selfies while they drink, dance, carouse, frolic, fight, kiss, make up, break up, meet the love of their life, cram into an Uber, and generally cause a ruckus tonight.  Even though my New Year’s Eve plans consisted of successfully taking three kids sledding and watching a movie at home with my man, I didn’t think that it would be wholly undocumentable.  So after a short nap for Little H, and quick photo shoot in the rain for me, I thought we could all use a little New Year’s cheer.  It was time for some Big Camera Selfies.

Strip the bed? Check. Add some light to an overcast afternoon? Check. Wide angle lens plus as slow a shutter speed as my fidgety kids can (mostly) handle? Check.

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Two big kids who know the drill and understand sometimes it is worth just getting into the spirit of things rather than fight Mom about how insane it is to prop her big camera on the dog bed? Check.  One grumpy and not-at-all-in-the-mood-for-this toddler?  Yup, got one of those, too.

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Timer ready? Check. Let’s take some #NYEveSelfies! Just one good one for Mommy to use as the last photo of her 365 day photo project, please, kids?

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Okay, one with all our eyes open.

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Okay, one where we are all looking in the right direction.

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Okay, so Little H looks like she has to poop in that last one. We are #WinningAtSelfies!

Let’s just try it one more time, without the timer.  Just one cute one for posterity.  Is that too much to ask, pretty please for Mom?

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Apparently, yes.

So our #NYEveSelfie experiment failed, as do so many New Year’s Eve ideas that start with good intentions.  I’m glad we got a few laughs out of it, though!

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Better luck next year, Mom!

Wishing a Happy and Healthy New Year to you!

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