4/18/14

Luke's Firefighter Party

Another year, another party in the books. I promised Chris and myself that I wouldn't go all out like I did for his first and second birthdays. But that's just not how I roll. I'd rather have no party at all than just a casual party. I'm an all or nothing sort of gal. So once again this party took on a life of it's own.

The nice thing about having his parties at our home every year is that I essentially recreate the same party but substitute decorations to fit that year's theme. I know where I need decorations, how many tables, etc. It's all just a matter of letting the creative juices flow. And let's be honest, I have Pinterest to do that for me.

All vendors are listed at the bottom and once again - I use the same people every year because I know they do fantastic work. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? We did have Chick Fil A for lunch since that was the birthday boy's one and only true request. I was happy to oblige because their food really is delicious.

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I came across this blog post on Pinterest which served as my jumping point for decor. I lucked out when I saw that she did a flame tutorial on Amy Atlas' blog. Score! So all creative credit goes to Virginie from That Cute Little Cake. Thank you!

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I always snag my florals from Trader Joe's the day before the party since they offer a nice selection and are decently priced. I went with the notion that I would grab all white flowers but as luck would have it, they had red, orange, and yellow gerber daisies. I cleaned them out! 

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The Target dollar spot never disappoints when it comes to party favors. I'm of the mindset that I want to give stuff that kids will actually use. Not more junk to clutter up mom's house. Bubbles, chalk, markers, and an activity pad were all just $1 each! 

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I say this every year but Ioana outdid herself. The attention to detail was ridiculous! Just look at the fire hat on the cupcake topper! And considering the only thing I told her as far as design was "sophisticated fire," she did an outstanding job. Yes, those were my exact words. Poor Ioana. 

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If you remember last year's party, I had my father-in-law park a dump truck from his work in front of our house. I knew I wouldn't be able to get a fire truck this year unless I called 911. (JOKING) So since I couldn't bring a fire truck to the party, I decided to bring the party to the fire truck! Sort of.

I had all our guests meet at the fire station for a quick tour I had prearranged with the fire department ahead of time and then we headed to the house for lunch, cake, and presents. The kids LOVED it! It was definitely the highlight of Luke's day - he didn't want to leave! And the firefighters were fantastic with the kiddos. I think the adults enjoyed it too. It was neat to see all the inner workings of the fire station. Not that they read this blog, but a big thank you to fire station #34! Best day of my 3 year old's life!



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I rented a kid's table and chairs this year to see if it would entice the kiddos to sit and eat their lunch before running off to play - it worked! The kid's loved having their own "special table" just for them. 

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It was a great day spent with our family and friends. Luke loved all the special birthday attention and is still talking all about his " fire party."

Invitation: The Divine Invitation
Rentals (tables, chairs, linens): Create-A-Party
Banners: Banners by J
Firefighter Hats and Fire Extinguisher Squirt Guns: Party Supplies Delivered
Catering: Chick Fil A Brea Plaza
Cake and Cupcakes: Cocoaberry Cake Company
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4/16/14

Three.


"I am your mother, the first mile of your road. Me and all my obvious limitations. That means that in addition to possibly wrecking you, I have the chance to give to you what was given to me: a decent childhood, more good memories than bad, some values, a sense of a tribe, a run at happiness. You can't imagine how seriously I take that - even as I fail you. Mothering you is the first thing of consequence that I have ever done." Lift by Kelly Corrigan

To My Sweet Luke,

I just put you to bed for the last time as a 2 year old. Tomorrow when you wake up you will be 3. (Well, not until 6:08pm.) I sent daddy a picture today of what I looked like exactly 3 years ago today. Very pregnant and very unaware as to how life would change. They say life changes when you have kids and you really don't realize how much until you've had them. And I'm sure life is going to continue to change the older you get.

We started the celebration this past weekend with a huge firetruck party. I didn't think you could love a party more than last year's dump truck party but you do. You talk non-stop about fires and fire fighting and call us "fire mom" and "fire dad." I joke that if the house really were on fire and you were telling me, I wouldn't believe you because we play "fire" all day long.

You still love all things trucks and construction - I don't see that changing any time soon. You absolutely LOVE going to daddy's work and think he has the coolest job in the entire universe. Your favorite day of the week is trash day and any chance we get to see the garbage truck in action is totally awesome. You also still love blocks and your favorite thing to build is garages, cranes, and more trucks!

If asked what your favorite food is, you always respond "Chick Fil A" without missing a beat. You sure do love your chicken, fries, and fruit. You love blueberries, bread, and you've never met a snack you didn't like. Lunch is still your favorite meal of the day and it wouldn't be a complete morning without a plate of pancakes, a glass of milk, and sliced bananas while watching Mickey Mouse.

Speaking of Mickey, he's still your favorite but you also love Daniel Tiger and Fireman Sam. Your favorite movie right now is Wall-E and Frozen is also a recent hit. Your favorite color is blue which is why you asked for a cake with blue balloons and blue frosting for your family birthday dinner tomorrow.

You gave your binkies to the binky fairy three weeks ago. You were so brave and barely cried at all but I see you still struggling a little and it breaks my heart. I get it buddy, I hate change too. But you can do hard things. And this is just the first of many things you will have to work through as you grow into the person God made you to be.

You became a big brother this year which has definitely been another adjustment but you are handling it so well. You are mom's big helper and I can tell that you love your "sissy" fiercely. She already looks up to you - she's going to think you and your dad hung the moon.

When I close my eyes and picture you - I think fun. You are non-stop energy and so very much fun. You keep daddy and I laughing daily. Even if it's when you're in trouble. You've definitely moved into the "three-nager" role and while it has been an adjustment for all of us, it makes me happy to see you so determined and spirited. If I had to describe you in just a few words it would be: inquisitive, industrious, and joyful. You bring such joy to our whole family.

You remind me so much of myself and perhaps that's why we butt heads so often. Two people trying to work and live together who don't like to be told "no." I may not like it now, but eventually that never give up attitude will take you far. Especially with that great work ethic of yours. Yes, even at 3 you are my worker bee. You'd rather help daddy or Bampa "fix" things than play toys any day of the week. 3 generations of hard working Thomas men. Your future wife will be so thankful that you are able to fix things around the house!

Luke David, you are the special, sweet boy that made me a mommy and have taught me so much these past 3 years. And you continue to teach me new things every day. I've never been stretched and pulled so much - both physically and mentally - as I have being your mom. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm so blessed that God gave us you. Daddy and I love you so very, very much.

Love,
Mommy
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4/15/14

Emilee 7 Months!

I thought because E wasn't crawling yet that these pictures would be much easier to take than Luke's 7 month pics. Wrong. She was rolling all over the place and trying with all her might to launch herself out of the glider. Her nose is red towards the end photos because she kept belly flopping onto the seat and rubbing her face on the fabric. I had to grab her several times so she wouldn't go face first off the end of the chair.








To My Sweet Emilee Grace,

7 months! Where is the time going? I don't mind it too much because I love seeing your little personality develop each day you get older. But part of mommy is sad that my itty bitty squishy newborn is gone forever. You may not be a baby in size but you will forever be the baby of this family and a baby in my heart.

You have 2 teeth now! One is all the way through and you cut the second one yesterday. A sharp little edge is just poking up through the gum. I can also see your top left one getting ready to come on down. Which would explain your lack of naps lately. You used to be my pro napper and lately I'm lucky if I get 45 minutes. Although you have been sleeping for over an hour right now. But just writing about it probably jinxed it. We are down to just 2 naps a day which when you don't nap makes for a VERY early bedtime.

You still LOVE to eat and we are still working our way through fruits and veggies. You just recently had mango and corn. Up next is broccoli, apricots, and pumpkin. You watch everything we put in our mouth and if we leave food to close to you, you try and grab it. It's hard to believe in just 2 months you will be eating table food like the rest of the family.

You don't crawl just yet but you are determined to learn. I'm sure it will happen in the next few weeks - you are so close! You are able to get up on all 4s by yourself and you can go backwards, just not forwards. But just because you aren't crawling doesn't mean you aren't mobile. You roll with purpose! You can clear the room SO fast. I put you down one place and I look back and you are already somewhere else.

You have just discovered jumping in the jumper and love it! You have quite the powerful little chunky legs missy. You love banging your blocks around their box and the pink vanity is still a hit. You love bath time and you kick your legs like a crazy person. Your crazy red hair is my favorite and I call you my "spicy ginger." It's not quite long enough for a pony tail "sprout" but it's getting there.

We moved you out of the infant car seat and into big brother's old convertible this past weekend. It's crazy how big you are getting and so fast. It feels like just yesterday we brought you home all little from the hospital. Missy moo, sissy moo, sissy, sissy lala, Emmy Grace, and Princess Em-a-wee, are all current nicknames. It's my favorite when big brother says "Emmy Grace" in his sweet little voice.

Your dad observed yesterday that you are just so "sweet." Which describes you perfectly. You are a lover, a snuggler, and just have the sweetest disposition. Your Auntie Jenn swears she has never heard you cry (Don't worry, I sent her a video that shows her otherwise.) You are such a blessing to our family and I can't wait to see what this next month brings! I love you so much my "missy moo."

Love,
Mommy


I had to laugh a little at her 7 month pic in the collage - Luke was in the room playing with his toy power drill and the noise it was making was totally freaking Emilee out. This is her "what the heck is that?" face. Ha!
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4/4/14

Friday Fun Facts: Emilee 29 Weeks

New Milestones:  I'm racking my brain trying to think of something new this week but can't really think of anything...

Milestones I think she is close to: E is trying so very hard to crawl. She is SO close to getting up on all fours and she propels herself backwards pretty well. Which makes her even more mad because then she's even farther away from the toys she was after. 

Sleeping: E is a pro sleeper at night. Which just typing that means she probably won't be now. (The first rule about sleeping through the night is we don't ever talk about sleeping through the night.) Naps are generally ok - some days she needs me to go in and rock her. This used to make me so mad with Luke because I was so desperately trying to do all the things. Now? Well, it bothers me a bit less. Haha. Sure there are days where I need to do things and work but then there are days like yesterday. Where I plug in my headphones and catch up on "Call the Midwives" on my phone... resigning myself to nap jail for the next hour or so. 

Foods: We just finished peaches and will move onto prunes tomorrow. Prunes might be short-lived because E doesn't need any help in that department. I might mix it with some banana to try and counteract it's inevitable effects. 

Favorite activity/toy:  E is working on her second tooth now so lots more drool and gnawing on things. If your leg/foot is close by on the floor she will inevitably try and chew it off. 

Best part about being a mom:  The days are long but the years are short. And some days are REALLY long. But those long, hard days make the fun, easy days that much more precious. If it wasn't hard, it wouldn't be worth it. 


This week we: had our twin friend Emery over to play. We also went to the Santa Ana Zoo with Madeline and Cole - it was E's first zoo trip and also first carousel ride. She wasn't too impressed. Her favorite part was the cold baby carrot I held so she could gum it during our lunch. 





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3/28/14

Friday Fun Facts: Emilee 28 Weeks

New Milestones:  We have a tooth! The bottom left is definitely visible... and sharp! I gave her an itty bitty piece of banana to gnaw on this morning and she bit down and left a mark on my finger! Ouch! It's funny because I looked back and it's the exact same tooth Luke cut first. Although he cut his about a month earlier. 

Milestones I think she is close to: She is trying so hard to crawl - she can push herself backward like a boss but has yet to figure out how to go forwards. She is also working on getting on all fours from a sitting position. 

Sleeping: We successfully stopped using the magic sleep suit and my girl is now a tummy sleeper just like her big brother. She still will wake up about 30-45 minutes in but as soon as she rolls onto her tummy and puts a thumb in her mouth she's right back to sleep again. She is still taking a 25 minute third nap but on days she naps really well for her first and second, I don't offer it. I imagine it will be gone in the next few weeks. 

Foods: We are officially onto the fruits. We have tried bananas, pears, and just started apples today. Her absolute favorite is still butternut squash with a bit of cinnamon but she really likes peas too. 

Favorite activity/toy:  I leave E in the highchair after she gets dinner while the rest of us eat. When she's not being entertained by big brother's antics, you can catch her throwing every toy we've given her onto the floor. Anything that's cold and she can gnaw on is also a favorite. 

Best part about being a mom: I think 6 months is when God magically erases your memory of all the horrible newborn antics. I see E getting so big, so fast and it makes my uterus a little achy. Which, after looking back at the blog, is the same age Luke was when I started to feel all the newborn squish love again. Except this time it's different. We are done. No more babies. But then I think about all the fun, exciting things that families with big kids (well kids that aren't babies) get to do and it makes me smile. 



This week we: had our official 6 month pics taken. Well last week I guess. I posted my two favorites below. 

I've been on a serious baby food making kick. (It's SO addicting once you start!) And I also ordered E an amber teething necklace. All to say, once again, never say never when you're a parent. Because chances are you will. 




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3/21/14

Friday Fun Facts: Emilee 27 Weeks

New Milestones:  We have a sitter! Em sits so well now. I put the boppy around her just in case if I have to leave the room for a minute though. (Yes, we had a head "thump" incident on the carpet. #momfail) Em is trying so hard to pronounce consonants - we've almost got the "mmmm" sound. She is also cutting her bottom left front tooth. I would say it will be through the gum in the next few days. 

Milestones I think she is close to: Em wants to move so badly! She watches Luke play and trys to crawl but hasn't figured out how to get her arms and legs working at the same time. She can push herself backwards though so I imagine forwards is in our future. 

Sleeping: Naps are still hit or miss - I blame the tooth but I also think it's time for us to ditch the "sleep suit." She loves to sleep on her belly at night and I think she would sleep longer during naps if she was able to do the same... Which if she wears the suit, then she can't roll onto her stomach. 

Foods: We've been through all the veggies and were going to start fruit this week but I had to hold off due to some poop issues. I'm not sure if I chalk it up to teething or a tummy bug but girlfriend has been having numerous diaper changes throughout the day... if you catch my drift. It finally seems to be back on track so we will start pears tomorrow. 

Favorite activity/toy:  E loves any necklace I'm wearing and is also a big fan of hair pulling. It's her favorite thing to do when she's getting a bottle. She is also still obsessed with her pink vanity and I have the funniest story from yesterday.


I sat her in front of it to play while I went to make a cup of coffee. Well I hear her crying a few seconds later so I figured she either fell over or Luke did something to her. So I go back in the family room and Luke is holding her purple comb (her favorite part of aforementioned vanity) and she is squawking because he has it and she wants it. Let the sibling squabbles commence! 

Best part about being a mom:  I said the same when Luke was this age but I feel like every day she learns something new. She is growing by leaps and bounds right now and it is so fun to see her little personality develop while she explores the world around her. 

This week we: celebrated E's first St. Patrick's day. I was totally prepared to snap a quick pic of just the kiddos in all their green but then decided to #embracethecamera and jump in there with them. I am SO glad I did! It has easily become my most favorite picture of the 3 of us. It was lunchtime on a Monday - nothing too special - and that's why I love it. Just our little life and the people I love. (Chris was taking the pic.) 



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3/13/14

Emilee 6 Months!

6 months!!! It's hard to believe that half a year has already come and gone. After having two kids, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is my absolute favorite baby stage! There is somewhat of a sleep schedule, they aren't mobile yet, and trying new foods is just so fun! If I could give birth to a 6 month old, I'm sure I would have at least 2 more kids. Well, not really, because that would probably hurt.

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To My Sweet Emilee Grace!

Happy 1/2 birthday baby girl! We celebrated today by going to the doctor for your 6 month check-up. Luke was with daddy having his hair cut so it was a fun mommy/daughter outing. I've forgotten how easy just one kid is!

You weigh 16 pounds 3 ounces and are 26 1/4 inches long, about 65% for both. Your head is closer to the 80%. You need the space to hold that big brain of yours! The doctor couldn't believe how well you were already sitting - such a pro! You loved watching her walk around the room - your face told us you weren't too sure about this new stranger. They gave you 2 shots and you didn't make a sound. Mommy was shocked! But boy oh boy, did you give the nurse a mean stink eye!

You are in that awkward stage for clothes - 9 month stuff is a bit big and 6 month stuff is too small or as Bampa says, "Looks like you got it at a 1/2 off sale." I just finished washing all your 9 month stuff and packing away your 3-6 month clothes. It's definitely bittersweet.

You are a rolling machine! You roll all over the floor to get where you want to go. I've even seen you pull your right leg up to try and army crawl a bit. Some days you sit so well on your own and then some days you give me "the plank" and just hang out on your tummy. You also have finally discovered a love for jumping in the jumper.

Sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, and peas have all been tested and Emilee-approved. Mommy is excited to start fruits next week! You get a bottle 4 times a day and can finish it in about 7 minutes flat when you are hungry. You are still taking 3 naps a day but I have a feeling the 3rd nap is on it's way out.

Naps are hit or miss. Some days (like days when you are at grandma's) you sleep for 2 hours straight and then other days you only give me 30 minutes. I would love to blame it on teething but I still haven't seen any actual teeth yet. But you chew on everything and are a total drool machine. I bet they are coming soon!

You love your pink vanity and pretty much any toy you can chew on. Including your toes. You have the smallest feet I've ever seen! You still think big brother is hilarious and he easily gets the most laughs out of you. Although daddy is pretty high up there on your list of favorite people.

You are my "observer" - easily the most laid back, relaxed baby I've ever met. You hardly ever fuss (except when it's close to bedtime) and you are content to just sit back and watch everything that is happening around you. I see you eyeing big brother playing with his toys and it will be no time before you are after them for yourself. You truly are our little princess and we love you so very much!

Love,
Mommy

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