Monday, February 28, 2011

Birthday post Part I...decorations!

Since I am sure if I tried to post all the pics I want to from Z's 3rd birthday party, I would be sitting here for hours, I am just going to break it up a bit. I spent a good deal of time and energy prepping for the party. I knew I wanted a small family party, but I didn't want it to feel like an afterthought so I headed over to Etsy for some extra special accessories.

The theme was Superheroes so I made an invitation of Zach in his Wolverine costume and used a creative cartoon like clip to spice up the picture. I would have ordered some off of Etsy, but I didn't have the time. Instead I ordered him a pennant banner, name banner, superhero cookies, and birthday shirt. I went slightly overboard on the balloons and streamers, and my sister in law Lisa definitely outdid herself by making not only adorable Spider-man themed cupcakes, but and incredible Hulk cake. Zach loved looking at the cake, almost as much as he liked eating it. I got some cute cupcake toppers and thank you tags made, and they added a nice touch too! Here are some of the pics from the party.

Look at how cute these cupcakes are. I almost didn't use the toppers I ordered because my Aunt Lisa had gone above and beyond once again! Thank you so much Lisa!
Isn't this cake so creative? All I asked for was a chocolate round, and she called to tell me she had this baby in mind. I was like, Hell yeah, that is awesome. This little man, couldn't keep his fingers out of it, and was all about staring at his Hulk cake and the matching candy that Aunt Lisa incorporated into it! Just some of the balloons and decorations

This pic shows off Zach's pennant banner and name banner. I loved the little flags I added to the M&M's too to bring more of a Superhero feel to the party.

Aren't these favor cookies adorable? They were delicious too! I got them from a store called Batches on Etsy!

And a picture of the birthday of few that aren't a blur from that day...literally!

I have a lot more to share, including one of my favorite party activities ever...and you guessed it, it was from Etsy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Three years...

Of loving these dimples

Of snuggles and kisses

Of countless priceless moments

Of cries

And Laughs

Of learning everything

About myself

And him

Of I love you's

And tantrums

Of bedtime stories

And baths

Of jokes

And life lessons

Of feeling completely blessed

That he is and always will be my son.

I love you Zachary for a million reasons. For your sweet soul, and contagious laugh. For your beautiful imagination, and your endless energy. For your sometime dramatic outbursts and your often humorous dialogue. For your big hugs at night and your cuddles throughout the day. For you being the best little helper, and the kindest big brother. For your outgoing personality and all of your knock knock jokes. I've loved you every moment I knew you existed, and I always will. Happy 3rd birthday to my baby,my big boy, one of my best companions, one of the greatest gifts in my life, my Zach!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Zach and Tucker...

Today, for his 3rd birthday Uncle Nick and Aunt Cheryl took Zach to Build A Bear. I am not sure he really understood what was going to happen once he got there, but we looked online at all the choices and he was ready to get a "horsie" when we went.

My Mom came with the boys and I and we meet Uncle Nick and Aunt CC there. By the time they arrived Zach was on overload. He wanted one of every stuffed animal. Here is a photo of him moments after we arrived...see that little boy running madly through the store behind them....that was Zach about 1 minute later!
When Uncle Nick and Aunt CC arrived, Zach was so thrilled to get started:
He did take a minute to try to explain to Matt that while he was glad Mattie was there, this was his birthday present, so try not to get jealous...his day would come!
Then it was decision time...Zach was between a camo bear, a white owl, and a fluffy puppy. I was secretly rooting for the cute puppy, Aunt CC liked the monkey, but Zach made up his mind...camo bear! I think Uncle Nick thought it was a solid choice because when we tried to show him more, he insisted that Zach had made his selection.

Here Z is showing off his bear:Then Uncle Nick and Aunt CC helped Zach pick out just the right sound effect. Zach got a "giggle" sound for his bear, because he loves to laugh and tell jokes!

After that we headed off to the "fill" station, where Zach got to push a pedal to fill up his bear. He loved that part, and made sure to press the love, friendship, joy, and care buttons while he did it:He even took care in selecting the perfect heart for his bear:

After a series of instructions from jumping to spinning, to giving his bear muscles, Zach's bear was ready for his heart. Zach kissed the heart and made a wish:

After his bear was all laced up, we headed off to the washing station. Zach loved giving his new friend a bath, and Matt was also really entertained:

Aunt CC helped him finish up beautifying the bear:

Uncle Nick help him dress his bear in the outfit that took forever to pick...a karate outfit!

Here is the final product:

Then Uncle Nick and Zach were off to name the bear and my usually very decisive 3 yr old who makes up names for everything drew a blank. It was Aunt CC who suggested Tucker, and it seemed to fit. So Zach named his new camo bear Tucker, and the two friends lived happily ever after.

Oh and here they are...Zach and Tucker:

Well gotta run, Tucker and Zach are ready for bed!

Thanks Uncle Nick and Aunt CC for spoiling Zach with Tucker and accessories and for the great memory!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Have you missed...

This face?

Or this face?
After nearly 20 days of antibiotics around here, things are starting to look up. I am hoping that Matt is only pulling at his ear this week because he is getting two top molars...we will see. I am also hoping that the cough both the boys have will be gone before weeks end. Fortunately, I am on a week break from school, so it is sort of like dabbling in my not so old routine. This week is filled with a lot of activity. Then on Saturday Zach will celebrate his 3rd birthday! I know every Mom says this, but seriously, how the heck did he get to be three already? I can't wait to show you all the cute stuff I got for his party. I am most excited about his party favors.
Hopefully, since I will not be splitting my time as much between home and work, I will be able to be better about posting. I definitely need to capture some new dimple pictures to share with you all!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I heart Etsy...

Recently I discovered a new place to shop. If there is one thing I love to do, it's shop! In my travels through blogland, I've come across some great blogs with tons of ideas, stories, images, and information. One blog I read a few weeks ago showed a "Family Rules" sign from a shop in Etsy. The shop that designed the sign was Barn Owl Primitives, and I immediately fell in love with the concept. I wanted one of these signs to be a reminder to me and my family everyday about what was important. I ended up ordering one of the signs on the spot, and I am so glad I did. The sign arrived yesterday, and I just love it. I hung it in my laundry room so that anytime we exit or enter the house we will see it! Here is my new sign:

It is just perfect for my laundry room! In fact I was inspired to try to make that space more inviting after buying the sign so I ended up ordering a vinyl wall design to go in there as well from another Etsy store Openheart Creations. I just love the playfulness of the sign:

Most people might not use their washer and dryer as a starting point for design, but these machines I LOVE, LOVE LOVE! Even though we have been in our new house almost 7 months, it is just now starting to feel settled. Slowly but surely these spaces are starting to have the touches of home. Here is the final look:
So readers do you have a favorite Etsy site? If so share please. I have a lot of other great shops I found in my travels for Zach's 3rd birthday party, but that will have to wait for another post!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My sickly Valentines...

Two of my favorite Valentines are sick again. Yes, after only two weeks in daycare, they have each been ill twice. Matt has had two double ear infections, both of them have been on antibiotics at least once, and for the last three days one or both of my sons have been running a fever anywhere from 102 degrees to 104! It has been a long weekend!

Today I had to go to work. I am right in the middle of a project with my students and I couldn't just opt out for the day. Literally I needed to be there, yet my heart was home all day. Fortunately my other Valentine stepped up to the plate and spoiled our boys all day. He managed to take care of two needy kids, and still put in hours of work. It was wonderful to know that if I wasn't able to be home, their Dad was there to comfort them. He did such a great job that when I did get home Matt only wanted Daddy to hold him. I think after a day of high fevers, diarrhea and some very looong naps, my hubby deserved his favorite dinner, meatloaf!

I was really proud of the fact that I got Wayne a card, some candy and made him some chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate covered Oreos. That was until he showed me my gift, and I felt a little guilty. I mean my gift was a bit luxurious. Wayne got me a new stand mixer!!! This beauty:
I have been wanting a new mixer for years! While I love my old Artisan mixer, I have lost a lot of the attachments over the decade I've had it. I've also beat the heck out of my beater, and the unit itself is starting to look haggard. I was so psyched, I love baking, and this beauty of a mixer just seems so perfect!
I can't mention Valentine's day gifts though without giving a shout out to my Mom for the Pandora necklace she surprised me with the other day. There is something so sweet about getting gifts from your folks for Valentine's day, even when you are all grown up! (grown up,Yeah right!) What's even sweeter is when that gift is girls love the sparkle! I wore it today and all of my student's gushed over it, even though I explained the necklace was from my Mom, and my husband had gotten me a mixer. Apparently at 16, the romance of the perfect mixer was lost on them. Too bad!
Even though they were sick I did give the boys their teddy bears with candy, and a crayola color wonder kit. I would have to say though that my gifts weren't on par with the thoughtfulness of my special Valentines. Oh well...maybe next year, I will be able to pay it forward a bit better. This year I will just sit back and enjoy the loot!

Friday, February 11, 2011

To my big brother...

I can't believe my big brother is 36 today. I swear sometimes I look at him and can still see that blond mop of hair, with a smile that always came out even in the trickiest of situations. Looking back, I remember that my brother was always loving, always a lot of fun. He liked to organize games for us to play, and my sister and I used to drop everything if he wanted us to play Matchbox cars with him, or join in on a good game of Transformers. I remember how safe his presence always made me feel, and that I felt so lucky to have a big brother looking out for me.

Sure we had times that we drove each other nuts, or maybe even out onto the rooftop. But when I think of my childhood I think of my siblings most of all. I think about how we stuck together, and how we talked and laughed. I think about the fact that my brother was sweet, and sometimes devious, that he was funny, and often kind. I think about his energy for exploring, his imagination, his genuine zest for life. I think about his outbursts, his stunts, his accomplishments. Looking back I think a lot about how lucky I've been to see him evolve.

Relationships are tricky, especially between siblings. My brother and I don't always see eye to eye. We tend to get along, but sometimes I annoy him to no end, and sometimes he frustrates me beyond anyone else I've ever known. He is stubborn, I am stubborn. He is confident, I am confident. He is loyal, I am loyal. He is tender at heart. I am temder at heart. Sometimes I wonder just how much of who I am has been shaped by him. I know growing up I felt lucky to have him as my brother. I also know that today I feel even more lucky to have him as a friend.

Nick, I am so glad that I had a big brother to look up to. I am even more glad that that brother was you. I am also very blessed that my sons' have an Uncle that they adore, who always is willing to play Superheroes with them, and wrestle. I remember today how special your attention always made me feel, and I am so glad to know that they will feel it too. Happy birthday to my big brother, the only boy so far I've had the pleasure of watching grow up! I love you, enjoy your day!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The end of a very long week...

Tonight I am so excited, after being gone for six days, Wayne is home! The past week has been hectic. Not only did I return to work after being out for 15 months, but I was also on my own every night with the kids, all night. Thanks to my parents I didn't have to drag the kids to daycare at the crack of dawn, and they ended up watching them four out of the five weekdays, so that I didn't need to add the emotional drama of that to the week. I will never forget what they did for me this week. I think one more straw might have broke this camel's back.

The idea that your partner is away on a luxury vacation while you are home manning the fort is one that most people would cringe at. The fact that technically it was called a work vacation didn't ease the bitterness I felt when he was at the pool bar and I was scrambling for sanity. I know that the week took its toll on both of us, but next time I'd rather be the one on Spring Break...ah I mean a work trip. Unfortunately I don't see an opportunity for travel in my career so I guess I will just have to hope that every once in awhile I will be able to go too, and pray that if I can't his bosses don't ask that he go. Too bad, when your boss asks you, I mean implies that you really should do something, your hands are kind of tied. I guess the fact that they are tied onto an alcoholic beverage, great food, and snokeling gear all week makes the demand a little more bearable.

I can honestly say after a week of going it on my own, with a ton of help from my family, and a lot of support from my friends, I would not want to be a single parent. This week has asked that I dig deep, and I did. I am proud of what I accomplished this week. I was not always at the top of my game, but I came out with a better understanding of who I am, even if the journey wasn't pretty sometimes. Revelations... I am capable of being on my own, but I'm thankful I'm not. I am a good teacher, and quite capable in the classroom, I love my kids, and will be thrilled once they are school aged and I don't have the mommy guilt, I am a work in progress but no matter how unpolished I am people love me through it.

I may need another week to get my head together, but I hope when I return, you will be here to share in my story.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Today I am grateful for the snow storm that brought me a SNOW DAY! It was so great staying home all day with my boys and taking care of them. I am grateful that tomorrow is Thursday which means we are over the hump of the week. I am grateful that everyone I love is safe no matter their location. I am grateful that the power didn't go out in this freezing weather. I am grateful that for the most part Zach and Matt are healthy. But today I am most grateful for my Mom and Dad, and you both know why. Thank you for supporting me when I needed you most, as usual! I can't wait till Super Bowl Sunday, and it is definitely not for the football!

What are you grateful for today?