Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Piper's Second Birthday Party


On Saturday we had my little girl's second birthday party. You may not know this, but I am crazy when it comes to celebrations. I want them to be perfect. I agonize over details. I want it to be picture perfect. I would like to say that this is all for selfless reasons. I just want to make it pretty for my baby, but--let's face it, she's not going to remember the party that I threw her this past weekend. What she will love is looking back at the pictures, and hearing the story of how she pushed her Uncle Matt's full plate of food on the floor, or about how she kept throwing her presents around like they were trash, or how she spent the first few minutes outside playing soccer.

So no, it wasn't all for her. It is also for me. I am firmly aware that I am making memories and traditions. Not just for my daughter, but for me. Everything in my being wants to make life so perfect for that little girl because she so deserves perfection from me and those around her. Even though life is not that way for long--I am going to make sure it stays that way for her as long as I can.

I have been working on Piper's second birthday party since she was 18 months old. I do this for several reasons--mostly to spread out the money, but also because I get so excited planning the theme. Our theme this year was "oh-TWO-dles" It was a Minnie Mouse Clubhouse. I think it turned out pretty great!

What is different about this year's party from last years is that I did all of the decorations myself. I didn't order or buy anything from any Etsy shops. Instead--I used my Cricut machine that my mom bought me for my birthday last year--and I got to work. I became the birthday elf--as I liked to call it. Everything you see was made by me (except for the cake and cupcakes), and I couldn't be happier with the results.








Last Friday night I stayed up late decorating the whole house--and on Saturday morning when P came downstairs--she lit up just like Christmas morning--AND that--I will ALWAYS remember.

What themes are you doing for little one's next party? I'd love to hear about it, and help you out if you need. It is so much fun, and totally rewarding!

Happy Wednesday!
Caroline

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Happy 2nd Birthday P!

January 13, 2016

Dear Piper,

Today is your 2nd birthday! HOORAY! Today is your day! I could not be more excited to celebrate you!

You weigh in at 30 pounds and are 34 inches tall. You have 14 teeth. Your hair reaches down to the middle of your back, but it is hard to tell because you have pretty little curls.

I can't believe that it was two years ago today that you came into my world. I have loved you every single moment of my life, even before you were conceived. As far back as I can remember I have always wanted a little girl--and you are the answer to all of those hopes and prayers over the years. BUT--you are so much more than what I hoped for. You amaze me every single day.

There are so many things that you have learned this year. You now speak pretty well. I can still remember the first time that you looked at me out of the blue and just said, "I wub you momma." I thought my heart might explode. Now, you are constantly telling me that you love me. Each time it can instantly brighten my day. You are quite the comedian. I love the sound of your voice. You have the tendency to be bossy at times. Always telling  me to go here or go get you something. You are never rude on purpose--ok, maybe sometimes you are, but you are learning your manners as well. You have recently started saying please and thank you to me.

You love to sing. It is one of your favorite past times. I hope that you never lose that quality. Everyday on the way to and from school you love to sing the song of your choice. Your favorites at the moment include "If You're Happy and You Know It," "The Wheels On The Bus," "Ring around the Rosie," and of course, "Let It Go." I love to sing with you. You also love to sing to your new baby doll. You rock her in your little arms and sing the same songs I sing to you each night. Then you put her "night, night." My heart feels so full each time I see it. I realize that you are watching me and learning how to be a mommy. It makes me feel so proud of you.

This year I decided to go back into the classroom after being home with you for the first year and half of your life. It was a very hard decision, but it was one that I made for you. I wanted you to learn to socialize with other children--and you have succeeded in that arena. You have many friends at school. Your teachers, Ms. Jessica and Ms. Meg--adore you. They call you Pip Pip. They say that you  hold hands with your friends, Riley and Hadley. How cute!

Your favorite toys right now are books. Any and all books. You will literally sit in the middle of the floor and read each and every book on your shelves--declaring, "THE END" after each one! It is quite the site. We now have to take books everywhere for entertainment. You even read while I dry your hair every night.

The holidays were amazing this year with you. You loved opening your Hanukkah and Christmas gifts. You would exclaim "OH!" with each one. You adored your Elf on the Shelf, Grumpy. You couldn't wait to figure out what mischief he had gotten into during the night. You were sad when he went back to the North Pole. You fell in love with the Hanukkah Song. It was all you wanted to sing for weeks afterward.

And now your birthday is here. You are two. Last night you kept informing me, "I two." You are so smart! We sang the Happy Birthday song to you over and over again because you asked us to. Then we all went upstairs and played a game of Pillows. It is a game that you invented all on your own. You tell us to sleep, then wake, and then chase you around the room. Almost a musical chairs, but with pillows. You giggle the whole time we play, and your daddy and I just look at each other and wonder how we got so lucky as to be your parents.

I look forward to the next age and stage of your life. You are becoming so independent that at times it is hard for me. I want to protect you and to do everything for you. I want to shelter you from the world around you, but I also want you to learn to fly on your own. I know that I have to learn to release control so that you can figure out who and what you want to me. I apologize in advance for all of the times that I will fail at this. Remember that everything I do--I do because I love you so much that the fear of anything happening to you is all-consuming, crippling even. So remember that as you grow. You carry my heart with you--so take care not to break it.

Happy Birthday to my Pooper, Pipies, Pip Pip, Pesto Pipes, and Piper. You are the greatest thing that I have ever done. You are my ever changing masterpiece. I love you more than all the cookies in the grocery store and stars in the sky. I was the first to love you, and I will love you forever. You are the most precious gift I have ever received. I am so thankful each and every day for you. Thank you for being my daughter.

So enjoy your day! I have worked tirelessly on your Minnie Mouse themed party. This weekend all of your family--real and adopted--will gather together to celebrate you. You can have as many cupcakes as you can hold. May you love each and every present you open. You so deserve it!

Happy 2nd Birthday!
I love you!

Love,
Mommy

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Raising A Princess


There are times that I feel panic. I get that hitch in my throat and sinking feeling in my stomach. When it comes in my little P--I worry that every little thing I do or say is not the right thing. I worry about ruining her, spoiling her, and molding her into a self-centered little princess. BUT I think that it is natural to have these moments. I think it would say something if I didn't.

Maybe it comes from a lack of confidence in myself as a mom, but I have these moments occasionally. How do I teach her to stand up for herself while also understanding how and when she should be selfless? How do I teach her manners, grace, poise, and yet also encourage her to play wildly, love passionately, dance and sing whenever she wants? How, How, How... That is the million dollar question.

And I think I know the answer that most of you would tell me, "you can't ever be sure." There is no way to guarantee that she will grow up to be all of the these things, but the beauty is that there is also no way to guarantee that she will not be these things. Could the answer be as simple as just loving her, protecting her, and keeping her safe? Doesn't there have to be more than that?

I try to remember how my mom was with me and be like that with my daughter. I'm my mom--version 2.0. New and slightly improved--ya know--for the times. I spend hours working on birthdays. I try to make holidays doubly special. I play tea party. I discipline when I have to. I give up on discipline when I shouldn't. I indulge her sometimes, and stand firm others. I stress manners most of the time, but I still laugh when she burps and farts (I know mom, that is encouraging the behavior). I just can't help it. Despite all of that--I am continually amazed at how wonderful my princess is. 

Lately P has started to say thank you when I hand her things. I always praise her and tell her that she is, "so polite." So then I thought about how she learned that. I never demanded that phrase for her. So how did she learn it? That is when the panic set in, maybe it was daycare that taught her that, and not me. Is that something I need to work on? Am I dropping the manners ball? Is that a thing? But once I calmed down I realized...that I tell her thank you multiple times a day. When she brings me something I say, "thank you, Piper." SO...I am not dropping that ball. She is learning it from me.

She is always watching me, and she is learning and molding herself to be just like me. That is a scary thought. I don't know that I want her to be just like me. I want Piper to be the improved version of me. It definitely makes you think before you let that F bomb slip. 

When I was pregnant--and random people on the street used to offer me parenting advice--because apparently that is appropriate--someone once told me this, "no matter what you do you will never be the best mom, but you will also never be the worst mom." I have taken comfort in those words multiple times. I try not to worry. I try not to stress. I try not to calculate how I should behave so as to instill a certain trait in P. I try just to love her, protect her, play with her, and show her that to me she is perfection. But I fail at that a lot. 

Worrying is what moms do. I will raise my little princess and I will love all of those flaws that she will undoubtedly have. That is what is going to make her special, unique, and beautiful. I've just got to remember that all of the time. 

Happy Tuesday, Y'all

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!


It's 2016! That feels so weird to type. AND even weirder to think. It makes me feel old, and indeed I do feel pretty old these days.

So long to 2015--you were a pretty spectacular friend. I will be sorry in many ways to see you go, but I am one who is always looking ahead for the "what is next," stage in my life. 

2015 was my first full calendar year as a mother. Therefore, it was pretty amazing. 2015 saw me become really comfortable with that title and role in my life. Being P's mommy is what I consider to be one of my most important jobs. I fall more in love with her with each new stage in her development. She is pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. 

The new year means that my girl is about to grow another year older. P is almost 2. I'm not going to get all sappy on you in this post--there will be a whole other post for that on her actual birthday. 

I have spent the majority of my holiday time off with P. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed being with her 24-7. I am once again amazed by how quickly she learns, grows, and changes. She is very different from the child I brought home from baby school the Friday before Christmas. Her sentences have gotten longer, she is sleeping better. She has been having far less tantrums. It hurts my heart in a way because I know that all of this progress is because she is happy to have the extra time with both of her parents. Going back to school next Monday will be very hard for all of us. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

I know that this is probably the most politically incorrect statement ever, but "if you don't have a little girl--you just don't know what you are missing." This past week and a half has reaffirmed in me that I was meant for this life and this life was meant for me. I am far luckier to have her than she is me. Dang it--I promised no sap. Oh- Well!

2015 saw a lot of personal and professional growth in our family. I re-entered the classroom. J switched schools and took a head coaching job. I also started coaching again. We bought a house, moved, and are still perfecting our home. P started baby school and is really flourishing in that environment--for the most part. When I look back at all that we have accomplished this year--it makes me that much more excited for 2016. 

I love that each new year prompts me to look back and reflect on myself. There are many positives and negatives. I have come a long way for some of my goals, and I have dropped the ball in many other areas. Once again, I am reminded that life for me is all about balance. When any one area of my life gets too much attention--I struggle to function and everyone loses. So the theme that I am going to TRY to focus on in 2016 is balance. Most days I struggle to be an awesome mother, wife, and teacher all in the same day. But guess what, I am smart enough to recognize that there are a lot of women out there that feel the same way. I take comfort in that. 

So here's to you my fellow sisters. Here is to our beautiful babies, our rockin' post baby bodies, our helpful husbands, and our busy careers. I truly do believe that we can and will together have it all. It's just the matter of getting it all together for each individual day.

Happy New Year Y'all
Caroline