Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Brendan's Barnyard Bash

I'll never forget my little guy's first birthday party.
The week before his party
(as I was working feverishly to get things together)
I noticed I wasn't the only one feverish.
Brendan was sporting a temperature of 101.5.
Turns out he had hand, foot, and mouth disease.
No problem . . . just reschedule the party to next weekend.
Then Megan got it . . .
Then John got it . . .

Since we don't let a little coxsackie virus slow us down,
we decided to carry on with the barnyard bash
the following weekend . . . rash or no rash. (Ewww!)

Actually, we informed all the guests to enter our contaminated barnyard at their own risk.
I'm so glad some decided our heebie jeebies were worth the risk . . .
after all, every child deserves over-the-top first birthday, right???
It think it is a requirement.

I did my best . . .
The cake was fresh lemon with raspberry filling and white almond with raspberry filling. The barn was carved from rice krispie treats and covered in fondant. I sculpted all the little farm animals from fondant. I loved this cake. LOVED IT.
(I made those little sheep out of chocolate covered cake balls. Aren't they cute?)

And no dessert table would be complete without sugar cookies!

I made this for the front porch and realized
there would be some who would make fun of me . . .
and some who would recognize the creative genius of it all.

I hung this on the front door.

I made the silverware look like carrots because I'm a dork like that.
(Don't even try to lie . . . I know you're running out right now to get yourself some green forks and orange napkins to make your own little carrots, aren't you?)
And here is my little farmer boy, Brendan.

And my little cowgirl Megan.
Here is Megan moo-ing in the sign I painted.
This, of course, led to everyone wanting a turn.

Here's Austyn.

And me :)

And Aunt Katie.

Brendan and Carter . . . too cool for the cardboard cow.

Here is John and Brendan watching the slide show of Brendan's first year.

And no birthday photo montage would be complete without a photo of Nana and my little guy.(Only, compare the size of him to Nana . . . not so little, huh?)

Looking at this picture makes me want to call Nana to make sure Brendan didn't break her hip or anything.

It was so wonderful to have our family and friends with us to celebrate Brendan's birthday. We shared a lot of things together . . . love, laughter, great food, sweet memories. Let's just hope we didn't share our coxsackie.

And in lieu of party favors, we sent our guests home with a squirt of antibacterial hand gel.
That concludes my tale of Brendan's Barnyard Rash . . . I mean bash!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Super Mario

Every year around the time of Colin's birthday, I get a little giddy. Yes, I'm happy to celebrate my little nephew's birth and all but what really gets me is the cake. Yes friends, the cake. Colin's cake is always fun to make and he always has the best reaction to it.

This year, he wanted a Super Mario Brothers cake. My first task was figuring out what the heck a Super Mario Brother actually was. I probably spent more time researching what creatures, decorations, etc. would actually go the cake than making the cake itself. (Although that may be a toss up.)

Colin LOVED his cake. He liked it so much, when Justin asked him if he wanted to go swimming, Colin said *sigh*,

"I just wanna sit and look at my cake a little bit longer."
How's that for a great reaction!

The mushroom was chocolate/chocolate chip cake covered in fondant. The middle tier was chocolate/chocolate chip and the bottom tier was white almond sour cream cake. Both tiers were filled and iced with vanilla buttercream.

I made the scary brown mushroom guy, the red mushroom guy, and the spiky turtle out of fondant. All the decor on the cake itself was fondant. The Mario, Luigi, Yoshi were toys that Colin got to keep.

And this is Justin's FRART. (Fruit + Art)

It is supposed to be a Mario cart (steering wheel on left, spoiler on right.)

Justin and I have a friendly competition going to see who can create the "show stopper" of the birthday party . . . his FRART vs. my cake.

I'll let you decide who won (although it was clearly me.)

This year . . . and last!

Justin's FRART 2009

Lisa's cake 2009

I think the score is . . . Lisa's cake 2, Justin's FRART 0

Maybe next year, Justin :)

Enough with the walk down memory lane, let's get back to a random photo from Colin's birthday party.

And one that Megan took before we left the house.

And by the way, Justin . . . I think your FRART is POOP (Positively Outstanding Period)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dear Bam Bam,

You turned one today. How is that possible since it was only yesterday that I heard the doctor say, "We have a linebacker on our hands!" when he first lifted you from my belly. I held my breath until I heard your first cries. You wailed, I breathed, and so your first year of life began.

You did quite a bit of wailing your first few months of life, actually. I don't remember breathing then but I suppose I must have. Most of my actions then were automatic. I was so sleep deprived I felt like I was walking around in a perpetual fog. They were difficult days but I'll tell you what . . . I'd go back to them in a heartbeat if you would just be little again. I would welcome the 45 minutes of sleep at a time and the hours of crying from 3 am to 6 am every night if you would just fit into my arms the way you did back then.

I've said this before, but I wish life had a magic rewind button. If it did, there are so many moments I would be enjoying with you over and over again . . . your first smile, the first time you wrapped your little fingers around mine, the way we would snuggle together when everyone else was sleeping, the funny look on your face the first time you tried fruit, the first time you rolled over, how absolutely determined you were to stand up on your own, and how you would clap for yourself so hard you would knock yourself over. I would rewind and enjoy your first steps all over again. I would enjoy that proud little smile of yours a bit longer. I would listen to your adorable belly laugh over and over. I would watch with amazement at how early you learned just about everything - from rolling over at 3 months, crawling at 5 months, to standing up at 6 months, to walking at 10 months and talking at 11 months.. I would listen over and over again to hear you say your first words -mama, dada, baba, Bridget (yes, Bridget, although it sounds more like jit jit but I know what you mean, ball, and pop.) I smile when I remember Megan teaching you to say "ball" and how you ran over to me with the ball in your hand, so excited that you could say the word. Moments like today when you woke up from your nap would be played and replayed many times. I would watch you put your little arms around me, hug me, and give me one big, fat, wet kiss after another. Why can't life have a magic rewind button?

I guess it forces me to live in the present . . . to look forward to the future instead of being preoccupied with the past. The realization that I can't live those moments over again makes me want to focus more on the here and now and try to squeeze the most out of every little moment.

I couldn't love you more, little man. To me, you are still that little man that used to only weigh 9 pounds 2 ounces (even if you only weighed that for about 10 minutes. ha, ha) I can't wait to see what kind of adventures we will have together this year.

I love you with all my heart and couldn't be more glad you joined our family a year ago today.


July 2010
Me and you at Clearwater Lake, Michigan
(Megan took this picture.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Darn Country Music

I'm an emotional basketcase today.

My baby boy turns one tomorrow and I can't stop crying. I don't understand where the last year went. I want to go back and relive it all over again . . . this time in slow motion so I can remember to cherish the moments, take them completely in, and pay attention to all the little details that time steals away.

Either that or I'm listening to way too much country music today. I love country music because it is full of so much heart.

Like this song, for example.
Listen to it, think your kids growing up, and try not to cry. I betcha you can't.

Go here to listen to the song and watch the video.

In the early rush of morning
Trying to get the kids to school
One's hanging on my shirttail
Another's locked up
In her room
And I'm yelling up the stairs
Stop worrying 'bout your hair
You look fine
Then they're fightin' in the backseat
I'm playing referee
Now someone's gotta go
The moment that we leave
And everybody's late
I swear that I can't wait'
Till they grow up
Then they do
And that's how it is
It's just quiet in the morning
Can't believe
How much you miss
All they do
And all they did
You want all the dreams
They dreamed of
To come true
Then they do
Now the youngest is starting college
She'll be leavin' in the Fall
And Brianna's latest boyfriend
Called to ask if we could talk
And I got the impression
That he's about to pop the question any day
I look over at their pictures
Sittin' in their frames
I see them as babies
I guess that'll never change
You pray all their lives
That someday they will find happiness


No more Monday PTA's
No carpools
Or soccer games
Your work is done
Now you've got time
That's all your own
You've been waitin' for so long
For those days to come

*weep, weep*
Darn country music does it to me every time.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Seriously MIA

Dear Chris (my wonderful father-in-law),

Thank you for calling to check on me. I assure you that I am still alive although you'd never know it by reading my blog.

I'm going to share with you an actual day in the life of me . . .
This day just happened last week and will leave you with a much better understanding of why I haven't been blogging. As you read this, you may be tempted to believe I am exaggerating. You may be tempted to think this much ridiculousness (is that a word?) can't happen all in one day. I assure you, it can . . . and it did.

7:30 am - Megan gently wakes me up by screaming in my face, "Momma, wake up! I'm starving."

7:31 am - Up and at 'em!

7:32 am - Why is Brendan so quiet??? Is he still sleeping? Maybe I'll be able to eat my cereal without a baby wiggling on my lap. NOPE! No such luck. He is quiet because he is busy smearing poop all over the crib, wall, bumper pad, sheets, etc. (for the second time in 2 weeks.)

7:33 - 7:45 am - Carry Brendan to the tub (trying not to get any poop on my nightgown), bathe Brendan, and listen to the pleasant background music of Megan whining about how hungry she is and begging me to "HURRY UP!" ahhhhhhhh

7:45 - 8:00 am - Run downstairs, give Brendan his breakfast, make Megan her breakfast, hurry up and try to sit down to eat *my* breakfast before Brendan starts whining to get down from his highchair.

8:00 am - Finally sit down to try and eat my breakfast. One bite in and . . .

8:01 am - Brendan starts whining to get down. Stop eating, get Brendan down.

8:02 am - Resume trying to eat my breakfast. Brendan starts whining for me to pick him up. Pick him up, now he's wiggling to get down. Put him down. Now he's whining for me to pick him back up. Pick him back up. Now he's wiggling for me to put him back down.

8:03 am - Who need breakfast anyway? Throw plate in sink, start playing with kids.

8:04-9:00 am - Pull out every toy, game, puzzle, etc. in the whole house, making sure there isn't one single inch of it that is presentable . . . should someone happen to unexpectedly knock on the door later. (foreshadowing)

9:00 - 9:30 am - Make beds, throw in laundry, fold laundry but leave it in a great big pile on the couch downstairs, walk through the cornstarch that Brendan got out of the cupboard (child locks are useless) and track it all over the house, notice the stupid dog peed in the dining room, about to go up and get dressed but . . . oh yeah . . . the whole crib is full of poop still.

9:30 - 9:50 am - Change crib sheets, use fingernail to chip off dried poop from crib rails, run and check on kids downstairs, sanitize everything in Brendan's room, run and check on the kids again . . . why is it so hot in here? . . . wash hands 50 times, hope the kids aren't killing each other downstairs.

9:50 am - Blood curdling scream from downstairs. Brendan bumped his lip on the coffee table and it is bleeding everywhere. Run down the stairs, jump the baby gate, use my nightgown (yep, I'm still not dressed) to prevent the blood from staining my cream sofa and light beige carpet (both of which I bought before I knew anything about the staining power of a child).

9:51-10:50 am - Soothe Brendan, make Megan a snack, trip over some toys, check the thermostat certain it is broken . . . it says 72 - not broken - why am I sweating like a pig if it is only 72 . . . make Brendan a bottle and finally get him down for a nap. About to go try to get dressed again when . . .

11:00 am - Doorbell rings . . . dog goes crazy barking . . . JUST PUT THE BABY TO SLEEP!!!!!!!! I open the door a crack to tell them to go away and guess who it is? A TV reporter asking for an "on camera" interview about a city council related issue. Seriously? I'm in a nightgown (long after it is even close to appropriate to still be wearing pajamas) smeared in blood and a perhaps a tiny bit of poop, yesterday's mascara smeared down my cheeks, teeth not brushed . . . can you picture it???? Now I've got a news camera on my porch! Perfect . . .just perfect . .

11:01 am - Politely decline interview (hoping they can't smell my breath through the crack in the door.)

11:02 am - Doorbell rings again . . . (I'm not kidding) . . . dog starts barking . . . ahhh, Brendan is sleeping . . . open the door to tell them to go away and it is the Vice-Mayor! He is here to warn me the news cameras are coming to my house. *too late* Through the crack in the door, I ask him to hold on just a second.

11:03-11:05- Jump baby gate, dash upstairs, remove blood and poop stained pajamas, put on a t-shirt, shorts, brush teeth, brush hair, wipe mascara from my face with one hand and put deodorant on with the other, dash back downstairs and open front door again, pretending to be pleasantly surprised by the unexpected visit. Oh, you want to come in? Sure, that would be just lovely. *insert fake smile*

11:06 am - Walking through the house with the Vice-Mayor . . . kicking toys aside as we go . . . the smell of poop still lingering in the air . . . can't sit in the family room there is laundry all over the couch . . . can't sit at the kitchen table, Megan is there eating ice cream out of the container with a giant spoon . . . what, Megan is eating ice cream out of the container with a giant spoon????? I'm so embarrassed I almost don't notice Megan wearing princess underwear, and ONLY princess underwear.

Needless to say, we decided to sit outside on the patio . . . it was such a lovely day and such.

As I was sitting there, dying of embarrassment, I wanted to tell him so badly that there are days when I'm dressed by 8:30 am. There are days when I proudly display pristine vacuum lines on all my carpets with the toys neatly stacked. There are days when there is room on my couch to actually sit down. There are days when Megan wears more than princess underwear and my house doesn't smell like a port-a-potty.

I just haven't had any of them lately.

And now I leave you with concrete proof that we are alive . . . and occasionally dressed enough to actually go to the park . . .


P.S. Just in case any of this leaves you concerned, don't be. I have everything completely under control.