An “Out of This World” birthday party: Cole turns 2!

Image

Last year Cole was a very hungry caterpillar and this year he was a space explorer! I’m a sucker for a theme party, so my son’s birthday parties are the perfect opportunity get a little crafty and have some fun. Since Cole starting talking it’s been all about the moon. Practically every night he’s running from window to window shouting, “Moon, where are youuuu?” and “Moon! Big moon!” So I’ve known for a while now that I wanted to do an outer space theme party for his birthday. Here are some pictures from the party.

Image

Guests were greeted at the door.

Image

Image

Space-themed balloons, garland and decorations everywhere!

Image

Image

A craft corner for the kids to color and play with stickers. I printed out some coloring worksheets and found the space stickers at Michaels craft store. I hung up their masterpieces after the party 🙂

Image

Image

The cupcakes were adorable and delicious! We ordered them from Swirl Bake Shop in Merrimack, NH. I’ll be featuring this cupcake shop in a post later on this year, so stay tuned for that!

Image

Inspired by a post on Divine Party Concepts, I put together a cute bean bag game for the kids. Each bucket represents a planet and they throw the bean bags in, stack the buckets, use the buckets as hats…whatever they felt like doing. Bargain side note: Each pail is a $1 at Dollar Tree!

Image

A quick search on Pinterest gave me the idea to make rocket ship goody bags out of zip-lock baggies, clothes pins and stickers. We called it “rocket fuel.” Half the bag was filled with chocolate covered cranberries and the other half with cheddar bunnies.

Image

It was such a fun day and we are so proud of our happy two year old. If you have any cool kids theme party ideas, please share in the comments section below!

Advertisements

November: 30 Days of Thanks

All month long I’ve been reading and enjoying the spattering of social media updates that give thanks. Friends are taking a moment each day to reflect on what they are thankful for, whether it’s something as small as a hot cup of joe, or as momentous as a healthy newborn. It never ceases to amaze me how a single positive (or negative) thought can cause a domino effect of feelings. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Deepak Chopra: You are not the drop in the ocean, but the ocean in the drop.

In every imaginable circumstance more is accomplished when we are working together as opposed to picking apart our differences. As a social media user, it’s been fascinating to observe the voice contrast between October and November. October felt like one giant shouting match that didn’t accomplish anything but spread havoc across our country. Fear and anger are contagious and spread like venom. On the other side, happy thoughts and reflections are contagious too! I’m not sure who started the “Give Thanks” trend this month, but whoever it was I want to thank you.

With that, I’ll share what I’m thankful for this November as Thanksgiving approaches. I’m thankful to be a stay at home mom. The light that spills from my son’s eyes is my own personal miracle. We all came from the same place and it’s up to us to explore our potential and live every day with the curiosity and zestfulness of life that we started with. It’s hard to access that inner spirit sometimes because we all get bogged down by daily routines and negative people.

I feel a positive shift in the air just by reading these simple, happy Facebook updates. Do you feel it too? Please keep sharing your happy thoughts, November and beyond!

15 month milestones and meltdowns

Peaceful baby by the lake

Mama is thankful for peaceful moments like this one…especially lately!

Arriving at swim class this morning Cole was anxious to get into the water as soon as possible. He decided to start walking over himself, and was promptly picked up by mom since she wasn’t quite ready yet.  Meltdown.

Chatting happily to himself as he sits in the carriage at Target, Cole decides he wants to walk around instead. Mom picks him up out of the carriage, puts him down, and holds his hand as they walk down the aisle.  Fixated on something that he wants to play with, he tries to change the direction they are walking in, but mom won’t let him play with lamps. Meltdown.

Sliding the oven drawer. Climbing on the dishwasher door. Opening the DVD player.  Slamming doors shut. Pulling on the cat’s tail. On the eve of Cole’s 15 month birthday, I’m starting to feel like a broken record as I try to teach him what “no” means.  I know he is listening, because when he tests a limit he looks at me as if to say “This is about to happen, Mom. What’s your move…”

The good news (because let’s face it – we have to look on the positive side to keep ourselves sane) is that I believe Cole’s extreme emotional reaction to things is because he is growing and transitioning from a baby to a toddler.  He’s asserting his independence and experiencing the effects of his motivations and movements.  I can see the wheels in his head turning as he thinks “if I do this, then that will happen…”

I get that. Really, I do…But boy is it tough to focus on milestones when your little one is in the middle of a major meltdown. Especially in public!

Although, often times his curious spirit leads to laughter rather than tears.  Yesterday in the supermarket I gave Cole a container of Cheerios to snack on to keep him busy. This type of container ensures that (most of) the snack will stay inside because it has a snap on cover that he has to reach into.

baby snack containerCole’s been throwing and dumping food all over the place lately so I thought I was mom of the year for finding these containers!  One moment Cole is smiling and munching on Cheerios, and the next moment I hear a loud “POP!” followed by the sound of cereal raindrops on the floor. I look over at Cole; his eyes are as wide open as the top of the container, and he has cereal all over him.  A fit of laughter bubbles out of me, which triggers the giggles from Cole as well.  I did feel bad for maintenance though… 🙂

At the end of the day, regardless of how tough or peaceful it might have been, all I feel is love for this little human that we made. It might take me glass of wine sometimes, but I’m always able to let go of those cringe-worthy moments and just be thankful for my family. Let’s face it, you don’t have to be a 15 month old to have meltdowns. We all have them! I just want to be sure I teach Cole how to get through them safely and quickly.

My Very Hungry Caterpillar First Birthday Party

I woke up from my morning nap to the sound of the apartment door opening and closing, opening and closing. “What are mom and dad doing out their?” I wondered, rubbing my eyes. Since I can’t really talk yet I made a few noises and threw Piglet out of my crib. That did the trick. Dad came in, swooped me up, and gave me a squeeze. Out in the kitchen I was sitting in my high-chair enjoying my favorite breakfast of waffles and blueberries when mom walked through the front door. “How’s my birthday boy?” She smiles and blows me a kiss. I smile back and bounce a little in my seat.

After I’m finished eating mom changes me into a caterpillar onesie. I recognize the caterpillar from the book that I always pull down from the bookcase in the room. It’s my favorite because of all the food. I think the caterpillar likes to eat as much as I do! Accept I don’t get stomach aches and have to eat leaves, usually.

The phone rings and after a moment my mom and I are skipping down the hallway and as we turn the corner I see two familiar faces at the door. GG and Mima pass me back and forth, giving my a lot of hugs and kisses. And then it’s time to get down to business, that’s what mom says. In the club room, I see the Very Hungry Caterpillar all over the place! On the walls, on the table and even in the cake. I thought that cake was going to come alive and inch right off the table.

Pretty soon my friends and family arrive at the party. There is so much food to eat and so many toys to play with. We had meatballs, macaroni and cheese, fruit, veggies, and sandwiches. My favorite was the cucumber and strawberry cream cheese sandwiches. Once I had a full belly it was time to play with my friends. I shared all of my toys and we crawled all around the play-mat and through the caterpillar tunnel. Mom even came down with us and read us The Very Hungry Caterpillar book.

The biggest surprise of the day was when mom brought over a cupcake with a candle in it and everyone sang to me. That cupcake was so good! I ate the whole thing and even licked the frosting off of my fingers. I’m not sure why everyone was laughing, but it didn’t bother me. I just kept on digging in. After all, that’s what a hungry caterpillar would do, right?

Mom opened my gifts and I got some really cool things. I have the nicest and coolest friends and family. It was a perfect party and by the end of it…I was ready for another nap! Here are some pictures from my party!

Cole’s 1st birthday

Wow! I am how many fingers old today?!

You woke up this morning with a smile on your face, as usual. Dad brought you into our bedroom singing the Beatles Birthday Song… “they say it’s your birthday!” which we followed up with two verses of the traditional “Happy Birthday to you” song. What a year, Cole! I wish I could freeze you just as you are for a little bit longer. In the past couple of weeks you have really started becoming a little boy, breaking free from your infant cocoon into my handsome little butterfly! You’ve become a chatter box (like your mom) and you make me and your dad laugh all the time when you mimic words we say by repeating the first or second syllable. Duck is “da” and car is “cah” and kitty is “gee” and you love to talk with a mouth full of food. You eat everything that I put in front of you, except for chicken and avocados.  Your favorite meals are waffles with blueberries and vegetable tortellini soup. Your favorite snacks are Annie’s cheddar bunnies, kiwi, and any cracker that you can hold onto and bite your way through.

We’ve had a busy year together. You’ve banged on drums in music class, learned to sign “dog” in sign language class, made lots of friends on baby playdates, used the swing at the playground, swam and took boat rides at the lake, had lunch in Boston, wore a space helmet at the children’s museum, hiked Blue Hills and had plenty of cuddle time with your mom, dad, and the whole family! There is so much love surrounding you each and every day. Our lives are much richer with you in it.

A note from your Dad:

As each day passes I realize how lucky your mom and I are. You are such a special little boy and I can’t wait to share many fun things with you. Thank you for making me smile and putting it all in to perspective.

Love, Dad

Happy First Birthday, Cole!!

Baby’s first Valentine’s Day craft

I’m determined to be crafty now that I’m a mom. What better time to start than Valentine’s Day? Inspired by an image I saw on Pinterest, I ran off to Michael’s craft store to buy supplies. Since Cole is still too young to actively participate in crafts, I knew that footprint art was a perfect way to involve him (and my husband) in homemade Valentine’s Day cards! The picture doesn’t really do it justice, but they came out so cute.

The best part is that they were super easy to make. Here is a list of the supplies I bought from Michaels to make these cards:
– Package of 10 Tiffany blue cards with envelopes
– Heart stamp with inner and outer heart
– Non-Toxic kid’s paint
– Paint brushes and paint sponges
– Black sharpie pen
– Elmers glue pen

– 4×6 pictures of your little one
Here is how I made the card!


First, I used the paint brush and red paint to cover the outer heart in the stamp

Second, I used the stamp to make hearts on all of the cards. I tried out different positions for the hearts and ended up liking the look of the final card that I posted above the best.

Now for the fun part! I used the sponge brush to put red paint on the bottom of Cole’s foot. It must of tickeled him because I got a few giggles out of him in the process.  The footprints came out best when my husband of standing with the baby, his feet parallel to the ground, and I brought the card up to his foot. I did the left footprint on all of the cards, cleaned him off, and then did the right footprint on all of the cards.

I added the quote “From the bottom of my heart…to the tips of my toes” since it seemed fitting next to the footprint art. You can add anything you want! Hmm…I wish I had better handwriting 🙂

Lastly, I glued a picture of Cole in his Valentine’s Day outfit on the back of the card. And DONE! Not too shabby for our first attempt at being crafty. And the best part is that we had some good old fashion family fun making them.

He’s almost one, folks

Wow – I can’t believe Cole turns ONE is just a couple of weeks! A year ago I was on bedrest full of worry and not quite sure what to expect. This year I’m full of wonder and amazement at how fast he is growing and how much joy he has brought to our lives. It was around Christmas time that Cole started growing into his big boy face. All of us moms and dads experience this. It’s like we wake up one morning, walk into the nursery, and suddenly a little boy or girl is staring back at us in the place of our tiny baby! In the past couple of months Cole has perfected the pull up on anything and everything and loves to walk along couches, music tables, chairs…mostly to reach for everything that he is not supposed to play with, like remote controls, cell phones and glassware.

He couch surfed for the first time last month, and he happily obliged to reenact it for me a moment later:

Video of Cole Couch Surfing

I’m always amazed when Cole reaches a new milestone. It’s incredible that a baby’s little body just knows when it’s ready to explore a new movement.  We don’t have stairs in our apartment, but the stairs in my mom and dad’s lakehouse peeked Cole’s curiosity this week. He couldn’t resist having a go:

Cole climbing stairs

It’s been quite a busy couple of months for my little boy, Cole. He is full of surprises and smiles every day. As Valentine’s Day approaches I can’t help but be thankful that I now have two loves in my life. I’m so proud of my family.

Music Together review – Old Colony

My son is 10 months old and loves to bop to the rhythm of music. I thought what better way to encourage his reaction to sounds and vibrations than with a music class?  We attended our first Music Together class this December and had an amazing experience.

Music Together is an international early childhood music program. One of my favorite characteristics of the class is the span of ages of the children. There was a baby younger than Cole that he could crawl over to, as well as a couple of children older than him that he could watch and  try to mimic. We sang, danced, and played with a whole bag full of instruments. Cole’s personal favorite was the bongo. My husband is a drummer; like father like son?

We were given a CD called Family Favorites as part of the class tuition. However, you can buy this album from their website even if you don’t attend one of their classes, and I seriously recommend that you do if you have kids. The collection of songs is not only perfect for our little ones, but is also easy to listen to from an adult perspective.  I sing the Hello Song to him when he wakes up every morning and the She Sells Sea Shells as a lullaby before naps and bedtimes. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that when the Stick Tune comes on I can’t help but dance around my kitchen pretending I’m a professional percussionist. More cowbell, please!

I can guarantee this will not be the last Music Together class that Cole experiences with me and his Dad. I’m willing to bet their is a class close to you too, so please check it out, you won’t regret it! What a perfect time now that the weather is getting colder and we need fun indoor activities.

Playing guitar with Grandpa

Baby’s first teeth

A friend of mine captured a photo that perfectly showcases Cole’s first two teeth. They came in three months ago, but we haven’t been able to take a picture at the right angle to show them off!

two bottom teethSerious cuteness, but teething is not fun for my little angel. Watching him go through the process makes me think: babies work so hard for these teeth, and then they just fall out! What crazy jokes nature plays on us. We are expecting more teeth to be breaking through any day now, because Cole is showing signs of teething again. Drool that soaks a bib in 10 seconds, runny nose, hands (and everything else) in the mouth, and random night awakenings. Thank goodness for teething rings to bite on and wet wash cloths to suck on. Anything to make the little dude more comfortable. Before we know it this adorable gummy smile will be filled with a whole set of pearly whites!