My Dearest Emmie,
You turned three this past weekend! To say you are excited is an understatement. You’ve made leaps and bounds since your last birthday, in all aspects of life. Not only have you grown about 7 inches (and finally gained some weight!) but you now actually like talking! You’re clever and smart. You love ice cream and frozen lemonade pops. You love playing make-believe with your dollies & enjoy watching your Dad play computer games. You are the manners police and call us out by saying, “No eating and talking Mom!” or, “You need to say ‘excuse me’ after you burp, Dad.” Touché, little one, touché.
You are strong as ever and can jump for hours with your Dad on the trampoline. You love helping in the kitchen, and having tea-parties. You’ve slowly started questioning everything. “Because why?” you’ll say. You still call Oliver your best bud, and have no trouble bossing him around. You’re very matter-of-fact and highly opinionated when it comes time to get dressed. You enjoy wearing nothing but princess dresses these days. You’ll let me do your hair only if you can watch a video & usually you request one “Elsa braid.” Since your hair is so fine your braid usually only lasts a few minutes (or half an hour on a good day) before your hair is all in your face again.
You are still silly as ever too. Your dance moves never fail to make us laugh. And your sudden need to exclaim how much you love us could make anyone’s heart explode from sweetness. But don’t be fooled by all these sweet tales. You’re as sassy as sassy comes. You’re still quite the negotiator and pretty defiant at this age too. You love simply stating, “No. I choose nothing,” when presented with a set of options. You will do something naughty and then quickly cover with, “Oh! I’m really sorry!” as you know it lets you off the hook. You know each and every one of my buttons to push, and just how to get me riled. You also looooooove to use your whining voice. You could be perfectly happy but out of your mouth comes a sentence in full blast whining.
Sometimes when you’re a tornado of all your fiercest attributes it’s hard for me to remember that you are still so small in a world that is so big. You are still learning so so much. I need to remind myself that although you now speak like a perfectly capable person, you are still a tiny girl needing guidance in a confusing place. You are trying your best to process emotions so big your little body can hardly handle them. On those days bedtime is our saving grace, and I know we can both do better tomorrow. Yet, no matter how our day played out Emerson Claire, you are my favorite 3-year-old and I love you to smithereens. I cannot wait to see what this year has in store for you. Happy birthday my darling, happy birthday.
In this Pinterest-obsessed world we now live in, there’s more pressure than ever to throw over-the-top, outrageously expensive and elaborate celebrations of all kinds. Growing up, however, before the age of Pinterest I vividly remember my mother throwing the most magical parties. There was the Wizard of Oz theme party, complete with rainbow drinks with Twizzlers straws, a fashion show themed party where she set up a runway in my living room and had my sister be the announcer while my friends and I all modeled our party dresses and dress up clothes. She videotaped the whole ordeal and then handed out awards to each of us. The Halloween party was one of my favorites with pumpkin races: a game where the kids swept mini pumpkins down the driveway to the finish line using “witch’s brooms.” Yes, if there is one thing my Mom knew how to do, it was throw a magical party.
So what makes her parties so magical and how can you easily recreate magic of your own? It’s simple! Just follow these 10 easy steps:
It’s important to brainstorm more than a week beforehand. I’d suggest thinking about your party the month before. Nothing is more stressful that feeling pressured to come up with a spectacular birthday party in just 7 days.
- Pick a theme.
I use the term “theme” here loosely. While it could be something as specific as a favorite Disney character or favorite TV show, a theme could also be as broad as a color scheme. Whatever you choose, it’s important to stick within the limits of the theme. This can be hard with all those drool-worthy Pinterest ideas, but trying to bring too many ideas together can bring a chaotic feel to a birthday party instead of a magical vibe.
After you decide on your theme, it’s time to brainstorm again! This is where Pinterest comes in. Using the visual search engine, create a board for your future party. There you’ll be pinning all your favorite ideas, everything from invites & cakes to party decorations and games. Go crazy! It’s okay to pin something that could be tweaked to fit your specific theme. For example, if you save “pin the horn on the unicorn” for a tropical party knowing you’ll switch it to “pin the beak on the flamingo.”
- Narrow it down.
After you’ve pinned to your hearts content, narrow it down. You can’t do it all, regardless of what the internet and bloggers try to get you to believe. You just can’t! So pick your favorites.
- Plan your time.
Once you’ve narrowed down exactly what decor you need, what games or activities you’ll do and other specifics, it’s time to think about your timeline. I had some DIY’s in my party planning so I tried my best to manage my expectations about what exactly I could get done.
- Send out invites.
Once you’ve got a solid plan, it’s time to send out those invites! I skipped the formal invitations and just created a Facebook event. Other options are using a service like Minted, Shutterfly, or Etsy for more customizable invites. Or, if you’re crafty and enjoy card-making like my sister, a DIY option might be for you. I’d say aim to give 2 weeks notice for your guests.
- Shop & create!
Now it’s the fun part…. time to go shopping! Start purchasing supplies, favors, decor and anything else you might need off of your list.
- Create or order your cake.
Don’t leave the cake till the last minute. Make sure you order your cake with enough time to spare. And it’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan. If you plan on baking your cake bake it at least a day or two before. That way if something goes wrong there’s time to do it again, or pick up a premade cake from the grocery store. Because, if your luck is anything like mine, your oven will break the day you go to bake 24 cupcakes and 4 layers of cake…. uh, yeah, that really happened. Luckily, my Dad’s oven worked just fine.
- Set up the day before.
Set up as much decor as you can the day/night before the party. Prepare any food items you can as well. You’ll feel much less stressed out knowing everything is ready for the big day.
- Make sure those cameras are charged.
Charge those cameras the night before so you can be sure to capture the look of amazement on your child’s face as they take in the magic that is their birthday party!
Life recently handed us an opportunity to head to Europe and we decided to seize the chance, since neither the hubby nor I had ever been to Europe before. We both felt strongly about bringing both girls, so that’s what did. In order to survive with as little luggage as possible, since we were navigating with a baby and a toddler, we packed as light as we possibly could bringing only the essentials.
Enter the capsule wardrobe.
As you may, or may not, know- I am a huge fan of capsule wardrobes! A vacation is a perfect introduction to a capsule to see if it is something that would work for your lifestyle. It’s an easy way to try it out without committing to “all or nothing.” When packing for vacation, especially for different destinations within that vacation, it’s all about the layers! I checked the weather forecast before hand to know what kind of weather we would be planning around. We had mid 70’s to low 80’s all week and sunshine.
Here’s a look at what I brought for our 9 day Europe vacation:
When planning any capsule wardrobe it’s all about versatile neutrals. You want to aim for pieces that look great alone but also layered together. Since I packed a muted, neutral palette I made sure my shirts had interesting details in form of fabric choice and fit. Both my white and aqua tee-shirt had pretty eyelet panels. A 3/4 sleeve striped shirt added some interest along with a bold polka dot print with my wrap dress. I stuck to skinny jeans and ponte-de-roma leggings for easy packing and comfortable travel days. Since I’m breastfeeding I opted to bring a trio of neutral cami’s instead of bras. This also helped extend the life of my shirts since any sweat would be absorbed into the cami instead of the shirt itself. A sheer white blouse, a chambray button up, and a dark grey cardigan rounded out my tops. I opted not to take a jacket, but if I had I would have chosen my army green military style jacket. For shoes I went with my grey Chucks, and a fun pop of maroon for my flats.
I kept my accessories simple, as it’s one less thing to pack and keep track of. I brought sunglasses, a watch, and a camera bag back-pack, that also doubled as my diaper bag. All in all, I was very pleased with my vacation wardrobe. The only thing I would have changed would have been to switch out one of the tee-shirts for a tank top and I would have also pack a skirt.
Stay tuned for a look into the capsule wardrobes I packed for both kids, and what baby gear we decided to bring with us!
Summer is full force in Florida, with our heavy humidity and daily thunderstorms. One particular afternoon Emerson asked me, “What are we doing today, guys?” (sidenote, she cracks me up) I realized it might be fun to have a summer bucket list handy for some fun ideas of what we should do over the course of the summer. Some things are big and take more planning, like a trip to Rosemary Beach, but other are fast and simple – see playing outside. I also decided I need to record more videos! Especially now that Emerson is really starting to talk. What’s on your summer agenda?
At 4 months you:
|| roll back to belly and belly to back ||
|| started sucking your thumb ||
|| really hate it when anyone besides Momma holds you ||
|| are a terrible napper and only nap about 30-40 minutes max ||
|| are starting to transition to sleeping in a crib ||
|| will sometimes take a bottle, but it takes a lot of coercing ||
|| love to smile, especially when you wake up in the morning ||
|| love playing on your play-mat, especially with the purple horse toy ||
|| love watching your big sister — especially if she’s dancing or shaking a toy for you ||
You had your first real laugh this month as well. We were outside, Emmie and Daddy on the trampoline, and I was holding you while making Oliver do his tricks. When we got to “turn around,” you busted out your first real belly laugh. I, of course, made Oliver repeat “turn around” about 6 times just to hear your magical baby laugh. And on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, anytime you’re really unhappy you will let everyone know because, girlfriend, your cry is loud! Thank goodness you’re generally a happy baby. Emmie usually covers her ears and says, “Mom, Vera is too loud!” when you cry in the car.
Overall, you’re the perfect addition to our family and I can’t wait to watch you grow.
This summer is all about light, fun and airy colors. As always, with any capsule wardrobe, you should always have a base of complementary neutrals. Next, layer in patterns, textures and pops of color(s). Here I chose to have a light lavender accent, with a base of grey’s, blue’s and white.
With a summer capsule wardrobe it’s important to also include versatile layering pieces. I made sure to include a light sweater, a jean jacket and a light, airy black shawl. You should also have pieces that are easily dressed up for any special occasions you might need to attend. In this capsule a floral maxi dress takes the role of special occasion dress if needed, but it can also be dressed down by throwing on the jean jacket, or layering one of the blouses, or button-up, on top. Besides a staple pair of stiletto pumps for special occasions and date night’s, a Mom’s capsule wardrobe should have practical footwear. Any heels should be chunky or wedged for maximum stability & agility. <Because it’s pretty important that you’re able to run after your crazed 3 year old who suddenly decides she should run away in the Target parking lot. #realmomlife>
This sample capsule wardrobe includes:
1 jacket ::: 1 cardigan/shawl ::: 1 blazer
2 long sleeved blouse ::: 1 light sweater
4 sleeveless blouses ::: 3 short sleeve t-shirts ::: 1 off the shoulder shirt
6 dresses ::: 3 pairs of denim ::: 3 pairs of shorts
1 pair of wedges ::: 1 pair of sandals ::: 1 pair of sneakers ::: 1 pair of booties ::: 1 pair of heels ::: 1 pair of flats
1 large tote ::: 1 medium back pack ::: 1 small cross-body bag
sunglasses ::: black choker ::: simple gold necklace ::: 2 earrings ::: 1 bangle ::: 1 watch