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!
It was my birthday this weekend. We didn’t do much celebrating since Hubby is still in full force study mode since he defends his PhD thesis this week. I continued my normal daily duties of a stay at home mom, and mumbled about the fact that it snowed for the second year in a row on my birthday. Good grief!
Since the weekend produced nothing in the blog-worthy category, I thought we could reminisce about a birthday that happened last June. My sweet little lady bug turned one. I wrote this entry back on the eve of Emerson’s first birthday:
Today Emerson saw the ocean for the first time. She marched right up to the crest where dry sand meets sand frequently drenched with ocean waves, lifted her little arm and said ooh. Yes, my girl is one after my own heart, the beach is in her blood. She picked up handful after handful of sand, explored dried seaweed, and not once did she try to eat a “sand cookie,” something my younger self can’t claim.
It wasn’t until Kyle was wrapping Emmie up in a towel and asked her, “do you remember when we used to swaddle you?,” that it hit me. My little girl is no longer a baby. Her smooshy, cheeky baby face has thinned out into a peanut toddler face. She no longer needs me to hold her head, and rarely does she want me to hold her hand. Yes, my little one loves to walk, explore, reach, and climb. She loves to dance, read and snuggle her animals. My little girl is turning one tomorrow.
This year has flown by. While we had some hard moments, all that floods my memory are all the amazing times we’ve had as a family of three. I simply cannot remember what life was like without my little Emerson. I am so excited to see what this next year brings. I love you Emma Claire and you will always be my baby.