Shall we chat?

Well this little blog of mine has taken some fun twists and turns over the years. I never expected it to be what it has become- I always thought it would be just for me and my closest friends and family- so the fact that anyone else read it, ever, was pretty awesome!
Baby A and Miss E in their Valentine's PJ's
Things have been just plain busy around here lately. I usually only get to post when I have something heavy, and it becomes more therapeutic, so I thought I would just post some fun updates tonight since I have things rattling around in this head!

We had a huge storm come through this weekend and it was GLORIOUS!! We needed the rain, we are in the middle of a huge drought and my area is being hit the hardest. The rain brought clean air, clear skies (eventually!) and clarity of the mind!

So I thought I would let go of the storm I have going around in my head and see if it also brings some clarity :)

(Fun fact, we are watching Frozen for the 20th time- and the song Let it Go is on)

The big thing I have been thinking about lately, is how combine my spaces in this blog world. I currently have my family blog and my stephaniegdesigns.com site on Blogger, I have a blog with a friend on Wordpress and I am also considering opening an online store with both blog templates and other print type template (invitations, greeting cards, etc.). Right now, it's a lot in a lot of different places and I would really like to try and combine my personal blog with Stephanie G Designs and have some sort of a store presence on that site as well. I think it would be fun to keep a personal element to the blog, but still be able to blog about design as well! This is possible with Wordpress and since I have some experience with Wordpress, I think it will be the way I head. I don't really like the idea of my blog being called Stephanie G Designs, so I may make a switch there as well to incorporate it all using How Sweet this is and Stephanie G Designs... in one name- easy right!? ;)

This little one has been perfecting her scowl lately and it is cracking me up! Sometime she will make an "ohhhhh" noise and it is even better if accompanied by a sweet smile peaking through!

My kids climb... E has always been a climber and lately Baby A has picked it up! All of these photos below were within about 20 minutes (and a few changes of clothes).
Miss E has got to be one of the most finicky sleepers EVER! She goes to bed late, usually around 9 or so because she's usually been a late riser. That changed recently, much to my disliking. Now, she wakes up between 6:30am and 7:30am, makes her way into my room, asks me to turn on Mickey Mouse and get her a bar (protein bar) and some water. Then she hangs out in my room for an hour or so. But when she started waking earlier, we didn't ever get her to go down earlier, so we are still working on that. The problem is also that we put her down and she will play for 2-3 hours before actually falling asleep, and one week we caught her almost every nap and night time like this... asleep in some position on her chair/ottoman. She is knocked out asleep in those photos- it is only light because of my flash.

Baby A is walking like a pro! She is a happy, funny kid and so sweet! She is a great eater, which is a huge change from our toddler!


Miss E started dance a few weeks ago and it ended right about then as well. The first day she went- she loved it, couldn't stop talking about how she wanted to "dance like Cinderella". Then the second week she had a total meltdown before even getting there and we had to leave, we went back the next day for a makeup class and she did great again. The third week we tried our normal class again, and again she had a meltdown. So we tried to makeup the Saturday class, thinking the afternoons were just too hard... NOPE! She wouldn't go, I told her she either had to go dance with the girls or sit with me for 45 minutes, but since we already paid, she was going to be there. She said, "ok, I'll sit with you for 45 minutes", and she did. This kid! I think we will just stop and start up again next session and see if it's any better. I don't want to push it, and I don't want to keep paying if she won't attend. So we will see!


And just for fun, I just love this photo and these two little ones and their crazy hair. It looks like she is saying, "See? This is how you stand!"
Baby A and my friends little boy
And if you made it through all of that, thanks for reading :) Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday!!

Selfish Mommy

There was a lot of screaming and crying today- and only about 50% of that came from my kids. Do you ever cry and have no idea why you are crying? That is what the last few days has felt like for me... I felt like my three year old who just couldn't get it together.

It's been a while coming. I feel like I've been barely treading water for sometime and although I am keeping my head above water- it's not enough to thrive, but enough to only survive. After the holidays and birthdays I thought it might get a little easier, but it didn't. Unexpected bills, too little time, too much work, housework that never ends, a husband that works hard and works a lot, no time to myself, laundry that literally grows overnight, dishes that don't ever really get done, not enough sleep, 10lbs that won't get the hell off of me... I am sure you can relate. We all have those stresses- that's life- and then you add in a three year old and all of the attitude that comes with that and I start to see someone I don't really like- myself.
I read this today and it just hit home. It's true- you know when I yell at my kid? It's not when she does something wrong, when she does something wrong I can handle it. I can reason that she is three and really doesn't know different yet. She can throw something at me, kick and scream and yell at me and the whole time I will keep my cool and put her in time-out. But I lose it when I am upset because I haven't done something that I could've done to curb a situation. It's when I have been lazy or selfish. I was running behind and decided not to empty the little potty right before running out the door and forgot about it when we got home. She had to go potty and wanted to bring it into the office where I was crying (why I don't know) chatting with a friend on Facebook. But I didn't empty it and so the trail of pee was following her and had also soaked through her clean pajamas and the rug in her room. I yelled. Why? Because I was mad... at myself. WHY didn't I empty it!? Why didn't I hear her tell me she needed to potty, because even though I don't remember it happening, I am sure she said something. I wasn't listening. I continued crying because I hated the way I reacted, but I couldn't find it in me to react differently. She has seen me cry too many times in the last few days and when she starts to cry with me because she doesn't understand why I am weeping in the car uncontrollably after getting the mail, it breaks my heart, "What's wrong mommy... are you sad?"

Yes... I am sad. I am sad because I don't quite have it together right now. I am sad because I am not on top of it. I am sad because I take it out on my kids. I am sad because they deserve a better version of me. I am sad because in my laziness I fall behind and while frantically trying to catch up my daughter acts like a three year old and doesn't know which version of me she is going to get. I am sad because my most important job right now is to be a mom and I am selfish with my time. I spend too much time on the computer and not enough time on the floor. I spend too much time reading status updates and not enough time reading books. I spend too much time pinning recipes and not enough time baking cookies. I spend too much time cleaning my inbox and not enough time cleaning my home. I spend too much time creating for others and not enough time harboring creativity and creating WITH my kids. My time with them is short, what am I doing with it? Where is the quality?

It's 1am right now, and tomorrow I can wake up and know that they will wake up, wanting every ounce of my attention, kiss me and hug me just like they've done every day before that- it doesn't change... but what will change is my awareness. 

I know all moms have these moments, these times when we feel like we are not enough. It just is what it is... one day, we get it together and feel like we are on top of it, and then we fall again and do it all over. It's just one of those things, one of the stages of being a mom, being an imperfect mom, and being willing to admit that I am just that... imperfect. Loving- definitely, patient- most of the time, perfect- never, accepted by my kids regardless- always.

That's one of the beautiful things about those little ones... they love us right through it all.

Baby A's 1st Birthday- Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Themed Party

A few weeks ago we celebrated Baby A's first birthday! I was shocked at how quickly her first year seemed to come and go. It feels like she's been with us all along and she has truly been such a sweet blessing to our family. This post will be primarily about the party, hopefully I will get around to writing a 1 year recap.

The theme for this little one's birthday was Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. The colors were gold glitter and a light coraly-pink and I tried to incorporate stars everywhere I could. Leading up to the party my house was covered in gold glitter, no joke- it was everywhere! (all of the details are at the bottom of the post)

I made her birthday cake and banner- the frosting was this recipe from Lemonade Makin' Mama and it was great. We had a Costco cake made for all of our guests and served water and my favorite pink punch!

Poor baby had a really bad cold- we put her down for her nap about an hour before the party, but had to wake her about 20 minutes after guests started arriving. We spent the day listening for sneezes and wiping her poor nose, but she was still in a pretty good mood!
Oh how I love this sweet girl!

We ordered party platters from a local restaurant. I didn't want to have to worry about cooking for that many people, and the cost was about the same if not better. So we had the two party platters with taquitos, burritos and quesadillas in both shredded chicken and shredded beef, chips and salsa and a veggie platter.

Her party was held at noon on a Saturday, and since California is in the middle of a major drought and heat wave, the weather was fairly nice, almost too warm. It was nice to be able to have everyone outside enjoying the weather and we were able to rent a big bounce for the little kids so they weren't destroying my house :)

The big bounce came with this fun little carnival game, which E seemed to like since she HATES big bounces. She actually got in after everyone was gone, she and I jumped for a little bit and I almost fell asleep- the warm weather, white noise from the pump and airy cushion was the perfect setting for a nap!

Since this girl loves to eat I was expecting her to devour her cake... she enjoyed being sang to but kept her eyes locked on me the whole time.
SO CUTE!
Then she very politely ate some of the frosting and maybe a bite or two of cake.
Since big sister was definitely interested, I cut her a piece to let Baby A see there was more than just frosting. She started eating a little more, but she never did really dig in.
All done!
MORE CAKE!

She isn't quite walking yet but she loved to stand on her own! She has even started to dance while standing, just no movement forward.

We quickly opened gifts inside away from the warm weather. People were coming and going so we didn't make a big deal of the opening, but she got some great things, fun toys and super cute clothing!

For party favors I made the little ones homemade glitter playdough in green and pink. I also made star sugar cookies for everyone. I am usually not a fan of sugar cookies but let me tell you the recipes for sugar cookies and royal icing from Bake at 350 have changed my mind- they were great and it seemed everyone liked them!

The details- I tried to link to the places that I actually purchased from- I bought a LOT of stuff online because it's hard for me to get out of the house sometimes, and I have Amazon prime so honestly it's just easier and quicker.

Baby A's Outfit:
Gold Glitter Iron on Sheet (printed letters, traced backwards on glitter sheet, then ironed on- purchased from Joann's with a coupon)
Pink and gold glitter tutu (gymboree always fits big for us, so I ordered a 6-12 mo.)
Cream/white long sleeve shirt (I didn't want a onesie and this was perfect!)
Headband from Etsy

Decor:
Wooden Stars
Large Gold Stars
Glitter Spray Paint
ONE letters (cardboard) from Joann's, painted with gold paint and gold glitter
Gold Tablecloth, silverware, napkins, etc- Target clearance after Christmas
Happy Birthday Banner- handmade by me- Paper and gold letter stickers from Joann's
Tassel Tissue banner- handmade

Cake/Favors:
Recipe for Sugar Cookies
Recipe for Royal Icing
Meringue powder used for Royal Icing (trust me- the meringue powder makes a difference!)
Food coloring for cake and cookies (a mixture of pink and peach)
Star Cookie Cutter 
Bottle and tip for outlining cookies
Squeeze bottle for flooding cookies
White containers for playdough (gold stars are just stickers)
Cake Banner- handmade by me using bamboo skewers and gold glitter washi tape


And if you made it past all of that! That's all :) It was a great afternoon spent with some of our closest friends and family celebrating the first year of our sweet Baby A!

2013 Family Photos!

I just wanted to share our most recent family photos we took before the holidays! I LOVE the way they turned out!

Sister!

Me and my girls- I love how different we look!
 

And finally, a favorite in silhouette- not edited! So cool, right!?

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