Tag Archives: birthdays

seven

Alice Maureen. I’m not sure the name could fit her any more perfectly.

Today she’s seven.

My second girl and I had no idea what I was in for.

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I had no idea two girls from the same family could be SO DIFFERENT from one another. But Alice is her own soul and she doesn’t try to be anything she’s not.

She came at night, awfully quickly from what I remember. Like all of them, I was instantly in love.

But how could I not be? She had so much hair and the sweetest little face. I think she weighed 7lbs 4oz and she fit perfectly in my arms. She was an easy baby and an easy toddler and she’s a pretty great kid.

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She’s not a big talker, but when she talks, you should listen: she has a lot to say. Most of the time, it’s hilarious. A lot of the time, it’s incredibly sweet and thoughtful.

She doesn’t say anything unless she’s thought a lot about it.

She lacks confidence and is unsure a lot. She’s shy and uncomfortable. But oh my, she’s a beautiful friend. She’s an incredible sister and one of the best playmates ever. She plays pretend better than anyone I know. She’s also pretty good at video games and would challenge you in a second.

She has the most beautiful eyes in a really incredible shade of green. Her lips are perfect and that hair — the hair she refuses to let me do anything with is just the best. She still sucks her thumb and she still sleeps in our bed. She’s soft and gets her feelings hurt easily and seeing her big puppy eyes when she’s sad can break you. She’s curious and inventive. She’s fun and she’s hilarious. She’s smart and silly.

She has taught me that even if something looks a certain way, what lives inside might look a lot different. She’s taught me to listen closely when children speak, because even if it’s hard to hear or understand, it’s worth knowing.

Without our Alice, our lives wouldn’t be quite as exciting. We wouldn’t laugh quite as much and we probably wouldn’t think of sweet treats as often, either. We are so happy Alice is ours.

 

Happy Happy Day, sweetest girl.

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FIVE

Charlotte Clayton. A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.

Charlotte is five.

005. 5. five.

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I thought she was going to come quickly, but she took her time.

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She weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces and we all fell in love instantly.

 

This girl is sassy. Ohhhhhhhh is she sassy!

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She is also beautiful.

She has the most beautiful complexion – her skin is the perfect shade of brown and her eyes are like chocolate pudding. Her one eyebrow can’t be beat and her lashes go on for days.

She loves her sisters more than anything and without being asked will hold the little ones’ hands or help them reach something they need.

She is such a good friend. B has her heart, but her other friends come in a close second: Wyatt, Hayden, Leighton, Mackenzie, Zephryn, Timothy…so many more. She speaks so nicely about all of them and is always so thoughtful in her words.

She’s a smart little thing. She knows what’s going on around her and it’s hard to get anything past her. She’s intelligent but quietly.

She is full of emotion. When she’s mad, she is MAD. When she’s excited, her whole body moves. When she’s happy, her face lights up. When she’s sad, those chocolate eyes fill with tears. She’s never boring.

Her favorite people in the universe start with: her siblings, Dawn, B, Mama and Daddy and then the rest of the family…then everyone else. And she’s not afraid to let that be known.

We are so happy she is ours. We are so lucky to have this thumb-sucking, Deedee loving, bed-stealing, backtalking, hugging, sweet girl.

Charlotte Clayton, you are a gem.

Happiest of days.

Easter and Birthdays and Hot Springs

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but a bit of time has passed since my last post. It’s not my fault.

No, it definitely is, 100%. My camera cord decided not to work and then I get cranky when I don’t have pictures and then the kids were on Spring Break and I worked a lot and then I had surgery (no, that’s a lie, but it usually gets me some sympathy) and then I finally went to Staples and got a card reader.

Let’s start with Easter. The kids got roller blades and roller skates and candy. Easter egg hunting was dangerous.

But they managed.

Naturally, Franci Pants’ basket was my favorite.

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Those books. HEART EYES (I need an emoji keyboard).

But Franci Pants the baby? She was as quiet and sneaky as a fox…

While we were busy finding all the eggs (because finding all the real dyed eggs is extremely important) she didn’t make a peep and devoured approximately 5 mini reese’s cups, 1/2 a full size Hershey’s, 15 mini M&Ms and 1/3 giant bunny ears. It was a mess and a disaster. But I quickly forgot about it when I got this shot of the kittens:

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Just look at all of them. *sigh*

The rest of our Easter was lovely. We went to church (all of us…a miracle), went to hunt eggs at Grandma and Grandpa’s, ate breakfast, came home, hunted some more, then went to some of our very favorites — the Sanchirico’s. The kids ran wild with their best friends, we ate some really delicious food, we laughed and we drank and we just had a really solid time.

Then it was spring break.

I survived.

And yesterday it was my birthday. HOLLLLAAAAAAA 31. We didn’t do anything crazy, no huge parties. We had breakfast with my parents and then we drove up to Weir hot springs. It was pretty incredible. The hike wasn’t too bad – flat in some parts, really steep in others, but doable. The weather was perfect: 69 degrees. The kids were stoked and so were we. We thrive off of adventures like this.

We were there all afternoon and Danny and I were in heaven — watching the kids have such a blast and not having them glued to a screen was perfect. The Lochsa river is one of the most beautiful and little creeks and waterfalls along the way make it even better.

This week I’m awfully busy, too. I have Willow Center and I’m teaching a blogging class and co-hosting a baby shower and work and school volunteering and my besties Cleo and Stella are on vacation so I don’t even get to hang with them. But I’m lucky to be so busy.

The Newest

My favorite thing in the entire universe is meeting my babies for the first time.

My 2nd favorite thing in the entire universe is meeting my friends’ babies for the first time.

MJ did not disappoint.

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I love being able to say, “When you were born, I was __________.” I will remember it all. I remember when Stella and Cleo and Jaxon and Delaney and Michael and George and Brennan and Hayden and Aubrey and Corbin and Lizzie were all born. I remember where I was when I heard the news and what I was doing. I remember being excited and happy and nearly bursting with excitement to see all of them.

I’m lucky that I snuck my way in to meet MJ with Tara and Hailey just hours after he took his first breath.

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I’ll forever associate this tiny little thing (5lbs 13oz to be exact) with intense August heat, the Raspberry Festival in Cottonwood and watermelon beer.

I won’t be able to wear my WSU running shorts without also thinking about the sweetest hint of red on that tiny little head and the way Sadie’s room was overflowing with people who couldn’t wait to meet MJ.

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August 2nd is forever a beautiful day.

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Welcome to the world, MJ. Good luck navigating through the sea of girls that you will constantly be surrounded by thanks to the Boulevard. Thanks for making life a little bit sweeter, more fun, and more beautiful. We love you already!

6

Today, Alice Maureen is six. Of all the beautiful, perfect, well-posed pictures I have of her, this silly one sums her up better than any other:

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Alice is the epitome of “kid.” She throws fits when she doesn’t get her way and snuggles with mama and daddy when she can. She sneaks in our bedroom at night and tries to get away with anything and everything. She laughs when she gets in trouble and never takes anything too seriously. She thinks she has the answer to every question ever asked and is confident enough to share it with everyone. She knows what she likes and doesn’t care what’s ‘cool.’ She’d rather play with the boys than the girls and loves getting dirty and messy and running amok. Few can understand what she has to say thanks to both missing front teeth and a slight speech impediment but it doesn’t stop her from talking. She’s funnier than all get-out and beautiful too.

Happy Birthday to my girl who came just a bit early, late at night. Who has taught me that girls can love both princesses and mine craft equally as well and that dirt smudged play clothes can be just as beautiful as expensive dresses. That learning really does happen at a child’s own pace and that eventually they will get there (she said to me earlier this year, “Nope…I don’t think I wanna learn to read yet.” But now she’s sounding out words). She’s taught me to laugh when things don’t go the way I’ve planned them to and that deep breaths and calls to Lala and Papa for backup are necessary sometimes.

F.O.U.R., S.I.X. and a little Stampy Cat

Charlotte is four.

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She loves her deedee more than anything on Earth. She loves spaghetti and meatballs and going to Dawn’s house. She loves B and riding scooters and bikes and wearing pretty dresses with accessories. She loves Disney Jr and cuddling in bed. Oh, we are so lucky to have Charlotte.

This weekend we combined both her party and Alice’s party with friends. It was such a good time!

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It’s so hard to navigate the party thing when you have so many kids. I mean, it’s hard no matter how many kids you have…but harder when you have many. Here’s why: there are, what, 20 kids to each class (approximately)? If we invited all the kids from each class, that’s 40 kids. Add in friends that don’t go to school with us (about 5 each) and you’re up to 50 kids. Plus the siblings that come. And parents. That is just way too many people for any space! So I let the kids each choose 6 kids to invite then our family friend kids…and that just about maxes us out. And I feel so badly each time for our friends who weren’t invited, but I know that we have the best friends who understand…we love you even though you weren’t there!!

The current obsession in our home? Stampy Cat. Sometimes, you like your kids so much that you decide that they definitely don’t have the party sense you have (which is on point, I must say) and if they want to have a damn Stampy Cat party, they can have it.

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Stampy Cat is a Minecraft character run by this British guy. I’m sure he’s a millionaire. He literally just records himself playing Minecraft and has a YouTube channel and millions of kids are obsessed with his character and his friends. I mean, there’s Stampy, Squaishy, Lee Bear, Amy Lee, Rosie, Duncan the dog, Mittens, so many. And Alice is in love with Stampy. So a Stampy-themed party it was.

We had it at As You Like it Cakes and each child got a cupcake to decorate.

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There were some definite masterpieces.

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We played pin the cake on Stampy (he eats cake for breakfast every morning) and opened gifts from our incredibly generous friends. We really are quite lucky.

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After the party we went home and had a pretty wonderful afternoon playing with our friends.

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Don’t we have the most beautiful friends who happen to be neighbors? We love them.

After a quick rest and a dinner of Fazzari’s pizza and pasta, we had even more friends and family over for dessert. These girls are both loved and spoiled. Cowboy hats and boots and Jasmine costumes and Doc Mobiles and clothes (mine craft!!!) and toys and gift cards. Ah, so much wonderful stuff.

Parties and Holidays and Holiday Parties

Last week was Spring Break for the kids and it also happened to be my birthday week.

Let me back up to a couple months ago (maybe a month?) when I realized Danny was in the beginning stages of planning a surprise party for me. As sweet and thoughtful as that was, the mere thought of a surprise party for me sent me into panic mode. I shut that down. Quickly.

Instead, I decided to plan my own party. Now, you can haha all you want, but planning parties is my favorite thing in the world and 30 is a big birthday and I figured that if there’s any time to be bossy about your birthday, it’s a milestone birthday. And I count 30 as a milestone.

I didn’t want to plan my party because I was afraid Danny would do a bad job on his own. Not at all. I wanted to plan it because details are my very favorite. I love planning everything from what the food will be served on, to the lighting, to the musical playlist to party favors. I just love it. In a past life, I think maybe I was an event planner in NYC or LA or someplace busy and fun like that.

So I planned my party.

Truth: it was pretty great.

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I started Friday with a trip to Costco where we got chicken and beef and tulips. Such a great trio.

Food and decor.

I gathered up all our vintage Pepsi and 7-Up bottles and put the tulips in. They looked so cute.

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On Saturday I made the champagne cake with champagne frosting thanks to the book that Lily and Pat got me. I had a little help, too.

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(it eventually turned into this):

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While I was doing that, Danny finished up the table.

HE FINISHED UP THE TABLE. Wait till you see what he made with some help from Kelly in the shop.

Are you ready?  Look:

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It is amazing. It can seat 12-14 people and is pretty to look at. He distressed and stained the boards then added really awesome nails. It looks like something straight out of Restoration Hardware. Ah, I’m so lucky.

Then we set up the tables. I got little clay planters from a store in Moscow (The Storm Cellar) and added $2 flowers to them.

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Along with the tulips and some candles, it was perfect.

Then I put together the plates which were actually boxes from Shop Sweet Lulu:

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The drinks? Oh, nothing too special….

PSYCH!

We love our cocktails over here.

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The first is a blackberry cocktail, the second a whiskey/sour cocktail. Both = delicious.

We also made shrubs (they are my new favorite) and had beer and wine and mixers.

They were enjoyed.

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And the food was enjoyed, too! Because….tacos.

Okay, in San Francisco, Lily and Pat took us to a place called Milagros that served the most delicious coconut shrimp tacos. While ours weren’t as good as those, they were still pretty good.

And when people plate their food (haley) like they are professionals, it makes it on the blog.

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And it also makes it on the blog if you make plates that look like this:30-89

I mean, to each their own.

We made aioli (chipotle and pineapple) and had homemade guacamole, salsa fresca and flavored salts.

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And while I think I have pretty spot-on judgement when it comes to food and drink, I happen to be even better at choosing friends and company. Because it was the best time ever.

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I’m convinced I have the best friends in the universe.

And how do I show my friends I love them? Gifts.

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Canned sparkling wine, hanging plant, tiny notebook and Tattly’s. That’s a solid gift. I also threw in some chardonnay blondies I made. Because, ya know, I make boozy desserts.

I have a hard time being mushy in real life, but it’s easy on the internet, so here it goes:

To my friends, thank you. Thank you for being friends with someone who isn’t always easy to take. Who can sometimes be crazy and anxious over ridiculous and annoying things. Who does things like plans her own birthday parties when you try and do something nice like surprise her. Thank you for bringing gifts even though it said “NO GIFTS” on the invite. You’re nice. Thank you for hanging out with us and for making me feel like the luckiest 30 year old in the entire world.

You’re basically the best.

tarachristiansadiejustinhaileyhaleybrookmarkaliciatobesuzannejenbrandonpaullizwhitneyjason you’re the bee’s knees.

And we finished the weekend off with even more celebrating.

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I broke down and was the mom who bought character shoes for her kids.

I say that like it’s the first time. Oh, silly Ruthie, there are character shoes in every freaking room in this house. This is my life.

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Alice might be the most fun at the moment when it comes to celebrating. She’s all in and loves every second.

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The Easter bunny who visits our house is not the most creative. But, I will say, Easter is easiest in a home that is generally cluttered because it’s easy to hide eggs. So, I mean, there’s that.

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Eggs on the diffuser. Boom.

Out of all the baskets, of course Francescas was my favorite. Take a look.

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The others? Full of crap. Seriously. With the exception of reading books for Alice and a cool lyre for Jamie, it was mostly just a lot of candy and plastic stuff. Whatever.

And then, an Easter miracle happened. All 8 of us went to church. It may have been crazy and it may have been loud, but we were there.

Then we skedaddled to Grandma and Grandpa’s for an egg hunt with the cousins.

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And champagne with raspberries is certainly a plus, huh?

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And while eggs were torn open (money!!!) and cousins played, Miss Franci just took it all in.

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I forget how busy holidays are.

After grandma and grandpa’s, we went to Liz and Pauls which was basically the best time ever.

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Liz and Paul are the type of people who aren’t rattled by anything. Your kids could be running wild in the house, making a giant mess, yelling, being naughty, etc, and they will be calm and smiling. They don’t think twice about grabbing your baby from your arms or helping your kids get food or drinks, and they are the easiest people to just sit and talk with. They are interesting and smart and kind and generous and are pretty incredible parents.

Their kids are just the best.

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Celebrating Easter with them couldn’t have been a happier time!

Mostly because of this (puff cigarette, leather jacket and ray bans??):

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Hope you all had a really fantastic Easter!