major's birthday party.

Agh! I fell off the train. We had Major's birthday party the Saturday after his birthday, and that night Jake got sick, then two days later, Major caught it and we spent a week trying to recoup. A very long week. Both my Mom and TJ's mom also got the flu, so it has definitely made its way through our family--though, thankfully, TJ & I seemed to avoid the worst of it. 

On to the festivities! We invited our families, including the boys' great-grandparents and our closest friends to come to our house Saturday afternoon. Two of our friends ended up unable to make it, but our good friends the Persons did. I handed my camera over to Lindsay for the cake smash, so I can't take any credit for those super cute shots. She's a master! Since it was between lunch and dinner, we stuck with more snack-y foods. I tried to think a little bit about what Major loves, since its his party and all, so I made this Mexican pasta salad since Major's FAVORITE food is pasta. The recipe said it would feed 8-12, so I doubled it (see the black crock pot to the right of the cake in the first picture). BIG MISTAKE. We were eating pasta salad for every meal for two days. Because it was there, and it was good. 

My sister made the smash cake, my sweet MIL and SIL made a yummy avocado salad/dip, my mom brought fresh fruit, and Gramma 'Nise brought chips. I also made lemonade from scratch, with lemons we got from a friend. We also had soda left over from our Super Bowl party, and after considering making cupcakes, I decided to go for a Costco sheet cake (FANTASTIC choice on my part, FYI). I love simplicity, so I chose a black and white theme. The "Happy Birthday" banner was originally made for my grandpa's 90th birthday celebration last year, and the other two garlands are paper straws from Target. Paper goods were from WalMart, and other stuff the Dollar Tree. We're low-key kind of people.

I know kids can usually entertain themselves, but our backyard has NOTHING in it. I borrowed a "personal" sized bounce house from the same friend who gave me the lemons, and then I also bought a bag of bubble solution from Big Bubble Bliss. I had originally bought a kit from her at a boutique in 2014, and gave it to Jake for his birthday. She's since updated her wands and was so sweet to give me a new one! This is seriously such a fun activity for kids and adults alike. The bubbles are giant and a definite crowd-pleaser.


I recently put a lot of blonde in my hair. Surprise! Also, Major is such a good sharer.

I LOVE THIS ONE. I highly recommend handing the camera over for events you're in charge of. I was NOT in any frame of mind to get creative, since I was the hostess.

Our family is so blessed to have so many people who love and support us. It was a great day celebrating our little Major!

Major's birthday.

Major is funny when he wakes up. He's usually kinda cranky until he's fully awake, and then he just immediately snaps out of it, usually with an excited, "Da!"

It wasn't any different the morning of his first birthday. He woke up in our bed, snuggled under my arm, as per usual. He was wished a happy birthday by each member of our family, and then sung a groggy one as well. We all woke up and rushed out the door, Major still clad in his footie pajamas, to get Daddy to work since I needed to run errands that morning. After dropping TJ off, we headed off to pick up some giant bubble solution from a local vendor for Major's birthday party the next day. I've tried making it myself, but the bubbles just aren't as good as hers.

On our way back, we stopped at Bosa Donuts and purchased a dozen donut holes for a measly dollar, and the boys and I had our breakfast in the car. We stopped back at TJ's work with protein bars for his snack, and then headed to Trader Joe's. I picked up a box of Major's favorite cheese sandwich crackers and a few other groceries and then we headed home.

Our church friends had planned a little Valentine's party for the preschool crowd at the park, so Jake and I put together his Mickey Mouse Clubhouse valentine's and then slapped some heart stickers on an empty wipes case for his mailbox. At the park, Major tried eating sand, Jake tried swimming in sand, and we had cupcakes. It was really cute to see all the little ones exchange cards.

Later that afternoon, we picked up a "personal" bounce house from a friend to borrow for the party. The boys both had a blast testing it out, until Jake got a bloody nose and I declared it time to rest. When Daddy finally got home from work, I convinced him we should go out to celebrate the birthday boy. I'm so glad we did; it was so nice to have that time as just the four of us, celebrating the day we became a family of four. We headed to Joe's BBQ where they graciously honored their birthday deal. (A little tip--if you go to Joe's on a busy weekend night, the line is likely out the door. Go around to the south side of the building, where they have a walk-up window. There is hardly any line and you get your food to-go in about 5 minutes flat.) We shared a plate of barbecue, complete with two sides of macaroni and cheese (Major's favorite favorite food) (Jake's too), a side of beans, and a side of cheesy potatoes. I'm not a huge soda drinker, but I love their homemade rootbeer. However, we abstained since TJ has a goal of no soda until his birthday in May.

We carried our bagged food across the street and to the Water Tower, where we were pleased to find random park tables. Major sat in the middle of the table and we bribed Jake not to touch the water until he finished his food. As soon as that last bite of macaroni was gone, he was off to run circles around the mini splash pad/fountains under the water tower. We watched from a distance until we finished our food, then moved to the benches under the tower, as responsible parents should. Our nearness emboldened Jake and he got more and more daring, criss-crossing through the fountains and "accidentally" brushing past them. Major also got curious and too close to the fountain. It just felt so good to sit back and watch them be kids and laugh at their theatrics. We wound up taking to very wet little boys back to the car. After a quick stop at Target, we ended the night over bowls of ice cream with hot fudge.

It was the perfect, simple day. I reflected a lot on the past year and how Major has grown--how I've grown. He has blessed my life so much. He is spunky and sweet and makes me smile every day. I'm so lucky to be his Mama. 

Major's First Haircut.

The less than stellar lighting in these photos will have to be excused as I record this milestone in Major's life. Major's hair has always been fluffy--from day one. I loved washing it because as soon as it would dry, it would fluff right up. From about 8-10 months old it was the perfect length to stick out straight from his head and make him look like a mad scientist. Then it got too long, and started laying flat. It was still pretty fluffy on the sides, and was long over his ears, and I knew it was time. Time for my baby to look a little bit more like a big boy.

In desperation last week, I texted my sister-in-law Michele and asked her to come and make the change. We took a tip from TJ's cousin, and put Major in the bath to distract him. It actually worked pretty well. I do not envy anyone who cuts a one-year-old's hair. They are wiggly little people!

Without further ado, the photographic documentation. Before:


And after! He looked so different and suddenly seems so old to me:

Old Naby.

 The other day, when I thought about trying a "day in the life" photo project, our outing to Old Navy (or "Old Naby," as Jake says) was the only other thing I documented. Major is kinda sorta going down to one nap, but sometimes he falls asleep randomly. Usually he wakes up being moved, but after falling asleep in the car during the 5 minute drive to the store, he stayed asleep after being transferred out of the car and for about 20 minutes inside the store. It was actually pretty cute, if you don't mind carrying around 20 lbs of dead weight. 

Jake whined the whole time about getting out of the cart. He's reached that independent-when-he-wants-to-be phase. You know, when he wants to be a big boy and walk around the store, but then suddenly forgets how to put his shoes on the minute it's time to leave for the store. Either way, we compromised and he rode half the time and walked the other half. 

A gracious store employee noticed these boys being a little rambunctious and gave them each a bouncy ball. The sentiment was appreciated, but am I the only boy mom who has ever wished a bouncy ball had square edges instead of round? Because somehow, I was the one who ended up chasing after lost balls.

at the breakfast table.

Our mornings usually have a slow start. I'm not much of a morning person, compounded by the fact that the one-year-old still sleeps in our bed. I wake up around 7:30 or whenever Jake comes into our room. TJ is usually getting ready for work, and I try not to be grouchy as I shake off sleep. I get up and make TJ breakfast and send him off to work, then make breakfast for the rest of us. It's usually an Egg in a Basket for Jake and fried eggs of some sort for me, oatmeal for all, or toast. This particular morning was oatmeal.

Growing up, I hated oatmeal...or maybe I just didn't give it a chance. When I started working in the Student Union at NAU, my boss would sometimes treat to Starbucks. Once I had their "Perfect Oatmeal," I was hooked. At home, I make it with a drizzle of pure maple syrup, a spoonful of peanut butter, banana slices, and a handful of almonds. I'm a creature of habit, and I don't mind eating the same few things every week. 

Anyway, this particular morning I decided I might like to do a "day in the life" project, but it only lasted until lunch time. Another day, though! Jake always says he will eat his oatmeal, but he rarely finishes the whole bowl at breakfast. I try to remember to put it away for the next time he cries hunger, but it doesn't always happen. We ate out of soup bowls because every. single. bowl. was dirty. Jake is such an expressive child.

I've tried giving Maj oatmeal before, but he usually spits it out. He was loving it this particular morning, however.

Please tell me I'm not the only one whose floor is atrocious under the high chair. (Insert "see no evil" monkey emoticon.)

For now, I love our slow-paced mornings where we can take our time eating and waking up.