Planes, Trains, and Automobiles Party

George’s birthday was a while ago, and yes I am just now getting to his pictures.

George loves anything that goes and has wheels, so this was the perfect theme for our three year old.

This was a pretty low key party, and it came together so nicely.

I got the invitation from this Etsy shop. (Those blue boxes are just covering up our personal info.)

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We love doing our parties at our church because they have this full kitchen, so much space to play, all the tables and chairs we would ever need, and most of all, I don’t have to clean for visitors. Win all around.

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The birthday sign I got from this shop. I didn’t get a close up of it I guess, but it has trains, planes, and automobiles on it. We also went really simple on the food. It was mostly snacks. I did not theme the food or have food labels.

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We got these books from Usborne. They were one of George’s birthday presents from us. They are so very cool. Those are little wind up toys that drive on the pages of the books. So much fun!

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These cupcake toppers are from this shop. We printed these off ourselves, cut them and taped them to toothpicks. Easy peasy. I opted for cupcakes this year over a cake, and it seemed so much easier. Hy-Vee (local grocery) for the win!

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Our party give aways were train whistles. I got the whistles from Oriental Trading, and the tags came from this shop. They say, “Thanks for zooming by.” All the paper products, I ordered instant download and printed ourselves.

The table top decorations were all George’s toys. I love little personal and FREE touches like this. We had a couple tables of planes, trains, or cars.

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Like I said, I love having it at the gym so there is space to play. We had a couple activities for the kids, and they seemed to love it.

We had a paper airplane station. I wish I would have gotten video of them competing for the best “flight.” It was so fun to see what they created.

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We brought all of George’s wooden trains, and they built some awesome track scenes. George was in heaven.

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My favorite part of the party was the car making station. This was so easy. I collected boxes from some friends who were moving (perfect timing), and just bought several packs of construction paper. We brought our markers and colored pencils and let the kids at it. It was the “mechanic shop.”

They built some really cool cars.

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George had so much fun taking them all for a test drive.

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I bought these little car candles off Wish.

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We loved celebrating our little man, and it is the one time of the year that I become a Pinterest mom. Seriously though, this was a simple party because most of the stuff for decorations we already had or could easily print off. We had all the craft items, so that wasn’t an additional expense. Including food, I think I spent around $200 when all was said and done.

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It was a great birthday for our THREE year old!

Daphne-4 Months

Daphie Girl is four months old today.

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Weight:  13 lbs. Half of that is in her cheeks.

Health: She has been doing pretty great. We do not have to go to physical therapy anymore for torticollus. She has a slight bump on the right side of her head, which does mean she has to work harder to roll over. However the PT said that she is so strong and moving so well that they are confident that will subside as she grows. It is not noticeable to really anyone who doesn’t see her every day. We are still doing daily exercises with her to make sure that she doesn’t lean more on the right side and get lopsided. Overall she is doing really well with them.

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Diet: I am really proud of myself. At this point with George, we had to start supplementing with formula because I just wasn’t making enough. I have been doing really great with keeping up with her demands so far. Since she sleeps through the night I also pump an extra time before I go to bed. That’s mostly so my boobs aren’t rocks in the morning, but it has been nice to stock up some with that extra pump (or fill in when I had a low pump).

Clothes: She is still in 0-3 month clothes. She is in a size 2 diaper.

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Sleeping:  This girl is such a good sleeper. She goes to bed at 8pm and does not wake up until I get her at 6:30 to feed her before I leave for work. On the weekends, she will make it almost 12 hours before stirring. She takes one long nap during the day (generally in the morning), and she will take cat naps in the afternoon. I think she sleeps so well because of being swaddled. She will whimper a bit at first being a baby burrito, but within a few minutes she is out like a light. We are still using a sleep sack swaddle, and I am dreading the day when she starts rolling from back to tummy. I have been looking at the magic sleep suits for this transition. Anyone use one? Thoughts?

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Likes:  Me-I am apparently the ultimate pacifier. Eating. Funny faces. Standing (assisted). She loves tummy time, which I know makes her very rare. Mornings-she is such a happy baby in the morning. She loves show tunes. I haven’t found a song yet that she doesn’t respond to with smiles when I sing to her. (That’s my girl!) She also likes to suck on her fingers. She likes her head to be rubbed, and she has even started rubbing her hair on her own.

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Dislikes:  Unless she is sleeping, she does not like laying down. She needs to be sitting up or standing to watch what is happening. She doesn’t even like to lay her head on your shoulder. She still hates a dirty diaper. She is not the biggest fan of swings.

Milestones: She sits up pretty well in the Bumbo. I think we need to get her bouncy activity center out because of how much she loves being in a standing position. She is rolling a lot more, and I am afraid that rolling both ways is going to be happening soon. Right now she just rolls from belly to back. She has started giggling too, which is fun to hear.

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Nicknames: Sister Friend, Girlfriend, Sweet Cheeks, DC, Daphie, Daph, and Daphne June. Most of the time it is Sister or Daphie Girl. The other day, I was trying to calm her down, and I kept saying Daphie, and George would respond with Girl. It was super sweet. 

Quirks:  Anytime she is in the Z vibrating chair at home, she has a blowout. She enjoys the sh*t out of that chair. But honestly, she has pooped/peed on me more times in 4 months than George has in 3 years (including potty training). She has a real knack of starting that crap when you are changing her diaper.

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We parents are:  TIRED. With the start of school, my brain has been going non-stop, which is a little exhausting. I have been trying to get up early to work out, and I do that late pump at 10:30, so that cuts into my sleep time. Tom has been working constantly on the house when he isn’t at work, so he has been exhausted lately as well. We are slowly tearing away at the living room renovation. Tom has been working himself ragged on the project. We hope to be done by the beginning of October.

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George is: THREE! He had his birthday this last month, which is always a good time. He is still doing so well with sister friend. (I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop…) He is still at the sitter for the time being, but Daphne is staying home with my mom now. He asks for her a lot on our way to the sitter or home, saying he misses her or we need to go get her. He has asked to hold her a couple times. 

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The dogs are: just loving life. They really are doing ok with the new baby and new house. No big complaints.

Here is George’s 4 month update. These kids are so different.

Sweet baby girl, you are starting to react more to us, and we are loving watching you grow.

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George Turns Three

To the boy that made me a momma,

I have loved watching you grow this year., and I can’t believe how much you have changed in just 365 days. I feel like I am taking this birthday harder than I have the last two. It seems as though this time you really have outgrown being my baby. Maybe it is how you talk and play. Maybe it is because we have another baby in the house. Maybe it’s just what happens.

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I have loved seeing your personality really develop this year into a sweet charismatic little boy. You are so fun, and you make me laugh every day.

You are so passionate and determined when you play. Your obsession with trucks and trains has only grown over the year. And you want to rescue every animal in sight, which lets me know how caring your heart is.

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I see bits of both your dad and I in you.

You are so cautious when you meet new people, but once you get to know them-hold on. You love so hard and are very attached to your people.

Your eyes light up when you are able to work on a project with your daddy. You are very hands on and see the world in a way to build it up again.

You have no time for nonsense, and you want to make the most out of every ounce of the day. You are non-stop from the moment you wake up until the moment you go back to bed.

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This is the year you have learned to pray, and I look forward to hearing what your are thankful for every day. (My favorite is that you still say thanks for Henry (Honey) and Arlo even though you haven’t seen these friends in months.) Talking about faith and prayer with you has not only grown me closer to you, but also to God.

While you still have your moments of Mr. Indepedence (aka Defiance), you are getting so much better at helping and being a good listener.

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We have seen you learn new things like becoming a puzzle master and heard your vocabulary grow everyday. You are so very smart, and I know big things are in store for you.

You remind me each day to pay attention to the little things and soak up the moments where you ask me to “hold you” or for just one more kiss. I love seeing you get excited when you see train tracks or the fire house to wave to the firemen and say goodnight to the trucks when they aren’t out. I love how you have made a walk to the mailbox as exhilarating as a trip to the moon.

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I know some days I am not the most patient with you, but you have taught me more about forgiveness and enduring love when you still want to snuggle even though we may have spent the afternoon both in tantrums.

One of my greatest joys however was watching you become a big brother this year. You are so sweet to your sister, and I can already tell that you are going to have a great bond. I have been so proud of you and how easy you have taken on this new role.

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Over the last three years, I have watched you become you. It’s bittersweet for sure. I have watched you go from being a NICU baby to now being taller than every kid your age. It was exciting to see you take your first steps, but now it’s heartbreaking at times to see you run to play on your own. I remember the excitement hearing you gurgle for the first time, now we get to have actual conversations with each other and at times I am so overwhelmed by emotions I almost burst into tears from hearing your little sentences. I miss how little you were, but I am thrilled to see you continue to grow. I know that ultimately my job is to send you out into the world to make it a better place.

I have wanted to be a mommy my whole life, and God knew what he was doing when He gave me you first so we could go on this journey together. You have taught me how to be a mommy, and I am so thankful for every second of playing trains and reading a million books with you.

I pray for your future and I pray for God to give me the strength I need to let you go and grow.

I am so happy to be your mommy, and I have cherished these last three years with you so much. And even thought it’s not just us anymore and we have said goodbye to you being a baby, you will always be my first born and the one who stole my heart as a mommy. So no matter what changes or how crazy this world gets, my favorite thing is watching you become you.

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To the one who made me a mommy,

I have been enamored by you since the day you came into this world three years ago. And my love grows bigger right along with you.

Happy Birthday Georgie Man.

Love,

Mommy

 

Daphne-3 Months

It’s going too fast. How do I have a three month old?

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Weight:  She is 12 lbs of sweet cheeks.

Health: For the most part she is doing really well. The probiatic drops have been helping her not be so gassy and fussy in the afternoons, which is great! She was diagnosed with torticollis. Basically this means that she has a head tilt to one side, so she will mostly look or lay to that side. In her case, she prefers to rotate and tilt to the right side. I noticed that she was getting a flat spot on the back of her head and the beginnings of a misshapen head. I brought it up to our pediatrician, and she referred us to a physical therapist. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but whatever the reason when they tilt predominately to one side it causes the muscles to only get stronger on one side so it exacerbates the issue. So we have been working on environmental changes like changing the direction that we change her diaper and how she lays in the crib so she will start looking to the left more. We also have some stretches that we do every day again to get those muscles more evenly developed. Both our doctor and physical therapist seem confident that we can remedy it this way and hopefully avoid a helmet later on. She still prefers the right side, but I can see a difference over the past month after being more diligent with the environmental changes and what not.

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Diet: She is still breastmilk only. She is doing much better on taking bottles, and so far I haven’t noticed an issue when she nurses with the transition. She isn’t comfort feeding as much now, which is a relief. You can tell by her cheeks she is doing just fine getting what she needs. I also have to brag on myself, because I have been much more easy going about our breastfeeding experience this time around. I have fed her in public on several occasions which is something I never did with George. I think a lot of it has to do with the thought of normalizing breastfeeding and not wanting to stop living our lives due to her feeding schedule. But I also have the best nursing cover that is so easy to use and makes me feel comfortable and covered in public. My goal is always to just make it to the next month, so here is to month 4! 

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Clothes: She is fitting perfectly into 0-3 month clothes. Most 3 month things are still way too roomy for her. She is in a size 1 diaper. I was able to put on her first pair of shoes last week! Get ready girl.

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Sleeping:  Those probiatic drops have helped so much with her sleep during the day. She takes several hearty naps, usually at least three a day. Then we put her to bed at 7:30 pm and she does not wake up until 6:30 am. PRAISE! I don’t know how we got so lucky with two really good sleepers. So good, and I will ride this out as long as we can! 

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Likes:  Eating. Riding in the car. Kick and Play. Mornings-She has the biggest smiles for me when I sing to wake her up. I love singing “Good Morning” from Singing in the Rain, and she loves it too. She also likes her head to be rubbed, and she has the best peach fuzz to do so.

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Dislikes:  She does not like a dirty diaper.  She hates the hours between 5-7pm. Dinner is always interesting, and I spend a lot of time eating standing up because she knows when you are sitting while holding her. She is not a big fan of her swing.

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Milestones: Started rolling from tummy to back. Being away from me for more than 4 hours. She went to her first baseball game! We may have lost but I think she still enjoyed herself. 

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Nicknames: Sister Friend, Doodlebug, Sweet Cheeks, DC, Daphie, Daph, and Daphne June. Most of the time it is Sister. 

Quirks:  She is very empathetic already. She can read people’s emotions well, and she plays off that. She is ridiculously strong. She is trying to sit up already. She has the best pouty lip.

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We parents are:  doing alright. We are on opposite shifts, which is always hard because Tom misses out on a lot with the kids. We also are still trying to get some things done around the house, so our days off are filled to the brim. If you aren’t following me on Instagram-we knocked out several walls in our living room this week. I went back to work this month, so that has been a transition for everyone. The house is a little less clean and I’m a little more tired, but all in all it’s been a smooth move back into work. 

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George is:  a great big brother. For the most part he had been ignoring her, but we have seen a dramatic change in his demeanor towards her once she started going to the sitter’s with him. We were really worried because Brenda’s is his place so I wasn’t sure how he would react. He had been telling me that Sister needed to stay in the car when I would talk about her coming with him. But the last two weeks he has been so wonderful about the transition. He is overly protective of her, and won’t let other kids near her saying, “She’s my sister.” He lets adults know when Sister is crying, and is persistent about the information until you deal with it. He tries to console her now too which is so sweet. Sometimes he is sweet and says, “It’s ok Sister.” Other times he sings to her. Other times he likes to shake her play yard toys over her head (kind of aggressively) and says, “You calm down now.” When he is fed up with me, he uses Sister as an excuse to get rid of me-“You need to go feed Sister.” He does not know how to say her actual name; he thinks we are saying Daddy. So her name is Sister. 

The dogs are: doing their thing. Grace stalks Daphne when she is on the floor to lick up spit up. Crosby does seem to protect her and will lay at my feet when I am feeding her.

Here is George at 3 months.

This girl looks like a perfect little doll here. We make pretty Gerber babies.

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Werk, Werk, Werk, Werk, Werk…

I am at the end of this maternity leave. I feel so fortunate that I have had the opportunity of having the last 11 weeks off work, and even more so to have the next two weeks part time to ease myself back into the swing of things.

While it is hard to transition away from my time with Daphne and my family, I do want to look at the positives of returning back work.

  1. I am ready to be back in the real world. I have been living in this perfect bubble of baby cheeks and boxes of raisins. I have no idea what is really happening outside of my house, so that will be nice to engage in reality again.
  2. I can eat lunch at a normal time instead of between cries and feeding other people. I can eat something that is hot and without having to hold a baby and worry about spilling on her. That one meal a day is going to be like a vacation.
  3. Routine. We have no routine right now. On one hand it is nice, and I have enjoyed the flexibility. But having no routine means that I have to have a billion alarms on my phone to remember things like paying the bills and taking my vitamins every day. Having a routine is good.
  4. I can wear my hair down for more than one day a week and dress like a real human being. I like my wardrobe, and I want to use it. I love Daphne but she likes to pull my hair and barf on me, so I have been living in grungy gym clothes all summer.
  5. I don’t have to worry about other people’s bodily functions or help them doing them for at least 8 hours a day. Bless them.
  6. On that note, I can go to the bathroom by myself.

Lastly, I really enjoy my job and August is such a fun time in Higher Ed. There is excitement to a new academic year, and all the hoopla that happens in the fall is just wonderful. I can’t wait to meet my class for my freshmen seminar and also the individual students that I will be coaching this fall. I know I am going to miss my babies, but coming back to this high energy time is going to be perfect to help me to get back into my professional mojo. It is the perfect time to be rejuvenated back to working mom life.

Tomorrow feels like the first day of school. I have all the bags packed and our clothes picked out. (I have tried on a million outfits like I am presenting myself to the world again.) I am excited to see all my friends and colleagues again. I have the jitters about leaving my family, and I’m slightly nervous that I have forgotten everything over the last few months.

I feel like I should be arming myself with a Lisa Frank Trapper keeper.

It’s going to be great…

I will get up in time…

Both kids will get to the sitter fed and clothed…

Pray for us.