A Birthday for a Super Hero!

We are still scratching our head about how Mike got into super heroes. Neither myself or S. have every had much interest in comics, the movies or know the difference between Marvel and … the other brand. Yet here we were, planning a super hero birthday. And Mikey had a birthday fit for a super hero thanks to Pinterest and our tribe.

We have always enjoyed Mikey having an early June birthday because the weather tends to be cool enough to be outside and warm enough to venture into my parent’s backyard pool. S. also had the amazingly practical idea to have the party from 11a-1p. Give them lunch and get them a nap – the parents were THRILLED to have some fun, wear out the kids and get home for the afternoon. Parents take note!

S. and I had the best time planning the menu – how many food items can we include that have a ‘hero’ theme? Apparently quite a few! We had DIY HERO sandwiches, power fruit and the very popular POPcorn!  My mother-in-law made veggies in dip with cute cups the kids could take home. I found the idea for the comic cones on Pinterest, but didn’t have any comic books. Remember Matt from the podcast I was on? Well he LOVES Wonder Woman and was more than happy to scan some pages in for me and S. perfected the rolling technique. Oh and that awesome cake? Done by my friend Steve who was on Food Network’s Holiday Baking Challenge. He just happens to own the local B&B with his husband. #famousfriends

PicMonkey Collage

As for decorations, I have discovered the concept of buying digital downloads from Etsy. For just a few bucks (or less) I can download ‘paper’ or graphics which I used for the invite. Hell, I can even download prints or banners! It gave me a sense of being a creative DIYer without being an obsessive perfectionist. I also had my Dad and brother make a phone booth out of a fridge box. It turned out so cute and the kids had a fun time running in and out.

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I had planned on having the kids make super hero masks, but ultimately everyone had so much fun running around and swimming we forgot all about the activity! I think that is a sign of a great party.

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And because this is my blog and I do what I want, here are some of my favorite pictures from the party. I think my super power involves surrounding myself with awesome people who like to help make my vision happen AND have fun in the process. (and if you consider yourself a super parent, check out BootsTees on Etsy!

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Dear Mikey: You at Three

Dearest Mikey –

In the words of my favorite Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’:

When you smile I come undone
My son
There is so much more inside me now
You outshine the morning sun
My son
When you smile, I fall apart
And I thought I was so smart

mike at 3

I can’t believe it’s been three years since you made your grand entrance into the world. It seems like you’ve been here so much longer and other days it seems like you should still be the wrinkly baby who resembled Benjamin Button.  Here is a snapshot of you on your third birthday:

You legs are impossibly long. Each morning when I get you dressed it seems you grew another foot overnight. You are long and lanky for now. Your hair has a personality all it’s own. Geema keeps telling me to ‘train it’ – but I can’t. It picture lots of buzz cuts as you get older! Your eyelashes, OH those lashes. I have to keep my jealousy under control because they are so long. Though your toe nails are … strange, you fingers are so long – perhaps you will play the piano!

You are a comedian already. You love to use different voices and point to things while calling them ‘funny’. Daddy and I have learned quick if we laugh at you it is a promise you will keep doing it. Your laugh is infectious. You lose your eyes when you smile like me and you open your mouth wide even for a giggle.

You put a lot of thought into choices. Whether it’s your shirt, book or snack you tap your finger on your chin and say ‘hmmm’. We try to give you as many choices as possible or you would be eating hot dogs and Minion gummies while wearing the same Batman shirt everyday.

Ah Batman. Where did you learn about super heroes? It seems to have started with PJ Masks and your friend at daycare and now suddenly you MUST, AT ALL TIMES wear something Batman related.

You are impossibly sweet. The minute someone says ow, you are right there asking if they are okay, needing a band aid or, more importantly, a kiss. You had your first urgent care visit this year and handled it like a champ. You were dancing too hard (I find that hard to believe, but alas it’s a thing) and fell into the bookcase. You had a pretty nasty goose egg pop up quickly so while Momma silently freaked out, Daddy packed you up and away we went. Of course you were just fine.

You still are hopelessly addicted to your ‘bubbas’. You only get them at bedtime and nap time and most mornings you are very hesitant to put them back to bed. When you are very very very tired, you cry for them. That’s how we know it’s time for a nap!

Speaking of naps, you are starting to put up a fight at nap time. You are more than happy to jump in your crib and throw stuff around and sing for a couple hours, but when we realize you actually fell asleep? That is like finding a unicorn in the closet. You will regret your lack of napping when you are older kid.

You love anything with wheels – fire trucks (tucks), motorcycles (cycles), excavators (underwear), dump trucks (boom tuck), and even buses. You also love reading which makes me oh so happy! Plenty of evenings I glance over to see you lost in another adventure. You still like Llama Llama, but also Diggers Go and any that feature the alphabet. You’ve gotten pretty good at reminding us when we skip pages too.

You had to do speech therapy for a bit, but now you are a motor mouth. Asking why, what color everything is, what everyone is doing, where we are going, if I am tired (yes my love, very very tired) and for your favorite foods. Food like chocolate milk, pepperonis, gummies, jelly beans, rice, hot dogs, chicken and melon. All at once! Your tastes fluctuate often enough that I can’t think of anything that you don’t like!

My sweet, sweet boy. I am so proud of you and the gentleman you are becoming. Never ever lose your empathy for others and remember Momma and Daddy wanted you so much and love you twice as much. One day I will show you the receipts to prove how much we wanted you. Until then – stay you.

I’ll eat you up I love you so,

Momma xoxo

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3rd Annual Diaper Drive

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My dear friends – it’s almost that time again! I can’t believe we are just a week away from the launch of the THIRD ANNUAL 12 For 1 Diaper Drive! I am so excited for a lot of reasons – the main one is 20,000 diapers. I know we can do it and I can’t WAIT to see what that looks like.

As I do every year, I am asking for your help and there are a LOT of ways you can be involved. Here are some FAQs from the past two years to help you help babies keep their tushies dry.

Q: What can I donate?

A: We are collecting diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream. St. Martin’s Ministries is in need of all sizes, but specifically sizes 4 and up. Brand doesn’t matter and we will happily accept open/damaged boxes or loose diapers.

Q: Where can I send or drop off donations?

A: If you want to drop off diapers you can take them to The Barry’s House in Denton, The Weisman’s House in Crofton or Choptank Transport who is generously donating the space to store donations. You can also order diapers online and have it shipped to one of those locations. Please contact me for those addresses.

Q: I don’t have time to shop. Can I send money?

A: You bet. We have the ability to get great deals with the money donated. You can send a check to me, Paypal me or simply go to gofund.me/12for1diaperdrive. 100% of donations will go towards diapers, wipes and cream.

We will also accept gift cards such as Target or Amazon.

Q: I don’t have the funds to make a donation right now. Are there other ways to help?

A: YES! Of course. The easiest way to help is to share not only information about the diaper drive, but the diaper gap in general. Share the diaper drive updates on your social media sites (use #12for1), ask your friends for any diapers they aren’t using, and cut coupons. We can also use help loading and unloading in July at the conclusion of the campaign. If none of those fit your skill set, you tell us. What are your talents?

June is not only my favorite month because it’s Mike’s birthday month, but I also eat, talk and dream about diapers. I hope you will help spread the word and get us to 20,000 diapers.

 

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Dear Mike: March & April 2016

Well hello lovey!

I would call you ‘mini-monster’ (with love), but when I call you that you always say, ‘No. Me Mikey!’, so lovey it is.

I am finally finding time to write because YOU ARE TAKING A NAP! I feel like we might have just witnessed a miracle. You have stopped napping and by 5PM you hate everyone. I don’t blame you of course, but I spend a good portion of the day sending good vibes to Rachel that you sleep at daycare. I can’t remember the last time you slept on a weekend!  I am also finally writing because I decided that being done is better than being perfect.

{First overnight with Geema and Appa} Momma and Daddy decided it was high time we took a trip overnight alone! We packed your bag, met Geema at Wawa before the bridge and off you went! We knew it would be no big deal and we were right. We checked in a few times in those 24 hours, but the report was always good. You were happy and having a great time playing with Appa and Mollie. You might have given Geema a hard time at naptime, but you figured out pretty quick you were going to take a rest.

March

{Swimming} We signed up for another session at SwimFirst and you had such a great time. I took you a few times and Daddy did the rest. You loved playing ‘Hunty Hunty’ (or Humpty Dumpty) where you sit on the side of the pool and ‘fall’ into open arms. The very last class I passed you underwater to your instructor and he passed you back. It was so funny because he kept telling you to close your mouth and you would squeeze your eyes closed with your mouth wide open. You are quite the little fishy. I am excited for summertime in Appa’s pool!

{Dad Traveling} Daddy spent 2 weeks in May travelling for work, so it was a lot of Mommy time.  You asked about him a lot (Daddy doin’?) but we made a point to video chat with him every night and call him in the morning. We even made ‘love bags’ and you had a great time decorating notes with stickers and scribbles. You are a BIG fan of tracing your hands and feet on just about anything these days.

{Saying Things Opposite} You are certainly speaking a lot more with sparingly cohesive thoughts and questions. However, you are still a little confused with opposites. It took quite a while for us to realize you don’t want to radio ON (when it already was), you want it UP (which I am happy to comply with!). Also seeing and hearing. We take a lot of opportunities to remind you you SEE the truck with your eyes and HEAR the truck with your ears.

{Kinderfarm} We ventured out one day when the weather cleared to Kinderfarm and you had a blast! It was pretty quiet, but you went from pen to pen talking to the animals. You were very interested in the chickens and wished them a happy, fun day. “Hi shick-kins. Bye shick-kins, have fun!”

{Easter} Kid, you are a jellybean eating machine. The Easter Bunny left you a trail of eggs from your crib to your basket and you popped each one open and shoved those jellybeans in your mouth like it was your job.

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{Drew’s birthday} You and I traveled back to Virginia to go to Drew’s 5th birthday. You had a great time bouncing in the bounce house and watching Miss Miranda do a magic show.  It was interesting for me to see you interact with kids who are a few years older AND you don’t know. You were so calm, cool and collected. One little girl yelled at you because you had 2 noisemakers and she wanted one. You looked a little shell shocked, like why is this chick yelling at me, and after taking a beat you nicely handed her a noisemaker. Clearly you have mastered picking your battles. Maybe not with Daddy and me, but everyone else.

{Mollie’s birthday} Mollie’s birthday party was so much fun for you because you adore your cousin. You hung out with her friends and played pin the shell on the mermaid. You showed no hesitation with new kids and sweet? I adore that. I know as an adult it’s hard to meet new people in a group setting, but I can see you assessing the situation and jumping right in.

Well my love, it’s time to start planning YOUR birthday party! The days are long (sometimes excruciatingly so) but trust me when I say the years are fast.

I’ll eat you up, I love you so

Momma xoxo

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Friday Five: Bath Time Multitasking

Oh hey. Remember me? I’ve been too busy being a Momma to actually write about it, but that’s a pretty lame excuse. I get the blogging itch at the worst times and the best times to actually blog I opt to do things like sleep or watch Gilmore Girls reruns. Sorry I’m not sorry.

I am also spending time on Pinterest these days planning Mike’s 3rd birthday party (!!!!) and a lot of my friends are pinning ‘bath time activities’. That’s a thing? I am talking ideas like ‘sensory bath theme’ ideas.  Our evenings are so routine the last thing I want to do is plan a sensory bath. Mike usually grabs 2 trucks, I grab his Minion bubble bath and it’s in and out.

That said, we do have fun baths sometimes and I would consider it bonding time. We do things like driving the trucks off the edge of the tub to their demise, or use a colander to make it rain (which has a different meaning now that I have a kid). But not every bath is an ‘event’. Here are the Friday Five things I do during bath time that help me multitask while making sure Mike is safe and not pretending he is in a hurricane.

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What else can I do while Mike is entertaining himself in the bathtub?

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Happy Birthday Mollie!

My dearest Mols –

How on EARTH are you 3 today? It doesn’t seem possible, but then again, I feel like you should be turning 13. I don’t remember life before you and I can’t picture our life without you in it. When I think of ways to describe you, I think of just a few weeks ago on Easter. Everyone was milling around, helping get the food ready and catching up. I glanced over towards the front door and there you are – arms over your head like a ballerina just twirling. You were all alone in your own world dancing. It was in the moment I thought, ‘yep. That sums up Mollie’s world, dancing when literally no one is watching’. It was such a pure, innocent moment I will hold close.

My dear, you are a fabulous cousin to Mikey. Despite your small age range, you have taken it upon yourself to show him the ways of the world, just like we knew you would. He adores you as well! You are a happy, charming and polite kid, which comes as no surprise. You have an opinion on everything and a smile that will convince anyone to hand you the moon. Keep that going kid, it will take you places in life, just use that power for good – I know you will.

I was thinking this morning about where I was when you were born, a story I will probably tell every April 4th. I was on a cramped bus to New York City with my big belly full of Mikey. I had lots to time to pray for your Mom and Dad and think about the person you would become. You have not disappointed me kid.

Have an amazing birthday, thank you for making me an Aunt (and Uncle S. an Uncle!).

We love you,

Aunt Jay Jay xoxo

PicMonkey Collage

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A Big Fat …

Mike has been requesting The Very Hungry Caterpillar every night now for a few weeks and he is getting pretty good at finishing the sentences (‘still hun-gee’). At least I THOUGHT he knew book by heart.

The Scene: S. and Mike sitting on the floor before bed reading the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

S.: Now he wasn’t hungry anymore–and he wasn’t a little caterpillar anymore. He was a big …

Mike: FAT PIG!

S.: (stifling a laugh) Fat caterpillar.

Mike: Oh.

Well. He isn’t wrong.

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Talk to Matt Marr & Jackie

Or ‘That Time I Was on a Podcast with the Guy from that Commercial and I was Geeking Out‘.

During my long commutes I was spending time sitting in traffic and listening to podcasts and came to really look forward to the Dear Mattie Podcast. Matt Marr is an actor in LA who just happens to be a clinical therapist and a lover of people and their stories. His podcast features his friends and listener submitted questions and lots of hilarity. Of course I friended him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I pretty much cyber stalked him and talked about him as if we had been BFFs since preschool.

Then I found out he liked me too! He’s been a follower of the blog and loves seeing pictures of Mike. Basically the only two requirements to be my friend (insider tip). THEN he asked me to be on the podcast. I had a few weeks to become charming and get my eyebrows waxed.

We recorded last week via Blab and I swear, I could have chatted with him for HOURS. It was just like sitting around the table eating Triscuts and drinking Naty Boh on a Friday night. As you do. So if you want, check out the podcast don’t do it at work (we might have said a few no-no words).

You can download it on iTunes, Sticher or listen to it here.

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Mood vs Manners Printable

One lesson my Momma taught me that has really stuck with me was this – just because I was having a bad day doesn’t mean everyone else should have to deal with it. Seriously, if you don’t learn any other life lesson, that is one that will get you through.

I remember telling her someone was mean or grumpy with me, and her response was always the same, “Maybe their underwear is too tight,” meaning maybe it isn’t all about me. Maybe they were having a bad day before they came in contact with me. But ultimately, it’s not my fault.

I have called customer service lines millions of times and sometimes, not all the time, I am met with someone who is having a bad day. Perhaps their underwear is on too tight. But guess what? Your mood should NOT dictate your manners. I don’t care if you are having a really bad day – either go be alone or mind your manners.

I am not perfect (spoiler alert) and sometimes need this reminder too, so I made a quick printable to hang in my office. I thought you guys might like it as well! It’s a simple reminder for kids AND adults.

Download it here! 

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