Happy First Birthday

Oh, sweet Greta. Happy Birthday to you.

I’ve done pretty well with it, so far. I had a few tears last night, saying goodnight to her. That sentimental, emotional part of me really comes out around birthdays. Just like with her brother a couple of weeks ago, tearfully wishing my two year old goodnight for the last time, preparing to wake up to a three year old in the house.

But first birthdays are just so different. We say farewell to infancy. We think about how much has changed in one year. At this very time one year ago, I was still pregnant. I was in labor. I had yet to meet my daughter.

I remember the intense fear I had during my pregnancy, that I could never love another person the way I loved my son. I just couldn’t fathom it. I was scared about all the changes sure to come, and was convinced I was going to tear apart my son’s perfect little world.

And then Greta was born. And it really was, as cliched as it sounds, love at first sight. And I was so relieved that all I felt was LOVE, and that meeting her felt so right. And it continued to feel right, as she just fit right into our family. Truly, I cannot imagine life without her.

gretabday1Ready to go home.

She is such a light in our lives. She is so funny, so sweet. She is opinionated. She makes us laugh. She adores her brother. She is feisty. She loves to squeal, clap, wave, and giggle. She doesn’t crawl, but instead does this funny hopping butt scoot to get around. She dislikes diaper changes and always tries her hardest to get out of them. She loves to snuggle, especially in the chair with her daddy.

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Daddy snuggles.

This year has been amazing. How could it not be with a smile like this?

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It has also been challenging, of course, as we adjusted to having two kids (and only two years apart). But overall she’s been a pretty easy baby.

I think one of the most challenging aspects of it all has been not knowing whether or not we would be having a third child. With our son, I knew we’d most likely have a second child. And I was caught up in new motherhood. This time around, the questions come more heavily. As she outgrows clothing, baby items, toys, I wonder if they are really worth holding onto. I have donated more. I have questioned more.

So, as we leave infancy today, I have a heaviness in my heart as I question if babyhood will be behind us forever. I don’t feel ready for that.

But, as it goes with our children, we don’t have a choice but to look forward. They don’t wait for us, they don’t understand our sentimental hearts and how we ache with longing for the past even though we are so so so excited about what is yet to come.

I love you Greta. Thank you for joining us a year ago. I know you will continue to astound us all with what you will bring to this world. Happy Birthday!

gretabirthdayListening to her brother’s rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

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DIY Fabric/Denim Roads – $0 project!

Alright, Pinterest haters, here’s another project I found on there. This was timely and cost me absolutely nothing, unless about a half hour of my time actually has a monetary value. I’m guessing not, though, since I get paid for my job as a stay at home mom in dirty diapers and lots of laundry.

Anyhow, it was timely because two things happened this week: I needed shorts so I cut off a pair of my jeans to make them, and my son has a sudden interest in all things cars/trucks.

I had pinned this on Pinterest a long time ago, and noticed it again while I was looking through birthday party ideas a few days ago. Please check out the original post and idea from lil Mop Top on “Easy Fabric Roads“!

My son got some Matchbox trucks for his birthday yesterday (he is very in love with firetrucks, as well as ambulances and police cars… but especially firetrucks). I bought him the exact same pack that my mom picked out for him (it’s what he wanted when we went there yesterday morning), so last night we returned them to get something new. We ended up with a small section of a wooden train and a wooden police car.

Today I decided to use up those denim jean calves (I guess that’s what you’d call it? lower extremities? whatevs) to make this for his new found car/truck love. I was starting to think we were bypassing that stage, but apparently it really is in their genes. Or jeans. Har har.

This took me maybe a half hour. I already had the acrylic paint on hand from my peg doll projects, but if you had to buy it you can find it for under $1 at a craft store. I used the inside of the jeans for the surface instead of the outer bluer part. So glad I didn’t toss those legs! Yay for free projects.

Ta da:

jeanroad

I decided that this would be a quick project and I wouldn’t obsess and try to make it all perfect (i.e., no measuring, drawing lines, etc.). I just winged it. I may trim up some of the pieces because two stretches of road are wider than the others, but other than that I didn’t try too hard. I especially liked the original blogger’s idea of making the intersection, which makes it easy to spread the track out and go different ways.

I still need to figure out how I want to store it, probably in a pouch of some sort in the bin with the cars and trucks. But what a great, easy project to use up something that would have otherwise just gone to waste.

Last day as a two year old.

Sad face.

I know, I know. Birthdays, they’re exciting. I’m sure my son is going to be an amazing three year old and the best is yet to come.

But, because I’m me, I need to mourn a little, just as I have with his other birthdays.

Today is our last day with our two year old son. Tomorrow we will wake up to a three year old. We will celebrate the day of his birth. We will go out for ice cream and he will open his presents from us.

Today, I want to soak it all in. I know these changes come slowly and he won’t be all that different tomorrow. Really, just another DAY older than today, even though those numbers signify an entire year.

Here’s my little boy a year ago, at his birthday party. Turning two. Still practically a baby.

twoyearsold

He has grown so much since then. Physically. Emotionally. Intellectually. Two weeks after that photo was taken he became a big brother. He’s AMAZING to his sister. I am blown away by it. He has to kiss her before he goes somewhere, before he goes to bed. Today he hugged her and told her that she was his favorite sister. They adore each other and I am so blessed that he has shown very little jealousy and welcomed her into our family with open arms. I know that sounds so cheesy, but it’s true. Literally with open arms, always hugging her, always reaching for her, always loving her.

He is so smart. The things he says are so funny, so intelligent, so quick. He has the best sense of humor. We laugh so much.

He tests me in many ways, but he is teaching me how to be a better mother, a more patient human being, and a more loving woman.

This year has been incredible. Not always easy, but somehow always good. Age two was certainly not “terrible” like so many like to say. Challenging, yes. We are no stranger to fits and tantrums and the word “no.” But two was also sweet and fun and innocent and full of laughs and love and snuggles.

We are spending this day quietly. Reading books. Watching television. Making smoothies (real and pretend). Playing musical instruments. Having an existential crisis over the fact that “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “The ABCs” have the same tune. Okay, so perhaps quiet wasn’t the right word. Ordinary. Beautifully ordinary.

smoothies

The kids are napping together now, and then we’ll play outside.

Then, tonight. Tonight I will say goodnight and kiss my two year old one last time. I will cry. That I know. But tomorrow we will be excited and we will celebrate and we will embrace what is yet to come. I know he will continue to amaze me and make my heart swell in so many new and lovely ways.

I love you, sweet boy.

Our Kids’ Digging Garden

I was inspired to do this when I first saw this blog post linked to on Pinterest. I finally got around to doing it; we had a very late start to summer but I wanted it ready for our July festivities (4th of July BBQ, kids’ birthdays, general summer fun…).

This was a super quick project. We already had the perfect spot for it. Our backyard is weirdly landscaped, so we had this random retaining wall here. Last summer it’s where we put the sand & water table, and the year before a kiddie pool. The grass was already dead as a result of that, so I just raked the area. I’m debating whether or not I want to put a bit of topsoil there, since the dirt is very… dirty? Okay, duh, I know. It’s just very fine dirt that is quite dusty and manages to get everywhere.

This was also a super cheap project. The fencing came from Lowes and was just a few bucks for each section (I like the look of the wooden fence on the original link, but went with what was cheaply and readily available, and I still like the look of the fence we chose). The little decorations were already on clearance at Target (my son helped pick those out, we went with a butterfly and a mushroom) and he wanted the flag one day when we were at Lowes for something else.

I added in some of our little gardening projects from the spring. The larger planter in there has a strawberry plant and a couple of carrots. There’s a mason jar growing a marigold (which is also a bug deterrent, I believe?) and the little ceramic pot has a lone hot pepper. I don’t have much of a green thumb, if you can’t tell… most of our starter plants died. I also picked up a citronella plant and planted that in there in hopes that it might help with mosquitoes (WHAT is with the bugs this year?!).

I threw in the Tonka trucks he got for Christmas and his gardening shovels and rakes, although those are sometimes used elsewhere. My husband tossed a few coins in there (treasures to dig up, I guess?), although those will need to be removed before our littlest plays in there. Oh, and there’s a disposable lasagna pan that we already had (pack of 2 from the Dollar Tree). Mud pies, anyone?

Okay, onto the photos. You can click on them to make them larger.

Here are the befores and what I had to work with.

gardenbefore1

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And the afters.

digginggarden2

digginggarden

Very pleased with the outcome, especially for it costing very little and only taking about 15 minutes to throw together. We have a sandbox, but I like that this involves the earth and plants and has a more nature-y feel to it. I like the idea of having a space where kids can dig in the yard and feel like they have their own place to freely explore. While the kids would have been welcome to use the space before, setting it up like this seems more inviting. My nephew was immediately drawn to it, so it must feel more welcoming this way (and kids know that it’s for them).

Major thanks to the imagination tree blog for giving me the idea. Check her out, there are lots of great kid ideas on there!