Tonight as I tucked Emmet in bed, he asked me for a kiss and I gave him one and whispered, "happy birthday, buddy! I hope you had a good day!" He then proceeded to recap his entire birthday, from his birthday cinnamon roll with three candles, to walking in the stroller with Henry, to dada coming home for dinner. In full detail, no pauses, all while holding on to me. It reminded me of how much this little boy's personality BLOSSOMED this year. He went from speaking just a handful of words to telling me full stories.
He became fascinated with birds, bugs, and space. Naming all of the blankets, a few bird species (Mom, it's a cardinal!), and delighting every time we find a worm in our garden
He became a musician and a music fanatic with a full playlist full of oldies, folk, and rock songs that he could name the title and the artist of within the first 3 seconds (or seeing the album art) AND sing a decent chunk of the lyrics.
He grew as a big brother who cares for and loves his baby brother. I find him sitting right next to Henry's crib in the morning, usually with blankets in tow, passing toys and Henry's water to him. He worries when Henry cries, makes sure that Henry has a toy too, and plays with him often throughout the day.
He is a lover. He asks for and gives hugs and kisses all day long. Often followed by "too much!" meaning he wants to be squeezed tighter, and then "way too much!" even tighter. He tells me he loves me (so much!). Snuggles up in my bed with me in the morning, and often rubs my back (or grabs my cheeks and says "mama, talk to me!") until I wake up.
He is still the pickiest damn eater I know. Still mainly eating Annies White mac and cheese, peanut butter & honey sandwiches, "Emmet's" granola, and a few select items from various fast food menus. We've made inches of progress over the past year, including a few bananas, a piece of broccoli, and a couple blueberries... but we'll get there. I think.
He loves to garden and play outside. He could spend HOURS outside. He loves to water the garden(s) and usually ends up watering mostly himself, but he doesn't care. He throws the ball for Moose and chases him around. He stops to "look" for four leaf clovers and digs in the dirt. and when we are ever inside, he is usually asking to go back outside.
He's mostly potty trained! Other than nap and night, this little boy is wearing underwear full time with very few accidents! He loves to pee in the big potty (just like dada) and occasionally outside.
He went to preschool! He goes to a local preschool that has to be one of the best preschools in the universe, I'm convinced. It allows for so much freedom and exploration and the people who work there provide them with SO MUCH LOVE.
I know there is so much more that I am missing, BUT, I'm looking forward to many more years of getting to know this little boy! I love you so much, Emmet James!
My friend Amy is amazing. A few weeks ago she posted about mama's day minis, to which I signed up as quickly as I could. Because I'm always down for pictures of the boy's and I and her photography is absolutely amazing. She took all of these in the span of about 15 minutes. It was so fun and quick, and I absolutely adore how they turned out!
I became a mama three years ago, and it was a club I always dreamed of joining. I used to tell my mom that I would give her 10+ grandbabies when I was little and I would drop off dolls at my neighbor's house for them to babysit. I've always loved babies & little kids, and have always wanted to have some of my own (though now I'm like, hell no am I having 10+ kids!!). I'm SO beyond grateful for these two little boogers I get to call my own!
Motherhood is a funny thing. It's tiring and exhausting, but it's also so rewarding and beautiful. Being a stay at home mom is also a special kind of beast, but one that I am SO GLAD that; #1 it's something that I WANT to be doing, and #2 something we were able to make work. I know it isn't for everyone, I 100% get it. But for me, being with my babies, and getting to do my art throughout the day (when possible) is my dream (even when it's hard)
The other night I reminded Emmet for the like bazillionth time to say please rather than just yell "MORE WATER" at me, while Henry quite literally through chunks of bread at my head. All with a friggin smile on my face. Because I'm used to it. Because they're learning. Because they need me to be the calm one that guides them into being normal behaving humans.
BUT MOSTLY - We also have spur of the moment dance parties and tickle fights. We tell each other I love you at least 100 times a day. We snuggle, kiss, and hug. We paint pictures together and go for long walks. We eat all of our meals together. We read together, listen to music together, sings songs together, watch movies together. We go for coffee, we garden, we've made mutual friends. We go on adventures together.We tell each other stories. We teach each other and we watch each other grow.
...and I'm also so thankful for all of the other mama's that I've gotten to know throughout my life who have shaped me as a person and mama. My own mama, my grandmas, my childhood friend's mama, my mother in law, my old boss/friend, my neighbor, my friends. THANK YOU for being there for me. For teaching me. For being an example to me. For loving me. For loving my babies.
Yesterday my friend, Marissa, and I took our boys to Wichita to see the Botanica Gardens! I appreciate having Marissa as a friend for so many reasons, one of which being that she is so good at making me be brave. I almost talked myself out of wanting to go. Driving two kids all the way to Wichita and back for a short little trip can feel daunting. Especially when I am packing up the car and they are both fussy. But we met up for coffee and to grab snacks and she talked me into going and oh my gosh was it so magical. I am SO glad for the little extra "we're doing this" push that she gives!
I had been to Botanica once before for a friends wedding, but I don't remember it being as beautiful as it was yesterday. Sure, there were flowers and it was pretty. But yesterday it was absolutely breath taking. Maybe the tulips weren't blooming then, or maybe I hadn't fully developed my love and appreciation for flowers and greenery then. I'm really not sure. But today every turn we made, every place we stopped, everything, EVERYTHING, was gorgeous and perfect and such a friendly space for the boys to explore too.
We started out just exploring the main garden area by the entrance. There were rows and rows of different varieties of tulips, reds, pinks, oranges, deep purples, big, small, frilly, smooth, every different variety you could ever imagine. There were also beautiful stroller friendly, paved walkways that I deeply appreciated, and large fountains. I think above all else, Emmet's favorite part might have been all of the different water features. Fountains, little creeks running through, waterfalls, etc. They were everywhere and all he said the entire time was water, water, water. He wanted to dip his hands in, watch it fall, walk over the little bridges. We may need to put a little water feature in our yard somewhere, I already have a plan in my head for one!
These rainbow tunnels were really neat! They are right on your way in to the kids play area and Emmet loved running under them! I pushed Henry under them in the stroller too.
The kids area is where it really got magical. I had never gone back to it and had no idea it was back behind the main area. There were so many different play areas to stop at and explore. Large sculptures of characters from books (oh hi hungry caterpillar!), sand play areas, fairy gardens, an entire musical maze with giant xylophones and drums, big wooden jungle gyms and so much more. The boys ran through it and had an amazing time playing music and climbing. AND they are putting in a giant carousel that I am very excited to see next time we go!
We ended our trip with a picnic in a private little area we discovered. We brought along a few treats from Mojo's Coffee bar to eat and of course, Marissa also packed some cute little Easter eggs and snacks because she is amazing like that. It was so nice to sit back and relax and eat after adventuring around with the littles. Plus there was a waterfall, so Emmet and James were VERY pleased.
We celebrated Henry's first birthday this past weekend and it was so fun! Totally worth all of the planning, set up, and preparations. Henry woke up Saturday morning, on his birthday, with a fever. Which was kind of a bummer, but Henry being the little ray of sunshine that he is pulled through and had a great time at his party!
I decided on the theme of "wild one" for his first birthday. It just felt right, since his nursery, lovies, and Christmas presents all were wild animal themed. Which was great, because it both felt like we were summing up his first year (which is totally the point of the first birthday party in my mind) AND because we had lots of decorations already!
We stuck with the birthday basics. An adorable kids table with all of his little friends, a cake smash (because kids covered in frosting is precious), and time to open gifts. It was short and sweet, just like we like it.
Venue - Prairie Harvest Mezzanine
Photos by Brooke Lorraine Smith
Glitter One Banner - Hand Me Down (Similar)
Faux Leaf Garland - Hand Me Down (Similar)
I designed Henry's invites based off of his Christmas painting! I pick an image to paint to represent the boys every year that I put in their stockings. This year I chose a lion for Henry's lovie and it worked PERFECTLY for his invites! I painted the balloons to go along with it, and then designed the invites to have all of the information. If you want custom invites designed for your kids birthdays let me know! I'm now taking custom invite orders.
I've planned two kids parties so far (Emmet's first birthday and his second) and so far they haven't had enough little friends to have a kids table. So this year, since we've made a few new friends, I jumped on the chance to decorate a little kids table! We were given the sweetest supplies from Love of Character as a hand-me-down from our friend, and snagged a few new items to go with it. The little kids added such a fun energy to the whole party! Plus watching the different ways they interacted with the cupcakes was pretty hilarious. Emmet licked all of the frosting off the top, one stabbed it repeatedly with his name tag, and another refused to eat hers and walked around the party saying, "no cake!"
Tiger Plates - Love of Character
Napkins - Love of Character
Confetti - Love of Character
Cupcakes - Mojos Coffee Bar
Name Tags - I cut out the packaging from our temporary tattoo party favors from Love of Character
Animals - here and here
Animal Masks - Love of Character
Paper Leaves - Hand Me Down (Similar)
I decided to keep refreshments simple to minimize set up. I ordered these GORGEOUS cakes from Mojo's Coffee Bar that I just loved. I worked there in college, and two of my closest friends work there and the other owns it! It's one of the boys' and I's favorite places, almost like another home. So of course we had to (and also because they make delicious baked goods!). And then we also got a few of the delicious little Prairy Bites (think tiny amazing cookies) from Prairie Harvest to go with them.
Prairy Bite Cookies - Prairie Harvest
Cake - Mojos Coffee Bar
Table Cloth - Fabric from Spoonflower
Letterboards - here and here
Zebra - Similar
Balloon Garland - DIY'd (highly recommend using Love of Character)
Cake Toppers - Bella Luna Toys (no longer available- similar lion, similar tiger)
Animal Cups - Love of Character
Henry's Romper - Childhoods Clothing
Henry's Crown - Etsy
Smash Cake - Mojos Coffee Bar
Giraffe Cake Topper
I decorated a second table to hold a "guest book," Henry's Memory Book, photos, and some of Henry's lovies to display, a table full of items to represent his first year. I then used any leftover decorations to create centerpieces at the tables.
Baby's First Year Memory Book - Lucy Darling
Faux Leaves - Amazon
Book to Sign, Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue - Amazon
Mudcloth Pieces - Etsy (Similar)
Plastic Animals - Flamingo, Tiger, Lion, Cheetah, Ostrich
Mudcloth Paper Centerpiece - Spoonflower
The last space I created was a little gift opening area with pillows and blankets to sit on. This was a space I ignored for Emmet's second birthday because it seemed excessive and silly (and perhaps it is). But so many pictures were taken of him opening gifts, and I so regret not having a decorated space! I used blankets, pillows, and baskets we had around the house that matched the theme and then people further decorated by placing their gifts there! In the end, I'm glad I did it!
Black and White Rug - Ikea
Blue and White Blanket - Ikea (no longer available)
Black Mudcloth Pillow - Amazon
White Mudcloth Pillow - Made from Scraps (similar)
Bolga Basket - Amazon
Happy Birthday Henry!
A very sincere thank you to everyone who came and made his day special
Let me start with the most cliche things a mom can say when that first birthday rolls around. I can't believe it has already been a year, but at the same time, it feels like he has always been a part of our family. This little bottle of sunshine fit right into our family right from the start and brings sunshine to each and every one of our lives on a daily basis. His smile melts my heart a million times over and his giggle is absolutely intoxicating. This little boy has shown me what it truly means to be happy with his bubbly attitude each and every day (even on the days he isn't feeling well). Sure he has his grumpy moments, but they don't last. He just can't help it.
To my sunshine Henry, you - are one year old. love your mama A LOT, but think dada is pretty funny too. prefer to stand to eat, even though it scares the crap out of mama (and, ahem, isn't allowed). are literally always moving; you cruise around the house, crawl in three different ways (all hilarious to watch), climb up onto furniture, and even roll around and kick the sides of your crib at night. still sleep in mama's room. you prefer fruits to any other foods, but will eat just about anything. have been weaned, and didn't have tooo much trouble doing so. aren't walking or standing solo yet, you think it is way too funny when we try. have the most precious arrangement of teeth (6 and counting) I have ever seen. you say "mama," "dada," and "oh, wow!" you love, LOVE playing with Emmet, you fuss until he wakes up and love to get into his business all. the. time. you are dearly loved by all of us.