Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cowboy Charlie's First birthday

With the combination of a well timed vacation and an opportunity to take part in one of the greatest weddings ever, we just so happened to celebrate Charlie's birthday in Pennsylvania.  When we knew we were going to throw him a party here, a cowboy theme fit perfectly.  Mimi and Papa's home in the country surrounded by horses provided the best backdrop and Papa is a true cowboy, so we had plenty of western decorations to fit the theme.  We just added a few bales of hay (which works well for toddler containment), a "watering hole" water table, some squirt guns, some sheriff banana cupcakes, and a real deal BBQ and we had ourselves a wild west extravaganza! 
12 months of Charlie birthday banner

The growing bunch of future best friends
Babci got really into the squirt guns.  She's a quick draw and did  not hesitate to take down her great -great granddaughter!
A make-shift (free hand) horse cake.  It was an interesting endeavor with limited baking utensils...
For the favors I made some "Little Buck-a-roo Trail Mix" - perfect for little ones.  It was an inexpensive and cute favor idea!  
3/4 box of Honey Graham squares 
1/2 bag mini Marshmallows
3c. Cheerios
1 bag Craisins
1/2 bag wagon wheel pretzels
Mini Chocolate Chips (optional to keep this baby centered you can forgo the chips, but every trail mix needs a bit o' chocolate!)
Mix in a large bowl.  If you have a toddler, this is the perfect activity!  If you are feeling extra creative, wrap them in a bandanna, add some labels, and/or attach a harmonica.  We were going to add the harmonicas, but they went missing for a few hours.  The favors were just as cute (and less noisy) :)
Despite the photo, Charlie and his cowboy friends had a blast!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Charlie is ONE!

The moment I laid eyes on this sweet boy, I felt like I knew him.  I believe this is the gift of parenting your second child.  Gone is the "can I do this?" fear, it is replaced with the confidence of knowing that I am a parent, I am equipped to attend to his needs (and I can pretend that I know what I'm doing in the middle of the night when I'm really at a loss).  In those early morning hours on July 13th, I was blessed with the most amazing gift, a baby boy.  As this year unfolded, we've had our difficult moments.  The teething, the highs and lows of Julia's adjustment, unexplained sickness, and another realization that there is never enough time in the day...
Despite our adjustment, Charlie has been along from the ride from the beginning.  I laugh that our lives became easier when he arrived.  It is beyond true.  There is a contentment that seeps from his body.  To hold him in your arms is an experience in this peace.  Though he is quite proud of his recent accomplishments (which typically involve moving pretty quickly), he remains happy in the arms of someone he loves.  He makes his presence known, but it's not with bells and whistles.  It is a quiet presence with an insatiable giggle and and a sense of humor that shows that he knows what's going on around him.  His favorite things are usually his sister's toys, but he makes them his own.  He plays so differently than Julia ever did.  He is into things that she never bothered with.  He has already accomplished the stairs (under my trusty guidance...I only looked away for a minute and he was giggling at the top).  And he is teetering on his feet - ready to walk at any moment.  
This time last year, Julia was walking into the hospital room tentatively climbing on the bed to catch a glimpse of her new brother.  At this very moment he is clinging to her back, ready to climb all over her.   It is exciting to watch this unfold and anticipate our year ahead.  I'm sure it will involve many falls, scrapes, and headfirst dives into a make-shift adventure.  My delicate newborn is now becoming quite the daring child and as we hold our breath, we love every bit of it!
Happy Birthday little one!
 What a year, Charlie.  
What a year!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer has arrived

Though I no longer pack up my books for the summer and it's been years since I crossed off the days until I could announce, "School's out!", I still have a school-kid longing for summer to begin.  The problem with the fact that I am currently void of any end of the day school bells or even a job that takes an ounce of a break when summer begins, I have no bearing for when my summer begins.  Maybe it's Memorial Day weekend, but there is still a chill in the air and work still beckons after the short 3-day weekend.  I like to think that it's the first hot day that we pull out the water toys and soak in the sun, but we had some teasers back in March with the spring "heatwave", so it all seems to blend together.
This past week Charles and I celebrated our 5-year anniversary.  The day before our anniversary we had taken a ride together as a family and as we pulled into our driveway, a little blue hydrangea peeked out behind the green leaves.  Just like that, it appeared, in perfect time for our anniversary (hydrangeas were a central part of our wedding day decor).  With the loving help from my parents, Charles and I took a much weekend away together.  We headed out to the Berkshires, parked our lawnchairs on the Tanglewood green and enjoyed an uninterrupted evening of live music, further enhanced by our favorite glass of wine.  I don't know the exact moment,  maybe it was the appearance of the hydrangea on our kitchen table on June 30th along with our anniversary card.  Maybe it was the ability to relax and reflect in one of the most beautiful places in Massachusetts on a beautiful night.  But summer is here, it arrived on our doorstep last weekend.  The lightning bugs are suddenly brighter, the nights are stickier, clothing on the children is optional on most days and ice cream is a daily demand.  I love the silent passage of each season.  This time in our lives is so busy and full of activity as we celebrate Julia's birthday, Charles' birthday, Father's day and our anniversary within a two week span.  The introduction of summer is the realization that we are here again, another year has passed.  One year has drastically changed our family - growth would be the word of the year for us this year.  When we thought about the 5 summers that have made up our marriage, we were amazed at the defining transitions from year to year.  Constant travel was traded for days at home playing in our own backyard.  As I look back at our photos from our wedding day, I see pure happiness on our faces, but as I watch the photos evolve, I can see a joy that we could have never prepared for on June 30th, 2007.  Summer has arrived, we will acknowledge a transition into these blissful, buggy nights outside.  It just gets better and better - these truly are the days we will always remember!