“Two” Birthday Party

Last night we celebrated the two year old in our family.

I wrote here about my feelings heading into this birthday celebration and feel grateful that the little details turned out well enough that I feel happy about them.  As for the birthday girl, she celebrated life with gusto all day long, buzzing around and playing and never holding still.  Her only quiet moments were the two accidental naps she had in the car to and from a soccer tournament.  Perhaps the sweetest moment of the day for me was holding her asleep on my lap for part of the first soccer game.  Sitting in the shade with a gentle breeze blowing, children playing all around me, watching a soccer game and a little one asleep on my shoulder was wonderful.  I’m getting better at noticing these pauses in busy days and reminding myself that this is happiness, this is life.

At last the games were over and we headed home for the celebration.  I chose a pink and aqua theme for the night.  All of it was inspired by this vintage basket I discovered in a shop recently.

I found a wooden number two which I painted with mod podge then dipped in glitter.

I wanted to fill the basket with something festive without spending money.  I made some lollipop inspired sugar cookies which turned out just as I hoped.  We wrapped them and tied them with pink and aqua ribbons.

I also added strawberry poky treats and Neapolitan Oreos for fun.

I made strawberry shaped popsicles (which was all she wanted to eat).

The cake is a white cake with vanilla bean frosting.  I’ll share more on it soon but let’s just say it was fabulous.  I’m so happy that both of this month’s birthday cakes have turned out beautifully.

I found this darling little “2” candle and surrounded it with raspberry filled marshmallows.

As usual, I love the patterns and colors available in paper goods although most of us chose to eat off my vintage glass dessert dishes.

We lowered my folding table to toddler height and my all-time favorite vintage tablecloth was the perfect thing to tie it all together.

My brother and his fiancee were here to celebrate with us and we loved having them over.  My little one wouldn’t hold still for a single picture but was thrilled with her treats and gifts.  Of course, having four older sisters to play with you doesn’t hurt either.  She was the star of the day and she knew it and we all loved watching her.  She was shy but pleased as we sang “Happy Birthday” and had her blow out the candle.

Soon the mosquitoes were out and the darkness fell around us.  I love cleaning up after a party at that time.  It’s such a calm but happy way to end the day.

She was a true two year old and had to go to bed with all her toys in her crib.  One of her grandmas gave her some pink cowboy boots which brought on a tantrum when we tried to take them off for sleep.

It was a delightful birthday party for a little girl who brings laughter to our home in large doses.  I love her so much.

And now I’m off to wash all the dishes. {Happy sigh.}


The Night Before a Birthday

I do this every time.

It never fails that I’m up late the night before one of my children turn a year older.  The bustle of living crowds out my “this time I’ll start early” preparation plans and rather than ditch them, I stay up late.  Even so, I end up whittling down my list and compromising in many directions.  I like pushing myself a little, trying things I wouldn’t otherwise try, doing something special for my birthday boy or girl to let them know they’re important to me.  After all, they’ll only be this age once.  Next year they’ll be older and there will be a million new ideas.

And then I go to bed.  Tired as I am, it always happens.  I lay in bed and think about the night before they were born.   I was induced with seven of my eight children (I am one of the few women living who has had 8 children and who could still probably be pregnant for a year if someone didn’t help) so most of the time it was scheduled and I knew what was coming.

I was up late on those nights, too.  Trying to do a little more laundry, a little more cleaning, another trip to the grocery store.  Laying there thinking about all the sweet little people I was leaving at home in order to bring home another, wondering how they would do without me for a couple of days.  Hoping they’d be good to whoever would be watching them.  Thinking of my baby-on-the-verge-of-not-being-the-baby-anymore and feeling so many bittersweet feelings.  Wondering how things would go the next morning, excitement about meeting this new little person I already loved.  Noting that the aches and pains of pregnancy seemed just a bit better when I knew I only had a few more hours to endure.  So many feelings come flooding back.  Every time.

Tonight is no different, except that perhaps there’s more bittersweet than usual.  Tomorrow my little one will be two years old.  I just finished a last minute baking project which, I will freely admit, will mean more to me than to her.  There’s a new dimension to her birthday,  one I’ve not dealt with before.  It’s that feeling of “I’ll probably never get to do this again.”  I know I’ll celebrate dozens of birthdays, but probably not for a two year old.  The realization has a two-fold effect on me.  First, a sadness I have no words for, a sadness that comes without warning and leaves me feeling quiet and reflective.  Second, a desire to celebrate in a way that leaves me without regret.  I want to look back and feel like I marked the occasion in a way that satisfied not only my child’s need, but mine as well.   Suddenly I feel these emotional tugs of my own heart at crossroads.  My  life is no longer full of  “next times” because I’m staring at “last.”  These are new feelings for me, feelings I’m not entirely comfortable with but they’re real just the same.

I’ve never had a two year old “baby” before.  There’s always been a younger one too.

It is with a full heart that I find myself remembering the night before I met this little bundle of joy:

In the midst of all the bittersweet, I remind myself how incredibly blessed I am to have experienced such joy eight times .  As my heart turns to my Heavenly Father for comfort I must also praise Him for His goodness to me, for the privilege of feeling what I feel and knowing what I know.

I think of my not-so-little baby asleep in her bed.  I love her so much.  I’m so happy she’s growing.  Tomorrow will be a great day.  My baby’s turning two.


Spring Flowers Undone

Having been caught with the peanut butter again, it was put away and my little one went for the flowers instead.

She was quite happy to pause her experiment to show me what she’d accomplished.

We salvaged the flowers she hadn’t yet dismantled and let her play with what was left.

How can I be upset with her when she’s obviously having such a grand time?

Still, I’ve got to find a way to get her interested in items that are NOT on top of tables and counters.

Here’s my question for all of you who are either done having babies or who have breaks larger than 2 years:  At what point do things settle down enough that you start feeling productive again?  I thought it would be sometime soon, but I’m starting to wonder.   Keeping up with this little explorer of mine is a full time job in itself!

Thank goodness she’s cute.


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