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22 Months

22 Months

Only 2 more months until my little princess is 2 and life is SOOO good!  I love waking up to her smile every morning and seeing the world through her fresh pair of eyes.  Her smile lights up the room and she brings joy to the lives of everyone she meets.  Harper always has a song in her heart and isn’t shy to belt it out.  You can find her serenading her “babies” to sleep, practicing her abc’s while we are out and about or simply singing a tune to herself as she stacks her blocks.  She is living life to the fullest, without inhibitions.  And as much as I want to hold her close, this mama bird is proud to watch her little birdie soar.

Harper’s Firsts:

First Thanksgiving in Texas:  Once a year my family gets together for a holiday.  In the past we have always done Thanksgiving, but last year we choose Christmas.  This year we were back to our regular routine and were happy to spend Turkey Day in Texas.  My sister recently moved to a beautiful 37 acre farm and Harper loved nothing more than to explore every inch.  She enjoyed spending time with her cousins and going on daily walks around the property.  Can’t wait to make another trip back there soon.

Texas

First Camel Ride

As I mentioned before, this year we visited a Christmas tree farm where we got to cut down our own tree.  Not only did we ride a train to get there but once we arrived, there were many more options for transportation.  Camel ride anyone?

camel

I was worried that Harper was going to be scared, but she thought it was so cool!  Now every time we see a camel in a book or television show, she says, “Camel, ride it”.  Guess I need to look into finding our own camel to ride…Santa?

First Pony Ride

Why stop at a camel ride?  The Christmas tree farm also offered pony rides.  But this time Harper had to ride it on her own.  Again, she did awesome and made sure to request “the black one”.  My sister (the horse trainer) would be so proud :)

Horse

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy:  So I guess this is not technically a toy, but Harper has recently decided that she loves blankets.  I always had a blanket companion growing up.  His name was “budda” and he was around until I was 17 (when I left him on a plane :(…).  But Harper never seemed to take to the many blankets she had before until one day she picked out a pink and purple blanket from her closet and now has made them part of the family.  And in case you were wondering, she named them “pink” and “purple”.

Favorite Song:  E-I-E-I-O (otherwise known as Old MacDonald) is one of my most requested songs in music class.  And now it is the song Harper requests most throughout her day.   She loves to choose which animals are going to be on the farm and even has a special dance that goes along with it (wish I had a video of it…it’s SOOO cute!).     

Favorite Book:  My mom loves to travel.  She also loves to send Harper “souvies” from each of her trips.  On her most recent trip to Argentina, she sent Harper a book about colors that was written in Spanish.  So now, not only does Harper like to practice her colors in English, but she is learning them in Spanish too.  Gracias Abuela!

Harper Goes:

For a 22 month old, Harper Marie is one busy girl (I guess I am the one to blame for that…).  Don’t get me wrong, there are days when we do our best to stay in our PJs all day and lounge.  But on other days we love to go out and get involved in fun activities.  Here are some of the places Harper has been going lately…

On Play Dates…

Playdates

Harper loves all of her friends and enjoys getting together with them as much as she can.  After spending time apart, Harper is excited to have her friend Robin back from the UK.  On our most recent play date together, the little ones got busy on some beautiful Christmas decorations to help spread the holiday cheer.

To the Park…

Park

We are extremely lucky to have so many wonderful parks in our area.  There is nothing like setting a toddler loose in the park to run and jump and play.  Let’s see…does Harper look like she is having a good time?

To See Santa…

Santa

What would the holidays be without a visit to see Santa?  I can’t say it was Harper’s favorite outing, but at least she didn’t cry (then again, I didn’t push the issue of having her sit on the man’s lap alone…then we might have had a problem).

With only a few more days left until Christmas, it’s hard to believe Harper will be celebrating her second holiday season already.  Time really does fly when you are having fun.  My little girl is growing up fast and she isn’t looking back.

Happy 22 Month Birthday Precious Pie!  Mommy and Daddy love you :)

PS:  Thanks Hillary for the awesome pic!

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Harper’s Rainbow Star Party: Part 3

After lunch, Harper decided to take a little snooze on her daddy’s shoulder.  All of the excitement from the party proved to be a bit overwhelming.

But her little snooze turned into a proper nap and soon we had to wake her so we could cut the cake.  She was a little groggy but seemed to enjoy everyone singing to her.

The cake was a little idea I experimented with that turned out better than I expected.  This was my first attempt at a cake like this and I am glad I was able to materialize the image in my head.

I had planned on making the batter from scratch but at the last-minute turned to my buddy Dunkin Hines for some support.  In order to make the cake I prepared 3 boxes of cake mix according to the directions.  I separated the cake mix into 6 bowls and dyed the batter in each bowl using gel food coloring.  Once I had the colors I was looking for I poured two colors into each pan layering them according to their rainbow order (red & orange, yellow & green, blue & purple).  After the cakes were cooled I iced them with Pillsbury Funfetti Frosting.  Instead of putting the sprinkles inside the icing (which is the point of the funfetti icing), I used the sprinkles on the outside of the cake to jazz it up a bit.  I thought this brought a fun and festive element to the cake (as if 3 layers of rainbow star cake weren’t fun and festive enough…).  We served the cake with a side of Icing on the Cake Ice-Cream from Baskin Robbins.

Since we were expecting so many guests, I started to worry that the rainbow star cake wouldn’t be enough.  So I decided to make a few batches of cupcakes as well with an idea inspired by a picture I found on Pinterest.

To make the cupcakes I used the same batter and icing as the cake.  I layered a small dab of each color on top of each other, going in rainbow order.  The rainbow cupcake liners were from Etsy and I made the cupcake toppers myself by gluing a toothpick between two stars that I cut out of cardstock.

As yummy and colorful as the rainbow star cake and cupcakes were, I decided to make Harper her own mini-birthday cake.  I decorated it with some of her favorite fruit and plain white frosting.

I was hoping she would go for the gusto and paint the town with icing, but she was very dainty about the whole thing.  So lady  like :)  But she sure thought it was delicious!

After filing up on cake and ice cream it was time to say goodbye to all our guests.  And what a better way to send them off then with a few little parting gifts.  For our “little guests”  we put together a collection of some of Harper’s favorite things.  In rainbow colors of course.

We found the boxes at Party City and filled them with color coordinated star glasses, bubbles, a recorder and a book.  Each item proved to be a big hit!

For the adults, I decided to make homemade rainbow star cookie pops!  Again, I had every intention to make them from scratch but considering everything else I had on my plate I enlisted some help from Betty Crocker.

I found this great pan which made baking these pops easy as…well, cookies!  Once they were cooled, I used this icing to make simple designs and then topped them off with some rainbow sprinkles.  I wrapped them in a treat bag and tied them with a rainbow ribbon.  A fun way to say thank you for celebrating this special day with us.

I still can’t believe my baby girl is one.  We had such a blast at her party and are extremely grateful for all our friends and family who joined us on Harper’s special day.  The rainbow star party was a huge success.  Here’s to a wonderful year filled with love, laughter and joy!

All images were taken by my good friend and talented photographer Rachel Bradshaw of Little Sparrows Photography.

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Harper’s Rainbow Star Party: Part 2

After the table decorations were all set and ready to go, it was time to start putting on the finishing touches.  One of my favorite decorations was the rainbow photo banner.  I was so excited when I found it on Etsy because not only was it a great idea, it matched perfectly with our theme.

The banner was meant to hang, but with the way the wind was blowing that day it kept falling down.  So we decided to display it on the dessert table instead and it ended up working out great.  A photo banner was a fun way to document Harper’s first year and watch her grow from month to month.

One of the things I learned from attending some of Harper’s friend’s 1st birthday parties, is that having an area where the babies can play  and hang is a great way to entertain the little ones.  So we brought some of Harper’s favorite toys to the park to share with her pals.  “Baby central” was a huge hit!

And of course, no party is complete without good food and drinks.  Guests enjoyed an assortment of LaCroix Sparkling Water which comes in an a variety of delicious and refreshing flavors.  I love how colorful the cans are :)

We also had a variety of Gatorade as well.  Otherwise known as rainbow in a bottle :).

For small snacks to munch on, I created a rainbow vegetable platter with homemade spinach dip (recipe to come).  I used an assortment of bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots and cucumbers to fashion a colorful display.

I also constructed a rainbow out of different types of fruit inspired by a picture originally found on Pinterest.  I chose to use sliced strawberries, peeled mandarin oranges, chopped pineapple, green grapes, crisp blueberries and juicy blackberries.  We were able to find most of the fruit at our local farmers market the day before so it was super fresh.

For a late lunch we served marinated grilled chicken, tri-tip and an assortment of grilled rainbow vegetables.  We also had a rainbow pasta salad made with this colorful Farfalline found at World Market tossed with red tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, broccoli, red onion and cheddar cheese.  All of the delicious food was prepared by our dear friends Kat and Christina.  Thanks ladies :)  You rocked it!

And what about the birthday girl?  She was having a good ol’ time :)  Looking cute as can be in her rainbow dress and pink leggings.

I think that is about it for Part 2.  Stay tuned for Part 3 coming up later this week where I will share about the cake, party favors and more!

All images were taken by my good friend and talented photographer Rachel Bradshaw of Little Sparrows Photography.

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Words of Wisdom

Today was a lovely little Saturday.

It began at around 9 am when I awoke to a snuggly baby who was enjoying sleeping in late with me.  I wish I could have stayed there all day but I had to get up and get ready for my 10am photography class.

Freddie had signed me up for this class as part of my Christmas gift.  I had a great time learning how to use all the bells and whistles on my camera.  I was grateful that the class was held outside because then I could enjoy the amazing weather (70 degrees in February ain’t too bad!).

I got out of class a little early and was able to make it home before Harper left for her swim lesson.  I was happy I didn’t miss it as it is a fun family activity that I look forward to weekly.

When we got home, I ran to the market to pick up a few ingredients to make dinner.  While I was gone, Harper stayed home with her daddy and enjoyed a play date with our friends and neighbors.

At around 5pm, our friends came over for dinner.  Freddie and I love having company over.  It’s always fun to hang out, eat some good food and share stories.

Soon after they left, it was time for Harper to go to bed.  Once she was off in dream land, Freddie and I worked on planning Harper’s party.  We are so excited to celebrate her 1st birthday in a few weeks :)  By the time we finished, it was pretty late, and I was pretty tired.  But of course I still have so much that has to be done!  And then some words of wisdom popped into my head.

My dad loves to share lessons with me that were passed down from his dad.  He has a ton of them and he always offers them at just the right moment.  I can remember one time, while I was in the midst feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the things I had on my plate, he said, “You can do anything you want, you can’t do everything you want”.  So as much as the perfectionist in me doesn’t want to admit that this statement is true, I will surrender and accept that there is always tomorrow.  And as much as mommy hood has taught me the art of multitasking, I have yet to master sleeping while doing my chores.

So as I retire to my comfy bed with my loved ones who are already catching their Zs, I am grateful for a day of family, fun and friends.  And grateful for gentle words of wisdom.

Sweet dreams :)

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