A Tea Party Birthday

Sis loves tea parties. So much that she requested one for her third birthday.


So, I invited a few friends, ordered some tea party accessories, procrastinated on making the food, and everything went wonderfully.

As part of the invitation, I suggested that our friends could come dressed in their finest for the party. I also ordered a few items so everyone could have some fancy additions to their outfits before we were seated for tea.

Pearl necklaces, tea-themed bracelets and purses, white gloves, and some hats they could decorate themselves created the perfect ensemble for each girl.




For the table, I didn’t want to bring out the breakable tea sets I have (one was my mom’s when she was little, and one was my husband’s grandmother’s), so I found these cute little plastic coffee cups and drew a flower on each with some sharpies.


I did use both of the tiny and fragile teapots (you can see one of them behind the cups above), because the grown-up teapot I was going to use (an antique) turned out to be not-so-nice-looking inside. I had to make extra tea in my measuring cups and keep refilling the little pots, but it worked out okay (note to self for next time, get a useable, reasonably-sized teapot!).

I found pretty flowered paper plates and napkins at Party City along with a plastic-meant-to-look-crystal sugar and creamer set. I even found sugar cubes at the grocery store, which seemed so much more fun (and less messy) than granulated sugar. I spread out a white table cloth (that really ought to have been ironed), put some fake flowers in a few cheap vases, and the table was set.


I really procrastinated getting the everything ready, so after cutting fruit and taping hats together until midnight the night before the party, I quickly baked the cupcakes the morning of, and was still making flower-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when the guests arrived. Super Friend and Super Husband put together the last few hats, and then she frosted the cupcakes while I ran out of peanut butter and had to improvise with sun butter on the last few sandwiches, which were all really too small after I cut them into flower shapes.

No one starved though, and I found these adorable teacup molds for the cupcakes:





Overall, I think it was a successful party. The kids seemed to have a lot of fun. I even have photo evidence of some of our friends tea-partying at home afterwards, so I hope they enjoyed it.

This was definitely my favorite of the birthday party themes I’ve done so far. Tea parties are just magical for little girls. I will definitely do this again. Hopefully with less procrastination next time.

Embrace the Ordinary – Three

Today we celebrate a birthday. What a perfect reminder of God’s miracle of life.


“…there is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.” St. Josemaria Escriva, Passionately Loving the World

At this time three years ago, I was on my way to the hospital to be induced, so that our sweet little Sis could be brought into the world (the story of her birth here).


I’m reflecting on the beautiful joy of that day. It’s making me kind of weepy, because that was the last time I held my own newborn.


And look at her now!


She is such an amazing, sweet, and funny little girl. She’s getting so big and so independent. It breaks my heart, and it makes me incredibly proud and happy.


Today I will be embracing the extraordinariness of this precious little girl. I’m sure I will look at baby pictures. I’ll probably cry a little bit. But most of all, I will celebrate all that she is and all that she has brought to our family.


Happy birthday, sweet girl.

Next week will be my last time hosting Embrace the Ordinary. Then, EASTER! and the link up will be found back at Gina’s blog.

What have you embraced this week?

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A Day Late for Two

Somebody turned two yesterday.

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We had a big day. A play date. Daddy home early for cake. Big sisters were excited for the birthday girl to open her presents.

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She picked “Ariel III” (“Ariel’s Beginning”) for her birthday movie and we had a pizza picnic.


I can’t believe how big she is.


I’m falling asleep siting up tonight, but my Mom was heckling me a little bit to post some birthday pics (okay, maybe she just mentioned it). So, here they are. It was a great day.


Really Quick Takes – Seven of Them

Linking up with Conversion Diary again. This is going to be extra short(ish), because I really need to be packing…

1. I just learned about the blog A Knotted Life yesterday. I love finding new blogs to read, and this one is very good. In addition to being a good read, Bonnie, who writes the blog, sponsors the Sheenazing Awards for (mostly Catholic) bloggers in several categories. Her post has a long list of new blogs to check out and I have been sucked into some sort of internet vortex looking through them.

2. I voted for some of my favorite blogs in several categories, including Conversion Diary, Camp Patton, Amongst Lovely Things, and Shower of Roses. But I also found (or re-found) several other blogs to read, like Clan Donaldson, Moxie Wife, Mama Knows, Honeychild, Like Mother, Like Daughter, and Catholic All Year. I know I will be checking out many more (I pinned the list so I can refer to it whenever I have a few minutes to look at a new one).

3. One of my favorite things about homeschooling is how close my kids are with each other. They miss each other when apart, since they are used to being together so much.

DSC_0578Our Golden Age (during which both of the older girls were able to be in the same gymnastics and swimming classes) is over. Miss has now moved up to the 5-year-old gymnastics class. I was able to find one time slot where both the 3-4-year-old and 5-year-old classes are held at the same time, so I don’t have to spend more time at the gymnastics center than what is absolutely necessary.

Since their classes are often going on very near each other, Miss constantly points out Lass to her teacher and classmates, “Look! That’s my sister over there!” This week when they were close to each other, Miss even ran over and gave her sister a quick hug. At the end of their classes they always hug each other and exclaim, “I missed you!” Then Baby Sis hugs both of them and says, “I luh loo!” I could just die from the cuteness.


4. Baby Sis is a climber. I know this. But I can still be surprised by some of the things she does. The other day she was in the kitchen with me. I walked away for a minute and then heard, “Mama! Down!” I rushed back into the kitchen to find her standing in the drawer next to our Learning Tower.


Heart attack. She’s not even two, and she’s trying to give me a heart attack.

5. Goldie Blox. My girls each got a set for Christmas. We love them.

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I have to admit that I can’t stand Legos. But these are fun.

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6. I made muffins this morning. It never fails that when I make muffins I always think I have too much batter to fill the muffin cups only “two-thirds full.” Every time, I fill the first row about the right amount. Then I get to the middle and start filling them too full because I just know I won’t be able to fit all the batter into 12 cups. Then I get to the last two cups, and I end up having to dip from the too-full ones to have enough.



They always come out well in the end, but I found myself wondering, after doing this again this morning, why don’t I ever remember that this always happens and just trust the amount? Maybe it’s because I only bake every six months or so.

7. Speaking of bone-headed moves on my part, a few weeks ago, I bought a new external flash for my camera. I was so excited to use it, I got it out of the box right away and hooked it up to my camera. It didn’t come with any instructions, but getting it hooked up was pretty straightforward. Except that I couldn’t get it to turn on. I looked for a charger and a plug and didn’t find one. I looked for something in the box to tell me how to get it going and there really wasn’t anything. Just a paper that said, “Press the On/Off switch…” Well I did that, repeatedly, and it didn’t work.

Finally, I got frustrated, deemed the thing defective, and put it back in the store bag with the receipt so I could return it at the first opportunity. I then had company one day and put the bag into a random cupboard to get it out of sight (you do this too, right?), which naturally led to it being out of mind. I forgot about it until yesterday and pulled it out, thinking I’d try to take it back today. I decided I would pull it out and try it one more time, just in case I missed something the last time.

As I was getting it out I happened to glance at that one piece of paper again. In addition to the brief comments about how to turn it on, it included a diagram with all of the parts labeled. One part, which I totally missed last time I tried it but was clearly labeled on the diagram was the “Battery compartment door.” *Sigh* Maybe I should start going to bed a little earlier.

For more quick takes, go here.

Happy weekend!

The Interpreter

One of my favorite things about the stage that Sis is in currently is that I get to be her interpreter.

Her language is really taking off, but much of the time, no one can understand her but me.


Of course, she has lots of words that are obvious to all, like “Wa-wa,” “Nigh-Night,” and “Otay!” But there are many of her words and phrases that are not so easy to recognize.

I love that I know what she means when others don’t. That I know that “Dow!” (down) means “Up.” And that sometimes it means “down.”

I am happy that I’ve figured out that “Me!” means “Again!” and “Too” means “Me too!”

I’m glad I have deciphered that “I nit” means “I want that” and “I no” means “I don’t know.” That “Ah weesh” means “I wash” and “I brush” and “A fish.”


The mind of a 19 month old is so busy and so fascinating. She imitates everything, especially what her sisters do.

Here’s an example:

A few days ago she was in the school room with me. She pulled out one of the carpet squares her sisters use for circle time in school. She put it on the rug in front of the white board and calendar, sat on it cross-legged, pointed to the calendar, and said “Twooo, weeee, twooo, weeee” (two, three, two, three). That’s how she counts, and she was doing it like her sisters do when we count the days to determine the date. Then she got up and went to the window to look out, just like her sisters do when we are checking to see the weather for the day. She points to all letters and says, “P.”


She also has wonderful manners, even if I’m the only one who can understand them most of the time.

Da-doo” = “Thank you”

Shoo-shoo” = “Excuse me” and “Bless you”

Pee!” = “Please”

I wowy” = “I’m sorry”

Ow you?” = “How are you?” and when I answer, “I’m well, thanks. How are you?” she says, “Ghee!” (good)


She calls Lass by her name (which is not Lass, BTW) and she calls Miss “Di-duh” (sister).

This past weekend when lots of family was here at the Farm, I had to quickly learn to differentiate “Di-duh” and “Duh-doh” for “Sister” and the name of one of her cousins, respectively.

Nee” is “banana.” “Ee-ma-mo” is “animal.” And also “horse.”

Way hoppy?” is “What happened?”

Bay” is “blankie,” though it used to be “Bee-bee” which still is “Baby.” Sometimes I have a hard time remembering that she now calls her blankie “Bay” and think she is saying “Pay” which means “play.”

Just today she said a new word – “kets” which is “catch.” That one was pretty easy to figure out since she said it as she was trying to throw a ball at me. She said “Kets! Twooo, weeee…” and then threw it six inches in front of herself.

She loves to play with utensils, and sometimes it can be a bit hard to distinguish “Pooo!” which means “spoon,”  from “Poooo!” which means “change my diaper!”


I consider it one of the great privileges of motherhood that I get to be the interpreter for my kids as they learn language. I love being able to translate for others who, knowing this ability of The Mom, intuitively look at me to tell them what my child said. I like understanding my girls. I like helping others to understand them.

It’s like my girls and I, for a while at least, have this special little bond wherein we speak a secret language, and I get to understand them better than anyone else.

I love being a mom.


The Gate

We have a nice gate that blocks our family room and play room off from the rest of the house. Those two rooms are relatively toddler-proof, so I can leave the girls in there for short periods when I need to get things done. Like cleaning, cooking, going to the bathroom by myself, etc. I can hear the girls and see them pretty well, so keeping an eye on them is no problem.

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I’m quite dependent on my baby gate. I need my baby gate.

Several months ago I broke the gate when I hit the locking mechanism in just the wrong way with a heavy laundry basket. It was still functional, just not quite as secure when latched. Miss could open it, which is good, but the other two couldn’t.



Someone figured out that if she pushed on the gate in just the right way, a whole new world would open up to her.

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The first few times she did it, she’d stop after the gate popped open, look at me, and start clapping and yelling, “Yay!” Needless to say, I did not respond in kind. So she stopped doing that. But she didn’t stop opening the gate.

It got to the point that I couldn’t get her to stay behind the gate at all, for any period of time, ever. I’d take her in the play room and get her playing, but as soon as I went through the gate to try to get something done, she’d run up, stand at the gate, and start yelling at me. I think she was giving me a chance to open the gate for her, while I was hoping that just maybe she had forgotten how. As in, maybe this time she won’t be able to. But she always did.

So I had to come up with a solution.


Hair knobbers. They worked for a day or two, but weren’t really a good long-term fix. I had to order a new gate. Naturally I went to Amazon for fast service. I was able to order just the middle piece of the same gate and get it in two days. It fit nicely with our extensions, and we are back in business. At least I am.



Some Thrilling Stuff Here – 7 Quick Takes Friday

I’m late to the party tonight, but linking up with Conversion Diary.

Seven Quick Takes:

1. Lass is fascinated by dead trees. She excitedly points out any dead or dying tree she sees, wherever we go, ever since the girls saw a huge dead cottonwood that had fallen over at the farm in the summer.


This is so consistent with her quirky little personality.


Lately, around here she’s been in heaven.

Driving down the road:

“Look! A dead tree!”

Ten seconds later:

“Anudda dead tree!”

No matter how many times I tell her the leaves have fallen off because it’s fall and the trees are dormant, not dead, she still gets all fired up every time she sees a tree without leaves. It might be an interesting winter.

2. I still have no idea what my kids are going to be for Halloween. Miss said she wanted to be Cinderella when I showed her some options from a Zulily sale one day (someone please save me from Zulily!). Then she decided that Rapunzel is “actually” her favorite princess, so she wants to be Rapunzel. And then other times she says she’s going to be St. Therese of Lisieux. I ordered her the Cinderella dress when that was what she wanted to be, so I think that’s what she’ll be going with. She at least knows I won’t be buying her another costume…

Lass has alternately said she wants to be an emu, a flying fish, a flying-fish unicorn, and now Pocahontas.

And I haven’t even put any thought toward Baby Sis yet. I’ll probably just put her in one of the dress-up outfits we already have, maybe Snow White or Tinker Bell or a chef or doctor. Batman maybe? Would that be wrong?

3. Speaking of Baby Sis, she is all kinds of funny and cute right about now. I have found myself enjoying this 18-ish months stage with her so much. More so probably that I did with my first two. She is just so stinking cute! And funny!

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Super Friend pointed out that she had the same experience with her third child at this phase. Both of us agree that our third children probably aren’t actually any cuter or funnier than their older sibs were at the same age. But she reminded me that when our older two (four?) were at this stage, we were in the throes of new-baby shock. Oh yeah.

Of course Miss and Lass were just as adorable and hilarious. I just couldn’t appreciate it quite as much when in the midst of newborn-induced sleep deprivation and constant feeding. Either that or I appreciated it just as much but don’t remember it. Whichever, I’m loving 18 months right now.


4. I am also in a glorious golden phase with my older two. It’s a small window in time, but one that I am savoring wholeheartedly. The Both-Girls-in-the-Same-Class phase.

IMG_2748IMG_2746Insert contented *sigh* here.

Not just for swimming, but also gymnastics, both Miss and Lass are in the same class. It’s a beautiful thing, which I know will only last until January when Miss will need to move to the next level of gymnastics. I’ll miss these days.

5. I was slightly disturbed this morning to find that I was jealous of my 18-month-old’s bed-head hairdo.

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Is it just me or does that look like some super cute short cut that I could never in a million years get my hair to do? I should probably get a hair cut.

6. I have had about five RCIA classes so far. I love it. Just wanted to give an update on the Catholic Conversion front.

7. I don’t really have anything for this one. Some thoughts that popped into my head were, “My husband is working this weekend,” “I might take the kids to church by myself on Sunday,” and “I want ice cream.” Blah, blah, blah. Oh! Here’s something! I had acupuncture today. It was kind of cool. Didn’t hurt (much). I’ll let you know if it works.


Have a great weekend.

A Birthday

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My littlest sweet girl turned one today. My tiny, my youngest, my baby.

We had a big day, starting with a special pancake breakfast.


We played and played and climbed and played and sang “Happy Birthday” about 49 times.

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Presents were a bit tricky as we had to re-pack them each several times with reminders to the big sisters to let Sis pull out the paper herself. Miss and Lass were just so excited to see it all.

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We had pizza for dinner.


And then the main event.

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My favorite part.

She initially just smooshed the cupcake in her hands, not sure what to do with it.


So I helped her out.


It didn’t take much.

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Her sisters got just as messy as she did. Miss was even more of a mess since she decided to experiment with using the chocolate fudge frosting from her cupcake as hand lotion after she finished eating what she wanted.

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We had one tired girl at the end of the day.


Happy Birthday to our Baby Sis.

Milestones for Sis

This little snuggly peanut just got her first tooth yesterday.

Okay actually, I can’t be sure that it first popped through the skin yesterday, but that’s when we noticed it. Er, my husband noticed it.

I have been checking from time to time, thinking that she would be getting a tooth soon. So I know it hasn’t been too long since that little chomper broke the skin. I’m just not 100% sure it was yesterday.

But yesterday is the day that will go down in her baby book as the day her first tooth came in. Is it awful that I don’t know for sure? That I haven’t been checking every day like I did with the other two (or at least with Miss)?

Thing is, she’s just such a happy baby she hasn’t even been fussy. She’s been chewing pretty hard on her toys for a while. And she’s been pretty drooly. So I thought she might be getting kind of close to a tooth, but she never acted like her mouth bothered her. She’s such a mellow girl, I just didn’t know. Now I do.

In addition to her new tooth, she’s been trying out some new food.

So far, she’s not really a fan. She has had avocado (that’s what she’s eating in the pictures), applesauce, and mashed banana. She hated the applesauce (sour puss face and huge full-body shudders and all) and flatly rejects the banana. She ate the avocado pretty well.

Not that you can tell from these photos…

We’ll be trying sweet potatoes and some squash soon. Maybe she’ll like those more.


What I Loved This Weekend

I’ve been loving lots of things this weekend.

– Family time watching, and explaining, the Olympics.

It was nice, even though Miss repeatedly asked to watch something else.  “I don’t really like this sports,” she’d say, making a bid for “Super Why!” or “Sesame Street.”  She did get into watching fencing a bit though.

– Pool time yesterday morning.  I’m so bummed that almost all of my photos were extremely over-exposed.  Most of them were even worse than this:

I guess my favorite lens isn’t so great for sunny day at the pool photos.

We did have a great time.

Pool time is always capped off with an ice cream picnic on a towel.

– Somebody is four months old.

She’s been working hard on rolling over.  She managed to go from her belly to her back a few days ago.

Today she mastered getting from her back to her belly.  We were in the midst of lunch preparation craziness when Lass looked over to where Sis was lying on the floor and said, “Sissy-Girl woll ovuh!”  Yes, that’s right.  The first time she accomplished this milestone we missed it.  I turned to look at her and there she was on her tummy, head up and looking at all of us expectantly.  Of course once Lass pointed it out, we all cheered and whooped it up appropriately.  I don’t think she minded the slight delay.

I don’t know how in the world four months have gone by already.  Here’s to a beautiful weekend.  Hope you had one too.