Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Today, my baby is one. It's so hard to believe that twelve months ago, we didn't know this amazing little guy yet, that he wasn't yet part of our family, that we didn't yet have to ask for a bigger table at the sports bar on the corner. He's added so much to the Small World, I can't imagine that we didn't always know he was meant to be here.

Birthday letters (okay, 2011 letters, since O's is so overdue) coming up here soon for all three small Smalls, I promise.

For a third child, L. has been pretty lucky in the photo taking department. I've made a pretty concerted effort to keep my camera around and capture most of his major first year events. There are not quite as many of him without his brother and sister in the frame, but that's okay. That's what life is like for him.

Something I've particularly tried to do this past year is to take a picture on or around the 20th of the month, so that I have a photo record of him as he turned each month old. I wasn't quite with it enough to do something so cute as to take his picture next to a big stuffed animal for scale, say. And these photos are not probably the ones that I would choose as completely representative of that month in his life. But, I like them anyway. So here we are, a year in the life -- the first year in the life -- of Mr. L.

Birth Day! Looking at Daddy for the first time.

October. Scared.

November. Sweet boy.

December. Something to say, but not quite ready to say it.

January. Charmer.

February. Flirt.

March. Crawling.

April. Where's your clothes?

May. Beautiful.

June. Suddenly a little man.

July. Clown.

August. Seriously, the cutest.

Happy Birthday, you amazing kid.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Unicorns, Rainbows, Fairy Ballerinas: Whatever the Birthday Princess Wants.

I have all sorts of thoughts about my little girl turning four. There are lots of things I want her to remember about who she was and what we love about her at this particular time. But it's overwhelming to get them all down and upload and format photos on Blogger.

So for now, a photo collection of N.'s two, yes two, birthday celebrations.

We go big or go home for birthdays around here, if you haven't already caught on.

First, it was a unicorns and rainbows themed party with the family the weekend before N.'s actual fourth birthday.

I'll admit here that this party was heavily Pinterest influenced, and I might have gone a teensy bit overboard with the rainbow thing. Don't blame me. The 80's were my formative years.

Taste the Rainbow!

Rainbow cake, rainbow fruit skewers, rainbow veggie tray,
and Bugles (unicorn horns!)
We also had homemade mozzarella cheese stick unicorn horns.

N. helped me with the flowers: white daisies and carnations with a different color of food coloring and water in each vase. The idea was for the flowers to take on the color, but it only worked slightly on a few. This is the second time this summer we tried this experiment with little success. When I was a kid, we did it all the time with Queen Ann's lace at the cottage. Has food coloring changed?

N. seems to associate a successful birthday party with guests leaping out to say "Surprise!". (I blame two books that N. would read every night if we let her: Eddie and Sarah's Little People Birthday, and My Little Pony Pinkie Pie's Special Day) She asked several times whether or not this was going to happen at her birthday party.

Even though she was well aware that she was having a party this day, and even knew who was coming, we wanted to try to make this happen for her. So while Jim had the kids at the pool that afternoon, I brought L. home, finished up decorations for the party and had my family arrive and park down the street. When N. came home, we all hid on the basement stairs then jumped out with our "Surprise!"

She was thrilled.

We played Pin the Horn on the Unicorn

and Unicorn Ring Toss (I was planning to use
a stuffed unicorn, but O. had a better idea).

We tried to get a picture of all five cousins, with mixed success.

Mostly, N. reveled in pure girliness.

A week later, we traveled to St. Louis, and J.'s sister's lake house. We celebrated Labor Day, the end of summer, and N.'s true birthday. (Oh, and mine too. Yeah, the proximity of our birthdays is cutting into my own birthday princess mojo for now, but that's fine. Joint parties on the horizon!)

This time the theme was Fairy Ballerina Princesses. More emphasis on the costume and gifts than the food, decor and games this time. There were cupcakes she helped decorate with sprinkles and glitter, a special trip to the grocery store with Mommy and L. at 6:30 AM for doughnuts and a Rapunzel balloon, and swimming and boating in the lake all weekend.
She was thrilled with every gift she opened,
and was doing princess poses for every photo, unprompted.

It was pretty fun to watch her become four.