How We Do Spring

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones then you know the words of House Stark: Winter is Coming. Well this year in Michigan Winter came. And kept coming. And felt like it was never going to leave. Feet upon feet of snow fell. Everything was covered in a thick crust of salty ice. The Cold had a tendency to creep right into your bones and take root, never really leaving, no amount of blankets or layers or pair of socks could break its hold.

And through this mind-numbing, bone-chilling, soul-sucking Winter, we were house hunting.

It’s almost ridiculous to think about now. Michael and I (and occasionally the girls too), trudging about on a Wednesday or Saturday afternoon. Walking precariously over unsalted walks in search of our Forever Home. Thinking about it now, we’re a bit crazy, aren’t we?

Slowly. Very slowly, the days began to lengthen. The sun began to melt the glaciers of ice on every curb and street corner. And suddenly it was 50 degrees and it felt like the Sun was a brand new thing. Something we had forgotten, that we had been missing for too long.

As soon as that first thaw took hold we broke out of our frozen ice palace and headed out to do all the things we couldn’t during the Winter That Almost Never Ended. It didn’t bother us if there was snow on the ground as long as we could wear cool hats, warm coats and the sun was shining.

Here’s some of the things we did to say goodbye to Winter and welcome to Spring..

1. Just got out and walked. Usually to visit Dad at Spartan Spirits.

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2. Even if it was still cold we joked around on Sandy the Pony at Meijer. Sometimes 2 or 3 rides at a time if there wasn’t anyone waiting.

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3. Birthday Parties (like this one for our friend Claire)!! Especially if there were crafts involved. A few hours at a birthday party made us forget that it wasn’t summer yet.

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4. Bike Riding on the Deck. At the old house we didn’t have a yard and with a pretty busy sidewalk and street out front, so we rode around on the deck a lot. Don’t forget your helmets folks! Can’t be too safe!

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5. We went to the Potter Park Zoo with our friend Kierce. And you know what? Apparently the lions were sick of Winter too and were super vocal in their complaints about it.

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6. We hung out at the library music and story time with our friends Nia, Mia and Imani.

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7. When in doubt and super bored. Go visit Dad at Spartan Spirits, build a beer case Castle and play!

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8. We got out to walk and play on the swings as soon as possible. Someone can never get enough of the swings!

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9. We visited the farm when all the baby lambs were born and got to feed them.

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10. One day the magnolia tree next door was blossoming and the next day the snow was falling. Didn’t matter. We played outside anyways.

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11. And when the weather cleared again, we blew bubbles and played for hours on TeTe’s stoop in Hamtramck.

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12. For weeks Izzie carried her Doc McStuffins bag around with her to give mobile checkups to all those in need.

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13. Take in a baseball game! Just don’t forget your blankets, it’s Michigan after all. My MIL Becky invited us to a Lansing Lugnuts baseball game. So BIL André and his lovely girlfriend Merissa came into town and joined us for a night out. So. Fun.

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14. Take the kids to see Sesame Street Live. Cause Elmo and Big Bird can pretty much make every day look like a sunny day and sweep all the clouds away. It was Izzie’s first show. She wasn’t nearly as enraptured as Ella and Anna though.

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15. Field Trips!! In the midst of all the packing, closing, cleaning and schlepping boxes to our new house Preschool helped keep Cedella busy and engaged. I couldn’t pass up a chance to go to the MSU Horse Farm. She absolutely loved it there. Even if the stalls were a bit stinky for her taste.

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Despite all the excitement we managed to sort, purge, bag, box, donate, transport, sell or move all of our worldly possessions to our new home.

And somewhere along the way Winter stayed gone. Now it’s nothing but blue skies, hot days and mosquitoes. But we’ll talk about those little buggers another day.

How’s your spring been going? Any big plans for summer? Family vacations around the corner? Tell me all about them in the comments!!

 

Wordless Wednesday: The Rainbow Connection

This past weekend we had Isora’s big 1st birthday party with all our family and friends at our favorite local kiddo hangout, Play. in East Lansing.

I really can’t say enough good things about Play. and it’s owner, Kasey. We LOVE it there and having birthday parties there is so fun and easy. If you’re in the area, do yourself a favor, book your little one’s next party there. You won’t regret it!

In attempt to stay on theme with Isora’s St. Patrick’s Day birthday I decided that her first party would be a rainbow party. Cause the rainbow leads to the pot full of gold and lucky clovers and leprechauns, doesn’t it? Well it does in our version of St. Patty’s lore 😉

I’ve been pinning rainbow ideas for months on Pinterest and took all of my favs, well at least the favs that could be done easily and by myself, and put a rainbow plan into action. And then with the help of my fast leprechaun helpers we got the whole thing put together just as our first guests were arriving.

The cake and present table with our Pinterest-inspired rainbow striped table skirt.

The food table with our last-minute-how-can-we-make-that-table-look-cute-with-tablecloth-scraps rainbow striped runners. I think the girls did an excellent job with it. Don’t you? And another Pinterest win…rainbow fruit kabobs!

The chalkboard lovingly decorated by Auntie Kylara. Though in fairness I did have to add the ‘1st’ and tell her how her how to spell Isora. ::smh:: Teenagers.

The goodie boxes were set on a shelf out of action until it was time to leave.

The kiddo table with little leprechaun hats that no one wore. I am SO taking those to Parade Day next year!

The Birthday Biz. So content to build a little tower all by herself.

My sweet big girl. Look how old she looks with those braids! Photobombed by Anna.

So busted. Daddy and Ella on the slide. Against. The. Rules. We went to Play. today and I had to explain 1,001 times why parents aren’t allowed on the slide. Thanks Daddy-O.

Sweet Juniper Monkey. I love her almost as much as I love my own babies. I wish you could hear her laugh. It’s infectious.

The adorable Olivia, very concentrated on her fruit. Isn’t she a doll?

Sir Anna was the knight protecting the ballerina princess butterflies. Or just being Brave.

Izzie and her cousin Salem. Salem actually took this picture and smiled for me. Even though when her mom asked her to take a pic and smile she ran the other way. Sorry Mary, they only listen when it’s not their mom talking.

Even the Dads were playing. Not sure what it is but these two were very intense about it. See what you missed Leslie and Kate? SERIOUS robot fort building.

And the grownups getting to the real business. The lunch.

Birthday Girl!! Thankfully Grandma Becky brought a new bib since that was one of the only things I forgot to bring. Thanks !!

And the show stopper. The Rainbow Cake. You’ve seen it on Pinterest and thought “That’s so cool but no way I could ever pull that off.” Right? Well let me tell you, if I can do it, you can too.

Cutting the cake. I love Izzie peaking out from under my hair in this picture.

And the money shot. Look at all those rainbow-y layers. Covered in real buttercream icing. It was divine.

Isn’t it pretty? The secret? Plenty of cake pans, gel food coloring and patience.

Don’t I look WAY too happy to be serving this cake? It’s cause I was so nervous it wasn’t going to turn out. Patting myself on the back for this one.

Grandma Linda will now be called The Cake Pusher.

Izzie loved it so much she felt the need to share.

The rest of the kids digging in. Olivia looks really happy with her cupcake.

And the gifts. I had two special helpers opening packages, until one of my helpers (aka Isora’s Big Sister) decided she was bored. But Anna stuck around to help. Because she loves her some Izzie. Turns out my baby really loves cards. So do I. Twinsies.

Anna helping us unwrap another cool toy.

And perhaps the best gift anyone has ever gotten ever. Three little tiny babies to snuggle. I think she likes them. And I think Salem can’t figure out what the hell they are.

Isn’t she the sweetest thing. Look at the smile. God I love her.

We had such a whirlwind tiring exhausting lovely day. And we are so thankful for those who came and showed their love for Isora. How lucky are we to have such a great family and such an amazing little girl?

Special thanks to our set-up and tear-down crew: Lucy (who was up with me making the table cloth until the wee hours the night before the party), Tracey, Mom, Kylara, Grandma Becky, Kristyn, Aunt Bea & Uncle Randy, Sabrina & Mike, Mary & Glen and of course Kasey 😉

But none of this would be possible without the man that helped me make this incredible creature. So thanks Mr. Eyebrowz. The road may be rocky sometimes but we always walk it together. I love you.

Happy WW all!! And in case anyone is looking for decorations for the SCOTUS Gay Marriage ruling party…I got you covered!!

 

 

Wordful Wednesday: Go Cedella Go!

The plague has hit our house folks. I have been a nurse and walking milk cow for nearly ten days. To add insult to injury, when I thought I was going to escape this flu’s evil clutches my throat closed up and I got incredibly ill. BOO.

With all the nurturing and care-taking I’ve had barely enough time to think about the blog which makes me feel horribly guilty for not writing my birthday letter to Cedella yet. But sweet thing was sick on Monday, her actual birthday, so I’m thinking about giving her a re-do birthday day when she feels better. And that way I have more time to write something really sweet.

But the good news is that no one got sick until AFTER the big birthday celebration last weekend. And when I say after I mean that the second we got home from the party Cedella was burning up and acting like someone else’s child.

This year we decided to simplify things for ourselves and allow for a few more children to attend so we had the party at Play. a local indoor playspace. If you live in the Lansing area and haven’t checked out Play. you should go. NOW.

Play. is one of our favorite places to go and well…play. I can’t say enough great things about the owner, Kasey, and her super cool business. She works incredibly hard to make sure every detail is perfect, and it shows. Cedella and all her little friends go bananas when they get in there and her party was no exception.

This year when asked what kind of party she wanted to have she said “A Princess Diego party”. Meaning Princesses and Go Diego Go. But being the OCD mama that I am I was not trying to make two separate themes work together. So I asked her to choose. She chose Diego. Cause she’s mildly obsessed.

The only problem is that Diego (Dora’s cousin who rescues animals) has apparently been cancelled. And unlike Dora or Barney or Elmo, all whom have ceased making new shows but continue raking in the merchandising dough, Diego has been cancelled from everywhere. Finding Diego toys and clothes in stores is impossible. A Diego doll that cost $20 last Christmas costs $80 now. I bought thrift store Diego pajamas for Cedella a size too small just so that she could wear them once cause she wanted some so bad. WTF?! Why is Diego no more?

We managed to find more than enough Diego decorations though, my brother-in-law even rustled up a Diego pinata from somewhere in Chicago. And I had a Diego cake made at the local grocery store. And we even had a really great local artist (who just happened to be leaving his kid’s first birthday party when we arrived) to draw a Diego chalk mural for us. So cool…

So by party time (and thanks to my amazing and fast helpers Michael, Mom, Tracey, Kylara, Lucy and MIL Hilda) we were all Diego-ed up.

My sweet Monk got to play with her favorite little ladies…like Juniper

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her cousin Salem

Olivia & of course Anna.

Even sweet Izzie got to play around. Here she is on the coolest bouncing horsey ever.

And entertaining her Jido and Teta.

After all the crazy playing it was time to cut the cake. And yes, that super sweet Diego cake was made at Meijer. And it was Delicious.

I love this moment. I should have realized right here that she was getting really sick. She was being so sweet and shy and quiet. She leaned into me while we were singing Happy Birthday and said ‘Mama hold me’. My heart swells…

Once we got all the kids hopped up on sugar it was time to open all the gifts. Folks, it was like a baby shower there were so many gifts. But most important was her very own Rescue Pack. Thanks Grandma Linda :)

 

Ella is so incredibly fortunate that her family and friends were so generous. It was like second Christmas. And yes, we’re STILL putting stuff away. There was a lot. These Super Hero guys are her new favorite.

I love my sister’s face in this one. Like she’s contemplating playing with them herself.

Ella couldn’t be bothered to stop eating cake while I opened her gifts for her. Sweet new kicks from her TeTe.

And here we are. Cedella’s proud parents. Look at my handsome husband. I do love him so. He’s given me my two greatest gifts.

These two precious children. Our dear family.

And especially the gift of this child. The child who first made me a mother. Who took me from selfish to selfless. Who became my work and my play. My joy. My pain. My heart, removed from my chest and out there walking around the world. Love doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Happy Birthday my sweet Cedella. I love you to the moon and back.

Hope you are all enjoying your winter, staying healthy and keeping warm. Happy WW to all!!