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


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!!


It’s Been A While…

Hey there! And happy new year! It’s been a long long long time since I’ve posted.

But as I sit here in our home, with all the Christmas decorations finally down, having missed the Downton Abbey premiere because of two children that just didn’t want to go to bed, finally getting around to writing a post I am almost totally unable to think of one thing to write. Because I have a million things I want to write.

In no particular order here are a few things I have on my mind:

Christmas is finally over. The boxes have all been packed and a snug away in the garage until next year. Can’t say that I’ve ever been happy to have it over with either. We started celebrating the day before Christmas Eve and went for six days straight. By the end of it we were all exhausted, crabby, sleep deprived and ill. After six Christmas parties and a birthday party that week I have over 1000 pictures (that’s including our Thanksgiving road trip which I still haven’t posted). I need to edit them and put together a recap post, but it’s a daunting task. And honestly, I don’t even know if I want to see them all again so soon either. Maybe I will conquer that by the end of the week. Maybe I’ll just throw together a few collages. What do you think? Still interested in seeing pictures of Christmas, or ready to forget all about it?

Cedella is turning 3 a week from Monday. 3!!!! WHAT?! So not only do I have a bday party on Saturday to prepare for but I have a letter to write to her and a whole “This is Cedella at 3” blog post to write. There’s so much to say about her. So much that’s new. So much that’s old. And I want to capture it all, all of her, but I can barely get her to stand still, let alone look at the camera so it will have to be very wordy. There are so many crazy silly and unique things about her. Things that I want her to be able to be reminded of when she grows up. Things I want to remember that if I don’t write then down will slip into the ever increasing cracks in my Mom Brain. And then there will have to be a birthday party recap and more pictures to edit.

Isora is growing by leaps and bounds. She started pulling herself up around Thanksgiving, started scooting around the furniture shortly thereafter and now she’s standing alone and is just moments from walking. She says sweet little words like ‘duck’ and her favorite thing to say ‘dada’. She has changed so much in the past month alone that I feel utterly neglectful for not having recorded more about her each month. It really is going by so incredibly fast. But I vow to do a proper update on the 18th. I’m scheduling it now. If you get an empty email that morning you’ll know I’ve forgotten all about it…

Now that it’s really a new year and I’ve gotten motivated to start reorganizing and cleaning it has occurred to me that we have had no schedule or preschool since Thanksgiving. The girls are staying up way past ten at this point and waking up by 8am. In short, they aren’t getting enough sleep. Time to get back into a normal schedule. Dinner before 7. Bath and bed by 8. School on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Housekeeping on Tuesday and Thursday.

Of course, throw in a week like this one, that included a day spent entirely in a hospital waiting room, and two drives to Detroit and back, and how could anyone keep a schedule?

Well at least, we kept one of our scheduled events this week. Because we’ve found a class that Cedella actually loves. Gymnastics!! She’s a natural :)

And yes by all means, it’s the beginning of the year and therefore it’s Resolution Season. But I learned from last year’s resolutions that it is lovely to have goals, but having two small children pretty much means that goals should be simple. Like “I resolve to shower more often”. Or “I resolve to not yell at my kids until after I’ve had coffee”. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t set goals that may not be accomplished this year, or ever for that matter.

So for that reason I’m joining up with Alicia at Clever Compass for a new kind of resolution. A Life List. All week long myself and other bloggers are sharing a list of things we want to do during our lifetimes. Travel. Learn. Try. Do. All of it.

And while I can’t wait to read all the other lists out there I really can’t wait to share mine, if only because it is so incredibly liberating and exciting to think about and write about all the things I want to do with my life. So stayed tuned…

And just because I couldn’t let you go without a pic or two. Here’s my future Olympian and her BFF Anna in full training mode…

And just getting a hang of things…





Wordful Wednesday: A Very Benihana Birthday

Ok…so it wasn’t Benihana. The restaurant is called Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse. And we go there as a family a lot.

But Michael keeps calling it Benihana. Even though we’ve never actually been to a Benihana, because of that episode of The Office. A Very Benihana Christmas. It’s when The Office was still funny. One of our favorite episodes of television ever. If you have Netflix it’s Season 3 Episode 10. But I digress.

Friday night was my birthday. Whoop whoop! Another year under my belt. And for those that are wondering it was lucky number 34.

34 isn’t lucky, is it? Didn’t think so. But a lady dame madam girl can dream right? I like to dream that I’ll turn 35 and all my wrinkle and pimples and weird saggy areas have magically melted away. I’ve got an entire year to work on that vision board…

I have always liked making birthdays a big deal. I think cake, flowers, cards, extravagant gifts and parties are all par for the course. After all, this is the day you (or me) was born!

My favorite thing to tell those that I really and truly love is that I am “so happy you were born today”. Because it’s true. Being born is something magical and special and amazing. Something to celebrate.

When it comes to birthdays my expectations have been, historically, pretty high.

And then I met a guy who doesn’t dig making a big deal out of most occasions and holidays, let alone birthdays. He doesn’t dig cake. Doesn’t care at all about cards (not even painstakingly handmade collage cards that his girlfriend slaved over for days). Plans and parties just sound like hassles and chaos to him.

But one day he made a plan ::gasp:: and surprised the hell outta me when he proposed in front of a big group of friends on New Years Eve.

So I married him. :)

Now? We’re back to no surprises, no plans and no big deals.

For the past few years since living in Lansing we’ve made my birthday into our annual trip to the cider mill & pumpkin patch.

But this year? Nada. No cider. No pumpkins. No family day. No plans.

And guys? It hurt.

I was sitting at home on Friday afternoon, while everyone, including my husband, took a nap. Drinking a birthday beer, watching Friday Night Lights, balling like a baby.

Granted, he’s been working so incredibly hard. So hard that he barely sleeps, let alone have the time to make plans. He also thought I said I didn’t want to go, though what I said was that I wanted to go to a new place, not scrap the idea all together.

Did he get the flowers and the extravagant gift and the card? Yep. All three. But all I really wanted, really needed, was a day to spend alone, doing something fun with our little family.

We haven’t had that in months.

I need to accept that this is just the busy time of year for him at the store. That this won’t last forever.

Until then I will need to work on lower my expectations and being in the moment.

Despite the pity-party I had for myself all afternoon, we actually did go out on the night of my birthday.

With the girls with babysitters we were free to enjoy an adult night out. My sis Tracey braved rush hour traffic while wearing a dress, just to spend my birthday with me.

So me, Michael and Tracey went out and about around downtown Lansing for dinner and drinks. We met a few friends at the local dive bar. I even ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in a while. We rocked out to the jukebox and drank like fishes.

And all we got was this one grainy picture of me and Tre in our awesome dresses.

When I say that I had an “awesome Friday night” it is code for a “wickedly hungover Saturday”. Like “I’m going to die” wicked. Tracey helped with the girls while I recovered. Now THAT’S a birthday present! Thanks Tracey. *Also someone please remind me that shots are for 21 year olds and not 30-somethings, ok? Thanks in advance!

Sunday, thankfully I was totally recovered by then, we headed down to the Benihana Kyoto restaurant for the Sims Kid Trifecta Birthday party.

My sister, brother and I are all born within two weeks of each other in late September-early October. Yes, people, do the math. Our parents always had really lively New Year Eve parties.

That being said, we’ve always ALWAYS had a big family gathering for all of us at once. It’s just much easier that way. Why would we shirk tradition for this birthday then? We wouldn’t. So bring on the group meal & cake.

So Kyoto, like Benihana, is a restaurant where the table centers around a grill where the chef cooks your food in front of you. Dinner and a show. There’s something about the meal being cooked in front of you that is at once fascinating and kind of awkward. Though it doesn’t seem to bother Grandpa at all.

Like Japanese-chef-accidentally-cracking-a-raw-egg-into-your-water-glass awkward. True story. Happened to Tracey this time.

Something about the crazy exhaust fans and clanking spatulas really bothered Cedella. She had her hands on her ears the entire time he was at our table.

Izzie on the other hand? Totally fine. Not bothered by the noise as long as she had rice or noodles or carrots in her mouth. This baby loves food.

Finally a family shot. Though it’s not in focus, and it looks like Michael and I are being posed by someone in the Sears Portrait Studio, I still love it. It’s US!!! We ARE a family!

And Cedella with chopsticks? So cute.

She actually got them to work for her. Genius child that she is.

Though I may complain and may expect more than what I’m given I am truly thankful. Because these lovely, crazy, silly, smart people? They are mine. And I adore them so. *Someone please remind me of this at Christmas time, will ya?

So now it’s your turn. How do you celebrate birthdays in your family? Big deal or no big deal? Any special traditions? Any suggestions on how to make birthdays more important to someone who doesn’t think they are?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Happy WW!!