Monday, June 25, 2018

25 | 52 | In the Garden with Gracie

When Gracie was born, our backyard was basically a wasteland of dirt, weeds and cement... We had big plans for a backyard remodel the year before we conceived the Bean, we even had a cement patio poured that wrapped around the house. We had the best of intentions, but then we got caught up in TTC and then G was pregnant and literally slept for 7 months straight, so the backyard fell by the waste side, again.

Fast-forward to 2014, when Gracie was 2 years old and was determined to go outside and explore, but it just wasn't safe. This + the fact that we were looking to sell our home, motivated us to finally finish our backyard and the rest is history. We ended up finally getting all the weeds pulled. We turned the soil, landscaped, added mulch planted a bunch of stuff and bought our gal an adorable little house of her own. In the years since, it has become Gracie and now Will's favorite place to hang and where they spend every evening playing and connecting with mother nature. They've had pet lizards and pet Lady Bugs. They've observed several types of "non-deadly" spiders in their natural habitat and have left out food for all sorts of birds.

Over this past 2 years, we've done even more out back, baby proofing the heck out of everything. We added a trampoline, water table and swing set to the mix and built a veggie garden after adding a fairy garden to the big planter. One of Gracie's chores is to help me care for the garden and water the flowers, watering every other night (as we live in the desert and even that isn't enough water for some of our plants). She helps clean up after Will's dumped every water toy out of the water table, as it's an every night occurrence and she asks that we eat out on the patio, most nights for dinner. 

This past Sunday, we had family dinner out back and ate the beautiful and delicious tomatoes Grace grew and she could not have been more excited and proud of herself! At work today, I found the video pasted below, which I had no idea she recorded. It made my heart melt to listen as she happily gave a tour of her favorite space! Our yard is her happy place. It isn't the biggest yard. We don't have a pool or acres of grass to play in, but she adores it and so does Will.  It's the perfect place for them to play and grow and it's been 100% worth the work G and I have put into it these past 4 years. It's the little everyday things these kiddos are going to remember when they're older and just the thought of that, makes me happy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

24/52: Hi, I'm Mama!

Hi friends! It's been a hot minute (like, several years) since I posted a little bio about myself; me, Mama - the author of this blog. So here goes!

I'm Kristin // a curly-haired, left-handed, classic rock loving wife to a woman I've called home for nearly 12 years of my life. I'm 36 years old, a total Halloween baby and a mother of 2 little stinkers who rule my world. I would describe myself as a full-figured, body positive lover of chips and salsa, who also LOVES to camp, go to the lake and pack up our RV to adventure anywhere there's water.

I'm open and emotional, which can be a good thing and sometimes a bad thing, but I embrace it, wholeheartedly. I've had the same best friend for nearly 30 years and aside from my wife Georgia, she is my other half. I live with PCOS, MTHFR and lost my battle with infertility several years ago, which means I'm also the non-belly Mama in our 2 mom family. I may pick that sword up again one day and go back into battle for baby #3, but as it stands today, my feeling is still - oh hell no! We have our daughter and son and it feels like our tribe of 4 is exactly who we're supposed to be!

If you're new here, welcome to our life in Blogland! Where are you all from? We're from New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment and the best green chile! 

Thanks for joining us on this crazy adventure we call life! #team2moms 

xo, Kristin


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

* Will’s 1st Birthday Monster Bash *

I’m not going to lie you guys; Georgia and I love birthdays! We like big, over-the-top celebrations with lots of people and lots of fun and well, lots of everything. Factor the FIRST BIRTHDAY scenario into the equation and things become an even bigger-big deal for us! Growing up, my parents were very much the same, which is likely where I get this from. Our family birthday parties were always huge, with rented tents, professional clowns (this was the 80’s before clowns were creepy); we had face painters, live music, jumpers – the whole nine yards! G and I don’t go to this extreme, but we do like to make things extra special for our kiddos and even though we get teased by friends and fellow parents for everything we put into “just one day”, we don’t mind being laughed at for going overboard. I mean, how could we not!

G is the one who picked the theme for Will’s first birthday party. I had a theme already in mind and had even started purchasing and making things for it, but I loved the fact that Georgia was so into our boy turning one that she actually researched party ideas; so, I let her have this one, haha! She had come across pictures of a “Monster Party” someplace online and really liked how colorful and fun the theme was. It didn’t take much to sell me on the idea once I jumped on Pinterest, because every detail I came across was just so stinkin’ cute. :) 

Monster Birthday Bash // Gone Wild…

Finding a location for an early spring birthday party is never easy. Gracie is our early March baby and her parties are even harder because it’s almost always chilly out – which is why her parties are always indoors. I would love to have birthday parties in our home, as I’m obsessed with our backyard and I know other kiddos would enjoy it too, but with the size of our family/friends and the size of our 1600 sq. ft. home, we would be on top of each other and it just wouldn’t work. We opted instead to go with a birthday at the park for Will, which didn’t end up going as planned (at all), but was a happy celebration, nevertheless. 

So, before I go into the details of what went awry the day of our little dude’s party, here’s some adorable photos of the birthday boy! 

We first learned of the wind storm that was making its way to us, just a few days before Will’s party. I was so worried knowing that we would be outside, with no cover and the last thing I wanted was for our guy to spend his party upset because of wind, because let’s face it – everyone hates the wind. In my panic, I called a good friend of ours who is a meteorologist for the news and asked that she use her fancy weather tools to tell me exactly what we’d be dealing with, the day of. The afternoon I made this request was 2 days before Will’s monster bash, when we were dealing with what felt like hurricane winds outside. It was ridiculous. Cassie came back to say that the wind would be nothing like it had been, but that it would still be somewhat breezy that Saturday. Fast-forward to the morning of the party and there I was, standing in my front yard fighting tears because it was still so f-ing windy outside! I told G that we needed to make an emergency venue change because I was feeling panicked. She asked that I wait until 11am to call it, because the wind was supposed to calm down even more, and so I agreed.

We ended up keeping the party as planned, because things did seem to get better, come 11am. We headed to the park with truckloads of party stuff and much to my sadness, the wind was worse at the park where there were no homes or other large structures to block the wind. I was wearing my super cute “Mama Monster” dress with matching monster jewelry, but within minutes, I knew I would need to go back home and change. My dress had completely blown up, which resulted in me flashing my underwear to my family and a few friends not once, but twice over the span of just 15 minutes. I had to leave everyone setting up to run back to the house and change, with just 30 minutes until party time. This is when the tears came. As I was leaving, my poor baby’s nose was red because he was cold… my outfit, which had been planned for weeks, wasn’t going to work… and party decorations were blowing everywhere. As I drove home in tears, I had a decision to make and I had to make it quick. I could wallow in pity over of how things weren’t working out, or I could quickly change my clothes, grab Will a jacket and go back on a mission to have fun. I went with option #2 and was quite surprised with how quickly I was able to turn my frame of mind around. It was kind of shocking to be honest, because I’ve never been one to easily manage change. Maybe I’ve finally grownup into my mature, adult self? LOL, yeah right!

The Calm After the Storm // Like, Literally  

I came back to the park to find our family doing final touches on decorations, while Will smiled and played happily with Papa. Seeing everyone jumping in to help made my heart so happy and thankful for our amazing village. In the 30 minutes that I was gone, the wind really did seem to get better (thank you, universe!). Our jumper had gone up and G and my cousin Nick had started grilling burgers and hotdogs, so everything smelled so good. Will’s little nose wasn’t red anymore, thanks to his super cute monster jacket that I bought on clearance when G was pregnant, having now idea how perfectly it would match his birthday theme and he was having so much fun playing with everyone. After seeing this, I quickly jumped back into *Party Mom Mode* and our baby boy’s first birthday was off and running!

It was so awesome to see how many little ones made it to Will’s monster bash! Of the 50ish people we invited, G counted around 45 there celebrating our little guy, even though they knew they were going to an outdoor party on a windy day and that made me even more thankful. A few of Gracie’s friends from PreK came along with their moms, aka, our “Mom Squad” and the kids ran around having the best time, as it had been months since they hung out. Because Will wasn’t quite there with the walking, he was passed from person to person and to my surprise, there was no stranger danger. Like, zero tears regardless of who was holding him. My big boy! 

Party in a Park // The Decoration Details!

William had a “Popcorn Bar” at his party, with a similar set up to the “Candy Table” we had at Gracie’s first birthday party. There were 2 different kinds of popcorn; one that had Butterfinger candy bars melted in and was amazeballs, and the other being yummy movie popcorn covered in butter. There were small blue popcorn bags with the #1 on them and kids used those to pile candy on top of their popcorn of choice and they all seemed to go crazy for it! We also had cute monster books and other d├ęcor that had to be taken off the table because it kept blowing over. Even with the changes we had to make due to wind, I thought our boy’s popcorn bar turned out pretty dang cute! 

We had a bunch of monster themed photo booth props that the kiddos loved, so much so that most were taken home following the party! We had lawn monsters that were going to be a part of the photo booth setup, however following the chaotic start to the party, we forget them in the wagon. I think we got to a point where guest started to arrive and we figured, things looks good, people look happy and Will’s smiling – let’s just shove the rest of this crap decorations under the table. ;)

The photo banners we made worked out perfectly, as they were hung and didn’t blow away like the balloons, lol. We ended up hanging them from the canopies we had up over the Popcorn Bar and food tables. I would say that the picture banners were a favorite amongst the guests! I kept getting asked who we ordered them from and where we had them made, to which I happily replied that I made them! The project is so simple that really anyone could make one. These banners, like Gracie’s party banners, will go in Will’s Wish Box, to be opened on his 18th birthday. I’m sure it’ll be a special thing for him to see pictures of his cute baby self with the family he’s closest to, especially his Gaga and Papa who will be 93 and 94 years old when he turns 18! We also displayed our guy’s monthly pictures and “ONE” decorated letters in his play yard. We figured we should use the play yard we brought along for something, since our little prince wasn’t spending any time in there.

Goodbye Wind // Hello Fun in the Sun!

By about an hour into Will’s monster bash, the wind was completely gone and it was time to play! My mom took Will over to the jumper and plopped him in there with a bunch of wild kids, which frightened him at first. But, as "luck" would have it, changing outfits last minute meant that Mama was no longer in a dress and could get in there and play with him and he LOVED it! This is where he had the most fun of the entire day. I felt bad that G couldn’t get in with us, but she was busy being the master of the BBQ and stayed busy chatting and feeding everyone under the canopy. Gracie spent most of the afternoon running from the park’s playground to the jumper and with her uncles keeping an eye on her, we were totally ok with her chasing friends around.

We ended our boy’s first birthday party singing happy birthday to him, surrounded by all his little buddies and cousins. The egg-free (vegan) 3-layer cake Georgia made him turned out so, so adorable! She used rainbow colors to decorate the cake, covering it with sprinkles and monster candles that she had special ordered. 

Will was curious at first when G brought the cake over, but had his hands in it in no time. There were no tears from our guy as he was encircled by 45 people all singing to him at once and we were happy about that! You just never know how a baby will react to that first birthday singing sesh, as often, it ends in tears.  Thankfully our dude was all smiles. :)

Similar to Gracie’s 1st birthday, Will’s monster bash was 3 hours long and before we knew it, we were out of time having not yet opened presents, so we had to move the party to our house for the opening of gifts. After chowing down on monster cupcakes and vegan smash cake, a group of us headed to the house with the birthday babe, who was just starting to get super sleepy. 

The little dude received some awesome stuff, but his favorites gifts seemed to be his Little Tikes Light ‘n Go 3-in-1 Sports Zone toy (as you can see in the video below). He was also obsessed with his Little People Animal Rescue set and has played with it every day since, while also enjoying his annual Bio Park pass, which we’ve already used twice! He was given so many special and thoughtful things and we loved watching the look on his face as he opened each one... and then proceeded to play mostly with the wrapping paper! Ha! 

I could write even more about our end of party fun, but it’s going to be midnight and this mama has to wake up super early to get Gracie to summer camp, so I’m going to need to wrap things up. Sorry for the long and picture heavy post – it was just such a hectic, fun and special day for our little man. Our friends and family are beyond amazing and were there to help salvage the day and make it one that we’ll never forget. Will’s such a lucky boy to be so loved! 

Happy first birthday, Sonnie. You're our sonshine and we all love you so very much!

Monday, June 4, 2018

23|52: Big sister's making moves!

I'm pretty sure that the universe was out to melt my heart into a puddle last week... Not only did our big girl graduate from kindergarten and officially become a first grader, (post on this is in the works), but she also graduated from swim school - as in, she's done there, forever!

We were prepared for the last day of school, because there were lots of events and end of year themed days leading up to her last day. This was not the case with swim school. The Bean has gone to her swim school for 3 years and since Will joined her (on the parent/tot side of the pool), it's been so great! Wednesdays are our family swim days, where G and I take turns swimming with Will while the other watches the Bean on the big kid side. Following class, we find a new sandwich shop for a quick dinner before heading home. It's a day off the week that I always look forward to.

This past Wednesday, I was in the water with Will when I could see Georgia talking with one of Gracie's coaches before waving a piece of paper at me from behind the observation glass. When we were out of the pool, she ran up to tell me that Grace had graduated! Like, she was 100% done with swim school! One of the coaches had a certificate showing that Grace was proficient in the breaststroke, backstroke, freestyle, butterfly and flip turns. She told us that Gracie was now a better swimmer than most adults and ready to tryout for a swim league. We were a bit shocked by it all and just so proud of our girl.

That night at dinner, Georgia and I started talking about how quickly the past 3 years flew by and how we still remember how tiny and adorable our baby bean looked at her first lesson! Then it happened... Georgia, my wife who never shows emotion, started crying! They were happy tears of course, but still so very unexpected! Once her tears started flowing, so did mine and there we sat, two babbling mamas in the middle of Firehouse Subs, embarrassing our kids, lol!

Gracie LOVES to swim and so we'll be moving forward with vetting swim teams to find the perfect one for her to join. In the meantime, her swim school is going to let us stay on for the month of June so she can work, one on one with a coach to prepare Grace for swim team tryouts.

Our big girl. She's going to have so much fun on this next adventure in her swimming journey. Olympics 2030, we have our eye on you! ;)

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