Sunday, April 17, 2011

In case you live outside the greater Baltimore/DC area, you may not have heard that Sonja turned three. If you have seen us in the past two weeks, you were likely told that that very day was her very birthday. We probably confused her by celebrating her birthday the Saturday beforehand, by giving her a credit card. Actually, that is the business card of Bubbles the Clown.
We went to Port Discovery and happened upon Bubbles making balloon animals.

Some little folks were thrilled.

After a few hours of playing in the water works and bounce house, we strolled down to the Inner Harbor to find lunch. Our waiter was somehow given the impression that it was Sonja's birthday that day and we weren't going to bring up technicalities as he was handing her a brownie sundae.
After lunch, we watched The Fudgery crew make fudge and Anna had a double-decker ice cream cone while we watched a street performer ride a 12ft unicycle. It was a lovely day at the harbor and we returned home happy though some of us were a little worse for the wear.

Sonja's true birth date was on a Tuesday so Chris surprised her at Story Time with a balloon. I didn't take a photo because her face was precious and I couldn't take my eyes off her. She's so captivated by her daddy, and princess balloons.
Chris joined us for lunch with some of our Story Time friends and we had princess cupcakes. Well, everyone but the birthday princess who touched nothing after one carton of Chik-fil-A chocolate milk.

I had a hilarious time making those. (The crowns are Laffy Taffy's...har har.) Anyway.

That evening, we had Sonja's birthday dinner with Oma and Opa. I had asked her what she would like (and made Anna be quiet so the answer wasn't pizza! McDonald's! Chucky Cheese!) and she said, "Rice." Rice? Okay, what else? "Risotto." Both? Both are rice, pick one. So she said, "Risotto, carrots, broccoli and chicken." See why I heshed Anna? She's too young to know that you don't have to pick normal food.
So, we had a nice birthday dinner. And birthday cake.

(This was the easiest cake I've done for the girls' birthdays, and my favorite. If you have a 103 tip and 5 minutes, and obviously a cake and frosting, you can whip this up. It's Martha Stewart's ruffle tower cake if you want to google directions.)
Sonja's face was fun to watch as she opened her gifts.

Happy birthday, little princess!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Orioles picked up a new fan this season.

I love this kid. =)

Now believe it or not, the O's started the season winning games, so when we were offered tickets, we jumped at the opportunity to see them during the hot streak. But then, after one home run, we realized the girls enjoy the game much more when nobody is screaming, howling or scoring runs for our team. The O's, realizing the danger of ostracizing their cutest fans, aimed for the Ranger's mitts until we left in the 5th and then homer-ed for the win. Win, win.
Anyway, the real reason we go to the games is to enjoy the extracurriculars:

These and cotton candy = they love going to Orioles' games.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Who do bamboo? You do bamboo!
Congrats to Elaine! (and baby Walt!)

I'll be mailing out your wipes next week!
Thanks for entering and happy Saturday, friends. =)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My first giveaway:
Bamboo wipes.
I love them. And when you really love something, you give it away. Unless it is your kid.

Anyway, let me try to convince you to love bamboo wipes, too.

As I said in my original post, I was wary to try a reusable wipe, but then I felt how plush and soft bamboo velour is and thought, "Surely, I could not deny my baby this." (Although my first two daughters happily endured Huggies wipes.)
However, I still was not convinced I needed to deal with poopy wipes, especially as I use disposable diapers. So I decided to use lush wipes for wet, Huggies for the other. When Rachel was born, she turned out to be a very infrequent "diaper dirtier" (as in every couple weeks!) so everything turned out nicely.

I've been trying to convince my friends to try bamboo wipes, but so far I have zero converts. So, I'll show you how easy it is to incorporate reusable wipes for wet diapers at least, and also give away one set of 10 so you can try them...and once you feel them, I'm telling you, you'll never go back.

Every few days, I restock Rachel's wipes warmer like so.
Microwave 1 1/2 c water for two minutes. Add a 1/2 tsp baby soap and a few drops each of baby oil and tea tree oil. (I keep these mini sized containers in the kitchen cabinet so the operation takes 2.5 minutes.)

I place a cut-to-size wash cloth at the bottom of the warmer to prevent the last wipe from over drying, then a stack of wipes.

Pour the solution over the wipes and up to the nursery you go with a steaming cake of wipes. =)

There are all sorts of stylish wet bags available to for storing used wipes until laundry time, but I simply toss the used ones into an open ziploc. Again, I don't deal with dirty wipes, so I wash these with towels or any other load of hot laundry.
So, it's all very easy peasy.
If you would like to try some bamboo wipes, leave a comment before noon EST, April 2. US addresses only please.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Before and after" pics of the guest bedroom/nursery.

Before: The guest bedroom wall:

That'll wake you up. Good morning! He's a-happy to see you!

He was outlined in Sharpie permanent ink...priming and priming some more.

After: Rachel's tame room.

For the first six months we lived in this home, Anna and Sonja referred to it only as "the frog house." I'm sure we'll call it that too, when we eventually move out. You just don't forget a frog like that.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

This happened some six months ago, but I have to share with you this treasure. Last fall, we were treated to a photo session with the talented Emily of Willa J Photography.

We met up near the city docks in Annapolis and had a lovely time walking around the pretty buildings and shops.

Emily stopped and positioned us along the way, or suggested to the girls to play in the leaves, or simply snapped shots of our family being ourselves.

I was particularly impressed by Emily's ability to engage the girls, especially Sonja who was still in her anti-social phase at that time.

In addition to the candid shots, Emily was also able to capture the girls in studio-quality close-ups whenever the opportunity came up (ie. they were ultra happy because a puppy had just walked by.)

Emily articulates perfectly why I am so in love with her work:

"My goal as a photographer is to find the uniqueness of a person, the beauty of a subject, and the essence of a relationship. I aim to capture real people in real places. Gone are the days of stale, stilted, overly-posed studio portraits! I hope that my photographs will not simply adorn your walls or serve as a display on your tables. I hope they will truthfully record a memorable season in your family's history."

I am so thankful for her creativity in recording this season in our life.

Not long after our photo shoot, Willa J relocated to Western Pennsylvania, BUT she is scheduling MD/VA/DC photo shoots for specific times during the year. You can visit her site to learn more.

Also, even if you are not close enough to take advantage of Emily's talent, or if you are a photographer yourself, check out the Willa J blog for inspiration! You can also follow Willa J on facebook, which is how I learned of her fabulous giveaway!
These are a couple of my favorites from her blog:

I just love her creative eye!

(Photos use by permission from Willa J.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When Chris and I graduated from college, we moved straight away to Philadelphia where I lived in a school dormitory and Chris set up in what was to become our first apartment. My Terp loving then fiance hung a large Maryland University banner showcasing the Maryland Terrapin in the dining room. I remember a conversation like, "So, once we're married, do you want to hang the banner over the couch or keep it in the dining room?" My response was...basement? And yes, when we wed, the Terrapin took up residence in the basement of that and every other homes. Until...

Last week, I was browsing my Facebook feed and, being a fan of Pottery Barn, came across their March Madness contest in my newsfeed. Pottery Barn was taking photo submissions of "Game Watching Headquarters." I just started laughing. "Chri--is? Where is that Maryland banner?"

I'm just tickled pink about the whole thing!