Evangeline’s Birthday

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Evangeline “Ellie” Sophia Donohue turned 1 on April 12th (the Sunday before last).

My sweet baby girl appears to have had a great time … her little kingdom (ie our apartment) was transformed into a Frozen wonderland, her friends and family came, she got presents, and best of all, got to eat her very first cupcake (factoid: it turned her poop blue).

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Oaken’s Ice Cold Lemonade, Hans’ Frozen Hearts, and Troll’s Tossed Salad

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Olaf Cupcakes, the Do You Wanna Build a Snowman Station, and Ellie’s First Birthday Cake!

Kristoff's Swedish Meatballs, Sandwiches, Sven's Carrots, Yellow Snow! and Chocolate!

Kristoff’s Swedish Meatballs, Sandwiches, Sven’s Carrots, Yellow Snow! and Chocolate!

 

I threw a rather big birthday party, by my standards. The effects were:

1. Ellie got a magical celebration based on her favorite movie;

2. We had a GREAT time with family and friends, and

3. I discovered that I quite enjoy party planning.

This last part surprised me. As I’ve mentioned before, hosting parties is a source of anxiety. But this time, my “mom self”, who was intent on making it a perfect day for Ellie, took over entirely. You can get a lot accomplished when you let your mom self take over, people. For two weeks, I was on the birthday plan attack. First I Pinterest-ed, then I shopped, and then I designed and collected all the printables, and then I got all the foodstuffs, and then we drove to Ohio for my brother’s wedding the day before (crazy, right?), and then the night before and morning of her big day, I baked/decorated, cut out snowflakes, and basically threw it all together.

Two crises arose that brought out my choleric bossy side. As I mentioned, my brother’s wedding happened the same weekend. So our calendar looked like this:

Thursday – buy all party food, etc.

Friday – drive to Steubenville, Ohio. Hang out with friends, attend rehearsal dinner.

Saturday – attend brother’s wedding and reception. Drive back to Buffalo. Bake cake.

Sunday – decorate cake, go to Mass, get last-minute things at Wegmans, make ALL THE FOODS, decorate the park gazebo. Party starts at noon.

^ That is actually what my Sunday morning looked like. Except that my debit card got declined at Wegmans so I had to leave my cart there and send Brian back for it with his card. Whew. Oh, also, it was waaaaay too windy outside to have the party at the park, which we discovered half an hour before the guests were set to arrive. Needless to say, I was a stress ball.

But … thanks to my wonderful hubby and Ma-in-law, we re-located the party to our apartment, threw up the decorations, and the party was practically perfect. It was crowded, but so much fun! As evidenced in the above pictures, there was Frozen-themed food aplenty, activities for the kiddos, and presents for my baby girl.

The party itself is already solid gold in my memory. But the planning part, too, fills me with a happy feeling every time I think about it, despite the craziness. Whenever I come across my “Ellie’s First Birthday” Pinterest board or computer file, it makes me want to plan another party … so it’s a good thing Brian and I want a big family. There will hopefully be LOTS of kids’ birthday parties in our future!

 

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The Monday that Got Off to an Unusual Start

Yesterday, I awoke wide-awake at four in the morning. Naturally, I deep-cleaned the bathroom, wiped down my kitchen cabinets, cleaned my refrigerator, and took a shower. When I crawled back into bed around half past seven, I drifted back to sleep and then dreamed first that I was driving an RV without brakes, and then that I was shooting at flying cameras with a laser gun. Go figure.

Unfortunately, I was only able to sleep for an hour before Brian woke me up again. I had a doctor’s appointment in twenty-five minutes. Considering that my doctor’s office charges a whopping $115 fee for missed appointments, I’m pretty darn glad he happened to glance at our kitchen calendar while sipping his morning coffee. (Prior to marrying Brian, I regularly got myself into minor crises – such as missing appointments and being charged no-show fees. Those were dark times. Reason #154389 Why I’m Glad I Married My Husband).

Since my doctor’s office is actually next to the apartment cul-de-sac we live in, it normally takes me about a minute to get there. This time took a little longer, as my trek looked something like this:

Buffalo got hit by a blizzard pretty hard the night before, as Buffalo tends to do.

I was cold and my boots were full of snow, but I made it in time. When I got home after my appointment, Brian and Ellie were watching Frozen, which I guess is Ellie’s favorite since it’s the only movie that can hold her attention for more than a minute or two. (Side note: Arendelle was actually inspired by Buffalo. *Every* winter here is an Eternal Winter).

Brian stayed home from class that afternoon, which was great, and I roasted a whole chicken for the first time, which really freaked me out (it’s a dead body, people!). It smelled amazing in the oven, though. And I guess I did it right, because it tasted good, too. Go me. Overall, not a bad day.

This Week’s Miscellany

Weight Watchers Week 1: I finished this week four pounds lighter than I was at the start. Hurray! Have to say, I feel pretty proud of myself. But mostly I’m just grateful to my best friend for life and WW buddy Molly, and her fantastic mom, for surprise-gifting me with a membership and inviting me to do this with them.

This is more or less the face I made when I saw the scale.

This is more or less the face I made when I saw the scale.

Non-dairy news: I have discovered Tofutti, a sour cream substitute (thanks to my ma-in-law for finding it!) – which purports to be Better than Sour Cream, but actually *is* better. My tacos are now faaaaar more satisfying, and I have something to put on a baked potato.

My brilliant hubby: Brian completed his first full week of classes this semester (his university starts their spring semester pretty late). Which now means he’s back to his busy life of juggling the classes he takes, the classes he teaches, the class he assists, and of course, and his home life with Ellie and yours truly. Besides being brilliant, he’s quite a good juggler.

Baby & Me: This week we did a lot of this:

Ellie & Olaf are best buddies

Ellie & Olaf are best buddies

Well, it wasn’t strictly watching movies (I don’t really turn movies on for her very often), but it *was* a whole lot of staying indoors and doing indoorsy things, since we don’t take winter walks unless the sidewalks are clear, which they aren’t.

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In Search of Silver Linings

This year, a priority of mine is to put a positive spin on those little, everyday things that might be frustrating, unfortunate, or downright disappointing. The goal here is to become a more optimistic, cheerful person. Here goes …

  1. Postpartum insomnia kept me awake until 3:30am last night (despite the sleep supplement I took). Silver Lining: I saw my baby giggle in her sleep. Cuteness meter has been broken.
  2. It’s so wintry outside, we’re stuck indoors. Silver Lining: We had a grand ol’ time watching Frozen and singing about building a snowman (when she’s big enough, we will actually build one).
  3. I can’t eat dairy because my nursling has a milk protein allergy. Silver lining: I am losing weight because I can no longer indulgence my love of cheese (cheeeeeese. Oh man, do I miss it)

This will be me once I’m done nursing my baby.

And more importantly, almost any little, everyday mishap can be turned into the opportunity to grow in one of the virtues: humility (something embarrassing), or charity (someone’s annoying you).

Okay, I’m gonna go try to get my mind off cheese …