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Carrie Elle

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Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 (or...The Year in Which Many Great and Not-So-Great Things Happened)

I already did one of those "year in review" posts I am seeing everywhere.  This is mostly because my birthday is at the end of the year and I get all introspective and reflective around my birthday.  This year I mostly talked about how incredibly busy 2011 was for my family.

But I realized that I missed many of the finer points of 2011...the little things that contributed to the overwhelming feelings of change and stress and excitement that the entire year brought.

So, here it goes!

To start, I learned a lesson in parenting - never say never.  That was right around when Jack turned two and I was in complete denial about the Terrible Twos (not MY child, right?).

In February, we had a problem with scorpions.  And spiders, and worms.  In our house.  But on the plus side, I went back to California for a baby shower and long overdue visit with friends.

Then we had more scorpion problems.

In April, I came to the realization that maybe keeping Norman, our beloved horse, wasn't in his best interest (or ours either, for that matter).  This was a tough decision, especially because I knew that I was pregnant with my baby girl at that time (and what girl doesn't want a beautiful horse to call her own?).

Then we had even more scorpion problems.  And for good measure, a few more scorpion problems.

In May I realized that our house was actually for sale and we would actually be moving (someday) and I documented my daily walk down our country road (cows and dead snakes included!).

In case you haven't seen enough scorpions yet, here are more.  And here's a picture of one I found in my dryer when taking out the laundry.

In June, I was really pregnant and busy packing because we had accepted an offer on our house - which fell through after the house was about 75% packed.

In July, I freaked out because the baby was about to be born and our whole house situation was up in the air.  But then, she was born and I had more important things to worry about than boring little details like, you know, where the heck we were going to live.

In September, I finally took the kids out in public by myself.  Seems like a little thing, but trust me, it WASN'T.

In October, I got all insightful and grateful for the postpartum help I had (that I thought I didn't want or need).  I also wined about how my kids don't sleep (they really don't).  AND I decided I was going to get all crafty and domestic (which I am totally working on!).  And to cap off October, we had our first Halloween as a family of four.

I thought I'd get all crazy in November and participate in NaBloPoMo.  I almost succeeded in a blog post every day, but not quite...I got lazy at the end of the month.  But I did write this great song, so there's that. Oh...and I learned that one guy basically started Daylight Saving Time because he wanted more daylight to collect bugs.

And that brings us to December.  Jack turned three and we threw him a party at Chuck E. Cheese's. Yeah, probably won't do that again.  Charles and I also celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary (pretty good considering I met him in Las Vegas).

And that, my my year in hyperlinks.

Happy New Year to one and all!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I Saw it on Pinterest! - Homemade Sugar Scrub

I try really, really hard to be crafty and creative.

I want to be that crafty mom who whips up personalized cards for each kid in her child's class at Valentine's Day and who surprises the neighbors with cute little jars of make-it-at-home brownie mix at Christmas.  I want to sew little dresses for my daughter and build garages out of soap boxes for my son's Hot Wheels collection.  I want to decorate my home in homemade decorations that don't actually look like homemade decorations.

I want very, very badly to be that person!

But the truth is, no matter how badly I want to cut and pin and sew and paint like the best of them, I have little natural affinity for such tasks.  I'm really good at thinking, "Oh!  I could do that!" but then scrapping the project once it's halfway done because there ain't no way it's going to look like it's supposed to look.

You can only imagine how much I love Pinterest.  I love it.  LOVE IT!!  I scroll through all the new pins at night as I lay in bed next to the baby and think, "YES!"  "Pin that one, biotch!" and "I can so do that!"  Clever ideas and simple DIY projects that even *I* can accomplish.  It is because of Pinterest that I've actually started to learn to sew.  And that's the beauty of it, really...I am actually *doing* things I have seen on Pinterest.

And that (finally) brings me to today's post.  Since I am trying to be domestic and all, I made Homemade Sugar Scrub for Christmas presents.

I saw this homemade sugar scrub recipe on Pinterest.  The extreme cuteness of the jars drew me in.  The simplicity of the recipe and the inexpensiveness of the project sealed the deal.  It was off to Hobby Lobby for me!

And here is where my Crafty Lessons really begin.  The first thing I learned is that Hobby Lobby, mid-afternoon on a Saturday two weeks before Christmas, is craaaazy.

The second thing I learned is that I wasn't all that prepared.  I ended up having to buy the jars, Mod Podge, paintbrushes with which to apply the Mod Podge, a few stickers, and the ingredients for the actual sugar scrub (which is just sugar, olive oil and essential oils, but I didn't have enough on hand to use).

But once I had everything, I was ready to roll.

The first thing I did was decorate the jars.  This was my first time using Mod Podge and HOLY WOW I kind of loved it.  I am embarrassed to admit how fun it was.

I decided to decorate the jars with stickers because I had a bunch already on hand (although I did end up buying some Texas stickers because, well, who doesn't want a jar with Texas stickers on it, right?).  So, I stuck them on the jar (and the lid!) and applied the Mod Podge.

While it was drying, I mixed up the sugar scrub.  I made two batches.  For the first batch, I followed the directions from the original exactly.  I noticed that it was a bit oily for my personal liking, so I made the second batch a teeny bit different.

Here was my recipe (this made enough for four jars, each serving being about a cup of sugar scrub):

  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil (you can always add more oil if you think you need it)
  • About 35 drops of essential oil (if you want to use different scents, divvy the mixture up into bowls first and use about 8-10 drops for each serving)
Once the Mod Podge had dried I applied another coat and then filled up the jars with the scrub.  

I made labels for each jar as well.  This was easy...I made them out of scrapbook paper and (what else) Mod Podge.  I wrote the ingredients on the label and attached them to the jars with curly ribbon.  

And now...for the finished products!

This one was for my sister-in-law (using stickers I had around the house):

I made this one for my mother-in-law, who really likes Texas and who really likes guns:

This is the label, which would not have been complete without an Alamo sticker (right?):

Butterflies for my other sister-in-law:

And Wizard of Oz for my sister, who likes the Wizard of Oz (and I was secretly thrilled to find a use for these stickers, which have been sitting in my scrapbook sticker collection for probably eight years now):

And from the top!

The lids were on tight but I didn't trust them to stay that way in the mail, so before I mailed these I wrapped them up good and tight in plastic wrap (this step smooshed my curly ribbons and labels but was way too important to skip - imagine the mess sugar and olive oil could make traveling across the country).

The finished product is really great (it works!) and was very well-received.  Everyone loved the jars (which can be re-used once the scrub is gone, or even sooner if they hate the scrub and want to dump it out!) and was excited about the scrub (this stuff smells goooood).  The fact that they are homemade was just the icing on the cake.

I don't know what the final cost was to make them...I made 7 jars and I'd guess it was about $5 per jar, but that is only because I had to buy so much stuff to get started AND I had to ship several.  For future jars, I'll only need to buy the jar (and I'll be keeping an eye open at Hobby Lobby and Michael's so I can pick up several when they are on sale) and the ingredients.

And with that, my first "big" Pinterest project is complete.

It may be small, but it's a start...One step closer to being Domestic Mrs. Lindsey.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 21st of December

It's that day of the month again!  The 21st of...December.

The day of the month in which my baby becomes a new age (five months old today!) and I record my whole boring day in hourly photos so someday I can look back and realize how things have changed and how truly, this too *did* pass.  You know how sometimes you wonder if things will ever, ever change or if you'll be attached to the couch nursing a baby for the rest of you life, or if you'll be negotiating with a toddler for all of eternity, etc.?  That's why I'm doing keep some perspective.

And without further ado, I bring you...the 21st of December (which just happens to be my favorite month of the year, holla!).

7:00 AM

I am off to a good start!  By some miracle, I actually wake up and remember to take a picture.  Waking up in a pleasant mood is no small feat for me.  I can honestly say that seeing this precious little face first thing in the morning helps.  A lot.  Also?  It helps that Charles takes her so I can sleep in a bit most mornings.  Those 30 child-free bed with a pillow over my head to drown out cries and screams from The Dictator dragon-child Jack are a huge part of my morning routine...for, as unpleasantly as I might wake up, Jack has me beat.  I need this time to feel nicer.  And it helps that by the time I get out of bed, Jack has had something to eat and settled down in front of a train movie and is also nicer.  Win/win.  

8:00 AM

Aww!  Look who's happily entertaining herself when I get up.

9:00 AM

Baby is nursing/napping.  Jack is playing in the room with us.  I am pretty sure it's impossible to have a baby nap when there is a toddler in the house.  Luckily, Jack will entertain himself many times while the baby naps on me.  If I put her in her swing or bed, she tops out at about a 20 minute nap.  

10:00 AM

A month ago, Claire wanted to get Jack's toys.  Now she actually can.  She has scooted over to his train tracks and is taking his trains.  You can see it's blurry here...that's because he just pulled it away from her.  Luckily he still thinks this is mostly cute.

11:00 AM

I get the baby to sleep again and put her in her swing.  While she's down, I run out and set Jack up with paints.  He needs to paint this frame for a Christmas present for his great-grandmother, who's turning 97 next month.  Here he was telling me, "Look!  Two paintbrushes!"  Painting with Jack is actually a pretty easy deal.  He keeps pretty clean, mostly, and is bored after about 15 the mess is really minimal. The baby woke up right after I took this. Because that's what she does.

12:00 PM

There has been some serious Christmas crafting going on around here.  See those little jars in the middle of the table?  That's something I learned to make on Pinterest...I've got a post all about it in the works (it's homemade sugar scrub).  Anyway, this disaster needed some cleaning.  Only, Charles ended up shoving everything in a box while I was getting the baby to nap shortly after I took this.  I am not happy about that. And I haven't had a chance yet to get the box cleaned.

1:00 PM

At 1:00 PM, Jack is doing "quiet time" and Claire is napping on me.  And this picture?  Yeah.  We are still in our PAJAMAS.  Sigh.  That's her little polka-dotted bum resting on my big polka-dotted leg.  

2:00 PM

Shockingly, an hour later the baby is still asleep (which is due to the fact that she's asleep on me) and Jack is still partaking in quiet time (aided by another train movie, in this case The Polar Express).  I am browsing Reddit on my phone and happen to be looking at this picture.  Some of the stuff on Reddit just cracks me up.  This picture is no exception (and no, there was no explanation that went along with the picture).

3:00 PM

I forget to take a picture at 3:00.  This is because we are trying to get out of the house to go to a doctor's appointment for the kids (wellness visits).  And this turns out to be awesome...we actually FIND A DOCTOR WE LIKE.

Claire is 26" long and weighs 15 pounds, 4 ounces.  To compare, Jack (at four months) was 23" long and weighed 17 pounds 2 ounces.  They both have giant heads.  

Jack is now 37" and 32 pounds.

5:00 PM

Doctor appointment over, we are on our way to some serious deliciousness.  

7:00 PM

Home, Sweet Home!


The kids are bathed and drying off by the fire.  They are so damn cute!  Claire is scooting around like a champ and Jack is building (what else) train tracks.  

9:00 PM

The baby is asleep in my arms and I'm going through all of my favorite apps on my phone.  I've checked facebook and twitter about a hundred times each and now I'm back to Reddit.  

10:00 PM

It's not quite 10:00 PM yet, but close enough!  I'm writing this in the dark of my room because Charles is playing video games online with his friends and I'm just not that interested in going out there and listening to the profanity while I try to get this posted.  But, as soon as I hit "publish" I probably WILL go out there because I want some chocolate.  And we have chocolate.  Mmmm.  Yummy.

Well, I'd continue or get all insightful here...but no joke...I want some chocolate.  

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Here I Am Again...Only This Time, I'm Turning 34


What. A. Year.

Last year (for my 33rd birthday) I wrote this post, sort of a State of the Union Address for me and mine.  In short, when compared to my previous (32nd) birthday, I: weighed more, was in more debt, still hadn't been back on a horse, still wasn't drinking as much wine as I'd like to, still didn't have time to read books, and was still living in a house and location I wanted to leave behind.  So basically...nothing changed except I got a little fatter and we racked up some debt due to massive home repairs (not even fun stuff, I'm talking actual repairs - boring).

Well, one thing had changed...I was pregnant...but it was still early when I wrote that post, which is why I didn't share it.  At the time, my pregnancy only made me *that much more* aware that I needed to lose a few pounds, wanted to move and had an extra million dollars (not quite, but felt like it) in loan payments each month.

So where are we today?

Well.  I'm 34.  34!!  Maybe one day I will stop acting surprised when I am a year older on my birthday.  But not this year.

I just don't feel like I'm old enough to be 34.  I'm still a kid!  I like ska music and ride horses every day and  drink flat Boone's farm on the weekends and whine about how tough it is being enrolled in junior college.  That's who I am.  Right?

WRONG.  Tonight (I don't even want to write this), Charles called me a...cougar.  Yeah.  He said 34 is official cougar-status (I mean, aside from the fact that I look way younger than I am and I'm married and not on the prowl for younger men, and even if I was single I still wouldn't be on the prowl for younger men...I would totally be looking for old and rich - kidding/not kidding).

So, I'm not a cougar but I'm also not the young girl "struggling" to make it through my early 20's anymore and drinking Boone's Farm every weekend (flat because I don't like carbonated drinks) because we all know Brass Monkey makes me puke.

The years are just going by so damn fast!

With years like 2011, it's no wonder.  I still haven't had time to sit back and breathe.  Here's the short version of 2011:

Find out I'm pregnant (technically, that was 2010), put our house up for sale, work a lot, get more pregnant, Charles gets laid off for the second time in six months, get an offer on the house (from crazy people, but desperate times call for desperate measures so we take a leap of faith and sign the contract), Charles gets a new job, we find new house and make offer, I quit my job of 5+ years, our house falls out of escrow (lesson learned!), we get new offer from another set of buyers and house goes back into escrow, we pack and do more packing, Jack decides to make good on the "terrible twos" as everyone and their mother has promised us he would, I have a baby, we move to our new house with a 6-day-old, and from that point until now I have been learning to be a Stay at Home Mom (which, shockingly, involves a lot of...staying home...) while Charles has been busting his heiny at his new job so we can enjoy our new house and location and hopefully use this upcoming year to GET OUT OF DEBT.  Oh yeah!  And I still haven't ridden a horse and I still don't fit in any of my pre-second-pregnancy jeans.
    So, it's been a busy year.

    I can cut myself some slack in the weight department because, well, I just had a baby.  I am comfortable with the debt because we have a plan in place to crawl out of this hole, we have implemented it, and we really, really like it here (which makes it worthwhile).  Charles bought me some riding lessons for our anniversary.  So, I should be on a horse in the next few weeks.  Woo-hoo to that!  And there is a bottle of wine in the kitchen just begging me to drink it (which I will, as soon as I am not sick...damn you, sinuses).

    I feel like 2011 has been the busiest year of our lives.  

    I feel like 2012 is going to be amazing.  I really do.  

    34, you say?  This cougar is down.  Bring it.

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    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Party at Chuck E. Cheese's - a Recap and a Lesson Learned

    Do you see this creepy, child-sized, helium-filled rat?

    The rat balloon and a cup of about 100 tokens (which spilled in the diaper bag and are mostly still floating around in there, yay) are all we have left to remind us of the chaos that was Jack's 3rd Birthday Party.

    Yesterday Charles asked me if I would have another party at Chuck E. Cheese.  The answer was a quick and loud "NO."

    But not for the reasons you might think.

    It all turned out okay and we didn't have to clean or provide any food - but - it was a mistake to have a party at a crowded, kid-filled location for a kid who doesn't

    Like all three-year-olds (I assume), Jack is still working on his social skills.  He is easily overstimulated and overwhelmed and trying to find his spot in this world.  As a result, he's kind of unpleasant around new kids  (actually, make that pretty much any kid who goes near his toys or who he perceives as a threat, and he's like America on defense...everyone's a threat).  He gets a little worried, thinking all of the children on this planet are out to get his toys, and truth be told it can all be a little exhausting.

    How many times in one day can I say, "Don't worry about other people," "Be nice!" and "They aren't going to get your toys/take your cake pop/touch our car!"

    But this is nothing new.  I *know* this.  And yet, we still chose to have his party at Chuck E. Cheese's (where a kid can be a kid!).

    I already explained my logic for having the party at another location.  What I didn't touch on was some random need (of mine) to accommodate everyone else...making sure the kids would have a good time, no one would be left out, etc.  What I missed in that equation was my own child's needs.

    They say (I don't know who, exactly, "they" are, but I've seen this advice in more than one place) that you should invite one kid per year.  So in this case, Jack was turning three - so we should have invited three kids.  Charles suggested this.  I turned him down.

    In hindsight, a little party with cupcakes (and no presents) with the neighborhood kids would have been perfect.  And then, we could do it again next weekend with family.  Small, relaxed get-togethers that would have been in Jack's comfort zone and that he might have actually enjoyed.  He says he had fun at Chuck E. Cheese's, but that's up for debate.  Between trying to hit strange children and yelling at his party guests to stay away from him presents, he was pretty on-edge.  And you can only imagine how I felt about all of that...

    So, while it was fun to see everyone and nice to have the food/decorations/party favors all taken care of (and shout out to Chuck E. Cheese's party organizers here, they did an amazing job and I can only hope the tip we left was big enough to thank them for their hard work!), I would not do this again.  Not for a three-year-old still working on his social skills, anyway.  For a kid between the ages of 5-7 I think it would be a big fat WIN (and it was a huge hit with the party guests who were old enough to know the real value of tokens and tickets!).

    Lesson learned...birthdays are about the person celebrating the birthday.  Always.  Next time, Jack gets an age-and-personality-appropriate party (actually, make that an age-and-personality-appropriate get-together...I'm all partied out).

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    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Once Upon a Time, I Met a Guy at a Blackjack Table in Las Vegas and Married Him

    I was sitting in a history class once (in college - which, for the record, I didn't finish) and for some reason or other, the teacher brought up getting married in Vegas.  Specifically, the teacher was joking that you wouldn't take a marriage seriously if someone got married in Vegas because we all know those marriages never last (keep in mind this was in Southern California, and Vegas was only a short drive away...close enough that you could probably get drunk, decide to go get married in Vegas, and still be drunk when you got there).  I don't remember what the actual lesson was, but this comment was somehow or other related to the day's lesson.

    The reason this memory sticks with me is not because the teacher said no one who gets married in Vegas stays married (there's probably some truth to that), but because one student took offense and said something along the lines of, "Well, MY parents got married in Vegas and they've been married for over 20 years now." I remember turning around in my seat (along with everyone else) to see this person because, quite frankly, I thought getting married in Vegas *was* a bit cheesy and I was more than a little annoyed by this interruption when clearly the teacher was making a point and not slamming anyone's parents for getting married in Vegas.

    At the time I was probably twenty years old.

    Little did I know, in a few short years *I* would be getting married in Vegas.

    But I hold Las Vegas near and dear for another reason, too.

    I met my husband at a Blackjack table in Las Vegas when I was 21 years old.

    That's right.  I met my husband when I was 21 and married him just over a year later.  Most of the first year of our relationship was long distance (he lived in Texas, I lived in SoCal).

    I can say, without a doubt, that fate brought us together.

    My friend Sara and her mom were in Vegas for her 21st birthday.  She wanted her two BFFs, me and Jesika, to come with.  But we were both broke and couldn't afford a stay at the brand-new Mandalay Bay (which was opening the weekend she was turning 21).  So, we stayed home.

    The day before Sara's birthday, we decided "what the hell - let's go surprise Sara in Las Vegas!  She will love it!" and just like that, off we went.

    **I should say here that I was still broke.  I had $40 to my name - two $20 bills in my purse.  I don't actually remember WHAT THE HELL I WAS THINKING going to Vegas with only $40.**

    I should also say here that this was before cell phones were mainstream.  This was 1999.  Yeah.  We picked up and drove to Vegas to surprise our friend and all we had to get ahold of her with was her pager.  Remember those?

    So, we get to Vegas and lo and behold, the weekend a hotel opens up is craaa-zy.  We wait (forever) in line at the Mandalay Bay to see if they'll give us Sara's room number.  They don't.  Because she's not even there.  They tell us the hotel was overbooked and she's been set up in the Venetian,

    21 and if nothing else, full of boundless energy (and not likely any alcohol, because we were broke, remember) we headed to the Venetian.  We paged Sara, over and over again, from the hotel phone.

    I can't remember how we eventually met up with Sara, but sometime, late that night, we did find her.  And our plan had worked!  She was so excited to see us!

    If only we knew, at this point, that we were about to meet my future husband.

    Jesika and I were dying to learn how to play Blackjack.  We convinced Sara's mom to show us the ropes and sat down at a table with $5 Blackjack hands (because I had $40 on me, clearly I needed to be playing Blackjack, right???).

    Lady Luck was good to me.

    My money lasted a long, long time.

    Sometime around 2:00 AM, a handsome young man stumbled up to the table (ok, at the time I didn't think he was stumbling but I've since learned that if Charles is loose in a casino after midnight, he's going to be stumbling).  Sara, Jesika and I whispered and flirted.  He was from Texas, y'all.  He wore a shirt that was tucked in.  He knew how to play Blackjack.  He used to live in San Diego, not far from where I lived.

    I liked him.

    But we had to leave.  We were out of money, didn't have a change of clothes and didn't want to stay in the hotel room with Sara and her family (umm...once again...WTF were we thinking when we decided to just pick up and go to Vegas...!?).

    We stood outside the hotel (the Venetian, thanks to the overbooked Mandalay Bay) and said our goodbyes.  Charles took down our addresses so he could send us postcards.  I hugged him goodbye, and in that second, after just a few short hours of meeting him, I knew (absolutely, 100% knew) that I was going to marry him.

    Yeah, he lived in Texas and I lived in California and we were both broke college students and I had a boyfriend and he was there with an ex-girlfriend he'd broken up with right before their planned trip to Vegas with her family, but that didn't matter.  I knew this was my future husband.

    And guess what?  I was right.

    A year and a half later, at the age of 22, I married him.  In Las Vegas.

    Tomorrow is our 11th wedding anniversary (take that, history teacher at Palomar Junior College in 1998!).

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    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Happy Birthday to Jack (or, OMG...My Baby is THREE!?!?!)

    Jack is three years old today.

    When Jack's first birthday rolled around, I found myself feeling a little weepy for the entire week leading up to the big day.  I could not believe that my baby was turning a whole year old.  Where did the time go?  How did he go from this...

    To this... just 365 measly little days (the second picture was taken on his first birthday, which also coincided with his first ear infection and first trip to the doctor for something other than a Well Baby Visit...and you can see my sad attempt at giving him Tylenol all over his shirt).

    As two rolled around, I felt a little emotional...but I contribute this to pregnancy hormones (I was a few weeks pregnant for his second birthday).  We kept saying that he was no longer a baby, but when I look back at this picture from his second birthday, he sure looks like a baby to me!

    And that brings us to the Big Three.

    In the days leading up to this birthday, I haven't felt the same "my baby is no longer a baby" sadness that I felt the last two years, mostly because there is no doubt in my mind that Jack is no longer a baby.  He's a kid.  A little kid, but a bona fide "kid" nonetheless.  No more baby boy for me.

    The weeks leading up to Jack's birthday have also brought about another "never say never" experience - you know, one of those things you will never do, yet here you are...doing it.

    A few months ago, when Claire was just a wee three weeks old, we took Jack to Chuck E. Cheese's for the first time.  While we were there, some kid was having a birthday party in the party area (right next to our booth).  It was loud.  Chuck E.'s mouse costume looked dirty and Jack yelled "I don't want to see the mouse!!" when he made an appearance at the party.  There were lots of kids running around.  It was impersonal.  The "live show" was...dare I say it...cheesy.

    I said (out loud and in front of three adult witnesses), "We will NEVER have a party here."

    Go ahead and start laughing now.

    In my head, we would have a train party or an airplane party or an ANYTHING-OTHER-THAN-CHUCK-E-CHEESE-PARTY.  I would bust out handmade invitations.  My mom would make the cake.  I would thoughtfully put together age-appropriate games centered around the party's theme and hand out the kind of party favors parents actually *want* to take home.  Jack and Claire would wear matching outfits.  This would all take place in our new home.  It would be perfect!

    But then November came around.  The first week passed.  The second week passed.  I suddenly realized I hadn't picked out a party theme or date, let alone started on my handmade invitations.

    So we decided to maybe think about having the party elsewhere.

    I started calling around.  Gymboree, Little Gym, the airplane museum, the local bounce house place.  It appears that, umm, you need to book these kinds of parties more than a few weeks in advance (lesson learned).  Also?  It appears that these kinds of location parties are expensive.  And you have to bring your own food.

    Charles suggested, more than once, Chuck E. Cheese.  I said no.  Then, after being told by the third party location I called that nothing was available until January unless I wanted to schedule my party for 9:00 (AM or PM), I just went to the damn Chuck E. Cheese website and took a gander.

    Food for all the kids?  Chuck E. Cheese e-vites?  Party favor bags and balloons and tokens for all the kids?  And (best part) no clean-up afterwards?


    I booked it.

    I won't lie - I'm feeling a little guilty and lame about the whole thing.  But I'm also feeling relief (and really, this isn't really about me, even though I have somehow turned this blog post into a story about me and my party-planning-failure - it's about Jack and he really likes Chuck E. Cheese's).

    And I can spend all my non-party-planning-and-preparing time thinking about how I can't believe it was three years right now that I was in the hospital pushing out a kid.

    Specifically, this kid:

    My three year old.

    My bright, vibrant and insightful little boy who I give thanks for every day.  The boy who substitutes the "L" sound with the "Y" sound and says, "Can I please have a bowl of Yucky Charms?" The boy who loves trains, cement trucks, trash trucks and pretty much anything with wheels.  The boy who today came up and kissed my hand and said "There, Mom, that's so you can feel better" after hearing me complain that I was sick.  The boy that now calls me "MOM" more than he calls me "Mommy" or "Mama" (when did that happen??).

    I am so proud of him.

    Happy Birthday little man!

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