Archive for January, 2014

January 20, 2014
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The theme for Aiden’s first birthday party was a no-brainer.

The kid has a baseball themed nursery

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He had a baseball themed newborn photo shoot

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It was only fitting that his birthday party was baseball themed, too! Plus, I don’t think his dad would have had it any other way. I had SO much fun planning his party! I am totally IN LOVE with his birthday invites! I tried to get a picture of them to post on here, but wasn’t able to get it to work. If you want to check them out, click here!

I think I got a little carried away with the whole concession stand idea. We had hot dogs (made in a crock pot thanks to Pinterest!), Larosa’s pizza (served at the Cincinnati Red’s stadium), popcorn, peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and nachos. YUM! I bought the adorable popcorn bags at Oriental Trading. I found all of the baseball decorations at Simone Made It, and they were super easy to customize!

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The dessert table was just as yummy as the concession stand! We had baseball cupcakes from Sam’s (super affordable!), ice cream, and COTTON CANDY! Oh, and we also had Double Bubble gum. I put them in a glass baseball that we had gotten flowers in when Aiden was born (thanks, Grandma Marianne!). This party definitely wasn’t the healthiest, but I chose to run with the theme no matter what. I hope no one had belly aches when they got home! HA! I found the cute baseball dessert plates and napkins at Oriental Trading, too. Love that place! 🙂

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I didn’t go too overboard on the decorations, but I was pretty excited about the “Aiden Hit a Homeone” banner I made. I got the idea from Pinterest, and it was the prefect way to display Aiden’s monthly pictures! I am so thankful that my mom and dad let us have the party at their house. As many of you know, our house is pretty tiny and we don’t have much room for entertaining large crowds. Hopefully someday we’ll own a home that can hold all the people we love! 🙂

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We had our guests sign a baseball for Aiden. We will put it in a glass case in his room, just like we did for the ball with his footprint on it from the day he was born. I am a bit obsessed with all these baseballs with sentimental value!

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Aiden loved his baseball smash cake (also from Sam’s!). He was a little hesitant at first, but daddy shoved his hand in to get things started. He ended up literally SMASHING his cake, and it was everywhere. SUCCESS!

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We are so thankful to our family and friends for all of the thoughtful gifts. Aiden has loved every one of them, and so has his sister. 😉

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All the kids went home with a baseball themed goody bag. Inside were baseball tattoos, stickers, a baseball bouncy ball, lollipop (all found at Oriental Trading), and peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and Double Bubble gum. How freaking adorable were the favor tags?! I think they were my favorite part of Simone’s baseball printables!

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We had a great day celebrating our sweet boy. Even though it was a cold and snowy day, we had fun pretending it was baseball season! I hope all of our guests had a great time. We appreciated everyone spending the day with us and loving our little guy!

**Update** I was awarded “Best Decorations” from PartyPail.com for Aiden’s party! They reached out to me after seeing this blog post, and I am honored to accept the award. Of course we thought the party was super cute, but it’s flattering to know that others (even complete strangers!) think so too! 🙂

 

January 20, 2014
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Aiden,

It’s pretty late right now, and boy did we have a fun day celebrating your first birthday! I always love taking time to sit down and reflect on my kiddos on their birthdays, and this is a special one for you. Your first year of life flew by, and was filled with such fun and many, many milestones!

I still remember the day I found out I was pregnant with you. It was March of 2012, and I ran out of the bathroom to tell your daddy. We were both a little surprised, as we got pregnant with you a little quicker than we thought we would, but we were both so excited to grow our family! You gave me a fairly easy pregnancy (compared to your silly sister!), and we all couldn’t wait to meet you. Your daddy was SO excited when we found out that you were a boy! He had a huge grin on his face all day, and I thought everyone knew what you were before our gender reveal party because he couldn’t wipe off that silly smile!

We went in for our scheduled induction on Friday, December 21st 2012 and were preparing for a long labor and delivery. Pitocin was started around 9 am, and you were born at 4:10 with only a few pushes! I instantly fell in love with you. I knew I’d love you, but the idea of having a boy kind of scared me. I knew what to do with girls, but boys were a whole different ballgame. Those worries faded the second you were placed in my arms. Just as your sister wrapped your daddy around her finger, YOU wrapped ME around yours! From the get-go, you would snuggle into my shoulder and want to be close to me. Oh, how I loved having a cuddly baby!

You have continued to be a mama’s boy, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I hope that even when you’re a teenager you will love your mama and we’ll still have our special bond. I’m already starting to dread the day you tell me you’ve met the girl of your dreams. Of course I’ll be happy for you, but you will always be my baby and it’s going to be hard to share you! 😉 You melt my heart and I often catch myself just staring at the handsome little guy that you are. How in the world did I get so lucky to have you?!

One of my most favorite times of the day is putting you to sleep at night. I reserve that job for myself partly because you can be tricky to get to sleep, but mainly because I love our special time together. I feed you your bottle, and then you snuggle up on my shoulder while I wait for you to burp. I swear you were created to fit perfectly on my shoulder, and I love snuggling with you while I sing you songs. I usually sing, “You are my Sunshine,” and will often put in “Aiden” where it says “Sunshine.” You will then lunge for your bed after you’ve had enough cuddles, and will usually drift right off to sleep. You hold your little baseball lovie close to you and sleep soundly the entire night.

Some things I always want to remember about you are:

*Your HAIR! People are always amazed at how much you have, and never believe me when I tell them you’ve already had four or five haircuts in your first year of life!

*You love to eat! Thank the Lord I don’t have to force food down your throat like your sister. But you inherited your father’s weird texture thing when it comes to food. You won’t eat anything that’s slightly slimy, such as most fruits, mashed potatoes, macaroni, cheese, etc. You live off peanut butter sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and grilled cheeses these days.

*You love music. You like to dance, clap, and “sing along” when music is playing. You have good rhythm, too!

*You are super easy-going. You let your sister boss you around, and if she takes your toy, you’ll usually just find something else to play with. You are starting to stand up for yourself more though, which I am happy to see. Peyton isn’t as excited about that as I am.

*You do the funniest crawl/scoot thing. You are so fast at getting around that way that I really don’t think you see any point in trying to walk. I know you’ll be running around the house soon enough, so I’m just enjoying your silly crawl for now.

*Your smile…oh, that smile! You are the easiest kid ever to get to smile. If I just look at you a certain way, you’re grinning ear to ear. You’re pretty easy to get to laugh, too. You are ticklish, especially on your legs when daddy squeezes them. I could look at that smile and listen to that laugh for hours at a time.

I just want to freeze time. I love every stage that you’re in, but I’m a little sad about how quickly you’re growing up. You are such a fun little guy to have around, and I really cannot picture our lives without you. God knew we needed a happy little boy with a head full of hair, and I’m so glad He sent you to us. I thank Him every day for you.

Your first year of life has been a whirlwind, but such a great one. I can’t wait to see what the next years have in store for you!

I love you, my little man!

~Mommy~

Here are his LONG overdue 11 month photos…

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And here are his 12 month pics…

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My parents kept Peyton the night before Aiden’s birthday so that we could spend some special time with just him. We took him to Buck’s for dinner, which is where we took Peyton to celebrate her 1st birthday, too. It’s just a casual little restaurant near our house, but they have the BEST hot chocolate chip cookie and ice cream! We took a candle and sang Happy Birthday to him, and he sure loved his dessert!

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He was super excited to ride in his “big boy car seat” for the first time on the way to and from dinner!

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The birthday boy waking up. He wasn’t too thrilled about his mom taking pictures of him first thing in the morning!

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After his morning bottle, I set him on the floor to play. All of a sudden, I could hear paper tearing behind me. I looked behind the couch, and there was the birthday boy tearing into his present that I was planning on giving him later. So what did I do? I grabbed my camera and let him go at it! Poor Jason didn’t get to see him open it, but I just didn’t have the heart to take it away from him. He loves his Scout Reader!

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On Aiden’s actual birthday, we went to our friend’s birthday party. Riley was born on the same day at the same hospital as Aiden, and his mom is my godmother’s daughter. What are the chances?! Our family had a blast celebrating Riley at Entertrainment Junction. They were so sweet and even got a smash cake for Aiden, too. He was ALL about getting messy, and silly me didn’t bring extra clothes. Thank goodness Ali saved me with some of Riley’s!

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I was going to include Aiden’s first birthday party pictures here, but I have so many from all his different celebrations that this post is too freaking long! I will just do another post about his birthday party. It was super cute, and I can’t wait to share pictures! Stay tuned! 🙂

January 15, 2014
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This little lady was born a little after midnight on Monday night/Tuesday morning. She made her mama work during labor, but her delivery couldn’t have been smoother! I went back on Tuesday afternoon to take pictures of Big Sis Aubrey meeting her new sister. Much more on this birth soon, so enjoy the preview for now! 🙂

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January 07, 2014
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I love Christmas. I always have, but I must say that being a parent during the holidays is the best. There’s just something special about introducing your children to traditions and the magic of Christmas. Peyton was at a GREAT age this year to really begin to understand the holiday season. Jason and I made sure we continued traditions that we loved from our own families, and created new traditions for our own family as well

The mom’s group I have joined through Crossroads had a great meeting about family traditions during the holidays. Carolyn (one of our leaders) gave a wonderful talk about what her family’s traditions were, and listed them out for us to get ideas. I LOVED that idea, and so appreciated her encouragement to think about traditions I want to start for our family. So I am going to list all of the special things we did this year, and include pictures for some of them. I hope this inspires you to think about traditions you would like to either begin or continue with your own family!

*Chippie the elf came to live with us for the month of December. Peyton loved watching him move around our house each day. He didn’t do anything too creative this year, but we’re sure he’ll step up his game next year! He did “decorate” the kids’ tree that Grandma Colleen got the kids!

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*Speaking of the tree, Peyton had fun decorating it. Thanks again, Grandma! Aiden just looked on from his high chair this year. I’m sure he’ll be all about helping to decorate next year!

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*We read lots of books about Christmas before naps and bedtime. Chippie brought the book “The Story of Christmas” by Patricia A. Pingry. It came highly recommended from my good friend Mandi, and I love it! It is a great basic story of the first Christmas for little ones. Peyton will proudly tell you that it’s Jesus’ birthday on Christmas, and that His mom’s name is Mary and His daddy’s name is Joseph. So cute!

*We bust out the Christmas movies in December, too. Our fav’s include the Polar Express and the classic Christmas movies (Rudolph, Frosty, etc.).

*We went to the festival of lights at the zoo (twice!). If you go, I highly recommend seeing the Polar Express in 4D!

*Entertrainment Junction’s holiday display has a great Santa and Mrs. Claus! (Of course the trains are cool, too!)

*PRASCO in Mason’s holiday event. This was an awesome free thing that we lucked into this year. Tickets for it go quick, so I hope we can make this an annual tradition if we can get tickets each year! All the candy and treats at the end were AMAZING! Peyton was in heaven (and so were we!). Someone described it as walking into Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, and I totally have to agree.

*LM&M Railroad’s Polar Express train. It was a little pricey, and I don’t think we’ll do it every year, but it was fun and something we’ll do again in the future.

*Holiday train display at Union Termial. I took the kids with a friend for a play date mid-week and it was great (not too busy). I think it is probably packed on the weekends, but still fun!

*Crossroads’ Awaited Christmas show. If you’ve never been, you need to go! Our little ones have done great watching it, but I know others that got scared. The beginning is a little dark, but the middle and the end are great! I recommend getting tickets in advance (they’re FREE!), as it’s always a packed house. We love inviting our family and friends to join us.

*Of course we had to set out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve before the kids went to bed! Maybe next year we’ll remember some food for the reindeer, too!

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*I always try and take some pictures of the filled stockings and the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve once “Santa” has left.

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We spend most of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our families. We are blessed to have both sets of parents in town, so we get to spend time with everyone. One thing Jason and I decided when we became pregnant with Peyton was that Christmas morning would be reserved for our own little family. I have always loved the idea of sleeping in (IF the kids let us!), staying in our PJ’s, opening presents at our own pace, and letting the kids play with their toys until their little hearts are content. I of course had my camera out and caught the kids seeing the tree and gifts for the first time.

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Peyton was also excited to see that Santa ate the cookies and milk, and that Chippie had left a goodbye note for her and Aiden.

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I plan to take a family photo of us all in front of the tree before opening gifts every year. I used the self timer on my camera, and was actually happy with how they turned out! I don’t usually use this feature, so it was kind of a big deal for me.

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We also started a new tradition this year: we made a “birthday cake” for baby Jesus. Really, it was just Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in the shape of a Christmas tree. If this was going to be a tradition, it needed to be an easy one I could keep up with year after year! Peyton loved helping me make it, and we put four candles on it (one for each member of our family). We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, and then blew out the candles. I must say, it’s one of my favorite things we did this Christmas. In the midst of all the Santa excitement and family get-togethers, it was a nice way to remind ourselves of the true reason for the season! All day Peyton kept saying, “It’s Jesus’ birthday!” Notice that “baby Jesus” stayed next to her or in her hand the entire time. She also had him “eat” some of his cake after we sang. Melts.my.heart.

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Below are some more pictures from Christmas morning (mainly of the kids opening their presents). We decided that another tradition we’re starting is that Santa brings three presents, just like the wise men brought three gifts to baby Jesus. Peyton’s three things that she asked Santa for were a pink house, a (pretend!) kitty cat, and a baby doll. Well, she often asked for a “real baby, but I told her she needed to talk to daddy about that, not Santa! 😉

Of course mommy and daddy (and the dogs!) bought other presents, so they got more than just three. But I think Santa only bringing three will (hopefully) help limit the greed in years to come. They can think of the three things they REALLY want, and then anything they get beyond those are just a bonus! 🙂

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I love that the kids took a break from opening presents to play with the nativity set.

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What is your favorite holiday tradition? Feel free to share in the comments section! Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014!

 

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