Saturday, April 30, 2016

Dear Cordelia

Dear Cordelia,

And just like that you are five. Last night I was thinking about the night before your birth- It is a powerful thing to know that the next day your family of two will become a family of three- to know that you are spending your last night as non parents. It's  hard to imagine parenthood; sure you can make lists of your parenting "dos and don'ts" - many of which drastically change once you are in the thick of things, and you can imagine yourself pushing a stroller or going to the park- but you really cannot imagine being a parent. Once your Papa and I held you in our arms our world changed, its a fuller, more joyess, and at times more sleepless, world. 

In the past five years we have learned just how strong the emotions of love, fear, and pride can be. The first time I held you and marveled at your tiny tiny fingers and your perfect little nose I learned what it is for a mother to love her child. Over the next few days we learned what fear really feels like- and as we have watched you grow we have learned to be truly proud. 

Cordelia, I am amazed, and proud, by your empathy towards others. Your concern for the comforts of your baby dolls, your interest in the feelings of our cats, the time you take to try to understand and help your shy friends, and your deep compassion for me when I am sad or overwhelmed. I will never forget the time that I was overwhelmed and sad and you told me that you would help if I could tell you the instructions because we are family and family helps each other. I am often struck by how grown up your feelings seem to be and as your mother I try my best to help you understand them. You are soo excited by people, you love with all your heart and you enjoy making friends.  I hope you will always confide in me and allow me to help. 

This year we have continued to watch your interests grow! Batman, Barbies, Princesses, bugs, fairies, and space- you love it all. You watch Miss Fischer's Murder Mysteries, Blacksmith shows, How's it Made, and Bones with just as much enthusiasm as you do Doc McStuffins and Berenstain Bears. As I spent hours studying for school you sat with me learning the names of the bones and asking detailed questions about the inner workings of the body. Poor Pig gets check ups on a regular basis because you love to listen to his heart, and often when we eat chicken you ask me to name the bones for you.  

You like to try new foods, your favorite vegetable is asparagus, and you eat tomatoes by the handful. You love sushi, cucumbers, pickles, dried seaweed, shrimp, chicken wings, salmon, and all the fruit. You delighted in every picking adventure you went on with Shauna- you still love the funny shaped strawberries the best. 

This year we made it a priority to visit Museums. We have sat in art galleries drawing our own interpretations of  the art on the walls, we have practiced the poses of the statues, and we have learned about the natural world and it's wonders. 

You started asking to sew- in fact you helped make this skirt. We can only do a little at a time before you get frustrated, but you always ask to do more later. 

I am amazed that you have started building memories- this year you told me all about things we did last year. You wanted to recreate events as traditions and you were soo much more excited for holidays and birthdays because you remembered the ones before. As your Mama I feel soo much more pressure to make sure we build good traditions now! 

 You are the funniest kid I know. You have started telling bad knock knock jokes, your favorite number is 1800 (and there are always "like 1800" of anything). You enjoy saying words like "actually" and you say them all the time. Sentences like "Ah, I got you" come out of your mouth, and sometimes your stuffed animals really like to swear- but I am not allowed to laugh at that.

I hope that you always know how important creativity is. You put together costumes, and  tell me wild and detailed stories, you sing (you have even started remembering the words to songs on the radio- especially this one) and dance- I hope that is always you, and that you never change. 

Watching you grow is my greatest adventure. I am learning just as much about myself- my own strengths and weaknesses- as I am learning about you, but I have to say it's more fun to learn about you then it is to learn about me! 

I have no doubt that this upcoming year will be just as big as the last five, that we will grow and change as a family in ways we cannot imagine- just like we could't imagine what it would be like to be your parents. I love you and I look forward to this adventure with you and your Papa. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Twirly Space Dress

The other day in Cordelia's preschool group the kids were supposed to talk about family traditions. One of the traditions Cordelia identified was that every year for her birthday she gets to pick a party theme and Mommy makes her a special dress. I really enjoy making these dresses- it can be stressful because I often leave things until the last moment, but I always love how happy she is with them. 

I picked up this planet fabric awhile ago from the thrift store- I don't think I paid more than $4 for 3 yards of it so even though I didn't have a plan for it, it was too good of a deal to leave it there. Turns out I got it just for this. I kept the bodice simple, no decorations or details on the front- but I added a super full, three tier, twirly skirt,  - perfect for my super dramatic 5 year old.  We picked up a crinoline from our local mom's swap which added even more poof and drama- and because it was her birthday her daddy okay-ed some super sparkly make up. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Cordelia Rockets to Five!

I have lots of thoughts about the fact my daughter is turning five- many of which I am sure I will talk about in another post- but right now I am a little amazed that (with the help of my amazing family) I have successfully thrown five themed birthday parties! Every year my husband says "no more" and every year in my exhaustion I agree....but I just love a good theme! 

This year Cordelia requested an outer space party- and with the help of pinterest (check out our board here)  my sister Shauna and I set to work.  I always figure parties break down into five categories: Invite, food, games, decorations, and the favor.  The invite (the first picture in the post) I made and included Cordelia's favorite planet Pluto (a dwarf planet is still a planet.....)

The Food! 

Shauna came up with most of the food ideas- she is becoming excellent at coming up with themed party foods! We had:

Rocket Dogs served with optional sun spots and mars magma
 (pigs in a blanket on sticks with mustard or ketchup) 
Asteroids (crock pot meat balls)
Space Crunch (veggie tray)
 A watermelon carved like a rocket (with added fruit)
Space shaped Goldfish
Saturn's Rings (Funyuns)
Meteors (orange cheese puff balls)
Yogurt dipped star cookies from Trader Joe's
Moon Rocks (Rice crispy treats shaped like rocks)
Alien Marshmallow Pops 
Galaxy Cupcakes (mini and regular size, with a star shaped one for the birthday girl)
Rocket Fuel (Water- because we gave the kids enough sugar to ruin the rest of the day) 

The Games

I am not big on directing kids at parties- I mostly want to let them run around and act crazy, so our games are pretty unstructured. We had a meteor toss.   

A coloring book- which seems to work well for the kids who want to scope out the activity before they dive in. 

"Pin" the rocket on Pluto. 


Brendon made a cardboard rocket ship that really was the main event! 

We finished off the party with a Pinata- which turned out to be indestructible. After the kids beat at it for awhile Brendon had to cut it open and make it rain candy- which turned out less than ideal because Cordelia got hit in the head with a piece of candy and it hurt pretty bad (she recovered ok with the help of a piece of candy) 

The Decorations 

Behind the food table we hung black table cloths and decorated them with tons of silver stars and a solar system that Cordelia painted.  On the table we added purple table cloths with multi tone purple tulle (to kinda look like a nebula).

Cordelia, Shauna, and I made paper rockets to put up on one of the walls, we hung tons of paper balls from the ceiling, and my mom bought Cordelia lots of star balloons. 

One of my favorite decorations was the future space travel posters- designed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and given to the public for free download here. I am in love with these and I was thrilled that my sister made us super fancy quality prints - I kept them to hang up at home when the party was over. 

The Favor

Our favor was much more simple than in years past but this blue sparkly galaxy play dough was still a huge hit! 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Just Look At The Flowers

Have you ever noticed that when one thing goes wrong it seems like everything goes wrong. February started by taking Cordelia to the Dentist only to be turned away because her health insurance wasn't active. It was embarrassing but I totally handled it with good humor. Then came the hours on the phone to fix it- followed by a glitch in the system that caused Brendon and I to become uninsured. I didn't take this as well. 

 I spent hours and hours and hours trying to fix it. The people who made the mistake treated me like a liar, and in the end, after a great recommendation from a neighbor, I contacted my delegates office. Hours and hours were still spent for a mediocre solution, but I am incredibly grateful for the assistance of my delegates office because I am convinced it wouldn't have ended up resolved without them. 

In the middle of this I received a letter from my school informing me that I was not accepted to the program I have been working towards for the past two years.  Then I had a scare because my beloved Cat's tooth broke. 

I have to admit, that at this point I was wondering when Carol would show up and tell me that it was ok "just look at the flowers"

I think that this is the first time in my life I haven't had a goal for the future. I've had plenty of goals that have failed- but normally I have a second goal by the time I realize that what I am doing is totally the wrong thing for me. It's hard not to take this time to regret the time I spent busting my behind just to be left back at square one.  I feel a little restless, a little lost, and honestly- way behind in life. 

That's ok to admit right? I mean, one of the things I have learned about being an adult (and at 28 it still feels strange to call myself an adult) is that most people don't feel as "grown up" as we think they are. Many of the people we truly admire for being successful, intelligent, awesome, people go through periods of time where they feel lost. 

Many people sit and look at the people around them and think "man, why am I not as talented/successful/intelligent as all these other people in the room". The truth is - the house could always be a little bit cleaner- or more "finished", we could always do with some more money, work is often stressful. Life is hard, and we are all doing the best we can- including those people we think have it all together.   

I ran across a quote from Winston Churchill that goes "Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." This really spoke to me in a way that "when one door closes another opens" really hasn't. It reminds me that no matter how often I am hit by what seems like failure I can choose to fight to keep my enthusiasm and move forward. It reminds me that in life you can't control everything, but you can control your outlook. 

So while I don't know what's next, I do know that I am grateful for this smiling little girl, my strong supportive husband, a cat who turns out is perfectly fine with a lopsided smile, a roof over my head, and the realization that I don't have to figure it all out overnight- I just have to mover forward and enjoy the flowers.