We brought a toddler home from the mall

June 18, 2012

Don’t worry, it was OUR toddler. But when did we get a toddler??

We’d been saying for weeks (months?) that this baby desperately needed a hair cut. The one-snip trim I gave him back in March wasn’t holding up anymore. Just look at this picture from Saturday morning!

So we took a trip to the mall and stopped into Cartoon Cuts for Caelan’s first official haircut.

He was very good for most of the haircut and only started to squirm/cry near the very end. So when we left, we had this handsome guy (with a few leftover tears).

Then we stopped into the kids’ shoe store a few doors down and got him fitted for his first pair of real shoes. He’s been walking for 2 months now and his soft-soled shoes are taking a beating, so we figured it was time for some regular sneakers. Friends told me to go ahead and spend the money on Stride Rite shoes, so that’s what we did. I was shocked to learn that he was a size 4 1/2 extra wide. Just goes to show you how clueless I was about his shoe size, but it does explain why I had so much trouble trying to squish his feet into normal width shoes.

When we got home, we had this toddler. His new hair and shoes make him look so grown up!

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Arbonne Cupcakes

June 14, 2012

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My neighbor sells Arbonne products and she is often hosting parties. She mentioned to me awhile back that she may be wanting cupcakes for an upcoming party and asked about a gluten-free option. When this party rolled around, she initally asked for about 4 dozen cupcakes – some gluten-free, some gluten-tastic.

But when it came down to it, she only needed 2 dozen cupcakes, and none gluten-free. So it ended up being a much more simple order than I expected.

I made 1 dozen chocolate cupcakes (1/2 of this recipe) and 1 dozen yellow cupcakes (1/2 of this recipe). I made 1 1/2 batches of vanilla buttercream icing and flavored half of it with almond extract for the yellow cupcakes and left half of it vanilla for the chocolate cupcakes.

The little toppers are similar to the ones I made for Caelan’s cupcakes, but with only 2 dozen to make, I got them done in no time!


Caelan’s Birthday Party: Cake and Cupcakes

June 8, 2012

Obviously, I was going to make the cake/cupcakes for Caelan’s party. Given how many cakes I’ve made for other people’s birthdays, baby showers, etc it would have just been weird if I didn’t make a cake for Caelan. Plus, my mom always made our birthday cakes growing up so it seemed like the right thing to do. And, of course, I wanted to 🙂

Although, my mom also made our Halloween costumes and I think I’m going to have to let that one go. But I digress…Back to cake 🙂

I decided to do a cupcake tower/display for the guests and a smash cake for Caelan. Here are my inspiration pictures – party supplies from the theme I chose.

I had a ridiculous amount of indecision regarding how many cupcakes to make, how many flavors, which recipe, etc. I was annoyed with myself by the end, but for our 36 guests, this is what I ended up with:

  • 1 6″ round yellow cake
  • 1 batch of vanilla buttercream frosting (divided: blue, brown, medium brown, light brown)
  • 4 dozen yellow cupcakes
  • 1 batch of vanilla buttercream frosting (orange) – 16 cupcakes
  • 1 batch of lemon buttercream frosting (yellow) – 16 cupcakes
  • 1 batch of lime buttercream frosting (green) – 16 cupcakes

I used this recipe for the cake and cupcakes. The frosting is all from the same recipe, I just switched out some of the vanilla extract for lemon extract or lime juice for the lemon and lime versions. I made and colored all of the frosting the weekend before which was definitely the way to go. Having that all ready to go when I was putting things together at the last minute was awesome. Frosting the 4 dozen cupcakes took all of about 30 minutes.

For the smash cake, I printed out the monkey from the napkin (pictured above) and traced his face onto some wax paper. Then I laid that on top of the iced cake and traced the outline into the icing. I used various star and round tips to fill in the monkey’s face with the 3 shades of brown icing. It’s kind of a lot of effort to go through for a cake that’s (hopefully) going to be smashed by a 1-year-old, but it really didn’t take that long to do, and it was cute 🙂

A few weeks in advance, I made the cupcake picks. Using the noise makers (pictured above) for inspiration, I designed some cupcake toppers using MS Word. I cut them all out using a giant hole punch and I also cut out cardstock circles in coordinating orange, yellow, and green. A couple evenings of watching TV and gluing paper to toothpicks, and they were ready to go!

For such a large amount of cake and cupcakes, it actually didn’t take me that long to put together. Honestly, the biggest challenge was clearing space in our fridge for 2 large cupcake boxes and a cake box! But it was a good excuse to clean out the fridge 🙂


Caelan’s Birthday Party

June 7, 2012

Caelan has been sick a lot this past year. Stupid daycare germs. We hoped he’d be well for his party since he had just got over his last sickness about 2 weeks before, but no such luck. The birthday boy got sent home from daycare on his birthday with a fever. Luckily, by the next day he was fever-free and though he wasn’t quite back to his normal happy self, he was a total trooper all day long! He seemed to have a good time chasing balloons and playing with new friends, so overall, it went well!

Here’s a quick summary – photo collage style (click on it for a larger view)

  1. Table Display. The smash cake and cupcakes doubled as the center piece and we filled in with lots of simple, classic party foods like sandwiches, chips & dip, veggies, meatballs, etc.
  2. Caelan’s Month Pictures. This was probably my favorite decoration. I got these cute little jungle placecard holders and mounted each of Caelan’s month photos on colored cardstock. The banner is also just cardstock and ribbon in coordinating colors.
  3. Party Supplies. I chose the Sweet at One Boys 1st Birthday set from Party City and that was the “theme” for the party.
  4. Cooooookies. My sister made two batches of chocolate chip cookies. She makes the best cookies!
  5. Family Pic. This is the best one from my camera (thanks to my brother-in-law for taking pics!) but there seemed to be tons of people standing in front of us taking this same pic, so if anyone got one where Caelan’s looking at the camera, let me know!
  6. Singing Happy Birthday. Caelan is definitely giving me a WTF face. The whole singing/everyone staring at him thing was weird, but he did pretty well!
  7. Cake Smash. Most of the smashing was actually done by me, but Caelan did eat a little bit of the cake. Maybe if he had been feeling better, he’d have dug in more. More on the cake/cupcakes in the next post…
  8. Birthday Balloons and Banner. I only got a few balloons for the highchair and the lamp post outside, but now knowing what a hit they were with the kiddos, I wish I had bought more!

A few pictures of the birthday boy …

The party was so much fun and I’m so happy with the way it came together. Almost all of our guests were able to attend, Caelan got to meet some new friends, Bill & I got to visit with some friends we hadn’t seen in awhile, and everyone was there to happily celebrate our baby’s 1st birthday!

Thank you to my parents for letting us have the party at their house, my aunt and brother-in-law for helping with set up, my sister for baking cookies and helping with set up, and to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for bringing yummy fruit and pasta salad!


Happy Birthday Caelan! (Reflections – Months 9-12)

June 1, 2012

My baby is one year old today. I’ve been looking forward to this day for several months and now that it’s here, I’m happy and sad. Well, not sad, but nostalgic I guess. I teared up singing him Happy Birthday this morning. I didn’t realize I was such a sap!! I miss the teeny tiny baby that he used to be, but I LOVE the grown up baby that he is now. I’m also so proud of Caelan, and proud of Bill and I for how well we’ve adjusted to becoming parents (and for keeping this baby happy and alive for a whole year – go us! :))

Two Days Old – Coming Home outfit

This is the 4th reflections post I’ve written this year, each one covering 3 months of Caelan’s life. Looking back, I think I can give a name to each phase: The Newborn Phase, The Sleepless Phase, The Mobility Phase, and now, The Understanding Phase.

In The Newborn Phase, we were just getting our bearings with this new little person. I don’t remember taking very much time to sit and just look at him because we were always trying to keep track of things (When did he last eat? How many diapers has he had today? When was the last time I ate or took a shower?). But I remember how he fit into the crook of my elbow. I remember the crazy facial expressions he used to make and how everyone said he had my mouth.

One Week Old

The Sleepless Phase was, well, sleepless, for all of us. We spent hours rocking Caelan to sleep every night and then another couple hours in the middle of the night rocking him back to sleep – pretty much every night for 3 months. He slept with us in our bed many times and my back would hurt from a night of sleeping sitting up with a baby on my chest. But still, there was something comforting about the fact that we knew he’d always sleep in our bed with us, even when he wouldn’t sleep anywhere else.

Caelan & Bill napping

The Mobility Phase was a lot of fun. It seemed like every week Caelan would learn a new skill and Bill and I were thrilled to watch him master things like crawling and cruising. Suddenly, the baby who used to lay on his belly and fly was gone….replaced by the baby who was so very proud of himself every time he pulled up on the sofa.

7 Months Old – Flying!

In this most recent phase, The Understanding Phase, we’ve been amazed to discover that Caelan actually understands us when we talk to him! By 10 months, we’d name one of his toys and ask him to go get it and he would. He’d even bring it back to us (if we asked). He also knew Daddy, Beaker, and Jake by name but he took awhile to catch on to Mommy (taking me for granted already, sheesh!). It’s just been in the past week or so that he’s starting to know who Mama is. He’s also started repeating a lot of what we say and says things that sound like “goodbye”, “uh oh”, “ball”, “all done” and a few more, though none of them are spontaneous (except maybe “uh oh”). All the sudden, he’s talking…and it’s not all gibberish! Well, it IS all gibberish, but we understand some of it 🙂

Bill and I disagree on what Caelan’s first word was, but it’s a toss up between “dada” and “ba” (bottle). He says “ba” much more consistently and he clearly means “bottle” (though it also applies to his sippy cup or to anything you can drink out of). But around 11 months old, Bill came in the door and I asked “Caelan, who is that?” and he said clearly “dada”.

I cut Caelan’s hair when he was about 9.5 months old. I’d been talking about it for awhile and one day Caelan was in his highchair eating his dinner, so I just did it. One snip. His bangs had gotten ridiculously long (down to his nose!) and we weren’t ready to take him somewhere for his first official hair cut, so I thought a trim was in order. It’s kind of amazing how different he looked after…older. Now of course, it’s grown out again and he really needs a REAL first hair cut!

Before

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caelan continued to get more and more mobile. It became impossible to leave him anywhere and expect him to stay there. Baby proofing became an ever-evolving project. We blocked of areas with gates or furniture and slowly we gave him more and more space. The goal is to give him free reign over the middle level of our house, but we need to do some baby-proofing in the kitchen first. We’re ready with fancy magnetic locks and somethings that look adult-proof too, but we still need to get them installed.

By 10 months, Caelan had mastered pulling up and cruising and started letting go and standing up on his own. About a week later (April 10, 2012) he took his first steps in our living room from me to Bill. He gained confidence and balance quickly and just 2 weeks later he was wandering around the room, picking up toys on his way. Around 11 months, he started running which was scary for me because it resulted in much more spectacular falls!

11 Months – Walking and taking a phone call!

In addition to getting more and more mobile, we’re also wandering into the toddler realm when it comes to feeding. Caelan has all 8 of his front teeth and is working on his first set of molars now. He’s great at feeding himself and he’s doing really well with a sippy straw cup with water (he hates apple juice!). We are thrilled to leave formula (and the cost!) behind and transition him over to whole milk now that he’s a year old. We’re also starting to try to wean him off of bottles, but it looks like that’s going to take a little while.

Nighttime sleep continues to go well. He has been sleeping about 11 hours a night with no wake-ups for 6 months now! We’ve had a few crying incidents at bedtime in the last month, but usually he goes down without a peep. Naps, however, are a different story. They are usually a struggle and we are almost never able to get him to nap in the crib – we have to hold him. He naps in the crib at daycare, so I don’t know what his deal is! We’d like to get him to nap in the crib at home, but on the other hand, it’s nice to get some snuggle time in with him on the weekends.  It’s crazy to look down at this baby who once curled up neatly on my chest and who is now sprawled all over me snoozing away.

1 Week

10 1/2 Months

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s amazing, but I actually look back fondly on those newborn days. Up at all hours, nursing, trading sleepy emails with Leslie (who had a newborn of her own at the same time), and having nothing to worry about or focus on other than this tiny baby and our family. No work to deal with, no sick days to take, no daycare checks to write.

Our life now is very different than it was a year ago – busier, more stressful at times, more tiring. But those things are forgotten when Caelan has a laughing fit, when he smiles up at me after finishing a bottle, gives me a kiss, or waves and says “bye bye” to Elmo. I love his sleepy smiles in the mornings and how he squeals when one of us is chasing him around the coffee table. I love how he’s changed our life forever and for the better. It’s true what they say – being a mom is both the hardest job and the BEST job I’ve ever had, and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.

Welcome to toddlerhood, baby! We love you meelions!!

1 Year Old!