Archive for the ‘Birthday’ Category

  • One in a Lifetime

    Date: 2014.05.19 | Category: Baby, Birthday, Family, Health, Life, Me, Photography | Response: 3

    Sometimes life will give you those once in a lifetime moments. One such moment came for me when my sister asked me to be present for the birth of her son. That’s a big gift and a lot of trust to give to someone. When you’re laboring, your emotions and body are bare and you need to be surrounded by people you love and trust. I’m so thankful my sister counted me as one of those people.

    It was so neat to experience labor from this side, having gone through it myself before. The whole process truly is amazing and I’m proud to say I never once felt faint or woozy. Shannon had a great team of people coaching her and pushing her through it, and she birthed her big ole nearly 9 pound baby boy like a champ.

    The experience also allowed for some once in a lifetime photos. It was so amazing to be able to capture these moments.

    Here were some of my favorites.

    Welcome to the world Landon Robert. Your Auntie Jess already loves you so much. And way to go Shannon! You are one amazing mama.

  • 3rd Birthday: The Party!

    Date: 2014.04.29 | Category: Birthday, Family, Food, Friends, Mark, Me, OMG YAY!, Sarah | Response: 7

    Sarah’s third birthday party was a great success!

    Per her request, we made the party Frozen-themed. We had it at our house and opened up the backyard to a bunch of her friends.

    I love throwing her birthday parties. Some people may roll their eyes at the detail I put into birthday parties (*cough*Mark*cough*), but I sincerely enjoy planning and executing all of it. Plus, this year she was old enough to appreciate so much of it and was so excited.

    Plus my mom and both of my sister (one of whom is 9 months pregnant) helped me pull it all together.

    Here’s the birthday girl’s spread! It included carrot Olaf cupcakes and vanilla princess cupcakes, plus lots of blue, purple and white food.

    The birthday girl had a special shirt from my friend Kristen at Evangeline Made.

    Norah had her own birthday appropriate shirt too.

    We had so many of our best friends come, including my best friend Susan (who lives in Biloxi now) and her family – I guess Norah can be included as part of her family. Susan is like her auntie after all.

    The kids had fun jumping on Sarah’s new trampoline…

    Playing on the fort…

    And decorating cookies at the station we set up with our old front door (hey upcycle!) Mom baked all the cookies in the shapes of snowmen, snowflakes, crowns, castles and shoes. I’m sure the parents appreciated me setting out lots of sugar for their kids to eat. The kids liked it anyway.

    Everyone was so generous and Sarah got lots of goodies including her beloved Doc McStuffins dress up outfit.

    And everything else a princess might possibly need.

    Oh, and we had some very special guests! My sister MC and her friend Kirstie came as Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. Sarah absolutely loved it and all the kids took turns greeting the princesses and taking pictures with them.

    We gave out Frozen coloring books for party favors.

    It was an awesome third birthday party and I’m so glad it was such a great success.

    P.S. This photo of Mark and my nephew at the party is my favorite.

  • Happy Birthday Mark!

    Date: 2014.04.23 | Category: Birthday, Family, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Norah, Sarah | Response: 3

    Today I get to celebrate the birthday of my best friend, my husband. Last night, while I was thinking about his birthday, I realized that this is the tenth of his birthdays we’ve spent together. Ten times I’ve sung for him and celebrated another year of his life.

    The first time we were still newly infatuated with one another, another time we were newly weds. Then Sarah came and helped us celebrate those birthdays, once when she was less than two weeks old. And this year Norah joined the celebration.

    Sarah was so excited about her daddy’s birthday this year that I let her pick out a card for him. She emphatically chose one with a pink mermaid and dolphin on it with wishes for the Birthday Girl. She wouldn’t be dissuaded and could not wait to give it to her daddy this morning. He loved it, of course. She also took great joy in thwacking Mark in his still sleeping face with her present for him – a CD and a box of twinkies.

    Norah also gave her daddy a special gift – loudly and proudly yelling out her first word, “Da da!” over and over again. Mark beamed and so did I.

    I gave him a new ice tea maker, an extra pitcher, some tea and the second Walking Dead book – all of which he loved.

    Birthdays are different now – no celebrations at the Blind Tiger during happy hour. Instead Mark and I got to enjoy lunch together, chowing down on burgers at the Twisted Root (which was really great, by the way).

    Last night I asked Mark, “So, how does your last night as a 36-year-old feel?”

    He said, “No different really. I still have my beautiful wife by my side and my two sweet little girls.”

    We are all about family these days, and though our sleep may be continually interrupted and it’s harder to find time to go out for a drink, I am so thankful that we get to celebrate another birthday together, for the tenth time.

    Mark is a special guy, and on his birthday especially, I’m so happy and proud that he’s my guy.

    Happy Birthday Mark! I love you.

  • Three

    Date: 2014.04.11 | Category: Birthday, Family, Life, Love, Me, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 10

    Oh Sarah Girl.

    It’s April again and that means you’re officially another year older. Three is weird because, in a way, I feel like you turned three months ago when we brought your sister home and you suddenly grew up. You started talking all the time, became braver, listened better to us and became aware of your sister and her moods and occasionally even wanted to take care of her.

    But that was two and this is three.

    Three is silly conversations and repeating phrases. It’s telling me that you “fell like a giant” when you were pushed and how you love to play blocks and paint at school each day. Three is singing memorized songs out loud and off key, but we don’t mind. “Let It Go” is your theme song, your mantra, and it’s something we all try to do.

    Three can be bossy. “Mama turn that light on. I want crackers. I can’t reach my sunglasses, give them to me!” But it’s also learning consequences, rewards and manners.

    Three is learning how to say no without saying no: “Not now mama, maybe tomorrow.”

    Three is potty trained and independent. It’s determination and stubbornness. It’s tantrums and giggles. It’s teasing and playing games.

    Three is huge imagination. A towel is a cape, a bandana is a princess dress, a bucket is a castle and blocks are an ice cream cone. There are plays and games and we are all players to the roles you assign us. “I’m Anna and you’re Elsa mama. Daddy’s the reindeer and Sister is the snowman.”

    Three is dancing and running and jumping for joy. It’s dressing up and doing hair and already asking for “purple eyes” (makeup). Three is insanely stubborn about outfits, always wanting to wear “soft pants” (leggings).

    My girl, you’ve been coming into your own all year, and it’s easy to see how you got here. You love warm hugs (like the snowman) and are so generous with kisses and “I love you’s.” You love to build things and let out raucous giggles.

    I love every moment (even the tough ones). I don’t know what the future has in store for us, but you are a bright member of our family team and I am so very glad and so very thankful that you’re my daughter.

    Happy Birthday my little love.

    Sarah’s 3rd Birthday from Jessica on Vimeo.

  • Saturday, Saturday

    Date: 2014.03.26 | Category: Baby, Birthday, Family, Friends, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 3

    I feel like my last few posts have been a bit of a downer, so let me tell you about some of the really great things going on, because there are so many!

    This past weekend was so wonderful.  On Saturday we went to a birthday party for two of Sarah’s best buddies. The twins live right down the street from us and had an awesome cowboy birthday party.

    Sheriff Sarah was thrilled with her cowgirl outfit. (Pardon our concrete floors – we’re having new ones installed Monday).

    There were pony rides that went really well… until the pony actually started moving.

    There was a petting zoo of goats…

    And bunnies and chickens.

    There was an awesome set up for photos, though Norah was unimpressed.

    Also, cupcakes!

    That night continued to improve.

    Mark and I finally had a night out with just the two of us – the first in months.

    We started out at The Blind Tiger, our old haunt back before kids that serves up great food and beer. We knew the bartender and the owner and had a great time kicking back and enjoying ourselves. They had Abita Strawberry on tap – a local and seasonal favorite, which made the evening that much better.

    From there we left to go see  the Elton John in concert. I won free tickets from our local newspaper to go to the show – something amazing in and of itself.

    The show was so good. He played for three hours straight, singing tons of hits. They had a camera on his hands so the audience could watch him play piano. He was full of energy and knew how to work the crowd.

    And check out that crazy chandelier that kept changing colors and moving all around. Truly an amazing and fun show.

    We got home late, but we had a great time. Thanks to my mom for watching the girls for us and allowing us some much needed down time.

  • Birthday Party Extravaganza

    Date: 2013.04.30 | Category: Birthday, Family, Friends, Life, Mark, Pregnancy, Sarah | Response: 5

    We have been up to our eyeballs in birthday parties.  Sarah now thinks every weekend means a bounce house and cake, which is just fine by her.

    There was Cousin Jacob’s second birthday party.

    One of my favorite photos of my family ever.

    And the Belle and Evie’s Tea Party – where Sarah decided she’d rather skip the whole sitting down at a table part and just wear hats.

    And then Mark’s birthday celebration -  more food and cake and a grill cover she was rather taken by.

    And Mia’s Scooby Doo party too!

    Throw in visits to see my grandparents, a trip to the Maker’s Fair (where I bought that adorable owl dress), lots of visiting friends and family, it’s no wonder we are both exhausted (but happy). And all that staying busy also means that this pregnancy is flying by. My phone notifies me when I’ve started a new week of pregnancy, and Sunday took me by surprise when it lit up with “18 weeks.” That’s right. I’m almost half way done with this pregnancy already and it still feels like I just started it.

    We have events the next two weekends too, and then we’re taking a much needed family vacation. The waves and the sun are calling my name.

  • The Party

    Date: 2013.04.16 | Category: Birthday, Family, Food, Friends, Home, Life, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Style | Response: 11

    So the birthday party went really well this past weekend.

    Though when Sarah woke up with fever Friday morning, I had a minor freak out and briefly thought we were going to have to cancel the whole party and all the work I put into it. But, I took her to see the doctor where she was quickly diagnosed with double ear infections. She started an antibiotic and we were back on track for the second birthday party extravaganza the following day.

    I went just a little overboard (or, if you ask my husband, WAY overboard) planning her party because I was so excited about it and because I can be a bit obsessive about what goes into food.

    We themed it a “Mad Tea Party,” partly because Sarah girl loves to play tea party, partly because she’s mesmerized by Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, and partly because I have the cutest Alice dress for her – and went from there.

    I took photos to put on the invitations and I was really pleased with how they came out.


    I also ordered her this shirt for the actual party because I knew she’d be hitting the dirt running and a dress isn’t always the most practical outfit for that.

    I also made a banner and cupcake toppers, and purchased some tea party decorations and “mad” party favors from Oriental Trading Company.

    Isabella models some of the “mad” party favors.

    For the big day we had a jump house, a big long table and lots of balloons.

    My awesome sister-in-law volunteered to help me the night before, and we put together most of the food, which included carrot cupcakes, strawberry and cream cupcakes, three kinds of sandwiches, corn dip and fruit salad. My mom and sister also brought a couple of food items for me. It was all dye free and safe for kiddos!

    The day of the party we were scrambling to get everything together, but it came together just in time AND, miracle of miracles, Sarah napped right up until party time. By the time I woke her up, the party was underway and she truly was in Wonderland.

    I’m not sure which the kids enjoyed more – the jump house or the giant pile of leaves we didn’t dispose of before the party.

    Oh and my wild, wonderful, beautiful sister dressed up as Alice for the party. She was a hit, especially with the older kids!

    I was so fortunate to have Kelly there of Powell Photography taking photos. Despite all the DIY projects leading up to the party I invested myself into, I’m battling terrible sciatica and heart skips this pregnancy, which made staying on my feet and taking pictures for 2-3 hours impossible.  Plus I wanted to be able to enjoy the party and Sarah without having to try to make sure I captured it all on camera. That truly was the biggest relief of the party!

    We couldn’t have had better weather or a better turnout. I’m so glad this girl’s second birthday party was a huge success!

  • TWO

    Date: 2013.04.11 | Category: Birthday, Sarah | Response: 11

    So this is what two looks like.

    Two looks like pigtails and wild hair, bruised shins and toothy grins. It looks like shovels and dirt, spaghetti and burritos. It looks like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and “cuckor crayons.” Two looks like carrying baby dolls and giving kisses, pointing to eyes and “dose” and “mout.” Two looks like swimming in the tub and clapping hands. It looks like unreasonable tantrums and battles of will at the dinner table. Two looks like diving into leaf piles and hopping all over the house. It looks like daring, climbing and pushing the limits.

    Two sounds like “Wuv you” and “Hi dada!” and “’Sillwee’ girl.” It sounds like “’Mindy’ Mouse” and “fruit ‘pow’” and, when she’s done with something, “Dere!” It sounds like “tinkle tinkle wittle store” and “nana peas” (banana please).

    Two smells like Burts Baby Bee shampoo, dirt and maple syrup. It smells like dogs and books and day care. It smells like lavender and crayons.

    Two feels like hugs and kisses, clinging to arms and legs. It feels like head butts and foot stomps, high fives and piggy back rides.

    Two, Sarah, is tough but amazing. Two is learning and making decisions, having opinions and choosing your own clothes. Two is singing and dancing, attempting to jump rope and screaming when things don’t work out like you want them to. Two is pulling up mama’s shirt to look for baby, and enthusiastically counting every group of items you come in contact with.

    And, most importantly, two is love. Two is realizing how much your daddy and I love you, and seeing you plop unexpected hugs and kisses on us and saying, ””Wuv you.” It’s watching you transform into a little girl, a little person, our little love.

    Happy Second Birthday Sarah! My how much we love you.

  • Food and… Art?

    Date: 2012.10.02 | Category: Birthday, Family, Food, Friends, Life, Love, Mark, Me, OMG YAY!, Sarah | Response: 20

    Today was a wonderful day, and not just because it was my birthday, but because people went out of their way to make it fantastic and stuff me full of so many calories that it’s going to take me 10 spin classes to get them all off.

    It started early with a 5:00 a.m. wake up from a laughing toddler… which I tried to ignore while getting a few more blessed minutes of sleep. A little before 7 I relented and got her up. Mark gave me two cards, a sweet one from him and this one from Sarah which promptly scared the pants off of her.

    The kid literally backpedaled about 5 feet when she saw it and hid her face on Mark.
    Note to self: Do not take Sarah to Chimp Haven.
    Note to Mark: Let Sarah pick out her own card next time.

    Little bit gave me a big hug before dad took her to school.

    When I arrived at work, I found that my co-workers had bought me a chocolate cake from Julie Anne’s, a great local bakery AND I had a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte waiting on me. Do my coworkers know how to treat a girl right or what?

    Not to be outdone they took me to lunch at Ichiban, a great sushi and hibachi place. The day went by really fast, and soon I was making my way home.

    Mark’s mom picked Sarah up at school, so we had time to enjoy the perfect pumpkin weather outside for a while with the dogs before heading to eat at L’ Italianos, a great little authentic Italian joint in the old part of the city. We were seated in a back, remote corner and quickly discovered we were surrounded by fertility art, like the one seen here behind Mark entitled “The Journey.”

    There was another one on the wall next to me that was a bit more, erm, female inclined, not to mention the Venus statue that sat in the corner and the grapes that dangled over our heads. Not what we expected to see while we dined, but maybe the waiter thought it was the best place for the youngest couple there.

    Not to be outdone, a group of old British ladies were seated at the table next to us and were very disappointed that the waiter could not procure them chocolate martinis to go with their “starters.”

    The food was amazing though, as always, and Mark and I enjoyed and laughed at the varied entertainment around us.

    After dinner, we headed to his parents’ house to pick up little bit and his mom had baked brownies for us, creating the perfect ending to a perfect birthday.

    One of my coworker said today that 28 was one of her best years. I have a feeling it will be for me too. Here’s to another great year!

    P.S. Happy birthday to my blogging buddy Bluz who also celebrated today!

  • Happy Birthday Mark

    Date: 2012.04.23 | Category: Birthday, Family, Love, Mark, Sarah | Response: 12

    April is such a great month. The weather is beautiful and I get to celebrate four very important birthdays: Sarah, Jacob, Susan and Mark.

    Today is Mark’s birthday.

    What can I say about the man I’ve loved for nearly nine years?

    I can say that, even though he doesn’t think so, he deserves something nice for his birthday. (This year I surprised him with a Kindle Fire and a cookie cake).

    I can say that sometimes in the mornings when I’m out and around the house getting things ready and I hear him singing the Cat in the Hat theme song to Sarah, my heart melts and my face splits into a giant grin.

    I can say that when Sarah was sick and I was in the middle of deadline week he willingly volunteered to watch her at home by himself all week and did a fantastic job.

    I can say that he tells me he loves me every day.

    I can say that there is no other man so perfect for me or so well deserving of a good birthday.

    Happy Birthday Mark!