Dinosaur Party!

Amelie’s 2nd birthday party was Dinomite!

The reason I’m sharing the details? I want to remember. Most likely Amelie won’t so this will be a nice way for us to look back on how we celebrated her. <3

I was going for a blush, gold, white and gray (of course) theme. I’ll be sad when I’m not in charge of the theme and Amelie wants Dora everything. Until then, Mommy calls the shots!

My first project: transform these plastic dinosaurs into a pretty, pretty gold. It took me a long time. I made them into a cute dinosaur banner: The decorations continued. Poofs for over the table:

It’s hard to tell but the gray is actually gray and white polka dot. It’s so adorable in person and a fun way to mix in some pattern.

Fringe garlands. I love these, I think I’ll make them every year!

They are putzy but cheap and easy to make. I couldn’t help but add a mini fringe to our hutch too…


To serve as a distraction from our gross countertops:

Cupcakes topped with white chocolate dinosaurs and edible glitter.

A glittery shout out to The Birthday Girl: The outside got some fancying too with dinosaur tracks and a birthday message! Except the rain washed them away by the time the party started. Phooey. BUT. DINOSAUR SHIRTS HAPPENED. They were an Etsy splurge. My littlest dino: I’m new to this kid-birthday-party-throwing-business but I tried to think of a few activities to keep busy toddlers, well, busy. Half of the kids were into them, half of them couldn’t have cared less. Amelie was mostly planted in the second camp.

The first was a Build Your Own Stegosaurus station. You could do this project a million different ways but I tried to keep it simple. Although looking at this picture makes it seem otherwise… I cut out all of the pieces beforehand to save time and to avoid a Toddler with Scissors Scenario. Also, an excuse to use washi tape! *claps* Everything was ready for them to piece together their very own menacing Stegosaurus! Best of all, I had all of the supplies already on hand. Attention spans were a little short for this craft so the moms ended up finishing them. Nonetheless, I hope the kids enjoyed taking home something that they made. Amelie and I made ours ahead of time and she loves playing with her paper dinosaur!

The second was a Dinosaur Tattoo station.

Amelie chose a Brontosaurus for both hands. Then she added more later that evening.  Cade got tatted too.   The last station was out on our deck. A Fossil Dig! I made the fossils out of salt dough. Super easy (although they took forever to bake). Each “archaeologist” was allowed to bring home two foot prints, a dinosaur skull and a mini T Rex in their own fossil bag: Unfortunately, it was raining out so the fossil dig was a little soggy. Most of the kids didn’t much care about finding the fossils but enjoying digging in the sand.

Speaking of bags, I put together treat bags for the kids too: Up close because I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to use googly eyes. It was supposed to be a T-rex but kinda looks like a lizard. I figured two year olds won’t judge my dinosaur free-handing.

This one was for “Ameliesaurus” Here’s what went inside: Dinosaur tattoos and dinosaur stamps (both from Amazon) and the dinosaur crayons I made tucked into a golden “dinosaur” egg. Normally I would not have bought each child a stuffie, but these were 50% off in the after Easter sales AND there were exactly five of them. It was too perfect. That’s the advantage of having a small party. Thanks to my MIL for finding these!

Lastly, coordinating Thank You cards for any gifts Amelie received. 

It was so fun to plan and craft and decorate. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves, especially the birthday girl.

I love you, Amelie. Rawr.

For the memories: Amelie’s first birthday

Friday Tidbits

Sorry to inundate you with more Easter related things but since it was such a fun day, I couldn’t help but share a few more pics. Indulge me?

Amelie got sunnies in her Easter basket and put them on all by herself. Bunny noses too!

Amelie thoroughly enjoyed the Easter egg hunt.

I loved every minute of it too. It was so adorable!

In other random Easter news, bunny socks happened.

And now Spring is officially in full swing

so Amelie did some “planting”:

Let’s hope it sprouts!

Lastly, I scored this adorable ceramic bunny on Easter clearance. Do you think my washi tape collection has gotten out of hand?

I don’t think so either. The more rolls the better, I say!

Happy Friday! Tomorrow, Amelie turns TWO!!!

And then there were four

Most likely you’re haunted by the uncomfortable pictures from this post, describing my hospital stay after giving birth to Amelie. Although somewhat similar, it’s only fair to share my stay with Cade too. This story promises to be less gory and far less detailed; partly because you probably don’t have much time to waste but mostly because I can hardly remember anything about it.

As you may recall, I was in the hospital almost 24 hours before actually giving birth to Cade. After his birth, there wasn’t time for lingering and celebrating. The nurses worked on cleaning Cade, the doctor sewed my tear and Hubs packed up all of our things so we could be transferred out of Labor and Delivery and into a recovery room. My epidural was already wearing off and I was able to walk – with caution – to the restroom. Then they put Cade in my arms (along with that amazing turkey sandwich) and wheeled me to my new room while Hubs followed with our gear. I kinda felt like a celebrity!

That night, surprisingly, was fairly unremarkable. With the nurses help, Cade would wake to feed every few hours and then go back to sleep. Considering Amelie screamed all night long the first night of her life, this was a very pleasant surprise. Hubs slept near by and I slept in between feeds.

My hemorrhoid did not sleep, however. It was very angry. Oh so angry!

It’s still angry sometimes.

Thursday morning came and I couldn’t wait to order breakfast. I ordered Cream of Wheat of all things, just like I did when I had Amelie. Unfortunately my MIL had to work so Hubs went home to relieve her of babysitting duties, leaving Cade and I alone.

Just the two of us.

That’s how it was for the rest of our hospital stay. Turns out, the stay was longer than expected.

Cade was born with a mysteriously low platelet count. The doctors first noticed there was something amiss because he had tiny bruises all over his body. It was terrifying to see his little foot prick still bleeding a few hours later when the nurses removed his bandaid. One night, I had given him my finger to suck on to see if I could coax him to sleep. The next day, the roof of his mouth was black and blue. Because of his peculiarly low platelet count, the doctors wanted us to stay so they could monitor him. My MIL had already booked her flight to MN so Hubs and I had to split duties: him with Amelie and me with Cade.

I spent those days fretting and snuggling.

Hospital stays are busy, busy, busy. I don’t like the commotion. I wanted to take my sweetie away from the blood draws, the checkups and the prodding. I missed Hubs. I missed Amelie. I wanted to go home.

But as each day set, his platelet count got stronger. He was going to be ok.

Finally we were clear to discharge on Sunday morning. It had been a long week for all of us. We were so thankful to be home and together…as a family of four.

I must admit, I was very fearful of his birth and how I would be able to handle it all. Realizing Hubs would not be able to help me at the hospital only worried me more. But sometimes you don’t realize how much leaning you’re doing until you don’t have someone to lean on. As each day passed, I was reminded that I can stand on my own. I can learn. I can do this. I only had one job: to fall in love with Cade. So that’s what I did.

That’s Cade’s story. Scary and sweet. Clunky yet empowering. I wish I had taken more pictures but you can only do so much with a burning hemorrhoid hotdog between your buns, you know?

You don’t?

Happy Easter!

I’m so excited for Easter especially now that Amelie is a little older. She’s at such a fun age. I put together a basket for her and of course it’s all things bunny for my Bunny. Target dollar section is always on point!

I couldn’t help but test out the bunny ears a little early (she loved them)…

I may have also bought bunny ear barrettes too. Because I had to.

We also decorated the house with a few Easter crafts:

And the outside too:

Cupcakes also happened:

And little Cade seems to be enjoying his first Easter as well:

Hoppy Easter, everyone!

Home Sweat Home: Playroom

Over a year ago, we put up a wall between our main level and our lower level den. Even though the handy man was super hesitant, I still don’t regret it. A while after that, I finally painted it

And then it sat like this for forever, acting as a catch all for anything that didn’t belong. It drove me crazy but the annoyance obviously didn’t stir up enough motivation to change it.

This summer, we attended a birthday party at a house that has the exact same layout as ours. And the SuperMom Neighbor created the most heavenly play place down here in her home! She actually dedicated the entire den to Toddler Awesome. It served as plenty of inspiration for me so we have been – albeit very slowly – trying to create a play place for Amelie. Here is where we are at currently:

We scored a used play kitchen for Amelie. I love it so. It was dirty but Amelie and I scrubbed it until it sparkled! We purchased a rug from Land Of Nod for way too much money and I wish it were white, not cream. Ah, well. The table and chairs are from consignment that I plan to makeover one day. Maybe yellow? I plan to do a lot of things “one day”…

Just recently, we picked up two STUVAs from Ikea. They are actually intended as wall cabinets but I liked that their depth was almost the same as the play kitchen. I need to purchase legs so they stand up taller. Although I wanted a lot of storage to stash toys, I’m debating on moving one out (or putting it on the wall) because I think two looks weird. I think they’d look better on either side of the crawl space door but those spaces are too small and not symmetrical. Darn!

I do love the lantern cluster though. I scored most of them on clearance. The mint one was originally lime green so I painted it with my Martha Stewart craft paint in Beach Glass, which I had purchased for this Christmas craft fail. I knew it’d come in handy someday!

Originally I wasn’t going to post these pictures because the lighting is so crappy but I decided to anyway because that’s an issue that needs resolving…we need light down here! I’d love to scrape the horrible popcorn ceiling (one day, but not anytime soon) and put in recessed lights and maybe a chandelier.

Amelie hasn’t spent much time here yet, but she ventures down more often each week.

I’m hoping as she gets older, she’ll be able to keep herself busy for longer periods of time and that this playroom will evolve into a fun and creative place for her – and eventually Cade. Although that kid pukes on anything remotely near him so I keep him far away from this over-priced rug!

What you can’t see is all of the toy organizing I’ve been doing lately. It sneaks up on you, I swear. You’re zooming along in Toddlerdom and all of a sudden you start collecting literally anything that will hold her attention for a few moments. I’ve grabbed a bunch of assorted sized bins and now most of her toys have a home. Just like anything, but especially since littles change so fast, her toy collection needs constant attention and pruning.

I’m dreaming of big cork board loaded with art (made by my Amelie, of course!) and I have grand plans for a dollhouse, teepee, art and craft station, a pretend school and much more! The only thing lacking is execution. And money. And talent. And time.

It’s a start though?


Friday Tidbits

Amelie is quickly approaching the big TWO! Two years old. Such a big girl!

Last year, I put together a (subpar) “pink theme” and this year…a (possibly also subpar) dinosaur birthday party is in the works! I’ve been working on decorations and gift bags – trying to do as much ahead of time as I can. And because it’s fun!

Remember my craft bin?

If you look closely, you may spy a big bag of crayons. As it turns out, they are broken crayons. Broken crayons are sad but it comes with toddler territory.

I bought these adorable dinosaur molds from Amazon to bring new life into those broken pieces. Behold, mini-dinosaur crayons!

Didn’t they turned out cute? And I was able to recycle lots of random crayon bits – weeee! I bought big gold Easter eggs (aka, “dinosaur eggs”) to tuck the crayons into for the treat bags. I’ll be sharing more as the party planning progresses…if you care?

Until then, happy Friday from us!

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Amelie’s Craft Bin

Like I mentioned in the last My Amelie, I’ve been enjoying Toddlerdom. Amelie is a pleasure. Although she is still fairly young/uncoordinated, we’ve been doing “crafts” together. I love it! Granted, our projects generally last 15 minutes or less and then I spend her nap time cleaning up/finishing whatever we started. But hey, I’m so happy I get to do this kind of stuff with her now.

My mess of a craft bin is unorganized and loaded full. Plus it was too heavy to drag out and play with often.

I decided to create a craft bin for Amelie. Something just for her. I put in pipe cleaners, Playdoh, paints (washable!), crayons, paper for coloring (in the black and white organizer), stickers (in the polka dot organizer) and sidewalk chalk (also washable, which is key).

As she gets older, I can add in more fun stuff – like glue sticks, scissors, stamps, colored paper, stencils, etc. But for now, these keep us pretty busy.

I may have to get a bigger bin though. My eyes about bugged out of my head when our neighbor tipped me off that the 48 COLORS SIDEWALK CHALK WAS ON SALE at Target.

Just imagine the possibilities! I can’t wait to play with them! I mean, I’m sure Amelie can’t wait to dive into these even though she tends to gravitate towards one color for all of her art. And that color is usually black or brown…


Friday Tidbits

It’s FriYAY!

I apologize for my absence! I can tell that, deep down, you missed me a little. You see, Amelie and I have been sick. Since I’m breastfeeding and Amelie is little, of course there is nothing either of us can do but suffer through it. She’s been up crying 3-5x/night all week long because she’s so stuffed up. And now Cade is congested too…oh please no!

Since I do enough whining in person, let’s get on with the post, shall we?

One Friday long ago, I posted this really gross picture of our newly “organized” kitchen cabinet. Hello there, Fish Oil!

Unappealing? Yes. Super helpful at keeping a little sanity in our kitchen? Also a yes!

Well, after we prettied up our cabinets with lots and lots of white, I knew this cabinet could use some refreshing up on the inside as well. So I did and it took a long time even though it shouldn’t have.


A closeup:

This system is working pretty well for us. I love that all of my breast pumping supplies are in one bucket. It’s actually the bucket I swiped from the hospital when I had Amelie. What IS that color anyway? Faded mustardy puke?

Where was I? Oh yeah, oversharing. For our keys, I bought the long Command Hook rail from Target. It was pricey at $9.99 but perfect. It has a slot where you could put important mail so maybe I’ll try that instead of piling it on the counters…(maybe). I also picked up a pack of label key rings from Home Depot so we could organize all of the miscellaneous keys floating around. A small To Do with a big impact!

The white basket (also from Target) I use to keep all of our vitamins, medications and sunscreen handy. I hate to mention it to those in frozen land, but we’ve had to pull out the sunscreen already so it’s good to have it close by. It keeps everything together and tucked away. I pull out the entire basket each morning and put it back when I’m done. Why didn’t I do this system a hundred years ago?

The purple tea tin is still holding sunglasses. I put another small Command hook to hold my iPhone charger. Lastly, I bought a wire basket from the Target dollar section and a new pack of pens because our hodgepodge collection was irritating me. That small project was worth the $2.03 that it cost me!

Doesn’t it look so much neater in the “new” cabinets?

My Amelie

AGE: Almost two! (23 months)

Amelie, you are such a joy. You are the most delightful toddler – I’m so lucky!

Verbal: In the past two weeks, her verbal skills have exploded. Before she said very few words and now she is saying new words every day. Words: Cade, yellow, purple, red, oh no!, alright, let’s go!, yay!, hey!, whoa!, okay, outside, one, two, three, elbow, puppy, poopy, pee pee, pot pie (she likes those “p” words), and hot tea (which is secretly hot chocolate).

Amelie “sings” the alphabet too! It’s so cute. All of the letters sound mostly the same but she’s trying to get the hang of it. I haven’t been able to catch it on video because she clams up the moment the camera comes out.

She is stringing a few words together like “i sit mama” (I sit with/like Mama) and my favorite of all…she is answering my questions with “yeah”. Her sweet little affirmative reply is just about the cutest thing ever. Also, she likes to mimic. I’ll say “Ok, let’s go!” and she’ll copy. If I’m puzzled and go “hmmm”, she’ll do the same. A lot of times I’ll be talking to Daddy or Grandma in the car and she’ll pipe up from the back seat with what I just said. Amelie is always ALWAYS listening.

Amelie, I love talking with you. We talk about what fun things we did that morning while we snuggle in the chair before nap time. It’s something I never ever want to forget.

Activities: Amelie is doing a great job with colors. She knows blue, red, yellow and purple. Grandma put together a color matching activity for her using colored bins and she got it on her first try! She has trouble with orange, not only is it hard to say but she confuses it with red. Amelie can count to three and knows that she’ll be two on her birthday. She has no idea what her birthday is but once she realizes cake is involved, I’m sure she won’t forget that awesome word!

I love this stage. Amelie is finally coordinated enough to do activities with me. Before, I could tell that most things frustrated her and so she ended up only wanting to be physical (like being bounced around by Daddy). Now we can do a nice mix of both – color on the sidewalk with chalk AND smash snow in the yard. Paint Valentines for a bit and then dance around in the living room. We can spend the morning together – doing crafts and “helping” with chores. Gone are the days where we HAD TO leave the house – now we can spend some mornings at home keeping busy.

She loves to help and desperately wants to be involved in what we are doing. Her favorite activity is cooking with Daddy. It takes forever and makes a fine mess but that’s what having fun is all about.

Enjoys: Cooking and helping – especially with Daddy. Playing pretend with her stuffies – they do everything: color, cook, clap, dance and drink hot tea. She likes accessorizing with her fox slippers and backpack from Oma, hats (loves hats!), and necklaces. She likes playing with our phones and calling people (for real and pretend). She knows how to scroll through pictures and how to play videos. She also showed me how to turn on the TV and somehow set an NBA alert on Daddy’s phone! :D

Amelie, you are still a Daddy’s girl and probably always will be. But you do like our mornings together. So do I. We talk and laugh a lot and have a good time!

Schedule: She usually wakes between 7-8am and we try to get her to bed by 7ish but that tends to get drawn out. She’s been good this week but for a while, she was waking a few times per night. Sometimes she drops her nuk but other times she wants to be comforted with a few pats and covered up with a blanket. She’s been napping late in the afternoons – usually around 2ish to 4ish – sometimes we have to wake her at 5pm when Daddy comes home.

Personality: You are shy when we are out in public. I find myself saying things “Are you being shy?” when we are around new people or new situations, which is dumb of me because of course you are being shy! Because you are shy. And shyness is not something that should be “fixed” or “forced out of”. Amelie is goofy, smiley and happy at home because she feels comfortable.

She does not like change. If we visit Daddy or Grandma at work, it feels weird so she gets nervous. I try to prepare her for when people come over or if we go somewhere and she seems to do much better. I get it, Amelie, I’m the same way!

I signed us up for music class and she is very clingy, which surprised me at first. She almost seems relieved when it’s over and I suspect it’s because the class is small (compared to story time at the library) and we sit in a circle. Duh, we are all facing each other. I think she feels nervous being engaged across the circle. She does love when Miss Dar pulls out all of the instruments though!

She is obedient and a great listener. She holds my hand, gets her boots on, and stays by me when I ask. She is such a good girl! That doesn’t mean I don’t have to chase her around the coffee table to get her diaper changed…but still, I am so thankful.

Mommy stuff: We are enjoying each other. Amelie has accepted that Cade is part of the picture but she still gets a lot of attention from me. She’s quite the little Mommy herself. She kisses Cade and makes him clap for her! She spends a lot of time (and uses a lot of wipes) changing her babies’ diapers.

I’ve learned a lot in this stage. I’ve learned to have planned spontaneity (if that makes any sense). I have to have a plan but I also have to be flexible. I try to brainstorm a few activities for the day and I recognize that there is a high probability that it will only entertain Amelie for a few moments and then we’ll have to move on to something new. Sometimes I hit the jackpot, like scrubbing the high chair out on the deck (who knew?!), that Amelie can’t get enough of. The girl loves to clean things! Sometimes we run errands but I accept that I can’t get much done. It sounds simple but it’s taken me a while to accept this since becoming a Mommy. I can pull out the mop with the hopes of cleaning the floor but I accept that most likely “mopping” will create more of a mess than when we started. And that’s ok. We are trying to pass time, experience new things, and spend time together. We are not actually going to mop the floor!

Bunny, you. are. awesome. I love you so! And you know I do because when I ask who loves you, you answer “Mama.” Heart melted!