Toddler birthday parties

I have to admit I’ve been feeling a little guilty for not having a big party for Avery’s birthday. I went back and forth about it, but realizing we had our good friend’s 40th birthday celebration and Easter the weekend before her birthday, it was tough to find a good time for it. We celebrated her birthday a week earlier when my mom was visiting, I sent cookies to school for them to celebrate there and Chase’s parents were coming over for cake and presents on her actual birthday. So, shouldn’t that be enough? When I was a kid, sure. Now in the days of $500 birthday parties, sometimes it feels like I’m depriving my child of a true celebration.

I had big parties for both kids’ first birthdays. I did them at my house, and baked cupcakes and bought pre-made food at Costco to feed our friends and family. I bought decorations and invitations. And beer (that may have been a bulk of our bill). I didn’t even do favors (I hate them, who needs more crap in their house?) and it probably cost $350. It just adds up. Not to mention the time buying supplies, but for a first birthday it was worth it. Since Avery was born less than a month before Clay’s birthday, I decided that we would alternate years for who gets to have a big party.

Our friends with older kids have hosted parties all over town: gymnastics places, Chuck E. Cheese (my worst nightmare), ice skating rink, etc. at a cost hovering around $500. There is a definite advantage to this, as you don’t have to pick up the mess or let weird kids (or their equally odd parents) in your house. But for small kids, whose friends are basically your friends’ kids, is there a point? Avery is two and a fancy party would be lost on her anyway. She loves sweets and girly clothes/toys. That’s all she needs to be happy. She was so excited every time we even said happy birthday to her. We had quality family time and I saved $300+ and countless hours of planning.

I gave Clay the option of a party since he’ll be four in May and he didn’t get the big party last year. He’d rather go to Legoland. A kid after my own heart. It won’t be cheap, but it’s money spent on time with my family. Worth every penny.

Baby girl is two!

Avery 2nd birthdayI joke all the time that Avery is going to be a nightmare teenager because no one can be perfect forever. But at this point I’m thankful that we’ve had two years. She’s shown a little bit of a feisty side lately, but I’m hopeful that just means she’ll be a strong woman. She knows what she wants. There’s nothing wrong with that. Even if she always wants more food or to wear leggings every day or to sit in the driver’s seat of my car pretending she’s driving when we really need her to get in her car seat so we can go somewhere. She makes us laugh and is like a little cartoon character. She also adores her dad and brother and even me. Or at least she pretends with me so I’ll give her my makeup brushes and shoes. I’ll take it.

I have the family I always wanted. And our littlest member, our baby girl, is two years old today! As my dad would always say on our brithdays, “who would have thunk it?”

Time flies when you’re having kids

I am sure everyone’s parents told them the same thing as kids: as you get older, every year goes by faster. I thought they were nuts, as any 10-year-old with knowledge of the Roman Calendar would. Every year is the same (well, except for Leap Year). That is, until you have kids. Then the hustle and bustle of daily life makes the time between New Year’s and Easter fly by. Or that is how it seemed to me again this year. And here we are, a few days past Easter, and Avery turns two today!

I remember the days leading up to her birth so well. My mom was visiting from North Carolina and we had a pretty big earthquake (6.7 or so) on Easter Sunday. It was the worst I’ve ever felt and my mom was curling her hair upstairs and barely noticed. So strange! Anyway, we went to dinner at Outback and left quickly when I started having contractions. I was 36 weeks pregnant and already dilated, so after Clay being born early and coming in just a few hours, I wasn’t taking any chances. We went home and they went away just as quickly as they’d appeared. I started maternity leave at 36 weeks and really hoped to have a few weeks off to organize some things before she arrived. I had a doctor’s appointment that Friday afternoon and asked my doctor not to check me, as it caused contractions the last time and I had a wedding to attend the next day. We took Clay to the park around 5:00 p.m., then out to dinner. And the contractions started again. What was it with food? Couldn’t I just enjoy a meal (preferably one full of carbs and cheese) out?

We decided to head home and this time the contractions did not stop. We got Clay ready for bed and told him there was a chance we may not be there in the morning and that his baby sister might be coming. We gave him his “Sheepie” and he was out. He didn’t seem to care. Chase’s brother was visiting his parents, and he and Chase’s mom came over to stay with Clay. The contractions were still about eight minutes apart so we decided to wait it out a bit. This was a surprising decision with my past history. But I would rather be at home than in the hospital because I could eat there! (hmm…pattern here?) I did some final packing and curled my hair knowing I wouldn’t be able to shower for a while after she was born and my fine locks look less greasy with curl and some hair spray. I made Chase have a beer because he was pacing around the house and making me nervous.

We left for the hospital, around 10:45 p.m. The pain got worse once we arrived, so I asked for an epidural and moments after it started I felt like I was waiting for a spa treatment. The hospital was quiet, I was in a bed under a white sheet with the lights down low. Chase fell asleep. I rested and imagined my baby girl. The nurse came in along with a midwife (who luckily was not a hippie advocating for natural childbirth, as I very much enjoy epidurals) and told me it was time to have a baby. Three pushes and a few minutes later, there she was. Avery Grace was born at 3:17 a.m. on 4/10/10 in La Jolla, California. She screamed the entire time they were checking her. My first thought was she might be a tough baby. The minute they handed her to me I fed her and she was immediately quiet. A baby girl just like her mommy, all she wanted was some food.