Thursday, December 30, 2010

Joy and Giving

Alex and Isabella,

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. I can't believe Christmas has come and gone. But boy, did we celebrate this year! We spent Thanksgiving weekend in Ocean City watching Christmas movies and going to see the Christmas lights and Santa at Northside Park. We decorated gingerbread houses with our neighbors. We made cookies with our cousins. We celebrated at school with pageants and parties. We had breakfast with Santa, and you were both so good that he gave you each an early present. On Christmas Eve, we spent the day at Nana and Pop Pop's and then we went to church where we lit candles and sang Christmas songs. I admit, I teared up a little when I saw your little faces lit up by candlelight and heard your little voices singing Silent Night. After church we spent the evening at Aunt Mela's, where Isabella, you entertained us with your renditions of Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas (complete with hand motions and hip wiggling). When we got home, Daddy helped you hang your stockings and we all piled on Alex's bed and read Twas the Night Before Christmas.

We woke up in the morning to find more presents than I have ever seen before. We spent the morning opening gifts and playing with all of your new toys. Alex, you took your time and played with each toy. Isabella, you tore the paper off each gift exclaiming, "Just what I always wanted! Thank you Santa." And then you wanted another to open. In true party animal fashion, Alex, you asked if we would have a Christmas party for Jesus' birthday, and of course we said yes. Our family came over and we celebrated with lots of food and laughter.

Daddy and I have always loved Christmas. But this Christmas was the best one ever. Alex, our little Christmas baby, you learned the true meaning of Christmas this year. You bought gifts for others and were so excited to give. And I am most proud of the way you day in and
day out gave your sister the gift of love. Isabella, this Christmas you brought us so much joy. You were so excited to see the Christmas lights, to sing Christmas songs, and you just loved everything Christmas. There is nothing like experiencing Christmas through the eyes and wonderment of a child. Isabella your joy was contagious.

Thank you for making this Christmas so very special. I love you both with all my heart.
PS - They say a picture is worth 1000 words....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Better Late Than Never...

Here are some pictures of our VERY kid-friendly (my son wouldn't allow anything scary) Halloween Bash 2010! We served "healthy eats" to our family and neighbors before heading out into our amazingly fun neighborhood for tricks and treats....

The food...

The craft table...
Outside patio...

Mommy Treats - Monster Mango Martinis

Just a few treats for the kids (monster eyes, rice creepy treats, and s'mores pops)...

Some decorations...

And they are off...
Here are some more pictures of the party - there are some great costumes - take a look...

Our party was featured in Kate Landers Events LLC, Children's Party and Dessert Tables of 2010: Part II.

How cool is this???

Isabella's Garden Party and Alex's Rock Star Party were featured in
Kate Landers Events Children's Parties of 2010!!!!
She also included Alex's Super Hero Party too!!!

What an honor!

(My niece Finley's party is also featured - Sweet Shoppe V)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Alex's Rock Star Party Details

Alex is our little Rock Star - we celebrated his 5th birthday ROCKER Style! Alex greeted his guests as they walked the red carpet. The red carpet was covered with stars with all of the celebrities (aka guests) names written on them.

As Lisa and Mikel of Milkshake, , set up in the basement we passed out concert merchandise - sunglasses, inflatable guitars and microphones, mardi gras beads, and glow sticks. Once the show was ready to start we allowed the kids VIP access. We hung a banner and a backdrop behind the stage where the band performed.

We set up a concession stand in our kitchen and served food just like you would get at a real concert. The pizza, nacho bar and hot pretzel machine were a hit. We served rootbeer is these cool cups (from the celebration shoppe) because that is Alex's favorite drink.

And no birthday party is complete without cake and cookies- shaped like guitars and stars, of course - and a CANDY BAR! And of course the CANDY BAR had a Rock Star theme! The kids loved taking home goodie bags filled with rock candy, pop rocks, ring pops, and star lollipops. (Thank you Laura of Cupcakes and Lemonades for the awesome candy jar labels.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday, Alex

Dear Alex,

I am laying next to you in your bed writing this letter. Because you CAN'T sleep. You are my little night owl. You want me to lay with you. Your hand is resting on my arm. I secretly love that you are still a Momma's Boy - sometimes anyway.

You are so excited because tomorrow is your REAL birthday. The day you turn five. I remember having a hard time when you turned two. You were no longer a baby. And I am having a very hard time with you turning 5....You are growing up too quickly my beautiful boy. One day you aren't going to like that I call you that. But I don't care. You are beautiful inside and out. Your outer beauty lies in your eyes...those big brown eyes. They are looking at me now, when they should be closed and fast asleep. You inner beauty lies within that old soul of yours - how you love and protect your sister, how you always think about others, how you are so smart, sometimes too smart, for your own good and for mine.

You have changed so much in the past year. You have learned what it means to be a friend. You have learned the art of sharing. You have demonstrated time and time again what it means to be a good big brother. You are quick to anger at times, but even quicker to say you are sorry - an important thing for a man to know how to do (wink. wink.). You are ornery and you love to say "bathroom words" and wrestle as most little boys do. You are silly and you love making funny faces and doing crazy dances to make other people laugh.

I am so excited to celebrate the day you were born. Actually, I guess I should say continue the celebration. Five years ago this week, I had a sonogram - the doctors wanted to make sure you were happy in my belly. The doctor said, "This baby is rocking and a rolling in there." How cool that five years later to the day we had a Rock Star birthday for you on your fake birthday (as you call it). We had a candy bar with Rock Candy, Star Lollipops, Ring Pops, and Pop Rocks. We had real live rock stars - Lisa and Mikel of Milkshake ( perform a concert for you and your friends and family. You all rocked out with blow up guitars and microphones. We served pizza, nachos and hot pretzels just like you would eat at a concert. You had a cake shaped like a guitar and cookies shaped like guitars and stars. It was a wonderful celebration of YOU!

Tonight, I was making chocolate chip cookies for your birthday, because you say I make them the best. I was teasing you and said, "Don't you ever forget it. One day when you are married and your wife makes you chocolate chips you tell her that they are good, but that your mom makes them best." You respsonded, "I have an idea. Every year on my birthday, you can make the chocolate chips, because I am always going to invite you to my parties!" I wouldn't miss your birthday for the world. Your birthday is the most important day of my life, my first born. On your birthday, God's purpose for my life became clear. I thank Him everyday for you.

Happy Birthday Alexander.
Love you,

PS. You are fast asleep...with Charlie at your feet and holding your blanket (the same one I brought you home in from the hospital). You are still my baby.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love

I know this post is a week late and it isn't because I am any less thankful this year. In fact, I have even more to be thankful for this year. I am so blessed. As I went back and read my Thanksgiving posts from the past three years, even I am amazed that this is my life. How is it even possible that each year my life gets better and better?

If you are an avid princealexsmomma reader, I don't want to sound repetitive by going on and on about all of my blessings, so I am going to tell you what I am most thankful for this year.

I am most thankful for Alex and Isabella's relationship. I know it may not always be as it is today, but today they love eachother most of all. From the moment Isabella was born (and maybe even before), Alex has loved his baby sister. And Isabella smiled her first smile at her big brother. Their relationship has grown. People stop me wherever I go and comment on the sweet interactions they witness between them. He is her protector. If she is hurt, she wants Alex to hug her and make it better. Alex always watches out for his baby sister. He says to me, "Don't worry Mom, I will take care of her." She is his biggest fan. She misses him every morning when he is in school. She says, "I need my Al-ee." They play together and cuddle and watch movies together. They get into trouble together.
When Alex's teacher asked him what he was most thankful for, he said his sister. When I ask Isabella who she loves best, she says her brother. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oh Alex, Where Did You Come From?

I swear the things that come out of this boy's mouth....

Scenario #1
Alex has been begging me to teach him to read for several weeks. I told him that Grandma was getting some books together to help us, since she used to teach Kindergarten. A few days before we got the books, he asked me to read something to him. I did. He responded, It isn't fair that you can read and I can't. I told him that we could start working on learning to read. He said, Nah. Let's just wait for Grandma's books. She knows how to teach. I proceeded to tell him that before I became his servant, I mean Mother, I was a teacher and that I DO have my Master's Degree in Reading. He said he would still wait.

Well, we got Grandma's books and have been working on our sounds and sight words. I get giddy when he reads words and even some sentences to me. I am so proud. So, yesterday we took some of his reading "work" to show Grandma. He was naming things that start with a "c" sound. I said, Mommy's favorite drink starts with C. He said, A, a, alcohol. Alcohol doesn't start with c. No, Alex, I was talking about coffee.

Scenario #2
Alex and Isabella inevitably become needy little creatures everyday just as I am starting dinner. They want me to fix them snacks, refill drinks, come see yet another advertisement on television of something they need!!! After dinner tonight, I was cleaning up the kitchen. Alex and Isabella were in the playroom with Jay. After a few minutes, Alex came in and said, Mom, did you notice? We are giving you a few minutes to yourself. Thanks, buddy!

Scenario #3
Today, Alex and I were talking about how he was a Christmas Baby. And I told him that he is the best Christmas gift ever. He said, Mom. I am not a gift. I said that he was...he was my special gift. He thought about it for a minute and said, Yea, I guess you are right. I was a gift from God.

You are right, my dear boy. You are a crazy, goofy, intelligent little gift from God. I guess I got my answer to the title of this post.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Home Sweet Home

Dear House,

Happy 2nd Birthday. Two years ago tonight, you became our home sweet home. The movers had just left. We were surrounded by boxes and filled with giddy excitement. You were perfect. During the past two years, inside your walls, so much has happened. You became even more perfect with the addition of a patio where footballs games are watched, fish are fed, marshmallows are roasted and bikes are ridden. And your basement is a child's dream complete with a playhouse, a play kitchen, crafts galore, a dressing room and a stage. And there is even a big screen, a workout room, and a bar for the adults too! (Pop outdid himself again).

We designed you to be welcoming and open, because we want you to always be filled with our family and friends. You have hosted the most amazing parties, the first when you were only six weeks old. Isabella was baptized and we had our first of many parties. Everyone oohed and aahed over you and the baby too! There have been cozy Christmas parties, a Superhero bash complete with Spiderman and kids in capes, a neighborhood block party ("sure we are the new people, we would love to host"), two baby showers, a lot of happy hours, bookclubs, dinners and playdates, and most recently a Garden Party that was the talk of the town. I have a sign in your kitchen that says "Sit Long - Talk Much." Your openness allows for just that.

I noticed just the other day that whenever I tell anyone my favorite part of you it is always a different spot. Sometimes it is the front porch where I like to sit and drink my coffee on summer mornings. Sometimes it is the family room where we have family movie nights and fires in the fireplace almost every night in the winter. Sometimes it is Alex or Isabella's room because I spend some of my most precious moments in those rooms reading and singing to my babies. Sometimes it is my kitchen because in my family, as in many families, it is the heart of our house. It is where we congregate and eat and drink and sit and talk.

In the past two years you have had some bumps and bruises. Your floors have some scratches and have been victim of many spills. Your walls have been dinged and even written on a time or two. (No worries though, Isabella now repeats the mantra..."I write only on the paper"). But to me, these imperfections do not make you imperfect. In many ways they make you even more of a home. You are lived in, loved in, fought in, played in, slept in, danced in....inside you we are making memories and living a life that most can only dream of living. Thank you for the memories we have made and for being the place we will call Home Sweet Home for many, many years to come.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Isabella's First Day of School

Two years ago on this day, Isabella was a week old. Alex was starting Two and You preschool and Isabella went with him on his first day. She slept the whole time in her infant carrier. You never even knew she was there.

FAST forward, I do mean FAST, today Isabella started preschool. She was so excited - she has been waiting for this day for a year and especially the past couple days when we dropped Alex off each morning...she said, "I go school now." This morning she woke up and it was finally her day to start school. She peed on the potty (a fluke I am sure, but exciting nonetheless). We got dressed and ate breakfast, snapped lots of pictures, and then we were off.

She walked into that school as if she owned the place. And on her first day of preschool, Isabella was impossible to ignore. She went to her classroom and played with the dolls, the play-doh, and the kitchen. She colored, although she was a little upset that Miss Sally didn't have a pink crayon. She sat front and center during story time. She ran from activity to activity on the playground. She ate her snack and drank several cups of water saying, "more, please." And my favorite part of the day was Music Time. She danced and sang her little heart out. Miss Sally will never have to sing alone as long as Isabella is in the class.

I was a little nervous signing Isabella up for school. She just turned two. I was worried she would be too young. But she loved every second of it. She was in her element. Over the course of the morning, I saw her show traits of independence, confidence and friendliness. I am so proud of my baby, I mean my big, girl!

Ravens Fans!

Every year since Alex was born, we have taken a picture of Jay and him on the day of the first Raven's game of the season. Here are my Raven's fans!




Saturday, September 11, 2010

End of Summer...

I can't believe that summer is over. It went by in a blink of an eye. As I sit here and type at 8pm, it is already dark outside. Gone are the long days, the splashing in the pool and the toes in the sand. Hello to school days, Soccer Saturdays, and Ravens football. Tomorrow is officially the last day of summer for our family. On Monday, our lives are going to be forever changed. Alex will be in school five mornings a week. And even though he will be home in the afternoons (except Friday when he has chosen to stay at school all day to learn math and science), this is the first time in his life he will be away from me at least some of every week day. This is the first time in his life when he is going to have to get up early everyday. I call him my little teenager, because he loves to sleep in, so this is going to be quite an adjustment. But he is not so much.

Today we welcomed fall with soccer and sunflowers. Alex had his first day of soccer. He is on Team New York, and he really hustled out there. Then we met Mason, Preslee and Finley at this farm that had the most stunning field of sunflowers. We tried to get some pictures, but the kids were more interested in playing hide-and-seek among the tall stalks. And then just because we wanted to hold onto summer a little longer, we took all the kids for homemade ice cream at a little farm stand. It was a perfectly beautiful ending to another amazing summer.

Quotes of the Day

Isabella: Mommy. Look. I running too BIG. (I think she meant fast).

Alex and I were talking about body parts...

Me: The lungs help you breathe. And the liver...
Alex: helps you live.
Me: The heart pumps blood through the body.
Alex: My heart makes me love people.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Isabella is 2!

Today Isabella told me, "I be 2 in September." Yes, baby girl you are right. Today is September 1st and you are 2!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday to My Baby Girl

Dear Isabella,

I don't know where to begin. I have been thinking about what to write in this birthday letter for some time now. I am overwhelmed, I have too much to say. I can't seem to find the right words. I think that is because there aren't words to describe the absolute adoration I feel for you. But I am going to try to tell you how I am feeling on the eve of your second birthday...even though I don't think I will never do my heart justice.

You are my baby. Maybe not forever, but for right now. And I love that you want to be my baby - when I call you a big girl, you always say, "No, Momma. I your baby." And I love it. I love when you wake up in the middle of the night calling for us. And even though all the experts say not to, daddy and I bring you into our bed in those early morning hours to cuddle, because we know these moments are fleeting. I can't tell you how many times daddy is late for work because you are sound asleep next to him and he doesn't want to leave you. Sometimes we watch you sleep marveling at those long legs of yours. When did you get so big?

If I had to think of three words to describe you, I would say happy, sassy and intelligent.

You are happy most of the time. You love to laugh and play, especially with your brother and your cousins. Your personality is magnetic. People are drawn to you in a way that cannot be described. Those who know you love you, and they can't get enough of you, especially Jake, Luke and Alex. I think you are going to have some bodyguards as you get older. I have said it so many times, but I have to say it again - your light shines so bright, you make the world a more joyful place.

You are a sassy little thing. Small but mighty. You want what you want and you aren't afraid to go after it. You have a fearlessness that I hope stays with you throughout your whole life. Even though you are only two, I can already see your determination and confidence building. You have an indendpent streak - "I do it." Yet if you need help with something you want me - "Mommy do it" (I love that). You "dance as if no one is watching, " yet you know they are and you like it.

You are so very intelligent. You speak in sentences. You know the words to songs and love to sing them. You know your colors and everyone's names. You can count to 3. You have a sense of humor. Your favorite thing to do is "argue" with Pop over Gigi. He tries to take Gigi from you and you tell him, "No, Pop. My Gigi." You use inflection when you speak - "Allie - you gonna be in trouble." "Mommy, I be right back." "" "Mommy, I scared (said with a shiver)." You always say that you are sorry and give a hug to go with it.

Days go by so quickly and things change, so I wanted to jot down some of your favorite things at 2... Alex, Gigi, Yo Gabba Gabba, coloring "only on paper," having your toenails painted, playing outside on the "pay-ground," reading books, chocolate milk, you say you are going to marry Pop Pop, you love to run to the door saying "I'm coming" and hug whoever is there especially if it is Nana, Band-ma or Finney.

I have been writing this letter now for a while. I keep going back and rereading and rewording. And I must say, I was right at the beginning of this letter. While everything I have written is true, my heart wants to say so much more. But I know that this is just one letter, and my heart shows you everyday what it wants to say to you. The good old adage "Actions speak louder than words" holds true for us. And as your Mommy, I promise to always show you what my heart is feeling, each and everyday. And I must say, you are one lucky little girl, because there isn't a Mommy in this world who loves their sweet baby girl more than I love you.

Happy Birthday, Bella Boo.