Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hilton Head Weekend

Before too much time goes by, I wanted to post some of my favorite photos from our weekend in Hilton Head.  We went primarily to celebrate Sophie's birthday.  

{A live starfish.  No worries....we put her right back in the water.}

{These wine charms were in the townhome we rented for the weekend.  Aren't they SO ME?}

{Our patio had lots of lizards.  A big hit with the girls!}

{My mom was able to join us for the weekend. I managed to get an action shot while she played with Clara at the pool.}

{An extremely rare family shot.  On my favorite beach at sunset.  Thanks, Mom!}

{After blowing out the EIGHT! candles on her birthday cake, Sophie asked me to take this photo of her.}

Alain & I took Sophie kayaking for the first time as one of her birthday presents.  It was so great and we got to see dolphins (we were really hoping for this)!  I lucked out and came within about ten feet of two who were swimming close by.  One tilted his head up out of the water to look at me and we locked eyes for a moment.  You know what that is?  PURE MAGIC. It's the second time in my life that's happened and, I'm telling you, there really isn't much else like it. He wasn't a tortured dolphin locked up in a tank that I had to pay money to swim with and touch.  He was wild and free and perfect.  I know it was a 'he' because our guide told us.  He's been living in that particular area for at least twenty years.  The people who work for the kayaking company see him almost every day. The kayaking may have been Sophie's present but I left feeling like it was mine as well.   

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sophie's Eight Year Old Interview

Yep, it's that time again.  How on Earth do these interviews keep coming around so quickly?

We celebrated Sophie's birthday earlier this week so we sat down to do her birthday interview, one of our most favorite family traditions.....

What's your favorite color? 
Green and blue

What's your favorite food?
Spaghetti and burritos and mac & cheese

Who are your favorite friends?  
Emilia & Chandler

What's your favorite thing to play?
Freeze tag

What's your favorite animal?
Dogs, dolphins & elephants (and bunnies)

If you could hop on a plane and go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Honduras (two of her cousins live there!) and New York

What's your favorite letter?
S and H

What's your favorite number?

Do you like school? 
I don't like it that much, say "kind of".  I have fun seeing my friends at recess and I like some of the learning things. We're doing some fun writing at the moment.

What's your favorite book?
Magic Treehouse, Junie B. Jones, Berenstain Bears and Curious George

What's your favorite word?
(That is like the weirdest question ever.)

What's your favorite song?
Am I Wrong?

*such a great song*

What's your favorite thing to do?
Go outside for recess and see my old friends.

What makes you happy?
Seeing my old friends when I'm at recess.  Seeing when other people are happy.

What would you like to be when you grow up?
A dog trainer and I'm going to be in the World Cup.

When you close your eyes, what do you see?
Seeing people who have passed away, pets too.

What is your favorite pet?
Dogs, bunnies, hamsters, cats.

What's your favorite treat?
Every treat.

What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Smart, cool, funny, beautiful, fun.

All past years can be found here.  Each year we go back and read all of her previous answers and she cracks up.  I just get all teary.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Big Meadows, oh how I love thee!

Such a perfect day.....I'm so glad I spent it with Sophie, Clara, Mom, Dad, Jen, Jose, Alejo & Sofia.

(The last 7 photos are courtesy of my Dad....thank you, Dad!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fun With Nature

So the girls and I are on the road yet again, doing our best to soak up every last minute of Summer vacation!  We're at my parents right now preparing for a visit to Big Meadows (oh my goodness!).  I'm very excited because Mom & Dad are coming with us.  As an extra special treat, my roommate from college is also joining us and bringing two of her children.  Sophie, Clara and I are thrilled to share one of our favorite places with some of our most favorite people!

Lately, the weather has been cooler (SO NICE!) and quite rainy.  My parents have a number of large oaks around their house and some of the roots have grown back above ground.  The rainfall created small pools in these exposed roots that were the perfect size for a Playmobil party!


There are also mushrooms growing everywhere.....all different kinds.  The oak pools and the mushrooms are too fun and great for a child's (and, okay, a Mom's too) imagination!

75 degrees.....sitting in the shade of a large oak tree....Mom & I sipping on hard cider.....Clara playing quietly......aaaaahhhhh, if Summer is like this all the time, I'll take it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reflections on Clara's 3rd Birthday

 Before too much time goes by, I wanted to capture some of my favorite details from Clara's tiny little birthday celebration.  My general rule for birthday parties is to invite the number of children equivalent to my child's age plus one (I've only broken this rule once and boy do I ever regret that ~ it was a DISASTER!).  So Clara had four friends over along with my parents, my cousin and her boyfriend.

In the past, I've thrown down plenty of time and money on the birthday cake.  We've had some stunning cakes over the years (mostly, thanks to my talented friend, Elizabeth!).  This year, because Clara is on a gluten-free (GF) diet, I purchased some GF cupcakes from Trader Joe's (quite good, I might add!).  Yet Clara kept mentioning that she really wanted a cake.  I headed out to the grocery, picked up some GF cake mix and baked a simple cake.  Since I'm a rookie GF Mom, I had no idea that a $5-6 box of cake mix only makes one level (just in case you're wondering why my cake if so short!).  The very day before the party I saw this pin and couldn't get it out of my head.  I raided the girls' massive animal collection, chose a few friends and created the below.  And, I'm not even lying to you, it is my favorite cake we've ever had. I love the whimsy, imagination, sweetness and childhood magic of this cake. Alain and my Dad know how much time I spent laboring over those miniature party hats..... and I'm telling you, it was worth EVERY second.  They were a BIG HIT!

Each year I try to incorporate some birthday wrapping paper that I saved from Tio Iggy's last birthday present.  Last year I was able to wrap a couple of presents in it.  This year a small scrap made up the chimpanzee's party hat!


Mom & Dad blew up all the balloons, around 30 of them in all.  Thank you, Mom & Dad!

Clara's Abu and Nonno Carlo sent this lovely dress from Switzerland.  It is so adorable and was perfect for the party!

The little message board got filled during the party and I've saved all the notes for Clara to read when she gets bigger.

The party was held at brunch time so we had bagels and bubblies.

There was no theme for the party but a strong color theme and loads of yarn pom poms.  I LOVED making the pom poms (use this tool if you ever need to make them ~ it's AWESOME!).  They appeared on the favor boxes, on flower vases and in various other places around the party.

When I sent Alain out to buy champagne, he found this one.  Couldn't be any more perfect!

We had frozen blueberries to keep our drinks cold.....a tip I picked up from a club in New York City!

As I looked back at the photos of Clara unwrapping her presents, I was overcome by how much she has my mannerisms.  Considering the amount of time we spend together, it's not surprising.  Still, it warms my heart.  (Have I mentioned lately how happy I am to have daughters?)

Big Sis was just as excited about all the presents as Clara!

Alain and I gave Clara this tiny little bike as our main gift.  She'd been asking for a bike with training wheels for many months.  Well, she was ecstatic and has probably taken a ride on it every day since.

All in all it was a beautiful day/party.  There's no question that Clara enjoyed it immensely! 

A Big Thanks to Mom & Dad, as always, for making the drive and helping out with all the party prep!
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