Thursday, May 28, 2009

(Cupcake) Party People In Da House

When your baby turns one, you throw a party. Part of you is celebrating your baby's first year of life.

Another part of you is celebrating that you survived it.

I knew before BabyGirl was born that she would ring in her one year old status with a cupcake party. I have run the gamut of boy themes--Construction Trucks, Pirates, Cowboys, Trains, Carnival (alright so maybe that's one's unisex, but hey). And as much as I love a party theme, my well of ideas was running dry. So I wanted a girly theme, and somewhere along the line, a cupcake party made sense because I actually became a good baker. Wonder of wonders!

And in preparation for the big par-tay, I got crafty. Who knew? But me and the craft store are BFFs now.

The sign says, "Look How I've Grown." Newborn clothes to the left, current clothes to the right.

Lila's giant cupcake. A lotta cake for a little girl. All the kids at the party were staking it out. I just know they all thought we were fools to give it all to the baby, but you only have one first birthday, after all. I made mini cupcakes a.k.a. "The Cadets".

I always make mini cupcakes. You always have the adult on the token diet, so they will have a mini to portion themselves. And then they'll have three or four more cause it was so tasty! They are like a gateway drug.

I also made Cookie Dough cupcakes because they are a fan favorite, and experimented by making a chocolate cupcake with a half baked brownie inside. (My creation needs a name--Chocolate Thunder maybe? LOL) But, I did not take a picture of them. Seriously.

Next on my list of confectionery creations--Cupcake Pops. Labor intensive, time consuming, but cute little suckers, and tasty to say the least.

I made another batch of these for Mason's teachers for the last day of school. I used a different kind of chocolate that was much better for dipping. It took me half the time as the first batch and they looked ten times better. Again, no picture. (I am off my game this week!) Don't worry, these little pops will appear in my kitchen again, I assure you.

Lila, Daddy, and Mimi

TiTi and Olivia

Granny, Pop, and the girls (Rey took this picture, thus the massive
amount of window in the shot)

The boys' fire engine tent. There were about a hundred kids inside.

Some food. mmmm

Carrie, kindly removed the seal from the dressing

Tia Maritza

Those babies don't belong to the women holding them

Neither does this one, although given the chance
I'm sure she'd sneak him out in her purse

Jenn and Larissa

Joe, dining alone at the kiddy table. At least he has a beer...
(Check out Rey wrangling Cole in the background.)

Cake time!!

We had been singing "Happy Birthday" to her all week. (It really
made her chill out for a diaper change!)

She was pleased to be hearing it again.

Her brothers with an assist on the blowing out of the candle

Pose for a quick pic with mama...

...and one with the fam.

And she's in!

She shoveled cake in her mouth again...

...and again...

...until she started choking on it. (Don't worry, she's okay!)

Somewhere along the line, an errant balloon got stuck in our oak tree.
Evi climbed up to retrieve it, and although he denies it... was him. I have photo proof!

3/4 of the Gammons crew. (The other 1/4 was off somewhere having too much fun.
I honestly didn't see him once until he was walking out the door to go home!)

And just to prove I was there... handing out favors at the end of the party.

Again, no pictures of the favors. (WHAT is up with my lack of picture taking??? I am so mad at myself!) The girls got aprons with cupcake appliques. Some of the boys got aprons too if I thought they would enjoy them, otherwise I gave them a treat bag of "boy" things like Matchbox cars and Play-doh. If anyone has a picture of their kid in an apron or is kind enough to take one and forward it on to me, I would be forever grateful!

I also forgot to take a picture of Lila wearing her party outfit. Fortunately it's the same one she wore for her one year photos, click here to check that out. (In case you can't tell, her shirt has a cupcake on it, the icing part made from the chiffon that the skirt is made from.)

After the party, Lila took the longest nap ever in the history of the earth. And while the boys chose to boycott their nap, fatigue got the best of them and they fell asleep on the couch with balloons tied to their wrists. (They were watching some Nascar race that just happened to be on, I would have fallen asleep too!)

When Lila finally woke up, the boys were anxious for her to open her presents. Now that they fully grasp the concept of opening presents, they can't bear to see wrapped boxes and undisturbed tissue paper in bags.

We had fun making headbands out of ribbon...

And then some sort of twisted crossing guard belt.
(And yes, she is using that chair as a walker.)

But Aunt Brandi got her a REAL walker! She has been tooling all around
with it ever since, although she still likes to use furniture to facilitate
her getting around.

We had a super great party, food and fun with friends. I am not sure I've recovered even now that it's six days later, but it's a day I'll not soon forget.

And for the record, Mason and Cole are having a super swell time play with the stroller, tea set, and other fun girl toys that they've never had an opportunity to play with before!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I am too tired to post

Lila's party is over. I would tell you all about it and post pictures, but I am too dang tired.

If I weren't so tired, I would tell you all about how wonderful my cupcakes were (Comments include "This is seriously the best cupcake I've ever had in my entire life" and "I would pay money for these.") But it will have to wait because the couch has my name on it due to the aforementioned being too tired.

My house has been cleaned and order has been restored, but the pile of unopened gifts remains. BabyGirl was too tired to open them, so she is slumbering in her crib. But I am too tired to move them.

However, I am not too tired to say that if I never see another cupcake again (real or fake) it may very well be too soon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Congratulations Lila Claire! You have successfully completed your first year of life! In that short period of time, you've managed to go from this... this!

Your gift to yourself? A bruise on the cheek, acquired whilst climbing on Mason's Anywhere Chair and falling. (Not the first time you tried that trick, but the second time.)

Our gift to you? These snazzy anklets. They have garnered you a new nickname--"Jingle."

Your accomplishments during that time include (in no particular order):

celebrating your first birthday toothless, just like your brother Cole. Can you beat his record and hold out until 14 months to get a tooth? Might as well aim high. ;

turning diaper changing into an Olympic Sport;

eating table food like a Hoover vac;

triumphantly using anything not nailed to the floor as a walker (Who cares if you're scratching the daylights out of the wood floors by pushing a giant plastic dinosaur all over the place? You've got

still squeezing into much of your Size 3-6 month couture;

becoming a very successful and accomplished food beggar;

developing a strange affinity for socks, both yours and those belonging to others;

going from hating baths so much you'd think we were torturing you, to loving baths so much that on a couple of occasions you've come dangerously close to diving into the tub when your brothers were taking their turn;

making us all fall completely in love with you!

In the next year, you can look forward to:

teething (let's all pray it goes easy on you);

further developing your plan to take over the world (you thought that was a secret?);

walking, and therefore giving your brothers a run for their money;

running, and therefore giving your mama a run for her money;

wearing the army of adorable shoes your mother has assembled for you, now that you need them for the aforementioned walking and running;

talking (I am certain you will say something profound);

and charming the pants off of everyone you meet.

All in all, you've had a very successful year. We can't wait to see what's in store for the next one--no doubt you've got some tricks up your sleeve.

They allege that you are a toddler now, but to us you're still our BabyGirl.

With Love and Adoration,

Your Mama, Your Papa, and your crazy big brothers

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

364 Days

I am not an emotional person. Honest. Ask anyone who knows me.

And yet today, on the eve of the first anniversary of Lila's entry onto this earth, I am emotional.

I find myself asking why. Because she might be our last baby? Because I am sad that she's moving away from being BabyGirl and towards being Big Girl? Because unlike her brothers she made it through her first year minus health scares and hospitalizations? Because I haven't slept in five years?

Who knows.

In all my emotional reminiscing, I decided to look at pictures of her first days. Perhaps this was a mistake.

It all came flooding back.

  • How weird it was to have a baby girl instead of a baby boy. (That weirdness wore off quickly.)
  • How easy her delivery was. (But everything's relative, the boys' births were monumental feats, to say the least.)
  • How right after she was born, she cried for four.hours.straight. (I wondered if this is what they were talking about when people told me girls were harder!)
  • How she had the softest skin, the sweetest smell, and the cutest little ski feet. (She still does.)
  • How much the boys have grown in a year. (I was aware of how much she had grown, but seeing Cole's blonder hair and Mason's babyish face took me back as how quickly time is passing.)

It feels like it was just yesterday, but at the same time it seems like she's always been a part of our family.

Her birth thrust me into a job that I was hardly prepared for--being a mother of three.

Rey was working in Key West for nearly half of Lila's life. He moved back there when she was three weeks old and returned when she was almost six months old. There were many times during that period where I recall sincerely questioning God if I would survive. But now, six months later, although I can remember how hard it was, my I can't remember the feeling of desperation. It's a lot like Mason's NICU stay and Cole's hospital time--I remember the sadness and pain but I can no longer feel it.

It's funny how your biggest challenge in life is also your greatest reward. There's something in every birthday that's a poignant reminder of that.

As of tomorrow, Lila's age will no longer be measured in months, but years. We are closing one door and opening another.

But until then, I will hold my not-a-one-year old, she will curl up in a tiny, shirtless, diapered ball and hug me like her life depended on it.

Unconditional love--it's so great to give it and so great to take it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Taking Pictures of People Taking Pictures, Part Two

Allow me to start by saying that this is a very long post. There are a zillion pictures to share the rest of the day we have last Thursday after the photo session. (And I might add, Blogger's photo uploader is absolutely terrible!)

I will also include the disclaimer that as you get further down, it might look like I'm a very mean mom. I promise, I am not.

So, Terrilyn brought seamless background paper for Lila's photos, and left behind a big piece of it for the boys to create a little art with. They were really excited by this prospect!

First they didn't believe me, and kept looking at me like, "Really? This thing you were just yelling at us to stay off of we're now supposed to color with markers??"

But once I convinced them it was okay, they were off!

Cole began with his standard "Scribble Scrabble."

And Mason began by yelling at Cole for the aforementioned "Scribble Scrabble." Seriously, he's the scribble scrabble police.

Cole was having a super fun time though.

And Mason got to work writing letters.

They were being so sweet and peaceful, just drawing away. So I decided to hit the kitchen for a quick snack. And returned to this:

Seriously? A piece of paper bigger than he is and this boy must draw on his legs.

Oh, and his face.

The result of a fun project:

And also... I have a standing rule that we keep markers up high so that Lila doesn't get into them. So we typically use them at the bar in the kitchen. Well obviously this wasn't conducive for this project, so on the floor we went. Lo and behold, the necessity for my rule was confirmed.

Thank God Crayola markers are non-toxic. (And you have no idea how difficult it was to return her tongue to a normal shade.)

Moving on...

Afterwards, Mason headed into the kitchen and noticed we had a new roll of paper towels. I always always always buy white paper towels, but Rey made the purchase this time, and for whatever reason he chose to buy some with a country print on them. Mason saw them and could not get over it. "Hey, what's with these paper towels? They're drawed all over! "

And then he said something that brought a tear to a proud mama's eye. "I better grab the camera and take a picture!"

And off he went, to fetch his little VTech KidZoom.

And of course, I grabbed my camera to document the time that Mason grabbed his.

Cole was furious, tirading that he was left out of the picture taking. He was begging Mason for the camera.

And Mason was shooing him away.

What you're about to see is such a rare occasion, such an event of nature that is has never before been documented. Cole had a tantrum.

And since Mason recognized that, much like the paper towels, this tantrum was a rarity, he started taking pictures of that too.

I have a general rule that I don't take pictures of my kids during their really ugly moments. After all, who wants to remember that? But those of you who know Cole understand that he is the happiest boy on the block. Always jolly, jovial, and agreeable. I couldn't help but laugh because it was so out of character for him.

Cole ran off to his room, enraged. Mason and I stayed behind and started taking pictures of each other taking pictures. He understood the irony and got a real kick out of it.

Mason ran off, and soon I heard Cole screaming at him. I went to investigate.

Cole had gone in his room and started playing with blocks and cars. Mason came along to take more pictures. Cole was not pleased.

First he covered his eyes, because as far as Cole's concerned if he couldn't see Mason, Mason couldn't take his picture.

Perhaps he realized this wasn't effective, because he ran across the room and slammed the door.

Mason thought it was great. A super fun game.

So he opened the door, and the whole scene replayed itself again.

And again.

And again.

And soon, Cole was laughing too.

And Mason and I were allowed to come in and play.

Something, don't ask me what, set Cole off again. The most easygoing kid you've ever seen was launching into his second tantrum.

I like to call this series "Meltdown a la Cole."

And just like that, Cole was laughing again too.

I'm yelling you, the whole thing was like the Twlight Zone.

Mason decided we should take self portraits at about the same time Lila arosed from her slumber to join us. Cole wanted no part, and I wasn't about to push the issue lest he launch into another tirade!

Later, just before naptime, Cole finally got his mitts of the coveted VTech KidZoom camera. Earlier in the day when Terrilyn was here, we were in the boys room at another ill-fated attempt to get them to simmer down and take some pictures. While we waited she sat Lila on top of the boy's nightstand to take some shots of her. When I went in to tuck Cole in for his nap, this was the scene:

My little imitator. He was pleased as punch to be photographing his Ruffie and his 'Poster Ruffie. Just like "Princess Terrilyn."

And that was the end of our morning of crazy happenings. Since then I've been wildly working on Lila's birthday party. I would say I can't wait until things return to normal again, but are things ever normal when you're the mom of three kids?