Friday, May 28, 2010

Early summer days...

May has been full of beautiful summerlike days, and we like love those! There is just an abundance of things to do here in Maine when the weather is beautiful. The last week has been hot. Summer hot. Believe me, I am not complaining and I don't think our girls are complaining either. Kevin and I are very happy the girls have had a lot of use of their new waterslide already. We have been so busy lately, so we spent the week just taking things as they came! It was fun!

Earlier this week, we had some friends over for some fun. It was hot. Super hot. Like 90 degree hot. Our backyard is secluded by thick woods around us, so we don't have much breeze. The kids didn't care, and they had a blast playing in our backyard. Even Clara was able to really enjoy our backyard for the first time. Now that she is standing, she was perfectly content crawling around in the pool or standing at our water table splashing around. Mairead & Lilah had a great time spraying each other with the sprinkler and running around naked. There is nothing like a beautiful summer day when you have children.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm new to the terrible two's...

I'll admit, I probably had it pretty easy with Mairead. She was a fairly happy infant,  with the exception of some sleep issues, but overall, she was very pleasant. When she turned two, she was speaking in 12 word sentences, and having adult conversations with people! She was sweet and happy, didn't climb, and was an overall easy toddler. She even potty trained herself by her 2nd birthday. My biggest complaint was her whining, which has yet to stop, and she just turned 4! Please let it stop soon......Please.

Lilah is the opposite. You have probably read posts about our "little Lilah". Lilah has been a handful lately, actually since she started walking at 10 months. From that point on, Lilah climbed everything without a problem. She ran from the get go. Now, I am sure Lilah is going through the Terrible Two's - whoa! Lilah is also not a big talker like Mairead was. She can get her point across, and speaking 4-6 word sentences, but overall, she has difficulty expressing her feelings and understanding to concepts - though I know her internal comprehension is very, very good. It's probably normal for her age, but to me, it's foreign. Mairead has had no problem expressing herself!

Lately, it's killing me. She hits, throws and can be just downright nasty! On the other hand, she is the most lovable, cuddly kid there is. Yesterday, she was just having a bad day. She refused to nap, and was being mean. Banging her head against the floor and then telling me she "hit her head" - uh huh....I wasn't born yesterday, Lilah! Once I got her to sleep, we had swim school. The girls did great. When we got home, Lilah looked at me with a smirk and peed a huge flood all over the floor. We brought her immediately to the potty and didn't make a huge deal about it - we definitely don't need to give her attention to the negative things she has been doing! Then, about 15 minutes later, she was sitting on our nice slipcover couch. She looked at me and I watched her bare down as she PEED on our couch. Thankfully, I got her off right away, and it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Today, we were leaving a garden store, and she wouldn't get in her car seat. I told her to get in, and if she didn't, I would have to strap her in. She didn't, so I did it for her. She didn't like that one bit. So, what did she do?

Took off one croc (shoe) and threw it at me while I was sitting in the drivers seat.
Took off the other, and threw it at me.....

What did I do?

Ignore her :)

Practice, Practice, Practice!

I always tend to forget about the "practice" stage babies tend to go through during 6-12 months. It always tends to happen at the most inopportune times....nap time, bed time and the middle of the night.

For the last month, Clara has really hit this stage. Hard. A few weeks back, she'd wake around 1-3am, I'd nurse her, and put her back in her crib. She'd immediately wake back up, and then all of a sudden you'd hear her squealing, babbling, clapping her hands and waving. Since we have a video monitor, I was able to watch her. It was super cute, but why does she have to do this at 2am? Some nights, she'd do it for an hour before she passed out. Once she started crawling around, she'd practice in her crib when she awoke. Thankfully, it didn't last too long, and she started sleeping better at night. happened again.

Late last week, she figured out how to pull up. Of course, the crib went down one notch. Then, 2 days later, she figured out how to pull up in her crib. Down went the crib. Now, if she's awake, she immediately pulls herself up. The problem? She doesn't know how to get herself down (unless she falls). She feels the need to wake up immediately to practice this new skill she has learned. For me, this is the most frustrating. She doesn't know how to get down, and after 10 minutes of standing, she gets upset and wants to sleep. Usually, if she fusses in her crib, and I leave her for a few, she'll go to sleep, but now, she is just pulling herself up!

Last night, she awoke at 215am, Kevin went in to put her to sleep, but all she wanted to do was pull herself up on the crib! Of course, she was angry and wanted me to nurse her. Every time we'd get her to sleep, we'd walk out of the room, and within 5 minutes, she'd be pulling herself up again!

Right now, I am attempting to put her down for her nap, but since she was not completely passed out when I put her down, she is now awake standing up! She's fussing a bit because she can't get herself down. I look forward to when she learns how to do that!

The first year is filled with so much growth and development it is no wonder babies don't sleep through the night consistently! Their little brains are in over drive just wanting to practice their new skills. For me, this is what gets me through this stage. I try to think of how I sleep when I have "a lot on my mind" - it's tough, and I am sure it is even more difficult for an infant! Soon, she'll be sleeping through the night like her big sisters, and I will miss these days! In the meantime, I'll just enjoy watching her practice on the video monitor!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Good & Bad

It's official! Clara is on the move! Looks like she will be following in her sister, Lilah's footsteps and will walk early! Not only is Clara crawling (army crawl style) but she is now pulling up on things! It only took her about a week of crawling before she realized she can pull up! Uh ohhhh! 

I absolutely HATE the crawling stage - let's just walk already!

There are, of course, good things and bad things about is my list:

Bad first - because there are way more bad than good when it comes to crawling......
  • I have to vacuum our floors almost every day. Yuck. 
  • I have to wash my floors almost every day. I hate dirty kids with dirty clothes. 
  • If she wants her mamma, she can now chase me down. She is a fast mover, too!
  • She wants to get down. Everywhere. I can't let her down everywhere. That pisses her off! Have you heard Clara scream? She has lungs. Healthy ones.
  • She can now find every small piece of food on the floor and put it in her mouth. This includes dog hair. We have two dogs. They have a lot of hair. This is why I have to vacuum. A Lot. 
  •  I love the beach. One word. Sand. Everywhere. 
  • I now have three children who can chase me  into the bathroom.  
  • Did I mention crawling is just dirty??? Yuck.  
The good.

  • She is happy on the floor now because she can play with all sorts of fun things! You know, like eating dog hair, crumbs, dirty shoes - the good stuff.
  • Kevin says it is one milestone closer to her getting out of the house. Ha. Ha. Real funny!
.......and that's about it. Did I mention crawling is my least favorite milestone? When people say "Uh oh! She's going to be walking soon." You know, like it's a bad thing...I correct them and tell them I love when they walk. It is just so much easier. They are just so much happier. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Confessions of a 'Stay at home Mom'

Life as a stay at home mom isn't always a box of chocolates.....and it sure isn't always glamorous either!

Here are just a few confessions of mine!

.....I usually do not make my bed. Unless I have some extra time on my hands, and that is never. <Gasp!>

.....After breakfast, I may not put the dishes in the dishwasher, but will just leave them in the sink. <UH! The horror!>

.....Sometimes I will hear my girls fighting, but I will pretend as though I do not hear them....<wait! don't call children services just yet!>

.....I hate running, but have started running so I can have an excuse to have an hour to myself....<don't worry, I'll come back!>

.....I don't always speak to my children in a calm manner. Sometimes mommy yells and yells loud.

.....I sometimes fake sleep when I hear my children in the middle of the night so my husband will get up with them. <and that is a strong sometimes...>

......I sometimes hoard a box of nerds...gobbstoppers...sour patch kids...whatever in the car door and sneak them while I am driving, then deny I have anything in my mouth when my 2 or 4 year old ask what I am eating.

......I sometimes don't feel like playing with my kids <thankfully for them, it isn't all of the time!> 

......I sometimes will sit and blog, facebook or email during rest while knowing things in the house should be tended to.

..................oh, and I never, ever, ever restart the dryer because I am too lazy to fold the laundry. 

I could go on and on.....really. I'll stop here so I can do this again sometime!

What are your confessions? 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

8 Months...8 beautiful months!

Another beautiful month with our little Clara. It's starting to get hard to even think about what life was like without Clara! When my sister in law mentioned last night on the telephone about Clara turning 8 months today, I was in disbelief......"tomorrow? really? already? how?"

Clara just brings so much to our family. Even at 8 months, she has so much to offer everyone. Her sisters just adore her so much. Clara started crawling last week and the girls just love it! Clara loves her sisters so much. All the girls have to do is look at her and she just bursts out in laughter. It is such a special gift to watch our three little angels grow together.

I love waking up next to Clara. This morning, I was awake before she was. She started to stir and I knew she'd be waking soon. I just looked at her in awe. My sweet princess is 8 months old. Then, she opened her ginormous blue eyes, gazed at me for a second, and then gave me the most beautiful smile. What a way to wake up in the morning!

Now that Clara is crawling, she is just so happy! She can get to point A and B without a problem, and boy! is she fast. We are in trouble! Needless to say, she is sitting up great. She can be in a sitting position and get into a crawling position without trouble now. She is working hard at pulling up on things. She is eating one meal a day (dinner), and she is loving it. She eats everything. She even ate her first serving of clam chowder the other night at dinner! You can't get away with feeding this kid anything pureed. If she sees you eat something different, she wants what you are eating. Clara started waving "HI" and clapping her hands, too! Her brain is a little sponge!

Her sleep is staying steady. She isn't the best sleeper, but she isn't the worst either. Clara is really attached to me, and I really think she wakes at night to make sure I am still around. I don't much I would love a full night sleep, I know she won't be like this forever, and I'll long for the days where they just want to be close to you. We joke around because if someone is holding Clara, and I walk by, but don't pick her up, she will scream for me until I take her. I love you clingy Clara!

It's so bittersweet. I miss our little baby, but I am loving the little girl Clara is becoming! She is such a doll. She is truly transforming into a little toddler! Each day, she learns something new, and I love watching it! This summer is going to be so much fun with our girls!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lilah strikes again!

Do you remember the blog post A Day in the Life... about Lilah?

Lilah is hilarious. Each day, she amazes us with something new, something funny, something so Lilah. She is definitely a handful, and at times, she is just so funny, inappropriately so....but how do you not laugh? How do you keep a straight face in order to discipline her? Sometimes it is just plain Impossible.

After the incidence of her getting onto the changing table and covering herself in desitin while wearing Clara's 6-12 month outfit, she had stopped climbing. I told her she shouldn't climb up there because she could fall and break her arm. Since she still had vivid memories of her arm being pulled out of the socket, she didn't want to "break her arm" again, so that kept her off of the changing table for a while....until today.

Around 730am I heard, Bang! Bam! ......uh oh. What is she doing in there? Both Mairead and Clara were sound asleep next to me in bed. I thought long and hard about what I should do, and I opted to do nothing. What's done was done. Once Clara awoke, I left Mairead sleeping, while me and Clara went in to check on Lilah.

Yep. Once again, Lilah was up on the changing table. She had her diaper off. Wipes thrown everywhere. Lotion all over the place. She made a mess.

I say:

"Lilah, do not climb up there. You could fall and hurt yourself. You don't want to break your arm. You don't want to go to the hospital, do you?"


 "Yeah. I do. I need to get my baby out" as she points to her belly. 

 Seriously!?! How do you react to that without laughing? It's tough!  

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Big Kids.

Let's be real. Kevin and I are really just big kids in adult bodies. Neither of us were deprived as children, but we still are attracted to those really cool toys!

Last year, the girls got a little tykes bounce house for their birthdays. It was one of the best things we ever bought for the girls. They have had so many good many memories many laughs! We have surely gotten our money worth out of the bounce house, and it is still a hit!

This year we splurged and bought the girls a big, huge inflatable waterslide. Kevin and I love water, so when Mairead said she wanted a big slide, we couldn't say no. We don't mind spending money on things that our children will use over and over again, especially outside! Honestly, we don't spend a lot of money buying them expensive inside toys. The greatest thing about the new slide is that it holds up to 200lbs! This means adults CAN participate!

So, if you hear some laughs and splashing after the kids go to bed, it's probably just me and Kevin having some fun on the water slide! :)

We can't wait for lots of great memories to be made this summer! 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mairead's 1st Recital

This weekend was a rather big first for our little girl. She danced in her very first dance recital. Last September, we signed Mairead up for dance class at a local dance school. Every Monday, she danced. I think she really enjoyed it, at least she seemed excited, and never ever gave me a tough time about wanting to do dance. It was always so much fun to watch her learn each and every week.

On Thursday night, Mairead had her dress rehearsal. We all (me, Kevin and her teacher) had been talking a lot about the recital and being on "stage". She didn't seem apprehensive at all! Before we left for rehearsal, I did Mairead's hair. I did a little french braid and then used a curling iron to put "twirls" in Mairead's hair. She thought this was the bomb. When I showed her in the mirror, she let out a little giggle in excitement. It was so cute. When we got to the high school, we put her costume on along with the other girls, and pranced around until it was their turn. I sat in the audience and watched my little baby perform. She did so great. I'll admit, I even had tears. Seeing my baby up on such a big stage made me realize just how small she really is. I was so proud of her! When she finished, we met her out in the atrium, and she was so excited. She says "Mamma! I loved being on stage!"

Saturday was the "big day". Kevin's parents flew in from Florida on Thursday afternoon to see the girls. My parents and Carley were also here to see Mairead's big debut. Once again, I primped Mairead up in preparation for the big show. When we got to the high school, Mairead was almost halfway through the recital, so she got to see the other dancers perform. The girls (Lilah & Mairead) were in awe with what they were seeing. The looks on their faces was unforgettable. They were so into it.

Then, it was Mairead's turn. The girls were so excited to perform! I raced back to my seat so I could watch my baby once again amaze us. She looked so little! but when did she get big enough to dance...on stage? We were so proud of our little girl!

I think the recital only made both Mairead & Lilah more excited to dance next year! The girls have been prancing around in the costume for days now! How cute is that??? I cannot wait to see my two big girls on stage next year.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Silly Girls!

On Monday night, we celebrated Mairead's 4th birthday. We took the girls out to Toys R Us to pick out a "joint" birthday gift. Lucky for the girls, they have parents who are pretty much big kids, so when Mairead picked out a ginormous waterslide, we couldn't possibly say no...After our trip to toys R us and a dinner out at Olive Garden per Mairead's request, we came home to sing happy birthday to our birthday girl. We sang happy birthday and enjoyed some tasty cupcakes!

Here are some photos of the girls being their very silly selves!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sharing is Hard.

Ahhh. Today was one of those days. You know...when you wake up, and 5 minutes later, someone is whining....someone is fighting....someone is crying......and all you want to do is crawl back into bed and start over. You just know the day is not going to go over well.

Yeah. One of those days.

I think an alternative title for today's post could be "post birthday blues" or "why do I have to share my new toys" or "why do I have to be nice" or "why should I listen to my mom and dad?" or "why isn't it okay to smack my sister upside the head with a toy?"

You know where this is going...

I will start off by giving our girls the benefit of the doubt. Our girls (in my extreme biased opinion) are very well behaved. I feel very lucky to have many more good days than days like today with them. Today was just not good. I couldn't wait for it to end so we can start over tomorrow.

I think after all the weekend excitement with preparing for Mairead's party, Mairead's birthday, the party itself, my parents spending the night and all the fun on Mother's day ended up for making a big ole letdown for the girls. All of a sudden, it was back to routine. Back to reality. Back to sharing toys. Back to following the rules. Back to listening to mamma & daddy. A lot to ask of a just turned 4 year old and a not quite 2.5 year old.

Of course, Lilah was into everything Mairead got for her birthday. Of course, Mairead didn't want to share with Lilah. It's a tough concept to teach the girls...they'll get it. Eventually. The girls just bickered all day. No one could get along. I felt as though I repeated myself a million times and still no one listened...."Pick up your toys"......"Don't throw your toys"...."Don't hit".....ARGH!

We even spent several hours outside this morning, and it just didn't cut it. They fought over the power wheels. Now that Lilah is interested in learning to drive, Mairead is bent out of shape she can't be sole driver of the pimp daddy escalade. Don't you wish your day's hardest concept was sharing the mack daddy escalade with your sister? I sure do! Then Lilah would hit or push Mairead. Mairead would cry. Mairead would hit Lilah back. You get the idea, right? It was just a vicious cycle that refused to end. By the end of the day, Mairead was in tears. Completely...Positively...Overtired. Yeah.

Let's just say as soon as Kevin got home from his run, I was waiting for my turn to get out of dodge and enjoy some "me" time. It felt good. It surely made it easier to get through the rest of the night. I know every day can't be perfect, and days like these are great for teaching the girls what is right.....and what is wrong....and being sensitive to each others feelings. Sharing and Caring.

I'm just glad most days are better than today.

Sharing is hard. I know.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday to our sweet Mairead!

Four years ago today, almost exactly to the minute (2:42pm), I gave birth to our sweet Mairead Elisabeth....our honeymoon token. It is truly mind boggling that four years could have passed already! It feels as though it was just yesterday Mairead came into our lives and changed our world forever! Mairead has taught us how to be parents, and has given us more lessons about life than we could have ever imagined possible by something so small and innocent.

Mairead was born at 37 weeks. I had learned the day before her birth that I would need to be induced because of oligohydramnios (low fluid). I was disappointed about having to be induced, but since I was already 4cm, I was praying I would get through labor without drugs or intervention. Having been a labor nurse, I knew what to expect, and I wasn't so sure that was a good or bad thing. I knew everything that could happen! Fortunately, with the help and support of my amazing husband, mother and nurse, I succeeded in giving birth 100% naturally to our sweet Mairead in just 4 hours - not bad for a first time mom! Kevin was able to help deliver Mairead and place her on my chest. From the second Mairead's face hit air, she screamed. She had to let everyone know she was here! Boy! Things haven't changed! This was the moment our life changed forever, and we will be forever in love with our little girl.

Here is an excerpt from what I wrote about Mairead's birth:
 At about 1015, my OB came in and broke my water, at that time, I was about 4cm, but no pain. About an hour and a half later, I was more uncomfortable, having to breath through contractions, I stayed OUT of bed, and stood next to the bedside, and eventually got on the birthing ball, which I have to say is the BEST THING EVER. My contractions never got horrendous, but the pressure did...the pressure was the most painful. I progressed quite rapidly, and never once thought about the need for pain medications. Being an LD nurse, everyone gets an epidural, but I had no thoughts of it. My nurse and my DH were amazing. This being our first child, Kevin really didn't know what to expect, I'd catch him crying, he said he felt so helpless to see me in pain, but through it all, I kept my sense of humor, and would enter my "trance" during the contraction, and would step right out once it was over.

At about 8cm, the pressure was INTENSE, I got into bed for Jane to check my cervix, and at that point, she wouldn't let me get up again because she was afraid I'd go from 8-10cm too quickly, and then would be difficult to get me into bed.

When I got into bed, I felt as though I was crawling out of my skin, trying not to push. My pain was just the intense pressure. Finally at 2pm, I was just a rim, but was able to push right past it. Pushing was the craziest experience of all time, I felt as though my head was going to explode...I even broke blood vessels in my eye...but after 42 minutes of pushing, I delivered a beautiful baby girl. I had to have a 3rd degree episiotomy, so I am quite sore, but other than that, I had the most amazing experience. My dh was able to deliver Mairead, and that just made our experience even more memorable. We have the most amazing photographs and have a great video of the birth. I just can't believe she's here, and I did it the way I had always dreamed of. 

First birthday:

Second birthday:

Third birthday:

Now, at 4 years old, Mairead is still our independent little girl - most likely a textbook firstborn child! She is the second "mother" in the family. Poor Lilah & Clara are always being told what to do and how to do it, but on the up scale to this, she is very mature and just loves to help out around the house - she is a dream! She loves her little sisters so much! It is such a dream to watch our three girls interact with each other - it is true love! Mairead is going to preschool once a week, and she is loving it. I had a conference with her teachers this morning, and they couldn't say anything negative about her. She said she is such a well adapted child who has had not even a problem adjusting to school - they thought she had been in school before! They also said she uses her manners, listens well (our Mairead???) and plays very, very well with all of the children! Hearing these words is like music to our ears! When the teachers said "whatever you're doing - keep doing it because it works!" It definitely makes all the hard times of parenting all worth it when people commend you on your children!

I look at the difference between her 3rd birthday photo and her 4th birthday photo - it's amazing! She may not have grown that much, but she has certainly matured! She has lost the babyish look, and is now looking like a big girl! The change is baffling, this is when I wish I could just slow down time...

Tonight, we told Mairead we would take her out to "cook cook" (out to dinner) for her birthday! She is all excited, but when you ask her where she wants to go, she tells you a different place each time! I love her! We ended up taking a trip to Toys R Us so the girls could pick out a special joint birthday present. The girls picked out a inflatable water slide - you know one of those "Mack Daddy" ones you always wished you had when you were a kid??? Yeah. One of those. Do you think Kevin and I are trying to live vicariously through our children? After that splurge, we ended up at Olive Garden and back home to sing Happy Birthday one last time to our princess! We had cupcakes, and the girls ran around the house wild & crazy!

Happy Birthday my sweet Mairead! You were one of the best things to happen in mommy and daddy's life!

We love you!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxxo

Mother's Day

Today, I celebrated my 4th Mother's Day. It is so hard to believe I have been a mommy for four beautiful years. It just doesn't seem possible, I mean, time has just gone by so fast. I have three beautiful angels now, and I just feel so incredibly lucky to have them in my life. Each year I grow so much because of them. They teach me so much about life. Who knew such small children could do so much?

If you have been reading my blog, you may remember the blog of getting in shape. You can read about it here. Back in February, I decided to challenge myself for 90 days to learn to run and blog about it. Well, I did it. I hate to run, and always have. I have to admit, I think I may be starting to actually enjoy it....Shhhhhhhh....don't tell anyone! :) In order to keep myself honest, I signed myself and Kevin up for a mother's day 5K here in Portland. I had never in my life run a 5K, hell, I could barely run down our 100ft driveway at that point, but....I was going to do it.

Well, today was the day. Kevin woke me up at 0730 as I was comfortably snuggled up with my little sleeping Clara. We woke the girls up and got ready to head into Portland for our mother's day run at the Portland Sea Dogs stadium. My parents spent the night so they could help with the girls and watch Kevin and I embark on our first race together. It was so COLD. Low 40s and windy...too windy. Living near the ocean, it is frequently windy here, so thankfully, I have gotten used to it a little.

We arrived in Portland and ran our race! We finished in just over 30 minutes - which was my goal! What an amazing accomplishment. Halfway through the race, I was just amazed that I was actually running in a 5K. I fulfilled my goal. It felt so great to cross the finish line with Kevin. I was so proud of him, too!

After the race, we all headed out for brunch together. The girls did so well, and I think were enjoying all the fun and excitement of the weekend. When we arrived home, my parents left, and the girls headed up for a nap. Kevin and I relaxed. Clara woke up early from her nap, so I ended up going upstairs to lay down with her. She nursed, and I passed out. It was so nice to nap with her, something I don't do very often anymore.

Aside from my first mother's day, this is probably my favorite one. I gave myself an amazing gift. My husband was there to celebrate with me. My family was there cheering us on. We were all together. Healthy and Happy. It just doesn't get much better than that!

Mairead's Birthday Bash!

There is nothing like a birthday party for a small child. The pure joy and excitement a party brings to a child is unforgettable. Mairead was so excited for all of her friends to come celebrate her birthday, and not to mention the pony that would be coming to her house. The weather forecast still looked grim, but we didn't care. Mairead was excited whether there was rain or shine. There would be a celebration regardless of the weather.

All of the children arrived around 2pm. It was a bit crazy. We had 16 kids ranging in age from 2-4 years old. With that many children, you would think it would be chaotic, but I think everyone did amazingly well! The pony arrived late, but that's okay! The kids had a blast playing together in the playroom. Once the ponies arrived, the excitement stepped up a notch. The lady brought two horses, a mini pony and a standard size pony. The mini one was for brushing, feeding, petting and learning, the bigger one was brought just in case the weather was good enough to ride! The kids had a blast! Then. The. Rain. Stopped! Yes! The kids all lined up waiting for their turn to ride "Winston". Mairead at first was apprehensive, and didn't want to ride. Once she saw her friends riding him, she was ready! She rode "Winston" twice, and loved every second of it! Lilah wasn't really interested in the horses, so she just watched. Quietly.

After the pony left, we all headed inside. I was thrilled the kids were able to ride the pony! We settled down to sing 'Happy Birthday' to my sweet angel. She was so excited to blow out the candles. All of her friends gathered around the table to join in! It was so cute! We sang happy birthday, and Mairead did a fabulous job blowing out the candles - of course, she didn't wait to grab the number 4 and lick the frosting off of it!

After cake & ice cream, it was gift time! The kids all gathered around (or on top of) Mairead, and excitedly watched her open their gifts. She got so many wonderful gifts. She is so lucky to have such wonderful friends. I know Mairead was really excited to have her new friends from school there, too.

We couldn't have asked for a better day. It went off without a hitch, really. All the children were so well behaved, and I think everyone really had a great time. The weather didn't bother anyone! It seems so surreal to be celebrating Mairead's 4th can my baby possibly be turning FOUR??? 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Adventures in Cake making!

As you may have read below, we are celebrating Mairead's 4th birthday on Saturday. It has been a little tradition in our household to bake & design a homemade cake. It all started with my mom. She and my father came to Virginia to celebrate Mairead's 1st birthday. My mom thought it would be a fun idea to bake our own cake, and ever since, that is what we have done for each birthday celebration! Each year, the tradition gets more and more fun with the girls! Now, I am absolutely NO Betty Crocker, but I make a mean boxed cake! For Lilah's birthday, I attempted a cake from scratch, but for Mairead's, her "castle cake" is all I can handle this year!

On Friday night after we put Lilah & Clara to bed, we snuck Mairead downstairs to help me bake her cake. She, of course, thought she was so cool being able to come downstairs. It was a lot of fun for both of us!

First, Mairead emptied the mix into the bowl, and added the water & oil.....

Then, she cracked the egg - and did a very good job at it! Once the eggs were cracked, she mixed it all up! 

She poured the batter into the heart shaped pan. She was very anxious to start licking that spatula! I mean, who isn't? I was even chomping at the bit waiting my turn :)

 Once the licking of the spatula was complete, we put the cake(s) in the oven, and off to dreamland she went! When we awoke, she was very excited to see the cake she had made. We sent Lilah & Daddy off to the store for some last minute pick ups, and we started to decorate the cake. 

Mairead had asked for a "castle" cake for her birthday cake. I was stumped! I found a photo of an elaborate but claimed "easy" in a parenting magazine. I went off of that for some ideas and called a girlfriend of mine for some advice! It surely didn't look professional, but it was the memories made that really matter in this case! 

Overall, I was very happy with the way the cake came out, but most of all, the look on Mairead's face when we finished was what made everything worth it! She was so excited to dig in!