Piper is 2!

And she woke me up this morning at about the exact same time she was born two years ago, right around 5 am! It was okay today because it’s her day and we got some extra special cuddle time in Ellie’s bed while I tried [and failed] to get her to go back to sleep with me.

Her party was yesterday and we did a rainbow theme – several pics are below. She’s not a shy one, Piper G. She was incredibly excited when she saw the cake coming her way and glowed when everyone sang to her. She blew the candles out with a little of daddy’s help and when everyone clapped, she clapped too.

Some of Piper’s favorite things to do at the ripe old age of two include:

  • Singing her ABC’s
  • Counting to 5
  • Singing “Twinkle Twinkle”
  • Playing with Legos
  • Holding her dolls
  • Anything that Ellie is doing
  • Going potty on the toilet
  • Playing with her buddies at school
  • Giving hugs and kisses

Having parties like this always fills my heart with gratitude. To see all the family and friends come together to celebrate someone’s birth is so meaningful. After everyone left and we rested for a bit, Piper opened her presents. It was so sweet to see how excited she was with every single one. If it was clothes, she wanted to try them on right away and literally peeled her existing clothes off every time. She put her backpack on right away. And every toy we opened she wanted to play with immediately. We read two of the new books last night and there are more on the schedule for tonight. I can’t thank our family and friends enough for their generosity – we feel VERY blessed.

I’ve also posted the icing recipe below, courtesy of my sister-in-law Heather-Jo, as several people asked about it.

Birthday cheese post-cake consumption!

Yummy frosting

Blowing out the candles

Piñata fun. I don’t know whether I like watching her hit it or try to say it more.

The tutu lasted about 4 seconds.

Rainbow food

Her Rainbow birthday cake

Ellie pre-party frosting enjoyment

Ellie making necklaces with died pasta while Grandy decorates the blackboard.

Ellie and Nana waiting for CAKE!

7 minute Icing recipe:

Get a double-broiler and a handheld electric mixer with beaters. Combine all below ingredients in the top pan of the double broiler:

  • 1.5 c. sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 1 TBSP white corn syrup (we prefer the cream of tartar)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (add this at the end – see directions below)

Beat with mixer for 1 minute. Then put on top of the bottom double-broiler pan with water boiling in it. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the top double-broiler pan. Beat with mixer for another 7 minutes. At the end, beat in the vanilla. If the icing isn’t think enough, beat longer and faster until it reaches the consistency you’d like. Frost your cake before the icing cools.

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Mother’s Day 2014

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and although it was not my first Mother’s Day, it was my first Mother’s Day as Piper’s mom and my first Mother’s Day as a mom of two dumplings.  The girl’s teacher had them make me the sweetest little gifts: hands and feet stamped on paper and framed. I made a reservation at Salty’s for brunch at 9:45 for us and my Mom and Grandy quite some time ago. It’s a bit of a Mother’s Day tradition and we beat the crowds, so it wasn’t madness and chaos.

Salty's on Redondo is a Mother's Day Tradition

Salty’s on Redondo is a Mother’s Day Tradition

Ellie played on the beach afterward with Grandy and Tutu to her heart’s content. She got her dress soaking wet in the waves, but it was definitely worth it. Piper fell asleep easily to the sound of the waves on the beach. I was extremely happy because I managed to not stuff myself to the gills by focusing on Dungeness crab, lox and clams. I did treat myself to a little cheese blintz though…who can resist?

She probably did this over ten times - a good workout for Grandy and Tutu

She probably did this over ten times – a good workout for Grandy and Tutu

We got home, the girls took a nap and I got a 20 minute cat nap. This was quite a treat considering my red eye flight to Toronto last Wednesday night, two days full of meetings and then flying back on Friday night. I’m pretty sure I’m still tired from that trip, but it’s really difficult to differentiate between work trip tired and mom of two tired.

After naps, Brian loaded up the car and we headed to a park down the street for a little picnic. It was such a pleasant afternoon. We laid in the sun (Ellie slathered in sunscreen, Piper in her sun tent), and nibbled on cheese, salami and crackers, chocolate covered bananas and strawberries. It was so much fun to just play at the park. The best part though was going down the spiral slide. I haven’t really gone on a slide for quite some time and the first time I went down I screamed with excitement – perhaps the Margarita Brian packed in our picnic had a little to do with that well??? Regardless, it was a lot of fun.

Piper loved playing in the sun tent, but mostly loved trying to stand up the whole time.

Piper loved playing in the sun tent, but mostly loved trying to stand up the whole time.

I’ve always enjoyed Mother’s Day. Growing up, I saw my Mom work so hard – literally all the time in one way or another – and when Mother’s Day came there was never any deserved perspective. I never really got the sense that my mom thought it was her day. I think she just appreciated that it was a holiday to instill gratitude, a valuable quality. The fact that it was for her was irrelevant I think. I’m starting to really understand that now that I’m a Mum. I think frequently about all the other moms out there, all the moms and all the women. A mom is big part of who we are, but it’s not the only part. I am a very lucky mom really. I am fortunate to have a husband, who frankly puts up with a bit of emotion here and there from me. I am fortunate to have two very healthy happy girls. I am fortunate to have an amazing Mom as a role model in my life.  There are lots of Mom’s out there who may not be so fortunate but we are all fortunate for the amazing little spirits we brought into this world or take care of in this world on a daily basis. And to me, that is what being a Mom is all about.

Happiness

Happiness is one of the things parents strive to encourage in their children. Some people are born very happy and some people who aren’t want to do things to make themselves happier. After all, what are we here for if nothing other than to be happy and love life? Happiness is likely one of the most philosophized and studied human traits. It is something that can’t be forced, but what if you knew there were specific things happy people did? Would you do them too? Perhaps doing so would make you happier. My Mom always told me if I’m ever feeling sad to smile. Smiling releases chemicals in our bodies that actually make us happy, so even though we might not feel like smiling, if we force it doing so will actually result in cheering us up.

Last week I got an article from Nita Talwar at Peak Experience Parenting that provides a list of 22 other things happy people do. It’s fun to look through the list and see what things you naturally do and what things you don’t. Perhaps by trying some of the things you don’t do, you will become happier.

Here is the article: http://www.peakexperienceparenting.com/22-things-happy-people-do-differently/

Personally, I felt a lot of reassurance reading the article, but there are definitely things I’d like to do more of to encourage happiness (and well-being). For example, I’d like to meditate and exercise more. Brian is very good at living minimally and I’m not too bad, but I would like to cleanse some of the “things” I keep around that I don’t really need. I also think I need to work on my listening skills, so that will be a focus moving forward.

I hope this article is helpful to you and your family as it has been for ours.