Saturday, January 30, 2010

Carr's Second Birthday Party

My little man turned two! My husband and I knew we wanted to celebrate this occasion with family and friends, but we were torn as to where. There aren't many venues available in Lynchburg, VA. and I really did not want to have it at home. I never thought how much preparation goes into these events at his age. Let me give you some examples:

1. I needed to find a venue where the adults could sit and be comfortable and the children could run and play.
2. I wanted to choose a place where my son would feel comfortable, that he has been to before.
3. Once the place was found, I had to start thinking of the hour. I didn't want to infringe upon his or the rest of the children's nap time.
4. Menu
5. party favors

I think I chose the best location given my resources and the conditions explained earlier. What was cool about the whole deal was that the place was free! (keeping faithful to my New Years Resolution). Because of this, it has a very long waiting list on the weekends, so I decided to celebrate his birthday on Friday. The place is fabulous, it has an indoor playground and an outdoor playground also (summer). You have tables and a great little coffee shop right next to it (adults=check). My son has been going there on play dates on weekends since the fall (comfortable for Carr=check). I booked the place from 10 am to 1 pm, no nap time ruined. If the adults wanted something other than bottled water, they had the coffee shop. I provided cake, breakfast muffins (vegan and non-vegan), the kiddies had apple juice, fruit cups and chicken nuggets for lunch. Also, please check out the party favor bags. They were handmade to complement the theme of Carr's birthday party: "Thomas and Friends".

It was tiring but the party turned out a success. I could not have done any of this if it weren't for a few people that I would like to thank:
Thanks Kim and Marion for helping me be frugal and showing me where to get party favors and party supplies a great prices. Everything looked great, simple and classy!
I want to thank my mom in-law. Thank you for keeping me grounded, helping me set up and getting the birthday cake. I could not have done this without you.

I am posting only some photos of the birthday considering I have around 150. Did not want to bore anyone to death with overload of photos.

Party invite

Thomas, the train: his favorite.

This is how we decorate the table for the party.

Handmade party favor bags.

His cake: Thanks Mom!

Henry and Carr sitting together at the table having lunch.

Cousin Megan came all the way from Atlanta!

Happy Birthday Carr song!

blowing out the candles with mommy and daddy

My husband surrounded by the kids when opening presents - so cute!

Carr "reading" a birthday card.

Grandma Tutti and Carr

Cousin Megan, Mommy, Cousin Iam, Aunt Anne, Stacy Dixon and Ryder, Cousin Marion and Cousin Henry, Grandma Tutti and Aunt Mimzy!
We love you so much little Carr!

Monday, January 25, 2010

In a blink of an eye...Two Years!

"In a blink of an eye..."
When all was lost, or so I thought, I found out I was expecting you.

"In a blink of an eye..."
When I thought you would never arrive you came one Sunday afternoon.

"In a blink of an eye..."
I held you for the first time and fell madly in love with you.

"In a blink of an eye..."
You came and transformed us into a family.

And so, in a blink of an eye, your father and I have seen two years gone by.

Happy Birthday to our little man! We love you very much!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Years Resolutions

I have had this post in the making since December 28th. Why December 28th and not any other date? That is the day that I came to realization that I needed "to improve" and re-organize certain aspects of my life.

You see when Carr was born my husband and I were still living in the "Just Married" paradigm, and we never adjusted it to incorporate the changes that like it or not were happening. Almost two years to the day, I have become aware that it is just not reasonable to keep this up. We have literally been living for today. There has not been any thoughts or discussions about our future nor Carr's. Much of it has to do with Chip going to college, we have tricked ourselves into believing that this is just a waiting pad and that "tomorrow" will be a different story. Well in the meantime we have rising student loans, his and mine, credit card debt and no future back up plan.

Maybe it is that I am turning 40 this year (yes, I started late) and I'm going through a mid-life crisis, or it is just the right time to do this...I don't know. What I do know is that I have been reading many, many blogs about simplifying your life, savings and get out of debt books. They all have something in common, they make me feel very guilty. So what I plan to do, is still read them but make reasonable choices for my family and try and post every week something that I learned. I am a working mom and a full time homemaker, so essentially my time is limited. I know that there are many like me out there, so I will save you the time and guilt to scan through this and post the bare bones of it. If your interested in learning more of something or another you can follow the links and get it from the horses mouth.

Huge disclaimer: This is all about interpretation and what is good for us "today" may not be something that is recommendable for tomorrow. Also I am not a finances person, I am just a hard working mom. So please don't take my word for it, research, read and ask questions. My goal is to have my family organized, saving, and debt free, what might be good for me may be poison for you.

If you're going through the same situation, I wish you luck and if you have some advise for me please post a comment. I have a lot to learn!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Carr's second Christmas!

This year Chip, Carr and I were be ourselves for Christmas eve and Christmas day. Our intention was to have a quiet Christmas. We had a great holiday and enjoyed the small miracle that is our family. We missed my in-laws and all the craziness that comes with having family celebrate with us. But they came a few days later and we got to have a second Christmas.
Carr was totally overwhelmed with all his presents and didn't take a nap for the next two days. He had so much fun opening his presents. As for Chip, he totally ruled getting me presents, I racked up!

The obsession that is Thomas the Tank Engine!

Italian leather!

Mom, I am totally exhausted from opening up presents!

Obviously, there aren't many photos. I was enjoying myself opening up presents and having family time.

My Christmas Tradition

One of the many things I learned from my mom and dad is that you show the people you care about them all year but you celebrate their friendship during the Christmas season. During my last years in Argentina, I would go to a friends winery and buy wine without their label (it would cost cheaper) and I would make personalized labels and gift my friends, family and those acquaintances that without their services I would not be a happy person (mailman, stylist, personal trainer, co-workers, etc). Once I came to the US, it became rather difficult to do, especially because I was a dirt poor college student and because I had no idea of the etiquette of gift giving.

I started this tradition when I was pregnant with Carr. I started baking cookies and making candy for all the family that I married into, my co-workers and the few friends I had. Now year two, I had to scale down the amount and packaging because I have more people I want to celebrate. But all in all I think I sophisticated the packaging concept thanks to some stamps and card stock that my boss lent me for Christmas.

I really love these "old timey" bags. I saved tons of money on packaging and I think they came out gorgeous.
They have: homemade cookie selection, candy cane and homemade apple butter (that is a story for an upcoming post)

First time decorating sugar cookies. Very labor intensive but I cannot complain, look at the finished product.

I am so proud and excited to say, these are my recipe and no one elses. I made these up from scratch! Hopefully one day, someone will call them Granny's special cookies or something. By the way they are delicious!

This is my depiction of a special chocolate chip cookie "for adults only". It has coffee in them, makes the dark chocolate chips pop in your mouth!

And last, this is me totally exhausted after I finished making a total of 30 Christmas bags for co-workers, friends and family.

Christmas preparations

My friends from Argentina would get a kick out of reading this blog. They would be literally scratching their heads in wonder of much I have changed. You see 9 years ago, I didn't cook nor did I have a need for domesticity. I was much more a cosmopolitan kind of girl, yes I know how utterly corny that sounds.
Once I married, I wanted to pride myself in my culinary achievements. Once my child was born I wanted to be the best mom I could possibly be, a great wife and an awesome lady of the house. It has been a slow but steady growth and I have a long ways to go. But I really want to evidence this metamorphosis so I can remember where I was, where I am and hopefully any improvements I gather along the way.
This is how I decorated our apartment for Christmas. Bear in mind that Carr is two and gets into everything. I had to improvise and be very crafty in order to decorate our home for Christmas.

Our new apartment the ceilings are lower than our old apartment, could not fit the star I had on my Christmas tree. Solution: Placed it on my kitchen counter tops. Made a cute Christmas bread arrangement.

Did the same thing over the microwave. If you're like me, this is the catch all for papers and unwanted "stuff" that were on the counter tops at any given moment. This is how I prevented that from happening.

A very unprofessional photo of our tree. You'll see better ones in the next posts to come.

Our Christmas cards. I have noticed that year after year, we are receiving less and less Christmas cards. I think it's a shame. I am all about being frugal and simple but there are certain traditions that teach our children graciousness, gratitude, and etiquette. This year for the first time Carr sent out Christmas cards to his little buddies. It is my intention that until he is old enough to fight me on this (hoping not), he will be sending Christmas cards to his friends.

These are our stockings. They have been in my husband's family and have been hand down to us. I am hoping that by next Christmas I can knit or sew our very own.

Our guest bathroom. Particularly proud of the decoration of this room. It came together nicely.