Tuesday, April 29, 2014

An All-Star Baby Shower

Eric, Ellie and I spent this past weekend in St. Petersburg primarily to celebrate Plus One's impending arrival (nine weeks left!) with a baby shower thrown by my mom and stepsister Julie. The big event was on Sunday, and we had a wonderful time!

My mom made the invitations! (Identifying details have been removed to protect the innocent)

My mom and Julie went all out with the details for this baseball-themed shower (spoiler alert: that's also going to be the theme of Plus One's nursery!). To start, there was some great baseball decor, including a pennant banner, baseball tablecloth and a "grandstand" with baseball fans made of newborn diapers, socks and washcloths. Cuteness!

Pennant banner

"The crowd" looking out over various shower activities, and standing guard over the baseball cake pops!

The fans! How cute are they?!

There was also a baseball for the guests to "autograph" as a guestbook. We plan to display it in Plus One's nursery.

Baby Boy's first autographed baseball!

For activities, there was a station to write a funny message on a newborn diaper, so that when we're up in the middle of the night to change the little guy, we can have some entertaining messages to chuckle at.

Hey, any idea that gets you looking forward to diaper changes is a darn good idea!

They also had a diaper raffle, and anyone who brought a pack of diapers received a ticket for the raffle. The lucky raffle winner (my mother-in-law Toni!) received a lovely prize provided by my Aunt Debbie.

For a game, everyone cut a length of yarn to guess the circumference of my belly. The winner was a close call: my mom, Gramz and my mom's friend Wilma all were pretty near accurate, but ultimately Gramz took home the prize!

"Guess the circumference" game

Top: Julie overshot it quite a bit, but Wilma was pretty close!
Bottom: Gramz (the ultimate winner!) and my mom also were very close!

Comparing the top three yarn lengths

Ellie started wrapping yarn around her belly!

Speaking of prizes, my Aunt Debbie provided the guest favors and they were wonderful. Each person took home a potted plant to "celebrate new life." Beautiful!

Aren't they lovely?

The food was another wonderful detail: not only was it delicious, but it was also all baseball game food (well, with the exception of fruit salad, which may not be a ballgame staple but sure was yummy). We had hot dogs, nachos with cheese, boxes of popcorn and some blue punch. Everything was laid out on a festive red checked tablecloth, and the food was served in the little food baskets they give you at ballgames. And of course, for dessert, we had baseball cake pops. Yum!

The food table

A closer look

Delicious!

Baseball cake pops

Plus One also received some wonderful gifts from everyone: primarily lots of great clothes, some books, some other necessities and his nursery bedding. Plus, of course, all the diapers from the raffle!

Ellie was a very big helper with the gift-opening. After her birthday party last month, she's a pro!

Cute little clothes!

My cousin Molly sent a wonderful gift basket even though she couldn't be there. It included Plus One's baby book and a lot of other great stuff, including notes to me, Ellie and Plus One that brought tears to this hormonal pregnant lady's eyes.

Bedding! Man, the nursery spoilers are flying all over the place in this post.

Plus One wasn't the only one of my kids who received gifts. As it turns out, Ellie tends to clean up at showers for her baby brother. (Don't get used to it, kid!)

Left: Sporting a visor and bracelets from Great Aunt Debbie; checking out stickers from Grammy
Right: "Taking pictures" with her new Minnie smart phone from Julie
Not pictured: Lots of other presents for this little girl!!!!

I mean, I get it. Who can look at that face and NOT want to buy her all the things?

The rest of the shower time was spent visiting with all my loved ones in attendance, which was the best part. I'm so lucky to have these ladies in my life who love and support me and my baby-to-be!

Ellie and Great Aunt Debbie sneaking in a quick Facetime chat with Molly and Santiago

Wilma, Debbie, my mom, Ellie, Gramz and Toni

Ellie hanging out with her Grammy, munching on some popcorn

The shower ran into naptime and Ellie was overtired to begin with, so she was a pretty sleepy big sister by the end of it. She was a trooper, though!

Things wrapped up after a couple hours, and Eric returned from his golf outing with Gary and Julie's husband Dennis. We loaded up the car, said our thank-yous and good-byes, and then it was off to Jacksonville. Poor, tired Ellie knocked right out in the car, although her refusal to take long car naps continues and she was awake again about 20 minutes later. However, when she woke up the first thing she said was, "Had fun at the party!" Me too, baby girl!

Passed out in the car, clutching an Easter Mickey - a gift from Gramz!

Thanks so much to Mom, Julie and Aunt Debbie for putting this all together for me, and thanks to everyone who made the afternoon so wonderful! Eric, Ellie, Plus One and I are very blessed!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our Easter Sunday 2014

I already told you about our egg-coloring adventures, and the rest of our Easter weekend was pretty quiet. On Good Friday we went to storytime as usual (except this time, Eric was able to join us!) and then went to church that evening. On Saturday, we had planned to go to an egg hunt at the zoo, but that got rained out, unfortunately. So, instead we did some baby-related errands and furniture-arranging.

But the big fun took place on Easter Sunday. When Ellie got up, we had breakfast and got dressed, then let her dig into her Easter basket. This year the Easter Bunny seemed to have gone a little crazy at the Target Dollar Spot, with a few extra things thrown in. Ellie's basket was stuffed with a Disney coloring book, an Easter board book, animal crackers, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, an Abby Cadabby doll, a toy dinosaur, a princess crown, a wand ("like Abby!"), gloves, a tutu skirt, a bike horn and alligator play shoes. She loved it all!

Ellie's Easter goodies!

Digging in

Cuddling her new alligator shoes

Princess Ellie!

After Easter basket time, it was time for some pictures...

Ellie rocking her Easter bonnet and gloves

29-week belly picture!

...and then off to church in our Easter Sunday best.

Ready for church!

After the service

We debated what to do after church. Our plan was to head downtown for the Jacksonville Suns game, where they were having an Easter egg hunt on the field before the game. The weather was chilly and "misty" - not really raining, but not super pleasant - so we considered skipping it. Ultimately though, we opted for fun, and it was a good thing we did! The weather was a little cool but the rain held off and we had a great time.

Eggs on the field

The egg hunt was divided up by ages, and unfortunately, the 0-3-year-olds didn't get to hunt on the field in the name of safety. So, we had a mini-hunt on a little grassy area under the concourse. They put out just a few eggs at a time and let a couple of kids search at once, then they'd give the next batch of kids a turn, thus creating a pretty mellow hunting experience (especially compared to what I assume was a free-for-all with the older kids on the field). Ellie loved looking for the eggs and putting them in her basket, then taking them back out again and carrying them around. She's an egg hunt natural!

On the hunt

Found one!

Eggs!

Counting her loot

Loved it.

After the hunt we killed some time before the game by grabbing lunch and saying hello to Southpaw and the Easter Bunny.

Ellie, the Easter Bunny and Southpaw

Showing Southpaw her favorite egg

We had great seats for the game: second row along the first base line.

Go Suns!

Ready for some baseball (egg in hand, naturally)

Play ball!

Suns at bat

We stuck around for a few innings but then called it quits early. Ellie was getting tired, and I was cold and my back was aching (yay, third trimester!). So, we bid farewell to the baseball and headed out to the car.

Ellie and Eric on the way out

Happy little Easter girl!

And that was our Easter! We spent the rest of the night relaxing at home, with an early bedtime for sleepy Ellie. It was definitely different than Easters past: no extended family (although that was the norm when we lived in NYC/DC), no big fancy Easter dinner, and no Easter Bonnet Parade on Fifth Avenue (I'm still lamenting how INSANELY ADORABLE Ellie would be in that...if only!). But we had a lot of fun together as a family of three (our last big holiday as such!). It was a great day!

Happy Easter from the W. family!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Festive Mess

...Also known as: "Ellie's First Easter-Egg-Coloring Experience."

Easter egg!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend! Ours was quite nice, indeed. We stayed put in Jacksonville (we're headed down to St. Petersburg to see family next weekend), and although the lousy weather we had altered some of our plans, we had a great time. Our weekend ended up being a perfect combination of fun festivity mixed with nesting productivity, so I was one happy mama by Sunday night.

We kicked things off on Thursday evening by coloring Easter eggs - the first time Eric and I have done so in years, and Ellie's first time in life. Let me tell you, it was a HUGE HIT. That kid was in her glory and she is obsessed with Easter eggs now.

We opted to not use a kit, but rather just made dye out of food coloring (about 20-25 drops of neon-colored food coloring, one tablespoon vinegar and one cup hot water per color). I figured that way, if she got to drinking the stuff I wouldn't have to be worrying about what is in those color tablets from the box kits (I already made my first call to Poison Control on Ellie's behalf a couple months ago, after she mistook baby oil for water, and I was not eager to do it again). The dye turned out great and really left the eggs with nice, vibrant hues. And, Ellie had no interest in drinking it. Success all around!

We stripped Ellie down to her diaper, set up a "tarp" (really a shower curtain liner for the Dollar Store) on the floor of our dining room, laid out the eggs and bowls of colored water and let Ellie do her thing. I was envisioning sort of an experiment, with mixing colors and seeing what came of that and such, but Ellie was very organized. She put three eggs in each color and kept them there. She would take them out then put them back in, but always in their appropriate color. No mix and match here! And that was okay with us. We just sat back and watched her explore. She loved it.

Getting started!

She's already pretty pleased.

Putting the eggs on a cooling rack to dry...or, to sit for a quick minute before Ellie started dunking them back in the dye again.

Hey, a little sensory exploration never hurt anybody.

Taking a moment to plan her next move

Next move decided: JOY.

Finished eggs!

Ellie didn't want the fun to end, but we were able to tear her away from the dye bowls with the promise of a bath. I'm pleased to report that with a bit of scrubbing (thanks, Eric!), all that dye came off her skin. Further success!

Since then, Ellie has been just as excited about eating the eggs as she was about coloring them, and every morning she requests a specific color for breakfast. So, even more success - she's eating eggs!

I'm so glad we didn't shy away from the promise of a mess that coloring eggs with a two-year-old certainly brings, because it was a lot of fun and Ellie sure had a blast. We're all looking forward to doing this again next year!

Happiness!