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A Letter to My Baby on Her Sixth Birthday

Dear Allie, Everyone who knew me as a child says you’re just like I was – obstinate as the day is long, precocious, funny, kind, and always knowing exactly what you want. This last trait gets you in trouble a lot because what you want isn’t always in line with what Mom or Dad or the nanny wants. When you don’t get what you want, you throw epic fits – lots of tears and whining that lasts for hours. You are nothing if not tenacious – and you are that way in every single thing.  You have a long attention … Read more

December Birthday Ideas – Do’s and Don’ts of Celebrating a Birthday During Christmas

Allie’s birthday is December 28, three days after Christmas. The poor girl has a birthday between Christmas and New Year’s. Talk about rotten luck. I remember that December 24 and 25 and 26 and 27 and 28 in 2010, and I remember how long the days were and how much I hated being on bedrest and how uncomfortable I was. I was so ready to have the baby out and be done with pregnancy bedrest. Even though she was a couple of weeks early (like four), she was born because my blood pressure was so high. And she lost the birthday … Read more

10 Ways to Make Your Child Feel Special on Her Birthday

Birthdays are a big deal to me. They always have been – birthday parties, birthday presents, special birthday dinners, birthday surprises. For me, what makes the day special are the traditions that we’ve created. I’ve outlined many of them below. 10 Ways to Celebrate Your Kids’ Birthdays Decorate during the night. I got this gorgeous and sturdy felt birthday banner set last year, and we have secretly hung it up the night before every birthday since. It’s our new family tradition. We then leave it hanging until the last of the birthday festivities has concluded and the last candle has … Read more

My Second Child’s Third Birthday Party

Allie’s third birthday was last Saturday. It made me sad, not for the reason you’re probably thinking (the she’s growing up so fast! sentimental one), but rather because I was worried that she’s totally getting cheated. For one thing, her birthday is three days after Christmas and three days before New Year’s Eve. It is smack dab in the middle of insane busy-ness, at a time when planning or attending one more thing feels like a complete impossibility. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But yet, it IS her birthday, and she IS entitled to a special day, just as Grace has had many … Read more

Grace’s Bear Cake (or Don’t Be Afraid to Try a Shaped Cake Pan)

teddy bear cake

I’ve made all sorts of birthday cakes in Grace’s short five years: a pineapple upside down cake, an enormous princess castle cake, a hideous purple cake, and a couple of Elmo cakes. Whatever cake she wants for her birthday, she gets. This year, Grace was having a party at Build-A-Bear Workshop (and it was amazing! More on that on Wednesday.), so she decided that a teddy bear cake would be perfect. I wasn’t quite sure how I would accomplish a teddy bear cake, but I finally decided to look for a shaped cake pan. Armed with a 40% off coupon, … Read more

On Allie’s First Birthday

2011 may well have been the longest year of my entire life. It began with depression and a traumatic birth experience, then progressed to taking care of a very needy newborn with colic. Then breastfeeding struggles and constant crying that led quickly to postpartum depression. Then Allie was hospitalized with RSV. I quit my teaching career to become a stay at home mom. I fell apart mentally and emotionally. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, spent 6 weeks in a partial hospitalization program, and put myself back together. Several longtime friendships came to an unexpected end, upsetting my view of … Read more