Phoebe’s 1st Birthday

Phoebe Kaleah

Phoebe Kaleah

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My sweet darling Phoebe turned one last month – hooray! Phoebe is the baby of our family and brings so much laughter and joy to our lives. She is always smiling, laughing, dancing and giving kisses. We celebrated her first birthday with a Sesame Street themed party in our neighborhood park.

We tried to make this party special, personalized but also easy on us. We were a week away from going on vacation and in the middle of lots of changes. Easy peasy and fun was the goal.

  • We kept the cooking to a minimum and ordered most of the food – El Pollo Loco, R&B Filipino Food, NY Giant Pizza
  • We ordered cupcakes from the neighborhood grocery store and placed Sesame Street rings on top
  • We made a special ‘Phoebe 1’ sign to go with the theme and made a great photo prop
  • We hosted the party earlier than usual (and had breakfast items to go with the earlier time)
  • We chose a park just up the street from our house
  • We had Sesame Street inspired games like “How many cookies are in the jar?” and “Cookie toss”

Happy birthday to my babydoll, Phoebe! Your loving and playful spirit brings a smile to my face every single day.
Keep laughing, learning, and dancing! Mommy loves you so much and I can’t wait to watch you grow and change.

Gratitude

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Family

I just came back from a week-long trip to Florida. Intended to be a business trip, my boss gave me the blessing to make it a personal one as well. I have over a dozen first cousins (my Dad being the oldest of 10 children) in Jacksonville, Florida; I haven’t seen most of them in over 10 years! They were kids when I last saw them and now many of them are college grads, in their career, homeowners, parents, etc. Even though I only had a few days with my cousins, we were able to build amazing memories together that make me smile or giggle when I think about them. Truly, truly grateful for these amazing people I call my cousins and my family. I miss them so much. :(

Grateful

I am grateful for my Best Friend – after over 20+ years, I feel like I can tell her anything, trust her with all my heart, and know that no matter what, she will always be there to listen and support me. I can only wish that each of my kids has that one friend who has been as special and instrumental in their lives like she has been to me. I was able to spend quality time with her – something I wish we had more time to do – and it was so therapeutic, so good for my soul. :)

My Little Belieber

A few years ago, when Ella was only 2 (and already a huge JB fan), she had the opportunity to attend his concert. Unfortunately, she was feeling under the weather and I just didn’t think she was well enough, or even old enough, to enter into the pandemonium that is known to all as “Bieber Fever”.

I thought maybe she’ll grow out of her love for Justin Bieber, perhaps she will like a new artist…but no. She has been a loyal fan for the past 3 or so years! So I decided to make it a goal for myself to take her to a Justin Bieber concert and make this a special memory for her.

It happened last Saturday – I seriously stayed home all day to save all my energy for what we were getting ourselves into that night. From the moment she opened the surprise package with the tickets inside to the moment JB himself stepped onto the stage, she was ecstatic, and I found myself just watching the excitement on her face and really relishing that moment.

Ready for her very first concert experience

Ready for her very first concert experience

Ella and Mommy

Ella and Mommy

Her official 2013 concert tour shirt

Her official 2013 concert tour shirt

Popcorn...of course!

Popcorn…of course!

JB on stage!

JB on stage!

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Dedicated to Aubreigh

Those who know me know that music is my therapy. When I run out of ways and words to express myself, I end up putting on my headphones to tune out the world and fill my head with music. Many times, I would hear the perfect song with the perfect lyrics, that express how I was feeling at that very moment in time.

I am a huge Corinne Bailey Rae fan – I dedicate her song “Butterfly” to my eldest daughter who I love very much. When I heard this song, the lyrics were so sweet and so touching, that I almost started crying at my desk (I know, hot mess). I pray that one day she can listen to this song and be reminded of her Dad and me, and how much we love her. She recently graduated from high school so it’s been a very emotional time, and I’ve been thinking about her a lot. This one is for you, Nini <3

Gratitude

I am so grateful to have the same 3 wonderful friends who have been there with me through teenage years to adult years, heartaches, happiness, uncertainty, career changes, marriage, and motherhood. They are amazing women and every time we get together we relive our memories, listen to each other’s stories, and support each other through whatever stressors are in our life at the moment. Today, I was reminded of just how special these ladies are to me and my family. The enormous amount of support, love and understanding I felt from them today filled my heart. I am lucky and I do not take these friendships for granted. I only pray and hope that each of my kids will be blessed with the same gift of love, loyalty and friendship. <3

One Lucky Mom

Hubby asked me what I wanted to do this year for Mother’s Day…after almost 10 years, a once bittersweet day is finally one that I can celebrate and feel celebrated. Not many people are in my shoes and understand the emotions that I feel the days leading to and the actual day itself. I would feel sad, forgotten about, unappreciated…after all, I am only the stepmother. Why would the kids want to spend any part of their day with their stepmom? In my heart, I would hurt as I did and gave everything I could for those kids like a mother would, but it broke my heart that I did not get to spend time with them on this day.  Thanks to my kids, who are older now, it has been easier to get through Mother’s Day. When they were younger, they didn’t have much of a say as to how they wanted to spend the holiday – the parenting plan dictated that one. But now that they’re older, by choice, they have extended their gratitude and love to me on their own, which means the world to me.

My response to the Hubby was that I didn’t want to do anything that would be stressful like dining at a crowded restaurant. I wanted to just be with the kids who were with me and spend quality time with them. I wanted to be in the moment with Ella and Phoebe. I said perhaps a picnic in the park. Check. Maybe we could try out a new place for dessert. Check. I’d like to go to church. Check. And have breakfast somewhere. Check. Hubby also surprised me with my favorite dark chocolate and a delicious steak dinner at home – yum! And our one and only son came over to make me a Sushi Dinner – I felt like a Queen!

I feel like the luckiest Mom in the world to have five amazing kids. I felt so much love from the messages I received, the beautiful memories made, and the time my family spent thinking of me and showing me in their own ways how much they love and appreciate me. Truly the best Mother’s Day yet!

Messages my two older girls wrote to and about me <3

Messages my two older girls wrote to and about me <3

 

Picnic in the park

Picnic in the park

 

On our way to Azucar

On our way to Azucar

 

Azucar sweets

Azucar sweets

Foodie in training

Foodie in training

Breakfast after church

Breakfast after church

 

Impromptu photos of Mommy with her two littles

Impromptu photos of Mommy with her two littles

 

Spoiled by my oldest and only boy

Spoiled by my oldest and only boy

 

Delicious!

Delicious!

 

 

 

Favorite Things Party: Recap

 

My first attempt at a Favorite Things party was a success! The only little glitch was that one of my girlfriend’s names was in the bucket 3 times and we only had one set of gifts left to give away (translation: she would have received 3 of the SAME thing). No bueno, but we fixed it and everyone left with FIVE new sets of favorite things. Check out the photos! In the future, we will pre-select names to avoid such a dilemma ;-)

The details:

  • Orange and yellow color scheme (because it’s so happy) with splashes of the chevron pattern
  • Everyone brought their favorite dish or dessert – I brought a toasted goat cheese salad, truffle parmesan fries and French macaroons from one of my favorite cafes, Opera Patisserie
  • Each person had a turn at presenting their favorite thing – it was nice to hear why their giveaways were so special to them

It’s always nice to get together with my favorite friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. :-)

Phoebe

It’s been awhile, I know. I’ve had my hands full, mostly with my new bundle of joy, Phoebe Kaleah. She arrived on August 8, 2012 and changed my world forever. Phoebe looks just like her Daddy! She’s a little over two months now and is smiling and cooing a lot!

Phoebe, I am so excited to see you change every day and always wonder what kind of person you’re going to grow up to be, what kind of personality you’re going to have, what kind of food you’re going to like and dislike, and what excites you in life! You have made me so happy and proud to be your Mommy. I love you so very, very much.