Posts tagged birthday

How to Ruin a Surprise (or Not)

Yesterday was Brinley’s 5th birthday.  Scott and I had given her all of her presents from us at her family-and-close-friends party on Saturday and were felling a little bad that we didn’t have anything to give her on her actual birthday.  So on Tuesday, after Brinley got on the bus for school, I took Nora up to Toys R Us to get Brinley a new bike. 

{Aside: Brinley has a bike but it’s way too small for her and she stinks at riding it because her legs are too long.  She can’t build up enough momentum on it and gets frustrated.  We’d talked about getting her a bike back and forth but didn’t want to invest a lot of money so close to winter in fear that she might outgrow this one just as fast as the last.  Well, turns out that the bike she liked last time we were at Toys R Us happened to be on sale for $49 so we figured it woudln’t break the bank.  Then when I got to the store, I was informed that it was on clearance for 25% off of that.  So it only ended up costing me $35!}

So, Nora and I go in the store, I find the bike (it was the last one!) and grab it.  I also get her a cute little basket for the front because she keeps talking about putting her (already-named-but-not-yet-and-may-never-be-owned) puppy, Sprinkles, in a basket to take him for rides.  Nora and I get back in the car with the (unassembled) bike and basket and head back home for nap time.  The entire excursion was pretty uneventful and we were back home in no time.

Later that night after the girls were in bed, Scott and I assembled the bike and left it in the downstairs family room with the plan to give it to her after breakfast the next day, her actual birthday.  So morning comes, I made chocolate chip pancakes and we we ate breakfast as a family to celebrate Brinley’s birthday.  Scott mentioned to Brinley that we had a present for her and her face lit up.  Then Nora chimes in, “We got you a bike, Brinley.”  I try to change the subject with Nora and direct her toward her pancakes because I was pretty sure Brinley didn’t really hear her.  Then she says it again, “Right, mom?  We got Brinley a new bike for her birthday?  Hey Brinley we got you a new bike.  It’s for your birthday.”  Ugh.  Brinley is complete into her pancakes and I still think she may not have caught on.  But the she looks up and says, “I don’t want a bike for my birthday.” FAIL!

I figured the surprise was ruined but we all just carried on eating our pancakes and pretending like that conversation never happened.  We finished breakfast, I gave the girls baths and got them dressed.  Then Scott went down and got the bike.  When Brinley saw it, she was really excited.  It was the exact one that she had picked out and she hopped right on it and started riding it in the house!

So I guess the surprise wasn’t ruined after all. Only a two year old to could try to ruin a surprise and fail!


Dear Brinley,

I’ve never written you one of these birthday letters before but I figured now would be as good a time as any to start.  Today you turn five years old!  When I say that out loud I can hardly believe it.  It’s hard to imagine that five whole years of your life have already come and gone.  It’s truly amazing to see how you have grown and changed in those five years.  When you were born, you changed my life forever.  Being your mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  Watching you grow into the young girl you are today has been one of the greatest joys of my life.

You never cease to amaze me.  You are beautiful, inquisitive, loving, determined, and beyond-your-years smart.  Your smile brightens my days and your hugs warm my heart.  I am so proud of everything that you’ve achieved in your young life.  You are so eager to do things and you put so much effort into your passions.  You are so creative, just like your mom and so methodical, just like your dad.  It’s amazing how you truly are a blend of both of your parents – in both looks and personality.  What a lucky girl you are :-)

Your excitement and intrigue about the world around you fascinates me.  You are always asking questions and yearning to learn more.  You love to draw and craft.  The way you can take simple objects you find around the house and turn them into works of art is amazing.  You’re always making pictures and books for your friends and family.  You love to read and to be read to.  You always have.  Daddy and I have been reading to you for your entire life and you’ve always soaked up everything that you’ve heard.  I’m sure that’s why you’re so smart.  It comes as no surprise to us that you are reading books that some third graders can’t yet read.  Sometimes you’re too smart for your own good and you can’t be fooled.  You certainly give us a run for our money!

I can’t believe that you are five years old, Brinley.  Sometimes it feels like just yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital.  You were always such an easy-going and mellow baby.  You blossomed into a very inquisitive and joyful toddler and have grown to be such a spunky, loving and, at times, dramatic young girl.  I love you more than words can express and am truly proud to be your mom.  Thank you for bringing so much love, joy and meaning to my life.  Happy Birthday Baby Girl!




{click to enlarge for better quality}

Looking Back a Year

We celebrated Nora’s First Birthday on Saturday.  It’s hard to believe that she is a year old already.  It truly is unreal how quickly the time passes.  Nora has filled our lives with so much joy.  She is such a character and watching her grow and change every day is just awesome.  Looking back at some of her very first pictures as a newborn, I am amazed at all of the changes she has gone through.

Right after she was born, Nora gave us quite a scare in the hospital.  Scott and I were just about to (attempt to) settle down for the night when he looked in her little glass crib and noticed that she was very red.  She seemed to be struggling to breathe and eventually coughed up quite a bit of mucous.  We paged the nurses and within seconds a group of them came rushing in to see what was the matter.  They ended up taking Nora to the nursery to check her out a bit deeper.  She appeared to be fine and the chalked the mucous up to her being birthed so fast (5 minutes, 3 pushes) and not having a chance to get a good squeeze on her way through.  Well, within a few minutes she had another repeat episode.  This time it landed her a spot in the NICU.  Luckily for us, I gave birth in a hospital fully equipped with a NICU and Nora didn’t have to be transferred to another hospital.

To make a really long, emotional roller coaster of a story, short, Nora spent 9 nights in the NICU as a result of having an immature breathing pattern and being unable to keep her oxygen saturation stable.  Of course we were nervous, scared, heartbroken, you name it, about having to have her there, but we realized how much worse it could have been.  It was so hard seeing some of the other babies that were in the NICU and knowing that Nora would be fine but just needed a little more time to mature.

The most difficult parts of having Nora in the NICU were traveling to and from the hospital on a daily basis, maintaining exclusive breast milk feeding, and trying to take care of two children that were in two different places.  Somehow I succeeded at doing it but not without the help of an extremely amazing husband and truly supportive family members and friends.  You see, our house was 45 minutes away from the hospital (without traffic).  Once I was discharge and went home, I would wake up every morning, spend a few hours with Brinley and then drive in to be with Nora.  While I was in the hospital with her, I would nurse her, hold her, take pictures of her, watch her sleep, and cry.  I kept my sanity by going on walks around the city while she napped and by being blessed with some of the most amazing nurses ever!  I’d spend from 11am until 11pm daily at the hospital.  I’d nurse her while I was there and then when I went home, I set an alarm clock for every 2 hours so that I could pump and bring the milk to the nurses who would use it to feed her when I wasn’t there.  I am extremely proud of the fact that during her 10 day stay in the NICU she was fed breast milk exclusively!

It’s so crazy how fast the past year has gone.  Nora has been such a joy.  Her smile can light up a room and her hugs just make me melt.  She’s walking and “talking” and trying really hard to keep up with all of the things that her big sister is doing.  I can’t imagine my life without her and I am truly blessed to have TWO such wonderful, beautiful, amazing daughters in my life!

Happy Birthday, Nora Jade!

Mom guilt and Second Child Syndrome.

This little girl is turning one in three and a half weeks. I have no idea how that happened (that’s for another post) but I’m feeling super mom guilt. No one is making me feel guilty except for myself, but it doesn’t matter, I still feel it. Why? Because she is suffering from Second Child Syndrome to the fullest extent. If you’re not aware of SCS let me give you a brief description. SCS is the phenomenon where second born children are unintentionally treated unfairly in comparison to their first born sibling. For example, I’m sure most of you are guilty of taking fewer photos of your second born child. (If you’re not, then kudos to you!) There is no one to blame for this and it’s absolutely unintentional, however, it just seems to happen.

Before Nora was born I swore up and down that she would receive the same level of attention in all aspects of her life that Brinley did. I promised myself that we’d take as many pictures of her, be just as excited about all of her firsts, and shower her with as many “oohs and aahs” as we did with Brinley But, let’s be realistic, none of that happened. It wasn’t on purpose, but there is just no way that you can devote the same level of attention to a second child when you still have the first one to care for. Your time is now divided. Unless you have the ability to clone yourself or cut yourself in half (in which case, can you please share your secret) it is just not possible.

So, as Nora’s first birthday creeps closer by the day I realize that I have no devoted nearly as much time to thinking about or planning a party for her. I didn’t send out invitations, I used and Evite (I know, I know). I haven’t planned a menu. I haven’t picked out her present. I haven’t found her the perfect birthday dress. And I feel terrible about all of it. In my defense, we’re moving in ONE week and her birthday happens to fall on the 2nd weekend we’ll be in our new house. So, needless to say, I have a lot on my plate right now. I just hope that she won’t hate me when she’s all grown up. I promise that I love her just as equally as I love Brinley and I will gladly accept the Bad Mom Award for this one.

Please help me to not feel so guilty. What has caused you to feel mom guilt? How did you get over it? Or did you?

My baby girl is TWO!!

Time sure does fly! I can’t believe it has been two years already. She is getting so big, so fast and its quite sad. However, she is just as awesome as ever and never ceases to amaze me! We had a fun filled birthday weekend with a party on Saturday and a birthday shopping and lunch day on Sunday. Brinley was so excited about turning two and made sure to let everyone know it. She had a Curious George party with lost of family and friends. Thanks to everyone who came and brought her all the nice gifts. She truly is a lucky (and spoiled) little girl.

Enjoying her new bike
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