Thursday, November 29, 2012

tea with Rose | Seven Stars

This stop on our tea tour was an unexpected one - Hillary and I didn't plan on meeting up until that morning, and the place we planned on having tea was closed! So we headed to nearby Seven Stars. Seven Stars isn't really known for its tea, but I love it just the same (the veggie sandwich! the chocolate croissants!) and ordered a hot cup of lemon ginger as well as a ginger biscuit. I usually stick with a hot chocolate (perfect for croissant dunking), but on a tea tour one orders tea.

So I shared my tea with Ezra, and he ate the entire ginger biscuit that was meant to be shared. Lemon tea is one of my favorites and this cup didn't disappoint. Now to decide on a place to visit next month. We've decided to meet for high tea somewhere... I'm thinking either Besos or The Spring Seasons Inn, if they're open. Any recommendations for us?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ezra turns 2! | a school bus birthday party

I've been putting off writing about Ezra's second birthday party because I was overwhelmed by the amount of pictures that Matt took, but I finally sorted through them and chose some of my favorites to share here. We held Ezra's party on a Thursday morning because of some weekend scheduling issues that couldn't be resolved, but it ended up working out quite well. The party was school bus-themed because Ezra loves watching the neighborhood children getting picked up in the morning right outside our house every day. After Matt's return home from work, I think it's his favorite part of the day.

Matt started snapping before I had everything completely set up, and once the toddler party guests arrived my carefully staged dining room was quickly dismantled (as it should be at a party!) so there aren't any pictures of the full set up. The paper products are all from Target (plates found in the dollar section and the rest are Mara Mi), and I borrowed the yellow striped tablecloths from my mother-in-law.

They're hard to see, but I made little flags for the cupcakes out of white and yellow ticking. A matching garland hung from the two shelves in the dining room.

I replaced everything that's usually on them with a few things that coordinated with the party theme - yellow tulips in a mint julep cup, an embroidery hoop displaying a square of school bus fabric (Kokka Beep Beep, in case anyone is wondering), a wind up school bus toy, a framed illustration of a bus, the silver E from Ezra's room (it made an appearance last year, too), a wooden school bus I found on Etsy, and a candle. Yeah, the candle didn't have much to do with anything, but I needed something to fill the space. Of course pom poms were involved (will I ever stop making them?).

We served banana bread, pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, cinnamon rolls, and mini bananas.

Drinks were kept simple - just water and apple cider.

I found these cute school bus wrappers for Hershey's chocolates, so of course I printed out a few sheets and Ezra and I spent an afternoon cutting and sticking them on. (Of course I was in charge of cutting so don't anyone get worried. Ezra was in charge of the glue dots.)

Lucky for us, my dad works part time for a bus company so he was able to drive a school bus over to the party and take us for a ride! I was beyond ecstatic when his request was approved because I thought it would be the perfect party activity and I knew Ezra would be excited to ride with his Grandpa.

We rode over to a playground near our house and let the kids burn off some energy for a while. 

Obviously it's very difficult to take a picture of twenty toddlers and preschoolers with their moms.

After about twenty minutes we all piled back on the bus and headed back home for birthday cupcakes!

Ezra had been waiting for this moment since he woke up. He had been practicing blowing out the candles since his friend Amelia's party. You know, just blowing on anything or nothing after half singing "happy happy!"

I think Ezra ate the frosting off of three cupcakes and left the rest. He basically ate cupcakes for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert that day. What can I say? A boy doesn't turn two every day.

A week before Ezra's party I decided to make a child-size photo booth prop. We didn't do a fancy backdrop, but the kids had fun pretending to drive the school bus around our house.  

Babies got in on the action, too!

We sent everyone home with yellow school bus crayons and little school bus coloring books I made using Microsoft Word and free school bus coloring pages. Apparently I didn't get any photos of the books and crayons... just the bags. Oops!

Two and a half weeks later and Ezra is still talking about the 'coo bus' ride with his friends. And the frosting. He certainly hasn't forgotten the frosting. Thanks to everyone who celebrated with us!

P.S. I'm happy to give the cupcake flags and garland to anyone who's local and can pick them up! Just send me an email...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

required reading for new mamas

This morning I sat down with my friend Hillary's mom and started planning her baby shower. It got me thinking of all the things we do to prepare for the arrival of a little one, and one thing I did was lots of reading. I wrote a post a while ago about the books I read when I was pregnant to educate myself about birth, breastfeeding, newborns, and all the stuff that comes along with them (check it out right here), but I also read a few books that were less educational and more encouraging. Becoming a parent for the first time is so wildly unlike any other experience and it was so nice to read the words of moms who have been there. These are two books I would recommend to any expecting or new mother. They'll make you smile and cry, sometimes simultaneously, and then you'll want to hold your little one extra close.

Great with Child by Beth Ann Fennelly - This book is a collection of letters that the author wrote to a friend who was expecting her first child. It reminded me that motherhood, despite it being unknown territory and therefore a little scary, is wonderful and above all else, a blessing. Her words are reassuring and encouraging, salve for the mama's soul.
Waiting for Birdy - Written by one who's expecting her second child, this book reveals the thoughts of a mother preparing to welcome another baby into the family. She writes with honesty and wit, and her recollections of conversations with her three year old son will have you laughing out loud. Having a toddler of my own made this book even more touching as I reflected on the ways Ezra has changed since he was a baby.

Do you have any great books for mothers to recommend?

image of me seven months pregnant with Ezra by Matt. More of my maternity photos here, here, and here, if you'd like to see.
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