Spring…Or Something Like That.

Colorado is a weird place in the Spring. We have beautiful January days – 70 degrees when we’re outside in barefeet and tank tops. And then there’s February, which is normally dreary, followed by March, which is drearier still. But by April, we usually start to warm up. And we did, a bit – we had some nice April days. But for the most part, I feel like we haven’t really had Spring here in Colorado this year.


We worked with a landscape designer to get a front yard plan done in March with the intention of planting in April, but April didn’t let that happen, and now we’re half way through May and we’ve had chilly, wet days. I’m not complaining at all – we need the moisture and it will be hot soon enough.

spring flowers

But this morning, Nell and Pete and I planted flowers in the front porch planter. Last night, our new patio furniture was delivered. Because, it’s time. It’s time for some color. It’s time to eat outdoors.  It’s time to stop waiting. Hopefully Memorial Day weekend will give way to good planting weather for the rest of our front yard, but I’m thrilled to have taken the first few steps to Spring…although at this rate, we might have to skip straight toward summer.

Our Favorite Books

I recently posted about the books I’d read recently for book club, but the majority of my reading is in the picture book category…with some recent forays into chapter books with Tom and Nell, though those have not been the most successful and I need recommendations in the chapter books for young kids department. When I was pregnant with Thomas, one of B’s mom’s best friends (got that?) gave me a bunch of classic board books with a note that said “A read to baby is a loved baby.” I’ve never forgotten that. Since the moment we brought Thomas home from the hospital we read to him every night. I hate to admit that Nell and Peter didn’t fall into the bedtime book routine as early – partly because B would take bedtime books and tuck-ins with the older kid(s) while I fed and put the baby-of-the-moment to bed, but such is life after the first baby, eh? In the last six months, Nell has really started to love books as much as Thomas, though, and Peter is carrying board books around the house with him. I love it.

I tried to pick books that Tom and Nell love equally for this list – Nell enjoys her Angelina Ballerina books, Tom loves his football books, but our favorites are the ones the whole family loves.

favorite picture books

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen. This is hands down my favorite book right now, and “If I Built a House” and a few other Chris Van Dusen books will be making their way to our house for Tom’s 5th birthday. It is clever, it is fun, and paired with the right building material (Magnatiles or Magformers with wheel bases), we’ve got hours of creativity.

The Day The Crayons Quit - This was the book we gave Tom as his “Something to Read” last year for Christmas and it was an instant favorite. It’s illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, who has been a longtime favorite author and illustrator of ours. Which leads me to:

Anything by Oliver Jeffers, but we are especially smitten with Lost and Found and its sweet story of friendship. Though truly, I’m not sure you can go wrong with one of his books.

Duck and Goose. We’ve had this one for years, but we read it multiple times a week. Especially when the book picker is trying to postpone bedtime because it’s a bit longer than many picture books – Duck and Goose, Charlie the Ranch Dog and the Day the Crayons Quit are top choices on nights when the kids are trying to stretch the bedtime routine out a bit.

Caps For Sale - This is an oldie, but a goodie. We love this one. We especially love stamping our feet and shaking our fists when the peddler yells at the monkeys. Books with the McKevitts, man. It’s a good time.

Pete the Cat – Any Pete the Cat, but I’m partial to I Love My White Shoes over the Buttons one – though we own both and the kids love them equally.

One Dog Canoe – This is a fun book – my mom has it at her house and we have a copy at the cabin, so I’ve refrained from buying a copy for our house, too, but Tom and Nell always have me read it to them over and over when we’re at a One Dog Canoe house.

My Father’s Dragon – This was our first chapter book, and it was a good one. I read it just to Tom, and then we moved onto Mr. Popper’s Penguins…which we have yet to finish because I’m not in love and the kids don’t seem to be, either. But My Father’s Dragon was a quick, fun first chapter book.

(*As always, I don’t use affiliate links, so these Amazon links are just for your convenience.)


I have a ton of books saved on a wish list for Tom’s and Nell’s birthdays, so hopefully by the end of June we’ll have even more favorites to add to our list. I will say that I tend to feel a little “Womp womp” about some of the “girl” books we order for Nell recently – so I’d love recommendations for truly charming and adorable illustrations and stories. And chapter books – we need some more chapter books over here.

Styling an Entryway Bench

We’ve been in our home for almost two years now, which is almost impossible to believe! Our living room is the first room you see when you walk through the door, and we’ve played around with a lot of different arrangements for it, but I think we’ve finally found a system that works for us. The room is part entryway – that’s just inevitable – but that doesn’t mean that it has to look like a dumping ground! I added a sweet, cottage bench from Sauder furniture to the living room, styled it, and have an awesome entryway that doubles as extra seating at a party. Sauder invited me to be a part of their “Put Together” Design Challenge and Lookbook, and I jumped at the chance to style a piece of furniture to make it uniquely me!

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21 Day Fix – Midpoint

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was following up my February/March Whole30 with the 21 Day Fix – paleo style. After my disappointing scale experience with P90x3, I ditched workouts during my Whole30. I KNOW that you’re not supposed to focus on the scale, but…yeah. I still do. So anyway, after the holiday gain, I just focused on the Whole30 so that I could get back to my “happy weight” – which I did – and figured I’d add in workouts later. The problem with the Whole30 (for me) is that even though there are guidelines for portions, I tended to approach it from an EAT ALL THE BACON standpoint. And actually, at my physical the day I finished the Whole30, my cholesterol was down 19 points from two years ago, but my LDL(bad) was up 1 point, and my HDL (good) was down 20 points — so even though my overall cholesterol is about 50 points below the max recommendation of 180, my PCP wanted me to raise my HDL before my next appointment.  To be honest, I was pretty discouraged because everything I’d read about Whole30 success stories was that despite all the meat and fat you’re consuming, cholesterol usually goes down. And mine did, but it went down in the wrong way!


So, with that backstory, it was time for me to focus on portions. I weighed what I wanted to weigh, but I am happiest when I’m working out, and I also wanted to focus on that HDL thing – and I was pretty sure my bacon consumption wasn’t helping that number. Bacon is not bad, but it’s probably not recommended daily. Even on the Whole30. And I probably wasn’t eating enough greens, choosing to sub sweet potatoes for my “veggie” most meals. I needed some stricter rules. So I turned to my friend and Beachbody coach Jessica and she pretty much said, “Eating clean is great Em, but chances are you might be eating too much.” Enter, 21 Day Fix. I ordered and I’m in a challenge group.

There are a two components to the 21 Day Fix. First, is nutrition. Man, those containers are small. The appeal to me of this program was that it allows you some treats, some grains, etc. Coming off Whole30s in the past, I’ve just dived right back into eating what I want, so I liked that this would be an approach to reintroducing some of those foods without going overboard. For the most part, I’m avoiding grains, but I do have a serving or two of grains a week to see how my body reacts to the correct amount of grains. The first week? I was a drama queen. “I am so hungry I could eat my own foot!” type drama. And I was truly hungry – with permission from Jessica (because I am a rule follower), I added an extra veggie and fat when I was hungry, but by the end of the first week I didn’t need it. I remember in college one semester I had a class over my lunch hour every day of the week and I had to wait until 3 to eat lunch. I thought I would die that first week. And by the second week, I was fine with waiting until 3 to eat my lunch if I took a small snack in my bookbag. The same thing happened with the 21 day fix. By 6 days in, my stomach had adjusted to the portions. I played around with the containers a bit and realized that if I eat my fat (blue container) in the morning, I tend to stay full longer. I am loving this nutrition plan. I love that it allows a treat or a glass of wine a couple days a week – I have never eaten a teaspoon of chocolate chips SO mindfully. Nope, usually it’s shove a handful in my mouth and then grab another handful. So, it took me awhile, but I’m loving the portion control this plan forces on you now that I’m used to it.

79C2EC1C-FD01-40F2-A65F-D15AFCA4134F My Go-To lunch: Chicken Apple Sausage (1 red), Sweet Potato “Chips” (1 yellow), mixed green salad (1 – 1.5 greens) and a 21 day fix dressing (1 orange).

Shakeology. I really didn’t want to partake in Shakeology, but for the sake of the 21 day fix I agreed to try it. I’ve found the way I like it – the first couple days were like drinking grass clippings. I like the Vegan Chocolate with half a banana and a teaspoon of almond butter, 8 oz of water and LOTS of ice. I do enjoy having the shake mid-afternoon – it powers me through to dinner without hunger. But, I don’t think I’ll keep drinking Shakeology after this bag is gone. It’s pricey – my grocery budget for the month is about $450 – and that feeds 5 people a mostly organic diet. I can’t justify spending 29% of my monthly grocery budget on one meal a day for just me. So, I’ll try some other similar options to Shakeology and see how it all pans out, but I will also happily just eat a real food afternoon snack if needed.


The second piece, and the reason I started this program in the first place, is exercise. And I am loving the workouts. They’re challenging but not so challenging that I dread them, if that makes sense? I love that there’s a different workout every day of the week, so the ones I don’t love (yoga is my least favorite – I much preferred P90x3s yoga) aren’t overdone, and the ones I do like I have something to look forward to every week.  I feel strong already, and am looking forward to seeing what my final measurements are in a little over a week. I’ve been waking up at 5:30 to get my workouts in – in the past I’ve been a naptime or late night workout kinda girl, but when I have my workout hanging over my head, I kind of dread it. So just getting it done has been so freeing.  Being totally honest, I was prepared to hate Autumn based on the program’s uber sexy and smoldering marketing photos – but she’s actually bubbly and likeable and comes across as down to earth in the workouts. So, there’s that. C5E396B1-EF70-4C41-BE36-20164CE36DB7


Crazy hair, don’t care. Actually doing burpees (rather than modifying them because I didn’t want to try) for the first time in my life.

4D7A5FDB-0971-468B-95F0-A62528C0C40B Nell is a really good workout buddy.

So, that’s my mid-point 21 Day Fix update. I’ll be sure to post my end results in a week and a half – and I’m prepared to keep going.

Books I’ve Read Recently

I haven’t done a book post in awhile, so here are some books I’ve read and enjoyed recently.



Where’d You Go Bernadette – I enjoyed this book and I read it quickly. I did not love this book, but I am glad I read it and it was a perfect vacation read. I think my issue with the book was that I presume the author wants you to connect with the main character, but I didn’t. I could totally appreciate Maria Semple’s satirical style, but again, not a love. But definitely one I would encourage others to read, because you might connect with Bernadette…and even if you don’t, it’s fun.


Wild – This was our last book club book, and it was a good read. I’ll admit to loving the first half and then getting a bit bored. Half of our book club was on the same page as me, and half loved every single page. The difference between our halves? The half that liked it but got a little bored were the types who would never pack up their lives and hit a trail for 4 months. The half that loved every word said that they would love to do the trail, and have awesome stories of adventure trips in their pasts. I’d like to see the movie, too – I’m glad I read this, even if I’m more a glamping kinda girl.

the school of essential ingredients

The School of Essential Ingredients – Calling this “recent” on my read list is a stretch, but I loved it and I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention it here. Such a fun story of a cooking class and the lives that come together as a result of it. A wonderful book that makes you want to cook and bake…a lot!

Other books we’ve read (or re-read) recently in book club: Gone Girl (a re-read for me – love the book, and just saw the movie), Little Women (another re-read, but fun to dive into a classic again), The Interestings (I didn’t love it), Carry On, Warrior – fun and thought provoking, but if you read her blog you’ve already read the book.

Currently, I’m about half way through The Boys In the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I’m enjoying it, but not speeding through it. Next I’m going to need something light and fast, and my book club is always looking for good reads, too. Any suggestions? You can always check out my Goodreads profile to see what I’ve read recently (when I remember to update it…).

Organization: Family Calendar

I am not a naturally organized person. I am not a person who craves order. I wish I were, but I’m not. With that said, with five people in this house, I’m striving for organization more. I’ve always been good at getting rid of things, but the things we need to keep, I need to develop a system for. Luckily for me, my good friend and neighbor is a naturally organized person…so I just steal her ideas and tweak them until they work for me. First up: the family calendar.

Last summer, I missed a couple of events or overbooked our lives because we didn’t have a family calendar that was visible. I’d plan something with a friend to find out B had a board meeting that night. Or I’d forget about a preschool birthday party and commit to family dinner plans. I’ve always kept a planner with a calendar, but it wasn’t accessible to everyone and it made double booking things – or forgetting to check the calendar – too easy. So, I turned to my friend. She had a pottery barn calendar and organizational system on a giant wall in her mudroom. We don’t have a giant wall. Or really a mudroom. But, I took her system and tweaked it to work for us. And it’s been great…as long as I write things down.

family organization

Off of our kitchen is a hallway that leads to the garage with doors to our basement, dining room and laundry room off of it – please excuse the garage sale staging area that my dining room is becoming (on the left). I have a bulletin board for the kids’ artwork and projects on the biggest wall, but the spot next to the door to the garage was big enough for a small scale calendar system.

dry erase calendar

I bought a small calendar at Target for less than $15. I think it was $12.99. I bought two sets of dry erase markers so that every member of our family could have their own color (I really need to find ultra fine point markers in other colors because those are my favorite – but the purple and orange medium point will have to do until I find those). The last day of every month, I clean off the calendar and write everything from my paper planner on the board. After that, any appointments get written on the board – it is the authority once the month is going. For appointments or commitments a month or more out, my paper planner is the authority – I keep it on the kitchen counter most of the time and just update it as things come up. B and I sit down once a week and mark out his travel, late meetings, etc for the next month(s) so that we know what we’re up against. And then, at the end of the month, I transfer it all to the big calendar that everyone can see.


I store all the dry erase markers in the newly organized laundry room, which is one arm’s reach away from the calendar but keeps all the markers in one spot.

dry erase marker storage

This solution is hardly new or innovative, but it has made a world of difference in our lives and it took me until I had 3 kids and had been married 6 years to put into place, so now that it’s been working for us for about 6 months, I figured I’d share. Thomas loves reading what we’re doing (which means I have to write in code sometimes now that we have a reader since last week he said, “You’re taking us to the Rockies game on the 12th?!” spoiling the opening weekend tickets surprise B and I had planned for the family), B can quickly glance at the calendar when he’s wanting to schedule a golf game or beers with a friend, and I can easily tell when we have too much going on in one weekend and need to say “Thanks but no thanks” to other commitments.

Easter Recap

We had the best Easter Weekend this year. I love Easter – I love hosting Easter because it’s so easy, but this year I gave that up, and we kept it low-key. I often feel like if we don’t host so that both families can attend, I feel pressured to make it to both families for every holiday – but our families live an hour and a half apart. But I’m 30 now, so I’m more reasonable . My brother was in town, so we went to my parent’s because we don’t see him very often, and B’s parents came to Tom’s soccer game on Saturday and came over to the house to do Easter Baskets with the kids after that. It was perfect – no pressure, no racing across the state of Colorado to see everyone in one day – perfect.


We died Easter Eggs on Saturday morning with Kool-aid. So simple and easy. We hard boiled a dozen eggs, lost two to some violently boiling water, and should have boiled two dozen because the kids had a blast. Next year when Peter’s a part of the action, we’ll definitely have to up our Egg count.

Nell Easter Eggs Thomas Easter Eggs

Easter morning, a certain almost 5 year old woke the whole house up to go see the Easter baskets. The kids were pretty smitten. Our Easter Bunny keeps things VERY simple – a few candy filled eggs, a book, a small toy (our bunny opted for Legos over yet another stuffed animal…) and this year a new water bottle for each kid. And they were pleased as punch.

Easter Morning After we did our own little Egg hunt at our house, we loaded up and headed down South to my mom and dad’s house – we went to my old Elementary school for Easter Mass, then spent the rest of the day at my parents’ house, visiting with the family and letting the cousins play together. We took some family pictures, ate some really good food, and drank mimosas.

Easter Pictures

There was another egg hunt in my mom and dad’s backyard, and a LOT of backyard baseball.

Easter Day It was a perfect way to celebrate Easter – centered around Church and family with a little bit of candy and fun, just as it should be.

DIY Boxwood Wreath

Last week while the kiddos were napping, I whipped up a wreath for Spring for our front door. I’d been on the hunt for a great wreath that would take me from St. Patrick’s Day to Fall. I had a cute Valentine’s Wreath on the door for Valentine’s, but I really don’t want to store a wreath or door hanger for every holiday. So I was on the hunt for a season-less wreath – specifically boxwood that didn’t cost an arm and a leg – but couldn’t find one. Then, I stumbled across this tutorial on Pinterest for a 15 minute, $15 boxwood lookalike wreath and decided I could do it.

DIY Boxwood Wreath Our Hobby Lobby just moved and the day I went to the new store they had no grapevine wreath forms and no greenery out, so I went to Michael’s where I spent $30 instead of the tutorial’s $15, but it was a day when sometimes just being done with errands is worth an extra $15. And I did come away with actual faux Boxwood greenery instead of a lookalike, which Hobby Lobby doesn’t carry, so I was happy. The process was simple (and detailed in the tutorial linked above), but basically you stretch out the boxwood garland and use floral wire to wire it to the wreath form every few inches. I followed her easy bow tutorial, too, and in 15 minutes I had a wreath that will last me through the summer.

simple diy boxwood wreath

I love the greenery it adds to our navy blue door. We’re embarking on a big landscaping overhaul this Spring – we have the plans and will be planting this month or next, weather depending. But, I’m excited to add some greenery and life to the outside of our house – our exterior paint and lighting upgrades (the exact lights Joanna Gaines used on a house a couple weeks ago on Fixer Upper – I was patting myself on the back for picking them out on my own a full year before that episode aired) last Spring got us started in the right direction, and now it’s time to amp up our little cottage’s curb appeal even more. Can’t wait to see how our front yard takes shape this Spring and Summer!


I have plenty of things in my head I could blog about…but life just gets so busy, and three weeks after Valentine’s Day how interesting is my valentines mantle? Ha! So here’s my typical “All the pictures in my iPhone catch-up”. Truth be told, I’ve been going back and forth about blogging and social media lately. And by lately I mean over the last two years. In my commitment to disconnect more frequently (and during the day) from technology, I post to Instagram far less. I rarely sit down at the computer during the day, and at night, on the weeks B is home and not traveling, I like to spend time with him. I deleted Facebook from my Phone for Lent and won’t be adding it back after it’s over — I was on the brink of just deleting my personal Facebook account, but decided to just remove the quickest access I had to it instead, so I only see things if I actually sit down at the computer, which is rare.  And can I say? It’s kind of nice. But then there’s the outlet of the blog – I like writing. I like the occasional family post, the pictures and the recaps of what we’re up to at this stage in our lives. I like sharing the occasional house project, but I’m a mom of three kids with a husband who travels 60% of the time…house projects are few and far between! And that’s okay – this is our life.  I love the community that so many of us built together 7 years ago when we all started blogging. But as our kids have all gotten older (and more numerous!), there’s less time. And more concern over privacy and kids. I don’t have a good answer, but I know the longer I wait to blog, the harder it gets to come back, so I’m recommitting to this old blog for the month of April to see how it goes.

So here we go, a quick catch-up:

I finished my third full Whole30 (my January Whole30 I didn’t finish, so I’m not counting that one) on March 15th. I lost 13 pounds, a couple inches all over and felt great – 6 of those 13 pounds were weight I gained over the holidays and the month of January, but the other 7 put me below my “happy weight”, which is awesome. I’ve done a great job of keeping with the eating – with the occasional treat here and there. B and I flew to Charleston last weekend for a wedding, and while I didn’t deny myself any foods I truly wanted, I definitely was conscious of how food made me feel. After three Whole30s, I’ve realized that I’m sensitive to gluten. Not intolerant, mind you – I like to be very clear on that in this gluten free world we’re inundated by – but just sensitive to it – it upsets my stomach and while I can deal with the discomfort, I feel better (and weigh less) when I avoid gluten, so that’s what I plan to keep doing. In the past, good craft beer has been the reason I’ve reintroduced gluten, but after this last Whole30, beer didn’t even taste good to me. (My first Whole30 recap is here).


With food kind of figured out, I’m turning my mind towards working out again. In January, I started P90x3. I loved the workouts, I felt strong and loved being in a daily workout routine…but I gained weight while doing it. And that was in conjunction with the failed Whole30 – part of why I gave up on the Whole30 in January was because I was annoyed at the scale. My friend and BeachBody coach was a huge part of getting me back into working out -and eating clean – last April. We both had newborns, and we both had baby weight to lose, and she was inspirational, challenged me to eat clean while doing a month long commitment to workouts through her accountability groups (if you’re looking to get started with a workout program, Jessica and her accountability groups are awesome – not perked to say that at all, just sharing the good :) ), and that’s when I found the Whole30. Jessica has been awesome talking me through the Beachbody programs and helping me find a program that works for me, so, I am starting 21 Day fix on Monday. I will be honest, I’m mostly doing it for the workouts. I’m scared to change my eating because I know that paleo and Whole30 work for me, but I will follow the 21 Day fix food plan as it fits into my paleo diet and am looking forward to the portion control portions of the program. But to fit this into my paleo diet, that means no grains or dairy (though I have promised to give vegan Shakeology a try) for me.


B is traveling a ton for work, but he’s loving his job, and the two of us have figured out how to make it work. Thankfully, Facetime helps both the kids and me while he’s gone, and before he took the job we talked a lot about how important it was to me to not feel like having him around got in the way of our routine once we adjusted to his travel. The traveling husband and how we’re making it work with our marriage and the kids is probably a post of it’s own, and one that will continue to evolve…and I’m determined to blog more in April, so maybe I’ll get to that. But the long story short is: When B is home, we teamwork it like we always have, and when he’s gone, we talk multiple times a day so that he knows what’s going on, where we’re at with the kids, and how the week is going as a whole so he knows what he’s coming home to and he can pick up where he left off. It’s a lot of work, but doing that work is the most important thing for our family right now.

Thomas is in the homestretch of PreK and getting excited for summer. He’s playing soccer right now, and starts swimming lessons with Nell in two weeks. He’ll play T-Ball this summer (he’s psyched to finally be old enough – his June birthday put him past the cutoff date last year by 4 days). He’s getting more and more into Legos, but sports still reign supreme in his life. He’s a sweet, sensitive and fun kid, and we’re loving this stage of life where he’s doing “bigger kid” stuff, but still so small. He turns five in two months. Somebody hold me.



Nell Caroline is 2 and a half, and you would know it. When Thomas was two and three, I remember telling people that his phases went in 3 month increments. We’d have a great 3 months, and then we’d have a rocky 3 months, although looking back at it I honestly don’t remember three month rocky stretches (ah, the gift of time and rose colored glasses!). Nell’s phases seem to go in about 3 WEEK increments. Which is exhausting, but thank goodness because the rocky stretches just about do me in…I can’t imagine if they lasted months rather than weeks. I went to confession at the start of Lent, and it basically turned into a counseling session about my sweet daughter, because my relationship with her was weighing heavily on my heart at the time. And it helped me enter these last 6 weeks with a different mindset – I’m trying to remember that I’m raising these children to be good people, to love God, and to share God’s love through kindness. And that starts with me. This is all probably another blog post in and of itself, but all this is to say that Nell and I are currently in a great phase, and I’m enjoying every second of it. I find myself thanking God each night lately for our good days, for his guidance as I navigate attempts at a whole new kind of attitude and disobedience, and for the sweet moments that remind me how lucky I am to have Nell’s perspective on the world.

IMG_7195_2 Peter Michael. B and I were gone for 4 days and we left our baby and came back to a toddler. He is into EVERYTHING. He’s walking, climbing, screaming when he doesn’t get his way and delighted by the sweetest, simplest things. I love 12 month olds, and I remember how hard it is when they feel independent but in reality are struggling to do anything for themselves. This baby boy of ours is so darn sweet – he’s snuggly and charismatic. I joke that he’s going to be our class clown, and I think he’s just going to be an easy going kid – used to rolling with the punches.


And that’s our update. There are plenty of blog posts to come, and my goal is to blog 2 – 3 times a week this month. In reality, that will mean a lot of family posts, rather than a ton of house updates, but that’s our life right now. And I’m embracing it.

Peter’s Pete-za Party

So, Peter is one. My baby. I am mostly excited, because here’s what I’m learning as these kiddos of mine insist on getting older: They get more and more fun with age. Except, possible for 2 and a half…that age is knocking me down a notch or two in my parenting game currently. But there’s a little, tiny part of me that mourns the baby stage. Peter is very likely our last baby. I say very likely because I’m not ready to declare us done with squishy babies 100% yet, and I have an excellent girl’s name just in case. But we’re so content. This family of 5 of mine is perfect, and in all honesty, I’m looking forward to not being in an endless pregnant/nursing loop – I loved it, I’m beyond grateful to God for my family and my healthy body that helped me sustain life for the last 5 and a half years, and now I’m kind of excited to see what else we can do. But enough about that, let’s talk about Pete’s party.


I’m not a party person. Just throwing that out there. Entertaining, while I enjoy it, can overwhelm me a bit. I often wake up in the middle of the night after a party worrying that no one had a good time. And I’m not a normally anxious person. I’m starting to piece together after a few Whole30s that maybe just maybe the sugar and alcohol I tend to consume at parties are what cause my head to spin worrying about things I can’t change after a party is over, but that’s another story for another day.

I didn’t feel up to a big 1st birthday party this year (or, let’s be honest, I’ve never felt up to a big 1st birthday party but felt pressured to conform…but by baby #3 I don’t care about what everyone else does ;) ), so B and I agreed in advance that we would keep it to just family. Which is laughable because our in-town family alone means 30 people and there is nothing small about that, but family is family – they love you for who you are and I felt zero pressure to make anything pinterest worthy. I decided we’d have a Pete-za Party in honor of our Pete and one of his favorite foods, made up some adorable invitations, emailed them to our family because I knew I wouldn’t get them in the mail promptly, and that was that. We kept things simple: simple appetizers and snacks, take and bake pizza that we setup on the counter, and some simple, easy decorations. Peter had a blast watching his big cousins run around, he devoured a cupcake, and was passed from loving relative to loving relative for hugs and kisses all night long. And that’s all that matters!

As far as decorations go, I just printed out Peter’s monthly photos and strung them on my window in the living room.

monthly photos at first birthday party

Wrote some festive things on a chalkboard or two that I had around the house:

monthly photo display

pizza by the slice

I made a homemade vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. Simple, non-themey and deliciously homemade.

simple homemade first birthday cake

I hung kraft paper in the bay window in our kitchen (his invitations were on kraft paper, too) because those windows wreck havoc on pictures of the birthday boy eating his first bite of cake. It also gave me a surface to hang pennants off of, which was nice. I wasn’t really feeling the typical red and green Italian theme, so I added navy and just used red in accents. That made my not-so-red-loving-self happy.

cake table

first birthday party high chair

I plunked some fresh tulips in a tomato can for our homegrown pizza party:

flowers in tomato can

And that was that. A sweet and simple birthday party for our sweet Pete. And a celebration of our 1st year as a family of 5.

family of 5