Happy Birthday Papa!

Whether he is trying to be or not…

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…he is one of the funniest Papas around.

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Wishing you a great birthday today, Papa! And a very healthy and happy year.

Sending you lots of love (and hugs) from your California girls.

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Happy Birthday!
Love,
J, C, E & A

Happy Birthday Lexer Roo!

Um. Could somebody explain how this happens?
How does my sweet, little niece go from this…

Lexer - back in the day

…to this? Overnight?

Lexer - NOW?!

It just doesn’t seem possible.

At any rate, we are wishing you the best year ever, Lexer! I might not believe that you are already a sixth grader, but I definitely do believe that you are going to have a great year!

Happy Birthday, Lexer Roo!
(And yes, we do all have weird nicknames!)
We love you,
Aunt Bean, Uncle Mamie, Em and Addie

Happy 4th Birthday Addikins!

Dear Addison Rose,

Yesterday was a a bit of a blur. Finishing up last minute gifts, getting them wrapped, completing party preparations, baking cakes, double-checking lists and last minute shopping, yet sitting down to write this letter to you has been the hardest task of all. I just can’t believe that today you will be four years old.

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The past few weeks I keep insisting that you need to stay three – that you just can’t turn four. I’ve threatened to put books on your head so that you’ll stop growing. But every time I try to slow down time, you say the same thing to me, “No, Mama! I have to turn four. I have to.”

And that is your mantra lately…”I have to.” You are quite possibly the most stubborn and independent child known to man. You start the morning wanting to pour your own juice and you end the day choosing your own pjs, brushing your own teeth, and combing your own hair. “I have to do it, Mama,” you sigh if I so much as try to hurry you, or help you along.

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The precious moments in between those early mornings (for you are still an early riser) and when you finally give in to sleep in the evenings, you can be found trying to help Mommy around the house. You love to be a “help” and try desperately to please me. I hear, “Am I doing a good job now, Mama?” “Do you think this looks good, Mama? “How do you like this, Mama?” countless times a day.  And I only hope you hear in my voice too how very much I appreciate your willingness to help. Even if it is not so…helpful at times.

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We also hear a lot of your singing voice lately. I admit that I have an “Addie playlist” that I purposely play in the car because I know it is songs that you and Emma like to sing. I love to hear your little voice singing everything from Coldplay to Deathcab for Cutie from the backseat. And my iPhone is now full because “I have to sing you Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mama.”  Even if you never make a dime in the music business, I know those recordings are going to be worth all the money in the world someday.

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I feel this year is going to be huge for you, Addikins. I think you are going to struggle with your “have to” attitude and it is going to clash many times with Mommy’s idea of what you “have to” do.

But I also know that you are an amazingly smart girl who will figure it all out. And it is going to be a spectacular year full of growth and possibilities for you.

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I feel so very blessed to be your Mommy and lucky to get to be along for the ride. And if you have to turn four, then I guess I’ll just have to let you.

Wishing you the very best year, my four-year old girl!
Happy Birthday.
I love you,
Mommy

Now we can officially call it summer.

The girls, Em’s friend Audrey, and I all headed to the beach yesterday and we had a great time. I was so thankful for the really big waves because the girls were a little afraid to venture too far into the surf. The waves forced them to stick close to the shore, which ultimately made my job of watching three little monkeys in the water, much easier!

They did do a lot of tempting fate. Sitting on the edge of the water and waiting for the waves to come in.

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It was great fun when they did roll in.

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And a couple waves even made them move to higher ground a few times.

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And, today happens to be Audrey’s 6th birthday! So happy wishes to our sweet Audrey!
We hope 6 is a terrific year for you.

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Meanwhile, back on the towel…
I can’t decide which I love more in this picture her curly tendrils or her lovely eyelashes.
She is delicious.

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And my one “artsy” photo of the day. She refused to let me get a sunhat shot, but I caught this one.
I love the angle, and her slight little peek of a smile.

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We might have to head back to the beach this weekend.
I think our day reminded us that summer is fleeting, and we need to take advantage of it while we can.
Have a sunny, happy weekend!

Happy Birthday Madey Mo!

Dear Miss Madey Mac Munchie Mo -

YOU. ARE. SIX!

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And what a beautiful little six-year old you are! I was looking through photos of you and trying to decide what I wanted to say to you today. And then I came across these three…

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You might like to be in the spotlight and out in front of the crowd, but it is behind the scenes where you really shine.  You have a very quiet, loving, sweet way about you. You wear your heart on your sleeve and you really care so much for those around you.

And we care so much about you! You are really a very special girl.

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Have fun jumping into six! I’m positive it is going to be a fantastic year for you.

Love you,
Aunt Bean

Happy Birthday Nena!

I’m a little late on sending our wishes because first of all, I am in denial that it really is the 20th of May. Really?! Wasn’t last week Emma’s birthday? Wasn’t last month Christmas??

And secondly, I know that Nena is down in Orlando and won’t see this anyhow – but we are sending Birthday love and hugs to you, Nena!

Hope you have a great day, fun week, and super year. We can’t wait to see you next month!

Love,
J, C, E & A

And then…she was six.

Dear Emma Grace,

It has been yet another incredible year. Just about six years ago, exactly to the minute (figuring in the central coast – west coast time change) my water broke and we really knew that you were on your way at last. We ran, well I more or less “lumbered,” downstairs at 4:30am on that April 9th and I still remember Daddy saying to the night doorman who was standing watch, “Well, looks like a good day to have a baby!”

And then that dumb doorman, instead of finding a cab for us like he was supposed to be doing, thought he would be funny and said, “Oh, but it is a Wednesday. Wednesday’s child is full of woe!” Come on! Who says that to a woman in labor? At any rate, a few minutes later we were cruising to the hospital and the doorman (and his stupidity) was forgotten.

But occasionally, that line will pop up into my mind, and at the oddest times – usually when you are wailing or having a dramatic meltdown over some inconsequential thing. But no matter how “woeful” that moment may be, I will never, ever agree with that man. You are anything but full of woe!

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I see an insane physical growth in you nearly every week – usually when yet another pair of jeans gets passed down to Addie because your legs have decided to sprout at least an inch overnight. But I also see the growth you are making as a person, on the inside. I went back to read your five-year old letter and just kept nodding my head and thinking, “Yep, she is still like that, she still does all of those things, only with ten times the force and intensity.” Your heart, and your capacity to show love to all of your friends and family, seems to be growing as much as those long legs of yours.

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And I marvel at how your mind is growing and how much you have accomplished in your first seven “official” months of school. You are full-on reading (Everything. You even read over my shoulder as I try to type blog posts.), you are becoming a very prolific writer (Keeping several different journals of your own, even ones not prompted as schoolwork.), and you love all things nature and outdoors. Science experiments and getting things to grow have opened your mind to a whole new and exciting world of knowledge. You just continue to soak it all up.

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And your learning has only meant that I get to relive my childhood again. I get to explore all of the wonders of the world with you, and just see them as you do – all new and shiny. It has given me a chance to take a second look and really see the beauty in so many things that I may have otherwise overlooked. Whether it is an interesting new bug, a fun new park, a new sprout in the garden or a new book about the planets we haven’t read yet, they all seem much more exciting when I can learn it through you.

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Emma Grace, you truly are the perfect mix of joyful, serious, sweet, excited, and curious. (Ok, maybe a hint of woe sprinkled in every once in awhile, just to keep Mama on her toes!) And I don’t think anyone who knows you can imagine life without you.

The happiest 6th birthday and year to you, Gracie Girl.
I love you,
Mommy

All-American Girls

Em wanted to go to the American Girl Cafe for her birthday this year, and since her birthday week coincided with the cousins being here, we made the trek to the Grove and brought along two of Em’s best friends as well.

Yep, count ‘em – seven girls, two Mommies…

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…oh, and don’t forget all of the dolls -they all brought their American Girl dolls. Emma was so excited because the bathrooms are equipped with little hooks to hang your doll while you “do your business,” and the cafe has special high chairs.

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They do pay attention to the little details (teacups above, pretty centerpieces below)…

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And everyone (dolls included) seemed to enjoy the lunch!

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The girls all had butterfly pasta (appropriate for our garden theme!) and Lexer had the tic-tac-toe pizza.

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They have little conversation starters, and now that the girls know how to read, they we are asking each other questions and giggling. I think Emma was asking everyone, “If you could be any animal, which would you be?” here…

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And of course they had cute little desserts, Em’s had a candle and we all sang to her.

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I think all-in-all, the party was a big success. Em got a gift certificate and had quite the decision to make. She brought home a new cat for her doll, Elizabeth, and has some money leftover for a trip to the doll hair salon the next time we visit.

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Then we all made some wishes in the fountain on the way out.

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My wish definitely came true.

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Happy Birthday To You…

Better late than never.  And since she is on the West coast here with us this week…it is STILL Kim’s birthday -  for two more hours!

Happy Birthday Kim! May you have beachy, carrot-cake filled dreams!

Happy Birthday to Kim!

(And yeah, Will blew out Kim’s candles for her. And no, she is not 22, but I only had 2 measly candles in the cupboard! She is 29 again…)

Love you, my friend!

Crafty Tuesday

Apparently the only thing I am likely to get “crafted” lately is Birthday cards. Our friends had a combo birthday party over the weekend so I got a card finished for each of them. And that is all again this week! Bah….

Anybody else got some crafty goodness to share and inspire us?

On another note, we are sending out BIG Happy Birthday wishes to our Nena! Today is her birthday and we are hoping you have a great day and a terrific year. We love you and we’ll see you soon!