Sweet, sweet 16!

Dear sweet (and 16!) Addie -

I have been trying to write this letter all week and between all the stops and starts I am just finding it so difficult to wrap my head around this birthday. I know you feel like it is a FINALLY 16, but I can’t help but think it is ALREADY 16?!

This past year you have made huge leaps in practically every single way. The obvious…you have grown at least 4 inches. So yes, I’m definitely – officially – the shortest in the family and (although she claims she is still taller!) I think you might have surpassed Em, as well.

Carrie, Jamie, Emma and Addie

It has been amazing to watch your maturity grow over the past year and I am awed as you have found your voice and ability to advocate for yourself, and for what you need to thrive. And then, not only recognizing that you had to make some changes…but being brave enough to make the changes happen. Those are both skills that many 40-year old women haven’t mastered yet and you are just hitting your stride!

Carrie, Jamie, Emma and Addie

Carrie, Jamie, Emma and Addie

We already know how demanding Junior year can be having lived through it with Em, but I feeling that you are up to the challenge. You have the confidence, determination, intelligence and style to get you through it all..and if that fails…your funny, sarcastic wit will completely keep you going – and of course you will always look so stylish doing it!

Here is hoping that 16 is the best yet.
Love you with all of my heart…always!



Golden Birthday!

Dear Addison Rose,

We just landed from our impromptu birthday/tag-along-with Daddy Orlando trip and I tucked you in as an 8-year old for the very last time. You could barely keep your eyes open as we exchanged our “I love yous” and behind your exhausted eyelids you smiled and said, “best. birthday. ever.”


It was indeed a very special weekend. As you told us many times over the course of last year, you only get ONE golden birthday. You are turning 9 on 09-09 tomorrow and I’m so happy that it was everything you had hoped it would be.


I may have to argue with you, though. I would have to say the best. birthday. ever. (at least for me) was your actual birthday. That day (early morning!) they put you into my arms and you made me a Momma for a second time; that day you became the most doted on little sister around; that day the last piece of our family puzzle fell into place…that was the best. birthday. ever.


I can’t in a million years imagine life without you, Rosie Toes. Your extreme delight in the mundane constantly makes us all stop and appreciate the little things. Your enthusiasm and competitive spirit pushes us all just a little bit further. And your empathetic and beautiful heart fills us all up with love over and over, day after day.


Your being born was the best birthday gift our family could ever receive, Addikins. Wishing you many more best. birthdays. ever.

Love you with all of our hearts!
-Mommy, Daddy & Gracie (& Cooper & Pepper & Jack!)

Double Digits.

Dear Emma Gracie Girl -

You have made it to double digits!  I can’t believe that it has been an entire decade since you made me a Mom for the first time. There is something so very special about being a first, you know. Some days I’m sure you will be grumbly about how we still have our parenting “training wheels” on when it comes to you. And yes, your sister will get to do things at a much earlier age than you did, but think about everything you get to do first.

While I was making your birthday movie over the past few days, I re-lived many of your firsts. Your first day home. Your first bath. Your first tooth. Your first steps. Your first day at school. The list just goes on and on. And today is your first day of a new decade, double digits.

I can’t wait to see what new firsts are around the bend for you. Your first day of middle school. Your first time driving. Your first time to leave the nest. (I didn’t say I’ll be happy about all of them!) I know you will handle all of these and more with bravery, grace and determination. And I realize too, how very blessed we have been to be given you as our first little girl.

10 years of Emma Grace from carrie voris on Vimeo.

Happy 10th Birthday, my sweet girl. Here is to many more firsts.
All my love,

Lucky Ducky.

Lucky ducky me. My birthday and Mother’s Day are always within the same week, so I end up getting treated pretty much like Queen Carrie around here for a good week or so.

I thought that the week couldn’t get any better after my birthday weekend, but then my birthday present from my sister came, as in…literally came via airplane from Michigan, on Friday. My sister flew out for a mere 24 hours – but we made the very best of our very short time together.


Massages, a picnic lunch on the beach filled with lots of girlfriend talking time, and then margaritas and dinner at Mijares with J. and the girls. It was a much needed reality check and special time with my girl. Thank you Meesh and DJ, thank you so very much!


A few other birthday treats that I’ve been using this week and LOVE -

Ceramic lovelies that I have been drooling over at Anthropologie for many months. They make my kitchen just a little cheerier.


And these are also looking to help me out in the kitchen, hopefully!


And when I am ready to pop out of the kitchen, I have these to inspire some creativity around here.


Plus I have $$ to spend at Sew Mama Sew on some fabric! I feel some summer skirt making coming on very soon.

And all of this? It was just in celebration of my birthday. Today I got in the car to run to church and my car was full of gas and squeaky clean courtesy of my sweet husband. That right there is just pure heaven. After church, we hit Disneyland. It really was the perfect way to end MY week.

Watching these two together…


…I’m yet again in awe of the fact that they are mine. I’m so thankful God blessed us with these two beautiful girls. I adore them. And I think I fully appreciate the awesomeness of my job. It truly is the best job in the world.

I’m a lucky, lucky ducky.

Birth…days and days.

No matter how low-key I vow to make a birthday celebration, as in – “Hey, this is an off year, we are not doing a big party nor a week-long celebration,” I always seem to forget that promise about two days before what proves to be the next birthday extravaganza. This year was no exception. Epic fail, yet again.

I told Addie that we had a big party for her last year so this year she could invite a friend for a fun date and dinner with the family.

“But I can’t pick just ONE friend, Mom! Can I have more. Like three, or maybe four?”


So we compromised on TWO friends. Plus Emma Grace. So we landed at four girls. All Ad wanted to do was go to Color Me Mine and paint some pottery.


Oh, and then maybe dinner at Shogun.


And then maybe the friends could spend the night? And since this was all happening on Saturday, the day AFTER her birthday, we needed treats for her class on her ACTUAL birthday. And since we were signed up for snacks at choir, maybe we could just bring birthday treats to choir since it was the day BEFORE her birthday. And thus, the nearly week-long birthday celebrating our Addie was born.


Not that I’m complaining (ok, maybe I am a little), but let’s just say I’m so very happy that the weekend is over. It ended with a proclamation of “this is the best birthday ever” and big thank yous and love for her new American Girl, so it was definitely worth it.


But I think we were all just happy that it is over…for another year.


End of MY week.

I think at some point I kind of half-promised at least a weekly roundup and so I’m gonna try to squeak a quick one in here this week, yet again.

Nope, we haven’t been sick (my mom always thinks that I must be sick if I miss a few days of blogging), we have actually been pretty healthy, just running at full speed. Again. Like always. At the start of every week I look at the calendar and think, “this is going to be a nice low-key week,” and then before I know it the week is over and the exact opposite has occurred.

First of all, I need to say a big Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms in my life. My mom, my sister, my mother-in-law and all my mom friends – you all make my life complete. I’ve learned so much about being a mother from all of you. And thanks to my sweet girls and to my awesome husband. Every day is Mother’s Day for me. And even though Daddy had to threaten you with “being good today for Mommy,” I love our life together.

AND…I love the new addition to our family! For Mother’s Day, Daddy and the girls got me a cow of my very own! Seriously. You rent a cow for the year, and they use your cow’s milk to make you cheese! I get to choose my “toast-colored, soft-eyed, long-lashed Jersey cow” and then I get progress reports and “action shots!” I think it is the coolest gift.

It was a continuation of the week long celebration around here where I have been feeling very spoiled. It was indeed my birthday this past week as well, and I got me some L.O.V.E. Everything from hundreds of well-wishes, calls & cards, champagne lunches, a massage, a great family necklace, a new purse, a table hanger and wallet for my new purse, to much needed Kindle $$ for new books and new running shoes! It was a beautiful week and I felt very loved. Thank you all for everything you sent my way. Big kisses to you all….Mwah!

I’ve got so much to still share with you all and some good crafty goodies and our emerging garden wonderland to show, too! But I want to go soak up a few more minutes of “my week” before next week starts. I’ll be back soon, I promise!

Thank Goodness It Is Monday…

…now we can rest!

THAT was an insanely crazy weekend and I’m looking forward to a hopefully slower-paced week so we can all get a little rest and recuperating done.

Thank you for all of your well-wishes, presents and phone calls on Em’s birthday yesterday. She had a blast and truly felt loved. She even told me that yesterday was the best birthday EVER. No pressure for next year or anything!

Since we had a big party last year, I told her we needed to keep it small this year. She invited a few of her friends and we went to Common Thread, a sewing studio and lovely Jin helped the girls make monster pillows.


You should totally stop in for a class or visit with Jin and her cute puppy, Lucca – it is such a cool place!


Next we went to Mix ‘N Munch for lunch. They have gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches…and about 50 different kinds of cereal. Yes. Like cold cereal and milk. But…that is what Em wanted and that is what she got.


(Like how Daddy is clearly feeling outnumbered by all of the girls as he sits patiently in the back corner?)

Then we walked down for a little Menchie’s treat. Again, Em’s choice.


I love that pic of Em. She had something in her eye and I didn’t realize it when I took the photo – but I love that she looks like she is winking. Such a cute 8-year old!

What a blessing it is to know that Em has such a great group of girls to depend on and have fun with!


Some of the girls went home at that point, but the party didn’t stop. Em decided she wanted her ears pierced. Yeah, I know she doesn’t look too sure of it here…


…but she powered through…


…and now has some bling!


And is also now obsessed with cleaning/turning/admiring them.

So it was a pretty full birthday. Throw in a jog-a-thon, Girl Scout meeting, birthday dinner, a Silent Auction for the girls’ school, bringing in 200 pairs of shoes the Brownies collected for Japan, a little bit of gardening and…oh, YEAH…signing all the paperwork on OUR HOUSE, and it was a pretty full weekend, too.

C’mon, Monday. Bring it.

It is GREAT to be EIGHT.

Dear Emma Gracie,

Today you are eight. For the past few months your answer to all questions has simply been, “I can probably do that when I am eight,” or “Yeah, I think I’ll do that when I am eight.” So I’m thinking starting today you are going to be able to do EVERYthing.

Although, I think you are pretty much on your way to doing every and anything you put your mind to. I am forever astounded by how *old* you seem. Each day you try something new, figure something out on your own, or surprise even yourself with a new discovery. It is so exciting to watch, with just a little twinge of sadness. For as eager as you are to be older, Mommy is just as hesitant to let go.

But the more we let you go and explore, the prouder you make us. You are a spectacular girl. I’ll try to stop calling you “little” now that you are “8 years old!” (*said with the rolling of the eyes*) But you will forever be my little Gracie Girl. And I hope this is your best year yet, baby.

Happy Birthday, Emmy.

eight years of emma grace from carrie voris on Vimeo.

Crafty Tuesday

How about Birthday Tuesday instead? I did get some craftiness completed in time for a little one’s birthday – but it is missing some hardware so I can hang it up. It is not nearly impressive enough on the floor when it belongs suspended from the ceiling. It is on my list of things to do today – so I can show it next week for sure!

In the meantime, most of last week was filled with celebrating! In case you didn’t hear…a little someone turned five and even though I swore that we were keeping it low-key this year, it turned into a week-long adventure anyhow.

I love that the girls have birthdays during the school year so they get to celebrate with their friends. And I love living in California so that it is usually great weather for outdoor parties as well.

We started off the day with the requisite chalk card…


Yep. She’s five.


We had a special breakfast that Addie chose, pasta packed in her lunchbox (her favorite food) and we sent her off to school. Her teacher is adorable and makes each birthday very special for the kids, which is awesome. I got to go in and read Addie’s favorite book to the class (SkippyJon Jones) and then she got to pass out her treat for the kids.


We couldn’t do cupcakes because there are kids with nut allergies, an egg allergy, a gluten allergy, an oat allergy and a chicken allergy (chicken?! really??) in her class. Even with the ladybug lollipops we still had two kids that we had to do pencils for – they have dairy allergies and the lollys were made with milk chocolate. Aye.


She picked dinner (noodles again) and we made her some cupycakes.



Then Saturday came and it was her birthday again. Her “real birthday” as she called it. We called my niece (Happy 12th, Lexer!) to wish her Happy Birthday and Addie said, “Hey! Lexer’s birthday is on my birthday?” And herein lies the problem with the week-long celebrating – a little clueless on exactly when her birthday is.


Anyhow, we invited a few friends for a ladybug hunt. Couldn’t find bugcatchers (almost couldn’t find ladybugs!) so we made do with dollar spot buckets and I just covered them in fabric.


Seemed to work just fine.


Em and her friends – the “big girls” – all did the face painting for me. The big girls are all my Brownies, so I told them it was one of their good deeds by helping the little girls. (They are supposed to do 3 to get their Brownie pin re-pinned right-side up.) But I think they loved it even more than the little girls did.


And then we had ladybug cupcakes. Which I totally forgot to get a photo of. I didn’t take hardly any photos in fact – just trying to deal with kiddies. Thankfully J. picked up my camera and got a few. Like this one…


Oh…and this one!


And I love this one.


Thank God for J. (in so many more ways than one!)


All in all, another successful party, I think.

Crafty Tuesday


Seriously. Please send help. Immediately.

Have you ever had one of those days where your to-do list is so incredibly long, you just feel overwhelmed so you spend your free time cleaning out random kitchen cabinets?

Yeah…me neither. But wouldn’t that be incredibly insane to clean out a china cabinet and all the silverware drawers when you should be figuring out what to get your almost 7-year old for her birthday? Or planning an intimate garden tea party for that 7-year old and 22 of her closest friends? Or paying bills? Or putting together the PTA newsletter? Or making signs for the Silent Auction?

I did try to find teacups today, unsuccessfully. And am on my way to the fabric store for the rest of the party favors tomorrow. But I have nothing to show today.

I’m serious about getting some help from you though, my friends, I need ideas for fun tea sandwiches, scones, and treats to feed these hungry girlies on Saturday. I am doing cupycakes instead of a cake, and it is just a little afternoon tea…not full-blown lunch or dinner.

Also we are going ladybug hunting and playing pin-the-dots-on-the-ladybug, but do you have any other fun ideas?

And because I missed Best Shot Monday yesterday and this is my favorite shot of the week, I will leave you with this…



Yeah, now I remember why I do all of this. She is the best big sister. Ever.