Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Very Special Week

Breakfast in bed is one of her favorite birthday traditions.  This year: scrambled eggs, fresh strawberries and salmon 

A little birthday love from Molly

Excited to get some new outfits and in particular a new pink tutu skirt

Mama and Daddy surprised her with her big wish: Lego Friends Olivia's House

Home from school with cards from her class.  Each card was  a message with why they liked her.  So sweet!
Dressed for the Daddy-Daughter Dance

Out to dinner before the dance

Both of them, so proud of the other: Cute!!

This past Thursday, Lily Grace celebrated her 7th birthday.  I still can't believe that she is 7.  She is growing into such a sweet, funny and caring girl.  Matt and I are so proud of her and love her more than words can express.  She is a blessing that we cherish.  She is truly the best part of us.  God is so good!
She woke to breakfast in bed, gifts and an all around special day. The night before her birthday, she told  us she didn't want to turn 7 and grow up.  She liked being a little girl.  I was thinking 7, are you kidding me?  This year, your daddy and I will turn 32 ok 37 well it doesn't really matter but anyway, 7 have mercy.  I assured her that she was still very much a little girl and would always  be my baby. (The morning after  her birthday, she woke to tell us that she would like to have yesterday back and do it all over again.  Ha! I'm positive I haven't said those words in the last several years.) 
Her classmates all made her birthday cards and her birthday was announced over morning announcements.  She was so excited about this. I also packed her special treats for snack and lunch. Matt and I both took her to school Thursday morning.    
After school, Matt and I picked her up and we were off to swim class and then back home.  For her special dinner, she requested prosciutto cups with strawberries and a milkshake for dessert. (Lily Grace could eat breakfast for dinner every night of the week I do believe.)  Afterwards, she slipped into some new birthday pajamas and enjoyed an extra 45 minutes added to her bedtime.  
Her exciting week continued on Friday when she and Matt attended the Father- Daughter dance at school.  She looked adorable and was most excited about her new glitter ballet flats.  I was invited to join them for dinner by the water before the dance.
Matt sent me video and text throughout the evening and she appeared to be having a wonderful time.  She and daddy even won a dance prize and she enjoyed participating in the hula hoop contest where she won some beads.  
Matt, you were a wonderful date, daddy and example of how she should expect to be treated.  You are also a real trooper when it comes to Gracie, caring not about how you look in front of others but that your daughter see you in the moment.  She will cherish that about you always.  I know that I do.
What a special week!  Quite fitting for a very special little girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rhode Island

Cliff Views

Reminds me of some Hunting and Fishing Magazine ad.  Molly is just  happy to be along for the ride. 

We all navigated down these large rocks to see the waterfall.

The girl is funny

Along with Forsythia, Daffodils cover new England in yellow beauty.

The Atlantic Ocean and  a little girl who could care less how cool it is

Over Spring Break, we took a short hour and a half trip to Newport, Rhode Island.  The wind was a little cool but otherwise beautiful.  
We visited the 40 Steps Cliff Walk as well as the beach.  The scenery was charming and easing going.  The quaint town is filled with shop lined streets and a beautiful marine.
Despite the cool breeze, Lily Grace had a wonderful time playing in the sand at the beach and even managed a sand castle with help from daddy.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

We had a HOOOT!

Just waiting for her guests to arrive

In addition to the door decor, Daddy wrapped our outdoor light pole in pink lights to welcome guests.

One of my favorite decorations was the mantle which took on you on a little walk down memory lane.  

This years cake

Meagan, who is Erin's big sister agreed to be my assistant.  Lily Grace adores her and having her here only made her party more special.  Thanks so much Meagan.  You were a trooper.
Good friend Erin was the first guest to arrive.
Bottle Cap necklaces in the making.

One silly girl having tons of fun

Signing pillowcases: This activity had Meagan and I looking at each other in disbelief.  You think telling 8 seven year olds to pass to the right and sign would be easy huh?  As soon as we said pass, all we saw were pillowcases flying and squeals followed. HA! HA!

Blowing out the candles and making it official

Opening her gifts and choosing a boxed owl

Finally unwrapping their owls: They were about to bust waiting for everyone to get a turn selecting a box and being told to open. 

Here they all are before they flew the nest

Here is Dress Up Owl made especially for the Birthday Girl

Adoption Cards: Susan at JPress did an amazing job on the invitations, adoption cards, water bottle labels, favor bag labels and character cards for the party.  Thank you so much Susan.  You always make everything so special and cute. 

The girls and their owls 

Dancing the night away!  However, with daylight savings time working against you, creating the dark takes a little imagination.  And trust me, they could have cared less. 

This year Lily Grace decided on a Night Owl theme for her 7th birthday party.  She was so excited about having friends over so late and partying until the wee hours of the night.  The party didn't end until 8:00 pm.  To my almost seven year old, that was LATE.  :-)
Lily Grace invited 8 girls over and everything we did revolved around owls.  
The party kicked off with everyone arriving in their PJ's and lugging a sleeping bag.  With owls so popular right now, Lily Grace and I happened upon some adorable owl fabric that we used to sew her pajama bottoms.  She looked so cute.
The girls quickly got busy making their own bottle cap necklaces, with an owl at the center of course. The girls also enjoyed signing their names to the back of owl pillowcases as a keepsake to remember the evening with friends.  And of course, pizza and cake were in abundance.  Lily Grace's favorite part of the party was the Owl Adoption.  I sewed owls for the girls.  Each owl was different.  Each came with a card telling what kind of owl it was.  We had owls like Wise, Dreamy, Crafty etc.  Knowing all the characters, Lily Grace had asked to be Dress Up Owl.  I agreed that she could choose hers, but that she couldn't see it before the party. She had to be surprised like all her friends.   Once I sewed all the owls, I wrapped each one in a box and included the character card.  As Lily Grace opened a gift from a friend, they got to choose a box.  Once Lily Grace had opened all her gifts and each girl had selected a box, they all opened their boxes to reveal their owl.  There were so excited!  Lily Grace was thrilled with Dress Up Owl.  The girls were then given Owl Adoption Cards where they named their owls.  The girls then got together for a picture with their owls. Matt printed the picture before the girls left and placed it in a frame that I had fabric wrapped for each girl.  
We ended the night with glow sticks and dancing in the dark.  Three hours later, 8 tired and still excited little girls called it a night.  (And two tired parents did too.)
According to Lily Grace, this was the best birthday ever.  Glad to hear that Gracie!  Daddy and I love sharing in these special and fun times with you.  We had a great time and look forward to celebrating her actual birthday in just two short weeks.  Until then, we are off to enjoy Spring Break!  (And I shall ponder what in the world I did before etsy and Pinterest. Ha!)
Thanks to everyone who came and helped Lily Grace celebrate.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

An "Egg"citing Easter Weekend

School Easter Egg Hunt

Day 1 of Building
Day 2 of Building: Blue fleece, pink sweatpants, pink cowgirl boots and a big pink flower in  her hair.  You will notice that Matt's work outfit never changes.  Talk about being upstaged.  HA!
Of course, add a doll to the mix while dad is working away.  On a side note, at one point a purple guitar came out. I know that must have really helped Matt.

Day 3 of Building: Another pair of pink velvet pants, another blue fleece but mixed up a bit with the addition of a bonnet and tool belt from Home Depot

Dressed in pink and wearing a smile

Out to dinner before the Easter Vigil 
Finally!! Great job daddy!  You are the best!!!

I hope this finds all of you rested and renewed from a wonderful Easter weekend!  The good news is, Christ has risen!  He has risen indeed!
We have had a busy but fun weekend around our house.  Things got started on Holy Thursday with a half day of school and Easter Egg Hunt along with a backyard project and evening mass.  
A few years ago, Matt took a few days off work and built Lily Grace a playset.  Little did he know, that he would do it again.  That's right, Matt and Lily Grace embarked on the building of a new playset after leaving the other one back in Tennessee.  This one is much like the other, but has a wood roof this time as well as monkey bars.  We thought Matt needed a challenge this time. HA!  Lily Grace has been very excited about helping out and even more excited about having swings again.  She was a great helper, or maybe I should say interesting helper.  Each day brought with it some new and "interesting" outfit choices.  I have no idea but again, every day I found myself looking forward to seeing what "helping out" would look like.  
Good Friday brought with it more building in the backyard as well as evening mass.  This is one of my favorite masses.  Seems odd huh?  You see, I admit that I find that I become complacent sometimes with the cross.  I mean, we see it everywhere and it seems to have become some sort of fashion accessory.  I often times think we can forget what it really represents and honestly, I can't even comprehend it's true impact and what Jesus went through on that cross.  In the Catholic faith, we have a tradition at Good Friday mass, the veneration of the cross.  The cross, a large piece of wood is covered and carried from the back to the front of the church and is slowly uncovered as it reaches the alter.  Once there, we walk up to the front and kneel to kiss the cross.  It's a very humbling and real experience.  You don't just return to your seat after that, at least I don't.  You will see some red faces as some people seem a little embarrassed or unsure and you will see much emotion in others. You will even see strong athletes lean over to give a gentle kiss to this cross. The cross, a reminder and symbol of a great love given through sacrifice.  It is moving I tell you and easily stirs emotion in me that reminds me that what happened to Christ was for me, undeserving not as grateful as I should be sometimes me.  There is a Third Day song, You are so Good to Me, that really sums it up through the lyrics, "You poured out all your blood.  You died upon the cross.  You are my Jesus who loves me."  It really is a beautiful service that helps to connect with those words as well as relate to what Jesus did for us, even though we can never truly grasp what He did and how very much our Heavenly Father loves us.  
Saturday we woke to one of the prettiest days we've had since Spring sprung.  It was sunny and a whopping 55 degrees.  It was the perfect setting for another day of building.  The sun even brought out a bonnet.  Yes, that is a bonnet from a Pilgrim costume but apparently according to Lily Grace, it's also a terrific sun visor.  Too funny!  
Building was cut short as we dressed for dinner and this year attended the Easter Vigil.  It's a long, yet beautiful service.  Lily Grace was so excited about attending this year.  We've always feared she would fall asleep but no, not this year.  She worked her Bible following along and taking it all in.  God thank you so much for filling her little heart with a love for you.  I pray that Matt and I do a good job in raising her to continue that love and excitement for you and your word.  
Sunday brought with it a day of celebration for our risen Lord as well as a basket of goodies and a project complete.  It brought smiles, laughter, relief and pride for one daddy as well as a swing together that meant the world to both of them.
Thanks be to God for all the blessings that we share in and for a love that never ends.