Tag Archives: babies

What time is it? Time for Nova’s second birthday party!

10 Jun

I think that as Nova gets older my excitement for her birthday will increase until it reaches a peak (right around the time she stops wanting me to be involved in planning her birthday parties) and will hopefully dissipate into a dull thrum that only makes my body vibrate a little instead of sending me into fits of clapping and inexplicable glee.

Her favorite show is Bubble Guppies, thanks to that fateful first showing at the Langemann’s home, so we decided to go full throttle with the Bubble Guppies theme. There were TONS of awesome printables on the Nickelodeon website and I was inducted into the wide, wonderful world of children’s television programming. We don’t have cable so my exposure to these sorts of things is few and far between but I have a whole list of shows I now want to download and “preview” for Nova. (In case those quotations aren’t clear…I’m previewing them for myself…because I’m secretly a small child and I love cartoons.)

Janet came over on Friday so that we could celebrate a few crucial milestones involving school, work and life in general, and we set to work crafting away for the next day.

getting ready collage

When Cale got home we put him right to work, and proceeded to remain awake until well into the wee hours of the morning.

The next day, the birthday girl, in true diva fashion, slept in until 10am.  Her party was set to begin at 11, but hey…it was her day right? We didn’t wake her. It’s worth noting that Nova, like her Mother, is not a graceful riser. She’s usually shadowed by an enormous, cranky thunder cloud until after she gets some sort of sustenance in her (cereal for her, coffee for me) and then you can have what closely resembles a conversation. We decided that we wouldn’t push it. Thankfully we managed to get her up, the car packed and our show on the road and arrived at Confederation Park just after 11. Not too shabby. Cale’s Dad was just pulling up as well so we had some help with set-up.

There were already a few Mom’s and kids kicking around at the park and Nova bee-lined for the playground. I knew she’d be in good hands so her Dad and I started setting up. There were two picnic tables, a rain cover that the elder Mr. Boden had brought along, and some blankets for picnicking provided by Janet and Kristin. Thank goodness for the rain cover! Almost immediately after we arrived it started to drizzle! I held out hope in the rain forecast, which promised cloudy skies but no rain, and was rewarded for my optimism when the rain stopped a few moments later and we were in the clear for the rest of the afternoon.

blankets and tables collage

Nova had an amazing turn-out! There were a lot more kids and babies than at her first birthday, and so many of our loved ones showed their beautiful faces!

party guest collage

I can’t even begin to thank everyone who came, but don’t worry, you’ll all be getting mail sometime in the next year. (I’m terrible at sending out my Thank You’s, but they DO make it eventually!) theboys

It was so great to see Nova connecting with other kids (which is still a relatively new development) and ALSO to watch her come out of her shell a bit. She tends to be pretty bossy when she’s one on one with anyone else her age but in a large group she’s quite shy so it was neat to see her warm up to both the children and adults and show off how creative and…well…demanding she can be. Ha.

 

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Nova’s beautiful Aunties made my heartstrings sing by totally taking the reigns and easing the load on Cale and I so that we were able to socialize a little and keep SOME semblance of “flow” to the day. There were no organized games or anything. While I love them dearly, I thought that trying to harness 8 children of various sizes and ages would be a task best left for someone stronger, louder and more patient than I am, so we mostly let the little ones amuse themselves!

I packed up goodie bags full of fun outdoor items and let them all go to town.

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I even tried my hand at baking again. These are homemade Martha Stewart Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream icing. I’ve never made icing, let alone Buttercream, and this was the first time I’d iced a cupcake since the 8th grade. There was some trial and error but overall they turned out really well! What I lack in presentation I made up for by imitating brownies in cupcake form. Ha. Everyone was either VERY good at lying to me about how good they were, or they were actually not half bad! Either way, I may keep this up.

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Nova was pretty excited by everyone singing Happy Birthday to her. At first she seemed confused and then when she realized she was the center of attention her eyes lit up and a little smile creept onto her adorable little face and you could tell she was soaking it all in. She even managed to blow out her own candles, with just a little help from Dad.

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I’m so pleased that the day was a success! It was as low key and laid back as I hoped it would be. Our guests could feel free to come and go as they pleased, there were enough hot dogs for everyone, and all of the kids made off with some loot. I was so proud of Nova for being such a great playmate and sharer. There weren’t really any tantrums and if there were they were dealt with efficiently and humanely by the parents present. We have friends and family from all walks of life and it’s always such a pleasure to throw them all together and see them connect effortlessly and hilariously.

I can’t wait for her 3rd birthday when she’ll hopefully have some input! (Although I’m sure the inevitable reminder of the passage of time will have me waxing poetic on the internet for weeks before-hand.)

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Thanks for this one T.

 

Nova – 19 months

2 Mar

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It feels a little like the months between 12 and 24 are all starting to blend together. Nova is constantly learning new things, but they are all small, like her. She’s working on things like her vocabulary, feeding herself with a fork, putting on her own socks, taking off her own pajamas. Her hair is getting longer, slowly but surely, and we brush out the tangles every morning and every night so that they don’t turn into tiny baby dreadlocks. Her wants and needs are becoming clearer and she’s showing a real preference for which games she wants to play and which games she simply has no patience for. She brings us her shoes and coat when she wants to go outside and walks around with her preferred blanket when it’s time for a nap, or bed. She loves bath time and has moved away from stacking and more towards organizing, often spending 30 minutes at a time organizing her dolls and toys and small figurines first in the living room, then in her bedroom. We find ourselves side stepping her as she runs from one end of the house to the other re-organizing our somewhat methodical chaos.

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She laughs at us when we make mistakes, which is hilarious, and has developed a sense that not everyone is family, or a friend, and she’s hesitant to accept physical contact from just anyone. I like that she has personal space.

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One night after she had a nightmare I went into her bedroom and lay on the floor just outside her crib. I put my hand through the slats and stroked her hair until she fell asleep, her small body still occasionally shuddering as she got over her fear. Now when it’s Mom’s turn to put her to bed, she lays down and asks for my hand, then places it on her head, wanting me to repeat an action that comforts both of us. If I didn’t have other obligations I would undoubtedly stay there, lying on her foam letters until we both woke up at 8am. I have to tear myself away reminding myself that I’m the only one who knows that these moments are fleeting, and that I have to treasure every second.

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The Cost

14 Jun

I read an interesting article today posted by the lovely Tamara Lakeman:

How much does a baby really cost?

It really got me thinking. Nova is almost a year old, and how much money have we REALLY spent on her?

Between gifts, thrift shopping, breast feeding, cloth diapering, making our own baby food and many other cost saving methods and life-savers along the way, we have managed to keep the costs of raising Nova very, very low. At about 9 months she self weaned so we have been using formula for about 3 and that caused our costs to go up, but aside from that, we have found that having a baby has been extremely budget friendly, and in some ways, hasn’t really impacted our finances at all.

The greatest impact, naturally, has been my choice not to return to full time work. Instead of 40 hours a week I work about half of that at night because it is important to me to be home during the day with Nova. I occasionally sit for a wonderful family with a same aged baby and that certainly helps bring in extra income but Cale has a wonderful job and our budgeting ensures that we are never beyond our limit or living beyond our means.

Certainly, the biggest help has been our loving friends and family. Gift certificates to Babies R Us, clothing (new and borrowed and hand made!!!), extra gifts from other Mom’s that they’ve found they don’t use or have two of, and the ever popular, “What do you guys need?! Let us get it for you!” (Often heard from the mouths of some amazing and very generous Grandparents.) Not to mention small gifts here and there. Food donations, dinners over, coupon clipping, and planning out our meals/leftovers mean that we are not starving or desperate. We have a roof over our heads, we have fun, we even go out on occasion. Ha.

All in all our lives have only been ENHANCED by Nova’s arrival. And while we did have to adjust to a new budget, and get over the idea that our income was suddenly completely disposable (no spontaneous flights anywhere), it’s been a real joy.

After crunching some numbers and looking over my spreadsheets I am happy to announce that Nova costs us about $2 a day. (Similar to the Mom in the article.) That’s less than $100 a month and quite frankly my friends, if it were a little over it would be worth it.

I was worried about the costs of children and if I worked full time and we were paying for daycare or other child care our budget and options would be much different, of course. Everyone makes their own choices and has a different situation and I’m very happy with ours and wouldn’t imagine judging anyone else for theirs. On the flip side, I’m struggling to make up my 600 maternity benefit hours for December after this next baby is born because I’m working part-time and our kids will be very close in age. There are always pros and cons, but it’s interesting to look back and calculate it all out. (And a little fun! Heh.)

I proved all those baby books wrong. I can’t help but feel a little bit proud of myself. 😉

What a baby might cost you, from birth to 18 in the United States