Thursday, December 12, 2013

Merry, merry

Christmas might be less than 15 days away (wait...what...I've only completed 1/4 of my shopping?? True story.), but when it came to decorating I didn't drag my feet. Want to hear another true story? I did it before Thanksgiving (cue the collective gasps!). I know, I know, but come on...Christmas was shoved down our throats by Halloween, it just felt right people.

I consider it an accomplishment that I got to things so quickly this year. Last year at this time I was still in a new mama, 'I got less than 4 hours of sleep last night' mode. The fact that I actually bought gifts or put ANY decorations up last year was nothing short of a miracle. And then I got the stomach flu on Christmas day. Yep, that happened.

I decided to go traditional & classic this year....golds, reds, rustic, vintage, etc. I really only decorate two rooms in the house--dining & living rooms. Aside from our bedrooms, they're the two rooms that we spend the most time in (and that our guests see too...obvs). I used to decorate one room more modern & in blue tones, the other more traditional. And frankly, that felt a little too chaotic for me this year. So gold, red, rustic & vintage it was!


(my mom made our stockings to go with the theme--bonus!)
(I have no clue how I've kept little hands away from this set's as if she doesn't see it...a true Christmas miracle!)
We even decorated the outside this year! Which is a total first. Unless of course you're counting the year we decorated the lawn with pre-lit reindeer...that stayed out until March. For the record, we've never once put them out again. That year was just too embarrassing. Again, another true story, folks. This girl don't lie.
(pay no mind to the old doormat...that I should have tossed)
And then there's the tree. Ah, the Christmas tree! I was fully expecting we'd have to put an electric fence around the thing. But by some miracle of all miracles, Emme seems to be completely clueless that we have a large, living tree in the middle of our living room. I kept ornaments minimal and up high, as to not entice little hands to touch. My mom gave Emme a little dog ornament that she placed on a low lying branch (obviously, grandparents think this sort of stuff is funny). Aside from the few times she's pointed to it, she generally stays away. I can't say this is going to happen again next year, but we've seemed to dodge a bullet so far this year. So far being the key phrase.



(the angelic cherub reading under the tree)


There's a bit of a method to my madness this year now that a little person is in the mix. You gotta decorate high, keep non-breakables down low, and there's got to be plenty of distractions for said little know, to keep from reminding her that there are a lot of things that she shouldn't be touching (this also prevents parents from saying "no" 8,000 times a day). Like, stuffed santas (!!!) that are way more fun that that breakable santa mama put up on the mantle. No, no...that santa is noooo fun.
And oh my god, that playing piano Snoopy! This was my mom's and she didn't want it anymore. But we knew who would! It didn't take long for little fingers to figure out how to press the on/off button. I think she was a little confused by the music and movement at first. But this thing has become an endless source of entertainment (and distraction from the tree). To the point where she carries it around the house now. Oh well, you pick your battles. It could be worse, she could be carrying knives.
I've also kept a bunch of kid friendly Christmas toys in her playroom. Which, I know, I know...that post is coming soon. I've been finished with that room for ages! But anyway, a stuffed Santa Snoopy and other assorted Christmas toys keep her occupied too. The Little People Nativity set is a big hit as well (she plays with that daily). I've also left a stack of Christmas books on her little table. Which we've tried reading to her on several occasions and she pushes them away (for the record, there are like, 3 books out of the 800 we have that actually hold her no offense Christmas).
And just because I love sharing....behold! This year's visit to Santa...

Meh. Unimpressed.
And because everyone has already received their cards...Merry Christmas 2013 from the Keefe's!

I was planning to send out a card with a couple of pictures, and then found this there you go, it's a Keefe family photo explosion! More of us to love this holiday season. We ordered our cards through Shutterfly as they were having a pretty amazefest sale around Thanksgiving (yep, ordered the cards then too!). I'm a huge fan of the Shutterfly/Tiny Prints/Wedding Paper Divas family and was *this* close to ordering a different card with Tiny Prints. But man, they knocked it out of the park with their cards this year (as always). For those of you who are still dragging your feet, get your holiday card on HERE!
And now it's time to get cracking on that shopping! Merry Christmas to me??

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Emme's first birthday

If I don't do this now, she'll be 16....

(yep, loved her hat just as much as she loves bows on her head...not)
All the photos were taken by my fabulously talented friend, Liz of Elizabeth Lee Millen Images. If you are local, check her out! I said it before, and I'll say it again...hands down best money I spent that day. This is just a fraction of the pictures she took too. I was completely overwhelmed & in awe of what she captured that day. 
A good friend's mom made the cake & cookies...again, worth the money. There will be plenty of years for me to make a good old-fashioned cake myself, but the big ONE called for the pros to take care of business. We were *this close* to having the food catered too (hello, effortless party!), but if you know the husband, well....yeah, that didn't happen. Sorry to our party guests who I promised Fat Bob's (I tried, guys. I tried).
The rest of the party elements were DIY. I made the burlap banner. There was obviously an easier way of doing it, but I chose the hard and long way. That thing took for-ever to finish. I'm lucky I finished before her 5th birthday. The good news is that I can use it for future birthdays, as well as interchanging names. Winning. The "Emme at One" sign is from Lacey Fields purchased through Etsy. The bonus was that she printed and shipped it to me. Because ain't nobody got time for printing things (especially when I have a banner to make)!
I picked up the flowers & baby's breath from Wegmans & the mason jars were ones we had laying around the house. I just added a little burlap & lace. And voila!
And the important thing is that I survived the first year. I don't think people give moms very much credit for all the work they do, but now that I am one, well...I get it. I think this party was just as much a parental survival celebration as it was a birthday party for Emme.
So there you have it! Emme's first birthday party (in a nutshell).
Girlfriend is getting cake & ice cream with mom & dad next year...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

And we have a toddler...

Well would you look at that, it's officially November! I don't know how that happened, and the fact that Christmas is lurking it's ugly head right around the corner is something I just can't process at the present moment. Because one week ago today, our sweet and lovely (with a side of sass) Emme turned one. One! I can barely believe it and in fact, I'm still recovering from all the celebrating we did last week & weekend. It's hard to believe just how fast this all happened...

We celebrated with family, Wegmans subs & cupcakes on Halloween (yep, remember I gave birth on my favorite holiday??). And then we capped off the weekend with a big 'ol party with family & friends on Saturday. I was up late the night before cursing Pinterest (seriously, what did we do before Pinterest...apparently we had boring, non-creative parties), we crammed as many people as we could into our tiny house, I was sweating for a solid 3 hours, shoveled some food in my face & chased after a toddler all day. It was good times! No seriously, it was. I'm joking people! But just don't expect me to do this again next year! Oh, and I didn't take one single picture that day. I hired my sweet friend Liz to document it all, and let me tell you it was hands down the BEST money I've spent in a long time. Plus, she volunteered to photoshop the sweat off my forehead in all the shots. Winning! I'll be sure to share photos soon...

And here's our little owl on her birthday (aka--Halloween). The fact that she kept her hat on--the essence of the costume--is nothing short of a miracle.

Funny, even at age one she knows how to inspect her loot....
Anyway, since Emme's birthday, it also dawned on me that I never shared her birth story (something I thought about doing). But then I got thinking about it & honestly, do people really want to read about that stuff? For documenting purposes it might be smart. But then again it's something I'll never forget. I mean, I lived it! But in case you're curious, I'll give you the condensed version....I was large & overdue, went to the hospital the night after my due date to get the ball rolling (and subsequently had the worst night's sleep of my life--prior to the sleepless nights we were about to have, btw...), the following morning had the 'do we' or 'don't we' go the C-section route conversation, got induced shortly thereafter, labored all day, experienced the sweet, sweet effects of an epidural (seriously, if you choose to go down the no pain meds road, well then, gurl, I give you mad props!), got stuck at 8 cm for 5 hours, and then ultimately made the decision to have that C-section...after all of that! I was nervous for all of 10 seconds until I realized that I was way too tired to have it any other way. I passed out shortly after Emme was born--a combination of meds and pure exhaustion--and I don't remember a thing that happened in the OR after her birth. Let me tell you something, C-sections are no joke y'all. It's major surgery & something that shouldn't be taken lightly, but in my case was something we felt we needed to do at the time. The recovery is hard and long, and part of my incision never healed after the fact. Which translated to daily home healthcare nurse visits, weekly doctor's visits, and no driving for over 4 weeks. The second I was given clearance to drive, I hauled our asses to Target and it was one of the most amazing outings ever. But here we are, a year later, and that whole experience seemed like a piece of cake. Now, trying to prevent a toddler from banging on her sitter's fish tank every morning? That's what we like to call difficult!

Can you believe we have a full blown toddler living with us?! Yeah, me either. Happy (belated) birthday sweet, sweet Emme! Love you to bits & pieces to the moon & back!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thoughts on being a mom

Several months ago, I tried putting a post together about my thoughts on being a mom. But I didn't know where to start. My mind couldn't really focus long enough to put words into sentences. Well, sentences that made sense anyway. #momproblems

Emme is 11 months now, and with her first birthday approaching (say what?!) I've become a bit more organized with my thoughts, which are simple enough to just say. I love being a mom. Hardest job there is, that's for sure. But I love it. That wasn't the case 11 months ago, because I'll tell you, I didn't like being a mom those first 3 months. I don't think it makes me (or anyone for that matter) a bad person to say it. Because guess what y'all...those first few months are tough! Emme was so fussy then. I never thought I'd live to see the day when it would all end. For reals.

When I was pregnant I couldn't wait to be a mom. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but it turned out to be way harder than I imagined (I'm sure hormones had something to do with that...right??). People tell you it's tough, but they don't tell you it's a 24-hour job. I'm smart--but evidently naïve--because I never thought about it that way. Talk about a life adjustment! In a matter of hours your life totally changes and you're suddenly responsible for this little being. I remember giving myself pep talks just minutes before walking out of the hospital. I mean, if 18-year olds are doing this, then I'm more than capable of taking care of a baby at the age of 35, right?!

At some point you come out of your haze, you get into a little bit of a routine (and finally recover from your C-section), and then life becomes good again. The good thing about being a parent is you don't have to be perfect. And guess what? You don't have to enjoy every last waking second either. I haven't talked to anyone who enjoys changing poopy diapers a million times a day (okay, maybe some people do). Or tantrums because you took them out of the shoe box you thought it would be funny to sit them in (true story--although, really, that was funny). But for all those tiring, not-so-fun moments are some really good ones. Even those times when dinner runs reeeaaaaallly long (because it takes little people a long time to eat you know!). I won't get back yesterday, so watching her eat mini pieces of chicken--at paces slower than a turtle--has become one of my favorite things lately.

I recently spent a couple of weeks as a single mom, as the husband has been out of town for work a lot. Oh, and two weeks ago (in the husband's absence) Emme and I were both sick with colds. It was hard, yo. But guess what? It was also awesome to have all that time together, just she and I. The husband took over the whole bedtime routine when he got home--bath, book & bottle. I guess I should have taken the time to enjoy a break, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it. The last couple of weeks have been loooooong, but our little routines of the week are pretty cool.

Emme is getting big now. Less baby like, and looking more and more like a toddler. She's becoming a cool little person, who I enjoy spending time with more than some adults. She's a lot like me, sassy and spunky (lord help us), but super loving. Hugs are a big thing right now. She gives them out freely. Does it get better than that? I think not, my friends. She's fast--cruising along with her little walker, but prefers to crawl instead when she really needs to get somewhere (it's easier that way!). She's funny too. For some reason her stinky feet and socks are hil-arious! And we can always count on an episode of 'Word Girl' and a side-kick dancing monkey to make her laugh, each and every morning. I love all of these moments, but I find myself looking at her & wondering what kind of person she'll grow into, what she'll look like in a year (or two or three...), and what funny things will come out of her mouth (and what she'll sound like!). I'm so sad that she's growing up, but I can't wait to watch it all happen.

I should also mention that since becoming a mom, I'm reading a lot more mommy-minded blogs too. Especially from bloggers with little ones of similar age. I guess I just relate more to these people vs. trendy fashion-minded bloggers (although, maybe I should still keep reading those...I could learn a thing or two sometimes...). I've become especially obsessed interested in bloggers who talk about what their toddlers are eating. Call me a crazy coo coo nut, but I'm way into what other kids are eating & what I can and should be feeding the little one. I menu plan for her like no one's business. But us? Not so much. The husband told me the other day that she eats better than we do. And that's the sad truth!
Anyway, all of this is just to say how much I love being a mom. There are a million more stories I could tell & ways I could say it, but I think you get my point. This is awesome.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The fog has lifted

Well, enough for me to form words into sentences. Which is huge because we're 5 days into this cold (it seems everyone is sick right now, huh?) and I'm SO over it, I can't even tell you. I'm a huge baby when I get sick. Adding insult to injury, the husband is gone for a WEEK long work trip in Denver. So I've been a sick single mom to a sick baby all week (who's better now...whew). The fun times never end around here! I swear, if someone had a camera on me while I tried to get breakfast & lunch made, bags packed, a dog walked, and a baby & adult dressed and ready to walk out of the house in a 1.5 hour time span (which felt like 10 minutes) you'd all be laughing right now. By the time I had dropped Emme off to the sitter's & made it to the Tim Horton's drive-thru, I was secretly hoping they were serving up mimosas.

Anyhoo! I'm checking in to share some photos that we had taken of Emme a couple of weeks ago. Can you believe she'll be ONE in just over a month? I know, every mama says it. Like, where did the time go? But I honestly can't believe she's almost one. She's a sassy spit-fire, so much like her mama, and becoming more and more independent by the day. I certainly don't miss those newborn months when no one slept for 3 months, but I'd also love to bottle up this baby time. It goes so fast!



all photos courtesy of Elizabeth Lee Millen Images

Aren't they fab? The photos were shot by my fabulously talented friend Liz Millen, who I hired to shoot Emme's birthday party in a month. As a bonus, she threw in this studio session, and we'll have these pictures in time to display at the party. If you're in the Buffalo area, check her out! She's booked until the end of the year, but find a reason to have her shoot your family, babies (or just you...ha!) sometime next year! These are only the sneak peeks, but I can't WAIT to see all of them! Not only are they just awesome photos, but the fact that Emme had no nap that day & went into the session in a good mood & cooperated with us...well, that's nothing short of a miracle!

So that's all folks. Time to take some more cold meds. See you next time...when I'm more lucid!

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