My sweet boy.
Raising you has been the most beautiful, exciting, adventurous, tiring (haha), God-filled adventure of our lives. You are the most amazing little man I would have ever hoped to know and I get to be your mom.
You are modest.
You always have to have a shirt and shorts or pants on at all times. Even when we are home and I tell you it's totally cool if kids chill in no shirt. You won't have it. And I find that charming and totally opposite of toddler life. You prefer buttoned, nice clothes to sporty attire and you love picking out your own outfits everyday now. Something I both super love but makes me a little sad at the same time.
You are funny.
You are the prankster, you love making us laugh. You want to learn jokes just to tell them to us. You make silly faces, and dance around and are just the cutest little goofball.
You are smart.
You blow me away with the concepts you continue to grasp. You've been a little smart cookie since infancy, but as you grow, it becomes more apparent to your dad and I and those around you just how special your little brain is. I am beyond thrilled to be your teacher and can't wait to see everything you become.
You are talented.
You have a knack for science like dad, and are falling in love with music like mama. You asked for a real piano and guitar and microphone for your birthday and you're starting to like to perform. You can oddly do some really good modern dance moves that we've never showed you. I love seeing all the little ways you're becoming you.
You are adorable.
Like, beyond. Your sweet face and your silly smiles melt me every, single, time. Your little voice and the way you still say a few words silly even though your vocabulary is so vast are things to hold onto and remind me you're not big quite yet. Like "fa-leter" for theatre.
You are loving.
You give the best hugs, just like your dad. Firm, like you mean it every time you hug us. You constantly tell me how you'll take care of me and your sister always, especially when dads not home. You sing your baby sister songs in my belly and tell us all throughout the day how much you love us. I can't get enough of you. My bestie.
You are strong.
You know what you want. Which gave us some struggles this year, haha, but we've seemed to work a lot of that out. Praise. You are a master negotiator and a go-getter, which will serve you so, so well later in life. You need to be a strong man to take on this world, and God's guidance and your leadership strength will get you far my love.
You love God.
Already you take time to pray (you pray for your dad out loud while he is at work and it melts me) - you always remind us to pray at dinner, you pray when you hear a siren go by and you always thank God for your family at night. You are a darling soul and I'm honored to be your mama.
Still one of the tallest toddlers around. I'm convinced you will be over 6 feet tall and you can carry me around when I'm a little old lady because you'll have a foot on me, haha. You are almost in a size 5 and I can't believe how much you've grown in every way this year.
Happy, Happy Birthday to my best friend, my sweetest son, my first born and my world. Mommy and daddy ADORE you and we hope, that even during a "quarantine birthday" you have the most magical and joyful day. We love you. You are four.
For my GF/DF White Cake Recipe CLICK HERE.
For my Oat Flour Belgian Waffle recipe CLICK HERE.
For Paleo/Grain-Free Belgian Waffles CLICK HERE.
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Our #NowMoreThanEver Playdate Party was graciously hosted by the wonderful Walt Disney company.
This past weekend we had the BEST time throwing a Lion Guard themed playdate birthday party in celebration of our sweet Grey turning THREE years old. THREE. Seriously mamas, where does time go? I know everyone says that - but, man.
Disney graciously provided what we needed for our festivities in support of their #NowMoreThanEver campaign with Disney World and they blessed us with the BEST party, along with their party sponsor partners Michael Angelos foods, Pillow Pet, Jakks Pacific Toys and Popped Passion.
Below I share all the magical details of the day, tips for throwing your own Disney playdate party and bring you up to date on what exciting things Disneyworld has in store for 2019!
Grey had recently gotten into watching the Lion Guard adventures so he was thrilled to see all of the decor. For a play date party you can keep it simple with plates, napkins and cups to have on hand for bite size snacks, a few party games and decor to liven up the play or party space. We added a few jungle elements to really bring the Lion Guard vision to life, as well as some large stuffed Lion King and Lion Guard stuffed animals we picked up to join in on the fun.
PLAYDATE TIP #1: Choose a theme that your little one will get excited about! Disney has SO many options that you can find at your local retailers or online.
To see all of the items Disney sent, you can watch our unboxing on my http://www.instagram.com/noshandnurture profile under my DISNEY highlight on my profile.
One of our Disney playdate sponsors, Jakks Toys gifted Grey the sweetest Ariel mermaid doll that has not left his side and provided a princess dress to his very best friend. Pillow Pets sent a Mickey Mouse pillow pet that will be PERFECT for all of our drives to Disneyland. Michael Angelo's supplied delicious Italian fare and Popped Passion gave the cutest, most unique addition to our dessert bar - a popcorn cake covered in candy and sprinkles, every kids dream!
In addition to our Disney partners, the lovely bakers at Let's Kiss and Cake Up! and Moffas Muffin Tops out of Peoria, AZ supplied the most amazing cake and cookies for the party.
PLAYDATE TIP #2: KEEP FOOD SIMPLE. A COUPLE DESSERT OPTIONS AND ONE OR TWO MEAL SELECTIONS SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT FOR A LUNCH TIME PLAYDATE.
We invited eight of Grey's best little friends to celebrate this joyous day with us. As it was a playdate party geared towards preschool aged little ones we aimed for simple activities that they would love but that was stress free on the parents - you can keep it simple!
I purchased Lion King color books and packs of crayons and made a coloring station. Disney provided Lion King masks for the kids to wear and I picked up some extra princess crowns for the girls who wanted to play Disney Princesses.
PLAYDATE TIP #3: MAX THE ACTIVITIES AT AROUND 3. TODDLERS WILL HAVE FUN JUST PLAYING WITH ONE ANOTHER AND TAKING IN THE SIGHTS AND THE FOOD. COLORING PAGES, A GAME AND A FEW TOYS WILL BE ALL THE ENTERTAINMENT YOU NEED.
Disney provided a couple of printable games as well as a "Pin the Badge on the Lion Guard", as well as a pinata. All in all, plenty of things to keep three year olds busy in between lunch and dessert.
Besides the opening of Galaxy's Edge in Disneyworld August 29th, you can visit the Walt Disney World website to see all of what's going on in the park this year. And while you're on the website, allow yourself to explore and dream a little. Maybe plan a trip for you and your family.
We will be visiting Disneyland in August and are headed to Disneyworld in the fall/winter season. We just can't get enough Disney.
All in all, the day was a HUGE success and keeping it simple was key. Thank again to Disney and all of the sponsors for all of the magic.
Leave your favorite Disney memory below and tell me what you're most looking forward to seeing this year or next!
Today you turned two and a half and it's been a while since I wrote you one of my open letters, so here it is.
You are pure magic my sweet boy, and today has been lovely. Our tradition of half birthday cupcake baking makes us both smile. You chose your own this year, with a trip to the party store, you decided on Spider Man cupcakes because he is clearly one of your favorite heroes of the moment. Along with Iron Man and anyone from Star Wars.
Each month with you, each milestone, each age, continues to be my very new favorite. Sure, we have our challenges because #toddlerhood and #firsttimemom, but you are something so special. Your daddy and I both know it to be true.
You're incredibly smart and can count to 20 and sing your ABC's. You know all of your colors, including dark and light, metallics and more which totally blows me away. Your concept knowledge astounds us daily, and you'll do anything to make us laugh.
Your favorite toys are doing puzzles, playing Legos, battling super heroes, playing board games with mom and dad and doing pretty much ANYTHING outside. You've been to Disneyland 4 times and you talk about it all the time. You also regularly ask to go to the beach and have an interesting fascination with knowing where things are and studying your USA map.
Your favorite movies right now are Spiderman 3, Spiderman Homecoming, Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and Peter Pan.
You're still a mommy's boy (and I pray you always will be), but you're starting to find special things you love to do with just your daddy. You also sleep SO much better when cuddled next to him. You're still nursing, and we are so blessed we've had this long of a journey. I never thought I'd be a mama who nursed into toddlerhood but I am so glad I've been able to give you that health boost and comfort when you've needed it.
I truly love you more everyday. Sometimes SO much it aches. When I'm bone tired, and you've fallen asleep next to me, I will stay awake a while and sit and watch you. Soaking this time in. Your long lashes, curly blonde hair and slow breaths in the night light's glow are something awe inspiring. It's all so perfect, and I know before long you'll grow from my toddler into my big kid. Just in the way you've grown from my sweet infant into my wonderful, wonderful two year old.
Loving you is the best adventure and I hope today was as wondrous, fun and magical for you as it was for me.
Here's to two and a half. To dress up and playing pretend.
To all your cute words and big vocabulary. Our late night chats and listening to you sing songs.
To learning your personality more everyday so I can be the best mommy I can be.
To watching you bond with your dad and our family and friends who love you so well.
Cheers my little chicken nugget, I love you and everything you are. Happy Half Birthday sweetie!
Photography by Amy Termini Photography
One of lifes greatest treasures is being given a blessing we didn't even know to ask for.
A blessing that God knew our hearts needed long before we ever existed on this vast Earth.
My darling son Grey is one of those very good things.
Growing up in a family of girls, I wasn't exposed to brothers, male cousins nor did i have very many male friends. It was tea parties, princess dresses and spa days all around. When my sister and I would play house, our kids were always little girls, I nannied for little girls and as I grew older, I guess I just expected I'd also raise little Mini Mandi's.
When Doug and I spoke about children while we were dating we both expressed that we'd love to raise a daughter together. (He also comes from a family of 5 sisters, he is the only boy) and it just felt natural to both of us to assume that's what we'd be best at.
In truth I was scared to raise the sex I wasn't familiar with. I hate bugs. Neither Doug nor I watch any sport. I'm delicate and dainty. A girls girl. How would I raise a boy into a man that this world needs?
And then, God gave us a son. And from the moment they placed that little boy on my chest I knew. I just knew. He was meant for us. He would change our world for the better. He would stretch us. And grow us. Inspire us and move us to love so big and so wide, that any preconceptions of what we thought we "needed" flew right out the window.
And with that great, wide, deep love came the peace from our Lord that I cannot raise a boy into a Godly man alone. Only God can help me do that. Only can God can equip me for a role that heavy.
And it is He that placed a Godly, strong, kind, gentle, manly man in our home as husband and father. It is through Doug that Grey will learn what it means to be a good man. A good husband. A good brother. A good father. All the things that I've never been and can never be and therefor can never model. But Doug can. And I count myself blessed to have him as my partner, raising this little boy by my side.
I, as his mother, can show him how to nurture, care for his home, work hard, follow dreams and teach him lessons, big and small, day in and day out, all while modeling Christ to the best of my ability right here in these four walls. That's what I can do. By the help of our great God in heaven, that's what I can do.
As my fears started to fade away, carried into the distance by the ever present peace of God, room was made to dream of what I could share with our son. I've waited years to play cars with a little one. And now I get to do that every day. I'm learning about superheroes and Star Wars and bugs and dinosaurs. I do chores wearing super hero masks and get the tightest, squeeziest hugs from a little boy who loves me more than life.
And my breath catches, and I wonder, goodness how could I have EVER lived without this? Without you? YOU are our family Grey. My little boy. Our perfect little puzzle piece. Thank you for loving us unconditionally. We will spend our whole lives loving you the same way.