Tag Archives: birthday

Birthday Celebration: Our NYC Adventure

A couple of years ago, we decided it would be fun to take our kids on a trip of their choosing, without their sibling, when they turned 10. Chloe wasn’t sure where she wanted to go. She narrowed it down to “the mountains”, “the beach”, or Hoboken, NJ. Since Hoboken, via NYC, was the only specific location she mentioned and also the least likely location we’d visit with her brother any time soon, it seemed like the right choice.

We tried to fit as much into our time in New York City as we could. I had never been, so selfishly, I wanted to cross some items off my list too! We got in mid-afternoon on Saturday, settled in our Airbnb in Jersey City, and then Uber’ed into the city. (Sometimes I felt guilty about spending money on Ubers, but it was a balancing act between saving money and saving our sanity!) We headed to a restaurant that had been recommended to us because of their mac & cheese cones – which were delicious – but I was thrilled with the location. We were on a patio next to the river and could see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. When we were done eating, we walked over to the 9/11 Memorial and the One World Observatory.

At the 9/11 Memorial, I thought it was really special that they take the time to put a rose in someone’s name on their birthday. Since we were there on C’s birthday, we read the names of some of those who she would have shared a birthday with. Then as we were heading up to the top of the One World Observatory, there was a really powerful animation shown on the sides of the elevator that shows the changing skyline. It starts in the 1800’s and ends in the present day. If you have the chance to go, the twin towers appear, and disappear, on the right hand side, as you’re facing the back of the elevator.

On Sunday, we had tickets to see Aladdin on Broadway. We spent the morning and early afternoon exploring the area near Rockefeller Center and Times Square, before heading over to the theater. FAO Schwarz, the M&M and Disney stores, and a slice of pizza – folded in half, of course – were highlights. After the show, thanks to the friend of a family member’s nephew (thanks 6 degrees of separation 😉 !) we were able to go backstage at the theater. It was interesting to learn about their sets, props and costumes and Chloe wasn’t even a little shy when it came to checking things out!

Monday was the big day! You might think that a Broadway show would be the highlight, but no. Carlos Bakery, the bakery featured in Cake Boss, was THE REASON we traveled to NYC. During our trip, we also managed to visit several other bakeries connected to TV chefs – Sprinkles, Jacque Torres Chocolate, and Milk Bar. And because the trip may as well have just been a tour of desserts, we also enjoyed treats from Devon & Blakely (solely because of the name!), cheesecake from Junior’s, a waffle with cookie butter from Wafels & Dinges, shakes from the Shake Shack, and cookies from Levain. The lobster tail from Carlos and Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie from Levain were probably my 2 favorites – although I really wanted to add several others to the list as I typed this out! Chloe’s favorites were the lobster tail and cheesecake and Aaron, who wouldn’t have gone to nearly as many bakeries, if any, on his own, liked the Chocolate Peanut Butter cookie from Levain and the strawberry shake from Shake Shack. We walked a total of 35 miles in 4 days, so we felt totally justified in all the yummy food we ate!

When we weren’t eating, we rode the Staten Island Ferry, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, visited Grand Central Station, and explored Central Park. We looked liked tourists and I didn’t even care. I know that we barely even scraped the surface of what there is to do and see in the city, but I feel like we had a successful trip!

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Filed under BabyMort, Travel

Double Digits for Chloe!

My baby girl is 10! How did this happen?! I can still remember those long, hard nights her first year – bouncing and singing to her at all hours of the night in hopes she’d sleep for just a bit on her own. I can remember the endless chatter when she first started talking and the hours she’d spend on the swings during her toddler years.

These days, she’s writing her own original stories and reading chapter books that are hundreds of pages long. She can bake homemade buttermilk biscuits by herself and make her own lunch (when she feels like it…) I’m thankful there are still many times when I see the kid in her – when she comes in from playing outside covered in mud or spends hours playing a game with her brother, full of made-up family members. But sometimes it catches me off guard when I see glimpses of the adult she might become!

For her 10th birthday, we told her we would take her on a trip anywhere she wanted to go. AND that we would leave her brother at home. Eventually, she decided on New York City, because she wanted to go to Carlos Bakery in Hoboken, NJ (from the show Cake Boss.) We also asked 10 friends, family members and teachers to write her a letter and we shared those with her throughout the trip. Mine started with:

“There is something about you turning 10 that has me feeling all kinds of feelings. I’m sure you haven’t noticed this, because I’m keeping it well hidden, but it’s true 😉  As you get older, you’re gaining independence, but you’re still a kid, which I know that isn’t always easy to balance. There are some things I want you to know and remember as you get older. Hopefully some of it helps.”

I followed this with advice, most of which she’ll probably forget, but I’m hopeful that bits and pieces of it are floating around in her brain now and will come in handy someday. It was fun watching her discover who the next envelope was from (and it was a great distraction, at times!) and I hope that years from now, she’ll look back and appreciate the letters even more.

This girl is a creature of habit, so even as we were in the airport on the morning of her birthday, she was asking me when I’d ask her the 20 birthday questions. She has the love of planning and the memory that pre-kids Blakely had 🙂 Thanks to her, we got the questions answered on her birthday.

  • What is your favorite color? Purple and aqua blue
  • What is your favorite toy?  Dollhouse
  • What is your favorite fruit?  Pear
  • What is your favorite TV show?  The Voice
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Mac & Cheese and fish sticks
  • What is your favorite outfit?  Anything with Harry Potter on it.
  • What is your favorite game?  Codenames
  • What is your favorite snack?  Nutella banana wrap up
  • What is your favorite animal?  A fox and a dog
  • What is your favorite song? Rewrite the Stars –from The Greatest Showman
  • What is your favorite book? Land of Stories and Harry Potter
  • Who is your best friend? Nya
  • What is your favorite movie? The Greatest Showman
  • What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Play in the mud.
  • What is your favorite drink? Vitamin water with sparkling water mixed in
  • What is your favorite holiday?  Halloween
  • What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Tangled blanket and dog
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  German pancake with butter syrup and strawberries
  • What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Ribs with mac and cheese
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? A baker or a writer

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Filed under BabyMort, Milestones

Devon is Seven!

And loving that his name and age rhyme! Life won’t be this good again until he turns 11 🙂

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Devon is taller, has bigger feet, longer hair and fewer teeth than last year. But I could write the same things I did last year:
“Oh, sweet boy! You continue to challenge me and love me every day. You have such strong opinions, about everything, and I hope that you learn to express those opinions in such a way that you can change the world (instead of just driving your mama crazy!) You still give some of the best hugs I’ve ever had and love to snuggle while we do schoolwork.”

You love American Ninja Warrior, Harry Potter and living in pretend book-worlds with your sister. You have been in Tae Kwan Do for about a year now, but are really excited to try basketball later this fall. You want to do everything as quickly as possible, including brushing your teeth and playing piano, unless we ask you to clean something.

Since you can read now, I had to turn the computer away from you so you couldn’t read last year’s answers, but you were excited to answer these questions, none the less.

What is your favorite color? Blue. 

What is your favorite toy? “Probably the dolls.” (Dollhouse.)

What is your favorite fruit? Frozen blueberries, probably.

What is your favorite TV show? Paw Patrol.

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Mac & Cheese

What is your favorite outfit?  Minion shirt with my jeans.

What is your favorite game? Tier auf Tier (Animal Upon Animal)

What is your favorite snack? Goldfish.

What is your favorite animal? A dog

What is your favorite song? “The Other Side” (from The Greatest Showman)

What is your favorite book? Minecraft how-to books

Who is your best friend? Judah! (even though he’s lived 4+ hours away for 5 years now…)

What is your favorite movie? The Greatest Showman

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play with the floating steps.

What is your favorite drink? Sparkling Water

What is your favorite holiday? “My birthday!!” (And then we had a discussion about how it’s not technically a holiday, but we do celebrate it- just like last year and the year before. So then he said…) “Or Christmas. Everyone I know celebrates my birthday though…”

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? “My stuffies and my blankets. And my clock and flashlight and my pillows. And my sheets. And a whole bunch of books.”

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Pancakes!

What do you want for dinner on your birthday? El Azteca

What do you want to be when you grow up? Probably a baker. Or an artist. Or a runner. (After reading him last year’s answer, he said, “Well, at least all of these are reasonable answers.”)

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Chloe is 9!

Oh. Chloe Mae. I cannot get over the fact that this is your last year in single digits. A friend pointed out that you’re halfway to adulthood, and I would have preferred if she’d kept that piece of information to herself 🙂 You wear size 6 (!) shoes, love to remind me that your hair is longer than mine, and are ready to jump on the “I’m almost as tall as you” bandwagon any day now. You fit the role of big sister well. You’re a great caretaker, a rule follower and can be a little bossy at times.

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You enjoy traveling and seeing new things, but can be a creature of habit like your mama. You ate cheesecake for 4/4 desserts on the train ride out to San Francisco! We spent your birthday trying to cram in a few last sights before our trip ended – and filled it with yummy food, including crepes and rolled ice cream.

I know the coming years will be trying at times, as you perfect the eye roll and test the limits of your independence, but I can’t wait to see who you become!

  • What is your favorite color? Purple
  • What is your favorite toy?  Drawing stuff.
  • What is your favorite fruit?  Raspberries.
  • What is your favorite TV show?  The Voice
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  “Anything that’s not leftovers. Just kidding. Maybe fish sticks and mac and cheese. That’s better than leftovers. Unless the leftovers are leftover brisket. Then that’s my favorite. Remember when I ate that as a leftover for lunch like 5 days in a row?! Ok, that might be exaggerating. But still.”
  • What is your favorite outfit? My sequin flip shirt and Justice jeans.
  • What is your favorite game?  Clue
  • What is your favorite snack?  Nutella banana tortilla wrap up
  • What is your favorite animal?  Monkeys….and dogs. And flamingos.
  •  What is your favorite song? Rewrite the Stars and The Other Side– both from The Greatest Showman
  • What is your favorite book? Cupcake Diaries series
  • Who is your best friend? Nya
  • What is your favorite movie? The Greatest Showman
  • What is your favorite thing to do outside?  “Play cowgirl. It’s me and Devon’s game.” A few questions later… “Will you go back to the outside question? Put down floating steps. I like doing those too.”
  • What is your favorite drink? Sparkling lemonade iced tea
  • What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas
  • What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  “Tangled blanket and George. And Olaf. And my pillow.”
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Bacon and…. bacon.
  • What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Biscuits and gravy.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? A baker.

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And Just Like That, She’s 8

Oh, my. Every year I’m taken aback by all the feels on my kiddos’ birthdays. I so enjoy watching them grow and change, but I’m not quite ready for the getting older part that comes with it!

My little girl (she’s still little – okay?!?) is in limbo these days – wanting to be treated like a “big kid” and enjoy all the perks that come with being big, but still not quite ready for all the responsibilities that come with it. Being in this limbo comes with a lot of big emotions – that we’re all learning to deal with.

These days, Chloe is most passionate about art, cooking and baking. Pretending to cook and bake, as well as playing outside (when it’s warm – she totally gets that from me!) and reading are also high on the list. She loves time with friends and enjoys playing with her little brother, about 75% of the time 🙂  When we have littles over to our house, she is nurturing, loving and entertaining. When we have bigs over, she is full of energy and loves to play elaborate games.

While she sometimes has lofty goals, she still loves the little things in life. Today, she loved the candle in her biscuits and gravy at breakfast. We had lunch at Daddy’s work, and stretching out in a lounge chair was one of her favorite parts. On the way home, I stopped at Caribou on campus and she was thrilled to get her very own hot chocolate. Her presents from us included an outdoor rocking chair and a toothbrush that lights up for 2 minutes. They were both on her list of 8 things for her 8th birthday and she was ecstatic. We finished the day by celebrating with some of her friends at Hickory Park. Her favorite part was making up names for her french fries before eating them.

I am thrilled to have such a wonderful, smart, silly girl to be raising. Listed below are the answers to the 20 questions we ask every year – more silliness and simplicity.

  • What is your favorite color? Purple
  • What is your favorite toy?  Kitchen stuff
  • What is your favorite fruit?  Bananas
  • What is your favorite TV show?  Odd Squad
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Leftover Pizza
  • What is your favorite outfit? Dresses
  • What is your favorite game?  Clue
  • What is your favorite snack?  Cheese and crackers
  • What is your favorite animal?  Dog
  •  What is your favorite song? Shake if Off – sang by Rosita and Gunther in Sing
  • What is your favorite book? Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew
  • Who is your best friend? Nya
  • What is your favorite movie? Sing
  • What is your favorite thing to do outside?  “Play cooking things in the sand”
  • What is your favorite drink? Lemonade
  • What is your favorite holiday?  Halloween
  • What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Tangled blanket, George and Monkey
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Biscuits and gravy
  • What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  “Maybe breakfast if we weren’t going to Hickory Park.’
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? A cook 

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