Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter "One"derland

I'm not a professional party planner and the Cake Boss doesn't have to worry about his job, but if I do say so myself, I did a pretty good job planning a small Winter "One"derland theme first birthday party for Maeve.
I would love to take credit for this idea, however a few years back another mom on my message board did this theme. A few weeks before the party, I did a little searching and discovered these two parties which I used for inspiration: Tomkat studio (She is a professional!) and this one Him & Her plus four.
Both of these parties used a blue, white, & red color scheme. At first, I was worried it would look too Patriotic, but as my sister said "It actually looks quite wintry!"
I made this banner and cut out snowflakes from white paper:

Guests dined on BBQ from Sweet Lucy's for lunch and dessert was a spread of snowflake cookies, m&m's, and yellow cupcakes w/blue butter cream icing

Maeve's smash cake was a cute little snowman I made from a yellow 8in round cake:

Unfortunately, she was a little tired during cake time and hardly made a dent in it!

Since this was a small family party, there were only four kids old enough to play games. We played a few rounds of pin the carrot on the snowman. It was a hit!
I made the snowman out of two pieces of tag board, some leftover scrapbooking materials, and the blue paper is wrapping paper that also doubled as table runner.

When the kids weren't eating or playing the game, they were in the playroom and found our dress-ups!

As always, everyone seemed to end up sitting around the dining room table as Maeve opened a few gifts.

Uncle Jo-Jo & Aunt Coll found a book entitled "The Tickle Monster" complete with Tickle gloves
Grammie & Popsie got Maeve her first American Girl Doll- A Bitty Baby
We were so lucky to have so many of our family members share in Maeve's special day.

The only thing missing, pictures of Bry with the family! I guess we'll have to ensure we get those at Mo's third birthday party. Yes, I've already starting planning that party! All I have to say is get ready to "Follow the yellow brick road!"
As always, photos courtesy of the fabulously talented Ashley Pierce Photography

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dear Maevie,

Dear Maevie,
Happy Birthday my sweet girl! You are our Sunshine. As you celebrate this first year of your life, let me take a minute to reflect. You were born last January a few days before one of the biggest snow storms on record. While Daddy was home from work, he really could not help us out, as he had to shovel all that snow. So from early on it was just the three girls, you, me, & Mo. We would sit together on the rug in the upstairs hallway. You would sleep while I held you while Mo dance around as I sang Laurie Berkner and songs from music class. From the very beginning, you were an easygoing baby. You liked to be cuddled and would sleep great in my arms. Putting you down in the bassinet, well that was another story those first few weeks!
By the time spring came, you loved sitting in your bouncy seat outside watching Mo and the other kids play. Most of the time, you would fall asleep as the cool breeze would blow by.
By the time summer came round, you had been out and about all the time. Between Philadelphia Union soccer games, day trips to see Grandma with the Bracelets down the shore, sleepovers at Grammy & Popsie's house because they had air conditioning, visits to the zoo and museums, and various play dates with friends, you were quite the social butterfly. Everyone always commented on how cute and happy you were. You always were smiling!
As the year went on you joined Mo & I on our weekly trips to the grocery store, children's museum, library, & music class. You developed your own little personality along the way. You love being outside with the breeze in your face and often spend time chasing Mo around the house.
You are a cuddle bug who loves to snuggle with stuffed animals, pillows, and your comfy chair that Auntie G gave you for Christmas. You love to snack and get quite the temper when your food is not on the table in a timely manner, even though you still have no teeth! When you meet new people, you love to hide your face in my shoulder and steal quick glances until you feel comfortable. While Mo is Popsie's girl, you love Grammie. When we talk to her on the phone, you love to "talk" too and try to push the buttons. When you are tired, you like me to hold you and you play with my hair.
Every night, it's just you and me on the chair downstairs as we get ready for bed. You get zipped up tight in your sleep sack and I hold you for a little while. When you were very little, you would fall asleep in my arms but now you prefer your crib.

You are growing so fast, my sweet Maevie Baby! I cannot imagine my life without you in it and feel so lucky to be your mommy!
Love, Mommy


My sweet Maeve is one.
How the hell did that happen?
It only seems like yesterday I was sitting on the floor at the Pop Shop feeling contractions during music class with Mo. I wrote about it here: I remember how my belly was so big and so low that attempting to sit with my legs crossed on the floor was impossible. The weight of my belly often was lessened as it would rest on the top of my thighs.
I can laugh now when I think back to that day, but when I read it here all the feelings rush back.
Maeve Kathleen, born 1.20.10, the same day as her Popsie.
She honestly is the sweetest little girl I know. She, like her sister, has somehow fooled genetics to get crystal blue eyes. Eyes so blue they seem to see through you. She has my hair color and lips and that's where her resemblance of me ends. I've been told she is gorgeous and at the same time, that she looks like Bry. Hmm? How is that possible? I agree, however, that somehow she has some of Bry's characteristics but remains a beauty.
Of course, what's a first birthday without a photo shoot. As always, photos courtesy of Ashley Pierce Photography.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


There is this documentary called Nursery University that came out in 2009. The filmmakers followed New York City parents of toddlers (yes, under 3's) as they navigated the rigors of the uber exclusive and highly competitive private preschools. The parents profiled were mostly successful, highly educated, and of course, most were wealthy...very very wealthy. They showed the open house/information sessions at the various private preschools and to be honest, being "in education" there wasn't anything new or groundbreaking going on with those schools. There was, however, a reputation that was associated with certain programs and so these parents did just about anything they could think of to get their child (or in one case a set of twins) on the roster.
Bry and I watched it together and both spent most of the time just shaking our respective heads. How could one spend so much on preschool? It's just finger painting and blocks, not medical or law school, however these parents acted as if it was the quest for the holy grail.
It's preschool.
Your kid is 3.
Calm down.
Well, I had my own little moment of worry the past weekend.
We looked into school for Mo. Yes, my little girl will be starting preschool in September and for the past 48 hours I was worried.
There is a lovely little nursery school in our town run by a church. It is small only 2.25 hours per day twice a week. Exactly what I had in mind for my lovie girl. After speaking to numerous neighbors and getting the tour, we decided that this would be the best place for Mo. I found out though, that it seems to be the place others think would be the best place for their kids too! There are only two classes of 16 kids- 32 spots.
Sounds like enough, right?
If one had a sibling in the school, registration could happen a few days early. Also, there were two classes of 2.5 year olds who also will be eligible for the three year old class. They too get to register early.
Open registration was a week later, this past Tuesday.
My good friend Danielle also has an almost 3 year old and she too wants her daughter to be in this class. Danielle grew up in Manhattan and when I discussed the Nursery University documentary she laughed. Her own experience as a toddler was similar to that of the kids in the program.
We discussed our plan of action, trying to come up with a way to ensure that our girls "get in". Since the office was scheduled to open at 8:30 on Tuesday, we decided that 30 minutes before, 8:00 would be a good time to meet up in the parking lot to venture in together. We joked about the different scenarios that could occur, laughing about the possibility of a line forming outside the church like a rock concert or the possibility that there would only be one spot left and we'd have to fight it out.
Then it snowed, and hailed, and some freezing rain caused a two hour delay and our plan halted. I woke up thinking, would the school be open or delayed? What time should I get there? Should we still meet so early? After talking to Bry who suggested calling to see if the school was open, the director was in- before 8 and said to "come on over". I texted Danielle and amidst frozen, icy trees and streets, I cleaned off the car and headed over to the church. As I pulled into the parking lot, a few minutes after 8 I noticed only Danielle's minivan in the lot. She had texted me to let me know she was there. As I walked up the stairs to the third floor, I heard laughter and lo & behold Danielle was the first one in line, making me number two in line. We handed in our applications and deposits and made a little small talk. Then, the director more or less told us we were good to go. She suggested we tour the classrooms as the school was closed for the day. Danielle and I took our time as we looked at the rooms and art work and toys. As we walked into the first room, we heard footsteps on the stairs. Number 3 in line, and then as we walked into more rooms kids 4,5, 6, etc...
As we left the school just after 8:30 we both laughed about our neurosis. It's easy to laugh now, that she's number two on the list. I guess now it's time to get on the potty training and wait for the formal informational letter because school starts at 9 O'clock and she can't be late!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Naughty, Naughty, Naughty!

Photos and evidence to be submitted to the courts in the case
Parents v. Mo & Maeve

Exhibit A:
New box of tissues ceremoniously emptied on the table. Two suspects alone in family room with box allegedly watching Yo Gabba Gabba. Photos taken immediately upon arrival to scene.

Suspect 1:
Suspect 2:

Exhibit B:

Entire contents of foam valentine hearts tossed on dining room floor. Approximately 150 individual hearts spread amongst a six foot carpeted area.

In this incident perpetrator was captured on film.

Public should be aware Suspects are still free and on the loose. It is advised all adults hide valuables including tissue boxes, rolls of tape, packages of wipes, scissors, markers, crayons, and any wrapped packages, as suspects are known to destroy items on site.

Suspects are mobile and cause devastation in mere minutes. Appearances can be deceiving. They only look sweet and innocent.
You have been warned!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Kid Can't Seem to Get a Break

My poor Maevie.
We threw my sister a surprise party on November 20. A bunch of her friends and a lot of my family showed up to celebrate my little sis turning the big 3-0. We had a ball and she seriously had no clue. That night, as I attempted to sneak off to put Maeve to bed, I nursed her like usual. Got her in her pjs and then as I was walking to her room, she preceded to vomit all over me. She starting giggling and was happy instantaneously after and slept with no problems. The next night again, vomit after dinner. So that following Monday I took her to the pediatrician. I thought a stomach bug or strep throat. I never thought urinary tract infection, so when the ped mentioned something about the possibility of a catheter, I thought, "Hmm, strange!" I talked to my sis, the ped who said "Let them do the cath", so when the ped said we needed to do it, I agreed. After about 6-8 minutes with me holding my poor girl's legs while she screamed and Mo sat in her seat screaming "Don't touch my sis. Oh, poor Maevie" the doc finally got the catheter in, to find almost no urine. Luckily, she was able to get enough to run the test. I went home with a script and instructions which left me surprised. The doc recommended we take her to a get an ultrasound and a VCUG to rule out any issues with her anatomy.
I left the office confused and frankly nervous. What if there was something wrong with her kidneys or her bladder? What if she needed more interventions or surgery?
I called up the hospital and scheduled the appointment for January 3. My mom spent the night with Mo and we headed back to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's department of Radiology for a 8:30 registration.
As we climbed into the elevator, a little girl, not more then 10 years old stood behind me clinging to a penguin pillow pet. She was pale, and looked weak. On top of her bald head was a multi-colored snow cap. Next to us, a mom pushed an extra large stroller. Her daughter looked about 6 or 7 and was sucking a pacifier. I heard the two moms exchange pleasantries "Where are you headed?" "We have a spinal tap and then another round of chemo today."
It took me everything in my power not to cry as I listened. Maeve was in my arms staring at the little girl and her pillow pet. I turned and said to her, "She likes your pillow pet, as she has the same one at home." Her mom responded "Yeah, we love those pillow pets. We have a bunch, right? and we always bring them with us here". The little girl smiled a small weak smile and nodded in agreement.
Bry and I walked out of the elevator on our floor and both looked at each other. We didn't have to say anything because we felt the same way.
We were so very lucky. Later, in the waiting room we discussed that in the event she had something majorly wrong with her kidney, it would be okay. She would be okay. We would be okay.
After the ultrasound which took twenty painstaking minutes of me holding the upper body while Bry held her legs. Maeve screamed as they checked her from positions on her both her back and stomach. CHoP is a teaching hospital, and unfortunately we had the new resident in radiology who was not that familiar with the ultrasound machine. The tech spent a lot of time talking the resident through the ultrasound all while Maeve cried and then sucked her pacifier. I believe if the regular tech had performed the ultrasound it may have been about a third faster. But, docs need to learn somewhere, right?
From the ultrasound room, we headed into a big room where the x-ray machine was located. The VCUG requires a catheter to be inserted into the urethra and then dye to be injected. Multiple x-rays are taken of the urinary tract to see if there is any issues, which could be causing kidney scarring or urinary tract infections.
The nurse was so nice and helpful for us and Maeve. Unlike the doctor's office where it took almost 10 minutes for them to insert the catheter with Mo screaming in the background, this time in no less then 30 seconds was the catheter in place. Bry and I were back in the same positions as the ultrasound while Maeve screamed and cried. Another resident came in and examined the x-rays as they came up on the screen.
She mentioned something and I heard, reflux and looked at the screen and immediately my stomach sank. I saw the dye on the one side going up into the kidney. I'm not a doctor, but I knew enough to know that urine should be going away from the kidneys.
Immediately as they finished I scooped up Maevie and rocked her in my arms. She was still sobbing a bit and doing that little gasp as she tried to catch her breath. In those few moments, I felt defeated. I felt sad. My mind started to wander and of course, I imagined the worse case scenario. Bry being the calm one, started talking it out to me. He rationalized each potential outcome, giving worst case to best case and everything he could think of in between. Before the doctor came back to speak to us, I was calmer.
Yes, there was reflux in her kidney. It's called Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR)and she has stage 2 (out of 5). We have to meet with an urologist to have Maeve examined and the results analyzed in greater detail. From what Bry has gathered through online research (including deciphering a PowerPoint presentation for urologists from some large conference) we have deduced that while Maeve has an issue, it's not too bad. She will most likely have to have repeat ultrasounds and VCUGs yearly and will remain on medication to prevent any further urinary tract infections. The good thing, approximately 82% of those who have stage 2 VUR spontaneously heal within 5 years. In the event she's the unlucky 18%, then she most likely will need some sort of surgical intervention.
So, that's where we are this week. Maeve is not even 12 months old yet and already we've got food allergies and a kidney issue.
But, it's okay. We're okay, and she's better then okay.
She's awesome!