Mother’s Day and more

I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday, but I wanted to say happy belated Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mothers out there!! I know there are at least a handful of moms who periodically check my blog and I hope you all had a great day yesterday. :)

I had a nice day myself. After Jody made me breakfast and gave me cards from him and Ava, we went to Boulder to the Mother’s Day Parade put on by Mothers Acting Up. There was a great turnout and we had a good time walking in the parade and even ran into someone from Jody’s work who was there with his wife and children. (I had my suspicions that they were a pretty crunchy/AP-kinda family and that confirmed it.)

At the conclusion of the parade, there was a rally held in front of the courthouse. A few different moms spoke, as well as some children. It was especially touching to hear from the kids who have real concerns about the futures of children much less fortunate than themselves worldwide. I signed a petition for clean air regulations and donated some money to send postcards to Condoleeza Rice about reducing defense spending and increasing spending for children’s educations.

I knew that parades and other events celebrating Mothers Acting Up and Mother’s Day were taking place in various U.S. states, but was excited to hear that even Jerusalem was having a parade yesterday! How cool that this group that started in Boulder a few years ago has spread so far across the world!! :)

I was also excited that, thanks to yours truly, our local paper ran a story about the MAU organization and parade. I sent an e-mail to one of the reporters a couple weeks ago to let her know about MAU and the parade and suggested she write a story on it. Well, she said she was in need of a good story for Mother’s Day and was very happy to get my e-mail. So that worked out perfectly!

After the parade, we hung out in Boulder for a bit (it was a gorgeous day), then picked up some lunch and headed home where Jody spent a good chunk of time hauling dirt. (We had a pile of dirt/compost delivered in the street in front of our house earlier in the weekend and Jody had to move it all to the backyard, where we’re getting ready to lay sod.)

And as for my Mother’s Day present, I got a Dyson Animal vacuum!! :) I’ve been wanting one for a while now and since we managed to finagle a really good deal this weekend, we decided it was time to take the plunge and get it.

Now if you are sitting there with baited breath, waiting to hear the details of my good deal, I will indulge you (because I can’t stand keeping a good deal to myself). ;)
Kohl’s had the Dyson Animal on sale last week for $404.99, down from $449.99. They didn’t have any in stock, so I got a raincheck. I also had a coupon for an additional 15% off that I planned to use (provided one came in while the coupon was still good). So on Friday, I made some calls to 4 different Kohl’s, finally finding one that had the Animal in stock. We drove about 35 min. to the store to get it and I found out that not only would I get the sale price, plus 15% off, but they were giving away $10 gift cards for every $50 you spent. So the vacuum total (before tax) came to about $340, so I got $60 in gift cards (which are good this week). So all in all, we got the vacuum for about $370, plus $60 of other merchandise for “free.” Not bad at all considering when we were at Home Depot last week, we saw the same vacuum selling for $499!! Yay for deals! :)

That’s all for now, except I need to say Happy 26th Birthday to my dear sister Carrie!!! I love ya and am really looking forward to seeing you in a little over a week! :)

Birthday party planning for dummies

Who knew planning a first birthday party could be so involved? And I’m not even throwing a big party! :oP

There are invitations and envelopes to think of, address labels, decorations, coordinating plates, napkins and cups. Then there’s the menu. What to serve? How much food to get/make? What will everyone drink? And then comes the really important part – the cake! Do I tempt fate and make it myself or relax and just buy one? Never being one to take the easy way out, I think I’m going to throw caution to the wind and make it myself. Since we’re having Ava’s party a week and a half after her actual birthday, I figure I can do a test-run for her birthday. If it turns out horribly on her birthday (she’ll never know), then Baskin Robbins will be getting a call for the party. ;)

With all the planning and details involved, perhaps there should be a new book in the “For Dummies” series – “Throwing a First Birthday Party For Dummies.”

Anyway, since we like to call Ava our “strawberry” (Jody wanted that to be her middle name, but I held power of veto and it’s Elizabeth), I’ve decided to do a strawberry theme for her birthday. Not Strawberry Shortcake, mind you. Just strawberries. :) Surprisingly enough (at least to me), there’s not much out there in the way of strawberry-themed party supplies. Watermelon seems to be big this year, as is Dora the Explorer and Hawaiian luau stuff, but strawberries? Not so much.

I think I’m going to get some heart-shaped cake tins (hopefully a big one and a small one) to make into a strawberry cake. It will take a little creativity, but that’s why I’m doing the dry-run a week ahead of time. ;)

I designed the invitations myself (with a little help from Jody) and I’m pleased with how they’ve turned out. Though they haven’t actually been printed just yet. But barring any natural disasters, I hope to have them printed tomorrow and in the mail by this weekend cuz time’s a runnin’ out.

Oh, I can’t forget the “entertainment.” A friend of Jody’s bought one of those big blow-up bouncy castles which we hope to borrow for the day. Most of the kids at the party will be too young to fully appreciate it, but hopefully a few (if not their parents!) will have some fun in it. I don’t really feel that having entertainment is crucial, but since we have access to it, why not?

Another thing that concerns me about the day is Ava’s nap. She’s been incredibly unreliable in her napping the past week or so. I think she’s trying to transition from two naps per day to one and it’s throwing me for a major loop. How can I schedule a party time if I don’t know when the guest of honor will be snoozing?

And what is the girl going to wear? I haven’t found the perfect outfit yet. Ideally, I’d like it to have strawberries on it, but again here in clothes just like in decorations, lots of watermelon out there, not so many strawberries.

Lastly, our backyard still needs some work. We laid sod back there over a month ago and that looks great, but we didn’t do the entire yard because we had plans to put in a small deck. Now we are thinking the deck idea needs to go on hold (due to lack of funding), so we’ve got a dirt/rocky area that is in desperate need of some landscaping. Is three weeks enough time to get something growing back there? ;)

But all of this party and landscaping hub-bub aside, the reality is my baby girl will be 1 in less than 2 weeks. For nine months, I carried her in my womb. And for the last 12 months, I’ve held her close to my heart (both literally and figuratively). She’s becoming a little girl, complete with curiosity, intelligence, a sense of humor, fiestiness, determination, and of course, incredible cuteness. I feel incredibly blessed and so thankful to have her in my life. Happy birthday my strawberry! :)

So excited!

Let me start off by saying it’s hard finding good babysitting options for your child when you don’t have any family nearby and your closest friends live at least 30 minutes away.

Because of our lack of options, I can count on ONE HAND the number of times Jody and I have gone out together as a couple, without Ava, since she was born.

We’ve been to ONE movie when my parents and sister were visiting for Christmas LAST YEAR.

We tried to go to Jody’s company holiday party last year and leave 6-month-old Ava with our good friends (Brandy, Dax and their son Creed who’s 7 months older than Ava), but she started bawling about 5 minutes after we left and I went back to get her right after I got the call that she wouldn’t calm down despite everything they tried. So that doesn’t really count.

We’ve also run a couple of errands together (so not exactly a date) when family were in town or while visiting family.

That’s it. No monthly date nights for us, not even quarterly date nights. And that’s been fine. We definitely lived, but I think it would’ve been nice to have a few more times to go out together just the two of us.

Anyway, that brings me to why I’m so excited!

We’re going to attempt to go to Jody’s holiday party again this year and leave Ava with the same friends we left her with last year. So today Ava and I went over there for a dry run. We hung out for a little while, then I told her I was going to the store, kissed her good-bye, and I left. She wasn’t concerned in the least.

I was gone for an hour (did a little shopping for myself and bought an outfit to wear to J’s work party and to another holiday party our Cherished Children API group is having the next night, because all of my dressy clothes are too big). Brandy said Ava asked for me about 10 minutes after I left. She told her I went to the store and would be back in a while. And Ava was TOTALLY FINE! She played with Creed and Dax (who was home for the afternoon) and had a grand ol’ time. No tears, no crying at all. What a relief!

I think she did so well because she’s older now and can understand that mommy will be back and since she’s interested in toys and playing with other kids now it’s easier for her to be distracted and have things to do.

So I’m very excited that Jody and I will be able to go to this holiday party (alone!) next weekend. I don’t think we’ll have anything to worry about with Ava this time. Hip, Hip, Hooray! :)