Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was Will’s first birthday!  I can’t believe he is a year old already and what a year it has been!  It is exciting to see just how much Will has grown, learned and changed in a year.  A year ago I was so excited to meet what I was sure would be a sweet, dark haired, dark eyed little boy–and in turn we got a very sweet and VERY spunky red head with blue eyes!  He is the wonderful miracle I have ever witnessed and I am so proud to call him my son.  Happy birthday baby boy!!  We love you.

We are having a party for Will in a couple of weeks so we decided to save his birthday cake for then, so instead we made him a donut cake!
(Donuts are from A Baker’s Wife in Minneapolis)

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Will has had pieces of these donuts before, but never a whole one for himself!

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IMG_1008 IMG_1010He liked it so much he was licking the crumbs off the table.

It doesn’t get better than this…

Lately I have had a lot of complaints.  The weather this winter was terrible, we live far from friends and family, we moved out of my dream house and into a college dorm, we are lonely, tired, overwhelmed, etc.  It is embarrassing to admit how long the list can be on a really hard day.

The other day Grant was playing with Will on the floor and I felt an unexpected swell of gratitude.  It just doesn’t get much better than this.  Sure, some of my complaints are legitimate and I need to be honest with myself about it if I’m ever going to deal with them, but I realized that all of the truly important things are so very, very good.

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We have friends and family that love us.  We feel welcomed and celebrated when we return home, whether that home is in Canada, California, Illinois and beyond.  We have parents that love us and have sacrificed so much for us and who love, love, love our son, even if their requests for photos and videos of him are a little excessive. (All four of you… you know who you are)  🙂  I have an incredible husband who loves me, makes me laugh harder than anyone, understands our inside jokes, and checks out bicycles as he goes by, not other girls.  He is the best dad to our son, even better than I could have imagined.  He is great at the fun things (taking the kiddo for bike rides, making him giggle) and great at the hard things (middle of the night feedings, poop, poop and more poop).

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And then there is our son.  He is just the silliest, most fun and happy kiddo.  He loves to yell, giggle, and squeal.  He’s figured out a way to run-crawl since regular crawling is simply not fast enough.  And he sleeps from 7 pm – 8:30 am most days…. yes, you read that right.  He is very kind to us.

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We are blessed and I am so thankful that even in the midst of my hard-heart, grumpy days I can still be overwhelmed by gratitude.  It doesn’t get much better than this!

Ps.  These were all photos from today.  Happy Father’s day!!

Spring Break

We spent Spring Break in Brainerd, Minnesota with good friends from Wheaton.  We had a warm place to stay (with a fireplace), tons of fresh snow, great conversations with friends, play time with all three kids, a swimming pool and a chance to enjoy a little bit of life together.   It was also a week of first’s for Will.  First tooth, first time crawling and first time waking up with bed head (which I love!).

Planking.  His form is better than mine!

Lunch with friends

Reading bedtime stories

Swimming

The things Dad’s will do for their kids on a winter walk.

Knit Valentine

I’ll be honest, Valentine’s day has not ever been my favourite holiday.  I don’t have any bad memories associated with it, and I’m not one to rant about or complain about it either.  In fact, I should love valentines day because I love hearts, chocolate and flowers.  Both pink and red are my favourite colours.  And I really love all the candy that is on sale on February 15th.

That being said, last year I decided to make Grant a knit valentine.  Knitting is not exactly his forte, but he loves to receive (and give) cards and I love to knit.  So this seemed like a perfect fit.  A little of me and a little of him.  I think I might just have to make another one this year… or if anyone would like me to make one for you to give to someone special (on short notice), I’d love to do that too!

Christmas Stockings

I had a great time knitting Christmas Stockings this year for Will and Grant and was able to make a few more for friends and family too!
This first stocking is for the 9-month old son of two good friends from Wheaton.  I love how this stocking turned out!  I was thrilled to be able to make this for him.

The second set are for my brother- and sister-in-law.  The goal was something traditional and something fun and funky at the same time.  I had to make them a little shorter than the previous stocking so the toes don’t catch on fire when they are hanging on their fireplace mantle.

After making the snowmen out of pom pom’s, I was inspired to add a few to our Christmas tree!

Christmas Gift Wrapping

I LOVE to wrap gifts.  I’ve always wanted to work someplace where I get to wrap gifts all day long… although I’d probably get bored before my first shift is done.  That, or I’d be covered in paper cuts.
My mom is a bit of a perfectionist (you know it’s true, mom) and she taught my sister and I how to wrap.  We give her a hard time for making us fix the gifts we wrapped if the flaps on either end pointed in different directions or pointing away from the seam on the back.  It’s something that the three of us will always laugh about and I’ll always be grateful for the gift of perfectionism imparted by my mother!  
Unlike my mom though, I have come to use only kraft paper wrapping and gift boxes.  It’s simple to have just one roll of wrapping paper and a few spools of beautiful ribbon, and it works for all occasions.
Re-using ribbon from our wedding.
I’ve had these four spools of ribbon from Costco for the last 5 Holiday’s and still haven’t run out.  Costco is a great place to buy good quality ribbon in mass quantities, you may just have to buy it in September to get the patterns and colours you like.  Regardless, I think next Christmas it might be time for some new ones!

Gifts under the Christmas tree.

I can’t wait for these to be opened and for the stockings to be filled!

Snowy Village Cakelets

This is my third attempt this week at making these little cakelets.  The pan is from Williams-Sonoma a few years ago and is one of my favourites.  The first two batches didn’t want to come out of the pan and only 4 out of the 12 cakes survived.  I tried again today and they worked!  The trick was giving in and buying Pam for baking (the stuff that has flour in it) because of all the small details.  The recipe is for a spice cake and is delicious.  The recipe is at the bottom of the post.

Williams-Sonoma Snowy Village Cakelet Pan
(The recipe came on the package)
1 1/4 Cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2/3 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of milk
1 egg slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
8 tablespoons (one stick) of unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  (In our oven, 20 minutes was sufficient so check your cakes often.)
If you don’t have a cakelet pan like this one, the recipe would be great as a small round or 8×8 pan.  A little powdered sugar sprinkled on top is enough to sweeten it.  Enjoy!