Thursday, October 31, 2013

With an Open Mind

I just turned 30.
When people asked me what I was doing to celebrate, I said, quite happily, that we hadn't planned a single thing. That I wanted nothing more than to do nothing. I felt like the day should reflect the calm that my life has become. A party just wouldn't fit.
I did get a little crazy, though, and decided to cut bangs.
The day before my birthday, we got together to celebrate the third birthday of my niece. We had so much fun icing her purple cake and admiring the babies in costume. In the middle of the party, my mother floored me by offering to take Eleanor overnight, rather than just for dinner like we'd planned. I hadn't been away from her for more than a few hours since she was born, let alone overnight, but we went for it. I teared up a couple times, but she completely understood and accepted what was going on and had no problem with it.
With no notice, all of a sudden I was alone with my husband for the night. We had so much fun going on a date, hanging out at home, sleeping through the night, and waking up late. Since we didn't have time to plan a super-special birthday celebration, it was just a fun evening. No pressure.
We met my parents with Ellie the next morning late for an early lunch. She slept in (which she never does here!) and was so happy to see us. Her first night away went flawlessly.  (The only hitch was my boobs. We're still nursing, apparently quite a bit, and I woke up at 7:30 a.m. after more than 12 hours of not nursing, painfully engorged.)
Lunch was great, and my generous parents picked up the bill. At the end of the meal, my mother handed me a small box. I knew it had to be something good because she said to me "Now don't you DARE lose it!"
Inside was a ring that she has worn every day, next to her wedding set. A solid gold band that belonged to my father's grandmother. I have always admired it and would take it from her ring finger and slide it onto mine. And here it was. Mine. I cried. I may size it down, but for now it looks so perfect next to my wedding rings, which have their own share of family history.
I never want to take it off.
I have learned before, often through hardship, the lesson of letting go. My life has taught me over and over that I need to let go of planning and control and to embrace uncertainty. It's easy to be controlled by fear of the unknown. I want to remember this day when I need that lesson again. I had no expectations for my 30th birthday, and it was the best one yet. I am so lucky and thankful to have my parents. Nana and Papa, I love you.

Guess who else has had a birthday since we last talked?
That birthday banner back there is made from clothing scraps from my mother-in-law. My bff's parents have always hung a similar banner on his birthday, even when he wasn't home, and I hope to keep a similar tradition with E.  
She's wearing her favorite overalls. They had gotten too short so I cut the legs off and made them into a dress.
She's holding her big gift from us, a Waldorf doll. I used a kit from Weir and it was actually a lot of fun.  Once I decided that she didn't have to be perfect, I just enjoyed the process. After a lot of shaping and stuffing, she went from this (creepy!)
 to this.
to this. (Her boucle hair was just too unruly not to have in braids.) 
The night before her party, we made chocolate cupcakes. (This recipe, including the frosting, and it was perfect.) 
The morning of, we rolled out dough for little apple tarts.
While she napped before the party, dolly (who seems to be named Nico, after a dear friend's baby) got dressed. She was supposed to match Ellie, but I'm not sure anyone noticed.
And I iced cupcakes. It's hard to tell, but there are both pig and cow sprinkles on some of these. Piggy sprinkles was pretty much the highlight of her birthday. Looking back at this photo, I see a little finger made its way into the frosting up front. 
The party was a success. Many relatives had asked me what she'd want. Since they knew she was getting a doll, they showered her with doll accessories. She has every possible accessory, including her favorite, the stroller. 
The days that followed included even more gifts. 
That coat and hat, among many other great gifts, came from the bff. (The other bff gave some fantastic gifts that I just didn't get to photograph. Love you, C.)
Her favorite book at age two.
I gave her her first Reggio-inspired provocation. She didn't learn that red and yellow make orange, but she still enjoyed the work.
She's been using tongs with beans, and playing around with pretend cooking.
I finished a nagging knitting project, this cowl. It was quite easy and fun to make. We went to the pumpkin patch with her grandpa and she found some corn. (I don't know where she learned to make this serious angel face.)
It works equally well when the hood is down, too. 
And tonight, we did the trick-or-treat thing. She has been practicing, and while she only actually managed to say it to one person, she got a lot of candy and had a ton of fun. 
I should have a photo to share with you tomorrow, and I'm sorry for holding on to all these for so long. 
How are you? What did you and yours dress up as for Halloween? Ellie was the cutest bumblebee. 
Thanks for sticking around. xo
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