One Year Later

What a year it’s been. Since last April, I’ve recovered from a c-section, evacuated from a hurricane, been displaced for a month, moved to the other side of my job from where we were, seen my husband lose his job and then take on the astronomical role of house spouse while he’s hunting for work, decorated, directed, cried, laughed, loved, played, planned, and lived. My life is blessed by the amazing people around me, and while I miss my mother-in-law now that we have a washer and dryer and she’s waiting on the post-Harvey remodel, I don’t have much to complain about. My parents are healthy and I get to see them regularly (though I think it’s just an excuse to see the baby and they’re not all that concerned with me); I got to visit my super cool brother, his amazing wife, and my darling niece twice this past year in Cali; and I teach at a school where my students are awesome and my coworkers make me smile and keep me sane.

Preparing for Monkey’s first birthday was nostalgic, bittersweet, and fun all at once. I even made a video to commemorate her first year. She had three parties total. Her first was at the school with me and my students and a few coworkers. The second was at our home with us, my parents, my brother and his girls, my cousin and her daughters, and my sister-friend from my English teaching days (Monkey’s Mamie).

I made Monkey’s gift, of course. I was originally inspired by this cube, but didn’t have the necessary colors and supplies, so I made my own. Since Monkey has been in LOVE with Moana lately, I decided that was the obvious choice, especially since we were making her party the same theme. So I dug through my supplies, purchased some embroidery thread, found patterns all over the internet for baby Moana and a hibiscus, and figured it out. Here’s what I came up with:

Ah, the lost joys of hand embroidery. After some ribbons and a sewing machine to finish things up, this is the final product:

I think she likes it. She adores ribbons, and she’s already trying to pull the buttons off, so we’ll see how it goes.

After Thursday’s party, she was exhausted (see the adorable picture below?!), and then Friday we got to see my brother, his wife, and their daughter, plus my parents. It’s always a blast to hang out together since my bubba and sis-in-law live in Cali, and they got to come to the party Saturday, too. In fact, the guy with the awesome beard holding that sweet little blonde girl is my brother and his Boogie.

Let me take a second to tell you about my brother. He’s a year older than what I’m going to be, and he’s been my friend for my entire life. From playing together as children to hanging out as adults, I consider myself pretty darn lucky to have a guy like him at my back. He’s making some awesome changes in his life these days. This is his newest project, and I’m super excited to see where it goes. The best thing about him isn’t his beard, though. It’s that he has a generous, kind heart twice the size of the luxurious chin curtain currently gracing his face. Super proud of that guy.

*ahem* *sniff* Sorry about that.

So, back to the party weekend. We had her party on Saturday where we found out she doesn’t like slides, got some beautiful new outfits, and got a fantastic new car seat courtesy of Mamie. Granny brought the party to our house in the form of cupcakes, fruits, veggies, punch, decorations, and a few more sweet gifts. I decorated with a couple coconut trees made from paper and balloons and a blue plastic barrier over the utility room with turtle cutouts behind it to create a sort of underwater look. Of course I didn’t get pictures of that, but I got my inspiration from here and here. The cupcakes were adorable, and everything really was perfect for Monkey’s first big party.

Saturday night and into the wee hours of Sunday morning saw me baking, icing, and putting together a cake for Sunday’s party with Hubby’s family. I laughed at the similarities to the year before, except that I didn’t wake up Sunday morning with a giant gash in my belly and a newborn in my arms. Oh, and I also didn’t have to just drink ice chips while working on the cake.

After three 9″ rounds and two 6″ rounds of yellow cake mix (it took two boxes) with modifications (whipped eggs, added meringue powder, and subbing milk for the water), chocolate icing, food coloring, colored icing, and sprinkles all came together, we had a volcano! Of course, we got Monkey a little dinosaur suit, so it was pretty hilarious.

We were so blessed by Hubby’s mom, who got us a new high chair, more panels for the “baby octagon” where Monkey plays and can’t get to dangerous things, adorable clothes, three new movies from the ever-growing wish list (Rio 1 & 2, and Inside Out), and new shoes! Light up shoes and squeaker shoes for my little girl to encourage walking!

My birthday is Friday, so we went ahead and had my party with Hubby’s family at the same time as Monkey’s. My in-laws are fantastic and I love them so much! They got me a tool kit and air pump for my car, new shoes, a candle that smells like books, a cartilage earring, this pore cleansing tool, gift cards, and a wonderful cake. We also had, per my request, green beans almondine, baked sweet potatoes, grilled chicken from the pit, sausage, purple salad, and garlic bread. Monkey loved the sweet potatoes, purple salad, and garlic bread as much as me!

Now, it’s time for birthday week relaxation, rehearsal for the last show of the school year, recovering sleep from a busy weekend, and fitting in some time with my niece and her awesome mama before they go back to Cali. Hubby and I already have tickets to see the newest (and final) Avengers installment on Saturday, and Granny and PawPaw and keeping Monkey so Hubby and I can have some grown-up time to catch Pokémon and watch a superhero movie. Yes, I did say grown-up time. We’re basically both big kids and it makes for the best marriage EVER.

Well, that’s all for the moment. I have plans for making toddler pants, repairing a few things, and getting more organization done, and summer break is SO CLOSE, so I’m already planning visits to some of my favorite people who are more than an hour from home. If Texas ever warms up like it normally is at this point in April, it’s shaping up to be an excellent summer! Love and hugs, dear readers!

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