Emma’s Moana Themed Birthday Party

If you haven’t noticed already, ever since Emma watched Moana for the very first time, she was immediately hooked. It was also the first movie she actually sat through. So naturally, she now wants everything Moana. She especially loves to belt out the theme song, How Far I’ll Go. Case in point here. So when it came to her 2nd birthday party theme, it was an easy decision. I wanted to find a budget friendly party ideas, so off to Pinterest I went for DIY decor. I also didn’t want anything extravagant (mainly because I didn’t have the time), so decided to do a Moana themed sweets table. After five nights of designing, cutting, gluing, I was so excited to see my vision come to life! Also, I would not have pulled it off if it wasn’t for my friend, Morgan and her Cricut! That thing was a lifesaver for sure! For desserts, I made the cupcakes & Heart of Te Fiti sugar cookies. The highlight of the sweets table has to be the Moana boat my husband built. Originally, I was going to make the boat with paper towel rolls, but he said he can do something much better. And off he went into the garage. After a night of sawing, hammering and nailing, he legit built her a boat! Please give this man Father of the Year Award.

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Along with Emma’s friends, we had both set of grandparents and aunts come to celebrate her birthday (we missed you Paul!). I don’t think Emma understands the concept of birthdays, but she sure had a lot of fun singing the Happy Birthday song and eating A LOT of her birthday cake. Oh, and of course, she loved all the presents and running around with all of her friends. I know I say this every time, but we are so lucky to have such great friends and family. I’m forever grateful for all the love Emma receives. Thank you everyone for coming to celebrate Emma’s birthday with us!!

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Trick or Treat!

There is no doubt Halloween is an exciting holiday in our household. Steve and I had our fun share of dressing up and attending Halloween parties when we werenโ€™t parents. Now that we have our daughter, the focus has been on her and I am totally okay with that!

This year was Emma’s first time Trick or Treating which made it even more fun! She had a preview this past Sunday when we went to Lafayette Village for their Halloween event. We borrowed a costume from her friend and dressed up as a ladybug (with Heart of Te Fiti necklace she refused to take off). Although we didn’t stay too long due to gloomy/cold weather, she scored some candy. Before you knew it, she had ripped off the wrapper of a lollipop and was going to town!

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As for Emma’s main costume this year, we decided to go with Moana. Surprise, surprise! ๐Ÿ˜› Steve and I also decided to dress up as her sidekicks, Kakamora and Hei Hei. We didn’t go all out and did DIY costumes for us using a glue gun and a lot of felt. I’m glad we decided to go with Moana costume for Emma, because literally, that’s all she wants to wear when she wakes up in the morning. Morgan also took our annual neighborhood Halloween pictures of the kiddos. Morgan and I were joking about how much more difficult it may be this year compared to last year as all of our kids are now toddlers. And they did not disappoint in being full blown toddlers. Thank God I brought some cookies to bribe them. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I mean, how cute are these kiddos?! So glad we are continuing our tradition!

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Trick or Treating on Halloween was super fun! Emma went door to door saying “Trick or Treat” and was so excited to score more candy! I wasn’t sure how many houses we would do since it was her first time, but she ended up going to quite a few!ย Hope everyone had a great Halloween! Now, don’t be stealing your kids’ Halloween candies like us! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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To Emma (Letter #2)

Our dearest Emma,

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Your second birthday has come and gone, and Mama is more emotional than when your first birthday came along. As wonderful as your first year was, a big chunk of that year was in survival mode. Your second year though, was soaking up every single moment of your growth because it literally went by too fast. With a blink of an eye, you somehow transformed into an independent young girl. And as each day passed, it was as if our baby was disappearing.

As I desperately try to hold onto every second of your “needing Mama moments”, I also know I have to let you fly. One of the biggest milestones this year was fostering your independence by enrolling you in school. Though the initial transition was tough (probably tougher on Mama than you), we are so proud of how well you adjusted and how much you love learning new things. I hope you never lose your curiosity and passion for exploring new things in life. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. The best part of my day is when you run into my arms with a huge grin, shouting “MAMA!” when I come pick you up at school. I sincerely hope that never changes. And even when you are 18 years old, you still find comfort in my arms.

As always, I am so grateful for being your Mama. Papa and I thank you for another wonderful year of being a healthy and happy baby. We love you so much sweet girl, and we cannot wait to learn more things about you as your personality shines through each day.

Love,

Mama

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Autumn is here!

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. Everything about it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’ve been waiting for the heat wave to end here in NC to enjoy some breezy weather and Pumpkin Spice lattes at Starbucks. Yes, I know. Basic. However, I’m sad to report that I have yet to grab a PSL because the temp is still hitting the high 80’s here in NC. I cannot wait to pull out my sweaters and jeans!

Anyway, what’s Fall without a trip to a pumpkin patch?! This year, we checked out Page Farms with our friends.ย ย I was extra excited this year because Emma is old enough to actually enjoy the visit. Page Farms had a lot of kid friendly activities including a petting zoo, corn maze, play areas, swings, and corn kernel pool, Emma’s favorite! We also took a hayride to the pumpkin patch to pick out our own pumpkins. Emma was so excited to pick her own pumpkin to take home. ๐Ÿ™‚ Our front porch is now decorated in fall theme and we are ready for Halloween! Can you guess what we are going to be? Make sure to check back for the Halloween post later. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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how cute are these two little ladies holding hands on the hayride? โค

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Fourth of July

Emma and I have been super sick with a nasty cold this past week, so naturally, I am drugged up and really missing summer! But really, I’m just a lazy blogger and have not gotten around to do this post until 3 months later. ๐Ÿ˜›

This past Fourth of July was an exciting one for us and mainly for me because my best friends came to visit! Ever since leaving Chicago 6 years ago, three of us have been living miles apart, in West Coast, Midwest and East Coast. Although we try our best for all three of us to get together, life happens. We have been through it all, from college to break ups to first jobs to changing careers to getting married to having babies! I honestly cannot live without them, and legitimately feel a void in my heart when I don’t get a notification for our group chat on a daily basis. It has been more than a year since all three of us were together, so our reunion was way overdue!

Of course, Charles and Emma’s reunion was just as exciting! Remember their first date? Long distance relationships are tough, even for babies! ;D They got to spend 24/7 with each other for 5 days straight and Emma was asking for Charles for weeks after they had left. And I was told Charles was doing the same..these kids… tugs at our hearts! โค

We spent most of our days at the pool, going to museums and eating (what we do best)! We cannot wait until we are together again! Hopefully sometime soon!

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@Sarah P. Duke Gardens

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4th of July photoshoot.

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@Riseย 

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@North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

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Surf City Beach Trip

Although temperature is still hitting the high 80’s here in NC, summer is officially over. Long summer months sure flew by too quick for us, and we are already missing going to the pool almost daily and the beach trip from start of the summer. I know, four months have passed since our family beach trip back in May. I am a major slacker on this whole blogging thing, but I promise it’ll get better! :X I have a few upcoming posts lined up, and it is my hope to do one post a week…or two weeks. ;P

But for now, take us back to the beachhhh! Back in May, for Mother’s day weekend, we rented a huge beach house with our friends which accommodated 5 families, each with a toddler, in Topsail Island with a private beach. Even though weather wasn’t the best, we were still able to go to the beach every single day and had a blast! It was a hoot seeing Emma’s reaction when she first saw the ocean and waves! Her reaction alone made the weekend because she was so excited about it all! Once she got over the initial fear, she loved going in the water and playing in the sand! And having four toddler friends under one roof spending 24 hrs together was just TOO adorable! How did we get so lucky with such well behaved babies? They spent the entire weekend playing with one another and keeping themselves occupied with each other. It sure made it easier for us parents, and we were able to relax too. It was a fun Mother’s Day weekend well spent with framily, and you better believe we made a pact to make this an annual trip. ๐Ÿ™‚

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ps: my friend, fellow blogger also has amazing pictures from our beach trip – go check them out! -> MADclutter

Auntie Mimi

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Our first year in NC, none of our family members were nearby. The closest were my parents who were still a 5-7 hour car ride away (depending on traffic). But a year ago, my SIL moved from Chicago and she now only lives three hours away. We are fortunate to have Auntie Mimi (Emma calls her that) nearby so she can visit often! Em loves her so much, and you better believe it’s serious fun whenever she comes for a visit.

Not having any family nearby when raising a child is tough. I didn’t realize the importance of having extended family, especially for Em as she grows up. Both Steve and I are very close to our siblings, so we are super lucky that Emma gets to experience that bond. And of course they spoil her rotten with unconditional love, so that’s a huge plus. ย ๐Ÿ˜€ This blog post is titled “Auntie Mimi”, but really, it’s for all of our siblings, Mary and Paul included. Thank you for always being there for our little family and loving Emma like she is your own. Em is so blessed to have y’all in her life! We miss you and love you!

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Now enjoy some pictures from Mimi’s last visit when we went to the Museum of Life and Science!

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