Our Very Bubbly Easter

This year we were chosen to host my brother’s family for Easter. Which meant that we were actually going to have some plans for the day. We usually go to church, have hard-boiled eggs and ham, and have an evening bonfire with some friends. But nothing is structured and it usually turns into all of us kind of going our own separate ways until bonfire time.

A few weeks ago, my brother approached me with the idea of making it a “Kids Cook Easter.” My parents were not to prepare any part of the meal. It was all on us. Which, honestly, didn’t seem like too big of a challenge to me. I mean, there’s nothing complicated about ham and scalloped potatoes.

It turned into him making the “dinner” and me making everything else (brunch and dessert). And I must say, I think my contributions outshined his. I made my now-famous caramel rolls for brunch (served with hard-boiled eggs) and this masterpiece. Speckled Malted Coconut Cake. I am seriously proud of this. My mom was really bragging it up!

(One recipe note: the frosting was giving us all sugar rushes–almost one whole bag of powdered sugar is too much.)

Aside from the food, of course, the main focus of the day was Juliana. She got another day with all of her (hopefully!) favorite people and animals, so she was having a ball. Until she ran right through nap time and finally ended up falling asleep almost 10 hours after she had woken up.

But while she was still up and running, she continued to decorate the windows.

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She also got some presents. First came grandma’s.

My mom saw this while she was killing time between meetings a few days ago and couldn’t pass it up. This girl is a foodie, so it was a slam dunk. She hadn’t opened any presents since Christmas, so she needed a little reminding about how to do it. Once she figured out how the velcro worked, she just sat there and put the candle on the cake and then pulled it off about 20 times.

Then her parents pulled out their present for her.

None of us had any idea how much she would love the bubbles. She started out just wanting to catch them.

Then she wanted to blow her own bubbles!

I don’t know, do you think she liked them? You never know how this girl is feeling…

She loved her “bubbas!”

While she slept, my parents decided to light the fire. I volunteered to stay inside and wait for the girl to wake up. So I watched the fire from inside.

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We don’t do small when it comes to bonfires. (We are very responsible about it, though.)

It was cloudy all day and then, miraculously, the sun came out just in time for the sunset. Those are always the best sunsets. (This was after the peak.)

I hope all who celebrated had a happy Easter!

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Snow Day

It snowed today. And I was not smiling about it…until my plans were canceled and I didn’t have to go anywhere. Then it was beautiful!  It didn’t amount to much, but the ground and trees are white. It should–should–be gone by Sunday so we can have our annual Easter bonfire. But this is Minnesota, so you never know.

Meanwhile, inside, JuJu was decorating for Easter, loving on her puppy, and eating a balanced meal of cake and pudding (she actually did have an extremely well balanced meal before earning her cake and pudding).

Poor Cocoa. He’s such a good puppy.

I guess it turned out to be a pretty good day! The snow won’t last and my sixty-degree days will be back before you know it!

Once again, I learned not to judge a day by its morning.

Don’t Judge a Day by its Morning

I’ve had the same idea for a post pretty much every day this week, but I decided that it was too whiny and I’m really trying to cut the whine in every aspect of my life (negative side effect of being a kind-of-only-child). The thing that all the days had in common is that based on the mornings, they could have been pretty crappy. But somewhere along the way, I decided to do something about it and it completely turned around.

This happens to me a lot, and this turning it around stuff is relatively new for me. It isn’t even always a conscious decision. Sometimes I really do think, Okay all I have to do is get up. Get moving. But some days, like today, it happens more like this: Mom’s home already?! Turn off the music. Dry your hair. Put the dishes away. Wipe the counter. “Mom, would you like some shrimp scampi for lunch?”

The motivation may change, but the end result is the same: I have been accomplishing more things in a day than I probably ever have and it’s making me feel so great! I attribute this to growing up, but it feels so much more earth-shattering to me. All of a sudden I have the motivation to move more, watch my diet, cook (even more) meals, go outside (I’ve never been an outdoorsy type), go to bed whenever the hell I want (even if it’s only 9:30!), and be more gutsy in general. A few years ago, none of that could be said about me.

I’m beginning to feel really comfortable in my own skin. And I’m no longer fighting the fact that I’m becoming my mother. After making her some shrimp scampi for lunch (of which she had three servings), we went down to the garage with the intent of planting some seeds, but ended up assembling a swing for the babe. And I enjoyed it.

I don’t necessarily want to say that I’m getting more open-minded (if this crazy presidential election has taught me anything, it’s that I definitely know my core values and beliefs and am not easily swayed in another direction!), but I’m learning that the day isn’t over until it’s over. There’s always time to turn it around. As long as you want to turn it around, you can. You have to want to.

I have learned not to judge a day by its morning. And it’s making me a better (and happier) person.

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I Think This is Called Bliss

I am so happy.

I think this is called bliss.

I realize that it is definitely not a lot of people’s idea of bliss, but it is mine.

We got an extra day with the babe because she’s not feeling 100%.

Don’t Wait Too Long by Madeline Peyroux is playing on a loop, Juju and I are all alone, she’s playing in her little toy corner, and I’m lying on the floor next to my puppy thinking about how wonderful life can be while staring at this rattle Juju loved about a year ago, when she was just learning how to roll over.

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She peeked up from behind her book shelf and yelled “OWL!”

Then she quietly laid on top of me for all of 10 seconds before sitting up and bouncing.

Every Monday should be like this.

I think she agrees.

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Time for a nap!

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March

I started sharing my Juliana-themed calendar with you all last month. As promised, here is the collage for March.

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Indeed. There is always time for a snack!

Man, this girl loves her food. (Or is it “Woman, this girl loves her food?”) She started eating real, grown-up people food the second her pediatrician said it was okay and hasn’t looked back.

Her first love, which we often forget, was a banana. She loved bananas. And therefore had at least one full banana every day she was with us. She took a little break from them last fall, but has recently been asking for “nana eese!” (Translation: banana please!)

Then she discovered raspberries. Oh boy (or is it “Oh girl?”) did she discover raspberries. She would literally sit at the base of the raspberry bushes in her backyard and pick them off one by one and smash them onto her face. Occasionally some would make their way into her mouth, but she definitely had some pink hair (and cheeks. and nose.) for a while. Naturally, her birthday cake was vanilla with layers of pureed raspberries and whipped cream. I think she liked it…

Then she found the fruit that would come to save her parents a lot of aggravation: apples. By the time apple season rolled around, she was walking all over the place. My mom thought it would be fun to have her help pick up the apples on the ground to feed to the llamas. The apples she picked up never actually made it to the llamas, though. They did, however, find their way into her mouth. If we didn’t stop her, she would sit and eat an entire apple. I mean core and all. We had a bumper crop of apples this year, so my mom decided to try dehydrating them again. (She had tried years earlier and didn’t like the end result. Secret ingredient: cinnamon sugar!) The girl was addicted. When she was upset, they were one of the only things that could stop the crying. Her parents made sure there was always a bag of dehydrated apples in the diaper bag.

Now she’s a Mac & Cheese girl. It’s not that she’s not adventurous–she seems to try anything at least once. But when we can’t think of anything else to make for her or just can’t find anything, Mac & Cheese will go down fast. She has also started to really love pickles and pears.

And her faces while she eats! Ah, I can’t stand how cute she is! She is definitely a foodie baby. And Foodie Babies Wear Bibs.

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