My Baby is 4!

After a fun-filled weekend of celebrating Arianna’s birthday we are finally able to say that she is four! Over the weekend we hosted our first ever birthday party for Arianna at a local church. Inside of the commons of the church is a play place with a connecting party room. We rented the room, decked it out in Finding Dory decorations, and invited all of Arianna’s friends and family to join us. I was so blessed to see that nearly everyone we invited made a point to stop by the party. Arianna left her party on Saturday feeling loved and cherished by the people in her life.

Here’s a look at the festivities this weekend.

img_3967

img_3961

img_3959

img_3017

img_3018

I’m so proud of the happy and kind little girl that Arianna is becoming. She made an effort to thank each person who came to the party and even gave out some hugs while opening gifts. She is my ray of sunshine. Even the hardest of days are made more bearable with her in them. Being her mother is one of the greatest joys in this life.

img_3966

The Ameri Brit Mom

Birthday Hangover

I’ve been a little behind in my posting this week. I’m going to blame my lack of writing on the inevitable birthday hangover I experience every year after Arianna’s birthday celebrations finally come to an end. As a family we spend months in preparation for each birthday. For me, it is an emotional time every year as our baby presses on to a new age and more independence. I began researching and pinning ideas for Arianna’s gift this year around July. By early August we had settled on a plan and the following month would include the execution of said plan.

We’ve been blessed to have a loving and intelligent daughter who would rather spend her time crafting, drawing, or painting than playing with toys so we decided to create an inviting space she could call hers where all of these activities could be organized and take place. Our home is a two story home. We have an open loft on the second floor that we really hadn’t done much with. Previously, it housed a comfortable chair where I would occasionally read. Without too much moving around we were able to clear the loft and redesign it according to the needs and preferences of our young artist.

IMG_1591

Sam decided to undertake the task of building Arianna a desk from two shelves and a Medium-Density Fiber Board. I ordered some polka dot wall decals in orange, teal, and purple from Polka Dot Wall Stickers. I also consulted Pinterest for the best process for storing supplies and decided to hang pails holding utensils on the wall. This allows for her to see all of her options while also keeping her supplies from becoming a mixed-up mess inside a box or on the floor.

IMG_1568

We designed wall space on which we framed some of our favorite pieces created by Arianna as well as a picture of Elsa that one of my students drew which Arianna loves. Over our utility closet we hung a curtain to help bring out a theme in the decor for the space. Finally, we created a wall for displaying her own arts and crafts.

IMG_1573 (1)

IMG_1570

IMG_1574

Unrelated to the loft/craft room we also decided it was finally time to convert her bed to a Big-Girl bed!

IMG_1576

Things have been busy, but fun in our house since the big reveal. Arianna really loves her own space and she refers to it as her “office.” It was a fabulous birthday and although it may seem like a boring gift to redo a loft for a three year-old she truly was grateful for everything. She’s already spent hours on her own in the office working on several little projects. Watch out, Van Gogh, Arianna is going to give you a run for your money!

IMG_1599

Five Minute Friday: Same

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is same. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

tape-edges-600x600

On this same day three years ago I was unknowingly about to become a mother. The contractions had begun and within hours my water would brake. My life would change in those twenty-four hours more than any other. I would go from a young independent person to one that lost focus on my goals for a while in order to devote all of my time and attention to my newborn.

I’ve learned a myriad of lessons over the past three years. My life would never again resemble the one I led on September 12, 2012. I learned to set aside my selfish ways to be the mother my daughter needed. My focus became my daughter and her health and safety.

The relationship between my husband and I would also never be the same. I would love my husband in a completely new and exciting way as he coached me through the labor process and held our daughter for the first time. The next few weeks would unfold and although we would be exhausted we would admire one another in our new roles. This would include a lot of encouraging and teamwork.

The life I lead today in no way resembles the one I led in 2012, but I love who I have become because of the young toddler who stole my heart. I’m enjoying this journey and would never trade a moment of the last  three years for anything. God has blessed me and my family and Arianna is a big piece of that puzzle.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Arianna 🙂

A Week Before Her Birthday

Early September is an emotional time for me. Three years ago on September 12th I gave birth to our beautiful daughter. Every year as her birthday approaches I am struck with flashbacks to Birthdays of the Past and the early days of her life. I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I think about the days when I used to swaddle her. I reminisce about how quickly our all-day napping sessions came and went. I think back to fixing bottles, blending her pureed meals, and teaching her to roll over. Her first three years have flown by so quickly.

There isn’t a moment when I don’t feel blessed to be her mother. We are in the middle of the toddler years and some days are harder than others, but in the thick of it all September hits and I’m blown away about how quickly each year of her life comes and goes. I’m not overcome with anxiety about getting a perfect gift or planning a party. I’m just overwhelmed with love. It’s crazy to believe that this time three years ago that we had not yet met our bundle of joy.

So as the mornings grow foggy and the nights are sprinkled with frost I remember those first days as a mother and I smile. Nothing in life has been like the roller coaster of motherhood, but I wouldn’t exchange a second for any other phase of life. During this time I’ve learned so much and I’ve enjoyed each smile, each step, and each conversation.

408256_4219190851396_1127951168_n

3 years ago at the baby shower in early September

576919_4634557588013_2048479717_n

September 12, 2012

7002_10200109206718997_1194501097_n

early October 2012

FullSizeRender (7)

The week of her third birthday (September 2015)

Another One for the Books

Another birthday has come and gone. I am now officially 25 and I feel great. As always, I was treated like royalty by my husband and family and I’m extremely grateful for the time that we spent together as a family on my big day. Truthfully, there is nothing I would rather do than get away and enjoy the beautiful outdoors as a family so all in all it was a perfect day from start to end.

I awoke on my birthday to a big hug and kiss from my daughter accompanied by a joyful, “Happy Birthday, Mommy!” My husband was anxious for me to unwrap my gift so I was quickly handed a gift bag with a mysterious box within. I was overcome with elation when I opened the cardboard box and realized that my husband had purchased me my own HP Chromebook.

IMG_0943 IMG_0942

Since beginning this blog back in February I have done all of my writing on a school-owned computer. I’ve never complained about it, but I’ve been envious of other bloggers who have all the bells and whistles to work with and so my husband could not have picked a better gift for me. My new laptop came with a message on my Google Drive from my husband and daughter which explained how inspirational my motivation for my blog and writing has been and how I deserved my very own machine with which to continue my pursuit of writing.

I don’t know if people understand how much my blog has helped me. It may seem like a pointless hobby to some, but since I began my blog I have worked and fought for a little bit of “me” time everyday. As a young mother I had begun to let my busy, demanding life take over every part of me. I had allowed myself to drop all of my goals and dreams and I really struggled with some emotional stress as a result. When I set out to begin blogging I began to repossess some of those goals I set for myself years ago. I now make it a point to spend time reading and writing everyday.

Each day brings me a step closer to my goals of ultimately becoming a published writer. I’m still waiting for the perfect article or story, but with practice everyday I am making progress toward that and any progress is better than how I was living. Blogging has become therapeutic and I am so lucky to have the support from my husband and friends to take that time for myself to pursue my goals. My husband has read all of my posts and manuscripts and he continues to have faith in me. His confidence gives me the strength to keep on believing in myself as well.

Aside from receiving a pretty amazing gift I spent the day at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium with my husband and daughter. As previously stated in earlier posts the Columbus Zoo is the #1 zoo in the country and it is located about forty-five minutes from my house. A day spent at the zoo is always one well spent. There are constantly new attractions added and the exhibits are top notch. This year they opened a new exhibit called Pirate Island. It’s essentially a boat ride with life-like robotic pirates and sea creatures that squirt water. To be honest, I wondered if my daughter would find the ride terrifying, but she handled it well and enjoyed her first ever boat ride.

IMG_0906 IMG_0923

Here are some more shots from our day at the zoo:

IMG_0918

IMG_0919

IMG_0898

IMG_0921

IMG_0924

IMG_0926

IMG_0934

For dinner we ate some lovely, and relatively healthy BD’s Mongolian BBQ. I’m on a pretty restricted diet due to some recent health problems, but really all that means is that I’m being forced by my body to eat a little better. I can’t really argue that I need more vegetables so Mongolian BBQ was a good option because I was able to create a vegetable stir-fry. It was delicious, as always.

Finally, we topped off the night redeeming some Graeter’s Ice Cream gift cards. We found a large Graeter’s near the zoo and ordered some delectable flavors. The ice cream was particularly spectacular after an 85 degree day in the sun. I ordered a double scoop: one scoop mint chocolate chip and mocha chip. (The mocha chip tasted just like the Starbucks Mocha Frappucinos that my great-grandma buys at Kroger and sticks in the freezer…PERFECTION!)

IMG_0935 IMG_0930

The Graeter’s we visited also happened to be the historic shop where they give tours and it has an indoor playground of which we took advantage.

IMG_0940 IMG_0936

IMG_0939

I have a lot of people to thank for this awesome birthday experience. First, my husband for planning for a flawless day and making me feel so special every day of the year, but especially on my birthday. Second, my daughter who was on her very best behavior all day making it a fun, stress-free birthday. Third, all of my friends and family who continue to support me with their kind words and encouragement. Thank you to each and every person who has made the past year what it has been. I’m looking forward to 25!

The Big 2-5!

Happy Birthday to me. Today I turn 25. A quarter of a century has passed since the beginning of my existence. I’ve come so far and achieved so many of my goals for myself over the past year. (This blog is a fruit of some of my previous goals.) I am looking forward to spending this day with my family. My husband has been out of town all week (and missed our anniversary), but luckily he’s back in time to celebrate today with me. Since our anniversary and my birthday are within the same week we have started our tradition of celebrating them separately. With our anniversary we do a date night just my husband and I. With my birthday the plans include something more family friendly. As long as the weather cooperates we will be heading to the Columbus Zoo today for some family fun in the sun.

My mom’s birthday was yesterday and we re-established an old tradition. When I lived at home we used to do a brunch/lunch on her birthday to celebrate both of our big days. It hasn’t happened in a while so we decided to re-establish this idea this year. Over a month ago I made reservations at Cooper’s Hawk Winery at Easton in Columbus in anticipation for our birthday lunch.

Coopers-Hawk-2

IMG_1181

Overall, I am very thankful this year on my birthday. I’m thankful to have my husband back after being gone for the week in Washington DC.

IMG_0884

I’m thankful for my daughter who is so kind, intelligent, and beautiful.

IMG_0879

I’m also thankful to begin my summer vacation with lovely weather.

IMG_0878

Some of my goals for 25:

1. Continue working on my blog and sending out writing to publishers monthly. Also, in the writing field finishing a manuscript.

2. Running a 5k

3. Creating and following through with a health and fitness plan

4. Teaching a creative honors course designed by myself which features exploratory learning

The Date Jar: Week 4 (Daddy’s Birthday)

Is there a better way to spend a Monday than as a family celebrating a birthday? I think not. Today was my husband’s 27th birthday and we spent the day doing some of his favorite things. We slept in, had brunch at Waffle House, visited one of his favorite parks, purchased a book at his favorite bookstore, and had dinner at a great restaurant. We ventured to historic German Village. This is one of our favorite destinations in the Columbus area. The atmosphere of this village is nostalgic for my husband, because it reminds him of his childhood in England. The houses and roads are brick, people are walking everywhere no matter the weather, and there’s a coffee shop on every corner. He loves to slip into this small neighborhood in south Columbus when he needs a little reminder of home.

We spent the day eating and playing (a divine day according to my husband). There was no plan in place when we left the house this morning (which put me a little out of my element), but that’s exactly the way my husband likes it. As we left the house this morning we knew only that our stomachs were growling and the weather was predicted to be beautiful to which it lived up to its forecast.

My husband made the decision to visit a Waffle House in Grove City, a nearby suburb of Columbus. I can’t recall the last time I ate at the good ole Waffle House, but I know it was before the birth of our daughter. In our early days of marriage we lived near a Waffle House and occassionally visited it for cheap diner-style breakfast when we were in the mood for brunch. There is nothing healthy about the place, but birthdays are cheat days, right?

FullSizeRender (11) FullSizeRender (12)

By the time we finished brunch it was after noon. My husband was in the mood for basketball (which is actually a state of being, not a mood in his world) so we headed toward a park in German Village, Schiller Park. This trip allowed my husband a chance to “ball” with the locals while my daughter and I enjoyed some time at the playground across the way. Everyone got a chance to get some exercise in the beautiful outdoors. It really was perfect weather for a park trip.

About half a mile from this park is a unique and trendy book shop called The Book Loft. This complex maze of books is a 32-room building in the middle of German Village. Each room is divided by genre. This is one of our favorite bookstores ever. (It helps from my perspective that it sits atop a lovely coffee shop) Each of us got a chance to explore our favorite rooms and no trip to The Book Loft is complete without getting lost at least once. So yes, that happened.

IMG_0390

Next, we walked another couple of blocks down the narrow brick street and ended up at a cute French bakery, Pistacio Vera. This bakery is famous for their macaroons, so of course we had to get a box. (Like I said earlier we basically ate and played all day)

On our way back from the bakery our daughter literally fell asleep walking. I didn’t know it was possible, but apparently there is such a thing as too much fun. She hit her limit and my husband and I took turns carrying the sleepy one during the half mile walk back to our car.

IMG_0391

Any parent of a toddler can attest to the fact that once the child is asleep they must not be awakened. Instead of letting nap time get in the way of our spontaneous day in German Village we decided to enjoy this time by letting her sleep in the car while my husband and I each cracked open a book. It was so unbelieveably nice to sit in the car with the windows down and do nothing but read for an hour. Some of you may be laughing at our idea of fun, but it truly was one of the better parts of the day. We find it romantic to sit beside each other reading.

IMG_0393

After an hour or so our daughter began to wake up in the backseat. We were on to the next phase of the birthday shenanigans: dinner. My husband chose to eat at Schmidts, a world famous sausage haus in German Village. They have an autobahn buffet where one can eat sausages and german potato salad until they explode. It was so delicious.

It was with full stomachs and no energy that we mutually decided to leave German Village and head home. My husband’s big birthday gift this year was a new television that he has been wanting for a while so we ended this perfect day on the couch watching Netflix on his new tv.

It was a great day with great people. Our daughter is a trooper. She genuinely loves to be a part of our Date Jar activities. As parents, we find “dating with our daughter” to be rewarding and so much fun, and wouldn’t have it any other way. I must say that my husband also did a pretty good job with this unplanned day of celebration. He’s such a great guy and deserves to have a fun and relaxing day.

Happy 27th, Babe 🙂