Leah’s Two Year Old Photo Shoot

So, I know Leah’s birthday was a good two weeks ago, but we just hadn’t gotten around to taking her “official” two year old photos until this past weekend. I had a vision in mind of exactly what I was hoping to do and how I wanted them to turn out and, overall, I’m happy with what Brett was able to get! We kind of threw in the photo shoot right before lunch (and therefore, right before nap) so we figured we wouldn’t have too long of a time slot before our model got grumpy, which turned out to be the case. She loved her balloons, then hated them. She loved her bracelets, then hated them. She loved her crown…..Welcome to being 2!! At the end of the brief 20 minute shoot, when I could tell that she had had enough, I asked her if she wanted to take some pictures with Lucy and she responded with an overwhelming, “YES!” This girl LOVES her puppy and as soon as we set Lucy up in the shot, Leah had her in her typical choke hold hug, ready with beaming smiles for the camera. And of course those pictures turned out to be some of my favorites! It’s so special that we will have these pictures to look back on when Lucy and Leah are both grown, to show her the start of her love for her dog. 🙂 So with that, here are some of my favorite pictures!


We sure do love this big, beautiful, spunky two year old of ours!!


Happy 2nd Birthday, Leah Grace!!

Saturday was the big day! My baby turned two and is officially a baby no longer. I mean, I know that technically she hasn’t been a baby for awhile now, but, when you can still say that you have a one year old, there’s still a “I have a baby” sound to that. But a two year old? A two year old puts you firmly into the “I’ve got a toddler phase.” And there’s just a little bit of heartache that comes with that!

So, in honor of Leah’s big day I hear by give you a play-by-play of Leah’s 2nd birthday!! (Also known as, how a 2 year old refuses to stick to your perfect plan for the day….)

Friday Night
After a fun date night we come home and decorate the dining room with a bunch of Minnie Mouse decorations I picked up at Party City earlier this week. Leah is all about Minnie (and Mickey) these days, so I’m envisioning squeals of utter delight as she happily gazes upon her mother’s hard work. I’m excited.

Saturday Morning-6:45 am:
We wake to the sound of Leah calling for “daaaa-DDDY!” and Lucy whining from her crate. Apparently neither one of them wanted to sleep in. Or maybe Leah was just too excited for her big day? Who knows. Brett and I usually play the “who is going to get out out of bed first” game when it comes to getting Leah on a weekend morning, but today we both bound out of bed to go wish our girl a happy birthday. Brett goes out into the kitchen so he can see Leah’s reaction when she sees the dining room decorations for the first time. I may be a BIT too over-enthusiastic for 6:45 am (Leah is NOT a morning person) and, upon seeing the birthday decor and hearing her mother’s (way too loud) excited squeals of glee, Leah gives the room a half hearted glance and buries her head in my neck.

7 am:
Although we decided on a special birthday waffles, Leah insists on her daily Cheerios first thing. This girl likes her routine.

The smile starts to come on her face, especially when she sees her special birthday princess crown!! Mommy makes the waffles while daddy takes out Lucy. I pour the batter into the waffle iron and wonder to myself why the mix looked a little funny….5 minutes later when I go to take the waffle out, I sigh when I realize that the “waffle” is as flat as a pancake and as hard as a rock. Brett points out that I forgot the egg. Whoops. Blame the pregnancy brain? Or the fact that it’s too early to think on a Saturday morning. Brett takes over, waffle making round 2.

9 am:
We start getting ready for Leah’s big birthday adventure at the splash park! This place is very cool, but we actually haven’t made it inside in the 3 1/2 years we’ve lived here. So we figured Leah’s 2nd birthday would be the perfect time to try it out! We get our suits on and Leah follows me around asking “Pool? Let’s go!!” while I try and ready our packed lunch. 

9:30 am-1:30 pm:
We get inside the park! One of the perks to being up at 6:45 am is that we are pretty much the first family to arrive as the splash park doors open at 9:30 am. Leah takes it all in and I can tell that she is excited, but cautious. This kids is the definition of “slow to warm” so I know it’s going to be an ordeal, inching into the water bit by bit, before she finally gives in and realizes how awesome this place is.

Luckily, it doesn’t take long before she jumps right in and is soon running between the smaller kiddie pool and the much larger “big kid” section. At first Brett and I both stay with her, walking from section to section, but it’s hot and I’m pregnant, and it gets (let’s be honest) a little boring so we quickly resolve to the old switch off and one of us lounges in the shade while the other runs after the little swimmer before switching off. Also, tangent side note, only in south FL do you see moms of young children at the splash park in THONGS. Seriously ladies…not okay.

We have a blast (that water slide above really was fast and a lot of fun!! Leah remained unsure, but mommy loved it…) and it’s apparent around 1:30 that the birthday girl is more than ready for a nap. We drag a crying, hot, exhausted child from the park.

2-4 pm:
After a super quick bath Leah is down for a long, much needed birthday nap. Mommy’s quick to follow.

4 pm:
Leah wakes up in an excellent birthday mood. (Said sarcastically) She decides that pants are the devil and that no one is allowed to touch her, but mommy. Whenever I remind her that she needs to be polite she snarkily responds with a “MY birthday!” as if this excuses her from all rude behavior. And, in a 2 year old’s mind, I guess it does. We quickly decide that a pants-less viewing of her favorite Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is in order.

That decision quickly earned a smile.

5-9 pm:
Party time!! I get Leah’s favorite pizza for dinner, only to be told by the birthday girl that pizza is poison and that she would only like yogurt for dinner, thank you very much. Oooookay, when it’s your birthday, why not?

After dinner we opened presents via Skype with both sets of grandparents and my sister and her family. It cracks me up that this kid will never know anything different than the power of video chat. It amazes me that we have the capability of having her grandparents, some 15 hours away, watch her open her birthday gifts. And Leah LOVED it, so it was super fun to watch her open the gift, kiss whoever was on the screen before excitedly exclaiming, “What’s next?!”

^^The winning gift of the day: Her new baby from my sister and family. Like I’ve said, Leah LOVES babies and this one came with 2 bottles, baby food, a bib and a binkie! What more can you want!? It’s safe to say that this baby has not been without Leah (day and night) since she was opened.

^^”I Two!”

We had her open her last gift after cake since I knew she would want to watch it right away. As she gets older, I’m excited to start her classic Disney collection so we started it off with The Little Mermaid. Leah was THRILLED to see Ariel as she opened the gift and we ended the night with a cozy family snuggle on the couch (with baby too, of course) to watch The Little Mermaid!

And with that, our day was brought to a close. It might not have gone as perfectly planned as I would have liked, but all in all, it was a great day to celebrate 2 years with this amazing girl. Happy Birthday, Leah Grace! Mommy and Daddy love you to the moon and back!

In which I cried and took way too many pictures of Leah eating cookies…

So Saturday was the big day; my baby turned TWO! But backing up a little ways to Friday……

Two years ago on Friday, I was laboring away in the hospital debating whether or not to get an epidural (spoiler alert, I did). At that point I totally expected to give birth at some point during the late afternoon or evening and if someone had told me that I still had over 10 hours left of labor, and that I wouldn’t give birth until the next DAY, I would have punched them in the face. But, 19 hours of labor or not, that sweet girl pictured up there was worth every second of pain because she has brought me nothing but joy over the course of the last 2 years. She is my best little girl friend, my mini me (more in personality than looks) and my heart.

Although her BIG DAY was on Saturday, her teacher offered to do a little school celebration on Friday, which I obviously was all for. We are lucky to have Leah in the sweetest church half day program and her teacher really is the greatest. I know so many school these days have such strict restrictions on what you can and cannot bring in for treats (no glucose, no homemade, no sugar…I’ve heard the list go on and on) but we are lucky to have Leah in a very chill program that, not only allows me to bring in yummy homemade birthday treats, but also allows (and encourages!) me to come in for the birthday snack time celebration where I turned into a full on emotionally charged crazy lady, crying and snapping a million and one pictures of my daughter sitting at the snack table eating a cookie. And yet her compassionate teacher just smiled and said how glad she was that I could stop in.

Leah’s First Birthday Party!

IMG_0098 IMG_0123 IMG_0069 IMG_0119 IMG_0124We had Leah’s first birthday party last weekend and it was a fun family and friend affair. We kept it small, keeping to around 13 people at our house. We’re all about casual over here so there was no big theme, no extravagant decorations, just a few balloons, a display of some of my favorite printed Instagram photos of Leah from her first year (ordered from the excellent company Origrami!) a chocolate fountain with treats and a delicious homemade rainbow cake with butter cream frosting.  I thought Leah would be quiet and shy and would cling to her mommy with all these people around, but boy was I wrong! This girl loved being the star of the show, letting everyone pass her around, smiling and giggling, and playing with her best baby girl friend. She wasn’t too interested in the cake (she just wanted the icing and a few bites of mommy’s piece) but she was very interested in all the fun new presents she received! We are so lucky that we have so many amazing family members and friends who love our little girl and were more than excited to celebrate her first year of life with us. It was definitely the perfect day to celebrate our perfect baby girl!

12 Months

Dear Leah Grace,

Happy first birthday!! I cannot believe that you are a year already. This has been the fastest, but also the happiest year, of me and daddy’s life. You have been such a blessing to us, sweet baby girl, and we feel so lucky to have you as our daughter.
This month has been an eventful one for you, our big one year old! You are talking up a storm (“All done!” “Buh-bye” “mama” “dada” and “hi” are still your favorite words/phrases, but you’ve added a few new ones this month too!) and you babble and laugh non-stop. Our favorite new trick of yours is your love of tickling yourself and others, complete with the cutest little “tickle, tickle!” noise I have ever heard! Although you are not walking on your own yet, I know you could do it if you really wanted to. You walk so steadily, holding on to just one of me or daddy’s fingers, and I know that as soon as you have the confidence to take off on your own you will do so without looking back. No hurry, for now we are still enjoying this phase of life when you aren’t always running away from us!
You had your 12 month appointment yesterday and you did so well with your finger prick and shots! I hate hearing you cry, but you recover pretty quickly once you are back in mommy’s arms. You weigh 21 lbs and 15 ozs and you are 30 1/4 inches tall. That puts you in the 70th percentile for weight and the 80th percentile for height. We have a feeling that you will be tall, just like mommy when you grow up! We finally switched you to a new big girl car seat because you were way too tall for your infant seat and you are loving your comfy new ride!
You had a lot of friends and family at your first birthday party last weekend and Grandma Becker, Aunt Lauren and Grandma and Grandpa Buckel all stayed at the house for a little while to spoil and love on you! You are such a lucky girl to have such wonderful family and friends that loves you so much!
Your favorite activity is still going to the beach and playing in the sand and the water. You are such a good little Florida water baby, which is good because we plan spending a lot of time in the water with you! Your favorite food is ANY type of fruit, but you can especially eat cantaloupe and bananas all day, every day. Good luck trying to get you to eat any veggie other than green beans and corn though! You are stubborn, stubborn and you definitely know what you like and dislike!
We love you so incredibly much, our Leah Grace. Thank you for giving us the amazing honor of being your parents. We look forward to spending many more wonderful years with you, sweet girl!
Happy, happy birthday!
Mommy and Daddy

Yet another island birthday


Homemade birthday cinnamon rolls


Birthday boy and babe.

photo8Image photo7 photo6 photo5 photo4 photo3IMG_0047 IMG_0046 IMG_0042IMG_0064 IMG_0062 IMG_0055 IMG_0054IMG_0058I am so behind with my blogging and I’ve been wanting to share pics from our island birthday weekend where we celebrated hub’s 26th birthday! I could never say enough about this amazing man I married. And watching him as a father these past 8 months? Well, it’s just made me fall even more in love with him and develop a greater appreciation for his devotion to his family. I don’t know what we would ever do without him!

We had a wonderful weekend up on “our island.” We started Brett’s birthday celebration the night before his actual birthday (which was on Saturday) with ice cream cake. When we got to the island on Friday night I ran to the grocery store to get a few provisions for the weekend, which included an ice cream cake for hub’s bday the next day. Except that evening, after dinner, Brett decided that we might as well start the celebration off early with some ice cream cake since “otherwise we wouldn’t have any dessert..” Such a smartie, that one. Saturday morning dawned nice and early for me (sadly, Leah does not seem to grasp the concept of a weekend and was up at 6:30 am happy and ready to start the day). I quietly snuck out of the room to get started on Brett’s bday breakfast meal of choice, homemade cinnamon rolls, figuring I would give the birthday boy the gift of sleeping in on a Saturday. Unfortunately he was up not even 30 minutes after I left. Oh the joys of parenthood! Our 1 year ago selves wouldn’t even recognize these people, up at 7 am on a Saturday!!

The rest of the weekend was filled with the joys of the island; lounging by the pool, visiting the farmer’s market, going for family walks, swimming with the babe….perfection. The condo’s hot tub was off all weekend, resulting in a nice, perfectly temperatured baby pool for Leah and daddy to swim in. This little Florida babe is a beach bum in the making. She can not get enough of the sand, the water, and being outside. She would have swam for hours if it wasn’t for silly mommy forgetting her sunhat at home. Even though I slathered her head with sunscreen I was still afraid to leave her outside in the pool for too long!

Overall, a perfect celebration of me and Leah’s favorite man. Happy (late) birthday Brett!! Your girls love you so much!

Just some weekend happenings.

ImageThere’s been some baby mohawk making around here these days. Miss bald baby is finally spouting some fluffy blonde hairs, perfect for spiking up high when she gets out of the tub. She thinks she looks pretty hip.
ImageIn other news, hubs and I spent some time at an outdoor Garlic Fest this weekend. While everyone up north is currently buried under 3 or more feet of snow, down here in South Florida it’s hot and sunny as usual. Although, I did hear that next weekend we may possibly get a cold front resulting in Saturday’s temps not getting out of the 50’s. The 50’s!! We might actually have to wear sweatshirts!! Now that’s just crazy talk. But back to Garlic Fest. Garlic fries, garlic paninis, garlic ice cream (seriously, although I didn’t have the guts to try it…) what’s not to love? It’s safe to say our breath smelled delicious all day. And Leah briefly enjoyed hanging out with her main man Bradley. She tried to whack him in the head multiple times with mommy’s water bottle top, which we all know means “I love you” in baby language.
photoWalking around, Leah made sure to pass her smile around to everyone who looked at her. I swear this kid tried to make eye contact at anyone and everyone passing by, just so she could gift them with her dazzling grin. Such a sweetheart.

Tomorrow I’ll be ringing in my 27th year with work in the morning followed by an afternoon spent with baby girl and dinner with hub’s family at the Cheesecake Factory. Since I will be most definitely enjoying cheesecake tomorrow on my actual birthday, hubs made me a delicious ice cream cake tonight as an early celebration.
IMG_1861 IMG_1864 IMG_1867 IMG_1872Hope your weekend was great!