Friday, July 24, 2009

Caitlin is 6!

6 years and about 7 hours ago, I became a mommy for the 1st time. Time certainly has flown by! I cannot believe that my "baby" is 6 years old today.

I will write a memoir later on, but I just want to say:

Happy 6th Birthday Princess Caitie!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cara's Totally Sweet Birthday

We took Cara out to celebrate her 3rd birthday yesterday. We began with lunch at one of the girls' favorite places, Applebee's. Cara had a grilled cheese sandwich with applesauce and when she finished, our waitress brought out a celebratory scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for Cara. As you can see, she enjoyed the lunch, but especially the ice cream!

Afterward, we wanted to treat her to a very special cupcake. Awhile back, I happened across the website for Lovely Confections in Denver. They are a local shop that specializes in organic cupcakes (and cakes). We found the shop located "on the Fax", walked in and received a very warm greeting from the store owner and employees. Cara picked a chocolate cupcake with vanilla bean butter cream icing, I had a red velvet cupcake with the same icing and Caitlin had a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing (Ben helped Cara with her cupcake and had a few bites of mine). The cupcakes were AMAZING! Rich, moist and full of flavor. The icing was definitely a favorite all around, which they put on right in front of us and the cupcakes were still warm from the oven! If you are in the Denver area, a Lovely Confection cupcake is a must!

We wrapped up the day by heading to our good friends' house to socialize, let the kids play and so that Ben could troubleshoot a computer problem. We rolled into bed rather late, but had a wonderful day, and no doubt, Cara did too!

Friday, July 17, 2009

3 Years Ago

Three years ago, we went from being a family of 3 to a family of 4.
Three years ago, I became the mother of TWO of the cutest little girls ever.
Three years ago, I realized it was possible to love the 2nd child just as much as the 1st.
Three years ago, I held a 6 pound, 6 ounce peanut in my arms.

Fast forward to today. Our youngest daughter is THREE years old! I cannot believe how quickly time has gone by. It is amazing to look back and see how much has happened in the short span of 12 months. Running, jumping, coloring, panting, walking up steps, making animal sounds, discovering her imagination, learning to love books, dancing, vocalizing, using a big girl swing...all of these wonderful things (and many more) have happened this year.

One of our favorite things has been watching Cara grow and mature & watching her personality develop. She is such of a sweet, caring, smart and rambunctious little girl.

This is Cara, as we've come to know & love her--
She loves to run to you, full force, and embrace you in a hug with surprising strength. She is a diva at heart and longs to be bedecked in necklaces, bracelets and fancy dresses. She adores playing outside and exploring nature (which includes picking things off of trees & bushes). She has an obsession with balloons (the movie Up was a hit) and Elmo. She would drink nothing but milk with a squirt of chocolate syrup if we had access to a cow with an unending milk supply. She loves to be a big girl by "vacuuming", putting her dishes away and washing her hands. She is a momma at heart and hates to see people upset or crying. She still realizes the importance of naps and will put herself down for one if she's tired. She would rather have a pile of books than a toy box full of toys (a girl after her mother's heart). She knows how to wrap you around her little finger with her adorable smile, but watch out, she often has a mischievous glint in her eye! She understands the wonders and miracles of the world and delights in experiencing and discovering them--every day is something new.

We are greatly looking forward to what this year brings as Cara enters the world of preschool. We are excited for the friends that she'll make and the things that she'll learn. It's hard to believe that she's THREE, but oh my, she's come so far! May the future be bright & happy for her.

HAPPY 3RD BIRTHDAY Cara, we love you, always!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Cara mastered the art of jumping on Monday! She finally learned how to get both of her feet off of the ground at the same time. Those that know her story, know how long this has been in the making--lots and lots of physical therapy. We are SO proud of her!

I have noticed a trend though, that Cara seems to accomplish a big gross motor skill just before she has a birthday. Last year, it was walking and this year, it's jumping!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Just a bit of Denver (LoDo) pride

I was just made aware that Denver's LoDo was ranked America's 10th most walkable city! I couldn't agree more except that I think it should be ranked higher. Our family loves to walk downtown and we always feel safe doing so. We love the selection of stores & boutiques, cafes, restaurants, museums, libraries and parks that this diverse district has to offer. I'm so psyched and appreciative to live close to a walkable city. Check the article to see if your city made the list.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Great Cake Debate--Solved

There has been an on-going debate--err, discussion--going on between myself & the soon-to-be 6 year old member of the family. This discussion has focused on birthday cakes for the upcoming celebration. Originally, Caitlin wanted the theme to be polka dots & balloons (polka dots for her, balloons for Cara) which I thought was cute. Caitlin also voiced a preference for an ice cream cake. I began looking around and found the cutest polka dot ice cream cake at Baskin Robbins. Problem is, those things aren't cheap, even with a $3 off birthday coupon. So, I approached Caitlin with the idea that she & Cara could share the cake--we'd write both names on the cake--but each girl would get a cupcake with the appropriate number candle to blow out. Sharing the cake was a total deal breaker apparently. Why I decided to let my child run the show, I'll never know--I guess I'm a softie when it comes to allowing her to make her birthday her special day. Since we seemed to be at a stalemate, I decided to temporarily table the debate.
Fast forward a week or so to today. The party is now 10 days away, so having a game plan is becoming crucial. I was online, chatting with my mom and brainstorming other party details when I had a glorious vision. We could make our OWN cakes! What a totally marvelous and unique idea--not! When I mentioned it to Caitlin, she was so psyched and started thinking of how she would like to decorate her cake. So...I've decided to buy another round cake pan so that I can make each girl their own two layer cake and then we will go to Sweet Factory to get a variety of candies. I'm thinking round candies like M&Ms, Skittles, Necco wafers & candy buttons. A friend also told me that I can melt Starbursts to make colorful circles. I may get bold and try fondant for the 1st time too, since it gives a much flatter surface to decorate on. Can you tell that I'm excited?! It is my sincere hope that this will be both a fun & cost-saving alternative to purchasing bakery cakes. I will do a test run on both the cake & icing before the big day to work out any creative difficulties.
All in all, I'm excited to see how the cakes turn out! One debate solved and one cake crisis adverted!

It is my hope that the cake will look something like this when finished. At least in terms of being colorful...I don't know if I have to artistic ability to pull off the rest!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Celebrating Freedom

Happy 4th of July all of our family & friends. Go out, celebrate our freedom, be with friends & family, and be safe!

We are headed to my brother & sister-in-law's new place west of Denver for a BBQ and good times. Following dinner, we will trek to Golden, CO for their 4th of July celebration & fireworks.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Bargain Hunting

One of the things that I try so hard to do, being a SAHM, is to make Ben's hard-earned income go as far as possible. This means clipping coupons, watching sale ads, buying generic, finding cheap and free activities for the girls and for our family to do and...bargain hunting for clothing.

Cara is usually pretty set because I have, thankfully, saved hand-me-downs from Caitlin and, double thankfully, she was very nice to her clothes. I do try to get her a few brand-new outfits, just to balance things out. Unfortunately, it is harder for Caitlin as I do not have anyone to bless me with some gently-used (and free) hand-me-downs, so I have to work harder to find deals.

I have to admit, I struck gold in this past week thanks to a referral from one of my best buddies to a children's resale shop called Tumbleweeds. If you live in the Aurora/Parker area, you must visit this shop. The owner only sells name brand (think Children's Place, Gymboree), high-quality & gentle used clothing. Before this experience, I haven't had much luck finding a decent selection of used clothes for Caitlin. It seems that kids wear out their clothing before it makes to the resale shop. At Tumbleweeds though, the owner had several adorable outfits with the promise of more to come in a few weeks. I really had to restrain myself and to stick to my budget. I could've easily spent $100 in there! I am proud of my end result though, and the outfits I chose received two thumbs up from Caitlin. Here are my great steals:

L to R:
-Outfit one is from Gymboree and when I looked online, a similar outfit would go for over $40 in the store, I paid $15.99 for both pieces.

-Two long sleeved shirts, one from Gymboree and the other is a Macy's brand. $5/each. The top shirt retails for $12.99 @ Gymboree.

-Outfit two's top is from JCPenney and would sell for about $12 and the skirt is from Gymboree. I found one very similar online and it was $28. I paid $5 for the top and $9 for the skirt.

++My grand total for these outfits *drumroll*--$40+tax plus a $6 credit to use the next time I shop there!++

Earlier this week, a Freecycler posted an offer for girls size 7-10 clothes. Somehow, the stars were aligned in my favor, because I was the first responder and got a great lot of clothes. On top of all of this, the woman said that she would call me if she found anymore clothes. Here is what I received:

Three pairs of jeans, a pair of brown lounge/yoga pants, a pair of brown cords, two summer t-shirts, two pairs of shorts, a pair of pajama pants, three pairs of capris, a pair of pink yoga pants and a black velvet skirt (not pictured).

Now, I will just have to watch sales to get a few more outfits and pieces to complete outfits that we already have as well as under garments. I'm keeping my eye out for Kohl's and Old Navy ads, two of our favorite places to go to for back-to-school shopping.

Some Monkeying Around

Last week, at the conclusion of Bible Sports Camp (I tried to post some video, but my file's too large) for Caitlin, we met up with some good friends at Little Monkey Bizness to let the kids romp around and burn off energy. It also gave me a chance to catch up with one of my bestest buddies and sneak over to a wonderful children's resale shop where I scored some adorable fall outfits for Caitlin. Little Monkey Bizness is so neat. For a very modest price, kids 2-6 can climb on play structures, go down slides, bounce in a bounce house, swing on a disc swing, play dress up and even make artistic masterpieces. For the adult set, there's coffee bar with drinks and snacks as well as a cafe seating area in full view of the kids playing. It was so nice! I hope that we can go back again this summer, especially as our high temperatures creep up into the 90's.


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