Max’s 2nd Birthday Party

It was a perfect day.  There was not a cloud in the sky and it was 75 degrees.  I was hoping all week for weather like this.  Max started his birthday off with a cinnamon roll breakfast, playing with his birthday present from us, a basketball hoop, and then not napping.  Because that’s his favorite thing to not do these days.Birthday_01Of course getting everything ready and set up was down to the very last minute.  Thankfully my brother, Cameron, and his girlfriend, Courtney, came over early to help me out and OHMYGOD they were the best.  They win the prize.  Birthday_07For the party I wanted blue and green and alligators.  I found this great shop on Etsy, Design {on} Paper, where there are pre-made invites and all you have to do is provide a photo and the information and BAM! you have a super awesome invitation ready to print.  Along with the invite I ordered the party kit which came with a happy birthday banner and all kinds of little cutouts (which I didn’t get to use many of because of time and certain things not panning out like I had hoped.  Oh well!).  I printed up all 24 of his monthly photos and had Courtney and Cameron string them together.  I covered the tables with brown wrapping paper from the dollar store and left crayons on them.  Birthday_08Of course I wanted some nice photos of Max in his little bow tie I made before he got filthy and covered with food.  But sadly this was the best I got.  I asked a friend to take some quick pics of us as a family and they didn’t come out great.  We had splotchy shadows all over our faces and in each photo someones face looks ridiculous.  (I made up for that on Easter though.)  I released Max to do what he wanted and we had a party!Birthday_05We also had an Easter egg hunt!  Where I’m pretty sure Max consumed more sugar than he ever has in his entire life.Birthday_03And of course there was cake.  My mom ordered the cake and I was very pleased with the way it came out.  Also, it was delicious.Birthday_02^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Birthday_04^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Birthday_06^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Birthday_09

Max is a very, very loved little boy.

This time around I realized I needed to do a few things differently:

1) I can’t do it all.  I want to, so badly, but I need help.

2) Hire a photographer.  Seriously.  I was too wound up to run around and take photos and all I wanted was a few nice photos of Max and our little family, and all the details and all the guests.  Ok, I want photos of EVERYTHING.  And I can’t do it on my own.

3) RELAX.  And have fun.

I think Max had a fabulous time.  There were so many friends to play with, and bubbles to pop and it really was a great afternoon.

Check out Max’s first birthday party here.  And check out his 24 month recap here.

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Summa Times: Arch Cape

Each year since Rob and I got married we’ve made a point to spend a few days at Arch Cape.

My mom’s friend and co-worker owns a house there and rents it out to us for a fabulous rate. The house is located about a 2 minute walk from the beach. The beach itself is never crowded and is sort of a dead end beach, meaning there’s a giant cliff wall that you can go around and explore when the tide is low. It’s perfect. And two years ago when Rob and I and a bunch of friends went there for a few days we named it Beach Club.Mom, me and Max drove down on Saturday afternoon and that evening Cameron, Jared, Brady, Jared’s girlfriend Timothy and her friend Sarah joined us. Rob had to work that night so he came on Sunday.Rob and Katie arrived Sunday afternoon and we all made our way straight to the beach where there was sandcastle building (and destroying on Max’s part) soccer ball tossing and general beach shenanigans. My favorite beach activity that day was to find dead washed up jellyfish and throw them at the boys. I threw one in Cameron’s face so he tackled me.When the tide was low enough we went around the cliff and explored the tide pools. Max was less than thrilled to be pulled away from them. But! He was so tired (NO NAPS ON VACATION MOM!) that when Rob carried him back wrapped up in my moms jacket, he fell asleep! In Rob’s arms! That never happens! You know what else never happens? Getting a decent family photo with a toddler.The children built a beach fire in the fire pit they dug, Max did baby beach yoga and I photographed it all. Then I went inside and watched Independence Day because why not? Also, Jeff Goldblum is a fox.

While I had a good time on this trip, I really felt the whole “vacationing with a baby is not a vacation” thing. Because it’s not. In fact, it’s more work to go on “vacation” than it is to stay home. I love my little Max but he sure doesn’t make traveling easy. I sort of missed our trip last year when he was just 5 months old. I especially missed our trip there just days before I found out I was pregnant two years ago.

I know doing things like traveling with him will get easier with time (right?) but it makes the present really difficult. Someone tell me this is true. It will get better right? All that aside, I really did have a good time. It was really nice to spend time with my little family (and extended family) in such a beautiful location.

Until next year, Beach Club.

Check out previous trips to Beach Club here (2009), here (2010), and here (2011)

Our Astoria Getaway

Last Thursday Rob and I packed up the kid (and the literal ton of things he would need for 3 days), dropped the dogs of with Rob’s folks and headed for the coast, where the temperature was going to be a nice 75 degrees as opposed to the 100+ degree weather Portland was having.

I had been eagerly anticipating this little trip of ours for a while.  Rob and I both needed this, to be alone together and not in our house where there seems to always be something going on.  But I was harboring my fears of being away from the comfort of our own home for Max’s sake.  The one and only other time we’ve traveled overnight with him was last summer, and it didn’t go very well as far as sleep.

I knew he would be fine otherwise, you know throughout the day and all.  But man, was I dreading bedtime.  And thankfully, I worried my silly little head for nothing because he did GREAT!  Our second day there he even took a solid 3 hour nap!  It was a vacation miracle!

Anyhoo.

Our time spent there consisted of blueberry picking and eating, naps, playing with cars and puzzles, throwing cars and puzzles, antique stores, May Flies, sunglasses, piano playing, corn on the cob, and an impromptu Elvis dance party.Thank you for a truly lovely visit, Christi and Greg!

Summa Times: Cannon Beach

It’s a known tradition that when Katrina visits we will go to the coast.  Both this trip and the last one the weather was beyond perfect.  The only difference between this trip and the last one was that Max loveloveloved it this time.  LOVED.Rob eased him into the sand, and then the water.  The kid was covered head to toe, all over his face and in his hair and mouth, in sand.  And he didn’t fuss once.In fact he assisted Katie in digging a hole (and by assist I mean maniacally laughing while throwing sand back in), because when you go to the beach someone has to dig a hole.And then someone has to get in it.We’ll call this one Beach Club 2012.

The First Weekend Away

My cousin/best friend/sister, Kristin called me a few weeks ago and said she would be in Eugene for a friends wedding.  She only had Friday through Sunday there which didn’t leave much time for her to come to Portland to visit us.  It was decided that I would be the family ambassador and go visit her.  Girls weekend!

This was my first time leaving Max for the weekend, or fully overnight for that matter.  I know, it’s kind of sad that it took this long to get away.  I had no hesitations about doing this.  Was I anxious, scared, sad to leave him?  Yes, yes, and yes.  But I wasn’t going to let that stop me.  This was something I needed to do for myself.

A few days before the trip my brother told me that he was working a wedding in Eugene that very same Saturday (not the same wedding, however).  So Friday morning Cameron and I hit the road for Eugene after Kristin called me in hysterics because she was minutes away from missing her flight due to long lines and incredibly rude check in clerks.  I’m side eyeing you, Allegiant!Cam and I got to the Eugene airport just in time to pick up our Kristin.  From there we decided to drive towards our hotel and find some lunch.  We introduced Kristin to 5 Guys and checked into the hotel.  We spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering around Downtown Eugene, in and out of antique shops and keeping cool under the trees.

This was the time where I realized that Eugene is like a really small, kind of boring town.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice place but I just didn’t see what it had to offer that Portland didn’t, besides U of O.

That evening Cam went and stayed at his friends place while Kristin and I went to the rehearsal dinner for her friends.  It was at this place called the Pizza Research Institute.  From what I gathered this place just makes up their own foodie (I really hate that word) type pizza with gourmet ingredients and bizarre combinations.  I broke my ‘no fruit on the pizza’ rule and went with the apple, pear, gouda and walnut.  And boy, it was gooooood.  I even tried their gluten free vegan cheese pizza too, also not bad.  There was a pizza with giant chunks of corn on the cob on it, artichoke hearts-you name it, they had it.

It was also at the Pizza Research Institute where I met and re-met Kristin’s friends.  All graduates of LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine.  They’re all veterinarians who have dispersed all over the country for work.  I spent the evening hearing stories about dogs and cats and the surgeries they needed and why they needed them, and all these words I didn’t understand.  My cousin even shared many photos of her patients before DURING and after surgeries.  Yeesh.  I retired to the hotel early to let myself rest so I could fully recover from the nasty cold I had.

The next morning we went to the Saturday Market and walked around, bought a few things, had lunch at the Rogue Brew Pub and went back to the hotel to veg out and et ready for the wedding.

At 5:20 two buses left the hotel to take all the guests to the wedding location, Sweet Cheeks Winery, about a 30-40 minute ride.  It was, of course, a beautiful ride, that unfortunately made a lot of us a little carsick.  But once we were there the views more than made up for that.  The evening was beautiful, as was the wedding itself.

It was really great to spend time with all of Kristin’s friends and get to know them each individually, but what was better was being able to spend time with Kristin.  She and I grew up together, spending nearly every day together after school and during the summer.  I’m so glad we’ve been able to keep our relationship so close after all these years.When I got home on Sunday, I felt super proud of myself and kind of a sense of relief.  Like a Phew, I did it type of thing.  I thought about Max and Rob every single minute I was gone, but I never cried.  And now that I know that I can do this and everyone will survive, I can’t wait to do it again.