Four Year Anniversary + First Home Feels <3

Four years!!

Two days ago we celebrated our four year wedding anniversary, and I couldn’t let the day pass without writing a quick few words about how extra special our celebration is this year. If you would have asked me on our wedding day, if we would have a child four years later, I would have said the likelihood was 99%. If you would have asked me if we would be homeowners here in the Bay Area; I would have said, “you’re crazy!!” and that there was a <1% chance of that happening.

Well, here we are four years later, with our son Gio, who’s almost 18 months; and we just bought our first home. (cue: surprised emoji)

99% of me is really excited for this next step. I can’t wait to share this home with our family and friends, and finally be able to host our parents comfortably…without them sleeping on a couch or blow up mattress.

I can’t wait to host holidays. The most important piece of furniture to me was buying  a dining room table that could extend to fit our whole family.

I also can’t wait to watch Gio grow up in this house. He is going to have so much fun exploring the yard and playing in the play house…and helping me pick our produce (or maybe just eating it, haha). The previous homeowners left artichoke bushes, apple trees, blueberry bushes, avocado trees, and some other kind of fruit tree in the yard! It truly feels like the quintessential California home.

Moving somewhere new means leaving the street we’ve called “home” for almost 5 years.  Previous to living in our current apartment, we lived right down the street in a one  bedroom, until I found out I was pregnant. You can read about that move here.

This block has been my comfort zone for the past 5 years. I walked this neighborhood many, many times ….from nightly walks with Kendrick, to daytime runs, to slow waddles when I was pregnant, to our first family walk postpartum, to numerous stroller walks/naps when Gio was a couple months old, to wagon rides after he turned one, to walking with him beside me now…. how things have CHANGED.

Oh how I’ve loved this neighborhood; it will always be where Gio first grew up. We’ve made so many good friends, and although we won’t be moving far, it still is sad we won’t be within walking distance anymore.

Tonight will be our last night in our apartment…and I’m feeling all the FEELS. I remember when we first moved here two years ago, and how strange that first night felt. I told Kendrick, “what are we doing?? Let’s move back!” And he said, “You know we can’t do that. We have to move forward now.”

Words of wisdom from my husband that speak so much truth about life. We must continue moving forward. Growth happens when we pass through the uncomfortable. It’s temporary. It doesn’t last forever. And I’ve found some of the best things in life came from me making a decision to be uncomfortable.

 

SO, here’s to NEW beginnings. TO moving forward. And to having a place called HOME.

IMG_2297

Advertisements

Donut Grow Up – Gio’s 1st Birthday

 

Well, here we are. ONE year old!

As I write this, I remember at this time last year, I was in the hospital waiting for my contractions to start. I was admitted to the hospital on December 5, because my water broke at home, but Gio wasn’t born until 7:45 pm on December 6. You can read more about Gio’s birth story here.

I intentionally planned to celebrate Gio’s birthday early because we chose to have him dedicated at our church the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Both of our parents were planning to be in town, so I thought why not lump the celebrations together and do one, BIG joint celebration!

Donuts have always had a loving place in both my husband and I’s heart. After moving to the west coast, it became a silly obsession of ours to always get Dunkin Donuts when we traveled back east (they don’t have any where we live!). Especially when my sister and brother in law were living in Boston, there was practically a Dunkin Donuts every corner! Kendrick and I are able to buy the French vanilla coffee (our favorite) at our local grocery store, but as for donuts, we had to drive to Half Moon Bay (40+ minutes away) to satisfy our craving.

That is until we discovered an amazing donut shop within walking distance from our house (dangerous!) called Donut Delite. I feel like I’m cheating on DD by saying this, but their glaze donuts are seriously heavenly. (And better than DD in my humble opinion). SO, all that to say, when I came across the donut 1st birthday theme on Pinterest, I knew I had found a winner.

A lot of my inspiration came from a fellow blogger who executed the same birthday party theme for her son earlier this year. Unlike many other donut party pictures I saw, where there was a lot of pink, purple, inflatable donuts, and other brightly colored tableware and decor; the way Julie did it was simple, not overdone, age appropriate, with just the right pop of color. Take a look at her party here.

The donut printables and favor tags were available for FREE on Julie’s site. She had also linked to the donut balloons on Amazon, and other party decor she used.

I ended up making a lot of the decor myself, since I had the time and wanted to save money. I bought a 1 inch round paper punch, and punched out confetti for the tables, and also used it to punch holes in the paper donuts I made. I made Gio’s “ONE” banner for his highchair, and bought the white tassel banner at Target. I’ll link to all the decor throughout this post.

It was a lot of work pulling everything together, and I couldn’t have done it without my amazing family – my mother and sister in law have impeccable taste and stellar decorating skills, so they really helped pull my vision together. My mom and sister did a lot of the work behind the scenes with all the food prep and plating, and clean up after the event. It takes a village, right??

IMG_0931

We served fruit skewers with strawberries, pineapple, and donut holes on the ends. OF course I had to serve bagels too since they went with the “donut shaped” food theme. And the beloved glaze donuts.

DONUT GROW UP gold banner: Etsy

White donut balloons: Amazon 

IMG_0932

IMG_0933

IMG_0864

IMG_0937

IMG_0938

I also made homemade “donuts” that were egg-free since I have a friend with an egg allergy. Also, I knew not everyone likes donuts so I wanted there to be something for everyone.

I bought Pumpkin Bread mix from Trader Joe’s, and subbed flax seed for the egg, and baked them in my donut pan. I rolled them in cinnamon sugar after they cooled and they were the perfect treat! I also made banana bread “donuts” and just followed a banana bread recipe and baked them in the donut pan, and topped with powdered sugar.

Favors for the kids were:

“Donut Dough” (Play Doh) & “Donut seeds” aka fruity Cheerios.

IMG_0936“Donut Forget Me” tags

IMG_0862

Guest Book: “If You Give a Dog a Donut”. I had family and friends sign this book to have as a sweet momento.

IMG_0856

A friend let me borrow her IKEA highchair and Happy Birthday banner.

White tassel garland: Target 

IMG_0861.JPG

Baby entertainment area 😉

IMG_E0928

IMG_0946

IMG_0146

IMG_0217

IMG_0945

IMG_0925

IMG_0926

This donut smash was the best idea ever! SO much easier (and cleaner) than a smash cake but just as fun!

IMG_0183

Gio’s Donut Smash

Gio at One Year:

  • I have 6 teeth (4 top, 2 bottom)
  • I weigh 24 lbs 1.6 oz; and I am 2 feet 8 inches tall.
  • My favorite foods are: avocado, eggs, strawberries, oranges, pasta with pesto, bagels and cream cheese; but I’ll pretty much eat anything that’s put in front of me.
  • My favorite book is: The Five Little Monkeys
  • I love swinging and playing at the playground; especially crawling through the tunnel and holding onto the big wheel
  • I love cats and dogs (especially my dog cousin Chico and my friend Michael’s cat Sammie)
  • I also love big stuffed animals, like Michael’s stuffed animal whale and penguin- I like to crawl on top of them and tackle them
  • I do this ‘happy dance’ with my hands and open my mouth wide when I’m excited about something
  • I love to hang out with mommy and play peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek with her
  • I also love to crawl on top of her and grab her hair and “wrestle”
  • I like pulling all my books off my bookshelf
  • I love anything that has buttons…especially my sound machine, the laz-e-boy recliner couch, my humidifier, and the remote control
  • I love being outside
  • I get really excited looking at fans
  • I laugh really hard when Mommy crawls on the ground
  • I laugh when I hear the sounds, “zoom”; “boom”; “boo”; “moo”; and the word “fire”
  • I like to laugh at mommy when she does push-ups, burpees, or the “cat-cow” yoga pose

 

Gio on car 2

I love my new ride-on Mercedes and can’t wait to take it for a spin 😉

Thanks Mommy and Daddy, I love you!

 

 

We love you too sweet GIO! HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY!

 

Giovanni: 10 Months

Hi friends,

Wow my little baby is 10 months! My last monthly update was when he was 4 months…and I don’t nearly have the time to catch you up on everything since then; but, I would like to share what’s been happening recently.

Gio learned to crawl! It started out as a scoot/belly crawl at the beginning of September, and moved in to a full on crawl on all fours. Now it seems like he can get across our little apartment in under a minute (CUE: SHOCK FACE). Heaven help me when the boy starts walking…thank goodness we live in California where the weather is pretty much perfect everyday; I have a feeling we’ll be spending a lot of time outside!

Gio also learned to pull up this month. It just happened in the past week actually, and all he wants to do is grab things at a height and pull them down, especially the remote control. If he eyes that thing, he is SO determined to get it that he’ll risk being thrown off balance; resulting in some bumps to the head.

We had to put up a baby gate/superyard, and the same day I was going to order one from Amazon, a mom in one of my Facebook groups posted one for FREE. ((I had no idea that baby gates can cost over $100!!)) Not really a fun purchase to make, so I was stoked I could get it second hand.

Some of the highlights this month also included a trip to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles mid-september. The last time we were in Southern California was in April (right after Gio turned 4 months), so I was excited to go back and make new memories in our favorite place … more on that in another post. 😉

Although some things have gotten easier when traveling, like not having to stop as much to breastfeed or change his diaper, it has also gotten harder because he’s now growing and moving and doesn’t like to sit STILL! He really doesn’t like his car seat and 50% of the time will make a fuss when I put him in it. We lucked out on the drive down and I was able to sit up front with Kendrick while Gio napped a bit and entertained himself for the most part. We also broke out “The Wiggles” Nursery Rhymes video on YouTube when we needed to…on vacation anything goes!

Another fun part of Gio growing up is having him join us at the table when we go out to eat. He looks so cute and grown up sitting there in the high chair. Let me tell you, the kid LOVES to eat. Like father, like son. He pretty much will eat anything I give him; correction, he WILL eat anything I give him. We ordered him a side of broccoli when we went to lunch in Santa Barbara, and he gobbled it up. He also had his first taste of pao de queijo (gluten free Brazilian cheese bread). If you’ve been a loyal follower, one of my very first posts I shared with you that I made Kendrick a homemade Brazilian dinner – complete with pao de queijo! Read more here) .

I want to write a separate post on our trip to Santa Barbara, but in case I forget, I HAVE to share with you our most favorite restaurant we discovered. It’s called the Brasil Arts Cafe, and of course, the menu offers a variety of authentic, Brazilian food AND smoothies, acai bowls, salads, and some typical American fare. We loved it so much we ended up going THREE times while we were there.

Anyway, this past month has been so much fun and each week with Gio is a blessing that I never take for granted.

Some other highlights:

  • He transitioned from 3 naps, to 2 naps. On a good day, he’ll take an hour and 15 minute nap in the morning, and an hour and a half nap in the afternoon. (HALLELUJAH!)
  • He loves to play peek-a-boo with me and always laughs when I hide and ask him, “where’s Mommy??” and then pop out and exclaim, “There she IS!” …haha gets him every time 🙂
  • He started saying, “dada” and it’s his only recognizable word…although he doesn’t say it exclusively to Kendrick, so he has no concept of the meaning yet
  • He signed “milk” for the first time while we were on vacation. Every evening I give him a bath before bed, put on his pajamas and sleep sack, and then breastfeed him before bed. As I was putting on his sleep sack he signed “milk” because that’s always what he gets before bed. (YAY GIO!)
  • He laughs at the words “BOO” and “MOO”. A sure way to get him to laugh is when I demonstrate the “cat/cow” move like you do in yoga. He ALWAYS laughs when I add the sound effects while doing this.
  • He has always loved swinging at the park and is now able to play on the rest of the play structures…like crawling through the tunnel! We try to walk to the park/playground down the street every evening if we can. I like to get him tired out before bed 😉

 

Oh Gio, I love you so much!!

IMG_9089

IMG_9115

IMG_9207

IMG_9226

That smile can brighten any day!

IMG_9281

This is a picture of my husband Kendrick around Gio’s age…what a resemblance!!

Out to eat in Santa Barbara…eating pao de queijo and broccoli

IMG_9392

We stopped in a toy stop while in SB…and let Gio test drive this car 😉 maybe he’ll get it for his 1st birthday…

Gio’s first trip to the zoo!

IMG_9445

Daddy’s mini me ❤

IMG_9448

IMG_9507

IMG_9556

IMG_9683

IMG_9687