Just Another Day on the Farm

Well, our backyard, anyway.  Harrison pretends it’s his farm A LOT.  The play set is his barn: the top is the hayloft, and the bottom is the stalls for the animals.  His wagon is his trailer.  It seemed fitting that Harrison wanted a farm theme for his fourth birthday.

Party planner, I am not, but I enjoy having family and friends over; especially, for a birthday celebration.  I had fun with this one.  My favorite thing may have been the invitations we used.  We ordered them from sunnysideprintparty on Etsy.  I was flabbergasted Harrison didn’t choose the green tractor.  Usually, if it’s not John Deere, it isn’t a tractor.


I ran all my ideas by the “boss” (a.k.a., Harrison) to make sure he actually liked everything. I didn’t want to have a birthday for him that wasn’t really for him.  He picked out the invitation from several choices I found.  I was good to myself and kept it simple this year.  Instead of a cake, I made cupcakes and put plastic farm animals on top. (Okay, full disclosure: I also made a tractor cake, but that was in a cake pan, and for his family celebration.) I didn’t put out a lot of food because the party was early afternoon. Just apples, oranges, and popcorn.  I made apple cider to drink.  See.  Simple.  I did learn that I should inform people they can eat the food when I make a display like this.  Apparently, people thought it looked nice and was just decoration.


DSC_0083We planned several activities to keep the children busy, and I really didn’t need to.  The weather was beautiful, so everyone pretty much played outside.  Nice to not have a lot of young children running around the house.





No one played "pin the wheel on the tractor", but David worked hard on it.

No one played “pin the wheel on the tractor”, but David worked hard on it.

The birthday boy had a great day, and I’m left feeling cliché.  Where did the time go?  How is my little baby already 4?! Le sigh.


photo 1

photo 2


Thanks to everyone who celebrated with us.  It was a wonderful celebration.

Guess Who’s 5?!

It’s not Harrison. Although, looking at the kid, you’d think he was almost 5. The way he tries to wheel and deal with us, you’d think he was a middle-aged used car salesman. Anyway..

It’s Truman!

The birthday boy.

This past Saturday was Truman’s 5th birthday (or, as we oddly tried to explain to Harrison, his 35th birthday in dog years. I don’t know why we go into those things with him). It was a rather laid-back affair, consisting of playing outside a lot and receiving a special treat.

There’s a great dog bakery (yes, I just said that) near the Whole Foods I frequent. They bake all the goods there, including their own dog food. I’ll be honest and admit it smelled yummy in there. I picked up a new toy for Truman, along with a special birthday treat. The bakery actually had cakes for dogs, but I didn’t feel that was necessary.

The "Bulldog Bar".

The funny thing was that Truman would take part of it and then run off to a far away location in the yard as if he were taking something he wasn’t supposed to be eating. I guess he knows we don’t usually put things out on a plate for him.

It’s hard to believe our Truman is already 5-years-old. They sure grow up fast (sniff, sniff).

The Big 0-2!

Harrison turned 2 last Wednesday, and we had a fun time celebrating. It was a little more fun (for him, anyway) this year since he could understand and appreciate what was going on. Tuesday night, David and I wrapped presents and decorated for the birthday boy. Nothing too elaborate. We put some balloons on the staircase leading downstairs and decorated his chair at the table with streamers and balloons. I thought about a birthday crown, but visions of him ripping it off last year kept me from it. Perhaps I will work on a cloth one, so it’s okay if he pulls it off. I digress.

Harrison must have known it was his birthday because he was up a little earlier than usual the next morning. He immediately saw the balloons and just wanted to play with those, but we eventually got him downstairs where we had set up his presents in the living room.  Last year, we could’ve just gotten him tissue paper and boxes, but this year he was a little more interested in what was inside the bags and boxes. The hard part this year was getting Harrison to open another gift instead of just playing with the item he just opened. He seemed to think we were taking that gift away by making him move on. His favorites were a bubble mower (although he has no idea bubbles are part of it), a Tonka truck play set, and his Tag Jr.

After opening presents, Harrison got to play while we made his breakfast request: blueberry and raspberry waffles and bacon. We brought his waffle out with a 2 candle in it and sang, “Happy Birthday”, but he seemed to think we were going to make him eat the fire and/or candle and was not very happy about that. David helped blow out the candle, and a crisis was averted.

David had the brilliant (insert sarcasm here) idea of going to the zoo that morning. We hadn’t said anything to Harrison about it yet because the weather hadn’t been ideal the past two days, and we weren’t sure what his birthday would bring. Well, it wasn’t raining, but it wasn’t exactly ideal. We still braved the cold; it was maybe 45 degrees. I am glad we went because Harrison loved it, but we will have to go back when it’s warmer and more of the animals are out. We maybe saw a third of the zoo, and I made sure we checked out the bugs and birds (both were indoors).

Checking out the hippos

We came back home for lunch and nap, and, unfortunately, David had to leave on a business trip that afternoon. I got particularly emotional because I hated that David had to leave on Harrison’s birthday, and I felt bad that he would wake up and David wouldn’t be here. Aunt Katie stopped by that night to see the birthday boy, though, and he enjoyed that.

We were back in Mexico for a friend’s wedding on Saturday, so we figured the weekend would be a great opportunity to have Harrison’s party with family. We ended up having both sets of grandparents, as well as Great Grandma Cooper, and most of the uncles (no Uncle Kevin) and Aunt Katie to David’s parents’ Sunday afternoon and evening. It was a great time, and Harrison enjoyed his Cookie Monster cupcakes. It was a wonderful celebration for our now 2-year-old.

Happy Birthday, To Me!

I’m on a roll with these late blogs. At least it’s still my birthday month. (No, I don’t require a month-long celebration of my birthday, although that would be pretty awesome) This year, we were in Missouri for my birthday (more on that trip later). I didn’t get a month of celebration, but I did get about 3 days of it, which is pretty great in my book.

Thursday night we had a nice dinner at my in-laws’, and I wasn’t expecting anything, but out came a Tiramisu cake and suddenly people were quietly (Harrison was asleep) singing, “Happy Birthday”. I even got a gift – a gift certificate to use at a local spa. Score!

The party continued Friday night, when my awesome husband took me out to dinner. He wanted to take me out Friday so we could spend some time alone. Don’t get me wrong, we love our little man, but if he’s sleeping anyways, why not go out on the town? So, with my parents graciously keeping eyes and ears on Harrison, we headed to Columbia for dinner, coffee, and music. Unfortunately, our favorite Japanese restaurant, Sake, was closed for renovations, but we quickly found another sushi restaurant that got great reviews for their fresh fish (a must with sushi). Seriously, what did people do before smart phones? After dinner, David gave me my presents, and I was just a tad excited. He first gave me a beautiful La Mer soho wrap watch that I had been slightly drooling over:

Yummy La Mer watch

And, as if that wasn’t enough, he had gotten us tickets to see Ray Lamontagne with Brandi Carlile in concert this fall. He was clever and put them inside a ticket-stub journal he also gifted me. I have such a great husband.

We headed over to The Blue Note after dinner for a little battle of the bands. That was fun because David and I don’t really stay out that late anymore, and it was nice to hear some local bands.

Saturday was my actual birthday, and all of my family was in town. My younger brother made sure to be off work that day, and my older brother had just returned from Australia and came in Friday night to be there for the weekend. We all went swimming that morning and then headed back to Columbia for some laser tag. I think David’s wanted to play since we started watching How I Met Your Mother (seriously). I had so much fun, and David and I beat my brothers!

That night David’s parents and his aunt (who had just arrived from Canada) came over to my mom and dad’s for dinner and birthday cake. My mom made my beloved 3-layered strawberry cake. Thanks, Mom! I’m not sure about the sparkler she decided to put on top. I was intrigued and frightened at the same time. It honestly was such an awesomely-wonderful day (yep, just coined that).

DavidHarrison forgot to bring his birthday gift for me, but I got to open that when we returned to North Carolina. He gave me this awesome robot necklace that I can’t wait to wear:


There it is. My birthday story for this year. It was such a fantastic 3 days, made better by the fact I was surrounded by all of my family. And, in case you’re wondering, it was my last birthday in my 20s. I’m not sweating that right now, though.

Harrison’s first birthday

Harrison has already celebrated a few birthdays (David’s, Grammy and PaPa Keith, mine), but Sunday he went to his first kid birthday party. His nanny’s son turned 2, and we were invited to a party Sunday evening. He had his “kid” party in the afternoon, but Harrison was fast asleep (go figure), so Marissa was kind enough to invite us to their smaller gathering in the evening. There was splashing, crying, eating, flirting (by Harrison NOT David), escaping, chewing, and gift opening. And it all wore Harrison out. By the time we got home a little before 8, it was all of 5 minutes from getting Harrison out of his car seat and into his pjs until he was out like a light. Here are a few pictures of the fun (mostly. I couldn’t resist taking some “angry” Harrison pictures).

This one takes the cake…

Birthday cake, that is. This past Friday, I celebrated my 28th birthday. As I would tell David, “You have only 2 more years until you’re 30!” My birthdays are bittersweet since moving to North Carolina for graduate school six years ago. I get excited about them, but also know that I won’t be celebrating with my family. Last year was an exception, and a wonderful one at that. We went home for a week that included gunshots, fireworks, a baby shower, my birthday, and more fireworks. This year was better for one main reason: Harrison was around to celebrate with us :).
The morning started out with David making breakfast and giving me my gifts from Harrison and him. David Harrison made me a great gift

Harrison actually let David trace his hands

and David gave me season tickets to the DPAC for its 3rd season of Broadway Series South shows. I am most excited about Billy Elliot and The Lion King. We went and saw Wicked! in May, and I loved it. I can’t wait to go back to see more shows. David made sure all of our tickets were for Saturday matinees so we wouldn’t be searching for a sitter during the evening each time.
I spent the day with my little man, and then when David got home we had some cake and Moscato. This was the same Moscato we had at our wedding 4 years ago. We all went to dinner at Mizu, where Harrison was very happy to watch all the ladies walking by. He already knows how to get their attention. David had surprised me by getting in touch with some of my friends and arranging for us all to go have some drinks that evening while he stayed home with Harrison. I have such a wonderful husband. And even though it wasn’t at home with all of my family, it was still a most wonderful birthday full of family and friends, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. (Okay, maybe strawberry cake 😉 ).
Here are some more pictures from the day.

Beautiful flowers from David

My 2nd Birthday Cake!

It's not easy to get a posed picture with Harrison