A Birthday Away

My 30th birthday was last Friday and I decided that since I am all sorts of pregnant right now and can’t celebrate with a few too many vodka tonics, the next best thing would definitely be a weekend in the mountains. We chose to go to Glenwood Springs because of their hot springs pool which was absolutely divine on my endlessly aching back. We did most of our swimming on Friday when the air was a little crisp and cool, making the 93 degree water feel extra warm and cozy. Zoren spent most of his pool time jumping off the steps into the water and plunging his head under so he could see everyone’s lower halves with his new goggles on. Astoria and I cruised around the giant pool on her little boogie board, stopping at the edges every few minutes so she could hang off the side without help and kick her little legs ferociously.


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We did some exploring downtown in Glenwood Springs, admired their public art and watched the Amtrack depart from the train station which the kidlets thought was great. They got super excited whenever the conductor would sound the whistle, letting out squeals of delight and throwing their little arms in the air to wave in response. Once the train was out of sight we walked around the downtown area to do some shopping. The kids both brought some birthday money with them and couldn’t wait to pay for things themselves so we found a cute bookstore which Astoria was ecstatic about. This pixie girl adores books and before I could even ask her to pick something out, little Miss was already seated on a stool reading a book from the pile she had pulled from a shelf in the kids section. Zoren chose to buy a Lego Ninjago graphic novel style book and Astoria bought a whole mess of princess, fairy, and Amelia Bedelia books. She probably would have cleaned out half of the kids section had we stayed much longer. We went into some other cool stores and boutiques where we found a cute owl muslin swaddling blanket for the new baby and Astoria bought a stuffed mermaid which she immediately connected with. So Mermaid Bella went everywhere with us for the rest of the weekend and I imagine won’t be leaving Stori’s side for quite some time.

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On Saturday morning we decided to go disc golf at this really cool mountain course outside of the Colorado Mountain College. It was an awesomely wooded course with amazing views of Mt. Sopris, a crater hole with the tee and basket elevated at either end of the giant dip in the earth, and a lot of random structures (like a zip line and sky ladder course about a hundred feet up in the air) throughout. Zoren loves disc golfing with Steve and that little man actually has quite a great drive and putt for being only four years old. I am sure Z will be giving daddy a run for his money once he is big enough to get a little more momentum behind his drives.

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We also had some great food while we were in Glenwood Springs. My birthday dinner was at a place called The Pullman which serves up great contemporary American cuisine, although Steve wasn’t a huge fan of his food, he did enjoy some good scotch and I thought my dinner was pretty rockin’, especially the carrot cake beignets I had for dessert. Those beignets were absolute perfection and, aside from the kids awesome sauce behavior at dinner, were also the best birthday present I could ask for. My other favorite meal on this trip was the home made perogies and potato leek soup at a little Polish restaurant called Polanka. It was absolute comfort food and reminded me of days long ago when I spent a ton of time with friends who moved here from Poland. Their mom would make the best food and I was lucky enough to sample some of it at special occasions and celebrations with their family. Polanka was exactly what I needed on this trip: cozy food and reminders of childhood days that I haven’t thought about in ages.

Even the drive home yesterday offered endless entertainment as Zoren and Astoria were cracking us up nonstop. Every time we would approach and drive through a mountain tunnel they would yell “Time tunnel, time tunnel approaching, hold onto your hats folks” over and over until we were through the tunnel, then burst into fits of giggles together. It was priceless. They love the show Dinosaur Train on PBS which is where this “time tunnel” business comes from and they love to pretend to be different characters from the show and carry on hilarious dino-themed conversations with one another.

It was a really nice and relaxing little getaway and exactly what I needed to recharge.


And now back to the real world. Our Monday plans? Taking a Spring Sensory Walk and enjoying some sun on this warm spring day before temps plummet tonight and winter decides to make a comeback, likely dumping a foot of snow on our finally green grass.

Astoria’s Third Birthday

Last Tuesday, our not so little pixie pie turned three years old. We had a lovely and low key day which started out with some early morning present opening. It was fun watching Stori open her gifts because she was so careful about dissecting each one, making sure every piece of paper and tape was removed before she could begin rejoicing over the gift in hand. She also made it a point to line all of her opened gifts up before we could remove any of the packaging. It was absolutely hilarious and so indicative of little pixie’s personality. Her favorite gifts were definitely her new doll stroller and tricycle, both of which she played with for most of the afternoon.

To make her birthday extra fun we played some of Astoria’s favorite games, dressed up as fairies, decorated birthday cupcakes, and had a dinner tea party, letting her pick the menu (grilled cheese, pretzels and hummus, popcorn, carrots, and little cutie oranges). We also took some time that evening to Skpe with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins which was really cool for Astoria and made the day that much more special.

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We spent much of the rest of last week making decorations, fairy tutu’s, flower hair clips, and loads of other fun things for Stori’s Pixie and Pirate party, which was on Saturday. She helped plan the whole thing and was very into choosing colors, designs, and making party favors for her friends. I thought it was great how involved she wanted to be and how crafty my little girl is already. It reminded me of just how quickly she is growing up and becoming more and more capable and thoughtful every day. Very cool!

The party went off without a hitch, aside from a slowly sinking fairy cake, but it held up long enough for a happy birthday song and the blowing out of candles so I was pleased. Stori had such a blast playing with all of girls, blowing bubbles, digging for treasure, and hunting Easter eggs. She spent all of bedtime telling me how much she loves her friends and how fun her party was which absolutely made my day. It’s great to have a group of girls that are pretty close in age (3-6 years old) and get to grow up together. Even though they won’t necessarily be going to the same schools or attending extracurricular activities together, they sure know how to have an awesome time when they do get to see each other.

Here are a couple of my favorite photos from the party.

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Last but not least I wanted to share one of our birthday traditions with you, which is the annual birthday letter I write to each of the kids for their special day. It seems the older they get, the harder it is for me to put into words just how proud I am of their accomplishments and how much I cherish each day, week, and month with them throughout each year.


To Astoria Joy on your 3rd Birthday

For three years now I have watched you spread your pixie wings, find your footing in this world, and leave the ground behind for open skies and endless possibilities. Your charismatic and compassionate nature not only enriches
the lives of our family but seems to enchant everyone that you have encountered in your few short years, making an impact in ways I could have never imagined.

Independent from the start, you have always been anxious to test your boundaries and discover new, exciting things. Whether you are racing with your brother on bikes, jumping off of rocks at the playground, or exploring magical lands of ice cream and dinosaurs in the backyard, there always seems to be a new adventure waiting just around the corner. Your imagination is limitless right now and I just love watching you play dress-up and make believe, constantly coming up with complex stories about each character you embody. Sometimes you are a strong and courageous viking princess, riding your pink unicorn though mystical forests and slaying any dragon or troll that crosses your path. Other days you are Rody wrangling, Easter hat wearing cowgirl, swinging your jump rope over your head and declaring our living room as your turf for the wild west showdown that is about to ensue between you and Zoren. My favorite are your fairy days which are spent flying and twirling through the house like a little tornado in your tutu and fairy wings, carrying your pixie dolls around and stashing them away to save them all from the imminent dangers of large stuffed panda bears and Pteranodons that are threatening their livelihood in Pixie Hollow. Such a creative spirit you have in such a tiny form. It blows me away sometimes.

Along with your expansive imagination comes a flare for the dramatic. It is not unusual to witness you throwing yourself on the floor in exasperation or frustration when things you don’t go your way. Or flinging toys across the room at the mention of serving you a naval orange instead of one of the cuties that you love so much. Some days it is just endless drama! But you manage to make even that absolutely adorable and lovable because the facial expressions that accompany these moments are just perfection. I have never met a girl who has such a telling and expressive face, so much so, that all it takes is the tiniest brow furrow or lip curl for me to see what is coming next. From the time you were only days and weeks old I have watched how your expressions perfectly reflect your feelings at any given moment, always genuine, meaningful, and perfectly calculated to pull at my heart strings.

I am incredibly impressed with how far you have come with your speech and communication in the past year and listening to your constant narrations and commentary throughout each day makes my mama heart so happy. We are all so proud of all the hard work you have put into your speech and your constant positivity toward all of the assessments, audiology appointments, and therapies that go along with having hearing loss. Now that you are three years old, you have officially graduated from early intervention services which means no more evaluations every six months, no more IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) meetings and planning, and no more speech therapy. In fact, the last evaluations you took, three months ago (at age 2 years, 9 months), assessed your expressive vocabulary at a 4 year, 8 month level which puts you in the 96th percentile for kids your age. What an amazing little pixie you are, not that we ever had any doubt of that. You have always been our girl on fire, determined and confident, two (or ten) steps ahead of the pack and constantly proving to everyone that you can and will do great things.

The past year has been full of family adventures. You got to see your first Disney on Ice show and absolutely loved every second of it, so excited when the show was over and you got to meet the princesses up close. We took a road trip to Wisconsin and had a great time visiting with family and friends. We went hiking at Pewit’s Nest, swimming at water parks and local pools, out for ice cream and amazing string cheese at Sassy Cow Creamery, a day at the Madison Children’s Museum, and even got to spend a lovely weekend in Door County before heading back home. We have also enjoyed visits from from grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins throughout the year and it was really fulfilling to watch you interact and continue to form bonds with all of these amazing and important people in our lives who we don’t get to see often enough.

We recently found out that you are going to have a little brother and I am so excited to watch you take on the role of Big Sister. You are such a nurturing little mama already with all of your baby dolls and stuffed animals so I can’t wait to see you love on and bond with your baby brother. This next year is going to be filled with lots of new adventures for all of us. I am sure there will be some bumps along the way but you know you hold a piece of my heart, sweet pixie, and we will get through the tough times and celebrate the great times together. I know I wouldn’t want to be on this adventure with anyone else and I can’t wait to walk through the next year by your side.

Happy 3rd Birthday Astoria Joy!!

Love and so much more,

Your Mama