Monday, February 27, 2012

school celebration

Since Leah's school was on winter break the week of her birthday, they celebrated the Monday after. I was able to be the parent helper that day, which meant Leah was helping child. And boy did she eat that attention right up. 

I love being in her classroom to see her in action. they were learning about dinosaurs that day, so she's pictured doing a fossil rubbing of a brontosaurus with her teachers. 

she is 100% accepted, loved and included by her teachers and peers. Including Mr. Ian who followed her around all day and commented multiple times on how beautiful she looked.

As we wound down for the day and passed out her birthday treats {Leah decided upon rice krispy treats, with sprinkles, of course}, Miss Ribbons was serenaded by a rousing rendition of the "happy birthday" song as well as FIVE, count them, FIVE hip hip hoorays!
I couldn't have asked for a better celebration for my grown up girl. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

winter break bust

We had grand plans for winter break. Really, we did. It was birthday week for miss ribbons so I was determined to keep us busy {aka not bored} and had ideas to celebrate her all week long. 

But our immune systems had different plans. 

We did manage to have a pool party in our swimsuits in the tub - a very squished pool party since Billy tagged along. We ventured out to Wendy's one afternoon to enjoy frosties with some friends. And we did celebrate on her actual big day. But the rest of the week looked something like this:

We watched a looooooooooooooooooooot of movies and steered clear of the Aquatic Center, which was supposed to be the highlight of our week. We figured the other pool-goers would thank us for blowing our noses in tissues on our couch rather than in their water. 

Thank goodness we get a second chance with spring break in April!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


but wanted to give a five-year photo shout out here as well. 

love this little girl. 

a birthday for miss ribbons

Leah's birthday was a bit more low key this year than it has been in the past. She's had at least one party with lots of friends each year, so this time we decided to party just the 3.5 of us. 

She was on winter break, so we had the day to ourselves and decided to head up to Tuck to have lunch with dad in the cafeteria. You would have thought Leah was a celebrity walking through the halls with all the people who knew her and wanted to talk to her! 
{I know Ryan is blurry in this picture, but I love the way Leah is looking at him.}

As we ventured through Hanover on our way back to the car, we stopped by the enormous snow cupcake the Dartmouth students decided to build in Leah's honor this year. That was nice of them, wasn't it!? 

And then we got to drive our beloved Larry through a car wash, which Leah thoroughly enjoyed. So did Larry. 

Leah requested chicken curry and orange juice for dinner, so I obliged. And we all gobbled it right up. 

After Ryan's birthday and Valentine's Day the week before, we're often caked out by the 22nd. This year, we happened to be caked, caked/cupcaked, cookied, and eclaired out. So, in an effort to avoid baking one more thing, I jokingly asked Leah if she would like a watermelon for a cake instead. The eye contact she gave me immediately after my inquiry made me laugh out loud. Apparently my sarcastic comment was taken seriously. So, watermelon cake it was. And I have to admit, not being a cake girl myself, it was pretty delicious. 

The highlight for me was when we lit the candle and asked Leah to blow it out. I hinted to Ryan to help her, but before he could, Leah did this big huff and blew the candle out herself! Seriously. All by herself. I nearly cried.

We helped her open some presents thanks to some incredible generosity from family and friends and just enjoyed our quiet night as a family. It was a perfect way to celebrate five years with our miss ribbons.

Monday, February 20, 2012

what's in a name?

The name game for baby Billy is ongoing at our house. And it seems to be going nowhere. Ryan has his favorites. I have mine. Nothing overlaps. It’s not that any of the names are bad names in general. Just not names that I want to use, in the case of Ryan’s list. And vice versa for my list. {FYI – I’m not posting the lists here. Sorry. It’s not that we don’t want everyone’s specific input on our name options…but…we really don’t.}  

Luckily we both like 'normal', but not too common. Classic but not over-used. Nothing too trendy or that no one has ever heard before. Definitely something that most will have no trouble spelling or pronouncing. And we most assuredly don’t want child services being summoned.

Ryan essentially named Leah. I had my list back then too {let’s be honest, I’ve had a rough draft of my list since I was 14}. He had his {brand new, of course}. He mentioned Leah one night and I thought, “Eh, whatever.” And then somehow it just caught on…not because I gave my go-ahead. The name somehow leaked and people thought that’s what we were for sure naming her so they started calling her that; and it weirded me out. But Leah stuck. Still, we didn’t officially name her until day four in the hospital because I just couldn’t make up my mind. 

Because of this, I think my vote should have more sway this time around. Ryan disagrees. But we’re still at an impasse. 

I want him to like the name, at least. 

I’ve looked at family names and there are some I really like {and some I really don’t}.

I’ve also looked at meanings of names this time. I found out after the fact that Leah means “weary.” Ironic? Yes. That can pretty much sum up a good chunk of the last five years. So maybe we should be more careful with this one?! 

I just don’t know. Am I stressing out too much? Will it just click when we see her? {I didn’t feel that way about Leah.} The clock is ticking and we’ve gotten nowhere

I’m totally up for suggestions. If you suggest a name on my list, bless you; we’ll add it to my defense case. But if you suggest a name on Ryan’s, your comment might somehow be accidentally deleted? Darn those computer glitches.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

so helpful

dear leah, 
thanks for being so helpful during my yoga routine this morning. i think my failing abs got more of a workout from laughing than they did from plank pose. 

p.s. dear maren, there's this thing called sun. go find some. xo, maren

february duo

Because Ryan hates birthday parties {for himself} and Leah has had more than her fair share of birthday parties {for herself}, we had a small scale cake and ice cream get together with friends to celebrate both of them together. 

The party seemed larger than it actually was due to the size of our front room and kitchen, but we were so happy some close friends could come to celebrate! Poor Leah still wasn't feeling 100% , but found herself a new cuddle buddy on the couch. She's always gravitated toward the men folk.

Colorful cupcakes, strawberry shortcake and three flavors of ice cream were served and that's about it. Presents weren't allowed and almost everyone complied. It was a great evening to celebrate my two favs and chat with friends. 

One of my favorite moments was amidst the chaos when I looked over and saw Ryan and Leah eating their cake in seclusion in the kitchen. It was really sweet. 

Happy birthday to my February duo!

Friday, February 17, 2012


ryan turned the big 31 on tuesday. you're right, 31 just doesn't seem that "big." it almost seems anti-climactic to the anticipation that was 30. buuuuuuuuuuuuut, it's been a big year for this 31 year old and we still wanted to celebrate in small-scale style. 

we caked it up on sunday night. 

monday leah presented him with a new tuck hockey hat, which he sported at the valentine's day massacre later that evening. 

also on monday, ryan went out to get the mail and, much to his dismay, there were two packages and a letter for me, a letter for leah and...a boring magazine, a bill and a tax form for him. nothing says happy birthday! quite like bills and taxes, right?

because of an extremely busy week filled with classes, school work, a case competition in boston and a fly-out internship interview in new york, ryan wasn't even around on his birthday. in fact, he spent a majority of the day flying from new hampshire to boston to philly to that interview in new york. yup, he could have driven to his destination faster than he flew. but, then he would have missed out on his opportunity to co-pilot, now wouldn't he? 

the first leg of his flight was out of a teeny tiny municipal airport in a neighboring city. the plane seats 6 people - including the pilot. if there is no co-pilot for the flight, a passenger is often allowed in the "cockpit." on his flight to boston, there happened to be a co-pilot. bummer. but, on his flight back home the next day, ryan noticed that seat was empty. one person filed onto the plane before him and as ryan stepped through the doorway, the pilot said, "feel free to take any seat except the one in the very back. and this one up here is free too," at which point the pilot patted the co-pilot's seat. ryan didn't even blink before he jumped at the chance. although the sky was dark, he had a blast being so up close and personal to the control panel as well as having such a great aerial view {as opposed to your regular 12x12 inch side view in a window seat}. although he was exhausted from the week's events, it was a great birthday surprise.

we finally celebrated for real tonight. in addition to the much anticipated eclairs {i was so worried they wouldn't turn out, leaving him with seriously ridiculous presents}, we had some delicious grilled salmon and he was finally able to open his gifts. after dinner, he and leah settled down on the couch to watch the new movie leah gave to him. 

i hope {even if it was four days late} it was, indeed, a happy birthday.

a step-by-step guide to making eclairs

*{for recipe, head over to the fresh loaf.}

Thursday, February 16, 2012

pink cake

ryan's birthday celebrations have been postponed until tomorrow night since he spent his big day flying to an interview in new york state. you'd think being on a plane/at various airports for a majority of the day is no way to spend a birthday, but this is ryan we're talking about. more on his co-piloting adventures later. seriously.

for now, a play-by-play of the ever-famous pink cake: 31st edition. 

the cake, in all it's fire-hazard glory. i didn't double check at the time, but i think there are really 31 candles there. 

ready, set:


no really, go!! oh, you mean these are "twinkle" candles - the kind that you have to blow out over and over and over? for the record, i actually had an identical look on my face. it's the moment i, too, realized they were twinkle candles. it seriously was not planned. but i got a good laugh out of it. 

no worries. he apparently has the lungs of a strapping 29 year old. those candles were no match for him. 

*disclaimer: all photos taken with my iPhone in the semi-dark.
*disclaimer #2: i am aware this is hands down the ugliest pink cake i have made to date. i'm over it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

my funny valentine

although my valentine of nine years was out of town on my favorite day of the year {sense the sarcasm}, i was still able to spend my time with this funny little lady - who was way more interested in super why than getting her picture taken. 

we spent our day delivering cookies and her bouncy ball valentines {that i sadly have no pictures of!} and trying our best to be festive. she was wearing hearts after all. 

our week was filled with heart shaped food in the form of turkey pepperoni, frosted sugar cookies and disastrous pancakes. 

i guess it takes an almost five year old to start making me festive??

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

valentine's day massacre

for a pre-valentine's day/pre-birthday date, i got a babysitter and we headed to the ice arena a stone's throw from our apartment to attend the tuck tripod league's valentine's day massacre - a guys vs. girls hockey game played annually. 

romantic, huh?

well, it did not disappoint. 

the line-up was comprised of couples from the various men's and women's tripod hockey leagues. they were all announced at the beginning of the game as they skated out onto the ice. this is the big leagues here, folks. we don't mess around. 

two of the referees were dressed up with red feathered wings and carried cupid's arrows. another was dressed up in an outfit i'm afraid i will never be able to erase from my memory. 

the game was played completely fairly - with the men's team getting penalties for things like "being short" or "being too canadian."  though there were no true hockey brawls, there was definitely some friendly couple tripping with hockey sticks and a few others mishaps. one girl even got "pucked" in the face {mask}. ryan assures me it doesn't hurt, "it's just really loud."

at one point in the game, chris "the wall" halstedt, the men's goalie, tried to woo his wife and distract her from making a goal by presenting her with a bouquet of red roses. 

better luck next time, christopher. that kind of distraction is no match for miss lauren. 

it was a close game, but the girls emerged victorious 13-0. 
here's some obviously unattractive proof that we were there:
we'll definitely be going back in 2013. and who knows, maybe we'll be out on the ice?