Praying for purpose

I love to write. I grow excited when I sit down, look through our photographs and decide which stories I would like to tell all of you. I feel rejuvenated when I'm holding my babe in the middle of the night thinking about what my next post will be. I get jittery when I think of a new idea for a book and a story begins to take shape in my mind.

In those late night rocking and back rub sessions, something deeper has emerged: I haven't been able to stop thinking about what I want as my next step in life. Or, more importantly, what does God want for me in the next phase of my life. Of course, the girls are still young, but Addie starts preschool in about two months (WHAT!?!). Pretty soon there will come a time when I have more time again. It would be so nice to feel like I know exactly how I should fill those precious hours that I used to take for granted.

Some of my once free time has been filled with icky mom stuff: Lena is teething, I've been in and out of sleep deprivation, Addie is getting into activities (she's quite the little fishy), nap schedules aren't consistent, I'm brain dead by the end of the day, Lena's puking, Addie has a fever, Lena has a rash, blah, blah, blah.

But the edge of every rough day bursts with moments of heaven and bliss with my girls: Lena is starting to babble into words, "Da-da, Ma-ma, Yum-yum-yum, Uh-oh!". Addie acts out her favorite scenes from the movie, Tangled and sings all the songs to boot. Lena has sped from crawling to pulling up and is all over this house discovering everything within her grasp. A love for puzzles has emerged in Addie, and Lena can't resist chewing on those jigsawed edges. Snuggles, giggles, jumps, dancing, swimming, crawling, nuzzling, rocking, loving...

So no, life with two babes most certainly isn't all bad. In fact, it's mostly very very good, just also very draining and busy.

It's no secret that over the last six months, my presence in this space has slowly begun to dwindle. What once was daily postings turned into three or four times a week and lately I've only been able to sit down and share my heart in this life as Mama once every five days or so. Without a change of some kind, I fear that it could become even more infrequent. For lack of a more graceful way to say it, THIS SUCKS!

One of the main questions I've been feeling a need to answer is what I envision for the future of this space. When I started Mommy Honesty, it was initially out of a desperate attempt to share some frustrations in parenting and dig a little deeper to find the beauty of life as a mom. I dove right into stories about Addie crying it out at bedtime--I never even wrote an introductory post! Two and a half years later, I'm still going, still trying to figure out my point of view and what it is I want to say.

Personally, I am working on praying less about specific things I think I need, and simply asking God to show me what I need. (Did you catch the difference there? It's subtle, but significant.) As part of that, I'm trying to let go of my late night worry and just allow myself to be. No stress or pressure about when I write and for how long, where it will all end up or even if it's the right thing for me. I am giving myself the gift of time to let God figure it out for me.

In the meantime, I am treating my creative juices to a fantastic eCourse, How To Build A Blog You Truly Love with Liv Lane and see where it all goes. While I consider myself a pretty fast learner, self-directed learning has never been my strong area and in that respect I can be a bit of a late bloomer. This course seemed just the ticket to learn some more about the art of blogging, feed my hungry writer's soul and also take my time with the process. It is only the first week and so far her words have been insightful and thought provoking. This is definitely where I'm supposed to be!

I'm going to keep on truckin' with my posts as often as I can, but I ask for your patience and prayers while I feel this out. Mommy Honesty holds a sacred space in my heart and I want to move into the future with that in mind to keep it the best that it can be. Thanks for sticking with me!

much love to you...

If you're interested in taking the course as well, registration is open through June 13th. Come and learn with me! I'd love to have a friend walking this path next to me.

May found us...

Leaving the coziness of our living room to stretch, run, shriek and play outside. 

Trying on our new summer dresses, visiting the Farmers' Market every chance we got and soaking up this three-year-old girl in all her fabulousness.

Peeking out after all the storms to find beautiful scenes only God could paint.

Embarking on a new adventure of making strawberry jam.

Falling even more deeply in love, head over heels style, with this growing babe.

Fingering the velvety tips and deeply inhaling the soothing scent of our first lavender harvest.

Laughing and loving and drinking them in.

It seems that everyone I've spoken with in the past two days has shared the sentiment, "I can't believe it's June already!" Yes, how true--for some reason this year is flying by at warp speed. Spring flashed as quickly as the lightning we saw a little too much of, but it was also just as bright. And really, we still have a few weeks left of the season that brings along with it all things new.

Welcome June. What wonders will we find in you?


I have been thinking about joining a CSA for years. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with what that is, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It works a lil' something like this: local farms have participants purchase shares of their harvest at the beginning of the season and you pick up the bounty each week at a determined location, lots of times at your farmers' market. The money helps cover the cost of running the farm--you are an invested party! If the crops do well, you reap the benefits. If there is some sort of drought, flood or pest that overruns the crops that year, you don't. It is definitely a risk, but we decided to take the plunge this summer and go for it.

The farm we chose is Elmwood Stock Farm and it's about 25 minutes from our house. Mother's Day was their annual open house for share holders, so we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and went for a Sunday drive to check it out. Curt was a little lukewarm about hanging out on a farm--my man is from Western  KY and he grew up surrounded by rows and rows of crops, but this gal still thinks they they are pretty fascinating. It was Mother's Day so I won!

Plus we've got kiddo's, and as far as I can tell any time you tell a kid you're going out to a farm, they pretty much think it's the coolest thing imaginable. What could be better than open fields, barn cats, roaming chickens and a perfect spring breeze? Not much, that's what.

Although we did not partake in the egg or meat shares (they also raise turkeys, cows and sheep), we loved getting to see where it all comes from. Fields just beginning to show signs of what is to come. Greenhouses filling up with sprouts ready for transplant. A little slice of heaven right down the road--and we get to eat it!!!

The weather so far this spring has been a little nuts, so our shares haven't been as plentiful as they usually are this time of year. Even so, here's what was in our box last week:

Some strawberries, asparagus, over wintered spinach, sage, dried black beans and garlic greens (my personal favorite--look like green onions but taste like garlic--awesome). Now this is a mini share, meant to "feed two adults who eat out often". Since we have our own garden we didn't want to overdo it and have more than we could reasonably consume. This size seems like a good fit for us, at least for now.

Oh, and did I mention all of this is organic? Yeppers. Tasty delish mixed with wholesome and healthy. Mommy likey. The girls eat the strawberries, we mix the spinach with other greens for salads, I'm saving the herbs and beans for when we need them, and the asparagus... oh the asparagus. The newsletter said "if you've never had farm fresh asparagus you're in for a real treat". I admit, when I read that I sort of snorted under my breath. A real treat? Asparagus? Really? Oh. My. Goodness. Really. Best asparagus I've ever had.  

I'm currently obsessed with this marvelous green, pee altering "treat" combined with the garlic greens in a quiche (I think this one had mushrooms and swiss cheese as well). Happiness on a plate.

I don't know if it's the novelty of the experience or if it really is that fantastic, but so far I am in love with this whole CSA business. Every Monday night I'm giddy to read our email of what is coming in our share the next day. As soon as I get that box in the car, I rip it open like a kid on Christmas to have a look at what's inside. Our weekly newsletters include recipes so if there's something in there we aren't familiar with we have an idea of what we can make.

All in all, it's big time fun--and we still have 19 weeks to go! Talk about the gift that keeps on giving. God willing, weather permitting, I hope so.

(If this has piqued your interest about finding a CSA in your area, check out and do a quick search. You can also find farmers' markets, grocery co-ops and more. Happy local fooding!) 

May Day May Day!!!

I can't believe it's been a week since I posted. To be brief, I've had a bit of a setback in the thyroid saga. The last 6 days or so found me feeling really depleted in a hyper sort of way so I had to go back to basics, leaving the computer mostly untouched. I checked back in with my Dr. and we're staying on top if things. No worries.

Enough unpleasantries--I've been really excited to share our Mother's Day weekend with you! Those two days were so packed with Mommy chosen events that it really felt like Saturday and Sunday were entirely mine. Of course it began with a trip to our Farmer's Market that led down the street to Lexington's Mayfest (our observance of May Day).

The crisp, cool air that gradually warmed throughout the day was perfect for the festivities. A trip that we thought would go rather quickly turned out to last several hours. Once we arrived our girls reminded us that looking at the clock on days such as these is a counter intuitive to enjoying the moments that spontaneously present themselves.

There was way too much fun to be had. We began with a trip to the petting zoo area. Last year, Addie treated us to a major meltdown when a feisty duck nipped a little more than his share  (i.e. it clipped her finger). Lesson learned, we waved at the birds and headed for Mommy's favorite: the goats. An apprehensive girl turned into an old pro within seconds, and it's a good thing too--those kids were hungry!

After a trip to the hand washing station, we browsed through the booths and sat down for a bite to eat with quite the view. These are the days I love living in Lexington--springtime in this city is hard to beat. The parks downtown offer just enough serenity, yet looking right beyond the lush trees you can see a tall building or two poking up toward the sky.

Oh, and never mind those police officers eating lunch in front of us...
My girl pointed over to the right and shouted, "Look, Mommy! A giant beer!"

Yes, Addie. It is. Good day to you, Sirs.

That wasn't the end of Addie's shenanigans either. My adventurer discovered a small pirate ship ride that she insisted embarking upon solo.

I was quite proud of her for being so brave. She marched right up those steps, climbed into her seat and pulled the bar down all by herself. My independent girl. (Pay no attention to that sobbing woman by the pirate ship with a sleeping baby strapped to her chest.)

Ah, Lena. You stay close, love. Snuggle and sleep away while your sister shows us all how quickly it flies by. Next year, I'm sure she'll want a seat right next to her inspiration to prove that she's just as big, just as ready, just as grown... Good thing I have four more seasons to prepare for those tears.

Such is the joy of motherhood though. And truly, that part of it is a joy. It's a joy that slices the heart and softens the gut but gives the infinite peace allowing us to know that we really are doing something right. Maybe even a few things.

Delay on

I should give you an update of all the things I hope to write about in the near future (a list that is growing and growing). And I could give you a narrative of why last week was so crazy and our weekend equally so, thus justifying why I should take a lil' break today.

But I'm not going to do any of that.

It's 75 degrees outside, the sun is shining and I have half a book to read in one day. (Yes, I'm a Mom in a book club. You say trite, I say necessary.) Time to test out this kindle and see if the "no glare" boasting holds any sort of truth.
Well what do you know? C'est vrai!!! I'll catch you on the flip side... In other words, it's supposed to storm all afternoon tomorrow.

Our day so far

We woke very early to a sad, sick girl with a plugged nose. After some rest that included sleeping in with Daddy, she felt much better. Skyping with "Emie and Rip" did the final trick and left our Miss. energized for time in the crib with baby sister.
Their love for each other never ceases to warm my heart.
Mommy and Addie spent some quality time coloring...
Lena did some light reading...
Addie had her favorite lunch of strawberry Greek yogurt.
And tried on a summer scarf in preparation for the warm weather right around the corner.
She still has quite the runny nose, but we've all settled in for an afternoon nap. I'm planning on a warm blanket, a pile of books and perhaps a good movie to see us through the rest of the day--complete with oodles of snuggling.
Wednesday is turning out not to be so bad after all.

**all pics taken with iPhone and edited with Instagram

Every morning is Easter morning...

Part 5: the family picture

Every year at Easter and Christmas, all dressed up in our Sunday best, I insist that we take a picture together. After we've gone to mass, sang the old favorite hymns, wished everyone we saw a Happy Easter (or Christmas)!!!  and lived up the true meaning of the day, we take a moment to document that it was all spent together. So far, this has only happened six times. And so far, there is not one shot of all of us smiling and looking at the camera together.

Normally I would say there is a part of me that finds this annoying. Really though, I think it's hilarious. I can see that some years down the road I will print out photos from every occasion and laugh my Mommy butt off at the pouts, the fingers cemented in the mouth, the half closed eyes--all of it. Those are the images of my family that I truly don't want to forget.

Because who wants that glossy, perfect family photo in front of a tree or Easter basket? We obviously don't.

Pictures with Papaw, however, are a totally different story. Apparently, just seconds after our little family shots were taken, my girls found their second wind. And they are just so darn cute together. See?

I wouldn't have it any other way... Neither would they.

Is it Sunday night already?

As soon as I wrote it I knew I'd be in trouble... Promising a post these days seems to be my virtual kiss of death. It surely means business I don't anticipate is about to surface and throw me off my game. Luckily I have super supportive friends and readers, right?

I would say I'll be back tomorrow to finish up my Easter posts, but seeing as I really want to write it, I'm going to refrain. I will simply say thanks for being patient on behalf of two sweet girls--one who is cutting teeth and sleeping in my arms, and the other who can't wait to snuggle with her Mama and finish watching Tangled. I'm sure you understand. ;-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming... {FPA}

I woke up twice in the last week to tornado sirens. That's just the number of times I was awakened by them--there were several others as well, to the point that I looked at Curt and said, "I'm going to start taking a drink every time we hear one. I mean, lets make this interesting!"

Amidst all of the crazy weather, sirens and warnings in the last seven days, we have been incredibly fortunate. We are safe along with all of those we know who were in the path of storms far worse than ours. And even though I joke about the frequency in which we heard those bone chilling tones broadcast throughout our neighborhood, I am so grateful they are there.

Last night I looked out our windows to the east and saw this:

Then I held my breath as I looked out to the west and saw this:

We watched and listened for the sirens as the clouds moved overhead.

They never came and all we got was a few showers and rumbles of thunder. Relief. I think we all feel shaken up a bit after the images and testimonies that have come from Alabama. I know I had a knot in my stomach and choked back tears as I heard this incredible story yesterday.

Something that amazes me, however, is that for as many photographs I have seen of terrifying skies and funnel clouds, I have seen just as many pictures of the most beautiful rainbows once they have passed. It should seem trite but somehow to me, in the wake of all that has happened, it isn't.

Now I know the science behind why we see rainbows: the sun's rays shining onto tiny droplets of water in the atmosphere, etc, etc... But there's something so intense about the comfort rainbows provide after a storm passes. Even as adults, we pause to wonder at their beauty. That's no scientific coincidence.

I know that we are all praying for those who have been impacted by the storms this week. For those who have lost their homes, their earthly treasures and most of all their loved ones. I am also praying a simple prayer of thanks for rainbows; for the knowledge within them that God doesn't want these tragedies to happen, but even as they do, He is there. He is there to give comfort and hope to those filled with sorrow. May those in the wake of loss feel His presence in their hearts and look to Him in the days ahead. Amen.

What prayers on your heart can I hold along with you?

Here's how it works: Leave a prayer request in the comments on Friday's posts. It can be anything--something you are thankful for, a friend you are worried about, a desire from your heart... Anything. By leaving a comment you are also committing to pray for others who comment as well. We'll start fresh each week. That's it. You can even be anonymous if you wish.

{I'll be back with the final installment of our Easter chronicles over the weekend. See you soon!}

Every morning is Easter morning...

Part 4: the hunt

When I was growing up, we spent a lot of time on big gift days waiting. We were never allowed to see what Santa brought until the adults were awake with coffee in one hand and a camera in the other, in prime photo op position to capture our surprised faces. I don't know what would have happened if we broke protocol to sneak in and check out the loot before we woke the 'rents. Likely our gifts would have vaporized immediately at our blatant rule-breaking or something equally as horrifying. {Shudder}
To my knowledge, none of us ever took such a risk to find out.

Same thing on Easter morning--get up, wake parents, sit in hallway and wait for them to be ready. It was irritating and exhilarating all at the same time. What better way to build up the anticipation than ten minutes or so of jittery booty scoots in the most boring spot of the house, chatting with sisters about what could possibly be waiting for us around the corner?

I was always jealous of the kids who got to raid their stash within seconds of waking, Christmas Story style, with parents groggily moping down the stairs to the sounds of paper tearing and children shrieking with joy. However, now that I am in the driver's seat (or more appropriately, co-driver), I can totally appreciate why my dear old mom and dad kept such a tight leash on us.

With all the work and planning that goes into each special day, the biggest pay-off, worth more than any sum of gifts combined, is the reaction of discovery. As I already mentioned, my kids have to ease into their reactions a bit for now. Once they are a little older and the adrenaline of memory kicks in, I'm sure a more immediate result will likely ensue.

An example of why this system works is the happenings of our egg hunt. In the Ouellette house, if we saw a bright plastic egg out of the corner of our eyes, we snapped our heads back in place (maybe with a little elbow poke and swift nod to a sister in that general direction) and made a mental note of where to find that egg when the time came. We did not just grab any old egg we found whenever we found it. No, sir. Again, cameras needed to be in hand. The grown ups needed to be ready.

Now that I'm a Clayton, I'm a little slower on the uptake. While I sat on the couch in a zombie-like fashion, Addie began picking up eggs all over the place. The impromptu hunt was on and by the time I snapped to it and realized what she was doing, I only got a few shots of the excitement. They are still pretty cute, but the Ouellette inside of me is thinking, Just imagine all the images I could have taken had I been prepared!!!

Somewhere down the line and somewhere in the middle I shall find my grove, I'm sure. Part of me really wants to preserve that part of my childhood and pass it onto my girls so they too can know the elated torture of patience on such a glorious day. Another part of me says aw the heck with it, just let 'em go. Either way the days, the events, the moments fill us with memories that build a legacy. It's called tradition. And I'm such a sucker for it.

Every morning is Easter morning...

Part 3: the baskets

I am about to make a huge confession/disclaimer... We only gave Addie one gift on her birthday. It was the big one--the easel, but after her party and the overwhelming generosity of all our friends, we decided to save the rest of her loot for Easter instead. I think it was a good decision. However, this meant that her Easter morning was a little bigger than usual, and a little more princess themed than I would normally desire. I'm sure there's some way we could swing that to make it appropriate for the day--Risen Jesus is our King so that makes Addie a princess? I may have to work on that one for a while.

The fact that Christmas and Easter have the biggest reveal moments first thing in the morning perplexes me. Maybe there are kids out there who hop to it right out of bed. Mine might eventually, but for now they do not. Even with a pile of gifts waiting for them, they are groggy eyed with fantastic bed hair, desperately trying to soak it in and figure out what in the heck is going on.

Even though their initial reaction left something to be desired, after a few minutes of coming to and realizing that these presents were for them, excitement ensued and all was well.

Every morning is Easter morning...

Part 2: the dying of the eggs

(also known as: the activity that almost wasn't)

I hate doing things last minute. If you fail to plan you should plan to fail. I have heard that saying many times and I love it so much I should stencil it on my walls. This Easter, however, last minute was the name of our game. Even though I was so into Lent this year, I seemed to lose the forest for the trees, if you know what I'm saying. I was too busy lamenting on the sacrifice of Our Lord, I forgot about the joy waiting just around the corner.

Enter four days before Easter and me wandering around Target at 10:30 PM. Easter baskets? What??? If I hadn't trudged down the aisle with the already picked through egg dying kits, this little post would never have existed. Oh yeah, that's what you're supposed to do with your kids the day before Easter, or if you're really good, on Palm Sunday.

So I bought the kit. Then Papaw called me from the grocery store on Friday morning to ask if we needed anything. I told him, "Nope, I think we're good." Uh, HELLO!!! We get there late Friday evening and it finally occurred to me that we need some eggs for this task. Good grief.

Saturday evening, right around dinner time, Addie and I traipsed down the street to the grocery store to pick up some eggs. While she took a bath I boiled them, then stuck them in the freezer to cool off. After Lena was in bed, we just barely made it. Phew!

I could try and be cool and say that I planned it that way the entire time. Who knows--perhaps it will end up as our Easter tradition. Maybe Addie will remember dying eggs the night before Easter and she'll love how connected it all was. A last minute Mama can only hope.

Every morning is Easter morning...

Somewhere in the Ouellette family home video archives lies a clip of me and my sisters rocking out a choral performance of "Every Morning is Easter Morning". Did you ever sing that one growing up? We still laugh about it for many reasons, but mainly because it ends with a fade out that is pretty classic. Even this morning, Em greeted me on Skype with those words and it warmed my heart and gave me a giggle.

So, in the spirit of our favorite Easter tune, I'll spread out the report of our weekend festivities to make that good feeling of Easter morning last a little while longer.

Part 1: Tea time at Papaw's

Last weekend marked the first Easter we spent with Curt's dad since Addie was born, and our first trip to Owensboro this year (yikes--had it really been that long?!?).  We brought along a tea set just in case and given the crazy weather we endured, it proved to be the highlighted toy of the journey. Within minutes of arriving Mommy busted out the goods and as the storms brewed outside, an impromptu party developed.

This was the first time Addie really got into the whole tea party pretend play scenario. As in, "Would you like some tea? I pour it for you." We tell her the tea is fabulous and she replies, "Oh, thank you! Would you like some more?" (although she sounds like she's a New Englander and it comes out more like "moah").

So sweet and innocent--the manifestation of all the dreams a Mommy has when rubbing a swollen belly, filled with a tiny girl... or two.

Good Friday

This week was filled with fevers, rashes, cries, snuggles, and lots and lots of quiet rocks in the night. How appropriate that our Holy Week was spent in an almost constant state of rest and healing. Of course, that tends to leave me restless, itching to get out of the house to go and do. Instead, it was meant that I just be.

It seems this is the lesson my Lord has been trying to teach me as of late. Just be. Listen. Why is it that I hear Him best when I sit still in the quiet and the dark, with a weary heart open to His comfort and His voice? Sometimes I can be a bit stubborn and that is what it takes. My prayer is that this holy day may open my eyes and soul a little bit more to hear and notice God on a deeper level every day--to appreciate and understand more fully the sacrifice He made on this day so long ago, even for me and for you right here in this moment.

May we all find some time this evening to pause, be still, remember and listen...

Here's how it works: Leave a prayer request in the comments on Friday's posts. It can be anything--something you are thankful for, a friend you are worried about, a desire from your heart... Anything. By leaving a comment you are also committing to pray for others who comment as well. We'll start fresh each week. That's it. You can even be anonymous if you wish.

The party post

If you haven't already read the post about how I totally goofed (that's SO not the word I would actually use) and forgot to document my child's third birthday party, you can catch up on that HERE. If you know, then you know. Instead of apologizing again and again, I will simply try and make amends through the use of responsible people around me. Thank you to all who held a camera in their hands and used it, posted pictures on facebook, sent them through email and even through snail mail. I am so very grateful.

And now, the story of the day my girl turned three...

Addie's birthday banner, made by myself, my mom and my sisters. Such time, love and effort went into this--it will hang above the mantle on her day every year for the rest of her life.

The entire week prior to Addie's birthday all meteorology people were predicting temperatures in the 40's with the potential for rain. Not exactly desirable weather conditions for any outside activity. I already planned to have crafts for the kids, but since outdoor play didn't look like any sort of possibility, I felt a lot of pressure to create fun projects.

Through research online we decided to do three things (listed in the order of difficulty): a color table with printed images of Oso characters and crayons, a party hat craft (Oso helped to make one on a certain birthday episode), and making Oso watches out of the center of a paper towel roll along with other fun stuffs.

A close-up of the watch table, complete with tempra painted bands, foam sheets to cut out circles for the faces, craft glue and puffy paint to draw on the watch faces.

We had one table set up for each craft with the idea that when it was time for cake we would clean off the activities so there would be plenty of space for the kids to sit and eat.

Addie making her mama super happy that she sat down to make an Oso watch at her party.

I am still learning to be thankful that we ended up with pretty decent weather that day: sunny and 50's, although it was also quite windy. No matter--I discovered that kids don't care about wind. They only care about running around, chasing after each other, kicking balls, climbing on stuff... the usual. We also have a groundhog that lives in the field behind our house and has a hole opening in the empty lot next door. He emerged at the start of the event (much to his chagrin) so all the kids were mesmerized by that hole, waiting for him to reappear for the rest of the afternoon.

Since there was much to do in the backyard, not many of our guests attempted to make any of the crafts we prepared for (I will refrain from sobbing). My mom reassured me that had the weather actually been miserable, those projects would have been our saving grace. Oh how I am clinging to that!

Some of the first kiddo's to arrive made watches. I love how they turned out!

A party princess crown or two was created as well.

And here's the hat Addie made earlier in the week, just to be sure the project was appropriate and interesting enough. She loved decorating it and wore it several times leading up to the day to remind us all whose birthday was on Saturday.

The most important thing was that everyone had a good time, especially the birthday girl. She loved, LOVED her cake and still talks about it. Seeing as she breaks out into the Happy Birthday song at random times on any given day, she was elated to have everyone sing it to her. She says "all my friends" came to her party (we  really do have the best). Everything and everyone came together to make it Oso special for her. Most definitely a success!

Best picture of the cake I could find. Thank you, Papaw!!!

The table was fully fitted with plush Oso holding matching balloons, along with a display of paw pilot cupcakes. Addie found it all to be quite fantastic.

Addie eating cake with her Memere.

My babe was so pooped after everything, she ended the party by retreating to Mommy & Daddy's room, perched on our bed with some chex mix and Sleeping Beauty videos on the iPhone.

Prior to poop-out-time, Addie had to try out some of her gifts. She was a fairy princess special agent birthday girl for a moment there. I'd say that's just about right. (Notice the Oso digi-medal around her neck. Each kid got one to wear throughout the party and take home...

...along with a goody bag filled with snacks and a matching balloon.)

And sweet Lena, she did what any little sister would do--totally disengage from it all. Yes, she slept through most of the event. I am so over my sister turning three. Wake me when something interesting happens. Really she seemed to love having everyone here, as the mood of the day was one filled with joy. Still, it's rather funny that she found a way to sleep through 30+ people trapsing through our smallish home, yet when noone is here and it's totally quiet, sleep is not a priority. Love that girl.

I saved the piece de resistance for last--a video my mom took of Addie, just before things got started, giving a short tour of the cake table and coloring station. It ends with Daddy trying to get the bubble machine to work. So happy to have this little snippet showing her sweet face and hearing her voice all aglow with excitement for her birthday.

Addie, my dear sweet three-year-old. You make every day a party!!! I love you whole world.