Category Archives: I did something Special

Mother and Son Date.

I made the decision to let my Disneyland pass expire this year… the end date is 2/9.  Most people agree that it’s just incredibly expensive.  There’s also the consideration that in a year or so, I think William will enjoy it more and I won’t have to rush home for his nap… so we’ll have a little more freedom with our time.  Plus, budgetwise, I do have that speeding ticket to pay to the tune of $292. Ugh.

As a last hurrah, we went last Sunday. Just me and William, as Tony let his pass lapse last year.  I decided that William would enjoy California Adventure Land more than the Disneyland side, because that’s where his buddies, Lightning and Mater live.  Also, the tractor ride!

As we left the park, I grabbed a chocolate filled croissant for myself.  I was nibbling on it on the drive home and William asked for some. The piece I gave him had the tiniest, minuscule bit of chocolate in it, and he said, “Mmmmm, that’s a little bit of chocolate right there!” And then proceeded to suck and savor that tiny bit of chocolate for about 5 minutes, leaving the croissant as a soggy mess all over his lips.  So intense!!

I raised an eyebrow at this… I have never given him chocolate before and normally avoid eating it in front of him.  So this begs the question of HOW DID HE KNOW???

 

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Happy New Year!

It’s 2014, did you hear?  It’s kind of not been real to me because we didn’t watch any ball drop on New Year’s eve, we forgot to watch the Rose Parade on New Year’s day, until it was in reruns in the afternoon.  Everything just kind of went into a tunnel for us… we’ll call it the stomach flu tunnel.

It started on the 28th of December, the day we went to LegoLand.  The times we’ve gone to Legoland with William this past year have been focused on visiting their amazing waterpark, so this time we went just to see the rest of the park.  Not surprising that it was all decked out for Christmas, even Miniature LegoLand.  So much fun!  William loved seeing LegoLand Santa and their Frosty the Snowman.  He adores Miniature Land.  He loved running on their fake grass.  We had such a great time!

 

We got home and put him to bed for the night and he woke an hour later, restless.  After ten minutes of him rolling around, I sent Tony in to see what was bothering him.  After a few minutes, William threw up all over Tony’s arm…and that’s where the stomach flu tunnel started.  William threw up 6, maybe 7 times that night.  I lost count and he became a pro at getting it into a bucket (instead of all over his bed sheets, or Tony, or the floor, or me, for instance).   The next day, he seemed to be feeling a bit better, but then on the 30th, he had a relapse with the vomiting and then the diarrhea started. On the 30th, Tony also came down with it.  I had a bit of nausea but, in all honesty, it might have just been in response to all the nasty smells in the house.

So New Year’s eve found us all on puke watch.  New Year’s day found us gingerly trying various bland foods.  It really wasn’t until yesterday, the 3rd of January, that we all started feeling somewhat normal again.

The sickness aside, it really was nice to have all that time with family.  Tony’s job, since he’s no longer working in the commodity business, alloted him more holiday time than he’s had in years.  William and I are continuing to nurse, so that meant a third Christmas filled with sweet nursing snuggles.  I was able to organize some of the areas in the house that have amassed clutter.  The clutter is kind of overwhelming, and I guess that’s kind of an ongoing project that I don’t want to give up on this year.  I learned early on when lap swimming that even the slowest stroke is faster than stopping at each end of the pool, and that’s something that I’ve tried to apply to my life… just keep swimming, even if you’re going at it slowly.

What is something you’re planning to work on this year?

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A Birthday, Mine.

This past weekend, on the 1st, we celebrated my 43rd birthday.   Tony, bless him, gave me the greatest gift any man can give a woman who is the mother of a toddler… the gift of a nap.  The gift of a nap when said toddler failed at taking his, by taking the toddler away and on a drive that then turned into a car nap for the toddler.

Not to be outdone by that gift, he also took me to our mountain cabin for a couple days.  Where we did our usual tour of our favorite breakfast place where I was serenaded with the Happy Birthday song by a fellow there singing, a surprise was that, I’ve never seen anyone there singing before, so that was a perk.

We also visited the candy store in town, where I bought my favorite candy there…  a dark chocolate caramel apple, a dark chocolate covered pretzel stick and a dark chocolate peanut butter cup.  Tony then bought us ice cream.  Never mind that there was smatterings of snow and ice in town, residuals of the storm that had moved through there earlier in the week.  Ice cream doesn’t need warm weather to taste good.

Then there was the birthday cheesecake and sparkly numbers atop it.  Well, more like birthday cheesecakes, and since it was my birthday, I sampled each and every one of them… and, being in a generous mood, I let Tony sample them, too.  They were delicious, indeed.

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Finally, there was the moment as we drove down the mountain, our time there enjoyed immensely… and we held hands, as we drove we entered what I call our magical forest.  When it snows and the trees are heavy with it, the light sparkles it turning it to frozen diamonds.  It looks like something out of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  It was there several years ago that it was where I realized that the love Tony and I had for each other was too much, and that we needed a child to hold some of the love… and wasn’t that a good idea to start a family with?  Too much love?  And this time, as we drove, our child chattered at us from his seat in the rear seat, happy and content, smiling and singing and yelling, ” Boo!  Mommy and Daddy, boo!!”

P1160426For as much as a child’s birthdays marks the years passing like mile markers on a freeway, so does my birthday mark the passing of time of my happiness in the family we’ve made.  There is no gift in the world that I want, for I have all I could have ever dreamed… and more.

I am so very, very blessed in this, my 43rd year of life.  Happy Birthday to me.

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A Boy & His Apple

On Monday, I was home from work sick, so I spent the day with William.  Well, most of the day.  My mom took him for a couple hours in the morning so I could rest, and then he took a whopping 3 hour nap in the afternoon.  So let’s just say I spent what time I could with him.

After I woke him from his nap (yes, I woke him, it was getting to be 4pm!!), we nursed and then he decided he wanted an apple before we left for his music class.  Not only did he want an apple, he wanted to take his apple out to the back yard and eat it sitting in the chair at the patio table.  He had a very specific scene in mind, apparently.

In my mind, I was concerned about time.  I still needed to change his diaper before we left, but I realized that this moment in time was indeed sweet.  He was enjoying his time with me, and I needed to stop and enjoy the time with him instead of worrying about being late.  So we sat out there and enjoyed his apple together.

The sun flickering through the patio cover, the warm breeze stirring the plants and setting the pinwheels to spin, the cats in the cat run, my cup of water on the table, the dogs from the neighbors chiming in with barks… and it was beautiful.  And precious.  And I’m glad that I took the time to pause.
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You know something?  I never regret pausing.

Video link (In the event the playback box doesn’t work)

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Memorial Day Weekend (2013)

Last Friday evening, we left for Tony’s family mountain cabin. The usual strategy is to go through the bedtime routine, and then instead of nursing William in his room, I nurse him in the car.  Instead of falling asleep while nursing, he gets transferred into his car seat after nursing and then we drive off into the night while white noise plays over the speakers and I hold his hand.

It all went according to plan, and William was fine when we left.  He fell asleep in the car quietly holding my hand. We made good time going up the mountain and, bonus, I even got a bit of a snooze in.  When we arrived, William was in a deep sleep, so I carried him in and did a dream nursing session and then put him into the Pack N Play.  At 2:30 am I heard him softly talking to himself, not crying, just intermittently talking to himself. I checked the video monitor (yes, we travel with that thing), and he was lying on his back examining his fingers. I got up with the intent to nurse him back to sleep, even though he wasn’t crying. When I picked him up, he was burning with fever. He was so hot it felt like he was on fire. His temp was 102.9. Shocked, I woke Tony, we gave him Advil and changed his diaper and his jammies, and I nursed him and, then, thanks to having read that skin-to-skin is a body temp regulator, I held him close for 2 hours, nursing him off and on, until his fever started to go down.

We continued to treat his fever throughout the weekend, stacking Advil & Tylenol. His temp was normal on Monday, but Monday evening a cough developed and he started sneezing repeatedly, and he started running a low grade fever again. His appetite was good Saturday morning, but declined the rest of the weekend until the only thing he wanted to do is nurse and eat Mum-Mums. He spotted bananas, asked for some, and then sadly handed it back to me after he licked it… I guess it just didn’t taste good.

I took him to the doctor on Tuesday morning.  His ears, nose, throat, lungs were checked and given the “All Clear!”  The doctor said it’s viral. Said we should expect the cough to last 2 weeks, expect the fever to last 2-3 more days.  Doctor said to try chicken noodle soup.  I made turkey dinner in the crock pot instead, and William (all of us, actually) ate like it was Thanksgiving in May.  We love turkey!  Turkey for EVERYONE!

Oh, and other fun details? I forgot the cord to the monitor, so we had the camera, and then were turning the monitor off and on to preserve battery life. Great timing to forget the cord, huh?  Instead of staying the entire weekend, we left the cabin early, driving home on Sunday because William was so unhappy. On the drive home, the bolt fell out of the brake caliper on the driver’s side, so we had to wait 1.5 hours for AAA to send a flatbed trailer with an extended cab which could fit an infant seat so we could get home. Thankfully, remarkably, William napped through nearly the entire wait (He actually took 2 naps on Sunday for the first time since he was 10.5 months old). We took the less steep way home, giving elevation change consideration to William’s ears. If we had gone the steeper way, the brake issue would have been made known going down the mountain instead of the flats at the bottom (Tony uses the transmission to slow the descent when we go the back way.) And, miraculously, no damage was caused by the caliper, Tony just needs to replace the bolt.

I talked to our neighbor lady and her theory is that, if a little one isn’t feeling well (teething, etc.), then elevation changes can exacerbate things and cause higher fevers than normal in little ones because their Eustachian tubes aren’t yet fully developed.  All four of William’s canine teeth are breaking through his gums right now, so maybe she’s on to something. Who knows?

After relaying the story to my mom, she said, “I really hope you journaled about this adventure, because the whole story is kind of nuts!”  That just about sums it up nicely.  A nutty adventure with some sweet moments mixed in.

Pictures from the weekend can be found here:  LINK

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Chick-Fil-A Military Appreciation.

Last night, Chick-Fil-A sponsored a military appreciation event for all military personnel, active or retired, in honor of the upcoming Memorial Day.    Whoever planned this event for Chick-Fil-A did an amazing job coordinating all the aspects so that a good time was had by all.

Little known fact, Tony served a long, long time ago in the reserves.  Although he claims not to have enjoyed it, he tells fond stories about boot camp and the time he spent serving. We’ll just call this a conundrum.  Anyway, because Tony served, we were able to participate in this Chick-Fil-A event.  SO, THANK YOU FOR SERVING IN THE RESERVES, TONY!!!

Walking across the parking lot, William started cracking up just SEEING all the kids playing.  He loved watching the kids run and jump on the enormous bouncy slide/obstacle course.  I have a video and I *think* William is actually jumping, with his feet off the ground,  jumping.  Supposedly this is a milestone that he should reach by the age of 2-ish?  Whatever.  It is safe to say that William was uber excited about the whole thing.

Chick-Fil-A comped our meal, in its entirety.  Summary: The food was delicious, we didn’t win any raffle prices, William grinned at the lady at the table next to us and laughed at the kids.  All in all, it made for a fun evening out!

Funny story:  A couple weeks ago, we went to Chick-Fil-A and for the first time William had apple sauce in a pouch.  He loves apple sauce and is actually good enough with the spoon that he can feed it to himself, but the pouch was a special treat.  The next time we went through Walmart, he spotted the pouches and got excited about them.  So I thought, hey, he has never liked sweet potatoes, but maybe he likes pouches enough that he’ll eat the sweet potatoes from a pouch.  You know where this story is going, huh?  So, I went ahead and bought him a sweet potato pouch. He was so excited to have  it!  He begged me to open it.  So I unscrewed it and let him taste it in the store and then left him with Tony while I went and tried on some shorts.  He apparently tasted it a couple of times, and then proceeded to squeeze the rest of it all over the shopping cart.

Moral of the story: Pouches should ONLY contain apple sauce.

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More pictures:  LINK

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Great Orange Ball

Local to us is a park that has an orange balloon.  It’s been there for years on the old military base.  The balloon goes up and down 400 feet for certain hours of the day, weather permitting, giving lots of people a great view of the county.  Up until recently it was free, but we missed out on that by a couple of days.  We’ve been meaning to get over there and check it out for awhile now.  Like for years now.  Honestly, we’re pretty good about checking out the things in our own backyard, so to speak, but this place, as huge as it is, is kind of a pain to find if you’re just blindly exploring.

So there we were one day, William hadn’t been able to fall asleep for his nap, and we needed to go to Costco, so we called it a nap fail and set out.  He was fine, so we thought.  We went to Costco, he was as wide awake as he could be.  Might as well go see if we can find the place.  We’re driving along and I glanced at the clock, 4pm.  I glanced in the rearview mirror and William had nodded off to sleep.  Do I wake him or let him sleep, was the question. Knowing that from the point he wakes, he will not be able to sleep again for 5 hours, minimum.  We decided to let him sleep.

Photos from that outing:  LINK 

So we got to the park and scoped it out, and decided to schedule a day to go back when William would be awake.

This past Saturday was the day.  The place is enormous with lots of space to roam.  They have more than just the balloon, too.  There is a carousel, a garden area, a playground and the old hangars are used as exhibit areas, and the open outside space is used for a Farmer’s Market every Sunday.  I commented to Tony what a fun outing this was, it would be perfect for a simple and easy first date… and it’s also an easy outing for a family if you want to spend the day at a park without worrying about it being crowded.

Here are some photos from this weekend’s outing:  LINK

So that’s what we did this weekend.  What’d you do ?

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Sunny Sunshine Shining Green.

Yesterday Tony took William with him to his parent’s house, so I had three hours to myself.  At first I felt bereft.  I miss that kid so much during the week, I like to spend every spare moment that I have with him.  But then I realized, I’ve been meaning to get my hair cut.  Last time I got my hair cut, I had William with me and I wore him in a carrier on my chest. I stand anyway during the process because my hair is so long it makes it easier for my stylist to work with it.  But it was a little challenging, because he was Mister Nosey and wanted to know what she was doing with his mommy’s hair.

So, yep, you guessed it.  The second they left I hustled down to see her and got that taken care of.  Then I had two hours left… and GUESS WHAT!!?? Even though it’s not April, my community’s pool is heated.  Early.  Mid March.  Even better, the weather here is sunny and warm.  So I went had myself a swim in the pool. Outside. In the clean water that is not over-chlorinated.  It was glorious.

Could the day get any better?  Yes.  Yes, it could.

Despite all odds, William took a 2 hour 35 minute nap.  Which is good because he got a measly 30 minute nap on Friday, and he’s molarizing and had a beastly cold this past week.  Poor little guy.  He needs his rest.  Even better, I got an hour or so of a nap myself.

Then, THEN!! Last night was Green Dinner (aka St. Patrick’s Dinner) at Tony’s church.  Such a good time we had.  Even though we didn’t get to see the Irish Dancers (they came on after 9pm), the food was delicious, the bagpipes were entertaining and, you know, family was there.  Oh, and did I mention the food was delicious?  I think I might have.

When we were leaving, one of the men of the church asked me about my hair.  Now this is truly novel as no one ever notices when I get my hair cut.  I told him I’d spent all morning in the salon getting my hair done just for last night.

He looked at me, in all seriousness and said, “I sure hope you saved your receipt.”

A little miffed, I replied, “Yes, I did.  I know, they got it a little short, huh?”

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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The Music Class.

I was surprised and tickled to find out that William’s music class, Music Together, was being held this week.  His class is held in our city’s civic center, so I fully expected it to be postponed since President’s Day is a holiday observed by the government and its branches.  Apparently, though, one lady in the entire building came by to unlock the doors for the class.

The class starts at 4:30pm on Mondays, so I normally get there around 5:00pm and am able to observe the last 15-20 minutes of the class. So the fact that he had class on a holiday meant that I got to take him, and participate with him in the class from the beginning.  I was even happier to be able to sit right next to the teacher.  William apparently liked that, too, because he didn’t roam at all (like he normally does).  Instead, he chose to either sit on my lap, or sit in front of me on the floor.  He watched the teacher intently and danced to the music.

There was a new student this week that I’ve not seen before.   A little boy with shaggy hair.  He was probably closer to 2, given how nimble he was on his feet.  He was roughly William’s size, although a little slimmer in the face.  He was wearing jeans and a blue plaid shirt.  Both his mom and dad were there, they had arrived about 10 minutes late.

The little boy was disruptive, running through the middle of the circle, out to the other side.  He was pulling at the plastic containers that held the various instruments and grabbing at people’s bags.  When his parents corrected him, he yelled in anger. When the instruments were made available to the kids, he would grab them from the others and scream and throw a tantrum if told to give the item back or if it were taken from him to be put away at the end of each song.

I felt bad for his parents…  was he a handful because that’s who he is?  Perhaps it’s just his age?  Maybe he didn’t get a nap?  I don’t know.  Everyone mostly tried to ignore him and his antics, including me.  I was really trying to enjoy the class.

And then, he decided that he wanted the shaker that William had, not even caring that there were a dozen other shakers just like it on the floor in front of William.  I was 3-4 feet behind them, not close enough to intervene quickly and I watched in horror as the kid ran up behind William and grabbed his hair. Twice.

William is too young to defend himself, and so I reached to shield William’s head, at the same time as the kid’s mom yelled her son’s name… but we were both too late. I rubbed William’s head and waited to see William’s reaction.  William simply turned and looked at him.  The kid grabbed the shaker William was holding and ran away.  William furrowed his brow, looked at his empty hand, looked at the kid and then… chose another instrument.

I was relieved but less relaxed. As the class continued, the kid became obsessed with whatever William was doing.  Maybe because William was about his size?  When it was instrument freestyle time, the teacher was even “dancing” with a hand protectively over William’s head, because that kid was circling William with a lollipop drum.  When the song ended, his parents took the instrument he was holding and put it back in the box.  The child spotted that William still had his shaker, and so he grabbed it from him. Since all the other instruments had been put away, William started to get upset.  I took the shaker back from the child and gave it back to William, just as his mom reprimanded him.  At this point, I was pretty stressed and just wanted to tell his parents to, “Please!  Hold onto your kid already!”

It finally came time for the ending song.  The teacher got her book and the kid ran up to her and grabbed her book.  She gently tried to pry it out of his hands, he started screaming.  She smiled and  “sang” to him, while looking at his parents for help, “I need my book. The song is new.  I don’t have it memorized yet…”  The parents rocked back and forth next to each other, smiling, from across the room.  So the teacher was on her own, with an unruly child who was verging on a tantrum, and a book that was scrunched up in his hands as they battled for possession.  I wondered how she was going to handle the situation.

She continued to smile, as she gently enfolded the little boy in a hug.  She hugged him tight and close as she sang, and the book emerged in her hand, victorious.  The little boy snuggled for a second, and then wiggled free and ran back to his parents.

Of course.  Love.  Gentleness.  A hug.  The teacher is a beautiful soul.  She just reminded me, through her actions, that kindness and love is sometimes the best recourse against frustration and tantrums.

It’s a good lesson, but I will also say, that kid better not pull my kid’s hair again.

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1 Wheel Old Birthday Party.

A party for a first birthday?  Really?  He won’t even remember it, for goodness sakes, so just keep it simple if you’re going to have one!  That has always been my thinking.  Plus, I’m not much on social events (hello, extreme introversion!), so a birthday party that I’m in charge of planning sounded like a nightmare to me.  Yet, I was so … reclusive while pregnant, so reticent to embrace publicly the quiet joy I experienced every day while I was carrying this child within me, next to my heart.  Because of that, I kind of felt like I owed it to everyone, not an obligation, really, but more to share this boy who brings so much joy to everyone he sees.  I’ve wondered how weird it would be to add “Joy” as a third middle name, because I don’t think Merriam Webster would be willing to change the definition in the dictionary to read: Joy — (noun) William John.

Then there’s William.  A kid who loves wheels.  I leave for work in the mornings and instead of looking at me longingly as I leave, his eyes are downcast, his lips are smiling, as he looks at the wheels on my car as they turn, and the faster they turn the bigger his smile gets.  We go for walks and he gets upset if we turn around before we get to the main street, because he can hear those wheels driving by on the street, and he wants to see them!  If a truck goes by, “Oh, WOW!!” he says.  His head turns, eyes tracking them.  Trucks have really big wheels, you know?

I wasn’t really looking, well, not looking very hard, I guess I should say… when I came across The Perfect Invitation.  “No way!” I said to Tony when I found them.  “Check these out!  Should I order them?” I asked.  Wheel Have Lots of Fun!  Cute and cheesy and sooooo William.

P1030931So we confirmed the date and time, and I ordered them.  Embrace it and own it, I decided.  So, I browsed the Internet for food ideas.  Hostess Ding Dongs were going to be “spare tires”, but then Hostess went into bankruptcy, and suddenly there was a shortage of Ding Dongs (who would’ve thought??), so Oreo cookies became the spare “spare tires.”  Pretzel rings became “bicycle tires.” Pinwheel sandwiches, or wraps, were next… Costco would have been the easy thing to do, except I don’t care for cream cheese with deli meat, I much prefer hummus.  Costco wasn’t able to modify their recipe (yes, I asked).  I would have made the things myself, except I was already doing the cakes (see the next paragraph), so I called around and found a grocery store who would custom make them for the same price.  Various other “wheel” shaped foods made it on the menu…

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The cakes should have been the easy part, right?  I mean, cake pans are generally round.  The problem was, I’m not a huge fan of cake, especially the ones that have sugary frosting.  Yet, what’s a birthday party without cake???  So, I decided to take a day off from work and bake all the guests their own individual mini pineapple upside cake (aka “Tractor Wheels”).  Crazy much?  (Reminds me of a woman who was 7 months pregnant and stayed up all night before her baby shower baking cookies for her guests when she was supposed to be taking it easy, because she’d just been in the L&D unit for having contractions!!  Hi!! *waves & grins*)

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For William, I decided that a smash cake wasn’t a smash cake unless it had frosting, and since his favorite fruit to date was banana, I made a sugarless banana cake sweetened by apple sauce, and the frosting was Cool Whip with a banana mixed in for flavoring, and colored with blue food coloring.

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For kid entertainment, Tony found a great deal on the internet for a bouncy house, and after a couple of foibles on their part they threw in a Cars banner for free.

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We asked William’s cousin, Huck, to accompany us on the piano when we sang “Happy Birthday,” and he did an amazing job!  He even played it again later so we could hear him better.

Oh, and all the guests were required to take their picture with the race car upon entering the party.  Which meant that someone had to stand out there and greet everyone, which actually turned out to be a great idea, because Tony’s parent’s house is kind of hard to find if you’ve never been there before.  Turns out, a birthday party greeter is a great ice breaker!  Plus, the pictures taken are a great keepsake of all the people who were part of this celebration to show him how thrilled they are that he’s been in the world for an entire year.

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I know I’ve said it again and again, but this child is such a blessing.  Even though I know he won’t remember it, I realized that we will.  And this?  This was a great memory.

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More pictures can be seen here:  Link

Special thanks to my friend, Grace (William’s Godmother), for taking her Saturday morning and spending it setting up for the party.  Tony also was an enormous help in coordinating things and helping set things up.  Tony’s mom also helped set up and frosted William’s smash cake.  Tony’s parents provided the party venue.  Thanks to his cousin, Huck, for playing Happy Birthday.  I’m also so grateful to all the guests who celebrated with us.

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