Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Retrospect: Four Babies and a Birthday Party

Three friends and I all had babies within six weeks of each other last year. That means that they all had their birthdays together this year, and we mommies decided to throw them a combined birthday party. We held the party at one of my favorite playgrounds for ambiance in Central Park; Safari Playground. I chose this location because of all the charming hippos popping out of the ground. They are just cute and I felt they provided the perfect setting for photographing a pack of squirmy one-year-olds.

We gave Georgia a bubble machine for an early birthday gift and it was the hit of the party. In fact, there was another birthday party going on at the other side of the playground and all the kids from that party kept coming over to play with our bubbles. It made me smile because I know we spent much less on the bubble machine than the other party must have spent on the clown they hired to make balloon animals for their kids' friends.

Pete made the birthday cakes, which we designed to be simple 4 inch rounds frosted white with bright colored sprinkles around the edges and a stenciled number 1 on top.   I love the way they turned out.

The cupcakes we brought for everyone else were iced with a very light whipped icing so the sprinkles ended up bleeding in the frosting resulting in a tie-dye look. Not what I was going for, but pretty nonetheless. And oh so tasty!

Of all the babies Georgia definitely has the reputation for being the biggest eater, despite the fact that for several months she's been the tiniest one, so we were all surprised when she didn't dive into her birthday cake like the other babies did. She sat back and daintily dabbled her fingers in the icing and snacked on it rather than demolishing and stuffing.

I'm really grateful that Pete got a few pics of me with Georgie at her birthday party. I'm typically the one behind the camera so I have very few pictures of myself with my kids.

I had originally wanted to do a lot more with decorating, but because of guidelines for parties in playgrounds at Central Park I wasn't able to tie up balloons, banners, garlands or anything else. I'm glad I didn't. It was a perfect first birthday party for four birthday cuties; simple and understated, with lots of freedom to just be babies. It couldn't have been better (except for maybe if I had been able to get some of those giant 36" balloons. Just for photos. Oh, well). Next party.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Halloween with Little Miss Muffet and The Spider (not the Tuffet)

I love Halloween. Years ago, long before I had children, I told Pete many many times that I wanted kids for the sake of celebrating holidays. It seemed like such good fun to have kids from Halloween through Christmas, and then to return them just before New Year's like an unfortunate Christmas sweater. 

Still a fond dream of mine. 

I particularly love kids in costumes. Cute ones, not icky gross ones. This year I decided to continue the theme of classic children's literature characters by dressing Amelia as Little Miss Muffet and Georgia as the spider, but Amelia would tell anyone who asked her what she was going to be for Halloween, "I'm going to be Little Miss Muffet and Georgie's the tuffet." That pretty much sums up her view of their relationship--which is ironic considering how many photos my parents have of my older sister sitting on my head when I was a baby.

I made, or at least collected all the elements for both girls' costumes, something my mother always did and I'm going to try to continue to do. It was a fun challenge to gather ideas for how I could accomplish the look I was going for and actually get my sewing machine out and make costumes happen. I'm pretty proud of the way they turned out, except perhaps Georgie's spider legs, which, after she vomited all over them the first time she wore them out of the apartment, never were quite the same. But she looked pretty cute in her costume even without the spider legs. 

Since Georgia's birthday is so close to Halloween we decided to celebrate it at the Bronx Zoo, which she loves--particularly the Bug Carousel. We dressed the girls in their costumes and hit the zoo's annual Boo at the Zoo Halloween celebration. 

Told you she loves the carousel. (Thats a jeweled spider on her headband, which is the exception to my mommy-made-everything rule. It was just too cute to pass up.) The polka dot jacket is not part of her costume but was the only clean clothes I had to change her into after she inexplicably threw up all over her costume on the way to the zoo. 

I made the hat and pantaloons Amelia wore. 
The dress is one my mom made me when I was Amelia's age. 

In line for the 4D movie at the zoo.
Georgia loves the rumbling seats, 
the bubbles that shoot out, the mist and the big screen.

Love these faces.

Here are a couple with Georgia actually wearing her costume, but you can't really see the full effect. She had eight legs and a tulle tutu for a web. 

I'm glad I took as many photos as I did at the zoo because I didn't get any of the girls out trick-or- treating. I didn't want to carry around my nice camera and the ones I took with my phone didn't turn out. Too bad because trick-or-treating in Harlem is really worth seeing. The kids trick-or-treat up and down the streets at all the businesses (nail salons, cafes, laundry mats, convenience stores, etc.) and Harlem is one of the few neighborhoods in the city that offers trick-or-treating in residential areas. The beautiful old brownstones that are so iconic of Harlem lend themselves well to trick-or-treating, and all the houses that are participating tie an orange balloon by the front door signaling that kids are welcome. Most of the participating houses are decked out in full spookiness anyway.  It's such a great community event as everyone meets each other and admires each other's kids' costumes--Amelia's costume was particularly admired (although everyone thought she was Little Bo Peep. Oh, well.) Georgia was in the stroller happy as can be with a lollypop. 

So Halloween, and Georgia's first birthday, were a success. And now Amelia keeps telling me what she wants to be for Halloween next year. So far the list includes: Minnie Mouse, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, Cinderella, a wolf, Robin Hood and a scary witch. I won't start thinking about it for at least three or four months. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Baby's Birthday

Our little Georgie Porge is officially 1 and I made a video to mark the occasion. At 13 minutes long I warn you it's a bit of a time commitment, but it is pretty darn cute and I worked hard on it. So watch it anyway and enjoy the GeorgeFest.

Georgia's First Year from Charlotte Tidwell on Vimeo.

Until next birthday!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Retrospect: Pete's Birthday {The Old Boy is 30}

Birthdays are a big deal. It wasn't many hundreds of years ago that people didn't live to see too many birthdays, so we have to celebrate in big fashion whenever we do reach such momentous milestones; or at least in as big a fashion as we can afford.

When Pete turned 30 I wanted to do something he would remember. So 30 became the number of the day and everything we did was in groups of 30.

While Pete was at work I picked up 30 balloons and placed them throughout the apartment, each tied to one of his 30 birthday gifts. The first balloon was tied to the railing just outside our apartment door next to a stack of party hats and a sign that read, "Please Take One." When we got home from dinner at Patsy's Pizzeria, our fave New York pizza joint, Pete had to go throughout the apartment from balloon to balloon gathering gifts that ranged from Kit Kat bars and chocolate milk, to shirts, ties, baking tools and self help books extolling the virtues of self employment.

The 30th and last balloon was tied to a cake stand on which I had fashioned a donut cake (no, there were not 30 donuts, there were only 18. Why in the world would I want 30 donuts in my house??).

Even though I don't think Pete got quite as much of a kick out of the balloons as the girls did, I think he really loved his birthday celebration. He enjoyed having so much candy and junk food at his disposal, and looks pretty snappy in his new birthday clothes.

I wanted Pete to feel how much his ladies at home love and appreciate him, and in that respect think the mission was a success.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A just because moment

This girl just kills me. 

And at 11 months old, as Amelia says, "She's growin' that hair!" And it's looking pretty strawberry.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Family that Plays Together

My family plays pretty hard. It feels like we're doing "stuff" all the time. Parks, museums, concerts, libraries, gardens, zoos, pools, puppet shows, you name it, we're there. In fact, when I'm talking to my Mom on the phone, our conversation often goes something like this:

Mom: So, what're you up to today?

Me: Well, there's this ________ going on down at the _______ ______, and I was thinking I'd take the girls and go _________ing, and then check out the ________ ________, and then meet some friends for some _________.


Mom: You sure work a lot harder to entertain your kids than I ever did.


But I don't have a back yard. So climbing trees and running barefoot through the grass and making flower chain crowns and catching grasshoppers are kind of out of the question. (There are few places in this city I would suggest running barefoot--and just try picking flowers here, see what happens.) 

So I embrace it. I'm busy entertaining my kids almost all the time. So this is a post dedicated to highlighting some of the things we've done to stay entertained lately:

Indoor games with Daddy (On rainy Saturdays) 

Checking out the Discovery Room at the American Museum of Natural History (of Night at the Museum fame)

 P.S. This is the coolest card catalogue chest type thing I've ever seen. The little ladies explored opening the drawers and finding treasures for almost an hour.

Impromptu Huck Finn swimming at the park

And Beauty Parlour--this was also impromptu, and unfortunately, unsupervised.

But that is not all, oh no, that is not all.

More to come.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

18 Months

The last nine months . . .

Have gone insanely faster than the previous nine.