St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I grew up in a very Irish family and we always made a huge deal over this holiday. I also love the color green and Ireland is my favorite place in the world. So St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty awesome day around here. 🙂 This year was especially fun because Caden was really excited about it!

All week long Caden has been telling me, “We need to get ready for St. Patrick’s Day. When are we going to get ready for St. Patrick’s Day?” I’m still not really sure what he expected of me and I feel like I let him down a little bit. He came running out of his room this morning and immediately asked me where all the St. Patrick’s Day people were. I asked if he meant leprechauns and he did. He then proceeded to spend the next two hours searching the house for a leprechaun. I wasn’t sure if I should encourage him or let him know he wasn’t going to find one so he wouldn’t be too disappointed. I ended up not really saying anything and he just kept looking. Fortunately, the leprechauns left them some gold and silver coins and a present. Notice Caden is carrying his leprechaun catching net with him. 🙂

Shepard was a little out of it this morning and couldn’t figure out what was going on.

A very creepy picture!

Our Irish breakfast of soda bread and green milk.

I tried a new recipe today and didn’t really like it at all.

Every year we do a family photo shoot in our St. Patrick’s Day shirts. After a lazy morning nobody was really in the mood to get ready and pose. Shepard also started covering his face up today, thinking we can’t see him when he does that.

All I wanted was for them to stand next to each other for one minute to get a nice one! Shepard wouldn’t have anything to do with that and Caden must have gotten mad too because he’s doing his latest punching pose. He knows he’s not supposed to hit people, so now when he gets angry he goes right up in their face and just holds this pose. Not nice!

And two seconds later Caden was ready to be a perfect model. It was pretty hilarious how he suddenly started striking all these poses. It has something to do with having my camera on the tripod, I guess. I’m not used to him being so cooperative when my camera comes out!

He’s had enough!

Shepard decided Caden was actually having fun and decided to join in.

When I see pictures like this I think that Caden must be growing really fast and/or Shepard just isn’t changing at all. Their height difference just keeps getting bigger and bigger!

Time for some self timer shots. Greg, as usual, is still getting ready while the rest of us wait!

And finally the family shots! I set up the self timer to take ten shots at a time, but because of the lighting or something there was a 30-60 second gap between every photo. So instead of the usual ten very similar shots in a row, we had enough time to change everything up in between. Which resulted in no perfect picture, but I like them all anyway. 🙂

And now, because I did it last year and I think it’s fun to look at – here we are through the years:
And that’s it for photos for the day! The rest of the day wasn’t terribly exciting. We went to Greg’s parents’ for lunch and hanging out. Then we came back for naps. Had a dinner of lucky pasta and shamrock ravioli. And now Greg and I are about to finish the date with some homemade mint chocolate gelato. It was a really good day!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Shepard’s Birthday Party!

Today was Shepard’s birthday party! I’m so glad we unknowingly didn’t do it last weekend when he turned out to be so sick. We found out on Thursday that he actually has a really bad double ear infection, but after a couple days of antibiotics he was back to his super smiley and fun self for his party today!

We had a tractor themed party. I made tacos for the main food and then my mother-in-law made this awesome vegetable “field” and my mom brought tons of delicious fruit. As usual, we had WAY more food than we needed. It was all so good, though!!

Caden decided to help make the punch by sneaking fingerfuls of sherbet.

I was really excited to find these chocolate rocks and green seeds for party favors. I forgot to actually tell people to bring them home, though, so now we have a huge bag filled with the extras. 🙂

Happy kid!

Taking a reading break.

The present pile!

Shepard shows excitement over everything, which is why it’s so fun to watch him all the time. He was thrilled over his first few pieces of tissue paper!

Tractor! (And both cats managing to sneak into the photo.)

He doesn’t even know what this is, but he’s pretty excited about it!

Getting some help from Liz.

He even holds up all the clothes he gets. Later he held up a new pajama shirt, pronounced it too big, and threw it across the room. Always, so funny. 🙂

Cards that make music are apparently the greatest thing on earth to a two year old.

Very excited about a trailer to attach to his new tractor!

He loved his new Donkey Kong.

Baby Ethan and his beautiful eyes!

We all had some good laughs over this. 🙂

Shepard was pretty nervous, but after Caden and Donkey Kong had a turn, Shepard loved jumping on his new Rody Horse!

Caden definitely provided Ethan with some fantastic entertainment!

Finally time for cake!

I had a really hard time coming up with a cake idea for this theme. It seems like with all of Caden’s birthday parties I know exactly what I want to do, but Shepard so far is proving to be quite difficult. I wanted to try and do something tastier (versus visual). I’m not a huge cake person (maker or eater), so I wanted to challenge myself a bit. I ended up combining old fashioned chocolate cake, peanut butter cake, toasted marshmallow frosting, and chocolate malt frosting all together to get this. And then because I didn’t want to make a third batch of chocolate malt frosting, I threw together a vanilla buttercream for the smaller cake. I was very excited about how the layers turned out. Not perfect, but more elaborate than I’ve ever done before!

I think he’s getting tired.

Layers in the bigger cake. This chocolate frosting was sooo good. I pretty much ate an entire bowl of it last night while I was making it.

The big “rocks” around the cake are actually chocolate boulders. Grandma tasted one – and Shepard’s expression in this is hilarious!

The chocolate frosting had an entire container of black gel food coloring in it so it turned everyone’s teeth black. I think this picture is sweet, though. Caden looks so old! Like a ten year old or something. My baby is growing up.

Not an attractive picture, but still funny. It was a perfect birthday party! Thanks to everyone that helped out and came and made it such a special day for our beautiful little boy!

Shepard’s 2nd Birthday

Today is my baby’s second birthday. Two years doesn’t seem like a very long time, but I can barely remember what life was like without him in our lives. Every day he brings us so much laughter and joy. He’s truly the brightest part of our family and I can’t imagine where we’d be without him. I love this little boy more than anything. 

Despite all my good intentions, the big day was kind of a waste. Shepard has been sick since Valentine’s Day and it only seems to be getting worse. He’s not throwing up anymore, but he has a horrible hacking cough and his nose and eyes are just draining nonstop. He’s been pretty miserable. But he pulled himself together today and smiled through it all. He was even happy about his donut breakfast, even though he didn’t take a single bite.

Mornings seem to be the worst. He just wants me to hold him and do nothing else. Which was kind of hard today when we needed to get ready and bring Caden to school. Poor baby, he looks so sad. 🙁

While Caden was at school he decided he wanted a waffle. He always has to sit there while it’s toasting and get the cinnamon sugar out himself.

Back to his donut and being goofy. Even this sick he can still be funny.

The bulk of our day was uneventful. I wanted to bring him to an indoor playground, but he was coughing too much. I wanted to take him out to lunch, but I figured he wouldn’t even eat anything. Hopefully later this week or even next week we can have sort of a redo birthday celebration. Today was very boring. Shepard was really excited when Greg got home, though, because he knew he could finally open his presents!

All day long Caden was talking about how Shepard was going to be too sick to open his presents so he’d have to “help.” I think Caden was pretty disappointed Shepard happily opened them all on his own.

Shepard was enthralled with this light up, music playing card from his Great Aunt Sandy.

Caden gave Shepard a sticker book and stickers. And one of those popular turtle nightlights. Which he’s been trying to take for himself ever since the box was opened. Caden wasn’t handling all the attention on Shepard very well today.


I bought him this baby and stroller for $3 on clearance. He loved it! So did Caden…

He wanted an orange while I was making dinner. He took every single slice and sunk his teeth into it, but didn’t eat any of them.

And finally his birthday “cake.”

Such a funny little angel. 🙂

Happy birthday sweet Shepard!

Celebrating 13 Years

Today Greg and I celebrated our thirteen year anniversary of being together. I know it’s not really normal to keep celebrating that anniversary after you get married, but to me this one almost feels more important than our real anniversary. Probably because we got married Memorial weekend so there’s always a ton of stuff going on that has nothing to do with our anniversary. It’s a lot easier to keep a sacred anniversary in the middle of January! Today is also the eighth anniversary of when Greg proposed, so it’s extra special. 🙂

It didn’t really work out to have a date today, so we ended up celebrating three days in a row. No complaints there!

On Tuesday we had an at home date and I made a special dinner. I was really excited to try out a new pizza recipe because as much as I love making homemade pizza, I’ve been in a huge rut coming up with new flavors. This time around I made a fresh peppercorn crust and my first slow simmered sauce.

Taking a break from the stove for a self portrait. 🙂

Pizza topped with mozzarella, bacon, broccoli, and fontina cheese.

It was really good! Greg wasn’t too happy about the broccoli when I was putting it together, but we both liked it overall.

Yesterday we had parent teacher conferences at the preschool in the morning, so we took the whole day off and go on a date afterward. I was hoping to walk around outside Madison, reminiscing of our proposal day, but it was WAY too cold and windy. We mostly just walked around the mall and then had lunch at a place called The Fountain and saw the movie “This is 40” in the theater. It was fun to just do something special in the middle of the day.

And today is our official anniversary. I tried to make another special dinner – our favorite kung pao chicken and a brown butter skillet cookie. Yum.

Caden decided to photo bomb our picture.

It’s amazing how much we’ve changed and grown in the last thirteen years. We were only fifteen when we met and it feels like we’ve already spent a lifetime together.

A very flattering photo. I had to bribe Shepard with a cookie to come over by us. He’s apparently very against the four person self portrait.

I love my family. We’ve built a good life together.

The boys have been blinded.

Caden is making such a Greg face in this picture. Too too funny.

As perfect as it’s going to get. 🙂

Happy anniversary, Greg!