Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

wildrumpusbirthday_For little J’s first birthday, I wanted to have a big party with all of our friends and family. Months ago, I decided on a “Where the Wild Things Are” theme, since that was my husband’s favorite book as a child. I scoured the web and Pinterest for planning and decor, since I’ve never thrown a party like this before. I began doing as much handmade decor as possible, to save a little money and to make it even more special for J. With the abundant help of my amazing family and a couple of my best girlfriends, the party went off without a hitch! Here are a few photos of the details of the party. I think it was an absolute hit!wildrumpusbirthday_i'lleatyouupwildrumpusbirthday_burlaptablerunnerwildrumpusbirthday_paperlanternsHandmade felt bunting and paper lanterns hung from tree to tree! The tables were covered in white linens with a burlap runner. I kept the table decor simple, elegant and earthy with baby’s breath and billy balls in mason jars painted gold. Pine cones and moss balls adorned the length of the table, leaving plenty of room for the guests to eat and socialize. wildrumpusbirthday_billyballswildrumpusbirthday_photobannerI created a photo banner of baby J’s first 12 months with baby clothespins and twine to hang from a small tree.wildrumpusbirthday_capreseskewerswildrumpusbirthday_foodThe main food table was home to lots of tasty and healthy food items including chicken, steak and shrimp skewers, a fresh mediterranean salad with kalamata olives, avocado and feta, mini caprese skewers with a balsamic reduction drizzle, hummus and cucumber cupcakes, pita chips and roasted red bell pepper hummus, fresh fruit skewers, and a delicious couscous tabbouleh.wildrumpusbirthday_paperstrawflagswildrumpusbirthday_paperstrawsRefreshing lemonade was the perfect beverage to accompany the adorable grey, yellow and white-striped paper straws. We also offered ice water and fruit juice boxes for the little ones.wildrumpusbirthday_cupcakewildrumpusbirthday_crowncaketopperI purchased die-cut crown confetti from this Etsy Shop, and decided to create my own cute little mini-cupcake toppers with them to top these delicious and adorable mini cupcakes! There were lemon, chocolate and carrot cake cupcakes to accommodate every taste bud.wildrumpusbirthday_cookiesThese “Wild Thing Paw Print” cookies were so adorable and delicious and were quite the hit! wildrumpusbirthday_birthdaycakewildrumpusbirthday_woodcakestandwildrumpusbirthday_buntingwildrumpusbirthday_birthdayboy2I made the birthday boy his own special cake. It was an organic apple spice cake I found here with a cream cheese frosting. He was able to enjoy it after the party, since he was quite obviously not a fan of the frosting all over his hands!wildrumpusbirthday_crownFamily and friends were given these adorable handmade crowns to wear. My Mom even made extras in all sizes so that the “Wild Thing” could come out in anyone and party!wildrumpusbirthday_birthdayboywildrumpusbirthday_photobooth2wildrumpusbirthday_photobooth3wildrumpusbirthday_photoboothWe had a fun little “photo booth” to capture some of the fun guests of the party. wildrumpusbirthday_guestbookInstead of the traditional guest sign-in book, we purchased a copy of the book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak as a keepsake for baby J to have that he can actually appreciate.wildrumpusbirthday_favorsFor the party favors, we sent the little ones home with a crown, a little snack box filled with organic treats, and some bubbles as “A Magic Trick to Tame the Wild Things”.wildrumpusbirthday_s'moresThe older guests took home a s’mores kit to make a yummy treat at home!

Thanks to everyone who made it to J’s first birthday bash, especially to those that traveled long distance, it’s a not celebration without the people who love him most! Thank you to my husband for putting up me and with the months of planning and crafting.  Thanks to my best gal pals, Betsy of Snap Lovely Photography, for all the amazing photos, for handwriting the photo props, and for helping prep all the delicious food, to Kelli, Amy and Aly for last minute crafting and the delicious cupcakes and fruit skewers, and to Cassie who snapped a few of the  pictures above.

And of course, a special thanks to all of my amazing family who all traveled out from Arizona and helped SO much with all the party details and set up, and were here to celebrate the big one year! I love you all and couldn’t have done it without you!

“This is the Day which the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24

 

Happy First Birthday, My Darling.

There’s something beautiful about celebrating the birth of my precious son on the same day as celebrating the resurrection of the Son of God. What a joyous day Easter is, and even more so this year for our family! Today, we will celebrate the beautiful gift God gave us of His Son and of ours. Last year on this day, the first breath taken by our baby boy literally took ours away. It’s a day I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life.0 months

I can’t begin to tell you how incredibly fast the last year has gone for us. Everyone has always said how quickly their children grew up, but I honestly wasn’t prepared for how true that really is. He has grown up so quickly into such a little man! Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally, he has grown leaps and bounds and I thank God every day for that.

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I have experienced more joy and love in the last three hundred and sixty-five days than I have in all the days of my life combined. When I say joy, I mean happiness so far beyond measure. When I say love, I can’t even pretend to have the words to describe how in love with him I am. He brings so much laughter and excitement to our lives and brightens every single day. It is seriously impossible to be in a grumpy mood around him, even on our worst days, he manages to make them better. When I think back to what life was like before we had him, I can’t imagine ever not having his sweet laughter and kisses to wake up to every day.

6 months

J is everything I could have hoped for and more. He is such a bright light in this world. I am literally in awe of him every, single day. I have been blessed beyond measure to spend the last year watching him grow from a sweet, tiny little angel baby to an adorable, funny, and smart little boy. He has so many layers, I am so impressed with how deep his emotions lie. I have no doubt that he will be a man of passion and compassion, of wit and of wisdom. I truly feel sometimes like he is the mini-me of Brendan, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I can only hope and pray that J will someday become the kind of man his Dad is.

8 months

I am so looking forward to spending the coming year wondering how I could have thought that it couldn’t get any better than the last. I’m excited for  J to take his first steps, speak his first sentence, and continue exploring the world around him. I anticipate the pride and the heart ache as he gets older and becomes more independent. I dread the times he will hurt, whether physically or emotionally. I’m eager to watch his imagination grow and run wild.

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I pray that we’re making the right choices for him and how we’re raising him. I pray for his heart and for his mind, and that he will grow to be a man who loves Jesus and shares Him with others. I pray for his future wife and that God will keep her heart pure and good.

5 months

I pray, and I pray, and I pray…and I thank God that last year, on this day, He blessed me with the most amazing gift I could ever have imagined.

Happy first birthday, my darling. You are now, and will always be, the absolute light of my life

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. – 1 Peter 1:3

Oh Christmas Tree!

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I’ve never been more excited to get a Christmas tree and get into holiday spirit as much as I am this year. There’s something about making memories and starting new traditions with our little family that adds so much magic and festivity to it all! I’m so excited to see baby J get more and more excited about Christmas as every year passes and hope to instill the anticipation and excitement that our parents did in us. I’m so blessed to have married a man who might even love Christmas more than I do, so holidays are so much fun around the Dekker house!

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We ran right out to a tree lot as soon as December hit and got a beautiful noble fir-tree. Not too small and not too big for our quaint little apartment, this tree is the perfect size for our perfect little family. We lit a couple of holiday candles, put on some Christmas tunes, poured some hot chocolate and got to decorating!

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As we added each ornament to the tree, it melted my heart to listen to Brendan tell the beautiful story of when Jesus was born to our precious little son. Although he may not understand yet, I know he can feel the love and joy as the story is told.

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I hope to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas this and every year, even throughout the hustle and bustle and sometimes even stress of the holidays, I want to remember all that we have to be thankful for and to not forget that, although it’s so much fun to wrap gifts for our precious baby boy, the greatest gift of all is Jesus and his abundant mercy and grace.

 

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:9-14

Say Mama!

Just when I think he couldn’t get any sweeter, baby J said what I’ve just been dying to hear. He ever so sweetly said, “Mama!” It was music to my ears. I’ve heard it said many times that our children make life worth living, but I never could have imagined how true that really is. He’s everything I ever could have hoped for and more. He is so incredible, it’s such an honor to be the one he now calls Mama.

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” – Psalm 127:3

Four Years Ago Today!

Four years ago today was one of the best days of my life. I was in one of my favorite places in the world, New York City. I was with one of my favorite people in the world, Brendan Dekker. I was about to be asked one of the most important questions ever asked of me..Let me start from the very beginning. Brendan was going on a business trip to NY, so he asked me if I wanted to come with him. We were going to stay the weekend to spend time in one of our favorite places, but this was no ordinary trip. After Brendan got off work that evening, we headed out to dinner, but Brendan said he had to stop on the way to pick something up from his co-worker’s apartment first. We got out of the cab and headed up the elevator of a beautiful apartment building in the middle of Manhattan. We stepped out of the elevator, but instead of an apartment, it was a beautiful rooftop garden overlooking one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to. We had a picturesque view of busy streets below, a skyline of buildings as far as the eye could see, and a stunning view of the Empire State Building.

I honestly thought Brendan got the floor number wrong, but we walked out to enjoy the view anyway. Little did I know, it was his plan all along. As we stood at the edge, just taking it all in, Brendan reached over and gently held my hand. He kept glancing over at me while I’m sure I chattered on about nothing important, until I realized he was acting very suspicious. Right when I was about to ask him what he was up to, he dropped to one knee. I can honestly say from this point on was a bit of a blur. All I know is I said “Yes!” to the most important question ever asked of me. I was going to be Mrs. Brendan Dekker. After he stood up, I kissed the man of my dreams and couldn’t stop staring at the most beautiful ring ever!

Brendan had been up to the rooftop earlier that day, and had stashed a bottle of champagne and a pair of flutes to celebrate! We stood, basking in the view, in each other, and in the celebration of our love. I pretty much immediately called my Mom and Dad and the rest of our families to tell them the good news! It was hands-down the most exciting moment in my life.

The rest of the weekend was such a fun celebration. We went to dinner that evening, though neither of us were able to eat much from all the nerves. The next day, Brendan had arranged a private airplane ride all over New York. It was a view not many are ever fortunate enough to see, and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to  have enjoyed it with the most amazing guy in the world.

The next evening, Brendan had made reservations at this ridiculously awesome restaurant called River Cafe. It’s nestled under the Brooklyn Bridge with sweeping views of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty, and the food was delicious!! The next (and last) evening we had in the city was spent in the third row, center-stage of the Gershwin Theatre for the amazing performance of Wicked as our first engagement present, compliments of my awesome future in-laws.Not only did Brendan truly make me the happiest girl in the world by asking me to be his wife, he made it an absolutely unforgettable event in our lives. He put so much thought and effort into making it more perfect than I ever could have hoped for.I can honestly say it has only gotten better since then. He amazes me every single day by the way he loves me. The way he makes me feel so special and beautiful. The way he makes me smile and laugh. The way he accepts me for who I am and loves me even when I don’t deserve it. The way he fulfills my every need and want, and gave me the coolest son anyone could even hope for.

Four years ago today I said yes to more than a question, I said yes to a lifetime of happiness with the most incredible husband I could ever have imagined.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Watch Out World!

It’s amazing to me how quickly the last six months have gone by. Everyone always warned me, and I know it’s so true, but even still, it feels like just a fleeting moment has gone by since baby J entered our lives. Gosh, it feels like just yesterday we saw the “positive” sign on the little plastic stick. I literally cannot even begin to imagine what I could have possibly done to deserve this amazing little boy. I thank Jesus every single night when I put him to bed for choosing us to be his parents. I ask that He continues guiding us to raise him to be the godly man He intends him to be and to give him a love and passion for Jesus. He is just the most incredible little person I’ve ever met, it’s such an honor to be his Mommy. He has brought a joy and excitement to our lives that we never knew possible.

I like to think that I really am treasuring every moment. I remind myself daily to relish the small things, for they are just as important as the big milestones.

Half-Year in Review

Entered this world. Came home. Loves his teddy bear. Peed on Daddy. First Easter Sunday service. Lost his umbilical cord. Loves the sling. Visits from all his family. First smiles. Slept through the night. First time visiting Daddy at work. Rolled over. First wedding. Loves napping with Mommy. Road trip to Arizona. First Mother’s Day. Loves his own reflection. First time babysat by Grandma and Papa. Lost all his hair. First time at the beach. Loves splashing in bath time. Grabs Mommy’s nose. First Father’s Day. Began laughing. Over-night trip to San Diego. Loves when Mommy sings. First brewery tour. Loves his Sophie. No more swaddle. Plays Peek-a-boo. Loves story time. Circumcision. First time in an airplane. Loves evening walks. Gave first real kisses. First tantrum. Found his toes. Fireworks on Fourth of July. Baby/Daddy morning time. Started solids. Loves to Skype. Blows raspberries. Loves watching football. First word. Loves play dates. Two front teeth. Loves zucchini squash. Loves his walker. Sat up unassisted. Sleeps on his belly. Scoots and wiggles. Loves playing with Daddy’s moustache. Watched first Baby Einstein movie. Loves his puppy and kitty. Up on all fours.

I can’t wait to see what the next six months brings us. I’m so excited for the many ways baby J will amaze us and remind us just how beautiful this life can be.

“For in Him all things were created: things in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:16-17

Show Me Your Teeth!

Ladies and Gentleman, we have our two front teeth, and we didn’t even have to wait ’til Christmas to ask for them!! Actually, I was sort of hoping it would be closer to Christmas for him to get them, but since he’s not complaining, I won’t either!! I want to breastfeed for at least the first year, so the longer he goes before sprouting those tiny shards of glass (that’s how they feel, at least) the better!

I can’t believe how amazingly he’s handled it! Aside from a bit of extra drool and a few nighttime wakes, he has been such a trooper! We’ve given him some Hyland’s Teething Tablets sometimes when it’s really obvious he’s a little uncomfortable. Other than that, lending him our fingers to gnaw on is the most we’ve had to do for pain!  He’s been his happy, charming little self and I couldn’t feel more blessed. Not only does it make life a little easier because he’s not cranky or fussy, it makes it easier because when he hurts, Mommy’s heart hurts. Here’s hoping the rest of the teeth are just as easy as the first! *fingers crossed*

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Say Dada!

Baby J is amazing. He is trying and learning new things all the time, we literally cannot keep up with the leaps and bounds he takes every, single day! Whether it’s tasting new foods, learning to scoot his way to grab what he wants with his out-stretched fingers, expressing his emotions and showing us his sense of humor, or in this case, saying his first word!

He is already so smart and curious, he has such a quirky and unique little personality. He is a daily reminder to us of just how quickly life goes by and of the incredible amount of  love and thought God put into making each of us who we are. I am so thankful He chose us to raise this beautiful little boy, he brings so much joy and excitement into our lives. We are truly blessed beyond measure.

 

May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 115:14-15

So Long, Swaddle!

It’s been over a month since we said goodbye to swaddling! The morning came that I awoke to him completely swaddled, but face-down and on his belly! It was quite an alarming sight. I knew he was able to roll during play-time, but I had no idea he could roll with a swaddle on! Needless to say, I think J was ready to be free to move as he pleased while he slept.

It was easier than I anticipated. After just a few sleepless nights of  increased startles and shifts, baby J quickly got used to the idea and stopped waking himself up so often! He’s now happily going to sleep on his back, eventually makes his way to the side, and on some occasions rolls all the way on his belly to sleep. He shifts and rolls, but rarely wakes anymore, he just drifts back to sleep on his own. I’m not so scared now of him ending up on his belly. During a minor panic attack, my Mom gently reminded me that if he got himself there,  he can also get himself back.

Baby J has always been strong, he was holding  his own head up literally the minute he was born. I’ve never been afraid he couldn’t move his head, but more afraid that he wouldn’t. But, after watching him sleep a few times (speaking of those sleepless nights), I was able to see him, first-hand, lift and move his head to the side to breathe. For my own sanity, I had to see it for myself before I was comfortable letting him stay that way.

Naps and bed times are much more simple now. If he drifts to sleep before bed time, I don’t have to sneak him into his swaddle and hope he doesn’t wake. Swaddling served a huge purpose in the first 4 months of J’s life. It was such a calming, comforting way for him to sleep, but as wonderful as it was, that chapter is now closed for us. It’s a relief, and it’s a little sad, because it reminds me how quickly he’s growing up! Next step: moving him from the bassinet to the crib in his nursery! That might be a bigger adjustment… not just for J but for Mommy as well! Let’s just cross that bridge when we come to it ; )

Ready for Solids

Five months ago today, this world became a better place. It was the longest, most amazing day of my life, I just can’t believe it was already that long ago. I guess time flies when you’re having fun!

To celebrate, we’ve decided to give baby J his very first taste of solids. He’s been eyeing our food for about a month now, so we think it’s time to let him see what all the fuss is about!

We decided to go with Happy Bellies brown rice cereal mixed with good ol’ breast milk. He LOVED it!! He just kept going back for more, it was adorable!

I knew this day was coming, but I can honestly say I didn’t expect for it to seem so soon! As sad as I am that we’re already at this stage, I am so excited, because he really loved it! I can’t wait to start trying vegetables and fruits! I’ll post some of his favorite homemade baby food combos as soon as we try a few.

Happy Friday!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13