Three is a magic number.

Does anyone remember that compilation from The Nineties that was a bunch of random bands reworking songs from Schoolhouse Rock? Evan Dando sang about the number zero and Skee-Lo and Mr. Morton schooled us all on verbs. I listened to that thing on repeat for a few years, as the older kids were tiny peanuts and cars had CD players and Spotify didn’t exist and parents were still in charge of the music in the car. Remember that?

I TOTALLY remember my mom and dad forcing me to listen to R.E.M. and Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones when all I wanted to listen to was Tiffany and Debbie Gibson and Cyndi Lauper and GAWD MOM WHY ARE YOUR RUINING MY LIFE.

Obviously I now love The Rolling Stones and R.E.M. and would pay actual real live dollars to avoid listening to Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. I still have much love for Cyndi, though, and so does Babystar though she prefers when Justin Timberlake AKA Branch sings True Colors because it makes all the Trolls happy again as well it should because it is an amazing song and what are we talking about?

Oh. Right. Schoolhouse Rock. That album was/IS the bomb diggity.

I found it! This one!! (If you click on it you can find out all the other artists but it’s also an affiliate link so choose your own choice and live your own truth. ❤ )

The song that is stuck in my head this week is Three is a Magic Number — the Blind Melon version. Babystar turns three today, and I think it really might be magic.

(You guys I think the elusive potty training switch has been flipped but I don’t want to jinx it but OMG YAAYAYYYAYAYAYYYYY!!!)

And sometimes she plays by herself and shares her things and she legit just offered me a fruit snack out of the blue to be kind and if you knew how much this child loves fruit snacks you would know that she is becoming VERY mature.* Three really is a magic number, y’all.

Also, I have just the BEST birthday party theme this year. Babystar is all in AND it is the easiest thing in the world. I’ll take lots of pictures today and share how to recreate this incredibly genius total cop-out tomorrow.


fairy wings

These pictures were from the Festival of Fae last weekend which was free but the wings were $5 and the fairie quest (that she abandoned two minutes in to go race unicorns instead — a decision I fully supported) was another $5. Also we got ice cream and hers was $4.


*Ok, so the fruit snack was in the shape of a carrot and she has recently declared a War on Carrots even though it tasted like an orange gummy bear but whatever. SHARING.


I never thought I would be chasing a toddler at forty years old.


I was a teen mom before Instagram and Facebook and the MTV show. I mostly just hoped I wouldn’t have GRANDCHILDREN by age forty. (I don’t. I somehow have two amazing college students with practical knowledge of birth control.)

My Teen Marriage didn’t last (surprise!) but I have been married to my current husband for over ten years. We tried for a baby almost right away, but then got sucked into the dark depths of Secondary Infertility. As anyone who has been through any type of infertility knows, it was HELL. After six years of charting and procedures and hoping and crying and crumbling, I gave up.

I had to give up. For my sanity and for my marriage, I needed to stop the monthly devastation. I had two unbelievably amazing children and my husband had two wonderful step-children. We were both very lucky, actually. And our family was complete.

My two wonderful children lived in Florida with their dad during the school year (another long story for another time), and I missed them so much all the time. I luckily had a job that allowed me to work from home, wherever that home might be. We made a hard decision to rent an apartment for me in Florida during the 2014-2015 school year. It was my son’s senior year of high school and my daughter’s sophomore year of high school. I found a three-bedroom apartment across the street from the high school for less than $900 per month. At that point, I was spending about $1500 each month on hotels and AirBnBs and airplane tickets and car rentals and dinners out with the kids in Florida. The finances sucked but it kind of made sense. So I moved there without my husband.

But of course we visited one another.


Imagine my surprise when three months into the school year (and three months into my Florida lease), my period was late. Holy crap. I could hardly believe it. I didn’t believe it. And then I couldn’t deny it. I took a pregnancy test and called my husband 700 miles away with the news.



But. I was living in Florida for the school year. The school year that ended in May. My daughter was turning sixteen in May. My son was graduating in June. Babystar was due on June 19.

That was a hell of a ride.


I went to doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds without my husband. I heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time all by myself. I sat alone to take the gestational diabetes test. I drove myself to the hospital when I started bleeding early in the third trimester and sat in that hospital bed texting my husband five states away while he checked the airline schedules. (I was ok. The baby didn’t come until June.)


I fetched my own ice cream. I spent too much money on pedicures just for the frequent foot massages. I ripped my cartilage and had to bind my ribs myself because the doctors I was seeing were not my own and were pretty horrible and I was not invested enough to find a new temporary doctor in Florida. I had strong faux contractions from about Week 22 and I laid awake night after night trying to get comfortable. I complained to no one. (Ok, those two wonderful college students might disagree.)

I didn’t set up a nursery, because I wasn’t home. I didn’t shop for the baby because I was too busy with my teenagers. (And we were too broke from supporting two households.) I basically tried to ignore the pregnancy. Not because I wasn’t excited — I was! I was that wary but ecstatic sort of excited experienced by parents that gave everything trying for a baby. But. But still, I didn’t want anything to take away from being in Florida with my teenagers.

Who were not at all amused, by the way. Well, my son thought it was hilarious. My daughter just rolled her eyes.

I threw a Sweet Sixteen birthday party for my daughter at 36 weeks pregnant. And I danced — in heels! I sat on backless bleachers for hours at 37 weeks pregnant to watch my son graduate high school. At 38 weeks pregnant, I sold as much as I could and packed up the rest of that Florida apartment and moved back home.

I went into labor two weeks later, on my due date. I was out running last minute errands for the baby. Everything was last minute with this baby. My son was driving but I wouldn’t let him take me home until we finished everything on my list.

I was right.

Babystar was born the next day.


And all of a sudden I was paying attention. I didn’t put her down for months. You can’t spoil a baby, right?

Babystar has been the best little surprise. She definitely changed all of our lives. My daughter chose a close-ish state school and I am certain the main reason is her two-year-old BFF. My husband was Mr. Live Music and Football Games and I can count on my fingers the concerts he has been to in the last two years. My plan was ALWAYS to spend my fortieth birthday in Cape Town, finally reaching my dream vacation destination. Instead, I am having a movie night that will probably be a Moana double feature. First Moana, and then Moana again.

And I fucking love it.

My birthday blog post was going to be a story about me and how I felt about turning forty. And just like my life, this post was taken over by this tiny human that I never expected to meet. What’s forty? I’m too busy building block towers and pushing swings and reading picture books and blowing bubbles to care.



Two the Moon.

Babystar turned two last week. She had been steadily transforming into the ToddlerMonster for the last few months.

She grew several inches and goes down the big slides at the park all by herself.

She has learned cool new tricks like jumping with both feet and manipulating her world into providing her with chocolate.

She can string words together to make sentences. She says things like ‘Where my pink shoes go?’ and ‘I want more blue chocolates.’

She can count to ten. Sort of. She starts at four. And she ends at BLASTOFF. 4-5-6-7-8-9-BLASTOFF.

She picks out her own clothes, and rarely chooses pants. Or she chooses only pants. And her sock game is extremely creative.

She has SO. MANY. OPINIONS. It is really cool to watch her brain develop and it is also extremely annoying.

We celebrated with a birthday party at one of her favorite places — Nook. She did not seem to care at all about the party room with decorated tables and pizza and cake. She was very excited that so many of her friends and family were playing with her at Nook. She kept telling me ‘Everybody play!’






Party cost breakdown:

  • Weekday party fee at Nook (with member discount) $200
  • Pizza (from next door at Angelico Pizzeria with tip) $120
  • Cake (Harris Teeter) $48.55
  • Star cookies (Trader Joe’s) $5.98
  • Kool-aid Bursts (to make rockets) $4
  • Cardstock (to make rockets) $1.96
  • Plastic cups for snack display table $2.50
  • Astronaut helmets (3) $14.94
  • Space themed rubber duckies (24) $12.98
  • Space themed dinner and dessert plates $27.48
  • Space themed dinner and dessert napkins $17.92
  • Solar system snack display stand $8.99
  • Star table covers (3) $10.50
  • Hanging planets $6.49
  • Gold plastic forks $4.99

We also had a fruit bowl and veggie tray and a variety of drinks, but these were purchased by my generous in-laws, along with all of the graduation party food for the following day. Yep, I had two parties in a row. Thankfully, only one of them was at the house.










Cake Ponder.

We tried to take the typical Cake Smash pictures for Babystar’s first birthday with a colorful premade $6.99 cake from Harris Teeter. It is adorably called a ‘Patti Cake’ on my receipt. We were about a week late for the photo shoot, but in the grand scheme of her life it was very very close to her first birthday.


Babystar does not care for smashing cake. She does not count squishing icing among her turn-ons. (I admit, I was a little surprised because she pulverizes watermelon bits in her tiny fists just to watch the juice run down her arm onto the floor. Oh. Icing is not juicy. Never mind, I get it.)

She was like, mom. What is this. Get it off.

Still cute tho.







Babystar is one year old today. I have all the feelings.

Gone is the cooing sack of sweet potatoes that is content to stare at mama all day.

Gone is the tiny nuzzling squish that would happily sleep on mama for hours.

Gone is the fragile flailing little Tiny so easily fascinated by spinning mobiles and shiny mirrors.

But that’s ok. I am already madly in love with this opinionated little monster that likes to practice her standing when she wakes up in the middle of the night and likes to practice her tumbling while nursing and throws food on the floor even when she is still hungry and looks directly at me while climbing over to the fireplace bricks because she knows she should not do it but needs to check just one more time to make sure the rules haven’t changed in the last thirty seconds.

She can clap hands and STAND UP and give kisses and laugh maniacally while crawling at top speed around the corners of the house to hide but then stop to let me catch almost up to her before taking off again.

Yesterday was the big O-N-E birthday bash, project managed by the Teenager AKA Babystar’s best friend.

The party was perfect. Babystar loved it (likely due to a perfectly timed epic nap right before the party thank goodness). She did look a little concerned a few times, perhaps wondering why there were so many people in her house and where were all of her toys and why is the couch different but her godmother kept handing her watermelon and she had some other small people to play with so she was overall pretty chill. She didn’t even cry when everyone sung happy birthday. (You know, we didn’t do candles. Maybe all the babies are crying because they think their cake is on fire. I would cry if my cake was on fire. I am getting misty over here just thinking about burnt wasted cake.)

We decorated with gold stars and a ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’ theme, and used gold, navy, and light pink as our main colors. The Teenager made the cutest cake ever. And then she made cake pops as party favors. (Show off.) The rest of us worker bees hand painted signs and hung tissue paper balls and strung so many stars. It turned out great but of course we were party prepping (and tag team baby wrangling) riiiiiiight up until the first guests arrived so I do not have many pictures of the pretties.

Hey Pinterest People, when do you take the pictures? I love all you do and learned a trick or two for Babystar’s party so thanks for that, but DUDE when do you photograph everything?

IMG_4936 (1)




We made birthday crowns in lieu of party hats, using star foam stickers to decorate the adjustable foam crowns.

The real fun was out on the patio with water guns, pinwheels, and sidewalk chalk.


The birthday girl’s party outfit was from this etsy shop. She refused the adorable headband. It was so so so so cute on her little bald head but NOPE.


And now it’s time for the breakdown.

PaperieOffPark – customized invitation printable, $14.00

Oriental Trading  – plates, hanging stars, crowns, pinwheels, garland, star glasses, $62.08

Just Artifacts  – mason jar lids, paper straws, wooden forks (a pinterest fail that I will share with you another time), way too much in shipping costs, $39.21

JoAnn Fabrics – cake pop sticks, candy melts, lollipop sticks, glitter paper (to make stars for cake topper), cardboard cake pop decorating stand, $20.16

Micheal’s – Happy Birthday balloons, star stickers, more star stickers, kraft paper, star garland, acrylic paint, paper flags for drinks, pails, bubbles, chalk, envelopes, card stock, giant plastic bin (we used outside for drinks on ice), $40.19, $41.82 (two trips)

Ikea – pitchers, napkins, $18.23

Target – pails, water guns, mason jars, $36.42

SunshineChloeCrafts on etsy – outfit, $24.99

Costco – hamburgers (we made way too many burgers), hot dogs, buns, potato salad, potato chips, fruit bowl (for skewers), veggie tray, bottled water, $96.73

Trader Joe’s – prosecco (to booze up the lemonade for the grown-ups), $45.09

Harris Teeter – cheese, potato chips, beer, watermelon (we cut star shapes to add to the fruit skewers), cucumber (we cut more star shapes to add to veggie platter), soda, cake mix, frosting, lemons, lemonade, raspberries, $83.26

We did not buy her an actual birthday present. She did get gifts from others (which was very nice even though we specifically said ‘no gifts’). I know. Buying things for babies is almost completely irresistible.  I’m working on that, though.

OMFG: $522.18


How much did you spend on your baby’s first birthday? It’s so easy to go overboard on everything! (Especially since I bought the supplies a bit at a time and kept receipts in a drawer and didn’t even tally until just right now.) Got any tips for next year?


(I sort of knew this post would add a digit to that total but damn. Yikes.)