January 16, 2018

Sesame Street Birthday Party

Sesame Street birthday party facebook (1)This is a blog post about a Sesame Street Birthday Party- get ideas for your next Sesame Street or Elmo birthday party below. Read my birthday letter to Anderson- here.

Our son Anderson is what I like to call a Sesame Street Fanatic. He has to watch his favorite show every morning- it’s like his version of a cup of coffee. And you know what? I don’t mind. There’s a reason this show has been around since before I was a kid- it’s just good. 

Anderson is learning to count and more because of Sesame Street (video here), so I’m just as big of a fan as he is. There was no question about his birthday party theme this year- the only question was how to make it happen. Anderson is a New Year’s Eve baby. Since we were gone for Christmas, we had to throw the party at my brother’s house. 

All it took was a couple of Pinterest searches, a trip to two stores and a handful of helpers the morning of the party and voila– we ended up pulling this thing off!

Pin It:
Sesame Street birthday party pin1

Let’s start with the main area. We used punch balloons instead of real balloons to hang over the island. I loved how this turned out! It saved money from buying a bunch of real balloons and the kids ended up playing with them later in the day. We also used a green polka-dot tablecloth and blue polka dot napkins and red-striped straws. 
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We also turned the food into decorations. We made these adorable Elmo and Cookie Monser Cupcakes using orange gumballs for the nose, halved Oreos for the mouth and googly eyes for both characters.

elmo cupcakes cookie monser cupcakes
We made an Elmo Face fruit tray with strawberries, yogurt dip and blueberries. We taped a party hat on top of the plate.

elmo fruit tray birthday party
The next part is my favorite- the games. My mom happened to buy Anderson a stuffed Count Von Count for Christmas. So, I made “The Count’s Number Toss Game”. 

Pin It: 

Sesame Street birthday party game the count

We cheated on the next one. I wasn’t sure how to do a “Pin the nose on Elmo” with a limited amount of time. My mom saw this Nylon balloon, we bought it without getting it inflated, taped it to poster board and used orange plates for the kids to pin on.

Pin It:

Sesame Street birthday party game ideas pin the nose on elmo
That’s it! I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out since we put it together pretty quickly, but I was thrilled with the final product. Anderson enjoyed his third birthday party and so did all of his cousins and that’s really all we could have asked for!

Sesame Street birthday party pin1
Need other party ideas? Check out this football themed birthday party or this Minnie Mouse themed birthday party.

December 31, 2016

A Letter to my Son with Down Syndrome on his 2nd Birthday

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Dear Anderson,

The first year of your life was a whirlwind. It was the year of new: a new baby, a new diagnosis, a new heart, new terminology, new weekly appointments, new looks from strangers, new sorrows, new joy and new hope.

The second year of your life, well, wasn’t.

We settled into our new title of special needs parents. We took dozens of classes to learn how to help you best. We got used to the weekly appointments, and now even look forward to them. We return inquisitive stares with inviting smiles—open to conversation if it should come.

Your first year we learned a lot about you. The second year of your life was one where we got to know you.

Most moms could do without taking their one-and-a-half-year-old on multiple errands, but not me. I like bringing you wherever I can because you, my love, are a joy-spreader. You have a wave and a beaming smile to all you come across. You make the days brighter and hearts grow wider.

And I’m not saying you don’t have an opinion about things, you most certainly do. You’ve perfected the head shake when your answer is “no”. You certainly don’t like that I won’t let you crawl on waiting room floors or when your food doesn’t come out fast enough.

I like that you’ve got spunk in that gorgeous heart of yours.

If you’re in your teenage years reading this, and maybe you don’t like how your extra chromosome makes you different from your peers, I want you to remember this: I wouldn’t change a thing about you.

Maybe that doesn’t mean much coming from your mom, but hear me out. When we first learned you had Down syndrome I was determined that it would just be apart of you, that it wouldn’t define you. Let it. Because here’s the thing—that extra 21st chromosome is what makes you, you.

This year my son, I have fallen in love with you for all that you are. I hope you always see in yourself what I see in you. A guy who is truly unique, who has an abounding capacity for fun, a love for learning, who has fierce love in his heart, and who has endless possibilities in front of him.


Thanks, pinterest for all of the birthday ideas. To see my daughter’s Minnie Mouse themed party (where I did actually have a few original thoughts with that one) click here

boy's football birthday party themed green yellow

brown paper bags football goodie

concessions banner sports birthday party black football stickers kid's party uprights yellow balloons goal post football goal posts uprights yellow balloons a letter to my son with down syndrome on his 2nd birthday 

Favorite Moments from Year 2:

  • When you told your therapists “No kisses” in a monster voice.
  • First Pacific Ocean trip, you loved the sand; the cold water, not so much
  • Your intense love for ice cream- how you protest everytime it’s over
  • Yosemite in dad’s pack-pack
  • Watching you as ring-bearer in your uncle’s wedding
  • Halloween, you were the cutest Gus-Gus this world has ever seen
  • You learning new words and signs
  • Your short staccato laugh
  • You saying, “I did it”, every time we praise you for something
  • When you whine, you just say “mama, mama, mama” repeatedly

Birthday letter son with Down syndrome

April 7, 2016

Three Years with Violet



Dear Violet,

It’s very common for parents to say they “can’t believe” their child is now whatever age they are turning. But I don’t feel that way. Every week, it becomes clearer to me that you, my first baby, are turning into a little girl.

It’s not just because of your size either! Although topping the charts in the mid-90’s certainly plays a factor. But mostly it’s because little by little, your not-so-little personality is coming out. And little by little I can imagine the person you will become.

Your teachers call you a “social butterfly” which I know to be true. Every day you ask me to play with friends and it makes me smile because I remember being the same way.

Your grandma told me that you’re a kid that loves fun. And I love that about you. You get so excited about the littlest things. Whether it’s pretending the shopping cart is a choo-choo train, the flowers we see on the side of the road or just planning out what you’ll have for lunch, you get a true sparkle in those big baby blues.

You’re sensitive, too. Your teachers tell me you’re the first one to let them know if a classmate is hurt or sad. You also hate being in trouble, which can be troubling for me when I need to stand firm.

You’re an expert negotiator. You try to sell your way throughout the day—always trying to sneak more fun in. Wanting something more to look forward to.

As you are getting older, you are also becoming cuddlier. In my busy part-time working, heavy volunteering, mom-life, I always try to make the most of these moments that I know too soon will start to fade.

Many people believe that becoming a parent is saying good-bye to adventure, but for me, having you was when the real adventure began. Thank you for making (most) of my days brighter, for showing me that life is bigger than myself, for helping me grow, for awakening my softer and sillier side and most of all for teaching me how to love.

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Favorite memories from year 3:

Pool days

Llama Llama MAADDDD at Mama

Violet the Pirate phase

Coming home to you after being away for your brother’s heart surgery

The phase where every older woman with dark hair was a witch

Watching you play with your cousins

Disney World- one of my favorite parenting days- to date

You not wanting to leave the ocean

Halloween-you as Ariel, your brother as Sebastian

Baking Cookies

Nighttime Dance Parties

Christmas Day in your Minnie Mouse Helmet

You realizing your Elsa dress sings “Let It Go”

Trip to Tombstone and Cowgirl Violet

Picking flowers on our evening walks

First Easter Egg Hunt and catching you and your friends eating all of your candy

Favorite Sayings:

“Tomorrow…” How you start your negotiations

“It’s a good deal.” How you try to further your negotiations

“It’s a great idea, mommy.” Again, how you further your negotiations

“Sleeping dooty” (Sleeping Beauty)

“Christmas apple sauce” (Criss-cross applesauce)

“Silly old bed” (Silly old bear – although you adamantly deny this one.)

“Is it a pizza pie? No! It’s a pumpkin pie!” (whenever we have pizza)

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