Food + Wine, Fun

The Giving Chair

Three years ago today I gave birth to my last baby.  

…that’s how I started this post last week, on the day that my daughter turned 3. I was feeling very sentimental and wanted to write about the journey she and I have had together. But then life happened. And I never finished it. Then her birthday party happened. And now I’m exhausted. So instead of finishing what I started last week, I’ll share the details of her party instead.
But first- a few of my favorite things about my favorite little three year old…

*Favorite compliment ever given to me-
“Mommy, I like your person.”
*Favorite words and phrases-
•Slauce (a mashup of slaw and sauce)
•Bah-yum (bottom, specifically her own)
•Lovely (the word she puts in front of certain nouns in order to make her request seem more important. Example: “Mommy, can I have a lovely cookie?”
•Oh my gooness gwacious!! (Anytime she is pleasantly surprised with something and is also around grownups.)
•Row, row, boat the stream…Mary, Mary… (Instead of Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream…merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream…)
•Oh bubbles are so high… (Instead of ‘Up above the world so high’)
*Favorite new hobby- 
Baseball juggling
You never know when it’s gonna happen, you could be on the other side of the house and hear, “Mommy watch me jungle!!” And you have to drop whatever you’re doing to run and find her so she doesn’t break anything with the baseballs. And you must duck as she tosses them into the air before she runs away with a smile and a giggle, leaving you to pick them up and try to successfully hide them this time.
One of my most recent favorite things happened last weekend when I was transforming her room into a ‘big girl room’. I was getting rid of her toddler bed, rearranging everything and taking out the rocking chair that has been there from the beginning- The same rocking chair I rocked her big brother in for 3 years. I had temporarily moved it out into the driveway while we spent some family time in the sun. When she saw it out there she looked at the chair and looked at me and said, “Mommy, can you sing me song and rock me in my chair?”
So I did.

One last time.

It’s true what they say- You never know what you had until it’s gone. I was in such a hurry to fix up her room and just get it done that it didn’t occur to me how momentous the occasion was until that tiny voice reminded me. That’s the chair in which I nursed both my babies in daylight and moonlight, the chair that cradled my tired body so I could cradle my children through ear infections, nightmares, and growing teeth, it listened as I sang countless Beatles and Patty Griffin songs through yawns and puffy eyes. That chair has seen it all. And I didn’t know it meant so much to me until I held my 3 year old baby in it one final time. I sang her our song and we just rocked. It didn’t matter that I was in a bathing suit and the hot sun was shining down on us, cars whizzing by… 
the chair felt like home. 
My daughter wanted a princess party to celebrate her turning 3. And so that’s what I gave her. She wanted a colorful castle cake with peanut butter and strawberry and chocolate.  
And so that’s what I gave her.
She wanted mommy to dress up.

And so that’s what I gave her.

And she always wants to play dress up, every single day of her life, so…without her asking for it, I surprised her with a brand new princess dress to wear to her princess party.
Her party was small, short and sweet. Some of my most favorite people in the world were there, people who I rarely get to see- my oldest and bestest friend with her three children, my god-parents, and my friend / midwife who ‘caught’ my daughter on her day of birth.
The only real challenges I faced that day were transporting the cake to the location…
(I don’t think I breathed or went above 15 MPH…

…until I got it safely out of the car, inside several doors and elevators and inside the fridge.)

And buckling my daughter into her seatbelt…

(I simply couldn’t find her under there.)

During the party, the kids crafted…

They ate…


In lieu of a piñata, they popped prize-filled balloons attached to the wall…


A song was sung, three candles were blown out…
And, with the touch of a magic wand, love was given and received…


The next morning, the party continued… This time, my little princess and I stayed in bed so mama could rest her tired feet. And back. And mind.
(Being a princess is hard work!!)
..and I realized I didn’t need that rocking chair anymore. That chair gave me 6 years of unconditional love. And it did it without a complaint.  It stood there, held on tightly to me and mine, solid as a tree while I almost fell apart over and over again throughout some of the most challenging years of my life. That chair is a symbol, a tangible example of memories that I can never replicate. But now it’s my job to make new memories on my own.
And something tells me I’ll have no problem with that.
So happy birthday to my sweet and spicy little lady. You make every day more interesting than the day before. You are beautiful and smart and so very special. And I will always sing to you, chair or no chair.
‘Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you, tomorrow I’ll miss you. Remember I’ll always be true. And then while I’m away, I’ll write home everyday. And send all my loving to you.’
*Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
(Makes enough to frost one 9×13 or 2 9×9 inch cakes.)
In a medium bowl, combine the following:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 (8 oz) bricks reduced fat Neufchâtel cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (the natural kind is fine to use if you’d like, but depending on if it’s salt and/or sugar-free, you will need to adjust the salt and sugar content of the frosting accordingly. I generally prefer to eat natural PB but bake with the cheap stuff because the consistency of the natural kind can be hard to tame.)
1/3 – 1/2 cup powdered sugar (you can always add more if need be… I don’t like very sweet frostings)
-pinch kosher salt
-2 splashes vanilla extract
Using a whisk or electric beater, beat all the ingredients until thick and creamy and fully combined.
Frost cake. No
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