The New Mr. and Mrs.

2013 is off to the best start ever!  My sister got hitched earlier this month at my parents’ home upstate.  It was a cozy and festive affair and I couldn’t be happier for the newlyweds.  It’s going to be a busy year for our family.  My brother’s 1st of 2 weddings is coming up in a few short weeks.  So fun!

The dress

The dress

The sparklies

The sparklies

The niece

The niece

Homemade favors...of course

Homemade favors…of course

The baby

The baby

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Sisters

Sisters

Stylist to the stars

Stylist to the stars

Lovely lady

Lovely lady

Dad greets the Barat

Dad greets the Barat

Sibling huddle

Sibling huddle

Go time!

Go time!

Here comes the bride!

Here comes the bride!

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Party girl crashes

Party girl crashes

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Post-wedding clean-up

Post-wedding clean-up

What a night!

What a night!

Turning Two

Azeem turned two on Tuesday.  I say the same thing for both boys on every birthday:  How did that happen?!  It’s just one of those odd truths.  Days as a stay-at-home  parent can seem impossibly long.  I’m checking my watch more often that I’d like to admit.  Is it nap-time yet?  Time to start the bedtime routine?  How much longer till your father gets home?  The days are very long but the years just fly by.

2 years old.  Craziness.

Unlike the hoopla surrounding the celebration of  our first birthday parties (here and here),   year two was a very low-key, home affair with just the 4.75 of us.  (32 weeks!  Woot!)

Coincidentally, Zeems was sporting the same pajamas Arman was wearing the morning of his second birthday. Awww!

Arman in his firetruck pajamas..and a very new Azeem in the background.

Azeem in the same pajamas

There were presents.

Arman pointing out the birthday gifts

And there was cake.  Let’s talk about the cake.  We have a baker in our family;  a very, very good baker.  The kind of baker who can make a wedding cake that is beautiful and tasty and huge for like hundreds of people…  it’s not me.  She (Hi Aziza!)  lives 5 hours away so I took it upon myself to make the birthday cake.  A cake for 4.75 people (baby girl really enjoys her cake too). Surely, I can manage that.  I’m a pretty ok cook.  Cake mix, tub of frosting, decorations, done.  Ha!  That darn cake took me half a day to make.    The problem was, I decided 3 hours into this, is that someone who has perfectionist tendencies should not attempt to make a cake that resembles a construction site.  It’s just torture.  I was trying way too hard.  My lines were too straight, the frosting too smooth,  the oreo “dirt piles” too precise.  And let’s not even get into the part where I was suppose to cut into and remove a chunk of the pristine cake to make it look like an excavator had been digging there.   Sigh.   Are there therapists for these kind of things?  Remind me to call the bakery next time…or my sister.

I’m pretty sure this little man liked it.  Although, I’ve never seen him refuse chocolate in any form.

What a big boy.  I’m so excited to see what this year brings for him and two really is a fantastic age.

Happy Birthday, sweetest boy.  You’re growing up faster than I’m ready for.  I know you think you’re ready to take on the world and you should.  Just know that in some ways I’ll always think of you like this…

… and I can.  Cause I’m your Mom and I say so.

Turning 3

On Saturday Manu turned 3 and although I do love a party, this year was very, very low key.  So mellow in fact, that the evening before I started feeling a little guilty about not throwing him a big bash. “I feel bad we’re not throwing him a party”, I told Riz.  Riz assured me that Manu wouldn’t notice.  He didn’t notice.  Boys.

We kicked off the day bright and early (6:30am.  Kids.) with a present waiting on the dining table from Uncle Osman and Aunt Dallice (Thanks, guys!) Manu insisted on trying out his dinosaur stamp set right away.

The forecast called for low temps and rain all day and I couldn’t help day dreaming about the weather on the day he was born; sunny, blue skies, and 80.  April can be so finicky.  So our indoor plan was to collect as many quarters as possible and head to the mall.  There we let Manu ride all the 50 cent kiddie rides his little heart desired.  Two quarters were reserved for Mike and Ikes and Reeses Pieces from the candy dispensers.  Oh, simple things.

After chocolate milk and coffees for the big kids at Panera, we headed back to the house.  While Manu napped, ” I baked” and Riz decorated.

I say “baked” because what I really did was prepare cake mix from a box and topped it with sickly sweet funfetti frosting.  Ugh.  One bite of those things and my fillings started to hurt.  Yet another sign I’m getting older.  Like my super-baker sis said, “There’s something not right about frosting that can sit on a shelf for three years and still not have expired.”  True that.

It wasn’t my birthday though, it was his.

He had not a single objection to this confection .  Cupcakes in a cone?!  I was a hero.  After all, when you’re 3, “funfetti” and “love” are synonymous.

Of course, not a peep from the babe either.

After cake there were more presents.

Following our intimate little party, we loaded the kids in the car and headed to the music store where Manu strummed ukuleles (I had to look up how to spell that one) and rocked out on mini drum kits.

No doubt about it, he was heaven.

After a burgers and fries from Five Guys (requested by his highness), we tucked the little one in and Manu, Riz, and I climbed into our bed with a big bowl of buttery popcorn for a special movie night.

And after it was all said and done, I no longer felt bad about not throwing a party.  The entire day from start to finish was all about him and I’m pretty sure he felt awfully special.  Success in my book.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Manu.

And now for your viewing pleasure, the birthday boy presents December 1963:

Auntie Medina

During our week-long stay with my parents in NY, Riz snapped some very sweet shots of Zeemu and Auntie Medina together.  The kiddos really enjoyed their time with their youngest Auntie.  She’s still a kid herself (oh, to be 17) which of course makes her extra-fun, full of energy and full of sillies.

And just for a chuckle, one of Chunker caught raiding the pantry.

Labor Day Weekend

Riz and I took the kiddos and my littlest sis to my parents’ house in Horseheads, NY for the long weekend.  My sister spent the previous week with us in CT and although she’ll never admit it, I’m pretty sure she was dying to get back home to our parents. Truly, I cannot blame her.  It’s bad enough getting through the days with your own little rascals but when those monsters belong to someone else?  Bleh! Torture.  She was such a trooper though and her nephews adore their Auntie Dina.  Thanks for all your help, little one and happy birthday (she’s 17 today)!

Scenes from the weekend:

Checking In

Just checking in for today.  Busy week.  My sister is here!  So thankful to have an extra set of hands to help out with the kiddos!  We’ve been spending the evenings chatting it up about this and that so the posts might be a little scarce this week.  Much to report on when I return including: a shiny new ride, a trip to see this exhibit, spectacles, and childless evening out.  Stay tuned!

Fall Wardrobe (End of the Potty Diaries)

Tomorrow morning will be the 5th day Manu has been out of diapers.  Today was much like yesterday which is awesome: no accidents, collecting poopy presents like nobody’s business, and he even used the library bathroom’s urinal this evening because the stall was occupied.  I don’t how long I should wait before declaring him “trained” but he’s definitely on his way.  So let’s move away from the potty talk for a bit, yes?  On to more important matter’s like my super-cute fall wardrobe.

Ok.  I don’t really have a super-cute fall wardrobe.  See, I’m not cute.  I used to be cute; really cute.   I had a job and I had cute job clothes.  On the weekends, Shortie and I used to go out for coffee and I had cute oh -so -casual but chic weekend clothes. Sometimes Riz and I would host cocktail parties in our loft-style apartment in downtown Buffalo and I’d wear a grown-up party dress and pumps.  Now, the only pump in my closet is for—-ok, ok….TMI.  Well, you can imagine what a  stay-at-home mom of a 2 year old and 6 month old looks like on most days.  And if you can’t, I give you exhibit A:

See, even the baby looks like he’s going to be sick.  Not cute.  Things to note:

  • Pulled back, unwashed hair
  • Over-sized Dave Matthews Band tee which probably has wet and/or dry spit-up
  • Scrub bottoms
  • No bra, which lucky for all of you the baby disguises. (PS:  Anyone who claims not to need a bra after nursing 2 babies  either had work done or doesn’t own a mirror.)
  • Glasses, which could be cute with the right ensemble.  Here, they just add to the mess.

I’m the vision of the mom I swore  I’d never become.  Sigh.   Interestingly enough, in the pic above I’m on phone with my super-fashionable sister chatting about an upcoming Alice + Olivia fashion show she’s putting together.  Double sigh.

Well it’s time for a mommy make-over and here’s what I’m eyeing for the fall:

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Now I just need to find a Daddy Warbucks…

It’s My Party

Arman’s First Birthday Part Two: Clubbin’
We decided to make the first party an intimate affair; just immediate family and close friends for a birthday luncheon at the Elmira Country Club.

We’re so blessed to have the best family and friends who traveled to join us for the afternoon.

The Birthday Boy and his Aunt Medina

Soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. DuBois with Dad

I don’t know how my parents did it. Look how many we are!

I don’t know how my parents did it. Look how many we are!

Aziza, Faheem and Sameena. Aren’t they snazzy pants?

The gorgeous Trimarchi Family. Aunt S, Uncle Jeff and our favorite cousins!

The gorgeous Trimarchi Family. Aunt S, Uncle Jeff and our favorite cousins!

Totally feeling the love from Mr. and Mrs. Piazza. They spent the entire day driving, just to see us.

The Buffalo Crew (and honorary uncle and aunts) Dennis, Teresa and Shortie.

Lovely Aunt Aziza fills our tummies with the most delicious treats. She pulled out all the stops for this occasion. She’s so talented and ambitious. When I told her I wanted to do a cookie buffet for the favors, she was giddy. When I asked her for the names of the cookies so that I could make the labels for the jars, she sent me the following list:
“1. Buttery Pecan Cookies 2. Chocolate-dipped Orange Cookies 3. French
Chocolate Macaroons 4. Lemon Zest Shortbread 5. Brazilian Coffee Cookies”
Seriously? I told her those sounded really difficult and maybe she should consider chocolate chip, sugar, peanut butter. She said: “Have some faith”. So I did. After all, it’s Aziza.

This is what she delivered:

French-chocolate macaroons

Beautiful and delicious!

Of course she also made the birthday cupcakes. We took her tried and true strawberries and cream cake recipe and modified it a bit. The result: vanilla cupcakes filled with strawberries topped with freshly whipped cream and fondant ladybugs. Yum!

We arranged them on the “cupcake tower” that Riz joyfully built without questioning or hesitation. False. Actually, I had to promise that this was THE cupcake tower that we’d continue to bring out year after year, birthday after birthday.

While I did my best to arrange the party around his schedule, I knew we would ultimately run into Manu’s afternoon nap-time. He handled it like a champ and Uncle Faheem’s shoulder provided the perfect resting spot until he caught a second wind.

They say you shouldn’t make a big deal about a baby’s first birthday because they won’t remember a thing, but I’m glad it’s documented. In the future, I’ll show him these pictures as proof of my love when he decides that he hates me or wishes so and so’s mom was his mom too. God, I’m not looking forward to that. For now, he’s still my little baby and I’m wrapped around his tiny, chubby finger. I’d do absolutely anything for him (including being his horsey while he uses my pony-tail as reigns) and I’ll continue to make a big deal whether he remembers or not.

Long Branch

5 years ago when my mom planned the family vacation to Puerto Rico, I thought the Ejaz family had experienced the worst vacation ever. We still tease her about it whenever the opportunity presents itself. Last month, my dad planned a get-away for the two of them to Costa Rica. After reviewing the itinerary, which was obviously dad-focused, (checking out the aviary, tropical fish, alligators and the like) she expressed her concern that his schedule only allowed for one day at the beach. “At least we’re not staying at a medical center,” he shot back.
If only it had turned out to be a medical center. What my mom thought was a conference center/hotel turned out to be something else entirely. We must have been a sight; the seven of us sunburned and crammed into an elevator that smelled of bandages with our sunglasses and beach bags in tow. You can imagine our horror when the elevator doors opened to reveal the recovery unit in a hospital. When your hotel check-in is at a nurses station, it’s a bad vacation. We didn’t stay there though apparently some people do…for fun. In hind-sight it’s hilarious.
Fast- forward 5 years.

At the end of August the sisters took a mini-vacay to Long Branch Beach, NJ. It was supposed to be a super-girly, end of summer adventure. We’d spend most of the day on the beach. When we were bored of that we’d shop and all the while we’d be eating. Before we even left, Medina ditched us for cheerleading try-outs. Whatever. Should have been a sign.

On day 1 I met Aziza and Sameena at the King of Prussia Mall which was a great start. We had lunch, caught up, and spent hours ogling at the designer gowns and shoes at Neiman Marcus. Then the rain.

The next day we drove to Long Branch. Our hopes for a break in the weather were still high. I mean, it couldn’t pour for 4 days straight. We had picked the nicest hotel available, the Ocean Place Resort and Spa. Turned out to be a great choice because we were indoors for 4 days straight. We were totally bummed. We didn’t even want to take pictures to later be reminded of our time there. Each morning we’d draw back the drapes with great anticipation. Today there would be sun. Not so much.

We tried to do what any resourceful girls would have done; we started calling spas. Sameena must have called 20 places with no luck. They were either booked, didn’t speak English, or wanted $60 for a pedicure. A salon then. We would all get our hair done. That could be fun. In desperation we ended up in a mall salon. We ate at the mall too. It was so sad.

On the last night we went to a coffee house. It was about 10:30 when we tried to leave. I say ‘tried’ because the car didn’t start. The car that has never had any hint of an issue didn’t start. Again, we did what any resourceful girls would have done; we called our dad. Obviously, he’d be able to help from 2 states away. He told us to call AAA. We did, only to find out that as his children, we weren’t covered. I called Riz. He told us to wait 20 minutes and try starting the car again. 20 minutes later we were calling a cab. We started brainstorming ways we may have wronged the guy upstairs. No one said it, but we were all thinking “what if we can’t get out of this place…?”

The next morning we took a cab back to the car. My dad had thought about it overnight and suggested we step on the gas before we even turned the key and then never ever turn off the car. It worked and we tore the hell out of there. We haven’t talked about it since.

Someday this too will be hilarious, girls. Maybe 5 years.

Thanks to Aziza’s creativity, we do have a single fond memory of our vacation. Butter balls.