Monday, March 31, 2014

Family Visit & Paris

We have been super lucky to have already had two sets of visitors already!  About a week after Ryan's mom and dad left, Ryan's older sister, Emily, and her husband, Sean, came out to visit us.  It's amazing how family can recharge your batteries.  :)  We had an extra special time with Sean & Emily because we traveled to Paris with them and celebrated Maggie's 1st birthday.  They got in on a Monday, they went to London on Tuesday and then we all left for Paris on Wednesday.  We were there until Saturday night, and the next day was Maggie's birthday.  Then they flew out on Monday to go back home.  Talk about a whirlwind of a trip!!

We spent part of the Paris trip with Sean & Emily and part of it we let them venture off to have some kid free time.  :)  They won't be able to do that very much longer!  That's right!! Maggie is going to have a cousin in August!!!  We can NOT wait!
Of course our first stop in Paris was to see the Eiffel Tower.  We didn't go up it this time since our main goal this trip was just to try and see everything.  We definitely have another trip in the works to come back to France next year. ;)

I have to say that we got so lucky with the weather in Paris.  It was absolutely gorgeous and didn't need a jacket most of the time.
Sean & Emily the soon-to-be parents!

Ryan & I decided to buy a bus and boat tour pass that was good for two days.  So we could just hop on and off the bus or boat at the locations we wanted to see more of.  On the open bus tour they had earphones to listen to a guide.

This was also nice because if Maggie was done being on the tour, we could just jump off and do something different.  I think she enjoyed it.

I was able to snap some pretty good photos of all the incredible architecture.  It was everywhere.  It's pretty amazing to think they were able to build something like this so long ago.

This was a neat view Ryan captured of the Eiffel Tour near the Louvre. 

Maggie & I on the boat tour.

Notre Dame Cathedral

This was free to go inside but you had to pay to go up top or to get the extended tour.

Since we had Maggie we thought just popping in to snap a few photos was good enough. :)  It was very beautiful.

The other side of Notre Dame.

Pont Alexandre III bridge
We did a lot of walking and covered a lot of ground.  That is one of Ryan & I's favorite things to do.  We feel like we see so much more and can take our time.

Plus it makes it easy to stop and take care of Maggie.  She really did so well on this trip.

One of the things on my list was to visit Lovelock Bridge.

You are supposed to write your love's name on a lock and throw away the key to symbolize unbreakable love.  We put the date on the back.

You can tell Maggie was very interested in this.  Ha!

Since both Ryan & I are not huge museum goers, we decided to just pick one to pay to go into.  I've heard from several people that the Musee d'Orsay was a little bit better than the Louvre.  So that was the one we chose.

It was huge!  Definitely so much to see here.  This used to be a train station.  You could definitely spend an entire day here.  There were 5 or 6 floors and lots & lots of rooms to see.

It was pretty crowded but we got to see the exhibits we wanted to see.  We even got to check out some of the amazing views from the windows.

The last day we were in Paris we actually went to that large building you see at the top.  More on that later in the post.

We did walk by and check out the Louvre.  The gardens and buildings surrounding it are pretty amazing.

Maybe next time we come we'll go inside.

I actually took a year or two of French in high school, and I remember learning about so many of the places we got to see on this trip.  I was pretty excited about walking down the Champs-Elysees street that leads you to the Arc de Triomphe.  It was pretty surreal to see it in person.

The Eiffel Tour from Jardins du Trocadero.  This was a gorgeous area with lots of fountains and views.

Maggie enjoyed getting a little water sprinkled on her.  This made me really excited for when she's old enough to run through the sprinklers.  ;)

Some good friends of ours recommended that we should check out the Montmarte which is located on largest hill in Paris.  It has the most incredible views of the city.  This is also a neat little area known for Moulin Rouge.  We only had time to snap a few pictures but definitely wished we had more time to explore this area.

The stranger cropped Maggie out of the photo.

We had such a blast with Emily & Sean.  Just wish they could have stayed longer!  I guess they will just have to come back and bring Maggie's new cousin next time. ;)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Maggie!

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I can't believe that my baby is one!!!  It really feels like I just blinked and a whole year passed me by.  This makes me scared on how fast the rest of the years are going to fly by.  Slow down!  Trying to drink in every. single. moment.  So so thankful for this child Ryan & I have been blessed with.  Maggie made us parents, and I will forever be grateful for this opportunity to be her mommy.  I'm amazed by her on a daily bases, and seeing first hand what the product of love is.

This past month has been a favorite!  We had family visitors, traveled around England and even made it to Paris.  Maggie's been to three different countries before she even turned one.  Hope she doesn't expect that every year!  Momma's tired.  Ha!  During all that she was also cutting 3 teeth including a bottom molar.  I didn't think that was supposed to happen until 14-18 months!  Oh well, one molar down… 3 to go…  She is the happiest baby (most of the time), and also has an ornery streak.  I guess the toddler years are upon us.  Here we go!

So, I am grateful that these monthly photos are coming to an end.  It's becoming increasingly difficult to keep this child in one spot for more than a split second.

This was the best shot I got.

She loves climbing in and out of this chair.  Now that her monthly photos are done, I think I will be bringing this chair downstairs for her to use in the living room.

These were the only bunny shots not blurred.

I'll have to put up another post with comparisons over the past 12 months soon.

Now on to Maggie's little birthday party!  I'm kind of glad that we were here in England for the party.  I know myself, and if we were in the states I would have felt the need to throw this huge party.  It was nice and stress free to have a few cute decorations, plus a smaller group.

I still shipped in some decorations, like the banners, off Etsy (couldn't resist!).  The rest of the decor I found locally.  We had to buy a helium tank since there wasn't a place open to fill the balloons.  I ended up running out and so that is why there are only three balloons, and one of them is a little small. Ha!  I had planned to line the back of the table.  Oh well!

I decided I wanted to make Maggie's smash cake myself.  I thought I could do it cheaper and make it exactly how I wanted it.  It actually turned out pretty cute but didn't end up being cheaper.  Ooops!  Oh well, I got to brush up on my cake decorating skills!  I went for the swirly, ombre pink look.

The top of it.  I used this website for the recipe for the cake and icing.  It tasted great!

I knew that I wouldn't have time to make two cakes since we got in from Paris the night before the party.  So I had a local bakery make the main cake, and I purchased the topper off Etsy.

 The setup in the kitchen.

Maggie's birthday chair.  :)

Maggie's month by month progression pictures.  So wild to see these next to each other!

A few little treats for two little girls coming and crowns for the adults.  I just used a few frames I had around the house to display a couple photos and a print that Ryan's Aunt Linda made us when Maggie was born.

Threw a couple of balloons in the playroom, and voila!  It's a party.

Proud Daddy & Mommy.

Right after this picture was taken, Maggie promptly stuck her hand into the icing.  I guess she just couldn't wait.

We don't have any pictures of her eating the cake or pics of the "aftermath"but we did get a little bit of it on video.  Next week is Maggie's one year photo shoot so we'll get the messy pictures there.  ;)

We also had my mom and Ryan's parents on FaceTime, so you can hear them in the background.
She has the sweetest face throughout this video!!  I just want to reach through and pinch her cheeks!


Opening her many gifts.

This is a picture of Maggie in her new car from daddy I took a few days after the party.

Back: Kate, Ellie, Clint, Claire, Uncle Sean, Aunt Emily, Nick, Tanner & Josh
Front: Ryan, Maggie, Me and Cait

It was the perfect day!  Thank you to everyone that wished our little girl a Happy Birthday!  You all definitely made our day extra special!