Jay-Z was completely right, 30 is the new 20.  All throughout my 20s I worried incessantly over turning 30, this mythical milestone seemed to be the apex and it was all downhill from there.  But 2 years in, I have to say, 30s are where it’s at!

In my 30s I have:

  1. Gotten Married.
  2. Birthed a perfect  baby boy.
  3. Gained an incredible step-daughter.
  4. Bought a brand new car, all by myself!
  5. Settled into a career (not a job) that I hope will carry me through retirement.
  6. Developed a very deep love and affection for a good bottle of wine.
  7. Lost all inclination to drink cheap beer, or beer at all for that matter.
  8. Been the happiest I have ever been.

This year my birthday fell on a Sunday, my husband helped me celebrate it all weekend.


I love him.

He started with beautiful flowers and chocolate on Friday, and a balloon that said still perfect after 30 years (because we can still round down even though the 30s are awesome).

Then on Saturday, Gabby came home from Indiana and while at brunch with some friends Ike stuffed some JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE concert tickets into his pockets.  On the floor, in the middle, amongst the totally amazing lights, sound, and all of the Justin-ness I can handle.


Our seats were GREAT!!!


Then Justin picked up his stage.



And they got EVEN BETTER!!!


Look he’s totally talking to me right here.

Sunday, my actual birthday, we went to breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, Thumbs Up. I even splurged and got the crazy huge hot chocolate coffee with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.  I was then much too full to eat my breakfast.


My sister and her friend came over in the afternoon and we baked Christmas cookies.



This is one of my fondest memories of my birthday growing up.  My mother would make a ton of cookie dough and all my cousins would come over and we would make a grand mess in the kitchen cutting, baking, and decorating sugar cookies.  We did the same thing to my house, and it was splendid.






After the cookies, the kids opened one of their Christmas gifts.  It was matching pajamas, because I am officially that mom.  But they looked adorable and I want them to alway match now because it melts my heart all the way down!


Thirties have been wonderfully full of blessings so far, so much so that I am looking forward to what else they might have in store.  And maybe even beyond, is it possible to get better?  Is 40 the new 18?  I hope that time will tell.



Happy Christmas!

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except Mommy and Daddy and Ivanal, but that’s all, really!  Until about midnight, then Ike was also stirring a bit too!

The stockings were filled with happiness and cheer.  The gifts under the tree multiplied without fear!



Christmas morning started around 6am, because that is when Ike decided there would be no more sleeping, not even in between mom and dad in the big, warm, family bed.  There were blueberry pancakes and fruit salad for breakfast.  Ivanal and Ike each opened two of their gifts after breakfast.  Then there was the mad dash to get everyone dressed for church.


We wanted to arrive early, because Christmas is a historically super busy church-going day.  Not so much this year.  Maybe everyone goes to vigil mass or midnight?  Not sure, but there was ample sitting space in a normally jam-packed Our Lady of Lourdes 10am mass.  That was good, because little man had to roam the aisles to strut his Christmas bow-tie.  Prior to falling asleep for the better part of the service.



Ike woke up in time to make friends with a very pretty little girl.


After church there were piles more presents to be opened.  Ike was not especially interested and suddenly found old toys far more fascinating.  There’s still a few gifts under the tree for him and he wanted nothing to do with his stocking.  More things to do when we repeat Christmas with Gabby later.

I cooked Christmas dinner for everyone, with a lot of help from Ivanal on Christmas eve.  Glazed ham, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and dressing were on the menu.  I ate way too much, then I took a nap with Ike.

The evening we pretty much all layer around in a food coma, Ike got in his Santa PJs and Isaac, Ivanal, and I watched Elf.  Elf is, in my opinion, the most best Christmas movie ever made.  Farrell is hilarious and no one can pull off yellow tights the way he can!


We did a lot of phone calls and facetimes with the other family in Indiana and Louisiana.  But we did miss everyone and I am trying to figure out how to make the rounds to everywhere to finish Christmas-ing.  We are headed to New Orleans tomorrow.


Happy Christmas from Ike and Danielle! Hope you had a wonderful day baby.

First Birthday Party

The Where the Wild Things are party was a lot of fun to plan and set up, but it was also a lot of fun to attend.  Since the party was in Indiana, it was very well attended by Isaac’s aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members.  My parents and Ivanal also made the trip.  Having everyone there for Ike was a great blessing.


Here’s the guest of honor all dressed up and tolerating it very well, I think.


Much better with the hood off.  How cute is his little tail?


Here’s Ike with the bowl that he INSISTED on carrying around for most of the party.  He often needs to carry something around with him when he is strolling around the house; shoes, pot lids, cups, paper, idle hands you know how it is…  This bowl is much better than the doggie bowl he initially chose.


Ike’s crown, he was king of all the wild things after all.


Ike’s massive haul.  This kid is seriously loved and adored.


Daddy, totally mastering the art of unwrapping.   Ike totally disappointed in dad’s skills.


Ike showing Daddy how it’s done.


I got a gift as well.  Thus far Ike has not, gone the F*k to sleep!  But we will continue to read the book in the hopes that one day he will.

And the smash cake.  The moment we have all been waiting for, Ike diving into cake for the first time (for the second time, that day).

Ummm, this feels yucky on mah hands.

FYI, Ike did NOT smash his cake like that.  His father did.


Chug chug chug”

“Chug chug chug”


Whut is happening here?


Ah yes, this is much more civilized.  Thanx for tha spoon guys.

Cake=good.  With a spoon of course!




Happy First Birthday buddy, from all your beautiful family, whom can not all look at the camera at the same time.  Not even in 17 takes.  You guys are talented.



Will I ever learn that all of the planning in the world cannot combat the most-esteemed -stubbornest child?  Probably not.  But darned if the kid will not keep trying to teach me! I thought (like a moron) that Ike’s first birthday would mark a turning point that would leave behind all things not-so-great-baby and be pretty much a little angel-toddler, who is still my baby in all the ways that I have so carefully picked and chosen.

Things I thought would magically change when Ike turned one (yes the day he turned one).

  1. Sleep.  Foolish, I know.  But everyone said that babies had a tough night schedule, and that you were lucky if your baby slept through the night, and all of the sleep help books address baby this and baby that.  Well I have a toddler.  I thought that meant that the sleeping problems would just disappear.  They have gotten much much worse thank you for asking.
  2. Milk.  This one can be chalked up to lack of research.  Apparently breastmilk is much tastier than cow’s milk per the unanimous poll of uncommunicating 12 month olds.  Apparently it is quite normal for a breastfed baby to refuse cow’s milk.  Apparently I should have probably considered this possibility after the formula rejection.  Apparently I have a hard time with this whole transitioning concept.  We mixed Ike’s milk for a while and 4 weeks later, he will accept only cow’s milk.  Heated preferably.  Unless he is desperate, at that point he’ll take it cold, or frozen, or I’m pretty sure I could put creamed spinach in the bottle and he would happily suck it down.
  3. Sippy Cups.  Ike was introduced to the sippy cup at 6 months, with water.  He spent a few months staring at it and throwing it on the floor.  Then a few months sucking water out and making a fountain with his mouth.  He pretty much still does both of these things.  With water.  He refuses to drink milk from a sippy cup altogether.  However, I was under the impression that he would suffer major developmental and dental issues if we did not take the bottles away when he turned one.  We did.  He suffered a bit of dehydration and a massive fit of general outrage.  Meh, maybe we will try again in a few months.
  4. Tantrums.  I thought this was a two year old toddler problem.  It is not.  I feel majorly duped, I know you seasoned parents knew about this, thanks a lot for the heads up!
  5. Follow Instructions.  Oh having a toddler is wonderful, they said.  They will go and get things for you, they said.  They will be happy to pickup things, and put things away, and be generally helpful if you make it like a game, they said.  They lied.  Here’s how our conversations go: “Ike put your little people in their box”  Ike hears  “run to the bathroom and unroll all the toilet paper”.

Toddlers are awesome.  But they are also babies still.  They are amazingly fast developing creatures, but they also need time to adjust to all the new changes.  We are both figuring this stuff out together, with no deadlines, no overnight changes, just mutually agreed upon plans.


Date Night(s)

Another weekend, another crazy busy schedule to keep.  I seriously have no idea how this happens, but my weekends have become more exhausting than my work weeks.

On Friday, Isaac and I left Gabby to babysit while we attended a Christmas party.  It was at the Whole World Improv theatre.  I have seen this improv show once before, but obviously a completely different show.  It was super funny.  What a tough job, making things up and having an emcee tell you to rap, do a dance, or completely change your character at random times.  The actors were very talented though and kept us all well entertained.

Here we are with some old friends we don’t get to see enough of.


On Saturday we caught up with some more friends, that we also don’t get to see enough of, for brunch.  We ate at South City Kitchen in midtown.  The food was a bit disappointing, but the place was cool and the company was great.  Ike colored on the white linen table cloths so we will likely not be returning.  Glad the food wasn’t completely phenomenal in that case.

We dropped Isaac off at home and then Ike and I went to do some Christmas shopping and grocery shopping and lots of riding around in shopping carts.  He was not happy.  So we took a pit stop at the park, it was a beautiful day, and he is getting to be quite fond of swinging.


Sunday, we went to church, then stayed to hand out photos from last weekend’s Breakfast with St. Nicholas social.  Here’s Ike’s.


He was asleep the whole time St. Nick was taking photos.  He was not asleep during any of the time I was trying to make the bazillions of pancakes or slices of bacon during the hours leading up to the event.

We popped into Target after church for a few more presents and stopped home to feed Ike lunch and grab some more milk.  Then we were off to a Christmas party hosted by one of the mother’s from work.  That was an adventure.  I don’t think I am used to attending parties as a mommy just yet.  It’s really hard to talk to anyone, or eat, or drink wine while Ike is running around trying to injury himself at every turn.


  • Ike fell off of a step,
  • Ike tried to launch himself down the slide,
  • Ike spilled my red wine on the floor (and my pants),
  • Ike nearly bit another baby,
  • Ike definitely pulled another baby’s hair

Sunday evening Isaac and I veg-ed out on the couch.  He asked what I wanted to do, I asked what he wanted to do.  He said he was doing it.  He did what I wanted to all day (and most days).  So, I put everything on my to do list out of my mind and I sat on the couch with my husband and did nothing.  And it was glorious.  Sometime I get so caught up in making lists, and planning activities, and getting things done that I totally forget to stop and enjoy the people around me.

We watched a movie.  We had some popcorn and some vanilla tea.  We enjoyed each other’s company.  I hope we find the time to do it again very soon.

Technically, Isaac and I had two dates this weekend.  Of those two I definitely enjoyed the second one most.  The party was a lot of fun, and it was great to get all dressed up and put on a big, witty smile and visit with everyone.  But if I had to chose one to do over and over again, I would choose to make matching butt prints on the sofa with my hunny.  Every single time.

Where the Wild Things are Party

Ike’s first birthday party was themed after the Maurice Sendak book “Where the Wild Things Are“.  Isaac and I were both fans of this book as children, and the character Max in the book suits Ike just perfectly.  Don’t you?


Gabby and I had a little photo shoot with the wild thing a few weeks before the party.  We took some of his best shots and added a 4×6 photo to the favor bags.




Planning the party was somewhat bittersweet. It was fun to plan all the details of such a fun theme, but it did force me to face the reality that my baby was growing up.

A lot of the details for the party were handmade, courtesy of Pinterest.  Follow insearchofthe25thhour on pinterest for the full details.   But here are some of my favorites.

The favor bags.  These are cotton muslin bags that I used an iron-on shirt transfer to put the image from the book’s cover on.


Inside the bag is a small bottle of bubbles, rock-shaped chocolate candy, and a photo of Ike in his Max costume.

Book Art.  I used dollar store frames and printed images from the books to display notes about the party scapes.

The ones I used read:

Now Stop! Be Still! Please Take a Moment to Sign Ike’s Book

Oh Please Don’t Go!  We’ll Eat You Up We Love You So

Then All Around From Away Across the World He Smelled Good Things to Eat

The paper tree forest.  Gabby helped out with this one A LOT.  Hanging paper balls from the ceiling and green streamer “vines” from the cabinets.  Gigi and I puffed the balls and opened the fans.

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All of these decorating items were purchased from a party supply store except the leaves, which were cut from construction paper.

Fruit Boats.  These were construction paper sails, little food trays, and kebab skewers.  They were filled with red and yellow fruits, we used watermelon, red grapes, strawberries, and some pineapple.


Crown sandwiches.  These may be my favorites.  I used this cookie cutter to make the shapes and filled the sandwiches with chicken salad.


Some of the other tasty treats from the party included:

  • A Cheese Ball
  • Pasta Salad
  • Mexican Rice (Ike’s fav)
  • Fried Chicken
  • Green “Monster” Punch
  • Crown Frosted Rice Krispie Treats (thank you Dori!)
  • And CAKE of course there was CAKE!

The cakes were purchased in Indiana at a local bakery.  The smash cake was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.  It got Ike super messy though with all the black icing.  I loved it!

he full sized cake.

Ike’s smash cake.  And his “I am one!” banner, purchased on etsy.

In place of a traditional guest book, we asked Ike’s guests to sign a copy of “Where the Wild Things Are” for him to keep as a memory of his first birthday.  The little messages turned out really cute and I am glad he will have this memento.


Gigi found the two little boats to use as decoration during the party.


Gigi also had this fathead made, of my fatheaded baby.  I love it!  We took it home.  I think Ike would like to display it in his room when he is a teenager.  We used this as a photo drop for the guests.


The wild rumpus sign over the highchair was also purchased from etsy. 

I had a “decorate your own crown” activity using paper crowns and colored pencils.  I found some pencils that were shaped like tree limbs at World Market.




We used an existing mirror to display Ike’s monthly photos.  It made me a little teary-eyed to see my baby growing up before my eyes.

Finally, the guest of honor.  I knew that the max costume would be a bit much for an endless family party, so I bought him this simple onesie that declared him “King of all the Wild Things”.  Also purchased on etsy.



There you have it.  Ike’s birthday party looking picture perfect to be archived forever and ever as the day that mommy was amazing.   Ha! Thank you to everyone who kept me sane and helped out with this.  I will have to post some of the actual party happenings in a separate post.

The post has been linked at

Coat Closet

Oh hey, I was going to organize the coat closet, back in um…oh yeah JUNE!!! Well, better late than never right?

I tackled the closet this weekend, with great success.  After dutifully picking up all of Ike’s various balls, blocks, and little people in the living room (and kitchen, and dining room, and office); I took to the closet.  The closet isn’t that big, so it didn’t take a very long time.  I am  honestly not sure why it seemed to daunting to me up until now.



Out of the coat closet came:

  • One large bag of things to give to Goodwill
  • One bag of Christmas gifts that I bought LAST YEAR and lost, but now have FOUND so ha ha Christmas budget
  • SIX different swiffer devices – three are garbage, and three we still use, the original sweeper, the duster, and the bissel wetjet
  • FOUR boxes of swiffer sweeper cloths and THREE boxes of swiffer dusters, all of them open
  • Nine blankets – the five full size blankets were moved to the linen closet upstairs, the four throw blankets were folded and stored in the coat closet, on the shelf and not the floor
  • Several boxes of light bulbs with one bulb removed, because apparently I buy a box, use one, then it disaapears into the black hole of this closet
  • Some baskets that I know will become useful one day so I cannot get rid of – moved to the laundry room upstairs to keep the rest of the baskets with no purpose (yet) company.


Oh look, there’s a floor under all those swiffers.  And my picnic basket! Because obviously I am the type of outdoorsy-not-afraid-of-bugs-and-nature-in-the-least person who takes picnics all the time.  I found it at a garage sale.  It was 50 cents.  We took it to the drive in movies. Once.


My shoe organizer turned cleaning product storage, conveniently out of reach of grubby little toddler fingers.  The swiffer pads fit nicely in there as well.

Two baskets, that match, and house light bulbs.  The overflow of swiffer pads are being store up here too.  I think they hooked up in the coat closet and had babies.

What was baby Ike doing while I cleaned the coat closet?

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And this.

The house is still a mess, but whatever, the coat closet is organized and I found free presents!