Have you read Anneliese’s birth story? What about her First Birthday post? It’s almost hard to believe a whole year has passed, and here we are again celebrating that long long long day that finally allowed me to meet my baby girl and become a mother. The day we went from a couple to a family of three. The day this little sunshine joined us in our journey through life.


Anneliese started the day with strawberries for breakfast.

while Joey and I baked her some strawberry cake. About a week ago, I asked her, “Do you want me to make cupcakes for your birthday like last year, or a big cake?” She answered, “Big. Cake! Big! Cake.” and ran over to her high chair and tried to climb in. She didn’t quite understand that the Big! Cake! wasn’t going to materialize immediately. But her birthday was finally here and Mama was cooking the Big! Cake!

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After I got everything into the oven, Joey wanted to get down and have a new diaper and nurse some, so I made a hammock for Anneliese with the wrap. We hadn’t done this before, so she was really excited about it. She kept calling it her Babar hammock (“Ham-MIK ham-MIK. Babar hamMIK?”) because on the first page of Babar, he is being rocked in a hammock by his mother. So sweet that she made that connection!


After some playing and reading, it was time for a nap. I put Anneliese and Joey to bed, and set to work preparing her presents for her to discover when she woke up. Topher was supposed to come home early, so he would be home to see her reactions to everything when she woke from her nap.

Unfortunately, Anneliese was SUPER EXCITED … maybe because of the non-eggs breakfast, maybe because of the hammock, or maybe because Joey was in the room with her (rooming-together naps are still kind of few and far between at this point), so she couldn’t stop talking! I listened to her on the monitor and couldn’t make out the words for the most part, except “Staw-bees” popped up a few times (strawberries.) Joey was asleep and continued to sleep through her chattering for about an hour before he finally woke up.

I had been able to straighten the living room a bit, wrap her little gifts (books about airline travel, since we are preparing for a trip soon, and a flashlight because she always gets really excited about my book light, flashlights, and so forth, but I wanted a child-safe one to be her own), and set up her “living room” area.

I’ve had these Guidecraft chairs (there’s another one not pictured), table, and couch (mine doesn’t have the pillow thingies though…if I had them I guess I lost them) for a while… a remnant from my short stint as a teacher which I knew I’d want to save for my own kids. I stored them away until now. The cushions are originally BRIGHT RED, which isn’t something I’d want to look at in my living room all the time, so I made new covers in this fabric (from IKEA) to match the throw pillows on our couches. So Anneliese’s furniture perfectly coordinates with our room!

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So… when Joey woke up, I went into their bedroom to retrieve him, and resettle Anneliese. She finally did get some sleep, and Joey got to test out the kid furniture. He approves.

Topher came home from work, and held Joseph while I finished making Anneliese’s cake and chopped up some ham and peppers and grated cheese for omelets for dinner. Then I got Anneliese up from her super-late nap.

I wasn’t going to get a tricycle for Anneliese yet (and really, I was thinking about skipping it and going to a balance bike) but she has been SO OBSESSED with tricycles and bicycles when she sees them. She gets SUPER EXCITED any time kids bike by, and she pretty much tried to take our neighbor’s bike and tricycle home with her after a quick visit. At another neighbor’s fourth of July cookout, while all the other kids were running around and playing, she just sat on their tricycle, exploring it, ringing the bell, and grinning. So… I caved. It’ll be a while before she can really ride it, since it’s so big for her, but I think she’ll enjoy it anyway.

But the balloons, man….

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Apart from the strawberries, they may have been the most exciting part of the day! BOONS!

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While I cooked omelets and bacon for dinner, Topher pushed Anneliese around the living room on the tricycle.

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She kept asking, “More? More?”

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I can’t believe how big she looks! TWO!! She’s TWO YEARS OLD!

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Anneliese found her other gifts…

…and tried to figure out her flashlight. It has a crank you turn to charge it, and then a button to turn it on and off. I love that this one has no batteries or compartments to open and access small parts, so I’ll feel safe leaving it with her in her own bedroom, unattended.

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Topher took Joey to put him down for an evening nap, and I read Anneliese some of her new books.

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Then it was time for dinner! Anneliese ate a good amount of her omelet, and a bunch of bacon.


Then we sang Happy Birthday and brought her some “Staw-bee cake!” I was going to bring her the whole cake with the candles on it, but we decided she would probably dive in and strip it of every strawberry immediately, so we went with just a slice.

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Anneliese tried to blow out the candles, “fffff…”

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Yay! Birthday cake!

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(Picture below taken with my Olloclip fisheye iPhone lens… no my arms aren’t super-long)

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Topher said he wants to switch his birthday cake frosting from dark chocolate ganache to this frosting… PLUS dark chocolate ganache. OK then. We’ll do that in a couple of weeks.

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(Don’t worry, I’ll do a separate cake post soon.) I’m REALLY PROUD of this cake, because usually I make ridiculously ugly cakes. This is the prettiest cake I’ve ever made. Ever. It might be the prettiest cake I ever make… I’m not super talented when it comes to frosting cakes.

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Anneliese ate all of the berries and frosting first, before even touching the cake.

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So I gave her a pile of extra strawberries to enjoy too.


When we finished dessert, Anneliese opened her other airplane book presents and we read them all before she went to bed.


And yes, there was a moment I nearly cried during dinner, re-living the last moments of her birth, the relief I felt when labor was over and motherhood was here, the joy and overwhelming love I felt when I saw her grumpy just-born face and got to hold her on my chest.

Is that what being a mother does to a person? Makes them cry over strawberry cake?

I love it.

I love her. This has been an awesome two years.

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  1. It looks like Annaliese’s feet almost reach the pedals of her trike–what about fastening blocks of wood to them so that her feet reach. I’m sure you can figure out a way if anybody can!!

  2. […] for a garland. (Try different color combinations for holidays and so forth. I just did red because Anneliese’s second birthday was all about strawberries.) You can adjust spacing once the garland is hung, simply by sliding the balloons along the […]

  3. Aww…you made me cry saying you wanted to cry. That’s what motherhood does. I’m sure of it 🙂

  4. What a wonderful day! What a peaceful way to celebrate with your family. I’m looking forward to days like that with our future children…And that cake looks incredible – can’t wait for the recipe!

  5. Wonderful post. Wonderful party. Perfect family. Thank you for sharing.

  6. What a sweet, sweet, daughter you have! I loved this, seeing her birthday, and her talk about “staw-bees” and cake. Such a sweetheart 🙂

    Happy birthday to you, Anneliese!!!

  7. Aww what a sweet day for A! You are such a thoughtful Mom, I love the detail you put into things, so creative.

  8. Happy Birthday Anneliese! She is so adorable… And I also love the simple celebration. No crazy toy heaps…
    And Emily, to you: Congratulations to 2 years of Mommyhood! 🙂 I think, you are doing a fantastic job there… keeping it simple, beautiful and joyful! Loving it!

    • Thank you Henni! I thought I went a bit overboard with the trike in addition to the furniture… I’m glad it still seems “simple” because that’s what I like.
      And thank you so much for the nice words. I love being a mom.

  9. Happy Birthday, Anneliese!! Gosh, I can’t believe how fast time has gone by.
    Can I just say, I LOVE this birthday celebration. A few presents she loves, a special cake, she’s happy. I feel like sometimes kid parties get so overblown at an early age. Maybe it’s because I’m not a parent myself, but I hope our birthdays are more like this if/when I do have kids.

    • Thank you! I think kids’ parties can be really fun, but they’re definitely more for the parents this early… Anneliese has no idea she’s “missing” anything and had a wonderful day. We’ll do parties when she’s older, I’m sure.

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