Birthday Cake Smash without the Cake

Penelope's first birthday is next week (I know).

When Grady turned one, we did a DIY cake smash photo shoot with him. He hated it. The photos are priceless and I want the same for Pops.

Penelope cannot eat cake. She can't eat much of anything right now. The foods she's been introduced to that she doesn't react to, and that she'll actually eat, include: raw cucumber, cooked apple, blueberries, pureed spinach. We can't have a cucumber smash photo shoot. 

I realize in the grand scheme of things, this is not a tragedy. Penelope can't have a birthday cake smash photo shoot for her first birthday. It's not the end of the world. But I feel sad for her (mainly because of her food restrictions, not because she won't have adorable first birthday cake smash photos like her brother). 

So! Did you do a first birthday photo shoot that featured something other than food? The only thing I can think of is a bunch of balloons but I'd love to consider other ideas. 


Tiny Happy Tuesday: 11

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  • Shawn's birthday dinner last night went off without a hitch. I grew up in a family that makes a big deal out of birthdays and I love that my kids are going to be able to say the same. Birthdays are my jam. 
  • My brother-in-law has been making some pretty exciting life changes lately (not my story to tell but damn, the guy is mixing things up!) and I love that Grady and Poppy will be able to look to him as a role model when they're facing nerve-wracking-but-exciting opportunities.
  • My Internet village. This Tiny Happy deserves a post of its own but let me just say that my internet village has boosted me up, been a sounding board, given me information and answers, and provided immeasurable support more than ever recently. I'm not sure how I got so lucky to know so many amazing people.
  • My Real Life village. I know a lot of great people. I saw a bunch of them this weekend. I'm an introvert and I need my alone time but it's a pretty great feeling to be surrounded by thoughtful, hilarious, brilliant people too (as long as I get some alone time immediately after).
  • It's the May long weekend (almost)! Every May Shawn goes away on his annual boys' trip and I order a lot of pizza and stay in pyjamas all day and make morning pit stops at the ice cream shop. Solo parenting is a lot of work but it's also a lot of fun once we let go of our routines and expectations (of cleanliness). I'm ready for a weekend of filth and greasy, cheesy goodness.

What's making you happy this week? Want to play along? Join the Facebook group and share your happy! Or share on Twitter or Instagram using #TinyHappyTuesday so we can find you.

Meal Plan 05/15/2017 - 05/19/2017

Tomorrow is Shawn's birthday so our meal plan this week consists of his favourite foods. (Festival of Shawn last all week.) (I'm an unabashed birthday lover. It's part of my charm.).

Monday: Birthday dinner! Barbecued steak served with Shawn's favourite potato salad and creamy cucumber salad. Shawn loves cheesecake but I don't want to make a full-sized cheesecake (and then, you know, eat a full-sized cheesecake all week) so I might try to make a pie-sized cheesecake or pick a different dessert. The man loves chocolate and peanut butter so I've got lots of options. Suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday: Pulled pork lettuce wraps. (I just realized I've never blogged my pulled pork recipe so I'll get on that this week.) We used to eat our pulled pork on soft dinner rolls but we both feel better (read: smug) when we eat lettuce wraps instead of delicious, pillowy baked goods. Served with a simple purple cabbage coleslaw. 

Wednesday: Grady has baseball so I need something quick, easy, and portable. I'm thinking I'll cook up a pot of barley or quinoa, roast some sweet potatoes, and build pulled pork dinner bowls with the leftovers from the night before. 

Thursday: Nachos topped with spicy chicken and served with fresh guacamole and a side of Responsibility Vegetables.

Friday: Shawn's not here for dinner so I'm thinking the kids and I will either have a patio picnic (goldfish crackers with yogurt and fruit) or we'll make homemade pizza.

What's on your menu this week?


Four years ago I had my followup appointment with my surgeon. My appointment was on Friday evening but that morning they called and asked if I could come in the afternoon instead. Shawn had planned to meet me at the surgeon's office after work. I told him not to bother to try to get off work early; I'd go by myself. Fortunately, Shawn and his boss were smarter than I was, and he was there when my surgeon told me the mass they'd removed from my neck was cancerous. 

Poppy is nearing the age Grady was when I started to get sick and it's affecting me in ways I didn't expect. When I was diagnosed, I went into action mode. We made treatment plans and nutrition plans and try-to-enjoy-life-even-though-it's-difficult-right-now plans. There wasn't a lot of time for reflection. Or rather, I didn't let myself delve too deeply into the emotions attached to being diagnosed with cancer while 30 years old with a 1-year-old baby. I distinctly remember telling my family to feel their feelings, just not on, or near, me. 

But now Poppy is a similar age and she's so small. You guys, Grady was so small. It all could have been so much more terrible. It's messing with my head. (I'm also spending today at the cancer centre for my routine tests so my head isn't in the best place to begin with. Scanxiety is a thing and it's a bitch.) 

Today is my fourth cancerversary. I have an excellent support team (both of the family / friend variety and the medical variety). I have a number of promising scans bolstering me as I trudge toward my 5-year mark. I have gratitude for what cancer has given me (an appreciation for what I have, and a severe decrease in my level of give-a-fuck for the minutiae of life) and optimism for what's to come. I still struggle sometimes (like today, when my head is full of angry bees and I feel like I need to itch myself out of my skin) but overall, four years after my life imploded in my surgeon's office, I'm just happy. Happy to be here. Happy my life is so full. Maybe it's boring or silly or weird to mark a cancerversary but to me, it's a celebration. I've come a long way in four years. Here's to many more.