Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dancing Queen

Poor girl got her dancing skills from her mama!

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My True Calling





I'll give you three guesses as to what my true calling in life is...

Pharmacist? Nope.

Caterer? Nope. Wrong again.

Quilter? YES! How'd you know? Oh, you didn't. It occurred to me around 4:30 am one morning as I was feeding Haley that quilting was what I was born to do. Granted, I don't own a sewing machine. I don't know the difference between a fussy cut and a fat quarter (terms I've heard from my cousin's wife). And, I sure don't have the room in my house to store any fabric.

Nevertheless, I think this is about the most adorable thing I've ever seen:


Now, I do know you have to be somewhat of a perfectionist. Check! It also appears to involve Geometry. Another check! And, there's nothing I like more than a trip to the fabric store. There is something about all of those colors and patterns that puts me in a good mood. Plus, can you imagine the fun of a modern-day quilting bee? It would involve friends, wine, and lots of gossip. Who wouldn't love that??

There's just something about a handmade quilt that is so comforting. Bryon's mom's mom, Helen Barrington, was famous among the quilters in the south. The quilt in the background of this photo won a prize at a state fair. (I should really try to remember more of what people tell me!)

On the back of this quilt is a patch that reads "Heart Shaped Wreath. Appliqued by Helen Barrington. Quilted by Bunny Clark. 1994" Now, I barely knew Helen, and I sure didn't know Bunny. But, they must have been the best of friends for Bunny to let Helen have the quilt. Can you imagine what conversations took place will these good friends quilted?

My cousin-in-law, Wendy Poling, made the adorable quilt in the picture of Haley. She also made me an "I-Spy" quilt that you can read about here. How much fun will that be? Anyway, she has been my inspiration. Maybe in 20 years, I'll start my first quilt!

Christmas Round Three



Whew! Are you still with me? Do you need a caffeine jolt yet? I'd been snoozing too...Here's a picture of Haley with Grandpa Norman just to pull at your heart strings:

Christmas Round Three was celebrated in Rio Rancho, New Mexico with Bryon's family, Norman, Janice, Aaron, Juanita, and baby Ashlee. After a torturous TWELVE hour drive from Irving to Rio Rancho, all I could think about was a real adult night away from the girls. Bryon's parents kept Shelby and Haley for us while we stayed in a real, live hotel, with gambling and champagne and the longest, hottest bath I have had in months. Did I mention there was NO Nick Jr. or dirty diapers?? Sorry girls, but I really didn't miss you all that much. Momma needed some adult time!

The view from our room was magical. As we sat drinking our champagne, staring off into the Rockies, and being real adults, we swear we saw the first snowflakes of the day. I told Bryon it was like being inside a snowglobe. The flakes were huge and falling so slowly that I felt drunk after two sips of my real, live adult drink. It's a moment I hope I never forget! Here's a picture from our room:

We also ventured to Santa Fe the next day to have lunch at Tomasita's. All in all, it felt good to be normal again!

After returning to the in-law's, Bryon took Shelby out to see the snow. Adorable!

The "Best Gift" award went to the little tricycle Shelby got from her grandparents. Here she is with the world's biggest grin:

Bryon's parents have several dogs. Needless to say, Oscar and Daisy got lots of attention from Shelby, whether they wanted it or not.



Poor dogs! We would have tried to sneak Daisy home in our luggage if we weren't in fear of our dog Lily having her for lunch.

After hearing horror stories about the snow-packed roads in Texas, we decided to stay an extra day in New Mexico. It was great getting to spend some extra time letting the grandparents take care of my girls while I got some needed sleep. Again, we had a great time and pigged out on some yummy food. I have the best in-laws that spoiled me way too much this trip!

Christmas Round Two


After covering my living room floor in wrapping paper, boxes, and all kinds itty-bitty pieces of plastic packaging, we moved on to my mom's house in Benbrook. Christmas Round Two was celebrated with Linda and Jeff, Molly and Marc and kids, and of course, mom's dog Chuck. Carson, Julianne, and new baby Charlie also stopped by to say hello.

We had a great time chasing all five Zhu Zhu pets around and watching Shelby and Conrad both try to lay claim to Conrad's new car racer. If you'll notice in the background, Conrad is VERY suspicious of Shelby playing with his new toy.


Mom got me Adobe Photoshop for Christmas. I've played with it for a little while and have decided I am brain dead from lack of sleep the past 3 months. If you are a Photoshop expert, feel free to stop by my house and walk me through it! I'm sure in a couple of months, I'll figure it all out...

Christmas Round One


The Pfaff household had three rounds of Christmas this year, so I'll be posting about each one. You might want to down a Red Bull before reading, as it will be getting a little boring!

Round One was celebrated with my dad and his wife, Christy, her kids, Loren and Vikki, Molly, Marc, Carly, and Conrad. I had the brilliant idea of dragging everyone to see the ICE! exhibit at the Gaylord Hotel. I had been the past two years and loved it. In fact, the Gaylord probably owes me money for all of the people I have encouraged to go.

All of that came to a screeching halt this year, my friends. The Gaylord is now on my "Do Not Patronize" list, as we had to stand in line with about 3,000 other people for well over an hour, even though we had tickets for a specific time. As we like to say in my family, "Things just got out of hand." By the time we actually got inside to see the Grinch in ice, we were all sweating and itching from the big blue parkas we were wearing.

Here's Bryon trying his best to keep a toddler entertained:

And here's the infamous parkas:


After bonding with all of the rest of DFW, we came home to open gifts. Round one's winner of "Most Favorite Gift" went to the stroller Shelby got from Dad and Christy.
She hasn't stopped pushing that thing around yet!


All in all, we had a great time and ate like pigs. Stay tuned for rounds two and three!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Girls Met Santa!





Today was quite an adventure! I took Haley and Shelby to the local rec center for "Breakfast with Santa". Whew! An elf by the name of Jolly put on a LONG program involving lots of bells, puppets, and magic tricks. Why Haley will sleep through all of that noise but not in a quiet room is beyond me. Shelby loved the production but wanted to run around the whole time. My biceps got a workout trying to keep her corralled!

After Jolly the Elf, we got to go meet Santa. Shelby, ever the flirt, hopped right up in his lap and poked at his beard. She was one of the few kids that didn't cry. She is going to be a handful once she hits her teenage years!



At the end of the day, I think Shelby had the most fun keeping the rec center clean with her new BFF, Arden. Arden's mom captured them sweeping. It was TOO cute.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Go Ahead and JUMP!

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I finally caught Shelby on video "jumping". It cracks me up every time! She is getting such a cute personality and is constantly making us laugh. She's really trying to start talking and can say a few words--duck, dog, up, bubble, mama, dada, hot, yum, yes, and Jeff. Of course, I'm the only one that understands her!

Haley is getting bigger, weighing in at 12 pounds at her two month doctor's visit. She still only sleeps while being held most of the day and will flash us an occasional smile if we are really good.

I posted a short recap of our Thanksgiving celebration on our Poling family blog. Fun times!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Trick or Treat?


Our little chef and cupcake weren't too impressed with the concept of Halloween just yet. We got Shelby all dressed up in her chef's apron and hat, only to ask her to leave the hat on about 58 billion times. She finally cooperated...on November 4th! And, poor Haley just wanted the darn cherry on top of head off, ASAP. Wendy Poling made her adorable costume that I hope she will appreciate some day. Both of their attitudes made it hard to get a cute photo.


October 31st, 2009 at our house started off with some old fashioned pumpkin carving. I left Bryon to the task this year, as mine in the past have been a dismal failure. His engineering skills and Shelby's digging-out-the-innards skills made for an impressive Jack-O-Lantern at the Pfaff house. See for yourself!


As dusk approached, we decided to test the waters and take the girls trick-or-treating at the neighbors' houses. The last time I checked the Official Halloween Book O' Rules, leaving one's light one indicates that the little munchkins should come knock on your door. Am I right? Apparently, our neighbors decided to leave their lights on but not answer the door. What is that about?? Shelby was so confused as to why she was running around the neighborhood with an empty bag...and why we wouldn't shut up about the hat!

After giving up on any candy, we settled in for the night to pass out our own. Shelby and Daddy had a BLAST! Everytime the doorbell rang, she would run point to the candy bowl and squeal at the door. She loved seeing all the kids and helping her dad. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for next year!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our Big Weekend





After two and a half years of 12-hour days, Bryon's project is wrapping up. This week marked the grand opening of both the Wyly theater and the Winspear Opera House. All of the big donors finally got to see what their money was being used for. And, boy, was it spectacular! We were lucky enough to get tickets to any of the events, so we went to the opening of the Wyly on Friday night and the Winspear on Saturday night.

Where to begin? It was all so spectacular. The Wyly Theater is amazing. I felt like I was at the theater in New York, only ultra-modern and no tourists. I hope to see more productions in the future. Everything is very sleek and polished, and it was so cool to have Bryon as my date to tell me all the capabilities of the building. At the end of the performance, all of the "walls" seemed to rise to the sky revealing the huge windows to downtown Dallas. We could see the traffic going by outside. It was so glamourous! After the production, a few of Bryon's coworkers went on stage to check things out. I had them snap my picture at the piano so I could say I had performed at the Wyly...ah, one of these days!


Saturday night was a huge black-tie affair. I keep telling everyone I felt like I was at the Oscars, with all the media, ball gowns, and glitz. After seeing my favorite performer, Kristen Chenoweth, and several other acts, there was a huge reception outside, catered by the one and only Wolfgang Puck. Of course, I had to take pictures of the food!


After stuffing our faces with duck, buffalo, tuna, mac and cheese (gourmet of course!), and shrimp, we ventured back over to the Wyly. It had been converted into a night club, with furnishings by Neiman Marcus. I couldn't help but stare at all the jewelry and dresses. Here we are posing in the Wyly after a long night:


Congratulations, Bryon, on a spectacular job!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Innocent until proven guilty! Part 2

Someone really loves her freedom while mom is busy feeding the baby! What trouble is she going to get into next?


And, just to keep things equal, here is the daily picture of Haley. She is finally opening her eyes long enough to snap a picture of her beautiful baby blues!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Innocent until proven guilty!

Busted! She knows she is in trouble but is still proud of herself for finding a little leverage to dig through the drawers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

To My Dearest Shelby


Shelby,

You have no idea how much fun it is to watch you play. You don't know it, but I secretly watch you as you are busy tinkering with your Little People Schoolhouse or climbing on your slide. You can spend an hour on getting things just in the right spot that you want. It is so cute! Soon enough, you will have a little playmate to teach all of your tricks. I can already picture you bossing Haley around just like I used to do to my little sister. I just hope you are nicer to Haley than I was to Molly!

Your Peeping Tom,
Mom

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Follow-Up to Bone Marrow Transplant

As a follow-up to this post, please go to www.bethematch.org and sign up to donate bone marrow. I finally enrolled, and it couldn't have been easier. Filling out the forms took MAYBE 5 minutes, and the swab collection kit came in the mail in less than 3 days. As scared of needles as I am, I still really hope to be a match for someone.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Random Thoughts

So, as I've mentioned before, breastfeeding is boring. Especially at 2:00 AM. Especially when you've had NO sleep in the past 24 hours. Especially when everyone else in the house dares to be snoring away!! One tends to have the MOST random thoughts during these trying times. Here is my list from last night:

1. All of my DINK (double income, no kids) friends have turned into DIMK (Didn't Imagine Mini-van full of Kids) friends. My cool neighbor, Jenn, is so proud of her Honda mini-van that I'm almost jealous. She went from hanging out with celebrities on Broadway to showing off the automatic sliding door on her mini-van. My equally cool cousin, Heidi, went from traveling the world and working in the coolest building in downtown Dallas to not only becoming a proud mini-van owner, but also managing to recruit her really cool friend, Suzi, into buying one. So, to all my DIMKs, you guys are still cool in my eyes!

2. Cigarette smokers have really cool social lives. While at work, they get to go outside and gossip several times a day, while the rest of us nerds hang out in a stuffy breakroom. Too bad smoking is out of the question for me, as meeting strangers and chatting for a few minutes everyday is right up my alley.

To all you 12 year olds keeping up with my little blog, DO NOT SMOKE! It's gross. I can smell it a block away. You WILL die from it one day. It will not be a fun way to die. Quitting smoking is the hardest addiction to break. I know because I lost my dear Granny Nelle to emphysema several years ago. I still get teared up about her not getting to watch me become a mother. My girls will never know what a special person she was. But, Granny Nelle met some pretty cool people while she was outside smoking!

3. Raisins were invented for mothers of toddlers. Shelby LOVES them. They aren't too messy. They come in a box. They are relatively healthy. Raisins ROCK!

Haley Charlotte Pfaff

Welcome to our crazy home, Haley Charlotte Pfaff! Our second daughter was born September 25, 2009 at 12:01 pm. She weighed in at 7 lbs 1 ounce and was 19 inches long. She, like her older sister, has dark hair and a beautiful complexion. Everything was just perfect...almost!

For those of you that don't know my deep, dark, ugly secret, here goes. I am allergic to needles. Okay, so it's more like a little afraid of syringes. Nope, I'm not being totally honest. A true live phobia against all things sharp coming near my body is more appropriate! I've been known to faint a time or two or twenty. I thought I had outgrown this silly little phobia with my first pregnancy, but alas, it roared its ugly head when we went in for the c-section.

All I know is that the nurse was starting my i.v., and Bryon was trying maintain eye contact. The room started spinning. The lights started twinkling. My whole body started sweating. The next thing I remember is a WHOLE bunch of people in the room talking about blood pressure and baby's heart rate. Bryon was throwing on his scrubs, and "Page the doctor" was being murmured. Apparently, Haley's heart rate dropped from 150 to 40 in about 1 minute. It took about 5 minutes to get everything back to normal, and everything turned out just fine...I like to make a scene every now and then for some attention!

Shelby wasn't thrilled at all with our new bundle of joy. She spent most of the hour that she visited us in the hospital on the floor screaming. This picture is about as close as we got to a family photo. Classic! It just about sums up our crazy life--me trying to sweet talk Shelby into sitting still, Bryon shooting her the "straighten up or shut up" look, and Haley sleeping peacefully through it all.

So, everything wasn't perfect, but it was perfect for our little family! We are so glad to be home with everyone healthy and somewhat happy. One of these days, Shelby will come around!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Time's Ticking

In less than 48 hours, we will be meeting Baby #2 for the first time. Excited, nervous, impatient, and anxious are all running rampant through our house. Shelby still has no clue what is about to happen.

On a second note, I'm being very brave by posting this picture of myself with no makeup and an extra watermelon stuffed up my shirt!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mother of the Year

Feelings of guilt and inadequacy started for me the minute I became pregnant with Shelby. I think any mom will agree that the feelings never go away. During pregnancy, it's "I'm not eating enough protein" or "I had a diet Coke and have decreased my baby's IQ by 10 points." During maternity leave, it was "I only have __ more weeks with my little one until I have to abandon her for 8 hours a day."

Now, my guilty feelings revolve around "She's watched tv for 2 hours today" and "Oh, no, her college fund doesn't have 5 figures yet. How is she ever going to Yale with no money?" But, my number one worry is about separating Shelby and her bottle. Don't judge me. I've had a lot to do lately. So, she is still drinking her milk from a bottle 3 months after I should have taken it away. I know I'm rotting her teeth for life. I feel guilty everyday.

So, all that being said, I was asked by a stranger yesterday, "When are you going to take that bottle away? My kids all were completely off of the bottle by 1 year." Little Miss Know-It-All really got to me. I had a wonderful day--a massage, a wonderful baby shower, time with lots of family, and lots of laughs with Shelby. But, yet, going to sleep, all I could do was stress over the stranger's judgements. Thank goodness for the internet! This picture saved me:

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So, I'm rotting my child's teeth out...at least she is still breathing!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Taste of Things to Come


Aaron, Juanita, and Ashlee


Monica and Shelby

Bryon with Ashlee and Shelby

What a great weekend we just had! Bryon's brother, Aaron, along with his wife Juanita and 6-month old Ashlee were here visiting from Rio Rancho, NM. Shelby didn't really know what to think about having to share all her toys and her mama with another little girl. Luckily, she didn't leave any bruises or cuts on her cousin, but there were a few times I could see her thinking about it. It was usually about the time I held Ashlee for longer than 30 seconds. Little does she know that in 24 short days, her new baby sister will be the center of my attention. Poor girl!

Bryon and Aaron hit Lake Grapevine several times for fishing, skiing, and attempting to wakeboard. They caught just enough bass for us to have a fish fry, and Aaron got a little practice on his new ski.

Juanita and I took the girls to have their pictures taken. Ashlee was a little angel, and Shelby was a little less than angelic. Thank goodness the photographer was extra quick and managed to snap a few good ones.

Shelby is growing up so quickly. She has about a 4 word vocabulary: apple, up, dad, and mama. She also does some sign language, mainly "more" and "bath". She tries very hard to be helpful around the house by helping put clothes in the washer/dryer, putting up her bottles and bowls from the dishwasher, and throwing her dirty diapers in the trash. Now, if only I can train her to change her own diaper, I'll have a genius on my hands!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Things I've Learned


Before Shelby was born, I had a post of rules. Looking at that list now cracks me up. I've stuck to most of them but the "no crying in public" thing. So, looking back on that got me thinking about what all I have learned since becoming a parent. Here goes:

1. Breastfeeding is hard. It was harder than organic chemistry, being in labor for 28 hours, and going back to work after maternity leave. It's painful. It's time consuming. It's more expensive than I guessed (pump, pads, freezer bags, etc.). It drains you physically. Boy, I'm going to need lots of motivation and encouragement to breast feed again!

2. Slow down and control your ADD. I've always thought I had a touch of ADD. Watching a 2 hour movie is hard for me. I get bored easily. I probably would have had better grades in school had I been on Adderall. So, I've really had to learn to slow down and be patient with Shelby. She can play in the floor for hours and expects me to be right there with her. Feeding also takes tons of patience. You really can't do anything else but hold a bottle for your adorable little one. I think I have learned to just be in the moment and not worry about what else needs to be done...

3. Watching her learn is so much fun. This was one lesson I didn't expect. I love watching Shelby learn new things. Giving kisses, blowing her nose, tickling Daddy, putting her diaper in the trash, making the sign for "bath", putting her books up, finding her belly button, running to the front door when someone knocks, climbing onto the couch...the list could go on forever! As you can see, this girl is a genius! Before becoming a parent, I had no idea how much joy all of this learning would be.

4. I can live without sleep. Sleep is a valuable thing. I miss it dearly. But, I did survive on very little sleep for at least the first six months. I was cranky and unreasonable at times, but I did survive. My friend Gwen gave me some of the best advice, "Let your husband sleep." I kind of smiled and thought to myself that my hubby would get up just as much as I did with the baby. HA! She was right. One of you has to stay sane for the sake of the marriage. I just hope I can remember to look at this one in a couple of months when I'm up delirious with baby #2!

5. Music for kids is so much fun. I can't sing, have no rhythm, and tend to make up words to songs I don't know. Babies don't care. They just love hearing you sing. Shelby is the first person alive that can't get enough of my non-melodious voice! I've discovered a series of CD's called "Beethoven's Wig" that has been lots of fun for us. Dancing along to the Wiggles is a highlight of most of my mornings. Who knew?

Whew! Is anyone still reading my endless babel? If so, I want to know what you've learned as a parent/aunt/uncle/grandparent/cousin. Leave a comment!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Our Big Tour


For those of you that don't know, Bryon works for a construction management firm, McCarthy, as a project manager with the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems. Basically, anything that is built behind the walls and ceiling, he helps organize. Currently, he is on a really cool, cutting edge performance arts theater in downtown Dallas. Everything is state-of-the-art and VERY modern. Click here for more info.

On really special occasions, he will take people on tours. It had been since last Fall that I got to see the inside. This past weekend, Molly, Marc, and I got treated to a big tour. WOW! The building has come so far. Here we are in front of the "interactive" magnetic wall. The silver mesh is intended to be moved around by people's hands as they pass by. Make sense?

There are also two terraces, one on the rooftop that I failed to get pictures of, and one about halfway up that reminds me of a proshop on a golf course. It has thick astroturf stuff as the flooring, and all of the walls are sprayed with this matching green texture over small open cubes. Now, I know that makes no sense! You can kind of see the walls behind Marc and Molly.


I wanted to get a shot of us on stage so we could say we performed at the Wyly Theater. Here we are for our grand finale! One last impressive note: the seating for the audience can be seen behind us. The chairs were designed in Italy and cost $3,000 each. I think Bryon should sneak one in his truck one day so we can put it in our living room!


Molly and I in the entrance...I HATE this picture of me looking very tired and pregnant...


Monday, July 13, 2009

She's a Shoe Girl!

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Mommy is so proud! Her little girl LOVES shoes. She's learned to try them on and walk around already...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Sad Post

So...not every day can be happy.  Today is one of those "Appreciate What You've Got" kind of days.  What I have to appreciate is my health.  I found out today that one of my favorite pharmacy guests passed away over the weekend from a long battle with leukemia.  She was my age, had a son that is 15 months old, and a daughter that is 4 years old.  We were pregnant at the same time, and I grew to really appreciate her upbeat attitude and smile.   She was more than just a guest, she was a friend.

She had a bone marrow transplant about a year ago and thought everything was in the clear.  Then, the leukemia came back.  I had spoken to her a few times about becoming a donor.  Now, for those of you that know me, you know that needles are not one of my favorite things.  So, the thought of being hooked up to two i.v.'s for a few hours would NOT have been on my "to do" list a year ago.  Times have changed.  In honor of her, I really want to donate bone marrow.  I can't right now because of this whole pregnancy thing, but as soon as I am able, PLEASE hold me accountable to becoming a donor.  I really want to honor her life in some way, and this would be the only way I know how.  

Off to search google for "bone marrow donor" info!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let's Get Together, Yah, Yah, Yah!


Our annual Poling Cousins' Reunion was held this past weekend at the Poling Ranch, near Fritch, Texas. We had a blast! Robert and Wendy worked their tails off getting ready for the big event. Wendy made the hilarious "Family. Beer. A shooting contest. What could possibly go wrong?" t-shirts and koozies. Robert did a ton of work to get a new sign ordered for the ranch entrance. (Someone had shot up the old one. Reward offered to find the culprit!) Walt cooked up some yummy burgers and hotdogs. Stan iced down lots of cold drinks. Linda and Jeff shopped for all the food. Monica and Bryon just showed up!

By some odd force of nature, the day started off with rain. Yes, in the Panhandle, where they get no rain EVER, it rained on us. There is nothing better than watching storm clouds in that great big sky. After it cleared up, we played with kites, guns, 4-wheelers, rocks, a horny toad, Crap Swap, and door prizes. We had a ball and can't wait until next year!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What a Year!

Has it really already been a year since Shelby made her grand appearance into our lives? How time flies! Since our number one priority is to spoil her rotten, she was thrown not one, but TWO parties. That lucky girl got to cover her face in icing twice. She also had about six different wardrobe changes into all the adorable birthday onesies created by Grandma Janice (the green one with the butterfly) and Aunt Wendy Lee (the one covered in icing and the cupcake one).

First, we had the family birthday party at our house. Bryon's parents, my mom and Jeff, and my sister Molly and her family came over. Shelby loved seeing her cousins Carly and Conrad. Carly informed me that Shelby was her favorite cousin "on this side of the family." I guess Shelby's conversation skills just weren't developed enough to get her the overall winner's spot! Conrad cracked us all up while swimming by insisting on wearing the "Special Agent Osso" jacket, a life jacket we had to convince him to wear. Once he got the idea that he could float in his special jacket, he had a blast. All the women took a break from the excitement and went to the shoe store. Afterall, we had worked so hard spoiling Miss June, and we deserved a little retail relaxation!

Shelby's second party was the friends' party at Chuck E. Cheese. This was my first experience with a full-out party at Up-Chucks, and it really wasn't near as bad as what others had made it out to be. The pizza was actually pretty tasty. Then again, I am six months pregnant and will eat just about anything! Noëlle brought a scrumptious cupcake cake with mounds of pink icing. All the games, noises, kids, and activities were Shelby's cup of tea. She had a blast! At the end of the day, we had worn her out.