two 1

Our Philomena Rose is now TWO.

Last year I was a bit pig-headed and was determined to have her birthday party with our family on the actual day, which is Christmas Day…so, that was a tad overwhelming. Thankfully, this year I lowered my standards a bit, and we celebrated a few days later. This was undoubtedly the better option. It spread out the presents and celebrations, plus I wasn’t stressed Christmas morning trying to get a brunch together.

We served our family an Italian feast, complete with an antipasto spread, lasagna, homemade tiramisu [!!!], and limoncello.

Philomena walked around all day saying, “Paaar-dy! Bir-day paaar-dy! Cake! Happy Bir-day to Meeena!”

2 birthday 1

It was a delightful celebration. We truly are blessed to have such amazing family near us.

birthday collage 2

adorable cake made by my sister

adorable cake made by my sister

birthday collage 3



I wish I was more systematic with my Philomena updates like Elizabeth is with sweet Evie, but alas I am far from methodical. Nevertheless, I will try anyway [complete with pictures that have nothing to do with the text around them].

My daughter, we are enthralled watching you grow and learn. You have such a gentle heart. You are so affectionate with us and with other loved ones. You are quite nurturing with your baby dolls. You constantly wrap them in blankets, sing to them, rock them, and put them down for “night-night.”

You are almost-definitely an introvert. You are not scared of new situations, but you are definitely hesitant and quiet; it takes you quite a while to warm up to people. You are still very even-keeled, a quality you definitely did NOT get from your Mommy. You still haven’t thrown a “major” temper-tantrum, although you are starting to become much more strong-willed. However- at least for now- you actually listen to reason and can be talked down pretty quickly.


You finally got your “word explosion” these past couple months. You are putting together sooooo many three-word and four-word phrases together. I can’t believe I used to worry you would never do so. [Your daddy is always reminding mommy of this important parenting technique.]


Your favorite activity in the whole world is reading books. And your attention span for them is l-o-n-g. Like, longer than your Mommy’s. Every book I think might be “too long” for you, you prove me wrong by sitting attentively through all of it, and then asking for it again!


A close second favorite would be dancing. We have at least four or five dance parties every day. [See the end of this post for a “Philomena Playlist.”]

You are counting fairly well, but you always, always, always skip the number 7. Every. Time. And you can recognize and identify probably two-thirds of the alphabet. And you know all of your basic colors.

You have an analytical mind. We just love watching you try to figure out puzzles and other spatially-manipulative toys. It’s as if we can see the wheels turning in that head. Also, you are going through this weird phase in which you are obsessed with circles. You find them all over the house, talk to them, and draw them. Circles weirdly have become your friends. [Maybe you need a tad more socialization? ;)]


You are finally figuring out that food is awesome. You have gained about two pounds in the past three months alone. Now, you are up to the 15th percentile in weight. Wahoo!
Most of the time you still need to be rocked to sleep, but are getting a liiiiittttle better about falling asleep on your own. The reality is that rocking you and cuddling you before nap and bedtime is our favorite moment of the day, so we want to keep doing it at least a little while longer.
Oh, Philomena, you are certainly the light of our lives. We love watching you grow and can’t wait to see the woman you will become, but for now, we are relishing the little girl who you are.
p.s. For P’s birthday party, I made a playlist of all her favorite songs from this year. Most of them are just fun songs to which she had a particular affinity for dancing purposes. A few are songs we started singing to her at night, for whatever weird reason [“I Need My Girl” (Ryan) and, embarrassingly, Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” (me).] And a couple are just ones she was drawn to for no apparent reason [“Jolene” anyone?]. Be warned that there are a few obnoxious toddler songs that we just couldn’t avoid. 
Disclaimer: I don’t *think* any of these songs have bad words, but I haven’t read all the lyrcis, so listen at your own risk. Also, you need Spotify to listen, but it’s free and a great program. So there.
p.p.s. Here is her one year reflection, in case you have forgotten.

14 thoughts on “two!

  1. Love this!!! I think our girls would be two peas in a pod. And the play list – so good! Evie’s favorite dance song of the year is Feel This Moment by Christina Aguilera and Pitbull and Momma Mia by ABBA. Move over laughter, because toddler dancing is the best medicine :)

  2. Oh my goodness, the second picture in this post (of Mena in the black dress above the cake) is really adorable. Also, that playlist is awesome, you all have really good taste in music.

  3. Happy birthday, Mena! Gosh she really is such a cutie. Sounds like it was a great celebration! I love the cake, wait to go Marie!
    Great playlist, too. I love that Ho Hey and the Fox song are on it.
    Enjoy her!

  4. The first 2 pictures of Philomena are unbearably adorable. Having her party a few days later…genius. And her playlist, I love it. I also love that you admitted to singing a Lisa Lobe song to her. Back in the 90’s I loved that song, and I wanted to look like Lisa Lobe with her cool cat eye glasses.

  5. I love all the pictures and playlist, Sarah, they really tell a lot about her personality. And, WOW! what a birthday menu. Happy birthday Mena! Two is lots of fun.

  6. Mena,
    I see you got a really good book for your birthday. I think you will enjoy it (and your mom might even enjoy it the most)

    Every picture in this post is my favorite. That girl is so photogenic. That smile! Those eyes! Those cheeks! The one of you and her is particularly wonderful.

    Spotify is being weird for me now, but I look forward to listening to the playlist. Need My Girl has an EXPLICIT bar by it…I hope Ryan doesn’t sing that part… But then again, with Mena, What Does the Fox Say? needs an EXPLICIT bar.

    Finally, this is the second post I’ve read in 2 days of children Xavier’s age knowing their alphabet before Xavier OR Zelie know theirs… Time to stop coasting as parents… :)

    • Aw, thank you! We think she’s a keeper.

      And to clarify, P definitely doesn’t “know her alphabet”…she’s just starting to recognize letters and sounds. If it makes you feel better, tonight during prayer, we said, “Can you say X-AV-I-ER?” And she enthusiastically replied, “eeeee-rrrr!”

  7. Pingback: Philomena: 2 years, 22 months | sarahunfiltered

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