Thursday, February 28, 2013

a sesame street inspired 1st birthday party

Once fall time hit, I realized I should probably start thinking of ideas for themes for Audrey's first birthday party. Of course I still had a handful of months left until she turned 1, but thanks to Pinterest, I felt the pressure to plan a cute party that I would be proud of. Pinterest is both a blessing AND a curse in my book. It has SO MANY awesome ideas, that you can use..but then, you also want to make everything in your life as cute as it is on Pinterest!

Initially, I was going to go with a Ladybug theme. Ryan was pushing for something involving Valentine's Day (and he calls ME cliche), but I was against that. I also thought that I should probably make it girly, but I just wasn't impressed with any of the princess or Minnie Mouse type themes. One day while perusing Pinterest, I came across some ideas with Sesame Street that were adorable! I also really like the bright color scheme, and just went with it! Audrey does like Sesame Street and really seems to enjoy Elmo, so the theme was born!

After the holidays, I began my quest to start party prepping. I had explored some Etsy shops for decorations and as cute as they were, I was not about to spend $30+ on one birthday banner I would be using once..not happening. So, I decided to make my own. I also wanted Audrey to have a tutu to go along with her outfit (which I had a friend make) and after checking out prices of those, decided again, I'd make my own. With this party, I certainly tested my creativity limits! And I must say, I am pretty proud of how everything turned out!

I started crafting back in January because I knew it would take awhile to get everything done (with a very active baby running around its near impossible during the day!!) and I did not want to be rushed. I decided to make a birthday banner, a high chair banner and a monthly banner. I went to Joann Fabrics and purchased all of my supplies. A lot of things were on sale, so I was able to get all the supplies I needed for all of these for less than $30. This also included my supplies for the tutu. As for the invitation, I made that as well through Photoshop. It took a little time to get it just right as I'm quite rusty in PS. I use it to edit photos, but hadn't done any design work in it for quite some time. I based the design off of some ideas I found, and I think it turned out pretty cute. My only complaint was the priting quality. I probably shouldn't have taken it to a 1-hour place, but oh well. Next time, I'll go more "professional" quality. But, I paid $5 for 55 invites + envelopes. Can't beat that!

When it came to menu planning, I had all kinds of ideas in my head, but ultimately, decided to go the simple route -- pizza & salad. I figured that hey, Elmo's favorite food is pizza, so its sticking to the theme..right?! Of course I had all these grand plans to incorporate the characters names into all the food (Murray's meatballs, Bert's banana wands, etc etc) but lets face it, I simply did not have enough time. I am a stay at home mom, yes, but I also work part time five nights a week. Time is money! Plus, people like pizza and salad. I know I do! And, the birthday girl loves, problem solved ;)

I also was going to make the cupcakes myself and order a smash cake. Of course, I found adorable character faced cupcakes that I so badly wanted to try my hand at. But then I ran into the problem with time. You obviously can't make cupcakes more than a day or two in advance and there was no way I was going to be able to bake & decorate cupcakes the day before the party because of course, I had to work that night. So, I ended up ordering them and was pleased with how they turned out. I went with Sam's Club. 30 cupcakes for $14 plus they threw in a free smash cake! Sold.

I also came across a DIY cupcake tower on Pinterest and wanted to make one. I have those little metal cupcake stands, but they just weren't as cute to me, and so I decided to make my own, which was actually quite easy. All it took was some ribbon, poster board, soup cans and some hot glue. Easy enough!

The rest of the decorations were simple. I bought some crepe paper & balloons in primary colors and added some strands here and there. I also bought the plates, napkins and utensils in primary/rainbow colors too. Loved all of the colors!! I was very happy with how everything came together.

The party was a hit. We had a great turn out and were so happy to see so many people come to celebrate our little girl's milestone day. I got a lot of compliments on my decorations and the party in general, so that made ME feel good. My Aunt even mentioned I should do party planning (HA!) but that made me smile.

And this little sugar faced sweetie had a blast, loved all the attention she got and really, thats all that mattered to me in the end :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

ONE year old!!

Our Dearest Audrey Elizabeth,

You are officially 1 year old now, baby girl! Mommy does not want to get all cliche on you, but she and daddy truly cannot believe how fast this past year has gone by. You have filled our hearts with pure joy and made them burst with love for you. Every day, you learn something new and these past 365 days have been nothing short of amazing and a true blessing, being able to watch you grow and shape into the person you will become.

Your little mind is a sponge and you love to soak up everything. You've been picking up on a lot of things lately, and it makes us laugh. It also reminds us that we need to watch what we say around you! One of the cutest things you've done lately is pretend to talk on the phone. Typically, you'll grab one of our cellphones, but anything usually works for you! You'll hold it up to your ear, cock your head and smile, while babbling! You've also learned to shake your head yes and no..we think its funny now, of course, but one day I imagine we won't find it so "cute" ;) You love to walk around WHILE shaking your head no. You are too much sometimes!!

Now that you are walking, you are all over the place! You do not like to sit still for very long as you are quite the little busy body! Mommy has found one way to keep you still for awhile -- she'll pull you up to sit on the couch and you LOVE it, of course. You get the biggest smile on your face, and you are certainly proud to be sitting up there like a big girl. You are also quite the climber, always trying to climb on things you aren't supposed to, and get into things you know you shouldn't be in.

You are so very curious and yes, very nosey! You like to know whats going on at all times. If Mommy walks away for a second and you hear the bathroom door open, you coming running down the hall to see what she's doing! If we are out shopping or out to eat, you will sit and stare at everyone. Many times, you will wave to strangers and smile, maybe even yell a little to get their attention!

You have a large corner of our living room filled with all sorts of fun, new toys but of course, you prefer anything else, usually something you are not supposed to have! You really love any kind of toy with a little ball that you can carry around. You really seem to enjoy your dolls too, and like to carry them around. You also like any toys that make noise, or things you can take in and pull out, such as a shape sorter. You are such a smart cookie, you always figure out how things work!

You are such a loving and sweet little girl. You can be running around the room playing, and the next minute you are running into our arms for a quick cuddle. Those are Mommy's favorite times, because she knows they are not forever. You will not always be this little, so we are soaking up every moment with you, sweet angel. You also give kisses, which is nothing short of precious. Some days, you are a little stingier with your kisses, which makes us laugh. Other days, you are giving them out like candy! Those are the best days :)

At your 12-month check up you weighed 23 lbs 1 oz and were 29.5". Right on track and growing beautifully, baby! You are still in 12m clothing, but can wear some 18m (with plenty of room to grow). You can still wear a size 3 diaper, but we have transitioned to you size 4's. You got your very first pair of "real" shoes when you became an official walker, and at 1 year your shoe size is 4 wide (that wide part? you inherited that from your old man, so you can thank him!)

Your sleeping patterns have been the same for several months now, which is amazing. You still sleep anywhere from 10-12 hours at night and since January, you've been taking 2 hour naps -- IN YOUR CRIB!! You probably would have done this even sooner had Mommy tried..but she didn't, so thats her fault not yours ;) At night, you even "ask" to go to bed. We can tell you are ready when you start coming to us and laying or leaning against us. We take that as your cue that you are tired. We lay you down in your crib, and off you go! You make our lives so easy, sweet pea! Just a few days ago you decided you don't want any milk before bed either, and you'll go to sleep without having to be rocked. Its sad for Mommy, because she knows you are not a baby anymore, and every day bring you closer to being a little girl :(

You are a funny eater. Some days, you have a great appetite and others, you eat like a bird. You LOVE fruit, and have not tried a fruit yet that you do not like! Your favorites are definitely mandarin oranges, pears and most recently, grapes! You also love yogurt and sometimes, can't get enough. You are learning how to eat with a spoon and you are doing pretty well with it! Most of the food ends up in your mouth ;) Some days you decide to be picky with your food. You have to taste everything first. If you decide you don't like it, you spit it right back out, silly girl. You also really enjoy snacks like graham crackers, cheese puffs and cheerios. You know what "eat" means and when we ask you if you want to eat, you walk over with your arms stretched up so we can bring you downstairs. Other times if your empty cup is nearby, you'll hand it to us when you are hungry. Its so cute!

This past year has been nothing but wonderful. You fill our lives with so much of everything that is good! We have loved every single minute we've been blessed with you, and look forward to continue watching you grow and learn and become the person you are mean't to be. Mommy and Daddy love you SO MUCH more than you'll ever know, our sweet little princess.

Happy 1st Birthday, Audrey Elizabeth!!

Love Always,


Sunday, February 24, 2013

a recap of months 8-11

I feel like such a bad mom :( I haven't updated this since month 7! And its unfortunate because SO MANY things have happened with our girl!

I don't even know where to start. Since my last update, she has done SO MUCH!! She had her first Halloween, where she got to go to a Halloween party (as a ladybug!) with all of her little friends :) She went to a pumpkin patch THREE times (cause mom is a little obsessed with Fall and taking pumpkin patch photos!) And on Halloween night, Mommy had to work so Daddy took her around to a couple of houses in the neighborhood where she got some candy (and unknowingly shared it all with us :P Around the beginning of October she was already pulling herself up and standing. Shortly after this, she started cruising furniture (oh boy!)

In November, she took her very first plane ride when we flew to Orlando, Florida for a mini family vacation/convention. She did awesome! On the way there, we had to hold her on the flight down which was a little rough since she is a very active little girl. She did great though for the most part, only getting cranky the last half hour or so because she was tired. She had a blast in Florida! She was loving our big hotel room, and loved having free reign to explore the room. We did not go to any Disney parks this trip, but we did go to Seaworld which she really seemed to enjoy (although she fell asleep during the best show -- Shamu!) She also did amazingly well with our busy schedule while we were there. She's very much a "creature of habit" baby when it comes to her night time schedule, but she did so good for how far we pushed her with keeping her up later every night. We were very proud of our little monkey!

In December was her first Christmas! She was so spoiled from everyone, and our house contents seemed to double in size over night with just toys! She had a lovely holiday though, and made Christmas even better for US! Holidays truly are that much more special when you have a child :) Right before the holidays, she also suffered her first "real" sickness. While at the doctor for her flu shot, we discovered she had an ear infection and was put on antibiotics for 10 days. Luckily it cleared up quickly and we were good as new by Christmas. Other than that, she's only had a couple of colds her firt year. We've been blessed with one healthy little lady!

January was an exciting month for little Miss A -- her biggest milestone? Walking! Yep. She started walking shortly before she turned 11 months old. We knew she would walk before her 1st birthday as she's always been a determined little girl, so it was no surprise to us that after just a few short days of taking small steps, suddenly she was walking straight across the room and then all over the place! Mommy took her to the mall to celebrate by purchasing her very first pair of "real" shoes :) Daddy wasn't too thrilled at the price tag, but hey -- she deserved them! She was very unsure about walking in them at first, but picked it up very quickly.

Also in January, she took her second plane right. This time, we flew out west to Colorado to visit Audrey's great grandparents and her great GREAT grandma. What a neat thing! Not too many people can say they've met their great great grandparents. Audrey's grandma also flew in from Arizona for a few days, so she got to spend a lot of time with family. She really seemed to enjoy being around everyone, and really loved being able to walk all over the house and play with the dogs. She did pretty well on both flights considering they were longer. She only got antsy towards the end when she wanted to get down and play. She was such a ham though, and was having fun standing on our laps and staring and waving at all the people behind us..what a goof!