eloise’s third birthday party!

Months ago I asked Eloise what she wanted to do for her birthday, and she told me she wanted to have a party with her friends and have a purple dinosaur cake. {She was very insistent on having a “purple dinosaur cake” and would say that’s what she wanted for her birthday if you asked her. I recently caught a part of a Daniel Tiger episode where there were make-believe dinosaurs, and one was purple, which is probably where she got the dinosaur idea from!}

I didn’t really put two + two together, but when I started mentioning “purple dinosaurs” to people, everyone immediately was like “Barney?” To which I wanted to stay as far away from Barney as possible! So I started looking on Etsy for a shop that could make a cute “purple dinosaur” invitation and I found this little shop that personalized the invite for Eloise!

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I love using Paperless Post because it has a great event tracker for keeping track of RSVPs, but in the past I had always used one of the invitation designs that was offered on the site. I discovered though that they offer an “upload your own” invitation that allows you to upload your own design (or one that you buy like I did) which was perfect!

Generally I take on way too much for parties (um, imagine that!) and then end up scrambling the few days leading up to the party which isn’t very fun (and is super stressful). And I also always end up with WAY too much food (you’d think I would learn after all of these years how much food we actually need). So this time, I made sure I kept things super simple (because, two children = no free time) on both the décor and the food. Food-wise, I didn’t make anything except for the cake and Rice Krispy treats (which are the easiest thing ever to make!) and it was all stuff I picked up and took out of a box or bag, and set out on the table. And décor-wise, I picked up (purple) flowers, a banner, and some balloons, but focused on one craft: party hats. I used my tried-and-true party hat (including mini ones this time since there are so many younger siblings in the mix now) and added purple “dinosaur scales” to them.

I did make Eloise’s purple cake. It was purple frosting with purple dinosaur candles. Sadly, there aren’t any close-ups of the dinosaur candles, but I spray painted plastic dinosaurs purple and candle holders gold (we are early indoctrinating this girl to be a UW fan!), had Aaron drill into the backs of them, and then put them together (like this) with purple candles as a finishing touch. I usually bake a cake for birthday parties, but this time it was a bit different because I did a “test cake” the week before to make sure the recipe was good (or that I could make it well). It was a buttermilk cake (I didn’t do the fruit compote or cream) with whipped frosting, and it was yummy!

And onto the pictures! {Thank you SO much JESS for taking these!}

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For those that have asked, the girls are both wearing one of our favorite brands June & January, Eloise in the play dress and Daphne in the play romper (both in violet).

And here are links to Eloise’s first and second birthdays!

Happy Third Birthday Eloise!

M

This post contains affiliate/referral links.

 

eloise {three years}

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{lion: jellycat via Nordstrom // tee: Old Navy // skirt: June and January // party hats: DIY}

{three years} Three years. I seriously can’t believe it. Eloise seems old and young at the same time (and if you have had recently or currently have a three year old, you know what I mean!). I am amazed by how much she understands and how well she communicates. It’s astounding. She is this incredible little person and I am so, so honored to be able to watch her grow, and also very humbled that I have the great responsibility of raising her. {See her grow up: birth story // one year // two years}

Since we sleep trained Eloise when she was five months old, she has basically been a great sleeper. 12 hours at night and a nice nap (most days). But, as we got into the mid-year of her twos, we started running into issues of Eloise screaming and crying when we tried to leave for bedtime. Aaron got the brunt of it since I was either pregnant or caring for newborn-Daphne, but her wails would echo thru the house! After getting some advice from friends and talking it thru, we started getting more firm with a bedtime routine. I think most of our issues stemmed from Eloise’s expectation that she would get an endless amount of books before she went to sleep and each night was a negotiation; now we have a firm rule of one book at naptime and two books at bedtime, though those books can be lost if she is naughty in the time leading up to sleeping time or during the bedtime routine. And we also found that if we allowed her to have books in her bed to “read” while she is falling asleep, it’s helpful too. Eloise takes a really long time to fall asleep (sometimes over an hour) which is partly because I still allow her to have a pretty long afternoon nap if she’ll take it, but she does do well falling asleep herself.

Eloise has been an amazing big sister these past five months. She has always loved babies and was really in-tune with what was going in with my pregnancy, but you just don’t know how things are going to shake out once that baby comes home (and never leaves)! We have had our moments for sure, but the vast majority of the time, Eloise is awesome about Daphne. She is always so loving and curious about her, and just wants to help all. the. time. My little mama. It has been amazing to see the relationship between these two girls!

Just in the last week or so we started Time Out with Eloise. One of the parenting books that I have flipped thru (The Incredible Years) recommended that real Time Out really isn’t effective until the age of three. Before this, we put toys (or whatever was the issue) into Time Out, or just removed Eloise from the situation that was causing the issue. Eloise is a pretty good kid (considering she is a toddler and exploring her boundaries) and does not like to be in trouble (just like her mama) so we didn’t have a ton of issues. But there are some things that Aaron and I have decided aren’t tolerable in our house (like hitting or throwing) that lead to an official Time Out. Eloise isn’t great with Time Out as she screams and cries the entire time and really just wants someone to stay with her, but I think it’s been effective. I know she doesn’t totally understand it yet as a consequence, but the vast majority of the time just the threat of a Time Out will correct behavior quickly!

Eloise’s pre-school is based on the school calendar year, so she has been on summer break since the end of June and will start again in early September (right after Labor Day). While our school schedule in the PNW is vastly different than the rest of the country it seems, it really fits our weather much better regarding summer. We don’t really get warm until June (or even July) and have a gorgeous September, so it really works out well. This year Eloise will attend the same pre-school (the Birch School) but will go four mornings a week (Monday thru Thursday) instead of just two. It is great because on Tuesday mornings she will go to story time at the library with her class which is something I have struggled to make happen with both girls (trying to get everyone out of the house in the morning to make a 25 minute story time is a little insane). Eloise asks at least twice a week when she gets to go back to school, so as much as we have enjoyed the summer, I think we are all ready to get back into the school routine in the fall. She just loves her teachers and her friends and just thrives in that environment which is so wonderful for us to see. I am currently starting to research possible Pre-K programs for Eloise to start in the fall of 2018 (which is blowing my mind… Pre-K? That means Kindergarten is just around the corner).

In the past few months, Eloise has learned how to button buttons and zip zippers. It isn’t all the time, but she always tries at first (“I can do it all by myself!”) and about half the time she needs help. But I am seriously impressed with her fine motor dexterity!

Also, band-aids. So many band-aids. We love the Oh Joy! ones from Target since there are fun designs and colors (without any character branding) that I can also wear, and I buy at least three boxes at a time. Eloise has a habit of re-skinning her knees as soon as they are healed from the last time, mostly from running down the sidewalk. I am a total klutz so hopefully she doesn’t follow my lead and gets over it sooner rather than later…

Lastly, we did (in May) turn Eloise’s car seat around so that she is forward-facing. It was a really agonizing decision and we went back and forth for a really long time on it, but ultimately turning her around made the most sense.

And the newest rendition of Things Eloise Says:

“Papa is a big giant boy! He can run. He can catch me. He can play tag and drink coffee.”

“Why does Susan (our neighbor) have her Christmas lights on? Maybe she likes them? Or maybe she needs them in her life?” (Shrugs.)

Papa: “Eloise are you string?” Eloise: “Yes. And din-dependent. (Independent.)”

Papa: “Your brain is very interesting.” Eloise: “And independent!”

“I don’t prefer my zucchini.”

Says everything three times (like from her Eloise books): It’s my favorite, favorite, favorite! I loved it, loved it, loved it!

Watching the marching band: “Maybe they are going to the marching band house. Or to school. Or to work, but not Papa’s work.”

“Do you think he has a weeding whacker?”

Eloise: “I love ice cream.” Me: “Oh, what is your favorite flavor?” Eloise: “Chocolate. Purple chocolate.” (This is before she had ever had ice cream!)

“Adios! I’m going to Mexico… It’s not open. Mexico.”

Papa: “Where does (cow) milk come from?” Eloise: “Cows.” Papa: “So if cow milk comes from cows, where does almond milk come from?” Eloise: “Bears?” (Papa asks again.) Eloise: “Teddy bears?”

“Maybe he’s brooming” (about Aaron sweeping the stairs).

Eloise: “Here you go Mama, this is for you” as she hands me a painted picture. Mama: “Oh thank you, it’s beautiful!” Eloise: “I know you love it.”

Mama: “Which jammies do you want to wear for naptime?” Eloise: “My Christmas jammies. I know it’s not Christmas. I love Christmas!”

Eloise: “Can Stella see the world?” (She wanted to take Stella her doll outside.)

“Hey there little cutie!” whenever she sees Daphne.

“Did you get those nom-a-noms from Madeleine’s party?” referring to M&Ms.

“Paga (my dad). You have a guest downstairs waiting for you. I don’t remember his name but he’s a guest!”

Running down the street: “This is a really good workout for me!”

Puts board books into her jean shorts: “Mama, it’s a nice little present.”

“Hot sauce is kind of my favorite but I don’t like the flavor of it.”

Birthday Interview. {I am hoping to do this interview every year to see how the answers change!}

What is your name? Eloise.
How old are you? Three (holds up three fingers).
What is your favorite thing to do? Play with Mama and Papa, and go on walks.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A doggie.
What is your favorite food? Bananas and pee-pop (it’s a food that you drink, it’s like milk or water or something like that).
Who do you like to spend your time with? Mama and Papa and Daphne and Sadie.
What do you do really well? Um, play with food.
What makes you laugh? Jokes.
What is the best time of day? Opening presents.
What are you afraid of? (Shakes her head). I like cats.
Who is your best friend? Mama.
What do you like to do with your family? Paint.
What do you love to learn about? Blocks.
Where do you like to go? To school.
What is your favorite book? Curious George.
If you had one wish, what would it be? I would make a witch?

{weight} 31 pounds, 8 ounces (50 to 75%); height: 36.5 inches (25 to 50%)*

{hair} (reddish) brown.

{teeth} 20 teeth plus four molars.

{eyes} dark brown.

{clothes}  2T (swimsuits from last year), some 3T, mostly 4T.

{diapers} underpants during the day and for naps, Honest Co. diapers at nighttime. {And the only reason she is even in diapers still during nighttime is because neither Aaron nor I have wanted to make the commitment; we are just now sleeping consistently thru the night and want to enjoy that for a moment. Eloise is the type of kid who will pee in a diaper if she is wearing one, so it isn’t like we are waiting for her to wake-up dry in the morning. Plus, her pediatrician just told me that (in his opinion) “nighttime training” isn’t really a thing and children will naturally stop producing urine at night sometime between 3 and 8 years. Long story short, it’s up in the air!}

{feeding} during the day, three meals, morning snack, & afternoon snack. cup of milk with every meal.

{likes} coloring, yelling, Duplos, digging in the dirt, splashing, counting, chewing on her toothbrush, the mailman (Teddy), any person outside on the sidewalk, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, coloring, buckles, jumping, watching out the front window (dogs, kids, trucks), books, mama & papa’s cell phone, toys that squeak or rattle, singing & music, dancing, Sadie, FaceTime, bathtime, shoes, mama’s (diaper) bag, clapping, putting things inside a bag or box, taking lids off of things, talking, helping with anything & everything, when Papa comes home from work.

{dislikes} not being included, having something taken away from her, not eating when someone else is, being hungry, TimeOut.

{nicknames} Bug, Love Bug, Baby Bug, E, Wheezy, Kiddo, Love, Bugaboo, E-Lo or Elle.

*I always said Eloise was a big two year old, especially in comparison to some of her friends, but according to her weight and height stats, she really isn’t!

Happy THREE years Eloise!

M

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eloise’s second birthday party.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Eloise’s second birthday party had a watermelon theme. It seemed like such a perfect (& easy) theme for an August birthday party, & Pinterest had many, many ideas. I limited myself to just a few & then let myself relax about the fact that any party theme or décor was entirely for me (& not for Eloise)!

I found these adorable watermelon cards on Paperless Post which were perfect & made me feel better about not designing one & mailing it out (although you know how much I LOVE snail mail!). Plus, Paperless Post is awesome because it tracks all the RSVPs for the event & you can send out reminders & message with guests – it’s awesome & a lot of the cards are free!

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This balloon garland was about the extent of the décor (minus one big helium watermelon balloon) which was based loosely on this picture from Pinterest. At the last minute I decided not to add the seeds on the pink balloons because I knew that the perfectionist in me would never be satisfied! But I really ended up liking the simple-ness of the garland in the end.

At sort of the last minute I decided to make Eloise a cake. I was originally going to just do a full watermelon & fruit cake with maybe a little yogurt frosting (like this) but it seemed a little too wedding for a toddler’s birthday party. So I made her a few sugar-free, butter-free, oil-free cupcakes using this recipe, but used frozen strawberries instead of blueberries for the frosting. And since I didn’t have any small cake pans, I just made one batch of 7 cupcakes & stacked two of them for E’s cake. Eloise seemed to enjoy her cake (which tasted like a muffin) & the frosting much more this year than last year.

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I made these impossibly cute watermelon rice krispy treats which were super easy & super yummy. I knew as soon as I made them that I should have made at least two more batches & I was right – everyone loved them!

And here are pictures of Eloise with her cake, blowing out the candles, & enjoying her birthday treat!

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Happy Second Birthday Eloise! And a HUGE thank you to Jess who grabbed the camera to take all of these pictures! M

eloise {month twenty-four // two years}

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{lion: jellycat via Nordstrom // dress:  Tucker and Tate via Nordstrom // hat: DIY from last year’s birthday // Grovia Magic Stick*}

*this is the only thing other than my phone that would make her sit still for the picture…

{month twenty-four} How has it been a year since this update?! Eloise turns TWO today & it’s blowing my mind. In some respects it feels like she has been two for the past few months since her growth & development has really taken off, but in others, it seems like she is just my tiny, little baby. This Babble article is a really good summary of what this second birthday is like (minus having the second child) which is so, so different than that first birthday! (I cried so much reading this, so be prepared!)

Eloise continues to talk up a storm these days & is really into the alphabet & counting (in all languages!). When she is playing or is in the car, you will hear her chatting with herself or her toys. It’s the cutest! And so much of what she hears from me (her memory is insane) I hear her talk about. Like when we are going up or down the stairs, I hear her frequently say “careful” which is exactly what I say to her! Now I am super conscious about what I tell her & the tone I use since it is obviously impactful! And just in the past few weeks, Eloise has really started using sentences which makes her seems SO old! I knew it was right around the corner, but I swear we just woke up one morning & she was saying three to five word sentences (that actually make sense!).

Eloise is very polite, saying “please” and “thank you” without prompting (most of the time), and she also says “bless you” if she hears someone sneeze. Seriously this kid. She has always been pretty empathetic towards others & is especially that way if me, or Aaron, or one of her friends is sad or hurt. She is the first one in line to give you a hug or kiss to brighten your day! She has the sweetest little soul.

Meal times are still going well as Eloise has maintained an appetite for such a broad range of foods (please don’t let this jinx that…) and we continue to introduce all different types & flavors of food. The exception is sugar. We really haven’t introduced any type of refined sugar because not only does Eloise LOVE fruit so she gets natural sugars, but there is absolutely no nutritional value in refined sugar! So, we’ve decided to hold off a bit longer on introducing any added sugars, desserts, or ice cream for at least another few months. We never want Eloise to feel like she can’t eat dessert or birthday cake with friends, but since she has no idea what it is yet, we are taking advantage!

As I mentioned above (sort of) Eloise loves to go up and down the stairs. And while she doesn’t go up and down them all day (I love that you can’t see them from our living room or kitchen!) she does appreciate a good stair climb. Over the past month or two, Eloise has opted to climb up and down facing forward, rather than crawling which is the way she learned. Much to my dismay, she loves to climb the stairs like a big kid. The handrailing is still a bit too high for her, but she is good about holding someone’s hand while she climbs up or down. It still makes my heart race to see her do it, but she is a pretty good little stair climber!

This past week I finally introduced TV to Eloise. She had a vague idea of it since we will turn the TV on during football season & she will see it while we are at a restaurant or occasionally while we are visiting someone else, but her TV screen time was basically nil. We were pretty firm about waiting until she was two to do any type of screen time & I think we were really successful in that & I am glad that we waited. Now Eloise gets one 20 minute episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood in the afternoon which is normally watched while I start dinner. The first two times we watched the show & I tried to turn it off, she completely lost it & had a meltdown. But before I started the show on the third day, I reminded her that we got to watch one show & then we would be all done, and after the end credits came on, we said “good-bye Daniel Tiger” & I turned off the TV & there were no tears! Now Eloise will tell me throughout the day that she gets one show.

Along with the TV thing, we have found that generally if we talk Eloise thru what her expectations should be for something, things go much more smoothly & we can prevent meltdowns. Like with bedtime, we have the same routine which is done in basically the same order every night. Once we finish one thing, we ask Eloise what comes next & she will answer & start to do it. This prevents frustration for her (& for us) & gives her some control of what’s going on; and at bedtime especially it prevents her from doing anything & everything to delay actually going to bed!

Eloise is such a joyful child & it has been such a privilege to watch her grow-up these past two years. And while we are beginning into the “terrible twos” (which is actually a phrase that I loathe & really try not to use!) I know that these coming months & years will be the best! I spend more time with Eloise than anyone else & she is the best companion.

{weight} 30-ish pounds.

{hair} dark (reddish) brown.

{teeth} 12 teeth plus four molars.

{eyes} dark brown.

{clothes}  18 to 24 months, 2T, and some 3T.

{diapers} full-time cloth {bum genius pocket, & elemental and grovia hybrid with organic soaker pads} & honest company size 5 diapers at night with a bum genius diaper cover. **for about the past two weeks, however, we have been doing all honest disposables since I am SO tired of cleaning poopy diapers. I absolutely love cloth & will do it with any future child(ren) but until we start potty training at the end of the month, we are in disposables!**

{feeding} during the day, three meals, morning snack, & afternoon snack. sippy cup of milk with every meal. eloise is really starting to master using a small cup for water too, so we try to offer one with at least dinner & sometimes snack time.

{likes} coloring, yelling, Duplos, digging in the dirt, splashing, counting, chewing on her toothbrush, the mailman, any person outside on the sidewalk, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, coloring, buckles, jumping, watching out the front window (dogs, kids, trucks), books, mama & papa’s cell phone, toys that squeak or rattle, singing & music, dancing, Sadie, standing, FaceTime, bathtime, shoes, mama’s (diaper) bag, clapping, putting things inside a bag or box, taking lids off of things, talking, helping with anything & everything, when Papa comes home from work.

{dislikes} not being included, having something taken away from her, diaper changes, not eating when someone else is, being hungry, getting into the carseat, getting out of the carseat, having a poop in her diaper (& sitting).

{nicknames} Bug{s}, Love Bug, Baby Bug, E, Wheezy, Kiddo, Love, Bugaboo, Ellie or Elle.

Happy Twenty-Four Months Eloise! These have been the very best two years ever!

M

This post contains affiliate links.

eloise {first birthday party DIYs}

now that I have shared eloise’s first birthday party pictures, I thought I would share all of the party-planning details & the DIYs (since a lot of you have asked!).

first birthday parties have become huge events, thanks mostly in part to pinterest. (yep, I am totally blaming pinterest for this one!) I have a girlfriend who likened a child’s first birthday party to a wedding… sometimes it seems that way, right? I LOVE to decorate for parties, but had to set realistic expectations for what eloise’s party would be like because it would have been so easy to get super carried away. plus, eloise is only going to remember this party from photos. first birthday parties are for parents moms (& same with nurseries!) so I was determined not to go overboard.

of course I had a pinterest board (it was secret though!) & I honestly started pinning ideas of things around the time she was 6 months old. once we got closer to the actual event, I decided on a theme: polka dots. I knew it would be easy & simple, & it was something that eloise loved too! for me the theme was one of the trickier parts because I am not a fan of party décor that is super matchy-matchy. I think blogs & pinterest has created this idea that every single thing at a party (food, decorations, invitations, etc.) have to be perfectly on theme. but I prefer a more subtle theme, so dots were perfect.

color was the very first thing that I thought of & I pinned a few different colorways before I found the perfect one (see below). I wanted something that was fun, a little girly, & sophisticated, & this was right on! the colors I ended up with were all of my favorite colors: navy blue, mint green, grey, hot pink, teal, & gold. {& if I would have had time to make those paper party blowers, I would have! next time.}

{image via}

I started with the invitation since that would be the first thing everyone would see &, let’s be honest, I adore paper goods. just like Christmas cards, I designed the invitation (using photoshop & illustrator), had them printed at my favorite local printers (Girlie Press if you live in Seattle!), & snail-mailed them to our guests. while sites like Paperless Post & Evite are really great (especially for managing RSVPs), there is something really special about a mailed card that you can hold in your hand & hang on your fridge. plus, after perusing the Paperless Post site for a few minutes, I quickly decided I would be so much happier if I just made my own invites since nothing seemed quite perfect. the other great thing about having designed the invites is that I could later make party signs that followed the same theme.

{sorry this is so pixelated!}

& since I was doing paper invites, I also decided I wanted to line the envelopes. this is a little something extra that I think is really fun & I never get to do with our Christmas cards since it would be so time consuming! after shopping around at a few craft stores, I opted to design a stripey pink envelope liner (& then the hot pinks matched perfectly!). in order to save time, money, & paper though I made the inserts half size so that they didn’t go down inside the entire envelope. it ended up working perfectly & I could even print two liners per page! since I did the liners later, I had them printed at my local Kinko’s (the online printing service is pretty cool!).

when it came to décor, I knew I wanted to DIY a few things, but I wanted to keep it simple. garlands, balloons, party hats. that was pretty much it!

going with the polka dot theme, these paper dot garlands were perfect. I have seen a lot of different versions in my pinterest feed, but I liked the ones with the same size dots just in different colors. I chose the colors based on the paper supply at Michael’s & ended up with a glittery gold (but the glitter didn’t fall all over!), grey, hot pink, & mint green. I decided on a 3 inch circle (I traced the lens hood on our camera which was the perfect size) & traced & cut out all of the dots. it took some time (a few evenings of White Collar) & I had cramped hands afterwards, but I didn’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a 3 inch paper circle cutter just for these garlands! once I had the dots all cut out, I sort of randomly arranged them in order making sure there weren’t two dots of the same color together, or too much of a pattern. then I just sewed them together using a slightly longer stitch than I normally would for fabric. I left a long thread on both ends of the garland & used a white cotton thread (my go-to) to sew the dots together right down the middle of the dot. I didn’t leave room between the dots (though I could have) & found that putting down two pieces of washi tape on my machine helped to line up the next dot. {see dot garland pictures below with the ONE balloons!}

I also wanted to make a small garland to hang on the chalkboard. I found this great cardstock with gold polka dots at Michael’s & grabbed a few sheets since it was so on-theme! I ended up using some of it to make half of the chalkboard garlands (the other half I used plain cardstock). I like the look of little flags, so I used a simple rectangle & cut out the bottom triangle to make it a flag. I cut little slits with an exacto knife & then thread each flag onto white twine (with a gold glitter thread).

I ended up deciding pretty early that I wanted to make party hats since most of the kids at the party would be around eloise’s age. while a regular-sized party hat would have fit, I like the look of a slightly smaller party hat, especially on little kids. so I found this party hat template on Oh Happy Day! & printed it at 75% (or so). then I traced & cut out seven party hats out of plain cardstock, & one out of the gold polka dot cardstock (for eloise). I originally wanted to glue paper dots onto each hat using the same paper that I had used for the big dot garlands, but once I started one hat, it looked terrible. I could have probably painted dots onto the hats & it would have looked cute, but I opted at that point to leave the party hats plain. to make the hats look a little more festive, I added a small tissue pom pom to the top. there are lots of tutorials on how to make tissue poufs on pinterest & the interwebs. I used 5 sheets of tissue paper that were like 2 or 3 inches (small) & used very thin floral wire to wrap around & keep the pom poms together. I left the wire long on each pom pom so that I had something to tape onto the inside of the hat. I used gold & teal tissue for most of the party hats & hot pink for eloise’s polka dot hat. {sidenote: though these party hats were mostly intended for kids, they really weren’t super kid friendly. we didn’t have any issues with the hats, but the elastic & floral wire made them slightly dangerous. I made sure we had supervision while wearing the party hats.}

the other theme of the party (other than polka dots) was ONE since that was the age eloise was turning… so I thought it would be fun to have big balloons that spelled out ONE after seeing this adorable set-up with letter balloons. I ordered the O and N balloons from the Oh Happy Day! Party Shop in the large size (34 inches – they were huge!) because that was what was in stock. I was able to find the exact same balloon on Amazon for the letter E. there was a bit of a fiasco though once I had the balloons filled & while things didn’t go according to plan, I was able to make it work & was really pretty happy with it in the end. so if you are thinking about using giant letter balloons, learn from my story: on thursday evening before the party (which was saturday afternoon) I decided to run out to our local party store to have the balloons filled while aaron put eloise to bed so that I didn’t have to go out on friday & try to wrangle eloise plus three giant balloons. I was able to get the balloons filled (with helium) & home with no issues. I begged aaron offered to help me hang the balloons & the dot garland once I got home so we could check that off of my to-do list. we quickly figured out that filling the balloons with helium wasn’t ideal since I wanted them to hang near the top of the window, but didn’t want strings hanging down in order to keep them floating in the right place. so we taped them from the top of the window & weighted them down at the bottom with metal nuts (actually a really genius move by my husband!). all was well until 7 am on friday morning when I heard a POP! yep, the E balloon burst right at the seams & I was left with balloons that spelled out “ON.” perfect. Amazon Prime can get stuff to us quickly, but not that quickly, so I headed back to the party store later that afternoon (& luckily my mom was in town by that time so she watched eloise). while I was assured at the party store by multiple employees that the E balloon didn’t burst due to overfilling (I still question that, but I was picking my battles at that point!) they did make sure to tell me that the balloons sold on Amazon have about a 50% failure rate. that would have been nice to know. luckily this party store sold the same gold numbers, & the number 3 backwards looks a lot like a letter E. right before I was getting the 3 filled though, I noticed that it was a slightly different gold color than the original balloons. uh oh. but do you know what? the number 0 & the letter O are identical & I figured it may look somewhat purposeful if the O & the E were a different color than the N so I went with it. I also was talking thru the weighting process with the balloon fillers & they told me all of my problems would be solved if I just had the balloons filled with air. duh! so for the same price as helium (what?) I had the 0 & 3 balloons filled with air. once I got home, we took down the letter O & hung up the 0 & backwards 3. it was perfect (well as perfect as it was ever going to be!) & you couldn’t even tell the color difference! so all of that to say, if you are going to buy letter balloons, don’t buy them off of Amazon & buy a few extra just in case!

we had two cakes at the party – one for adults & party guests, & a small smash cake for eloise. the big cake was a vanilla one from Whole Foods & while I am certain it had the highest quality ingredients, aaron & I decided early on that we didn’t want to introduce eloise to sugar (just yet!). so I made her a little smash cake that was banana & blueberry with whipped coconut milk frosting. I really wanted some kind of cake topper too & made two sets (one for each cake) using this cake topper as inspiration. it was really simple to make. I cut different widths of paper strips (using the same paper as the big dot garlands) & glued them onto a wooden BBQ skewer (which I cut down in length after the flags were on it). once all of the paper strips were glued on, I cut out the little triangles from the ends, making each flag a different length. I added the writing with a gold paint pen, & added the gold-thread twine (which is the same I used to hang the chalkboard garland).

because of the smash cake photo op, I wanted to decorate eloise’s highchair a bit. nothing too elaborate, but I did make two little garlands that hung on the front of her tray. the first one was a tiny version of the dot garland. I used a small circle cutter that I have (it is about an inch and a half) & then sewed the small dots together just like I did with the bigger garland. the other garland used the same little cardstock flags as the chalkboard garland, & I added ONE to the middle three flags.

while perusing pinterest for party ideas, I came across a few pins for a party time capsule. I instantly fell in love with the idea & knew I wanted to do some type of time capsule for eloise to open on her 18th birthday. I found this great gold polka-dotted box at Home Goods & knew it would be perfect. the idea is that I am saving things from eloise’s first birthday party, storing the box, & giving it to eloise to open on her 18th birthday. pretty fun, huh? so far we’ve got all of her first birthday cards, the cake toppers, eloise’s party hat, the garlands from the highchair, the 3 balloon (since it doubles as an E for eloise!). plus, I thought it would be fun for each guest (well adult) to fill out a card for eloise so she could have all of them to read in 17 years (see picture below). I am hoping to add her ONE onesie that she wore on her birthday & for her first year photoshoot (still waiting on pictures from the photographer), a string that is the same length as her at one year, & perhaps some printed photos from her party & photoshoot.

& finally, I always put a Kraft paper tablecloth out on our dining room table (where we serve food) whenever we have a big group of people over. it gives me peace of mind that the table won’t be destroyed by water or food, & it makes clean-up so easy! plus, it usually goes with the party décor since I almost always incorporate Kraft paper somehow. I keep this huge roll of Kraft paper around for occasions such as these (& use it to make table runners, signs, wrap gifts, the possibilities are endless!). for this party, I also added some confetti to the table that I picked up here (apparently it is the BEST confetti ever!).

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{this is the only photo we have of the table – birthday party aftermath!}

I had SO much fun planning eloise’s party! &, if I do say so myself, think I did a pretty good job managing the décor & not going too crazy.

did you plan a first birthday party for your kiddo(s)?

M

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eloise {first birthday party!}

eloise turned ONE & we had such a fun time at her party! we were surrounded by family & friends to celebrate the first year of our daughter, & it meant so much to us that everyone came over. surprisingly, I wasn’t as emotional at all about eloise turning one (even on her actual birthday!) & I really thought I would be a mess. lots & lots of people have been asking for party pictures, so here you go. {warning: there are a lot of photos!}

{we had lawn flamingoes & a dot garland to welcome guests (to our very dry lawn!). I meant to get the big flamingoes, but ended up ordering miniature ones instead (no longer available)!}


{this was a time capsule that I am doing for eloise’s first birthday. I asked each guest to fill out a card to include in the box. more details to come!}


{eloise’s smash cake & other birthday cake.}


{just brushing her teeth & playing with mama’s phone at her party.}


I didn’t take the words of advice to really limit the guest list because we wanted this to be a celebration that included all of the family & friends that are important in eloise’s life. however, I did want to keep things casual & not have a strict schedule of events, so we just did two things: a fortune telling & the cake smash.

in the Korean culture, first birthday parties are a very big deal – traditionally & in the modern day. one of the birthday traditions – the Dol – is that a child is set in front of objects & picks one. the object that is chosen is supposed to be representative of that child’s future. since eloise is half-korean, we thought it would be fun to do at her party. we also incorporated a voting portion & each guest put his or her name in a cup to vote on which object eloise would pick. once she had picked an object, I drew a name from that cup & had a little prize. I tried to stick to the traditional objects & keep the number minimal so she didn’t get overwhelmed. needless to say, she was overwhelmed & got upset at the beginning! (funny thing is that another kiddo who had a Dol at her party also cried when she had to pick!) at first eloise went for the thread/yarn, but after getting some reassurance from her papa, she ended up choosing the book. big surprise! so, eloise is going to be a scholar in her future!


{we had the objects set out so guests could see them & vote for which one eloise would pick! you can also see a shot of the slideshow we had going on the TV – all of eloise’s weekly & monthly pictures.}






{she set out for the thread first, but before she grabbed it she stopped, looked up at everyone, & started to cry. aaron gave her some snuggles & then sent her back on her way. she picked the book & was pretty happy with her choice in the end!}

after the Dol we decided it was time for some cake. I got a simple vanilla cake from Whole Foods for the guests to enjoy, but aaron & I didn’t want to introduce eloise to sugar, especially in that quantity, on this occasion. {sidenote: I realize that I won’t be able to keep eloise away from sugar forever, but I might as well while she has no idea what it is!} so I made a sugar-free banana & blueberry cake (it was similar to a banana bread) with a whipped coconut milk frosting. the recipe made two 9 inch cakes which was way too much & I ended up cutting two small circle cakes out of one of them & stacking them on top of each other (& I froze the other cake). in hindsight, I should have made a whipped cream cheese frosting instead since this was the first time eloise had coconut & she didn’t seem to be a fan. she wasn’t super interested in the cake (which was a huge surprise to us all) & I think it was because of the coconut. I gave her just the plain cake later & she gobbled it up!











{these smash cake pictures are like the many faces of eloise!}


{I am not sure which one of these family photos I like the best. & I love that eloise’s feet are blurry because she was wiggling!}

& a huge THANK YOU to our friend jess & my brother-in-law ben for taking pictures at the party! I made sure to leave our camera out (thanks for getting some snaps jess!) & asking ben to bring his camera to take photos so that I didn’t have to worry about taking the photos during the party. plus, it means that aaron & I are in them which is really special!

happy happy first birthday eloise!

M

eloise {month twelve // one year}

{sorry this post is so late today. I was having crazy computer issues…}

{lion: jellycat via nordstrom // onesie: Lil’ Giggles Etsy Shop // skirt: DIY from this tutorial with fabric from JoAnn // moccasins: Freshly Picked}

{month twelve // one year} happy one year eloise!

eloise is still in PT for her torticollis (see the original PT post here) but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. we saw a new PT two months ago after we were referred back to PT by eloise’s pediatrician, but really didn’t jive with that particular PT (our original one had retired right after we were originally discharged). so, we found another PT & she has been great; eloise has been to see her twice & things are progressing well. we are in the final 10% & eloise’s tilt is hardly noticeable (& only if you are really looking for it). we just all really want to make sure that she is treated fully & there are no repercussions later on (vision & full muscle range are the biggest concerns). after a lot of back & forth, & the meeting of minds, we have decided to go forward with a cervical collar. it is a small wedge (basically) that will be fitted for eloise & will be placed at her neck on her left side; the point is to make it uncomfortable for eloise to tilt her head to the left & she will self-correct to the right. hopefully it will be short-lived & will be effective! (there is a chance it won’t do anything…) stay tuned for updates!

recently when I pick up eloise, she has started giving me little pats on the back. almost like she is saying “good job mama!” it is the sweetest thing! she also gives me lots of hugs throughout the day!

I just picked up this munchkin snack catcher at target because I have seen a few other mama friends with it. I wasn’t sure at first because I don’t do a lot of snacks with eloise (though she often gets hungry after her second nap since she eats lunch so early!) but I was sold immediately. eloise is still getting the hang of reaching in the cup, grabbing a few pieces, & pulling her hand out without spilling all of the snacks everywhere, but she is learning quickly. the biggest issue is that she likes to crawl & walk around with it (holding onto the handle) & the cup is upside-down… even so, best $5 I have spent in a long time! plus, sadie loves it too!

eloise is still a great eater & tries everything that we offer, even if she ends up spitting it out. it is so great to see your kid eating what you cook! she has started this new thing in the past month or so though where she waits until there is a little bit of everything on her tray before she eats anything. like she wants to know all of her options before she commits to her first bite. it is pretty funny. plus, if she sees any type of food on her plate that isn’t on her tray (since I don’t give her the entire plate), she will let you know that she wants to try that one thing she doesn’t have (usually by raising her voice & waving her hand in the air). her current favorite foods: cheese, avocados, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, mango, broccoli, tortilla. though the only food she refuses to eat is tomato. she will always try it, but then spits it out as soon as it hits her tongue. she will try it multiple times before she throws it from her tray.

books are still a big favorite around here. eloise LOVES books! we have books all over the house & she adores “reading” to herself. she will sit down with a book & turn the pages, sometimes babbling to herself or pointing or touching some of the pictures, before she gets to the end of the book. at the end, she sometimes gets sad (& will let you know!) & will turn the book over to the front & start again. she also has a particular book that plays music (it is one of two toys we have that requires batteries!) & she likes to open it & leave it open to play while she does other things. I have watched her & she often sings or hums (in her own way) when she hears the music. adorable! she also likes to dance when she hears music (she stands up & bounces up & down).

eloise adores her pacifier but has only ever gotten it when it is sleeping time (with the exception of travel – car or airplane). however, eloise, if she had her way, would suck on a pacifier all day long. if she has access to my diaper bag, she knows exactly what pocket her pacifier is in & will find it every time. if we are playing in her room after naptime, she will go over to her crib & try to get her pacifier. she will reach thru the crib rails & grab one within arm reach, or pull on her blanket or lovie thru the railings if the pacifier is on one of those things. if she sees a pacifier & can’t get to it, she usually raises her voice! she is pretty easy to distract though at this point & I can give her a book or a toy & she will forget. I can also take a pacifier away from her if it isn’t time to sleep & she doesn’t fuss or get upset.

while eloise has sported a mohawk for a lot of her little life, her hair is getting long enough that it doesn’t stand on its own (unless it is wet). I have noticed that her hair is starting to part on the right side. it is interesting because aaron & I both have left side parts! she looks so old (& sort of like a boy) when her hair is parted, but if I don’t push it a bit to the side, her bangs are in her eyes.

we celebrated eloise’s first birthday this weekend with a party at the house this past saturday (as seen here). we had the best time & were so thankful for all of our family & friends who came out to join in the celebration! I promise I will do a full recap in the coming weeks (I hope by next week!) once I get all of the photos & edit them. I had SO much fun planning & made all of the decorations. I am excited to share the fun!

{weight} 23 lbs (I will update if this is vastly different than her weight at her one year check-up tomorrow!)

{hair} dark reddish brown.

{teeth} four bottom teeth & four top teeth. (& two more on the top are about to cut!)

{eyes} dark brown. (but look dark grey sometimes!)

{clothes}  6 to 12 month, 9 month (in pants) 12 month, & some 12 to 18 month (18 is super long!).

{diapers} full-time cloth {bum genius freetime, pocket, & elemental} & honest company size 4 diapers at night with a bum genius diaper cover.

{feeding} during the day, 4 hour cycles. eloise started drinking only 2 to 4 oz at bedtime, so we split that milk feeding in half; she gets 2 oz in a cup at dinnertime & the other half at bedtime in a bottle.

{likes} books, anything she isn’t supposed to have, toys that squeak or rattle, singing & music, Sadie, standing, FaceTime, bathtime, pulling up to standing (on everything).

{dislikes} getting her face wiped off (after eating), seeing something she cannot have/chew on.

{nicknames} Bug{s}, Love Bug, Baby Bug, E, Wheezy, Kiddo, Love, Bugaboo, Ellie or Elle.

happy, happy, happy birthday to our little eloise! you are the most amazing adventure we have ever been on. there is nothing we would rather be doing than being your parents & we are so proud of the (tiny) human you have become over this past year. we are thankful for the sheer joy that you have brought into our lives & for making us happy every single day. your giggles are infectious & you have such a great sense of humor. you are light-hearted, kind, determined, & curious about the world around you. thank you for making us your mama & papa!

happy twelve months {one year} eloise!

M

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