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.

 

Baby Shower En Blanc for the Andersons

About a month ago, we were honored to throw the Andersons a baby shower for their little one Austin {who joined the world on just a few weeks ago}! I offered to throw Jess a shower last fall, not totally realizing how much more work it would be to host a party with a brand-new baby, but I did all of the planning before Daphne was born and it worked out pretty well!

Jess had requested an “En Blanc” party, so the theme was super easy: white. I pinned lots of different things, but wanted to keep things simple, both décor and food. Most of the décor I got from Etsy, but everything is linked below for those who have asked. There were tons of babies and it was so wonderful to see so many friends.

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{Popcorn favors}

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{Guess how many candies in the jar & the winner gets the entire thing!}

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{Wishes for Baby Austin}

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{The dessert bar!}

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{Thanks to Cale, the father-to-be, for helping get this donut cake together!}

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{Eloise, Daphne, and Jaz before the party!}

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{These two girls had the BEST time!}

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{All of the MAMAS! Such an amazing group of women.}

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{All of the “new” Papas!}

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{Oh brother, those papas…}

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{The Andersons!}

{photos by Jess // Ready to Pop favor stickers: Kaspi Party Etsy Shop // small white picture frames: Michael’s // white clipboard frame: Target // art: Soeurette, my mama // lidded glass vase: Michael’s // small flower bouquets: Michael’s // Oh Boy banner: Ur Invited Too Etsy Shop // LOVE sign: Target (old) // Wishes for Baby cards: DIY // white balloons: Display and Costume // tissue tassels: DIY // menu card: DIY // Oh Boy cake topper: Foiled Prints // mini cupcakes: Trophy (vanilla-vanilla)}

Congratulations Jess, Cale, and big sister Jazmyne!

M

project baby #2 {baby shower}

I was so, so honored to have a shower thrown in my honor by my amazing friend Amanda  this past weekend. As with most things related to a second (or third) baby, I didn’t want anything too crazy, including a big baby shower. We really don’t need much this time around in terms of baby stuff (although I say that and my to-buy list is surprisingly long!) and I just wanted a party where I could catch up and chat with my closest girlfriends. It was perfect.

I don’t have a ton of photos since I am so terrible about picking up my camera during a party, but Amanda took some of most of me and my guests so I wanted to share.

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{A cold January morning was perfect for a fire.}

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{Brunch an a hot chocolate bar! Plus, aren’t the trees absolutely amazing outside the dining room windows?}

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{Little tags for guests to write wishes for Baby Lower. This is so special and I can’t wait to compile them.}

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And onto some pictures with guests (and I am so sorry if you left before we could get a photo!). It means so much to me that each of these women came out to celebrate Baby Lower.

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{Me and Sara.}

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{Me and some of my PEPS mama friends – Leslie, Shannon, and Heather.}

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{Me and Kyrsten. Not pictured is her adorably squishy newborn daughter!}

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{Me, Jess, and our bumps. Jess is about 10 weeks behind me and we are so excited to be having these babies so close together!}

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{Me and my mama. The best Grammie ever!}

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{Me and Amanda, the best hostess.}

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{Chatting, or something.}

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{We were all a little obsessed with the littlest shower guest!}

 

Thank you Amanda for such a perfectly wonderful morning. I know Baby Lower is going to be so loved and supported by some of the best women around!

Amanda also threw me a shower the first time around which you can see here!

And for those that have inquired, my jumper is Hatch Collection (though no longer available but there are others here) and is so, so comfy; I am obsessed! And my pin is Chanel (see more here) that I picked up when Aaron and I were in Paris almost six (SIX!) years ago.

Happy Shower Baby Foot!

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.

merry christmas {2015}!

Popping in to say Merry Christmas!

Holiday Card 2015 - Lower Family

{our holiday card via The Happy Film Company}

This year I really wanted professional family photos – of all of us, including Sadie! Luckily, we were able to work with The Happy Film Company & they were running this great holiday special that included a short photo shoot (short being the imperative word!) & holiday cards! So, I decided to give myself a break this year from designing & printing cards, & I am really happy with the results!

We decided to stay home this year & celebrate our first ever Christmas at home in our own house! It is fun to actually be in our decorated home this time of year since normally I put up all of the decorations & the tree just in time to head out of town… We do miss our families dearly, but at the same time it is fun to make our own Christmas memories & traditions.

Merry Christmas from the Lowers!

M

{see our past Christmas cards here: 2011, 2012, 2013, & 2014)

our trip to texas {san antonio & austin}.

I apologize for the slight absence this past week from the blog. we unplugged & enjoyed the past week on a family vacation to TEXAS y’all!

it was great to have some family time to explore new cities & to hang out with friends. the entire purpose of the trip was to attend Jess & Cale’s wedding (Aaron was a groomsman), but we went down early to visit my very good friend Meg & her family (we have known each other since we were 12 & have been friends ever since! i also know her husband from high school, so it was a little reunion of sorts!).

{san antonio}

{eloise loved looking at the planes from the gate while we waited. she even waved at the ground crew guys, but I am pretty sure they didn’t see her!}

{eloise was catching up on some reading during the first part of the flight.}

{after lunch, eloise napped. hooray!}

{we had an amazing lunch at Bird Bakery & I wish I could go there every day. they have amazing sandwiches & cupcakes!}

{eloise & violet (Meg’s daughter). it is hard to believe there is only 8 months between them (Vi is 6 months)! they are BFFs already.}

{we headed down to downtown san antonio to the Riverwalk we had heard so much about. Meg suggested we take a river cruise & it was awesome! we learned so much about the history of the Riverwalk & the city, & it was so gorgeous!}

{#imonaboat}

{there was beautiful architecture all along the Riverwalk.}

{a group shot! eloise’s morning nap was a no-go hence the pacifier in the middle of the day!}

{& then we ventured down to the Alamo. I had no idea it was in the middle of downtown.}

{there was a gorgeous old & huge tree right near the Alamo.}

{the obligatory family shot in front of the Alamo.}

{the girls weren’t too keen about the fur trapper hats, but they sure were cute!}

{we hit up Bakery Lorraine for lunch & I had to try the French macarons. they had an Earl Grey flavor, so it was pretty much my favorite thing ever!}

{Meg & I took the girls to the DoSeum which is the brand-new children’s museum in town. it was such a great place & even though the girls are little, there were things for them to do. there was a little town & eloise had fun exploring all around. she loved putting the mail in the mailbox!}

{we played a few games of Settlers of Catan. it was fun to play after a few years & it makes me want to play at home!}

{I had my dresses for the wedding (I had three sent – one back-up size & one back-up style which you will see below) sent to san antonio so I didn’t have to do an eight-day rental. I was a little nervous since I would have had just one day to find a dress if none of the dresses fit, but Rent the Runway did not disappoint!}

{austin}

{this little one was so good at the wedding rehearsal & so ready for lunch!}

{picking up aaron’s wedding suit. it was a formal wedding, but no tuxes. the guys looked great!}

{we watched the first half of the huskies vs. ducks game, but it was too late to stay up for the entire thing! it was a sad loss, but I am proud of UW for not letting it be a blow-out!}

{shenanigans with eloise. those are her shorts on her head!}

{this was the outside of the chapel at the venue. “A” is for Anderson!}

{after being with just mama all day while papa was celebrating pre-wedding with the groom & the wedding party, eloise was so happy to see aaron after the ceremony! she had seen him thru the window as he was waiting to walk down the aisle & was pretty disappointed when he had to walk right past. she did pretty well during the ceremony with her pacifier & a stolen set of crayons (from the little boy in the row in front of us) that she used to make really pretty artwork all over the inside of my satin clutch… but she didn’t scream or cry, so no complaints!}

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{the wedding party’s table. the bride & groom sat in that little settee in the corner! the dinner menu was BBQ, so we stripped all the kiddos down to their diapers for dinner, & I tucked my napkin in like a bib!}

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{this was our family photo from the guest book. I love instant photos!}

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{we asked the pro photographer to take a family photo (hence the great lighting!) & then we filmed a little bit for Jess & Cale’s video photobooth! my dress was this Marchesa from RTR & I was so in love! We still aren’t sure what was going on with Aaron’s hand!}

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{one of my favorite new photos!}

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{I had the BEST wedding dates y’all!}

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{we made sure to get a group photo with the new Mr & Mrs Anderson!}

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{this is one of me, Hailey, & Carmen. yep, that’s a booster seat in my hands; we shared it between eloise & lily for dinner!}

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{my back-up rental dress – which was this Monique Lhuillier – was a twin to the dress that I made for Eloise for the wedding. & we had to get some photos in our matching dresses before I had to return them!}

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{you can see the back of Eloise’s dress here – a huge bow!}

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{we went to Torchy’s Tacos for lunch & it did not disappoint!}

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{we made our way to the “greetings from Austin” mural & Aaron set up the timer on my phone for a great family photo!}

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{& there just happened to be a French patisserie right next door to the mural. So we wandered in & found ourselves with a half-dozen macaroni to-go!}

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{Austin is a really young town & very hipster. I feel like this picture is a good representation somehow – a huge aloe vera plant & a silver airstream!}

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{downtown Austin.}

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{this was a great mural right down the street from our rental house: living the good life in Austin.}

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{we learned at the Alamo about how there was a Mexican cannon in our possession & we basically said “come & take it” & then they did… this was a nod to that great act at Frank’s.}

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{our cute little rental house. In a bit of an up-&-coming neighborhood, but so nice on the inside!}

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{we drove out of Austin to The Salk Lick for some BBQ lunch. It did not disappoint!}

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{my two lunch dates hamming’ it up!}

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{posing with the BBQ pit. That thing was impressive!}

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{we had a few hours in Austin before our flight so we headed to the Thinker which is a children’s museum that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts, & math (STEAM). Most of the museum exhibits were too old for Eloise, but we did find a few that were perfect! It was nice to get some wiggles out before the flight.}

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{a giant light-bright! I was in love.}

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{Eloise loved the lights too!}

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{Eloise & Aaron running round with our buddies Andy & Lily (who were also on our flight!)}

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{Eloise fell asleep almost immediately on the flight – & we had the entire row again, thank goodness – but after the flight attendant announced that the fasten seatbelt sign was off & then om & then off (a billion times), she woke up… she was really pretty good the entire flight & only fussed when we tried to put her in the Ergo to sleep. She was awake the entire time we de-boarded, got our bags, & walked to our car. As soon as we got her buckled into her seat she was out!}

except for the piping hot weather (it was in the mid-80s!) we LOVED Texas. seriously, it was a really fun place to visit. luckily we had a rental car (which you absolutely need) & got to explore all over san antonio & austin. if you ever get a chance to visit, we highly recommend it!

eloise did really well traveling, & we were super (super) lucky to get the entire row on both flights! it helped tremendously to have a bit more space for her to wiggle; aaron & I sat in the aisle & window seat (respectively) & eloise bounced around between sitting on the seat, climbing up & down, & standing. the hardest part of the trip was that eloise slept terribly the first three (out of four) nights we were in san antonio. like the worst she has ever slept. I think part of it was the time change, part of it was sharing a room, part of it was teething, etc., etc. even though she wasn’t sleeping well at night, she napped fairly well (even with one nap per day on some days) & wasn’t really grumpy from lack of sleep. when we got to austin for the second part of the trip, we all slept so much better! we rented a house on AirBnB & it was perfect. we wanted a kitchen, two bedrooms, & close to downtown & freeways, & it met all of those requirements. I also set up baby gear rental which changed my life! we brought down our own car seat & stroller (both check for free on the plane) but didn’t want to worry about bringing other gear down, especially since Meg had a highchair & Pack N Play for us in san antonio. so I searched before we left & found I Love Baby Rentals in Austin & set up a rental for: a Pack N Play, audio monitors, booster seat, & activity table. it was delivered & set up at our rental house, & then picked up by the owner – so awesome! I highly recommend this if you are traveling with littles!

thanks for having us Texas!

M

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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