family pictures {2017}

As we have done every year for the past few years, we had a family photo shoot last month which was actually our second for the year since we also did family photos right after Daphne was born. But, it was really different to be a family of four (well, five with Sadie who joined us for the first half of the shoot) and fun to see the girls as they have grown since the spring.

I wanted a different vibe this year since we have previously used parks as a background, so we headed to South Lake Union which has an urban vibe. There was SO much construction (a very it neighborhood these days) and it was super noisy, but we found some quiet pockets.

And prepare for photo overload!

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Guys, family pictures are the BEST!

If you are local to Seattle (or the area) I highly recommend Ashley Vos Photography. It was the first time we worked with her, but she came recommended by a friend, and we were really happy. She also was the one to suggest shooting down at South Lake Union which was a great backdrop for us!

Happy December!

M

Wearing:

Aaron: Hugo Boss jacket (old) // Gap button-up

Misha: J. Crew Collection shirt // Madewell denim

Eloise: The Dress Shop buffalo check dress // Adaline’s Bow Line bow // Old Navy boots (similar)

Daphne: Peek Kids dress // Old Navy cardigan (old) // babyGap tights // Freshly Picked moccasins

eloise {three-and-a-quarter years}

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{lion: jellycat via Nordstrom // top: Cat and Jack for Target // leggings: Cat and Jack for Target // socks: Cat and Jack for Target // watch: Timex}

{three-and-a-quarter years} Gosh, Eloise seems so much older than when she turned three just a few short months ago. Her communication and language skills are astounding. We are definitely dealing with some sass and some dreaded three-nager behavior, but Eloise is mostly just a sweet little one who is always skipping and singing a song. Aaron says “she always has a song in her heart” and it is SO true! She’s the master of mash-ups (like old-school Glee) and mixes up songs.

We still have bedtime meltdowns, but it comes in waves and is mostly manageable. The girls have staggered bedtimes now, with Daphne going down earlier, which I think helps. Then the focus is on Eloise. There is a pretty good routine regarding the things that need to be done (teeth and hair brushed, potty, jammies, two stories) but the order is up to Eloise for the most part. We also use her stories as “rewards” in the sense that bad behavior can lead to losing stories. Usually Eloise will lie in bed and read (look at books) and play around (like dress and undress in whatever she can find), sometimes for hours. Seriously, we do bedtime around 8 pm and some nights she is up until 10:30 or 11 when we go to bed!

One reason she is staying up so late (other than the fact that her wake-up time is still late at 8 am) is her afternoon nap. She was going down between 1:30 and 2 pm, but usually didn’t fall asleep until 3 or even 3:30 pm. And then we were expecting her to be sleepy and go to bed at 8? Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen. So on the days that she wasn’t napping, we noticed she would fall asleep by 8:30 or so. Just in the past week or so, we have changed “nap time” to “rest time” and she goes down at 2 pm in her bed with books and I get her up around 3:30 pm. Some days she naps (and then is up late) but most days she (pretty) happily reads during this time. For me, this time is incredibly important because it is the only time when both girls are in their rooms and I have time for myself (usually its 90 minutes).

Eloise is still an amazing big sister. We are having more moments where Eloise is grabbing toys away from Daphne that she doesn’t want Daphne to have, but generally things are still very cordial. It is best if I can find some way for Eloise to help me or be a part of what I am doing with Daphne. Or else we get some jealousy for sure.

Right before we left for Mexico (like three weeks before) we decided it was time to night-time train Eloise. She was telling us that she wanted to wear underpants to bed and didn’t want to wear diapers anymore, and she wasn’t wearing diapers at nap time and was doing great! So, we sort of just went for it and told her that she could get up out of bed if she had to go potty, and we woke her up twice (once around 11 pm and another time around 2 am). Aaron was doing the middle-of-the-night wakeups because he can fall asleep so quickly whereas it would take me an hour to fall back to sleep! No bueno. And things were going so well. We had the occasional accident, but generally, it was so good. And we went to Mexico and planned on keeping the same structure. The first night went well. And then the second night when Aaron woke Eloise up, she had some kind of night terror or something and just was screaming and crying, for like 45 minutes, and would not sit on the potty. So we just calmed her down and put her back to bed. And the third night, the night terror happened again and she had a meltdown on the bathroom floor. So after that, we decided not to wake her up and see what happened. And she was great all night the rest of the trip!

And now that we are home again, we haven’t been waking her up at night and she has been mostly great! There are a few times she has had an accident because she either couldn’t get to the bathroom fast enough or was asleep and started peeing, but not even once a week I would say. The biggest thing we are dealing with on this front is that Eloise will not (WILL NOT) get out of bed on her own to use the potty. So she’s had an accident before because she is waiting in bed and calling for one of us to come and help instead of just getting up and going to the bathroom. It’s not the worst thing (because it also means she stays in bed during “rest time” and doesn’t suddenly appear in our room or upstairs during the night or early in the morning) but we are working on it.

Speaking of Mexico, Eloise is an amazing little traveler. She always has been, but this was a really long haul and to some place that was really very different than home. The flight was good and she only had one melt-down in all four flight legs. She napped, albeit not really a long time, but some. Once we got to the resort, she was friendly to the staff and even started speaking in Spanish, asking for her water (agua) and milk (leche) or saying please and thank you. And she had the BEST time with family. It was Aaron’s family from the midwest that we see only once per year and only for a short time when we do. So having a few days with everyone was huge for her, and she really enjoyed the company: lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Eloise is in her second year of pre-school (at the same school she was at last school year) and she LOVES it. Seriously. She goes Monday thru Thursday mornings and every single Friday (when she is home with me and Daphne) she asks if she can go to school. It used to make me a little sad, but now it makes me happy because she just loves her school and her friends and teachers so much! We are a little bummed that her school doesn’t do pre-K, so she will start at a new school next year (before she starts kindergarten the following year!) and we are just getting into the whole routine of applications and school tours. Gosh, there are so many different schools and boy is it expensive! But, I think we have it narrowed down to two and I hope we like them and they end up being a good fit.

And the newest rendition of Things Eloise Says:

Hanitizer: hand + sanitizer.

“Mama, I really like Daphne. She’s so cute!”

“I always drink coffee in the morning. And beer in the evening.”

Telling Aaron about (diaper pail) deodorizers: “Mama bought these to make the diaper pail feel better.”

In her room looking around: “Eloise what are you doing?” “I was just pondering.”

“The people on the bus say ‘thank you driver!'”

“What if the dish ran away with the spoon?”

“My boobies really hurt.” (Talking about nursing her doll, Stella.)

“Stella threw up three times in her car seat when we were at Natalie’s house. It was super stressful.” (This past spring Eloise was car sick and we stayed at an Airbnb house owned by a lady named Natalie.)

Grabs my hand: “We are going on a date! I am wearing lipstick and we are going on a date!”

“I don’t want to watch football. I want to watch appetizers (advertisements).”

“What do zebras say?” “Zzzz.”

Aaron falls asleep next to Eloise in her bed. He tries to get up after I go wake him up. “No, you are mine!”

Aaron leaves for work and Eloise comes back to the breakfast table after saying good-bye: “I am missing him.”

Mama: “When Daphne can sit better you can take a bath with her. Would you like that?” Eloise: “That would be perfect!”

“I am mad. I am sad. This is not my finest moment.” (In her book The Most Magnificent Thing, there is a part where it talks about the main character’s actions being “not her finest moment.”)

Trying to get a huge blanket into a little bag: “I need it to smoosh some more!”

“My belly feels better, but it feels a little aggressive.”

“Can you fix my straw in my water bottle Mama? It’s a little awkward.” (It was crooked in the bottle.)

“Where do pumpkins sleep at night? Do they sleep outside?”

Antennas: eye-tennies or eye-tenticles.

Papa: “Why didn’t I get purple shoes?” Eloise: “Because you are old. And stinky!”

“I have a baby in my belly. It is Mister Rogers.”

“I’m a Mama. I can do all the things.”

“This chair is woggoly Mama. It means it moves around a lot.”

{weight} 33 pounds (my guess); height: 37 inches

{hair} (reddish) brown.

{teeth} 20 teeth plus four molars.

{eyes} dark brown.

{clothes}  some 3T, mostly 4T.

{diapers} NONE!

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

{likes} singing, dancing, taking walks around the blocks, talking to the neighbors, Teddy the mailman, school and her friends, Daphne, coloring, yelling, Duplos, digging in the dirt, splashing, counting, 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, FaceTime (but she always wants to hold the phone), bath time, shoes, mama’s (diaper) bag, putting things inside a bag or box, 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.

Happy three-and-a-quarter years Eloise!

{I am only planning on doing quarterly updates thru this third year, and then I will switch to bi-annual or annual updates. It just seems like she is still changing so much this year, and also the blog feels very Daphne-heavy given her weekly and monthly updates.}

M

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Happy Halloween! {2017}

Happy Halloween from the Lowers!

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{And this is was a definite fail on my part. I off-centered the cherry and frosting on the headband (it would’ve been so cute if it would have stayed like that!) but it was too heavy and kept falling off…}

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Eloise decided a while ago (like in the summer) that she wanted to be a cupcake. And I waited for a while to see if she would change her mind. But she didn’t! And her only request was that it be purple (surprise). I looked at a few places to see if I could find a pre-made cupcake costume, but there weren’t very many, and of the ones that were available, I just didn’t like any of them… they all looked a little cheesy! So, I searched Pinterest and found quite a few tutorials. I ended up using this one. I am super happy with the way it turned out, but practically it was a little cumbersome for Eloise to actually trick-or-treat in. Almost everyone in our neighborhood has stairs, and that was a bit of a challenge. Half-way thru the night she came back and I offered for her to change into her pumpkin costume from last year. Much better. So, note to self, easy to walk in Halloween costume is a requirement!

Eloise did really well this year for Halloween saying “trick-or-treat,” “Happy Halloween,” and “thank you” when we were at each neighbor’s door. She is usually pretty reserved when we see people we don’t know, so I sort of expected she would be that way and hide behind either Aaron or me, but it wasn’t the case at all!

Happy Halloween!

M

our trip to Mexico {2017}

We just got back from Mexico (in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday) and I wanted to share some photos since I know you all have been waiting (haha)! I posted some of these during the week on my Instagram stories (this is my favorite social media guys!) as well as Instagram and Facebook posts, but since there were more photos to share, I thought I would do a blog post as well. {So I apologize for the repetition.}

As some of you may know, we headed down to Cancun last week to celebrate Aaron’s cousin’s wedding. Since we decided early on to take the kids (Daphne was pretty much a have-to since I didn’t want to spend a week in Mexico pumping!) we decided to make it a family vacation and stay an entire week. Plus, it was a great excuse to get the girls passports (oh my gosh, passport photos for babies and toddlers, it’s the best)! The wedding was at an all-inclusive resort which wouldn’t have probably been our first choice for vacation (I am much more inclined to rent an Airbnb house) but it was great for the kids. Plus, the rest of the wedding party, including all of Aaron’s family that had made the trip were at the resort, so it was sort of a no-brainer. We stayed at the Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun. It felt a lot like the Sandals resort we stayed in in St. Lucia for our honeymoon, but super family friendly.

We had a really good time and it was great to get away, just the four of us. Since we left last Tuesday, we had a day or two of just us before family started arriving for the big event. And it was great to see family too. Eloise was in heaven playing with all of her cousins!

The only real complaint that we had (#firstworldproblems) was that it was so, so hot and humid. It was about mid-80s temperature wise but with 85% humidity. That means the “real feel” temperature was around 100 degrees. I know, hard to complain about being on vacation in Mexico, but we were not prepared for that kind of heat! Luckily our room had A/C and we got an occasional ocean breeze.

Okay, enough chatting, I know you just want to see pictures! I didn’t take a ton of pictures since I was enjoying being unplugged (which just doesn’t happen much at home).

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{This is what traveling with both of the girls looked like. Not pictured: husband who was carrying a backpack, duffel bag (we love this one from Lo & Sons for travel!), and the diaper bag. Also not pictured: two car seats, two big suitcases.}

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{Hello LA! Early morning layover.}

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{We got Eloise a little digital camera for the trip and she was OBSESSED! She took about 100 pictures before we landed in Mexico… and many of the floor. Also, she loves her headphones which we only let her use when we are traveling.}

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{Hello Mexico! Perks of having a window seat, right?}

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{The beach. It was so beautiful!}

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{Eloise and I spent our first morning out on the beach while Aaron stayed with Daphne in the room for her nap.}

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{CHEESE! And so much sunscreen. My suit is old from TopShop and Eloise’s is from June and January for those who were asking.}

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{Daphne girl joined us at the beach after nap time.}

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{She LOVES the sand and just wanted to make sandcastles (and then destroy them) and bury our feet.}

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{We welcomed family since we were the first ones to arrive. Michael (Aaron’s cousin) and his wife Rachel with the girls.}

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{Love this Daphne girl. Even though moments before this happened she bit me. While she was nursing. It was not a great moment.}

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{Guys, sisters are the best! Maggi, the bride, gave the girls these adorable jammies.}

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{Poolside.}

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{Even though there were cabanas at the beach, they were pretty small once you got chaise lounge chairs under them. And we were all dying for shade! So I was happy to have brought this little pop-up tent for Daphne. And it was awesome to keep her from eating sand.}

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{We got her a new set of sand toys since the bucket we brought with us broke in the suitcase. It came in a little backpack which she wanted to take with us everywhere.}

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{This was perfect. And then the baby started moving towards the sand. But for a minute there, it was actually really relaxing!}

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{Eloise was a little nervous about the ocean but would go in if Aaron carried her.}

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{More sandcastles. And when Papa is around he goes to the water and gets the good, wet sand!}

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{We were so happy to see Kait! She was amazing with the girls who loved her so much. She’s technically not a cousin, but a cousin of a cousin, but that is just semantics!}

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{Ah, that smile!}

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{Eloise was not sure about this, but she wanted to be there since that is what her cousins were doing!}

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{Another morning at the pool and it was much too hot for Daphne to nap.}

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{Eloise was so brave and swam out with her Uncle David, Aaron’s brother.}

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{It took a lot of bouncing and rocking, but I finally got Daph to nap that morning.}

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{The wedding set-up. It was insanely hot, but so beautiful!}

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{Wedding selfie. Love this guy. And Baby D was not at all happy. She calmed down before the ceremony started though, thank goodness!}

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{The tables were gorgeous. I wish I could have greenery and flowers on my dining table all the time.}

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{And after the wedding was done, the kids played on the beach. And Eloise deconstructed the wedding flowers…}

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{For Mr. and Mrs. Czerpak!}

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{We only got a few photos of the four of us and even though the girls weren’t looking at the camera or smiling, I love this photo of our little family. And bless my husband who endured wearing a suit during the wedding ceremony because I asked him to. It was probably 100 degrees on the beach that afternoon, but I love him in a suit!}

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{Cutting the cake. The cake topper says “finally” since they dated for 7 years!}

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{Sami, the flower girl (she LOVED Daphne and Eloise) and Uncle Papi (Uncle Mike) who was the father of the bride. Our wedding favors were these colorful maracas and the girls were both obsessed.}

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{A dance party after dinner. It was so fun!}

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{Eloise with the bride.}

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{Eloise, Kendra, Daphne, and me. It was so hot but such a fun time!}

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{After dancing, we re-grouped and went back to the room to get the girls ready for bed. We gave her a bedtime bottle, stuck these earphones on her, and she was out for the rest of the night!}

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{Nap at the beach!}

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{And more time to play in the sand. All of the family had cabanas right next to each other so it was fun to see everyone, but still be able to hang in the shade.}

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{This is her “What Mama?” face when I say “Say cheese, Eloise!”}

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{Hydrating before pool time.}

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{And she’s off!}

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{Oh those cheeks and those lips sweet Daphne girl!}

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{A post-nap swim for Daphne. She LOVED the pool! Her rashguard/sunshirt is an old Crewcuts and her swim diaper is an old Honest Co.}

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{And Eloise insisted on getting back in the pool with Uncle Ben.}

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{The beach just outside our room.}

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{On our last night we hung out with family after dinner and Eloise was loving spending time with her cousin Jack. She was a blur the entire night!}

{And Daphne crawling (and almost getting squished by Eloise!) in case you missed it on my Instagram stories.}

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{Waiting to get on the plane. Eloise loves airports and seeing all of the planes.}

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{And Daphne loves sticking her fingers in other people’s mouths… we are working on that. And moments later, she was out and slept until we were on the plane.}

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{Adios Mexico! See you next time!}

A fun family trip and makes me so excited to continue our family adventures, hopefully, all around the world with these girls!

And happy wedding day to Maggi and Greg!

M

Also, for those who were asking, my dress is J. Crew that I picked up at the end of the summer (so it’s no longer available). As soon as we booked our trip I started searching for a dress since I knew it would be tricky to find something I liked that was also nursing friendly. Luckily, this dress was so perfect!

 

eloise {big kid room reveal}

It’s been a long time coming (especially since we moved Eloise into her new room months ago!) and a lot of you have been asking, but here is a post all about Eloise’s big kid room! (And there will, eventually, be a post about Daphne’s nursery too… shooting the nursery is tricky with a baby and a toddler. And nap times and preschool drop-off and pick-up. But I digress.)

Eloise is (still) so excited about her room. If you come over (or have been over recently) she will want to take you on a tour of it. So sweet and I am taking it as a complement of how much she LOVES it! I tried to keep most of her original decor (though most of the artwork never hung in her nursery though I had good intentions of hanging a gallery wall in there for years!) which was the entire idea when I decorated her nursery to begin with. I wanted it to feel like she could grow up in there and have something familiar even once she transitioned into a new space.

As most of you know, this is the front bedroom which is at the very bottom of the stairs, and formally housed our office. We hadn’t done much to the space (except hang some things on the walls) since we knew it was mostly a temporary space for us to spread out and would eventually become a bedroom.

And without further adieu, pictures (because that is what you all are here for, right?).

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And a source list for those who are interested:

Love your big kid room Eloise!

M

This post contains affiliate links.

eloise {first day of preschool 2017}

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{letter board: Letter Folk // top: Cat & Jack for Target // skirt and pants: Cat and Jack for Target // lunchbox: PackIt // backpack: my old backpack // shoes: babyGap (old)}

Eloise headed back to preschool today and she was pretty excited about it. She was a little quiet when we first got to school, but I think mostly it was because everyone was doing drop-off right at the same time, so it was pretty busy with kids and parents taking off shoes, hanging up backpacks, and saying good-bye. She sat with me for a minute and then was ready to go!

Eloise will be at the same preschool this year, but will be going four mornings per week (Monday to Thursday) instead of just two. It is going to be wonderful for all of us. Plus I am so excited for her because on Tuesday mornings she will walk down to the library with her teachers and friends to storytime. That is one thing I just haven’t found the time and energy for but Eloise loves it.

She seemed so big this year going to school. Last week we went to Target to pick out a first day outfit and she picked it out all by herself! And she even wanted to get dressed as soon as she woke up this morning which is unusual since she normally just wants to hang out in her underpants!

And see E’s first day of preschool last year. She looks so little!

Happy first day of preschool Eloise!

M

This post contains affiliate links.

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.