Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Last Minute Changes & Decorations

I am learning to be very flexible as a mom. I had planned to have the party at our church. They have a lovely parlor and kitchen area. It has plenty of tables and chairs and a huge stone fire place. There is plenty of parking. I was looking forward to showing off my church.  About an hour before the party as we were just setting out, my friend called to tell me that all the roads leading to our church were being closed for the Hollywood Christmas Parade. This annual event had escape my notice during the 8 years we lived just a block away. How I missed this huge planning snafu I can not say. However, there was literally no way around it. So in an instant I changed the party to our apartment. I quickly divided up the guest list and we each called and emailed our respective friends. I backed the start time up one hour to give me time to clean the apartment.

And, everything came together beautifully! Many guests had cancelled due to illness- was nobody spared the 24 hour stomach bug? Other friends were trapped on the other side of the Hollywood parade. So my guest list was much smaller and more manageable. Perfect for a home party.

This pretty tissue flower came from the 99 Cent Only Store. It was leftover from Easter. I just replaced the eggs with a Matryoshka.

I filled my Christmas door box with party blowers and quickly taped another Matryoshka over the reindeer.
birthday banner
This summer (OK six months before her party) I found this scrapbook pad by Martha Stewart at AC Moore. I instantly fell in love with the vintage look of the patterns and the teal, aqua, red and pink colorway. So this paper was used in all of the decorations. For the banner I covered a $ store banner in scrapbook paper. It is held together with brass brads. I love it and plan to swap out the Matryoshka dolls for Raggedy Anne next year.

Ikea had the perfect pale aqua napkins. I made paper napkin rings on the computer to again tie in the theme.

We used photos of the birthday girl and a tall desert table for the rest of the decorations.

I had streamers and a balloon garland planned, but it was not to be. No matter, it just means that I am extra prepared for next year!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Matryoshka Birthday Party

When Marilee was about a month old my mother in law nicknamed her "Dolly." Since then, not a week goes by without someone commenting that she looks like a doll or is a doll.So naturally a doll themed party was in order. I started pinning Raggedy Anne and Matryoshka doll party ideas.  I love both themes equally, but the gift of this dinnerware sold me on Matryoshka for this year.

I am going to blog one feature of the party a day. That way it will be manageable enough to actually complete.  Today I will start with the invitation.

A quick google seach of Matryoshka invites will result in lots of really great ideas and even a few free downloads. Seriously, one thing is cuter than the next. I used several ideas from these searches for inspiration, but ultimately designed the invite all by myself.

one finger

 When I found this picture in my camera, I knew it had to be a photo invite. Creating my own invites also taught me a thing or two about digital scrapbooking. For starters, I purchased this digital clipart of matryoshkas. Then I also downloaded several freebies from Sahlin Studio.  Paying just a few dollars for the matryoshka clip art allowed me to make lots of small party elements and keep the same few doll images.

 marilee invite

I created the picture in Pic Monkey. First I uploaded the background image from Sahlin Studios. Then I added overlays of all the other elements. Finally, I added the text.  Then I uploaded the whole thing to Snapfish and ordered postcards. I was able to order just ten. Those folks who don't use email, the grandparents and her godmother all got a hard copy. Eveyone else got an email evite.

 craft frame marilee w doll
To save time and money I used www.evite.com.  To customize the evite, I used PicMonkey and specifically the "overlays feature" which even allows you to upload your own overlays. Doing this allowed me to establish the theme while still using a fairly limited template from the evite program.

Using evite was pretty successful and I would do it again. Having a few hardcopy invites was also great. So I did appreciate that I could order just ten postcards.

Stay tuned for other party elements.

My Baby Turned One!

There are so many things I could say about Marilee and how time flies and all that, but I find myself at a loss for words to describe this year. I wish I had blogged it more so I could look back. Sigh. No matter how neglectful I have been of this space, I wanted to document her first birthday.
Since her birthday was the day before Thanksgiving, we had a small little dinner with the grandparents at Shakey's Pizza. I bought her one cupcake and she loved it. Not sure if any actually got into her mouth, but she loved playing with it. I loved that Shakey's carpet got ruined and not mine.

We also had a lovely party with friends and I want to document that as well. But, it's off to work for me for now. Thank you blogging friends for your love and encouragement over the years. My cup overflows.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hello Again!

Yikes! Four months since my last post. Well, you know a lifetime has happened. During our nearly six year journey with infertility I used to think about all the things I could blog about once I had a baby. All the beautiful little dresses I could sew, the nursery, the funny and sweet things the baby did. Going back to teaching at 10 weeks pretty much kicked my crafty butt.

Just one day into our summer vacation we embarked on a three week tour of NY & NJ to see friends and family. Lots and lots of friends and family. It was an awesome trip. So yes, it's summer, but again, no time to craft or blog.

I guess the biggest news is that Marilee can crawl!

We left for NY on her 7 month birthday and the very next day she started crawling. She crawled for the first time to my grandfather and it was a miracle.

So back in 2005 my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. Wanting my future child to know him, we actually started "trying" earlier than planned. We even hoped to surprise him with pregnancy news at his 80th birthday party that year. Ha! Let's just say I have learned a lot about control and timing in the last six years.

My grandfather used to say, "If you are worried pray, and if you pray don't worry." Wise but very challenging words. I wish I could say I followed that advice. Oh sure, I pray, but I also worry plenty. Fortunately, many others prayed for us too- including some of you dear friends!  The cancer came and went, and came back again. Then I was told that he was starting to have memory problems. And, like the rest of us, he just wasn't getting any younger.

God truly does know the desires of our hearts and this summer Marilee crawled for the very first time to her great-grandfather! It was a moment I will always treasure. He was an excellent coach and spent a lot of time on his hands and knees demonstrating the proper form and offering encouragement. Encouragement indeed! The picture says it all, they are buddies!

On my husband's side of the family, Marilee met dozens of relatives at a huge family reunion. She poured on the charm and was a perfect baby Betsy Ross. We had a wonderful traditional small town 4th of July. Best of all we even got to see Great Aunt Kate who was born just 100 years and 11 days before Marilee.

We also had lots of time to get to know our two nieces who are each 16 months old. It was the first time we met either of them and watching our girls play together was an incredible sibling bonding experience for both Cliff and I.

Other updates:
I am still nursing. Surprised to say that I do love it. It has overall been a great experience. I am both ready and sad to start a slow and gradual weaning process. For many reasons it's time, but I just can not believe how fast this year is whizzing past me. Someone on TV mentioned that there are only 3 1/2 months left in the election campaign and I nearly started crying because that means I only have 3 1/2 months before Marilee turns 1. That simply can not be accurate?

I did love co-sleeping for the most part. There was nothing sweeter than watching my babe sleep and wake up together as a family. It also worked pretty well for me to both nurse and sleep at the same time while working, but gradually she began to drink less and less pumped milk from a bottle and rely on the night feedings more and more. By the end of the school year we had regressed to feedings every two hours all night long. The last week of school she went on a bottle strike. In addition, when I would nurse her down, I often fell asleep myself. I would wake at 11 or so having "wasted" my whole evening and all my free time. While traveling our accommodations, schedule, and the fact that she could crawl made co-sleeping mostly impossible and unsafe. So we strapped her into a swing, stroller or "rock and play sleeper." This worked pretty well and set the stage for transitioning to her crib.

So we crib trained her this past week upon our return home. It was absolutely horrible and just fine at the same time. The key was to finally move her out of our room and into her own room. She raged a bit and that nearly killed me, but after a few days in her own room she is doing great at self soothing. Guess what! I have rediscovered my husband! He was so afraid of rolling over on Marilee that he stayed strictly on his side of the bed. And, for my part, I was more often than not asleep at 7:30! We were both very committed to co-sleeping and tried to make time for each other so that it wouldn't adversely affect our relationship, but it wasn't ideal.  Now, we actually get to chat or watch TV together at night without fear of waking up the baby. 

This weekend I started pulling out a bunch of stuff that I had saved for a nursery. Soon I will have pictures. Nothing fancy, just a DIY, thrifted and gifted space.

I look forward to being here a bit more now that I have some free time in the evenings.
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Reading Nook

We have this strange little corner nook in our living room. When we first moved in, my father thought it was just crying out for a statue. Lots of ideas were suggested, but we left it blank until this weekend. It took me two weeks to get some ten minute Ana White $10 Ledges built, but they are done now and I am thrilled with the results!
Marilee's Reading Nook
I have made a bunch of these ledges and I love them all. They are easy, affordable, and quick. Especially true if you don't have a baby afraid of the drill. Imagine that! My kid afraid of the drill. Maybe it's for the best. Probably so.

I got the idea for the planter thing from this pin. The adorable lamb rug is from Aunt Piper via Red Envelope.
Of course, I have all sorts of geeky teacher plans to thematically arrange the bookshelves. In the meantime, board books it is. 

She Likes It
I think she likes it!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tired Little Rabbit

Sleepy Little Rabbit

Little Bunny Foo Foo is all tired out and so is her mama. Parenting "Duh" #432- Time off from work does not mean free time anymore!

We enjoyed a pretty quiet Easter, but the week before hand was a bit hectic. I tried to accomplish a long to-do list saved up since Marilee's birth. (I told myself, "April break, I'll get that done during April break.") Of course, you veteran mama's know that the word "break" is well, no longer applicable. So, I have a bunch of half finished projects.

Also in the mix are a few "pins" that were complete busts. I'll share those tomorrow.
In the meantime, we are going to walk down to the grocery store to pick up some 50% off Easter candy. I am looking to use it for Marilee's baptism which is coming up in two weeks. In just one week the first set of grandparents arrives! Whoo hoo! Send in the reinforcements!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter!

Amish Baby
The story of Easter is the story of God's wonderful window of divine surprise. ~Carl Knudsen