October 17, 2014

Girls night

For almost 4 years now, Joel and I have been leading a small group for our church every week. When we first agreed to start the group, we had no idea what it would look like or who would come. But we were just excited to have a group so close where we live and eager to get to know the people from our church better in our area. 

If you would have told me then how much I would love this group, I wouldn't have believed you. Overtime, it began to feel more like an extended family more than a random group of people meeting, and I constantly look forward to hearing their stories and learning about their lives every week--not to mention the wisdom that flows from this group. 

Recently, we started having regular girls nights to hangout more as a united female front, and they have been such a fun time! We've had a wreath-making party, a sundae/movie night, and our latest one was a favorite things party. 

Everyone brought three things of one of their favorite things that was around $5 ($15 total) to exchange with the rest of us. We ate lots of sweets and played a couple favorite-themed games before opening gifts and pulling names. I learned even more about these girls and was in pain from laughing so much. One thing this group doesn't lack is wit and humor. 

Everyone brought such great stuff and I would have been thrilled with any of it! This was my swag by the end of the night after getting my name pulled, and I am so pumped to use them (esp that Ben and Jerry's that will get eaten this weekend no doubt). And a special cream that I can shave with with no water? Yes please! The winter is looking good for these legs. ;)

April 28, 2014

two years with our man

I used to do these updates for Judah's monthly birthdays and I thought that since I still love going back and reading those, I should keep it going--only yearly this time (and without the white onesie and Photoshopped number).

1. "Hold You." and "Rock?"  The fastest way to melt my heart these days is having Judah reach up to me with his arms and say "mommy, hold you."  I love how toddlers only relate certain words and phrases and instead of saying "hold me," he says "you."  Melt. my. heart.  Another term that is so adorable it hurts, is when he's feeling sad or tired and looks up at us with his little brown eyes and asks, "Rock?" This means he wants you to sit in one of our recliners or his rocking chair in his room, rock him, and sing "You are My Sunshine."  If we don't start singing, he will lift his head off you shoulder, cup your face in his hands, and say "You mine sunshine?" See? So adorable, it hurts.

2. Little Parrot. Lil dude is repeating everything he hears these days.  I was placing a to-go order for crawfish the other night, when I heard, "Jenny. Crawfish." after the lady asked my name and what I wanted. I looked over and he didn't even seem to realize he did it because he didn't look up or stop eating.

3. Growing Interests. His interests can vary so much from day-to-day, but lately he is consistently loving trains, tigers, balls (duh), spotting buses and "big trucks," reading books, Daniel the Tiger, Super Why, balloons, being outside, his dog shirt, playing in water, running, the zoo, his friends, and the list goes on.

4. Great Sleeper. I feel like it was just last week when Judah wouldn't nap, and I would attempt to try new strategies through tears of frustration and sleep-deprivation. I realized a few days ago that it's been 8 months of him napping like a superstar and going to bed with no problem.  Napping can be a challenge some days, but he responds really well to ocean sounds by his crib.  And to be honest, he's gone to bed great since he was about a year.  And his schedule hasn't really changed much.  He takes a bath around 6:45 pm, then it's teeth brushing, and then pajama time. We have a fun ritual of putting on his "jammies" as he calls them and then he turns the light off and starts saying his goodnights.  "Night night mommy. Kiss. Hug? Night night daddy, night night elmo, night night dog." Then into the crib he goes for one final "I lub you." and then I leave and shut the door behind me.  At this point it's usually around 7:15 pm and he'll sleep until 5:30 at the earliest or 7 am at the latest.  It's cruel irony that he wakes up at 5:30 on the weekends and then the days when he'll sleep longer are the days we work.  :)

5.  Loves Watching Home Videos. We started a family channel on youtube last year and have been posting videos like crazy.  Joel does a great job of capturing fun moments with us or Judah and his friends, and anytime he is getting stir crazy or fussy--I pull up the channel and he sits back and watches and laughs.  Obviously we limit screen time, and he knows our phones are off limits, but he does love watching people he knows and usually once the video ends, he looks up, holds one finger up and ask, "one mo'?"

 Happy 2nd Birthday Judah!! 

You are sweet, snuggle-happy, giving, handsome, funny, joyful, inquisitive, energetic, fast, bright, loving, and have the most beautiful smile I know.  We love you and cherish you more and more everyday.  

January 6, 2014

2013 Highlights | Judah's 1st Birthday [Lion Theme]

So I completely dropped the blogging ball last year and in attempt to somewhat make up for lost posts, I've decided to do a highlight reel of some of our top 2013 fun moments we had.

First up: Judah's 1st Birthday party.  This party was particularly special to me since it was the last time I saw my Papa.  He unfortunately passed away 5 days later, but I will always cherish the pictures that he took and the hugs that he gave while he was there.

Judah's highchair was the first place I started to plan.  It's where I decided on the fabric banner idea I found that would carry into the food table, the gold and crown accents that go with the "Lion" theme, and it's where I thought to create a special fabric just for his birthday with his birthday lion pattern.

My favorite lion element was the candle holder.  I found the perfect lion one in an etsy shop called Gnome Sweet Gnome and it was just want I had in mind.

Next was the drink buffet.  I'd been taking pictures of Judah since he was born every month and thought his 1st birthday would be the perfect place to display them.  I also found some toy lions at the dollar store, spraypainted them gold, and placed them throughout the party.  After I designed his invitations, I created circle designs for the cups and cupcake toppers as well as wraps for the water bottles.  All of this was 100% free, so I always tend to go overboard with the printed elements.
This was a place that I wanted our close friends and family to be able to take home a picture of Judah if they wanted.  I did this for his dedication party and people told me how much they loved having a picture of Judah. It was also fun for people to look through all the pictures and see how much he grew over that year.

Well, you can hardly see it, but I took chalk and drew paw prints leading up to the driveway and then wrote "Happy 1st Birthday Judah" but it was too bright to get a good pic.

This was his welcome table that I added last minute but I wanted a place to put his newborn pic and current pic plus I saw the chalkboard idea on Pinterest and thought "why not!"  Looking at it now, I'm so glad I did this because I had almost forgotten his intense love of graham crackers and the first few words he could say.

Next up was the "sign-in book" which consisted of coloring pages that I made for Judah's friends to color and then hang up on the wall to display for everyone to see. You can see the sign sort of,  but I placed baskets of crayons on the tables and then attached the sign above to let everyone know what to do. I kept the artwork and put it in his baby binder.

Judah and his buddy Eli.  Joel's college roommate lives right around the corner from us and him and his wife had Eli almost 6 months before Judah--we have high hopes for best friend potential, especially since they will be in the same class when school starts.  Such fun!

What's a party without a photo booth right? I knew I wanted a place for people to take pics, but I wanted to do something different.  So I got the idea to make a lion mouth that kids can stick their little heads in.  My super talented mom made this! I told her what I wanted and she took it ran with it.  She drew it, painted it (I wish you could see the blending of the eyes--so pretty), added grass, bumblebees, a hut-like top, and secured it down with bricks so it wouldn't topple over.  It was perfect!!
So of course I had to make a sign and create a hashtag so people could upload it to social media.  We're so hip. 

In an effort to completely overwhelm myself with crafts for the party, I decided to make his shirt as well.  This didn't take long at all and again, cost nothing because I already had the shirt and iron-on transfer paper.  So I just made a little design to compliment the theme, printed, and ironed it on, and it was done!  He also still wore it up until this month.  It has kept so well!

Ah, the food table! I LOVED this banner. I bought a bunch of samples online and got a few fat quarters from JoAnn's and added doilies and gold paper. It didn't take long but I wanted to keep it up long after the party was over. As for what's on the table, I found the plate stand at goodwill and spray painted it.  I also found the veggie stand plates at goodwill and super glued them onto candlesticks from the dollar store. And the lions were from the dollar store as well.  You can't really see, but I made a couple pipe-cleaner crowns and added them to the lions to go with Judah's birthday crown. It's the little things that I get excited over. 

I picked tulips up at Fresh Market and one of my best friends, Val, came in early to arrange them and help set everything else up with me.  She was a huge help that I didn't even realize I needed! For example, her and her husband refilled food the entire party without me even knowing.  At one point in the party, I thought people weren't eating because everything was always full!  They came early and stayed late--I can't wait to return the favor when Vivi turns one.  :)

Everyone raved about how delicious Judah's cake and cupcakes were! Our good friend and neighbor who has twins a year older than Judah makes cakes out of her house to DIE for!  She is a creative genius in addition and helped me bounce a few ideas off her for Judah's party, plus she came over a few night before his party to help me finish crafting.  She's fantastic!!  I knew I wanted a simple white cake and she did such a great job. I added my flags and that was that! 

For the cupcakes I knew I wanted to do toppers (FREE!) and I also added gold poms on some of them to carry out the "gold" theme, and then Beth commented that they reminded her of lion tails--do you see how I eat this stuff up??

I also baked cookies to round out the dessert table.  Underneath the table was the fabric I made on Spoonflower.  It had Judah's lions and "Judah is One!" repeated all over.  It absolutely loved it! I ordered a sample and a yard and that took care of everything. This was a hard decision because I would have loved to have bought a few yards and done more with it, but it's a first birthday party and we didn't to spend hundreds of dollars on one afternoon.

This was another personal touch that was important to me.  Since my parents and Joel's parents never really see our friends, I wanted to create grandparent buttons as a way of people knowing who they were.  Plus, maybe adding a sense of pride for our parents to proudly display their grandparent names.  I made them with ribbon, label paper, and cardboard--super easy.  And, oh yeah, free.
Sadly, Joel's mom (and Judah's GiGi) came down with pneumonia the morning of the party and wasn't able to attend.  :(  It was heartbreaking to miss, and we were sure to save a few cupcakes and went over after she was better so she could watch Judah eat a cupcake and enjoy one from the party.  

My mom sporting her button with my little brother, James.

My sweet Papa and Nana.  My sister-in-law graciously snapped wonderful pics throughout the whole party for us, and these pictures of my Papa are by far the ones we'll all cherish the most.  But we are so lucky that we were all able to see him and laugh with him before he suddenly passed away. He even took a picture in the lion's mouth. :)


                     My Aunt Linda, Papa, and Mom--this was one of my favorite pictures. 

The banner in the background was meant to go outside, but the wind was crazy that day, so it stayed inside.  This was a really cheap way to add color.  I bought a few packs of tissue paper from Party City and the draped them over some twine and cut strips. I wanted it to tie into the mane that I made for Judah's lion--I know, I get waaaaay too into the details.

Val, Sarah, and Nat--Three of the best friends a girl could want!

My college roommate had a girl 6 months before Judah and had to suffer through all of my calls about being pregnant and being a mom.  She's one of my closest friends and probably the most generous person I know.  :)

Pipe-cleaner crown!!! I was obsessed with this thing.  Too bad he had no interest in wearing it as you'll see below.  Again, with the crowns and lions--I think you get it by now.

His cupcake stand was made from a goodwill ramekin and a candlestick that I spray painted.

He ate this right up--but it took him forever.  Very anti-climatic.  It was the first bit of sugar that he ever tasted and he was definitely a fan.

Teagan (who Judah now calls "T-T") and her parents, Sarah and Brady, who we love and are so thankful for! Teagan is about a month and a half older than Judah, so we were able to exchange battle stories on the regular. However, Teagan has the content and laid-back gene, while Judah enjoys running in circles and screaming for no reason.

Missing our best friend Kate who lives in Nashville. :(

Another partial group pic--missing Lauren, Jamie, and Betsy. We have all gone to school together since we were in elementary school and amazingly have stayed close throughout the years.

My brother and sis-in-law, Mal. They just had my nephew, Cooper, a few months ago and he is the cutest thing! He is currently sporting the sweetest mohawk that I show to everyone.

And finally, here are the favors.  Hindsight, I would have stapled those bad boys to the bag.  Too bad I punched all the holes first.  At the time, Judah's favorite thing to eat were graham crackers, so it was only fitting to send his guests away with his favorite snack.

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