Where've I been? I apologize for being a bit MIA lately, but I've been in seclusion firing all creative pistons for Mari-Jule's 1st birthday. I've been planning this thing ever since she was in utero and it dawned on me that I have just under a month until the big day and I hadn't had all of the components in line.
I fast and furiously pulled up all of the emails I've been collecting and starting clicking away and ordering up a frenzy. Well a scaled back frenzy. I purposefully slashed the budget in half because, well, c'mon, it's her first birthday party. I can't set up too much of a spectacle, because well, I'll hopefully have many, many more to plan.
Anyway, this year's theme is Wizard of Oz. I probably could've waited until she was a bit older to do this theme, but quite frankly, deep inside of me, I knew she'd be walking by now and how adorable would some ruby red slippers be on a little toddler??? I found a delightful pair that are still too big on her, but I stuffed 'em with tissue paper and that did the trick!
On Sunday, her cousins came over to hang out and we all went to the park. They assisted me with a photo shoot I had for her snail mail invitations. Here's a sneak peek:
I also took out the old sketch pad and drew up plans for a cake. Since I'm attempting to be more frugal this year, I will venture off on my own to make it. Actually, cousin Simon is going to help me (thank the Lord!!), but at least I drew it out and will know what it "should" look like. I'm going to attempt a 3-tiered topsy turvy cake. The winding on the outside will resemble the tornado. the tops of the cakes will be a yellow brick road, which winds to the top where the Emerald City will be located. I found these green plastic stirrers at Party City that I'll hot glue together to construct the Emerald City cake topper. Oh, and you can't forget about the tiny striped legs that the cake will have "landed" on, which represent the Wicked Witch of the East. :D In theory it sounds great, in reality, well, we'll see. Oh, and while shopping, I found a cupcake cake that they can slightly modify to look like the yellow brick road. These will be covered with the tiny ruby red slipper candle holders, one for each child to have to blow out for their very own while Mari blows out her candle. :D I found the candle holders, along with her pinata and birthday sign at Birthday Express. I'd found a free shipping coupon online and within less than a week, I had my order!
One of my besties came over during the weekend and we put together some poppies for the poppy field. I found a nifty poppy flower making kit at Paper Source! They were having an awesome sale, and for those of you who know me know that I have an addiction to that store akin to JoAnn's (ok, ok, more so than JoAnn's!) We got a dozen made and only have 6 remaining. One of the other besties is going to get some yellow butcher paper and we're going to construct a bonafide yellow brick road! Our balloon vendor from the wedding mailed us a GINORMOUS 3 ft. white balloon that we'll turn into the State Fair of Omaha balloon that the Wizard used to leave Oz. Speaking of balloons, but of course we'll have balloons. A rainbow spectrum of balloons will surround the sign welcoming everyone.
Mari is dressing as Dorothy. I'll be Glinda, and then later switch to a regular munchkin since their outfits are easier to maneuver around in, we'll see. Guapo is Toto. Don is going to dress up as one of the Lollipop Guild Members (along with Brother! Where's Will to complete the trifecta???). I need some activities for the kids. I was going to do a polaroid take-home gift, but what else? We'll have rainbow jello shots for the adults, ha ha!
Finally, we'll have build your own taco salad (because nothing says Wizard of Oz more than taco salad, huh?) and we're giving rainbows as favors, sidewalk paint to be exact! I'm ecstatic!! You all know how much I love birthdays, love planning parties, love a reason to celebrate life, and well, this is going to be awesome! Birthdays growing up were always a big deal. My mom would make a big to-do for us (heck, even that one year, on my 9th birthday when they forgot, and I reminded them at the end of the day, Dad took me shopping for my gift, and by the time I was home, Mom had decorated the house, gotten a cake and had friends at the house to sing to me!). This was the foundation of the usual celebration of the birthday month (which this year MIGHT be scaled back to the birthday week, YIKES!!) and big, fun parties. Thank you Mom for making our special days extra, extra special!
To add to it, one of my co-workers gave me his old 50mm lens. It occasionally errors out in low light and since he replaced it (because one of his little ones knocked the lens over and after he missed a few shots he knew he needed to replace it!) and was going to throw it away anyway, he gave it to me to "test" out before I decided to buy my own. You know what, I love it!!! Here's a sample photo that I grabbed with it. So absolutely clear with the proper blurs!! How ever did I not have this lens before???
Also, Mari had an awful ear infection that required antibiotics. I was against using them at first, but when I saw that her 3 week cough instantly faded, I knew we made the right choice. Unfortunately, the meds give her diarrhea and well, despite our best efforts of going through 15 diapers in a day to keep her clean, she got a really bad diaper rash. :( Luckily for me, we have a boutique nearby that sells cloth diapers. I bought 3 Bum Genius AIO pocket diapers and they work like a charm. I already had 1 AIO diaper, so we put those babies to work and she love 'em. They make her look like she's walking around with a J.Lo booty, but they are definitely better on the rash. Unfortunately, when she goes to school, she is totally disposable, so she'll easily go through 5 - 9 diapers while she's there. We gave up on Boudreaux's Butt Paste. Desitin was just making OUR hands softer. Vaseline worked, but only for a bit. Now, we are using a combination of Triple Paste and Dr. Smith's cream. Both are working like a charm. We also introduced a heavy dose of acidophilus mixed into the food I made, and it is in her yobaby yogurt that she eats at least once a day. BTW, that Yo Baby stuff is AMAZING!! The rash is clearing up and it is no longer as much of a nightmare to change her diaper. While my hands are ridiculously soft, my nails suffered from the cleaning products (yes, we were bathing her frequently and let's just say she has a leg up on potty training!). Every single nail that I'd actually grown out to a nice length has now been reduced to a teeny tiny nub. Oh well, here's to hoping they'll grow to a respectable length soon!
So that's all folks. That's what I've been up to. Seriously, though, what are some other ideas for kids activities? And those of you with kiddos (I'm talking to you Julie, Shannon, and Zar!) can come celebrate too!
p.s. it is Girl Scout cookie time and I've already order 6 boxes!! Lucky for me, half of them I bought to be shipped off to our troops.