Sunday, December 28, 2008

LITTLE MISS AVERY'S 3rd Birthday Party!

After months of talk about when her birthday party would be (she asked EVERY time I made a banner if it was for her birthday) Little Miss Aves finally got had her party on Saturday. It all went well (besides that I had wet hair when most of the guests arrived 1/2 hour early, but most were family so no big deal...just excuse my UGLY hair!).

You will be able to tell from the pictures that she is quite a ham and loves to be the center of attention...although she takes about 20 minutes to warm up to people. But after that, watch out! I will TRY to remember that this blog is for showing decorations, although some personal pics are tucked in there, too.

If you didn't read my blog entry about the inspiration for the party, it all started with the Little Miss Birthday shirt from Gap Kids, then the tutu and leg warmers. I used the Little Miss Birthday book by Roger Hargreaves as a guest book and lots of argyle in hot pink, purple, and orange.

Thanks to my friend Tracie for the cute cake and my friend Rach from Goldenshop for the adorable table runner. You two make my party dreams come true! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my Polkadots & Pirates readers!This will be my last posting until at least Sunday the 28th after Avery's party. In the meantime, here are some more of our family photos, as promised, taken by Dolce Studios. I know a couple of you have asked when I was going to post them and I said after our cards go out but before Christmas, so I guess this is my last chance!

Have a wonderful Christmas with your families...I'll be back next week!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Little Miss Avery!

I know any mother reading this knows exactly what I'm talking about when I say that it seems like an eternity ago, yet just like yesterday, when Avery was born. I can't believe she's 3, yet I can barely remember life without her.

Just three short years ago...
And now today...She is soooo into Disney Princesses, and although I'm not much into character gear, she has been wanting a scooter like another girl in our cul-de-sac and when we saw this one and the matching helmet we couldn't resist. We knew she'd go nutso.

After her fav breakfast of eggs and bacon, Ave played outside in the added 2 inches of snow we got last night, played with her new tea set from her brothers, got to eat lunch with her aunt Kara, and then took a short nap before we ventured out for our big activities for the day. our favorite skating pond...she doesn't have her own pair yet (she's getting some for Christmas) but it was good practice to "skate" with her boots on the ice. Plus we rented a little skater sled that we all took turns pushing and riding on. Even Beckett enjoyed being whirled and pushed around, and did his fair share of pushing the sled as well!Sorry for the blurry pic, but it was so cute that Avery DEMANDED that she give me a ride!Then off to dinner at our regular birthday place... Cousin Jack (and Aunt Rach and Uncle B) joined us for dinner. Its hard to even remember that Jack and Avery used to not get along...Then after supper we drove around looking at Christmas lights. Eric had already done this once with the kids this year when I was gone, but we wanted to go all together, too. We voted and decided this one was our favorite. It looked like a real live gingerbread house!All in all a great just to finish wrapping gifts, pack, and to Grandmother's house we go in the morning!

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Christmas Card Fix

I am in LOVE with getting Christmas cards. I mean, who isn't, really?? Normally I just wait and let Eric get the mail when he gets home from work. But even in this 0 degree weather, I will bundle up during December and run to the mail box mid afternoon to check whose cards came in the mail that day.

I also look at all my cards every day. Until this year, I taped all the cards to our closet door so that I could look at them as often as I wanted. There were two problems last year with this approach...1) the kids continually ripped them off the doors and I'd have to retape them up and 2) as we get older and more of our friends send out picture cards we outgrew our closet doors and had to start taping them on the walls surrounding the door.

I decided this was by no means the best way to do this, so I came up with an idea.

I started with a plain old piece of plywood from Lowes, cut to 16 inches by 3 feet (they will cut it for you at the store to whatever size you need). Eric's dad owns a router and finished the corners off for me for a more polished look. I then painted the board a vintage white color, giving it two coats so the grain of the board didn't show through...I purchased a vinyl wall expression from an Uppercase Living party at a friend's house, though you can get vinyl wall decals everywhere these days. I have bought a few off Etsy and had just as good of luck. You can custom design your own phrase so it can pretty much say whatever you'd like it to...Then I bought a hanging system from Ikea which I think is meant to be used with lightweight curtains, but worked perfect for this. It was fairly inexpensive as well. I also bought 100 clips that work with the system. I have to say, my husband helped me put this part on, not because I couldn't have done it, but he likes that kind of stuff and does a much better job than me. He also added picture hangers on the back of the board. He did a great job and in record speed, might I add!So here is the final product...I took a mirror down that normally hangs in our front hallway and replaced it for the Christmas season. As you can see, it looks good with just a couple photos at the beginning of December...
Or with lots of pictures at the end of December! I have 100 clips and approximately 85 cards on when this pic was taken...
I swear if I can do it, you can do it! Besides getting the materials and taking it to Eric's dad to finish the edges, we did this whole project in one day. More later's Avery's birthday!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Isabella's Bicoastal Birthdays

These parties have been in the works for a LONG time...and I mean long. Sophie, Isabella's mom, was very patient...she ordered very early and said she wanted to have time to do it right. We definitely took our time, but she loved the result.

The family is throwing Isabella two parties, one in NYC and one in California. How about that for a bicoastal baby! I've been thinking about the parties again this week as I know that one was last weekend and one is coming up this weekend.

The inspiration for this party was the stroller cover on Isabella's stroller. It is a pink and brown damask...and Sophie said that it perfectly described her taste. So as we were discussing what we should do, I used it as a guide to help me pick styles and paper. Then I designed the invitations to mock some of the paper we were using for the project.

After about 2 months of work, here is the result...
The inviations...doorThe banner...The door sign...The cake topper...The cupcake toppers...The hats...
The cup wrappers...
Hope party #2 goes well, Sophie and Isabella!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A sneak peak...

Today you get a sneak peak at Avery's birthday party, coming up in less than two weeks. It all started when I was shopping at Gap kids last May...yes a bit early for a December 23rd birthday, but when you get inspired, you have to go for it, right? It has definitely had time to evolve over the last 7 months or so. So this is how it went...
My GapKids find...Then what to wear with it?? This sparked my newfound interest in making tutus...
But I needed something to cover those legs in the middle of a cold winter...Add that adorable face...And you end up with these invitations...

Then, as the best surprise EVER, my sisters had this picture taken for Avery for her birthday. It was a surprise to even me because they took Avery for a whole afternoon over a month ago and wouldn't tell me where they took her. Kasey's birthday is December 25th, so I had bought her this shirt to wear to Avery's party. They were both stolen from MY closet for the picture, though I never noticed they were gone. They gave the pics to me...I mean Avery :)... over Thanksgiving. My awesome sisters know that this is soooooooooo my will be a PERFECT decoration at the party, and a wonderful keepsake for Miss Aves as well.
So I am having a ball planning the party, though it is going to be VERY close to Christmas so I feel the pinch of getting ready before we leave for our parents houses!

On a more serious note, I have not seen my wedding rings or my diamond mother's ring in a week now. The last time I remember having them is when the mob was over last Tuesday morning. I have barely left the house since then, so they have to be here in this house, but I am worried that a small pair of hands walked off with them to some obscure place that I will not find. Please pray that I find them. I know they are just things, but they are symbols of EVERYTHING that is important in my life. I am feeling quite naked without them.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Okay...maybe not the best ever, but it was really nice. And not nice in the way where we did a really extravagant fun thing. Nice in the way we didn't! So let me start from the beginning...get ready for too many pictures as usual.

Friday was a day Tate had been looking forward to for quite some time. My mom, aka Grandma Sandy, was coming to volunteer at his preschool. If I had planned better I would have sent the camera so the teacher could have taken a picture of them, but of course I didn't. So you'll just have to imagine. He talked about it all weekend, so I'm guessing they had a good time! Then my mom stayed with the kids in the afternoon so Eric, who was off of work for the afternoon, and I could run a few errands without kids. The kids loved this as much as we did because they haven't seen Grandma much lately...I don't know who is busier, us or Grandma! She is still busy being a mom to my sister Kasey who is a senior this year.

Then Friday night, Frosty was on tv, and the kids were VERY into it...After the kids went to sleep we did something we haven't done in over 6 months. Eric and I watched a movie while sitting on the couch! The few movies we have watched together in the past months have involved a lot of cutting, printing, gluing, punching, etc. It was so nice.

Saturday we were a bit nervous for. Earlier in the summer Eric's parents took Tate to a show called Walking with Dinosaurs. Saturday was Avery's turn to spend a day with Grandma and Grandpa. I was only nervous because I knew this wouldn't make Tate happy at all...not that I can't handle it, its just that it wasn't going to be pleasant. We hadn't told either one of them where she was going, or THAT she was going, for that matter, just to shorten the amount of time we had to hear whining. But thankfully, although he admitted he "was a little jealous at first, Mom, but I settled down now" (for those of you who don't know my son, he has the vocabulary of a 40 year old instead of a 4 year old...which is hilarious at times and frustrating at he can put up a well thought out fight!)

He ended up having just as good of time as Avery did because the temp warmed up into the 30s on Saturday, so he finally got to go out and make a snowman...And this one I have to add because I think its hilarious our dog, Wrigley, had to pose with the snowman, too. Good old Wriggs...

Here are a few pics from Avery's trip to Disney on Ice with Grams and Gramps...
She was not too smiley for the pictures, but Grandma and Grandpa said she loved it until the very end when she got a little tired. She is still carrying her Ariel light up princess wand and wearing her Lilo and Stitch lei.

After the show, we met them and Eric's sister and family at Chuck E. Cheese. Now let me say that this is not my favorite place...or at least I didn't think so. The only other time I've been there was when I went with our preschool friends and I just had Tate and Avery. Going at it alone in the chaos of all the kids and games and such was a bit much. This time we stayed for 2 1/2 hours and I must say we all had a great time. There were more adults than kids, which helped! Here are my niece Addie and Tate on one of many "rides" that day...Okay...this is already waaaaaaaaay too long so I'll try to speed it up and not write so much! Saturday night we watched Horton Hears a Who! as a number two for the weekend!

Sunday morning we were asked to be the family that lit the advent wreath in front of church. The kids love feeling so important walking up in front of everyone, and Eric did a great job reading his part. I managed to light the candles without tipping the whole thing over and starting the church on fire.

Sunday afternoon was designated for cookie baking...which ended up being a good thing since the temperature dropped to the negatives and the snow came with bad wind, too. NOT a day to be outside. Let me just say baking cookies with a 2 and 4 year old is a blast, but very time consuming! It took the entire afternoon and into the evening. And before you look at the pictures, it would help to mention that I am of the philosophy that to learn and have fun, the kids should do it themselves. Mess happens. With that said, the cookies...
Eric and I made a second batch of cookies that had been a little less "fingered" after the kids went to bed and watched Christmas number 3 of the weekend while we rolled, cut, and baked. My husband is a little too much like Clark W. Griswold to even mention, so we have to watch it every year.

Missing from all the talk this weekend was little Beckett. He was here the whole time, but spending lots of time indoors with me or Eric and AWAY from the cookies! He did, however, enjoy a few of them once they were baked...
I hope you all had a great weekend! The temps here as I write this is -9 degrees and with the wind chill feels like -16 according to The high today was -1. Stay warm!