26 July 2013

Pinned It & Did It: Baby Swing

I'm going to give you a brief break from birthday party Pin-spired creations to show you the new addition at our house. This isn't so much my project as it was a collaboration.

Before I get ahead of myself, here's the pin that started it:

Pin. Original Source.

I made the fabric bits, all double sewed with heavy duty thread, and I ordered the hardware parts from that-online-store-that-makes-our-lives-so-much-more-convenient. For the wood pieces, I turned to Madeleine's Grandpa David, the expert woodworker. He turned out some beautiful dowel rods. George did the majority of the final assembly. Madeleine shared her joy to wrap up the project.


Ours twists a little bit, but it's still safe and sturdy for our wee girl.

24 July 2013


This week, I'm starting several pieces for a custom nursery for a dear friend of mine. I just have to share this delicious stack of fabric before I cut into it. Didn't this mama-to-be pick out some fun stuff?! 

22 July 2013

Family Pictures!

As I mentioned, our favorite photographers, Aaron and Meg, came along to the first birthday party. Getting the party shots was actually just icing on the cake because we'd originally asked them to come and shoot family photos for each of the families.

I'm thrilled with the results and so excited to share our favorites with you!

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

19 July 2013

Pinned It & Did It: Balloon Wreath

This was one of those projects where I probably wouldn't have done it if I'd known exactly what was involved. However, it's been a big hit and will be reused for future celebrations and birthday.

First, I saw this cute picture on a pin.

Pin. Original source unknown.

I found several similar projects on Pinterest to give me some guidance. Then, I went to town buying my supplies. In the end, I used 200 floral pins, 400 balloons (10- and 12-inch latex), one foam wreath, a stock craft store number (sanded and painted white), and a bit of white ribbon.

I didn't take photos of the steps, but here's how it went down:
   1. Marked the foam wreath form into seven sections so that each color would be (mostly) evenly represented.
   2. Placed two balloons of the same color (one "facing" each way) on a u-shaped floral pin and then pushed the pin into the wreath form. I didn't pierce the balloons, so that I could (theoretically) reuse them if I wanted to.
   3. Repeated step two until I was getting close to the line. At that point, I did roughly a half dozen pins with one balloon of each color (current color and next color).
   4. Repeated step two with the next color until it was time to repeat step three.
   5. Once the wreath was very nearly full of balloons, I attached the number (previously drilled, sanded, painted, and attached with a ribbon) with a ribbon.
   6. Then I attached the hanging ribbon.
   7. To finish it off, I added a few more of the first and last color balloons until it looked continuous and full.

Ta - da!

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

What are you making out of balloons these days?

17 July 2013

Rainbow First Birthday Party

Madeleine didn't have her own birthday party. Instead, we chose to celebrate her birthday along with her six PEPS friends, all born within six weeks of each other. Because I was really anxious (in a good way) to craft up a storm, George and I hosted the festivities. 

When we were doing initial planning, one of the clever moms (that's you, Erin!) noticed that there were seven babies and seven colors in ROYGBIV. Thus, the theme was born. In the interest of full disclosure, we substituted pink between red and orange and got rid of indigo (too close to violet). Each "baby" was assigned a color according to birth order, with red being the oldest.

{There are some cute kiddo photos at the bottom of this post, but I'm going to make you wade through the decorations first. You're welcome.}

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Inspired by Misha

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Here are the seven, in reverse age order, last October.

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography


Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

So, yeah, the party was rainbow themed, using as many balloons and buntings as possible. If you ask me, it doesn't get more festive.

{Pssst - Want to know how to make your own bunting? Check out my tutorial.}

About a minute after ROYGBIV was suggested as a theme, another clever mom (that's you, Kelly!) suggested that each kid have a cake of their assigned color for a group cake smash. During said cake smash, the kiddos would have their assigned color of balloon waving behind them.

With just balloons, we had five happy boys and two grumpy girls:

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

I can't speak for the others, but I seriously doubted our ability to pull off this feat, especially after the meltdown that resulted from the babies being dressed in their matching shirts and set down with their balloons. (Oh yeah, this was after six of the seven babies had been through a family portrait session on this reeeeeeeally hot day, too.)

You know what? I was completely wrong! Are these the cutest, happiest babies or what?!

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Madeleine was super into her banana cake with lemon blueberry cream cheese frosting. 

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

The kiddos ate and played in their cakes for quite a while. From there, we moved them toward the water table and hose before wrapping up the celebration with some more play and lounging. It was a fun, fun day despite the heat and a few being ill and jet lagged.

It was an honor to get to host the party, and it is even more of an honor to get to share so much of the parenting journey with our PEPS family. A year ago, I was just getting an email about our group forming in late July. Now, they're an integral part of our local network. (If you're in King County and having a baby...or already have a baby and need a support network, hook up with PEPS.)

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Special shout out to Aaron and Meg (of Evantide Photography) for capturing the memories of such a momentous occasion. You guys are the best!  

15 July 2013

Year in Review

I'm looking forward to sharing photos from Madeleine's first birthday party later this week, so I thought this would be a good time to have a look back at the first year of her life. That, and I might have a mutiny on my hands if we go another day without a Madeleine post. 

Brand new.

Six months.

One year.

Personality. Madeleine has an awesome personality (no bias here - nope). She is this great (challenging) combination of chilled and high energy. She can adapt to different schedules, places, and people, but oooooh does this girl like to go! She is a climber with little fear, yet shows a lot of caution in learning to stand and walk unassisted. She is incredibly social and happily gives smiles to anyone who will give her attention. Even though she only has a few words, she babbles up a storm when we're at home or in the car. She tends to be more reserved around others, especially other kids. 

Favorites. Our sweet girl is equal parts Daddy's girl and Mama's girl. She gets absolutely thrilled when Daddy comes home, comes into the room, or just comes within earshot. Then again, there are absolutely moments when only a Mum will do. 

 Sweet Pea. Baby Girl. Sweet Madeleine. Miss M. Miss Madeleine. Madeleine Monster. Monsterkins. Babykins. Cutiekins. Super Storm Madeleine. Wiggle Woo. Wiggle Monster. Snuggle Pop. Snuggles.

Food. Despite our rookie mistake with trying to feed Madeleine grown up steel cut oats for her first food, Madeleine is generally a good eater. Admittedly, she fluctuates between eating everything in sight and throwing everything in sight on the floor. Thankfully, though, the latter phase usually ends just as I'm about to craft a Craigslist ad (KIDDING!). She loves strawberries, quinoa, cheese, hummus, tortilla, roasted red peppers, eggs, and potatoes. She has a love/hate relationship with broccoli and bananas - just depends on the week. She has consistently turned her nose up at avocado. 

Madeleine: 1     Gnocchi: 0

Sleep. For the most part, Madeleine has been a good sleeper. She's slept in her crib in the nursery since she was 24 hours old. She learned early on how to put herself to sleep. The hiccups she's had this year (during our trip to NZ and from nine months to 11 months) came because she convinced George and I that she needed us...even though we all would have been better off if we'd reminded her of how to sleep properly through the night. Live and learn. 

Lovies. While Madeleine doesn't specifically ask for any of her lovies, she gets especially happy when she sees Haka Bear, her stuffed kiwi, Kitty Cat (Beanie Baby), Fuzzy Bear (Baby Gund), and Brown Bear. She sleeps with Kitty Cat and Fuzzy Bear and sometimes refuses to give them up when it's time to get out of the crib. 

Toys. It's hard to call out a favorite for the year because so much has changed over this year. She loved her play gym for the first six months and her Jumperoo from six to nine months. Her rattle Oball was a favorite in the early days. The magic toy was the best during our visit to NZ. The bird (pajarito) in her carseat has been with her all year and is a favorite way for her to "ring" her parents from the backseat. She loved My First Pets. She went through a few months of absolutely looooving balls of all kinds, especially her sensory balls. She currently loves to nest cups and rock in her rocking chair, not necessarily at the same time. 

Books. Madeleine loooves books. Her Haiku Baby book was the first one in which she could turn the pages. Day at the Market is a favorite of mother and daughter. She loves the Harry Maclary books from New Zealand and anything by Eric Carle, especially Brown Bear

Game. This is no contest. Madeleine adores playing peek-a-boo at all hours of the day and night. It's pretty much the sure way to get a smile out of her, even when she's not in a great mood and especially after bathtime. 

Friends. Our sweet girl has been lucky enough to get together with her six PEPS buddies (Austin, Nolan, Luca, Hannah, Cooper, and Jack) almost every week for the last year. She enjoyed "playing" with her friends and cousins in New Zealand, and she has been able to hang out with the Midglets twice this year. She adores being adored by the older kids living next door, too. 

Traveling. Madeleine has been a busy traveler this year, starting with her first flight at six weeks. She has been to Ohio, the Bay Area, to and throughout the North Island of New Zealand, Las Vegas, Dallas and Fort Worth, Phoenix, and Portland. That's seven states and two continents. Not bad. 

Memorable Moments. Madeleine was a ray of sunshine during some particularly tough times this year, like when my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor and when I had to suddenly have an appendectomy on vacation. I'll never forget her first smile (brought out by my mom) on my 30th birthday, her first crawl in Denaye and David's backyard, and her first word spoken on our front porch. I recall the trust on her face when George took her into the swimming pool for the first time. George and I were so fortunate to be able to introduce her to so many of our friends and family this year, spanning a large portion of the globe, and each introduction carries its own memories. I have a hard time describing the utter joy that comes across Madeleine's face (and voice) when she spots a dog, but it's priceless. It's been very special to get bonding time while nursing Madeleine during this first year; there is simply nothing else like a baby cuddle. Even though I may not think about it at every diaper change, it is neat to be able to put her bum in fluff for most of the year. 

Oh, what a year it has been! Our precious baby is growing into an energetic little girl, and I can't wait to see where this next year will take us!