Sunday, November 9, 2014

Halloween 2014

As Charley gets older and has more opinions, this DIY costume thing we have going on is definitely going to be more difficult. This year, I just crossed my fingers she wouldn't choose to be a Disney Princess or any other character and I asked her what she wanted to be. Her answer: a pink hippo! Yay! It was original and I liked it! I brainstormed about how to make the costume for a couple of weeks and then started to buy a few things for it including a pink sweatsuit one size too big that I would stuff to make her nice and plump like a hippo. I couldn't wait!

To steer clear of any meltdowns, I occasionally would ask Charley once again what she wanted to be for Halloween, and about 2 weeks out from Halloween her answer suddenly changed to a pink kitty cat. I asked a couple times a day for several days to be sure she had changed her mind and it seemed she had. Sure, the cat would be easier but it's not as original nor is it as fun in my opinion. But, that's what the girl wanted so that's what we did.

Charley's favorite color is pink, obviously, but her second favorite color is black so I took creative liberty and decided she would have some black stripes on her pink costume also. A few days before Halloween I started putting it together.


I bought a long sleeved pink shirt and some pink pants from Old Navy for about $10 I think. And, even though they were really cheap, I didn't want to waste 2 perfectly good pieces of clothing so I brainstormed on how I could stripe up her clothing without ruining the shirt and pants. My solution: double sided tape and black felt.


It wasn't perfect by any means. Some of the stripes stuck up at the ends because the tape wasn't placed all the way to the end. And once I applied the stripes, it reminded me more of a tiger's stripes (or even Tigger's stripes) than a cat's stripes, but it was good enough and Charley was thrilled about it which is all that matters anyways. 

Charley went back and forth on whether she wanted her whole face painted pink or not but a) I could never find the creamy face paint that covers a face well in pink and b) she ultimately decided against having her whole face pink and opted for just a pink nose and black whiskers. Easy enough!


We made her collar with a piece of ribbon and a toy coin we got from the Renaissance Festival a couple weeks ago, added a bell, and double sided taped that one together too. The ears we already owned and we did make some paws out of some fuzzy pink fabric adhered to a pair of mittens with the fingertips cut off, but in the end we actually forgot to put those on before heading out to trick or treat. It was definitely the most simple costume we've done yet!


But it wasn't my favorite. I think Raggedy Ann is still my favorite and the peacock a close second! But she still enjoyed herself and still loaded up on candy so I'd call it a win!

My nieces were Little Red Riding Hood and Little Red Riding Hood's Sick Granny - their entire costumes (minus the cape) from Goodwill! It was a cheap Halloween for all!

And then when we got home, we ripped the stripes and tape off of the shirt and pants and tossed them into the washer! Cheapest costume ever - paid a few dollars for the face paint, maybe $1 on black felt, $2 or $3 on the pink fuzzy fabric we used on her paws and tail, and everything else we already owned or planned to keep! Pretty awesome!


Can't wait to see what she comes up with next year. I'm still pulling for the pink hippo, but something tells me her mind will change a million times between now and then!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sixteen Weeks

Sixteen weeks! Stealing this little survey thing from a fellow April '15 Mama to get a snapshot of this pregnancy at this point. I don't have it in me to keep this up weekly, so you can either breathe a sigh of relief or chastise me in the comments for that.

Date: November 6, 2014

Due Date: April 22, 2015

Weight gain: I lost 10 pounds in that awful first trimester, and have gained about 7 of that back. So I'm still down 3 or so.

Belly Shot: 16 weeks is when I started having a bump and not just all over belly pudge with Charley, and it seems to be the same this time. Although looks a bit bigger this time, but I did start out with a bit extra this time too so makes sense.

Charley Bump, Laney Bump

Photo thoughts: In pictures it is definitely a bump because I make sure to hold the top or bottom of my shirt in to highlight the roundness of it. I don't however walk around with my hand like that so I notice many curious glances at my belly both by those that know and strangers that can't tell. Maternity clothes have helped a lot this week in distinguishing a bump versus pudge but it still isn't that pronounced.

Pregnancy Symptoms/How I'm feeling: I still have random nausea which is really annoying. GO. AWAY. Also been getting headaches after lunch but am wondering if I just need to up my water intake a bit more. Ahhh. As if I'm not in the bathroom enough as it is. Which is another symptom - I don't know if it's the way she's sitting versus the way Charley was sitting in there, but I remember thinking I didn't have much of a change in how often I had to pee when I was pregnant with Charley and that definitely is not the case with this baby.

Cravings: I WANT sweets all of the time, but 75% of the time they make me feel icky afterwards. Same with soda. I  WANT it, but it makes me feel bad after I drink it.

Sleep: Sleep is good. Occasionally I will wake up after an intense dream around 4 or so in the morning and it takes me a bit to get back to sleep, but falling asleep initially is no problem. I also don't have to get up to pee at all so plenty of good night's sleeps over here.

What I’m loving/I can't live without: Heating pad. Really helps with some tailbone pain I've had or just back pain at the end of the day.

What I miss? All the fall beers. It really hasn't been too bad with missing those tasty drinks, but when I'm going to hang out with a friend or when John and I went on a date it was hard to come up with something to do that doesn't involve getting a couple of drinks. That sounds awful, doesn't it? Ha!

What I’m anticipating/Looking forward to: I am anxious for my doctor appointment next Thursday. It's just a regular heartbeat check and I'm able to check that at home but I just like going and hearing that everything is still going okay.

What I’m stressing about/worries: Just the usual stuff - something's not right or is going to go wrong.

Milestones: Found out this little baby is a GIRL at our elective ultrasound on Sunday! So excited!

Aha Moment: This baby girl's name is going to be Laney, and my sister realized that my girls are now Laney and Janey (Charley's middle name is Jane, and my sister often calls her Janey). Love it!

Differences between pregnancies: Definitely have felt worse this pregnancy and have had way more worries, but otherwise the belly seems to be growing at about the same rate. Time is definitely going by faster with this pregnancy though!

Highlights of the week: Obviously the big one was finding out this baby is a girl. Also had a great time on Halloween which I promise to write about soon!


Goals for the upcoming week: Organize another area in the house this weekend! Remember to take those darn vitamins every single day! Drink more water!

Movement: Nothing absolute yet. I remember it being later with Charley too, but since I know what it feels like now I'm thinking it will be very soon.

Boy or girl: Girl! Laney Beth

Birthdate prediction: Still pretty early for this one and I'm sure I'm shooting myself in the foot by guessing an early date, but I'm going with April 9th.

Summary: I know I won't keep up with these weekly, but I would like some sort of formal documentation of this pregnancy at each stage. I didn't really do these with Charley either and it's not like I'll need this information for future pregnancies because those will not be happening, but it's good to be able to look back on stuff like this for when friends may ask "when did you have your elective ultrasound?" or "were you still nauseous at 16 weeks?" etc.

Overall though, feeling much more positive as each week passes and am excited to get to the anatomy scan first, and then to actually start working on the nursery! Pinterest was not in existence when I designed Charley's nursery so I can't wait to start there.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Quick Takes

The song 'Bang Bang' by Jessie J. (took me over a month to figure out ANY lyrics to the song so I could Google it and include it here) is the worst song ever made. I listen to a morning show that is on the pop radio station so I get to pretend to stay hip and up to date with all the new pop songs. And this one is AWFUL. Monotone, lady rapping, screaming, screeching. HATE it. It's the only song I can ever remember having to turn the radio all the way down when it comes on.


Charley is cracking me up lately. I don't know if these things will translate well to written form or to people that don't know her personally but I'm sharing anyways. It's not even that funny and it for sure wouldn't be funny if an adult said them, but hearing her use phrases I've not heard her use before and in the appropriate context makes me laugh so hard. It's like she's a little person or something!

So, Charley and I ran to the Dollar Tree to get a few things I needed to finish decorating for Halloween a couple weeks ago. As we were pulling out of the driveway Charley asked where John was since she knew he was outside somewhere but didn't see him. I told her he was in the backyard near her playground set and her follow up question was "Is he working on it??!" I told her no, he was working on the irrigation system and her response was "Oh! You scared me for a minute!" And I died laughing. See, not even that funny but a little wee person using that phrase just amuses me.

Then, while in the Dollar Tree I couldn't find the clothespins within the area I knew they should be. I said out loud "I just don't see them anywhere!" and started to walk away. With Charley following behind me and also helping to look for the missing clothespins she shakes her head and says "strange, strange, strange". Again, I laughed. I wonder at what age will it no longer amuse me that she uses phrases appropriately and in context? I guess when I come to terms with the fact that she really is a little person and not a baby, maybe?


At yard sales one weekend I found an accent chair that I LOVED for $35. It was a minty green color, in great shape and just so happens to help with my mint green accent thing I have going on in my living room. I get it home and get John to bring it in for me's just not right. I need help.

So, our couch is not really 100% my style but it is functional for our room and it was the right price and that's done. It is IKEA, and therefore a bit more modern of a look than I'd normally go for, but since it's a floating couch in a room that didn't offer very many functional configurations it really works well. The lower back keeps the room nice and open which was totally a happy accident. I do normally prefer higher-backed couches so the fact that we ended up with this one and it works well in the room was just by chance.

Anyways, so the chair is not lower-backed like the couch. The seat is higher than the couch and even though it's not directly next to the couch, I think it looks a bit off. First thought was to change the legs. I could even buy the exact legs that are on the couch, but I'm worried that the chair will look funny with short legs and a tall back like that. What are we thinking? Leave it? Put it elsewhere in the house? Another suggestion?


And now that I've taken the pictures to accompany this and have looked at it for a couple of weeks I don't think it's THAT bad. But maybe you'll have some good suggestions anyways.


Can I eat you up Charley?
No, I'm not very tasty.


I've shared on Facebook and on Instagram so I've probably covered most of my bases, but I know there are some exclusive blog people too so I need to share here too. Sorry for those of you that will now see this for the third time! My social networking people are spread across many outlets; I can't help it!

We went to have an elective ultrasound yesterday at 15 weeks 4 days because we aren't very patient people. Also, the anxiety with this pregnancy is only lessened by ultrasounds and this was one to bridge the gap from that last one at 8 weeks and the next one that won't be until 21 weeks or so since we declined the NT scan.

So anyways, I'll post the video of Charley sharing the news but for those of us that can't just watch videos at any time of the day I'll put the cliff's notes transcript right here: IT'S A GIRL!


Still relating to pregnancy, I have been playing hide the bump at work thus far because I wasn't ready for everyone to know because I still am not completely convinced this baby is happening - likely due to my history. I like to go around pretending all is good because I don't want to remember this pregnancy as one that I didn't get as excited about as I did with Charley's or whatever, but that sinking feeling is still there. So, if less people knew at work, the less I would have to put on my fake excited face. (Granted, it isn't ALL fake by any means, but sometimes I just have a hard time accepting congratulations and all.)

Anyways, I guess I am embracing the bump today.

Excuse the bedhead - hadn't gotten around to that yet this morning.

Well, I'll be sure to embrace it as soon as I take this coat off. 


Yesterday I gave myself a 20 minute break in cleaning up our disaster of a house (I am only about 3 months behind on laundry and everything else it seems) to play on the computer for a bit. I really wanted to finally update my header to the current month since I missed October so I played around with that and created a new one. Whew. I wouldn't be missing TWO months in a row - no way.

Last night as we were laying in bed John visited my blog to see if there were any updates and said "Oh! You made a new header!" which reminded me to look at it on mobile to see how I liked it. 

I pull it up and could have smacked myself. That should definitely say NOVEMBER not OCTOBER you idiot. And of course I created it in Photoshop and didn't save the Photoshop version of it (only the jpeg) so I'll have to recreate the whole darn thing. Idiot!

(And I'll stick a picture of it here in case you are reading in a reader or if you read this at a later date...)


That's all I've got I think. I still have some house updates to share and of course Halloween to share, but those will have to be another day. Happy Monday!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


I officially am petitioning to have October renamed as Festivober. The amount of festivals squeezed into one month is outrageous. And exhausting. And fun.

This year we only managed 4 festivals in Festivober, but that's because we spent one weekend of October at the beach. We easily could have made it to 6 this year had it not been for that pesky trip. Can't believe I picked the ocean and perfect weather over hayrides, tons of people and pumpkins. I'm obviously not thinking right.

Anyways, so the first festival we went to this year was our second annual trip to the Anne Springs Close Greenway Fall Frolic - because anything with a name that long HAS to be fun. And well, it was fun last year so I figured it'd be fun again. Spoiler alert: it was.

And since it was the second annual, comparison pictures to last year are a must. MUST. It's in the rule book. [Rule 14.a. Any activity visited for consecutive years, photographed in a similar nature, and shared on any type of social media must include side by side comparisons with prior year(s).]

I even took the rule one step further when I saw the same dress (in a different color) Charley wore to last year's festival in her current size at a consignment sale - I went ahead and purchased that dress for her to wear to this year's festival for the ultimate in consistency.


We even kept the helmet crooked year over year to ensure consistency.


Much safer now that she can see over the steering wheel.

250228 copy

Hmm, this last one is odd. Those pumpkins are the exact same size. 

So that was festival number 1 in Festivober. We knew that one was a favorite so we did it early in the month so the crowds wouldn't be as bad. We then took the next weekend off for that beach trip I mentioned. If I was really serious about Festivober I would've found a festival AT the beach, but oh well. We have to leave ourselves a cushion to improve upon next year.

The next festival we also visited last year and is my wallet's favorite one. It's just a little one at a shopping center near me and everything is FREE. Well, 99% of it is. So naturally, more crowded but it really isn't that bad. We still were able to do everything we wanted to do except a couple things that we protested based on the wait time alone. (face painting and balloon animals.) 

Here's a list of the free stuff though: free pumpkin and free stickers with which to decorate your pumpkin, free cupcake and free icing with which to decorate your own cupcake, a free child's pizza they are able to make themselves, from Home Depot - a free apron and kit with which to make and paint a toolbox, free bounce houses, free horse and carriage rides, free samples from various restaurants (cider, cookies, cheese sticks, chicken wings, etc) free games, free massages, free, free, free, free, free! Awesome, yes? 

Only non-awesome part is that last year the only picture I took was of the face painting and this year we did NO FACE PAINTING. No consistency here except for the fact that I only really took ONE picture this year too. 


Festival 3 was a last minute change-up. Originally the plan was to go to the Hot Air Balloon Fest we normally go to each year but at the last minute due to some family members with the sickies and others (me) not wanting to make the long drive to the festival, Charley and I decided we would just do the Fall Festival at the local theme park Carowinds instead. We have season passes to this park so this one was also in the low end of the $$$ spectrum. 

Everything was free here too. Free pumpkin, free petting zoo, free Halloween show, free balloon, $3.49 lollipop. Ok, so not everything.


Festival 4 was today. We met some friends at the Carolina Renaissance Festival in our best Renaissance garbs. 

Just kidding - we just kind of did our best people-watching-but-not-quite-staring at those people. So, um, fascinating that so many people take this festival so serious. We were really there for the turkey legs and the beer (well, not ALL of us) and the entertainment for the kids. Well - just our kid I guess because the other two were still pretty tiny. Next year though! Next year they'll be big enough to fit into a Renaissance costume and we will all get into it!

And my camera was on the wrong setting for about 75% of the time we were there. Darn exposure. Photoshop helped some of them but many were not in focus. BOO HOO. 

But some were pretty good!

John does not actually have blue hair, and I actually do not have the energy to color correct.

I know there are still 6 days left of this month and therefore plenty of more time for festivalling, but I'm going to go ahead and call it. We still have a costume to make and a pumpkin to carve so that should successfully finish out our Halloweeny month.

Oh, and if I get around to it perhaps I'll change my header to an October header before the end of the month too. I can't have 55 months of monthly-header-changing consistency and ruin because of some busy festivalling and beaching. I need to get my priorities in order, that's for sure.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Great Clean Out

My mom was (and still is) a stickler for keeping things clean and organized. Once a year she would reorganize everything in the house and she would call these annual feats THE GREAT CLEAN OUT. Yesterday I found myself doing the same thing - and I was oddly excited about it. We're a lot alike, she and I.

The plan was to take advantage of the morning because I usually feel better in the mornings than the rest of the day. (Yes, still not 100% over here. Puked up a BAGEL yesterday morning! A bagel! The epitome of safe pregnancy carby eating!) Charley's room was out of control both just clutter-y wise and organization wise. I knew that before we could even think about doing anything to the spare room for the future nursery that we would a) have to get her toys out of there as she's currently using it as a playroom and b) get her room organized. So we'll call this great clean out 'Nesting: Part I'.

I set foot in her room with the sole purpose of just cleaning it up. And maybe finding a couple of reorganization solutions. It turned into a full day where I hired (with hugs) my handy husband to rebuild her entire closet. Well, not the entire thing. Just 75% of it.

This was her closet before:


There are also shelves on the left side as well that we built to take advantage of the nooks on either side of the closet. The stuff on top of the shelf is all clothing and shoes in larger sizes and all that we hang up at this age are coats and jackets. However, we have a coat closet so as soon as I can pare down (or move into my own closet) some of my own many coats or jackets, we can move hers in there and would no longer need the hanging space. And while I love the IKEA Expedit, shelving all the way across would make the space more functional because getting to those bottom floor shelves is pretty difficult and the Expedit unit can be used either in the nursery or in the basement one day. So, shelves all the way across he built. (We plan on rebuilding the closet to include hanging space again whenever she gets older.)


Which left me with these few things to organize and fit back in there.


But that would have been too easy and wouldn't follow the rules for THE GREAT CLEAN OUT. Basically, during the great clean out you go through it all. The junk box, every game to inspect for any/all missing pieces, sift through Legos to make sure a rogue Lincoln Log hasn't joined the Lego party, etc. YOU GO THROUGH IT ALL. So that's what I did.

(I will admit I'm not as great as my mom. As she did her GREAT CLEAN OUT she would have the vacuum with the hose attachments on it next to her so she could vacuum out the boxes and baskets and shelves as she went. I....did not do any of this. I hope she doesn't think I'm a failure.)

We are missing one Buzz card from Toy Story Yahtzee and 4 sticks from Kerplunk; both of which games were acquired second hand so there is a chance we never had these pieces. If found, please send ASAP.

Once all that is done and everything is in exactly the box it should be in, you empty the baskets and other storage solutions to make sure everything is being used optimally. And then you place it all back in there. And also, go ahead and pull everything from the playroom too to make sure it will all have a place when that room is ready to be used for someone else in the near future. It fits! (minus a giant doll house and a Dora house - those we will deal with later.)

Watch out for dangling purple sparkly spiders.
It really didn't take as long as I thought and even though my mom always did this while we were at school so we wouldn't protest about her throwing away our favorite happy meal toy or whatever, I was able to get it done with Charley home and even with her help from time to time. She was fine with tossing/donating/saving for a sibling a bunch of stuff out of the junk box or toys she no longer cared for. Although I would be shocked if she had hoarder tendencies as both John and I are tossers and not savers.

I kept all of her books on the Expedit shelving thing that is now housed in the spare bedroom/future nursery. I need to come up with a better solution for book storage and I haven't done that yet. Charley still has a lot of "baby" board books which we will put in the nursery, but to be honest she still likes reading a lot of those so I hesitate to take those from her. (and lets be real: tiny board books are really short and I consider that a huge win when she chooses those to read at night!)

And sure, her closet would look better with uniform baskets and cubes and all, but ehhh. It's a kid's closet that has doors that close. I just don't see the point in wasting the money. Things are labeled and organized and she can still get to most of her favorite things herself. And being able to see it all has her playing with things she forgot she had when it was tucked into the nook shelving we had before. Yay!

I plan on continuing THE GREAT CLEAN OUT (is anyone else saying those words similar to how THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ is said on The Wizard of Oz or just me?) with the other rooms of the house. Because THE GREAT CLEAN OUT doesn't stop at one room. Well, I say that. We'll see how my energy is looking and we'll go from there. I'm on a organization high so I need to keep it up or I'm going to lose my momentum. Or maybe I'll hire my mom (with hugs) to come do the rest. I'm sure she won't mind. I mean, she made me like this! She's going to have to make up for my shortcomings! It's only fair!

Friday, October 10, 2014


13 weeks with Charley.

4 weeks with a chemical pregnancy in January 2014.

And 12 weeks so far with a HEALTHY PREGNANCY here in October 2014.

For a grand (depressing) total of FIFTY NINE WEEKS. That's how much time I've spent in the first trimester in my life, and I hope that this next week is the LAST week I'll ever spend in a first trimester. I may have considered more than two children earlier in my life, but I am stating right now that I don't have it in me to TRY to get to this point ever again. It's been a nightmare which looks like it may finally end up with a happy ending.

This first trimester has been pretty awful for me. I know it's no where near as bad as some have it, but the morn-after-ning sickness and puking and exhaustion and inability to eat for so long has gotten old. Most have told me it's a good thing to be sick; that maybe that means a healthy pregnancy this time. But on the flip side I was lucky enough to be sick with each and every pregnancy whether they turned out healthy or not. So yeah. Fun times over here.

Enough with the depressing part though. I THINK I'm finally ready to put the skepticism and negativity behind me. A successful 12 week appointment yesterday where I heard a solid heartbeat of 158 has inched me closer to the believer's camp and out of the skeptic's camp. It is such a change of pace for me, who is usually Mrs. Positivity to an annoying degree, to have a hard time accepting congratulations and the excitement of the friends and family that we've told. I just couldn't believe that this was really going to happen this time. I'm so used to it not happening. It looks like this is happening though on or around April 22nd, 2015. Whoa.

So, that should explain some things. 1, why this poor blog has gone dormant for the past 6 weeks. For one, I couldn't talk about the thing on the forefront of my mind so it made it difficult to talk about anything else. Also, I usually do my blogging in the evenings and with only a desktop at home (because Lord knows I'm not using the Blogger app on the iPad. Just no.) and with the desire to only be in the laying-down position in the evenings, that wasn't happening. Last night was the first night in a couple months that I didn't a) go to bed at 9 something and b) need to be laying down for the entirety of the evening. I uploaded some long overdue pictures to Facebook and did some laundry and packed for a weekend trip. It was amazing to be a productive member of my household again. (I can see John laughing and rolling his eyes that I included uploading pictures to Facebook as part of productivity.)

It should also explain (one of the reasons) why Charley's birthday party was so scaled down this year in terms of guests. I just really wasn't sure how much I'd be able to get done so I didn't want the added pressure of feeling like crap and trying to get things done if I had guests coming over. My family doesn't count - they would have showed up with boxes of Bojangles chicken and a decorated grocery store cake and ate it at a dirty kitchen table if I'd asked. Luckily I was able to do some party prep so that turned out okay. I'm sure removing the pressure of extra guests helped me relax and get things done too.

This also explains why the gallery wall project is STILL not complete. Frames are painted and hung, but most remain empty of art. As soon as that second trimester burst of energy hits I'm on it!


It explains why a box of Kraft Mac n Cheese has been the entirety of my dinner quite a few times over the last few weeks.


Explains why I had to button my cardigan all the way to the top on this day where a very red smoothie violently came back up and splashed on me at work. Wahhhh. That was the last smoothie I've had too.


Also, I DO have a new job and will not meet the 1 year requirement for FMLA coverage when this baby is born. That was NOT in our plan, but you know how plans go. All this trouble to get pregnant and stay pregnant when we were trying and then we try NOT to try and boom. Healthy baby. Ultimately, my plan was to stay at my old job and take advantage of their good maternity leave policy for baby #2, and leave some time after that. But after that last miscarriage in March I decided to scrap that plan and get out of there and figure out the "plan" as I went. New job doesn't have as good of a maternity leave plan but the overall happiness factor makes up for it. I'm so much happier at my new job that we will figure it all out as we go. 

I was going to wait until the anatomy scan to share the news so I'd hopefully have a baby bump picture to share as well, but we all know how much of an oversharer I am. I have lost 7 pounds so far and am still wearing my regular clothes that still button up so no bump to speak of. (which, if I'm being honest, does make me paranoid too that something's not right. Why am I not bloated yet!? And yes, that does sound as ridiculous to me as I'm sure it does to you.) 

We will be finding out the sex of the baby and since the doctor's office was going to make us wait until mid-December, we took things into our own hands and scheduled an elective ultrasound for November 2nd. That's only twenty three days!! TWENTY THREE DAYS! Holy moly canoli!

I'm really feeling girl, John wants a girl, and Charley is adamant about wanting a sister (with no prompting from either of us, I swear!) Having sisters is so special to me (not that my brother isn't special, but it's just a different (and still wonderful!) relationship) so that's the main reason I want Charley to have one, but of course we will be thrilled with whatever this baby is. And you know how crazy I am about this specific Chinese Gender chart, and it also says girl. So, naturally, I'm sure this is a boy.

Anyways, what else could I possibly share? I know I've left stuff out because I've been writing this post in my head for WEEKS and it was much longer in my head. Ask questions! I am just so happy to talk about it now. And I'll take all the hopes and prayers that this pregnancy continues to be a healthy one and my paranoia subsides. I could really use any and all of those.

Thanks for still checking in on me! I've missed it around here!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Charley's Birthday Party

I feel like I have had a bajillion posts here, on Instagram and on Facebook in the last three days regarding Charley's birthday and party preparations and all, so I promise this is the last thing. I just had to share a few things we did for her party and then that's it until September 4, 2015 - PROMISE!

So, for Charley's birthday this year I went back and forth with what I wanted to do. Charley's friends consist of children of friends of John and I and while a couple of them she is closer with (Ella, Aidan) and are her age, for the most part they are all older and it's hard to entertain a wide range of children at a birthday party. The older kids are bored with toddler activities and it just stresses me out. SO. I decided we were doing family only. The family that Charley is very familiar with and it wouldn't be stressful to have them over if my house wasn't spotless or the food wasn't ready on time (it wasn't). I just needed the stress factor removed this year.

When I was still considering a normal friends and family party I was going to do a umbrellas and rain boots themed party, because we all know that Charley lives in rain boots. But then once I took the party down a notch I decided that the thing that Charley would love the most was not a Pinterest inspired party chosen by me, but a party she designs and plans herself so to speak. One Friday night I took Charley to the party aisles at Wal-Mart and basically let her throw whatever she wanted in the cart with no input from me.


Some of it was quite normal: pink balloons, streamer in different colors, cupcake plates for cake, but then the character stuff she chose got pretty random. We ended up with a Mike Wazowski pinata, Monsters University tablecloth, Minnie and Daisy plates and party blowouts, Disney Princesses cups and a pink leopard party hat that we forgot to wear. On top of that, Charley was very specific with her cake request of a Goofy cake with pink writing. To her, that was the "perfect party" so that's what we went with. Can you believe I let her do all that character stuff after my outright hatred of character stuff? Man, I'm getting soft.

Last night I set to work on Charley's cake. My problem with buying cakes from some of the amazing cake decorators around is that yes, the cakes look AWESOME when they are done, but a lot of the times the cakes are dry or not the tastiest cakes because they a) take so long to do that they have to make them ahead of time and b) they use fondant instead of sweet, sweet buttercream icing which I'm not a fan of. I like the sweet stuff, and nothing can compare to a plain ol' grocery store birthday cake. So yes, I did look through the book at our local grocery store Harris Teeter for the off chance that a Goofy cake was in there but as I thought, it was not. So I ordered a cake with nothing on it but a green border so I'd still get my grocery store cake, but I could add Goofy myself. Here was my starting point. (They accidentally gave me a 1/2 sheet cake instead of a 1/4 sheet like I ordered, which ended up being a good thing because I don't know that I could have scaled Goofy down enough to fit on a cake half this size. I tend to draw very large.)


I printed a couple of images of Goofy's face and set them down next to the cake. I also watched this quick little video of how to draw Goofy which did actually give me a couple of pointers too. From that video I decided I should fold my drawing in fourths to find the center point to kind of keep things in scale. That seriously helped a lot when sketching it out with icing. I made a dot for my center, and went from there. This was after the first sketch and I wasn't terribly sure about him at this point.


From there I just put a #16 tip on my icing bags and set to work filling in the colors. I also purchased the same buttercream icing that the grocery store uses. When I used to work at the Cookie Company we used that buttercream to decorate with and I've never been able to buy or make any icing that compares for decorating. Luckily my grocery store sells this icing in little tubs for only a few dollars, so again, one less step for me to screw up. I bought white and green and a little tube of black (not from the bakery) and used those to mix all of the other colors.

I filled in the colors, outlined with black and then wrote in pink just as Charley requested. I was so, so pleased with it when it was done. It has seriously been at least 8 or 9 years that I've decorated a cake like this so I thought my end result may be laughable, but instead it ended up paining me to cut it! Ha!


Ok enough about the cake. I was obviously pretty proud of it which is why I can't shut up about it.

Anyways, so I squeezed in a party when everyone was free and for the first time in a while, all 17 of my immediate family were able to make it (and we didn't do a family picture - ahhhhh!). We grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, had some guacamole and chips and called it a meal.

The party was pretty casual and fun. We just chatted, the kiddos tossed balloons around and played, opened presents, played some pin the tail on the donkey and knocked open the pinata. Easy peasy.

The poor donkey though - the party was at 12:30 and at 12:22 I decided to sketch him out real quick. Listen - Goofy turned out good because he took 2 hours. Spending 2 minutes on a donkey didn't fare well AT ALL. Here was the image I used to copy...


 and here is how mine turned out after I let Charley and my nephews color him in some...

See, what happened was - I placed his one eye too far over to the right, so I added in the second eye to fill in some of that space and well, he's just horrible. Poor little donkey!
But you know what...who cares! That darn donkey game was a hit and tons of us ended up playing. Kids, adults, big kids and teenagers. We had some good laughs over that donkey too.


We hit the pinata in the garage and then all of us scrambled to get some candy and fruit snacks. Adults get to play too when the kid count is low!


So anyways, even as much as I enjoy putting together the more Pinteresty parties, you can't beat your toddler repeatedly telling you "this is the best party EVER" all day long. Granted, she's only had 3 years of party experience to compare to, it will still make ya feel good. And you'll feel good too when you aren't stressing to clean your baseboards at the last second. That's not to say I didn't run around at the last second, but it definitely wasn't a stressful run around. I liked it; I recommend.

Just a couple more pictures. Then that's it. Done with the birthday stuff. Promise...


It was a good day!