Luna’s First Birthday Party (On a Budget)

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Before having Luna, I swore I would not be one of those parents that goes stupidly nuts for a kid’s birthday parties. Don’t get me wrong, a love a good themed party, but I do not want to spend a silly amount of money on something she will never remember. Now, that I am a parent, and just planned the big first birthday party, I’ve got to be honest, it is hard not to go a little crazy. Planning an extravagant party is as fun as shopping for baby clothes and accessories, which is another problem I have. I am happy to say I managed to save A LOT of money and still have an amazing shindig for my baby girl.

The birthday girl wearing the outfit that her Aunt Zoey MADE her!
The birthday girl wearing the outfit that her Aunt Zoey MADE her!

I was slightly stressed out before the party. We had seven people staying at our house (not counting us), and lots of other people from out of town staying at other houses. The entire weekend was jam packed with plans and I did not know how I was going to get everything done for the party. I don’t know why I ever worried though… every person at our house pitched in, offered to help and basically did all the decorating for me without me ever even asking them to help. Our family and friends are the best and now I realize I couldn’t have gotten it all done if they had not all been staying at my house driving me nuts. Thanks guys.

birthday girl

Luna’s party was “Winter Onederland” themed. Of course, I got the idea from Pinterest. Where else? I wanted an inexpensive way to transform our house into a white glittery winter landscape and I figured out the perfect way to pull it off. Here’s what I did:

big eyes

1. I emailed everyone I live near and asked if I could have any [insert needed craft supplies] they no longer wanted. I figured everyone has random bits of construction paper, glitter, felt, ribbon, etc they want rid of and I was right.

2. I borrowed, borrowed, borrowed. I’d love to eventually own all white matching pretty serving trays and platters, but right now that’s just not possible. So, I borrowed them. I also borrowed lights and decorations. Luckily, several people decorate their house like winter wonderland for Christmas.

3. I shopped at Costco. We had brunchy type food (bagels, hummus, veggies, fruit, coffee, hot chocolate, biscotti, nuts and juice). It was easy to pick up almost all of this and disposable dishes in bulk at Costco.

4. I got crafty (and made all of our guests get crafty). We used all of those donated art supplies to create our own decorations. I just wish I had more pictures of the decor… We were so busy celebrating!

5. We had a relative make the cakes. Our Aunt Amy is an AMAZING baker. She made the most delicious tye dye cake for us and a healthy smashcake for Luna.

cakes

Clearly, Luna loved it... I did too!
Clearly, Luna loved it… I did too!
"Want a bite, Mommy?"
“Want a bite, Mommy?”

We ended up spending very little on the party. I may make all of Luna’s birthday parties winter themed…

The best part of the party planning was asking that no one brings gifts for Luna. We asked instead that our friends and family (who want to bring a gift), bring a toy to donate to the Renewal House (a residential recovery program for addicted women and their children) instead. We ended up with a nice collection of gifts for the Renewal House and are so excited to bring them their gifts! Luna is a lucky little girl, she needs nothing and we are so happy to give these toys to kids who really need them.

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Thank you all SO much for the many Birthday wishes and comments on the birthday blog and birthday video posted last week. Husband and I could not feel any luckier and our little girl couldn’t feel more loved.

our family

Oh, and if you’d like to make a donation to Renewal House, just click here!

ball pit

Cheers!

11 Months, Nope Not Possible

I’m a few days late, but on the 29th Luna turned 11 months old. How is it possible that my newborn baby is almost one!? Didn’t I just have her? I’m still recovering for goodness sake, how have 11 months come and gone?? It’s not until I see an actual newborn while out and about that I realize how grown Luna actually is. In my eyes, she is a teeny tiny little wrinkly ball of fresh baby. From my point of view, I just became a Mother. I’m still learning. I’m still exhausted. I’m still trying to get the hang of this. Yet, I’m not a new Mom, and Luna is definitely not a newborn.

11 months

During her 11 month Luna learned to do so much! She walks! I mean she can walk. She took her first step and has gradually walked more and more each day. Over the last couple of days she has chosen to walk just about everywhere. She now copies so much of what we do, and it is adorable. We spend hours clapping, playing peek-a-boo, making funny noises and putting our hands in the air. She loves attention and making us laugh.

standing

She also shown an affinity for Taylor Swift, especially Shake it Off. It has proven to be one of the 3 things that stops a meltdown in a matter of seconds. (The other two being boobies and cheerios.) Not only does it make her happy, but she literally “shakes” it off. She twists and shakes and shimmies her shoulders! It is hysterical and definitely the cutest thing ever in the history of cute. Well, that and when she attempts to throw the ball for Belle…or when we say “yay” how she claps for herself and then throws her hands in the air. What can I say? She’s just one cute kid.

This is how she walks...like a drunk Godzilla
This is how she walks…like a drunk Godzilla

This month has been another exciting month of adventures too. She volunteered with me at the Children’s Hospital and helped pack food boxes for two different organizations. She “ran” a holiday  5k, made Christmas ornaments, met Santa, saw a Christmas musical,  celebrated Hanukkah, saw the lights and ICE! at Opryland, and her had first Christmas! We got her a little trampoline for her first Christmas, but her favorite thing to play with was a box of animal crackers that she carried around all morning like a purse, go figure.

silly

I cannot believe that I will be describing her first birthday to you in less than a month. Be prepared for lots of sentimental posts around the 29th! Thank you all for stopping by and keeping up with me and this little ham!

Princess Luna
Princess Luna

Cheers!

The Highs and the Lows

Oh boy. Oh, today has been a day of the highest highs and the lowest lows. My emotional roller coaster has twisted and turned so much that I am now sick at my stomach and unable to sleep. Tonight, all I want is to hold Luna a little tighter and never never let go.

okay

I had an appointment with my hypertension specialist early this morning, which is an emotional roller coaster in itself. He literally looked me in the eye and said that I’m ridiculous and to stop being so neurotic. Thanks Doc, easier said than done. It ended on a high note and I walked across the street to the Children’s Hospital to visit my friend. My 5 min walk knocked me down about 5 pegs on the emotional scale. I wanted to hug every single parent I saw. Watching them walk the halls while pulling their sick babies in wagons or picking up lunch with their teen attached to an IV never ever gets easier.

My time in the hospital room with one of my favorite little girls was a blast, as always. We finger-painted, made Christmas cards, practiced math skills and had a dance party to Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off. At lunch, she barricaded the door and refused to let me leave, which worked. I spent four hours playing games, singing and dusting off my teacher skills.

You CANNOT listen to this and NOT dance. It's impossible.
You CANNOT listen to this and NOT dance. It’s impossible.

I left with a huge smile on my face and Taylor’s lyrics in my head…then, I got on the elevator. It was me, Luna and a priest. A priest. In a children’s hospital. Holding what looked like a Bible. He got off before me and headed to someone’s room, and I wanted to jump out and ask him “why?!”. What happened? Why is he needed? Where is he going? HOW DOES ANYONE HANDLE ANY OF THIS? Again, I left in tears. I left with my happy healthy baby, thinking it’s so unfair. I felt very low.

Tonight, I got to see Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the musical at TPAC, which I will be reviewing tomorrow! It was adorable, and Luna got to come! She loved the show and I can’t wait to tell you about our experience. I came home to Husband standing in the driveway waiting for me to pull-up so he could turn on the lights he had just put on the house, all by himself. He spent all of his time at home alone, baby-less, putting our first lights on the house. It was the best Christmas surprise! I oooh’d and awww’d over his hard work, then hurried in to put Luna to bed. I was definitely on a high.

Our house looks nothing likes this, but this is how I felt when the lights turned on.
Our house looks nothing likes this, but this is how I felt when the lights turned on.

As I rocked her to sleep, I began browsing my phone, which I hadn’t done all day. That’s when I learned the lowest of the low. That’s when I learned about Pakistan.

moms

 

How? Why? WTF?!

I have spent the rest of the night reading article upon article about the tragic school shooting in Peshawar, Pakistan today. 132 children dead. 132. As I began reading the horror story that took place today, I didn’t think about the government’s reaction to the attack or the extremist terrorist and their perverted beliefs. All I can think about are the students, the teachers and the families.

The students who ate their breakfast thinking about their upcoming math test and set next to their best friend in class, maybe even passed secret notes about their crushes. The teachers who stayed up late last night planning a science project and probably forgot their lunch on the kitchen counter. Then, the parents, the parents who send their kids to school to learn, think, dream, grow and become hard-working successful adults. No parent sends their child to school thinking they won’t come home. How many of those parents rushed their kids off to school without a second thought? What if they forgot to kiss them good-bye? What if they argued over something silly, like what they were wearing? What if that was me? Us?

I didn’t intend on writing about such a serious topic tonight. If fact, I planned to go straight to bed and writing nothing at all, but that was before I knew. How can I not address it? As a mother and a teacher, it feels too close to home. It’s important for us to talk about these issues, to recognize them, pray for those families, acknowledge their loss, look for answers and show support. They need us. Those families need all the love they could possible receive. Hug your kids a little tighter tonight, send them to school with a thankful heart tomorrow and keep Pakistan in your thoughts. I cannot imagine the loss they feel. My love, peace and courage outweigh the fear that is trying to be instilled.

xo

8 Months Seems to Be the Magic Month

8 months

I am in shock at how much Luna has changed this month, just the past couple of weeks really. She is crawling all over the place, pulls up to standing on absolutely anything within reach, climbs up steps and has even stood on her own a few times. It’s way too much, too fast. Once she discovered she can crawl she started doing more and more everyday. I swear if I leave her in the middle of the carpet with a stuffed animal for two seconds, she’ll manage to get an electrical chord, a knife, a valuable piece of jewelry and my cell phone in her hands. That kid is ninja. She also sprouted two teeth this last week! I’m afraid she’s going to be driving by the end of the week.

It was near impossible to snap of photos of her today. She is constantly on the move!
It was near impossible to snap of photos of her today. She is constantly on the move!

Over the last month Luna has begun “talking” nonstop. She babbles new syllables all the time. She growls, squeals, laughs, blows raspberries, hums and is surprisingly loud. I’m also 94% sure she said “mama” to me a couple of weeks ago and then said “dada” to Peter last week. It hasn’t’ happened again though, so I can’t be sure.

teething

She has now been to 3 other kid’s birthday parties and a few adult birthday parties as well. (Birthday season has begun.) We go to Whole Foods once a week for kids’ hour, the library and the park all the time. She has celebrated Rosh Hashanah, met some new friends and is an incredibly social and happy baby. She couldn’t make me any happier.

eyes

Well….unless maybe she slept all night. Yeah, that would definitely make me a little happier. In fact, it’s almost midnight now, she’s sleeping and I’m not. I should probably cut this one short. Night Night.

Cheers!

7 Months Young

Last Friday, my little love turned 7 months old! 

milestones

So far, every month just keeps getting better. Luna is one happy and adorable little girl. This month brought lots of new milestones. She planks all the time in a desperate attempt to crawl. (She crawled a couple of steps on Saturday, but isn’t exactly a crawler yet.) She scoots, army crawls and rolls surprisingly fast to get absolutely everything she shouldn’t touch. The girls got ninja skills and a taste for chargers and cables. She babbles non-stop and now makes the “da” sound. Her sippy-cup of water is one of her new favorite things, and now one of our go-to’s when she’s crying. This chick loves her own reflection, playing with her Daddy and can watch the dog and cat all day long.

Trying to get to Belle's dog toy...which is always what she wants most.
Trying to get to Belle’s dog toy…which is always what she wants most.

Seven months also brought some not-so-fun milestones. Luna had her first virus, which she quickly passed to me. She no longer sleeps through the night, or even half the night. I don’t even know where to begin with this problem. Luckily, we have a very comfy rocking chair and a really sweet coffee maker. Also, now that she eats (and loves) real food, she’s got real poop to match, which is incredibly gross after dealing with an only breastmilk diet for 6 months. 

This was my dress was I was only 7 months old! So crazy to see my little girl wearing it.
This was my dress when I was only 7 months old! So crazy to see my little girl wearing it.

Luna also had some new adventures this month, of course. She went to downtown Nashville on a Friday night and experienced way too loud Honky Tonk music. She had her first library visit, and it was awesome. We took a 12-hour road trip to Texas to visit friends and family for a week. She visited the Gulf of Mexico. We had a Mommy-Daughter weekend with her Honey (grandma) at Atlanta’s Apparel Market. She also went swimming a few times and has proven to be a little fish in the water!

dressandbowluna

 

Seven months in to this whole parenting thing and I’ve got say…I’m exhausted, filthy, busy, mentally drained and way happier than I even imagined. Being Luna’s Mom rocks.

cathatblueeyes

Cheers!

5 Months Old, Baby!

Yeah…I’m a bit behind on blogging, I know. This past weekend we had 6 house guests, and if you are familiar with me than you know nothing but crazy wild adventures ensued. This week I’ll be catching you up on our adventures in caving, rock-climbing, canoeing and Katy Perry. I’ll also be hosting another super wonderful giveaway for the ladies so stay tuned. Today is all about little Luna, though! On Sunday, she turned 5 months old!

5months

This month has been one milestone after another! She is finally laughing, which is the best sound in the whole wide world. She squeals with glee all the time. I’m starting to think she just likes the sound of her own voice. She rolls around like she’s been doing it all her life. Grabbing went from being impossible to a piece of cake over night. She actually pulled an entire rack of bows and socks over while shopping the other day, and can now pull everything off the table, so that’s fun. It’s basically been a month full of “Honey, quick come look, NOW!” moments.

smiler

We celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary this month. Luna went to Cheekwood for the first of what will certainly be many times. She ran her first fever after getting immunizations, and then her second while teething…boo. Oh, yeah, did I mention she’s teething? That has been REALLY not fun. We have tried teething toys, ice in a baby sock, the amber necklace, wet/frozen wash cloths and whatever else I can find on Pinterest. Next on the list…breastmilk popsicles.

baby feet

Luna has also realized that we have pets this month. Belle and Duckie are her new favorite things to touch and smile at as they sneak past her. She especially loves getting Belle kisses directly in her mouth. Mommy is not a fan of this.

rollover

Once again, time is flying by and she is getting bigger and bigger every moment. I’ve grown accustomed to calling her the Michelin Baby. She’s just the cutest happiest little chunk around!

those lips

Cheers!

Weekend Update

I keep swearing to myself that I am going to get onto a schedule, get more productive blah blah blah…and then all of a sudden the weekend is here and I somehow only scratched 3 things off my to-do list. Sigh… Guess I’ll start over again tomorrow. Anyhow, we had quite a busy weekend.

I mean, really...how could I possibly get up and write when these two cuties are fast asleep on me? (Not to mention the cat sleeping behind my head.)
I mean, really…how could I possibly get up and write when these two cuties are fast asleep on me? (Not to mention the cat sleeping behind my head.)
She makes the best faces.
She makes the best faces.

We had guests over every single day and quite a few of them were meeting Luna for the first time. One of which was my Husband’s Nanny from his childhood. She is now 94 years old and still as lively as ever. Luna immediately loved her. She’s like the baby whisperer. We had lots of friends come by too. Including, a good friend of mine who I haven’t seen in FOREVER. A few years (well more than a few…) ago we were hittin’the dance floors in downtown Nashville regularly and also teaching together at a magnet school for the arts. Now, we’ve both moved on to new ventures and both have baby girls. My, how things have changed.

Me, my friend Marsha and our two baby girls!
Me, my friend Marsha and our two baby girls!

We had lunch out, went grocery shopping, cleaned the house and got constant updates on my Dad. Who, BTW, will hopefully be going home tomorrow! Yay! It’s pretty impressive that someone can have brain surgery, have titanium mesh put in their skull and be up and walking around the next day.

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Tomorrow, I am seriously getting down to business…my workout routine is starting as well as my healthy eating habits. I’ll also do my damndest to get Luna on some sort of routine. Come back and see me this week to see my “getting back in shape” plan. Also, if you’ve got any tips for getting a 6 week old on a somewhat normal schedule PLEASE send them my way!

Cheers!