Thursday, July 31, 2014

money worries: a few solutions (part 1)

I posted in June about how we have already started worrying about not only the cost of a second child but also about some new costs with Sawyer going to PreK and a few other payments coming up. We sat down and met with our bank and looked at what we spend money on each month and were pretty shocked to find that we actually should have $1500 left over each month after bills. How we spend that "left over" money was mystery though and we had to find a way to reign in what we're spending.

We looked at areas we couldn't change such as our utilities, mortgage, tithes and cell phone plans. We have a set payment plan with our utilities company (that Josh refers to as the "po' folks plan"), we certainly aren't going to downsize our house and we have a pretty decent cell plan, nor are we going to deny the Lord money that belongs to him. We then looked at some areas where we could possibly make some changes.

  • Takeout/Fast Food
Problem: We realized that while we don't spend a lot of money on luxuries like new clothes, gadgets, going out to restaurants and movies or travel we do spend a lot on random weekday lunches, lazy night takeout and quick breakfast runs to BoJangles or the local cafe.

Solution: We made a grocery list of lunch and breakfast foods and decided those little trips have to stop. We also set an "allowance" for the nights we both have meetings and have to make quick drive thru stops. I realize we could technically pack dinner on those nights too, which we will do some times but a little wiggle room for when we don't is nice.

  • Hospital Bills
Our next task was to figure out a better way to handle our extensive hospital bills from my & Sawyer's recent (and not so recent) visits and procedures.

Problem: We don't have any control over how much we owe nor over the probability of one of us ending up in the hospital again, but we decided to try to do something about how often/much we pay. Our hospital sends us five separate bills a month just for Sawyer on top of the ones we get from the radiologist and ENT.

Solution: I gave the customer service number a call and had a rather stern conversation (to put it nicely) about the way our account is handled. I finally got the representative to combine three of the bills into one so we can send one payment to the Greenville location, one to the Tarboro location and one to the Surgicenter verses five separate payments. One thing you may or may not know about a hospital, they can not send a collections agency after you over your bill as long as you make some amount of payment on time each month. We talked over taking out a personal loan to cover our hospital bills, but since the hospital cannot charge interest and can't get us when we can only pay them $10 instead of $30 a month, we decided to just leave them the same.

  • Cable/Internet
Problem: Here is where we hit a major snag. We pay around $150/month for our cable/internet services. We don't have a choice about the internet since we do have to take work home with us occasionally and Sawyer enjoys playing fun (educational) games on Nick Jr. and such. When it comes to the TV, I realize a lot of the shows we watch are available on Hulu or on the actual TV channel's website - but our sports are not. We have no desire to watch a football game after it has already happened.

Solution: We thought about canceling the service in all rooms but the living room and just letting Sawyer watch his shows on the iPad and then streaming Hulu to our TV in the bedroom but then realized that with our bundle it wasn't going to save us that much money. So, we haven't quite solved this issue yet.

Stop by tomorrow to see how we tackled our next biggest financial issues: our love for Pirate football (and how much it costs us) and the need for a car with better mileage and a lower payment!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

extra pieces

As you may have already read in this post, our spare bedroom is going to become a nursery in November so we have slowly been figuring out what to do with all the things we store in there and extra pieces of furniture with no home. And when I saw 'we" I mean "me" since all of my folded-in-the-dresser clothes were housed in the spare room in my dresser from my college apartment (and most of my hangup stuff was in that closet). 

the messy spare bedroom before all the moving around
To begin the clearing, I sold my beautiful Lilly Pulitzer comforter, recovered the upholstered headboard with a maroon sheet to use in Sawyer's room, promised my sister my white desk, and took down all my girly pink & green decor. 

Then I had to figure out what to do with my clothes. Knowing that I couldn't sacrifice an entire dresser full of storage for clothes, I convinced my lovely husband to paint the spare room's dresser & nightstand (since my little sister is about to move into a house with friends in Wilmington and could use our old nightstand) to match our current bedroom furniture and then just move both pieces into our room. 

the master bedroom
The dresser got tucked into the corner behind our door where we had a wicker love seat, that served as a storage spot for Josh's discarded clothes usually (the below picture is from when we first moved in, hence the over-the-toilet shelf sitting on the floor). 

I re-painted the pink and green knobs that were already on the furniture and just moved some pictures I already had on my nightstand and in the bathroom, painted a glass container to match the knobs and hung up a bird picture that had just been sitting in my closet needing a home. 

Sadly, as an idiot college student I threw out the handles that went with this dresser convinced I could find some cuter ones to fit. I was wrong. The holes on the dresser are a weird distance apart so in order to buy some handles to fit the drawers I would need to putty the existing holes and then have Josh drill new ones. That isn't going to happen (aka aint nobody got time fo' dat). So for now, there is grosgrain ribbon in the holes serving as handles. And yes, those are the throw pillow and shams stacked beside the dresser, because making the bed is hard.

You see that big strip of black fabric behind the nightstand? That's a blackout curtain that is literally thumb-tacked to the window casing. We already had the curtains from the hold house and I really need to recover them to match our bedroom (not to mention hang them) but for now, they are keeping the room sun-light free in the mornings and that's all we need. 

I am so pleased with how the dresser and nightstand came out (and extra pleased that I wasn't the one who had to paint them). Now we have more or less cleared out the spare room, the fun crafty things for the nursery begin!

Monday, July 28, 2014

slowly recovering and book reviews

I am finally crawling out from under the mountain of "to do" items on my list after recovering from ole Gary's removal two weeks ago. I have felt like such a wuss during my post-surgical weeks because I really thought I would bounce back a lot quicker. I was wrong. I made it to work Wednesday and Friday for only four hours each day and attempted to respond to 158 emails (that is not an exaggerated number, I legit had received that many in the 5 work days I was out). Sadly I not only missed lots of emails and meetings but also a baby shower (that I was helping throw) for our friends Laura & Samuel and a fun dinner with six of my girlfriends.

Thankfully, my time at home wasn't all bad. I finished Mad Men season six, read two Gillian Flynn books and got some prep work done for some nursery crafts! And now, my thoughts on "Gone Girl" and "Sharp Objects", both by Gillian Flynn.

I'd heard lots of different opinions about "Gone Girl" so I was excited with my friend Kate let me borrow it and make my own judgement. One thing for sure, is that it was was by far one of the most addictive books I've ever read. I can't say a lot about the plot without revealing some major spoilers, but here is a plot summary from Flynn's website:

"On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?"

I found myself disliking a lot of characters in this novel, and often saying aloud "this chick is crazy". It was a great read and I thoroughly enjoy Flynn's writing "voice", but was not pleased with how the book just kind of ended. I felt like it has been building up to a climactic ending and then just fizzled. But definitely worth the read!

When I finished "Gone Girl" I immediately started "Sharp Objects", hungry for more of Flynn's way with words. I was even more anxious to get into the book when I saw that the main character was a newspaper reporter (my former profession). Here is the plot summary, once again from Flynn's website: 

"WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.
NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.
HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming."

Yes, those words "WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart" are literal, the main characters had a very unique form of self mutilation, she actually carved words into her skin instead of just cuts. This story was even better than "Gone Girl" in my opinion. It was equally dark, made me constantly second-guess my own assumptions about the identify of the murderer of the preteen girls, and was once again written wonderfully. I will say that the only problem with the story was that it left me feeling very disturbed. Like, all I could do was think about this book. I couldn't sleep without thinking about it. In fact, I had to finally sit up in bed (which I was sleeping in alone due to fear of Josh or Sawyer hitting one of my five incisions) and read an excerpt from the bible to try to clear my head. 

I highly recommend both books! You can check out other books I've read and enjoyed on my "Shelfari" shelf at the bottom of my blog!

Friday, July 18, 2014

wedding planning and Mountain Pie

before the adventures with my gallbladder, I got to spend two days in the NC mountains with my sister Deanna & mama planning for Dee's wedding next June.

Since Dee will be exceptionally busy finishing up her final year of undergrad and applying to medical school this fall/next spring so we are trying to get lots of planning and meetings out of the way, especially with the wedding taking place 5 hours away in Hendersonville.

Dee will be getting married at the Bearwallow Mountain in the Highlands. It is an absolutely beautiful venue and I was so glad I finally got to see it in person.

I can hardly wait to see her in her dress, walking through the stone archway under the house and across the open field to stand in front of that cross and marry John John. 

And you truly cannot beat these views!

We sampled catering options of BBQ, smoked turkey and appetizers at Luella's in Asheville, found some florists we want to meet with later, and met with two cake bakers, the second of which I sadly didn't get to sample at since ole Gary was rearing his ugly head.

Friday night we explored downtown Hendersonville which has really flourished in the past couple of years, it really gives me hope for our little downtown in Tarboro! We ate at the Green Room Cafe & Coffeehouse where I had a delicious cup of crab and corn chowder followed by a salad with strawberries, chicken, dried cranberries, and pecans. We walked around downtown for awhile while enjoying some Kilwin's Ice Cream and listening to a few live bands set up on the street.

But the highlight of the trip was Saturday morning when we dined at Mountain Pie and Cake. The place didn't look like much from the outside, but oh my word the inside was absolutely precious and was set up like a European tea room. As soon as we sat down at our little table, the owner's daughter brought us each a plate of fruit, a warm muffin, a cup of coffee and a glass of OJ, all of which served on/in beautiful china. Dee ordered the German fruit pockets and mama got apple pie pancakes while I enjoyed amazing chocolate hazelnut filled crepes. They were divine and rivaled those I had in Europe in 2012 (which were probably only better because they were eaten in the view of Notre Dame).

We are hoping to head back to Hendersonville in the fall to meet with florists and another caterer or two, and I am hoping to head back to Mountain Pie for more crepes. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

the tale of Gary the Gallbladder

There once was an angry little gallbladder named Gary (who threw his first little fit a few weeks ago) that got very, very mad at his lovely host, we'll call her Lauren, and decided to go absolutely crazy on her insides.

Tuesday morning Gary woke up at around 5:45am very mad at the body he lived in and decided the best way to show his anger was to send waves of pain through Lauren's shoulders, sides, ribs and stomach.

Needless to say, Lauren woke up writhing in pain, crying, and barely able to catch her breath. Gary continued his angry rant for almost two hours as Lauren and her husband drove their very scared 3-year-old to daycare and high-tailed it to the hospital. Thankfully, his host has an amazing OB who told Lauren to bring herself (and Gary) straight to labor and delivery so that while doctors tried to figure out what Gary's deal was, they could keep a close eye on Lauren and her baby.

Gary eased up around 8am as Lauren underwent an ultrasound, labs and continuous monitoring of not only her blood pressure and pulse but also the heartbeat of the almost-22-week-old baby living inside her.
Lab results came back showing that Gary had made her liver enzymes super high as her liver tried to overcompensate for Gary's slack and also shot up her white blood cell count, then the radiologist revealed that the reason Gary was so angry was because he was basically all gall stones.

Gary ended his reign over Lauren's body at 5pm on Tuesday and went to live on a ranch somewhere with other mean gallbladders (and probably appendixes too) after a very nice surgeon took him out.

Lauren had to spend one long night in the hospital with hourly checks on her and baby by a wonderful nurse then was discharged Wednesday morning to relax at home with some pain meds, heating pad and instructions to drink lots of water.

The end.

(btw, thanks for all the thoughts & prayers!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

tractor traffic

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you saw this rant today:

In my 28 minute (on a good day) commute to work from my little town of Tarboro to the "big city" of Greenville I take a back road and then a main road, both of which run parallel to several farms and big gardens. Because I know that right now is prime harvesting season in our neck of the woods, I leave a good 10 minutes early for work or I accept the consequences of my actions and deal with getting stuck behind a slow moving tractor, combine, or giant flatbed truck full of veggies, tobacco or equipment. It is the way of life here.

So this morning I was very disappointed when the drivers in a long line of cars I was traveling behind got visibly angry at a tractor we ended up following down the road a good portion of the commute (that just so happens to be curvy and a no passing zone). They honked their horns at him, flipped the bird when they finally passed or followed him way too closely. That tractor driver didn't pay them any mind and just kept trucking along at about 15 mph.

I was baffled. Having grown up surrounded by farm land, having friends whose parents are farmers, and relying on local gardeners (including my papa) to provide me with my summer veggies, I have always been taught to respect the profession and appreciate what these men and women do. Some of them help put food on my table with their edible crops while others support our state and community economically with their cash crops like tobacco and cotton. So why would you act so hateful towards a man who is just doing his job. He did not set out this morning on his tractor just to piss you off and make you late for work!

Growing up here, you learn to appreciate the beauty of a giant field of lush tobacco leaves or corn stalks and seeing a field of cotton is an every day thing, not just a pretty picture on Pinterest. Take a look at northcarolina_ag on instagram and see how absolutely beautiful the NC rural areas are:

If all that beauty (and deliciousness) means that every once in awhile I get stuck behind a tractor or two, I'll take it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

the "bro country" debate

Right now if you type in "bro country' into ye ole Google, you will get a long list of results ranging from articles bashing the country styles of Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean & Jake Owen to heated debates over how Zac Brown hates Luke Bryan because of "That's My Kind of Night".

Before I express my opinion on this particular topic let me just say that I have no expertise to offer about this topic; no analytic data to support my opinion and no song-writing understanding to back-up these country singers. But what I do have is a love for most kinds of music.

On mySpotify playlists you'll find a mixture of artists such as Allman Brothers, Regina Spektor, The Dirty Heads, 2 Chainz, Miranda Lambert, and John Legend. I don't discriminate. However, being from the South and still living here means I enjoy a song about my beloved part of the world and being able to relate to lyrics. After all, that is a lot easier to relate to than "And I'm living at the top. No ice in my drink, got enough in my watch" (btw, that's from the remix of DJ Snake & Lil Jon's "Turn Down for What" that has actual lyrics, you should check it out.)

That being said, I feel like I can say that I actually enjoy a little "Bro Country", because I take it for what it is.

What is "Bro Country" you ask? According to it is "Your classic post 2001 male artist country song that includes some, if not all of the following: Friday night, a girl in tight jeans, ice cold beer, a pick-up truck, a sunny day followed by some moonlight, a watering hole, fishing, 4-wheelin', dirt roads, ball cap, working all week and possibly church.  The torchbearers of bro country these days include: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Billy Currington, Florida Georgia Line, Joe Nichols & Jake Owen."

A lot of country artists have stood up against how newer country songs lack substance and how it is giving not only country music, but also people from the country a bad name. But guess what? Sometimes, I just want a fun song about trucks, moonshine, riding shotgun with the windows down beside my 'honey' and eating fried chicken. Other times, I want a soulful ballad about love lost (i.e. "Tomorrow" by Chris Young) or a happy song about how much I adore my family (i.e. "Front Porch Looking In" by Lonestar).

Zac Brown really got things heated when he commented on Luke Bryan's song "That's My Kind of Night" on a radio show saying “I love Luke Bryan and he’s had some great songs, but this new song is the worst song I’ve ever heard,” Brown said. “Country fans and country listeners deserve to have something better than that, a song that really has something to say, something that makes you feel something. Good music makes you feel something. When songs make me wanna throw up, it makes me ashamed to even be in the same genre as those songs.” (via)

And guess what? I agree to an extent. That particular song is not my favorite but it does embody your average country weekend night. And it is what it is. Luke Bryan is also capable of writing some other fairly good, thought provoking songs such as "Drink a Beer" about the deaths of his brother and sister. Now, Zac Brown is an amazing song writer who deserves accolades for his ability to make songs like "Colder Weather" and "Sweet Annie"... but he need not forget that he also has a song that includes the lyrics "Yeah, and all the muchachas, they call me "big poppa" when I throw pesos their way"...

Miranda Lambert said it best to Rolling Stone, "This 'bro country,' whatever it is, it definitely has this whole theme of party and tailgate and bonfire — I love all that stuff. I think it's big right now because everybody wants to escape for a minute and think about the fun stuff, and not driving in traffic and going to work." (via) She went on to say that of course there are more things to sing about too, but what's wrong with wanting to escape heavy, super meaningful songs and embracing "Cruise" by FGL or imagine yourself tailgating instead of sitting at your desk by listening to "This is How We Do" by FGL and Luke Bryan?

There are also some deep, soul-touching songs out there right now. Have you heard "I Drive Your Truck" by Lee Brice? It might include the word "truck" in the title, but it is about how a man thinks about and remembers his brother/friend (who died in the armed services) by driving his truck.

What is your take on "Bro Country"?

Monday, July 7, 2014

the 4th (and 5th)

We had a fairly low-key Fourth of July weekend. After sleeping late (which is 8am for Sawyer) him and Josh ran some "daddy" errands at Lowes and Walmart while I cleaned a little then we headed to my parents house for some burgers. When my dad cooks (which he does often) he goes all out. We didn't just have regular run-of-the-mill burgers, we had mushroom & swiss stuffed burgers thanks to a new gadget he bought.

They were delicious.

After lunch me & my mom went to the Carter's outlet in hopes of finding Baby E some cute, long-sleeved 3 month sized clothes on sale... with no luck. Thankfully their website had a great sale and I got around 11 outfits for less than $70.

Once I got back home, me and my guys went to the local park where Sawyer got to enjoy some "inflatable fun". He had a ball bouncing in the bounce house, sliding down the big slide and REALLY had fun in the blow-up obstacle course.

Tarboro's fireworks are super visible from Sawyer's babysitter's (who we call "B", also our best friend Chris' mom) yard so we parked the truck in front of their house and enjoyed the fireworks show, and the company, with all his daycare friends and Chris' family. We are so blessed that B and her family are just like our own family, we sat there for 2.5 hours just talking and watching Sawyer play with his friends. Sawyer and the kids all sat in the bed of Josh's truck and "oohed" and "ahhed" over the fireworks picking their favorites while the grownups plopped in rocking chairs and on blankets.

Sawyer also discovered sparklers... and his love for fire.

Saturday we woke up and hit the pool at Josh's grandma's where Sawyer swam with his granddaddy and Mimi while Josh washed his truck and I got some sunshine. A little too much sunshine apparently since I now have a tanline from my hand that had Sawyer's super strength sunscreen on it that I apparently let rest on my leg for too long. #gingerprobz

While our July 4th's have changed a lot from our early days of parties, downtown celebrations and not making it to the fireworks - I truly wouldn't trade how we "party" now for our we partied then. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

halfway there

Since I have not posted regular baby bump pics, or talked much about being pregnant in general, I thought I'd celebrate the half-way mark with an update! First of all, finding a time where I can get Joshua to take a pic of me without Sawyer hanging on one of us or the background of the picture not being a messy room is borderline impossible, so I apologize in advance for the work bathroom selfie. I am super jealous of all the cute bump pics I see other people posting though! Second of all, yes my hair is that ratchet at work today.

How far along:  20 weeks, halfway there (ohhh, living on a prayer)

Baby size: apparently the length of a banana according to my pregnancy center app. Sawyer has loved asking me "what fruit is Rocky this week?!" yes, he still insists on calling him Rocky even though that is not going to be his name

Weight gain: I'm actually still down 6 pounds from my pre-preg weight, mainly because I have just started eating healthier, drinking more water, and been turned off by lots of my usual favorite foods. Last pregnancy around this time I was a good 15 to 20 lbs heavier so I predict the "eat all the foods" feeling will return soon.

Stretch marks: Oh yes. However, I can't tell if they're leftover from having Sawyer or if they're new. Btw, what a rude question.

Sleep: Not bad, getting comfortable is a little difficult but once I get there I am out. Except for the 3 to 4 bathroom trips during the night

Gender: Another little boy!

Movement: Baby E is a little wiggle worm, I love the little flutters and kicks and can't wait until Josh and Sawyer can feel them. He is super low right now so some of those kicks are uncomfortable, but happy to feel them none the less!

Best moment this week: Not really this week but, I had a little scare last Saturday night with a horrible gaul bladder attack that left me breathless and in tears with pain radiating from between my shoulder blades down my side to under my ribs, and I was terrified. I had never had any kind of GB pain before, but my family has a lovely history of gaul stones & GB removals on both sides so at least they knew what was going on (not to mention it helps having a PA dad and a pharmacist mom). I was thankfully at my parents' house eating dinner when it happened, and I am so, so, so glad I wasn't home alone. You might be asking yourself, "why is this a best moment?". Well in the midst of that pain I was praying so hard and just talking to God saying "please just let this be me in pain and it have nothing to do with this baby" and Baby E kicked me good and hard right as I was praying as if to say I'm good in here mom, no worries. 

Looking forward to: a relaxing 4th of July weekend and some extra sleep!

Food cravings: juicy fruits like watermelon, peaches, plums and etc. and CEREAL, it doesn't matter if it is plain Rice Chex or Apple Jack's, I want it.

Weirdest food I ate this week: probably a quesadilla and a soft taco from Taco Bell yesterday, I knew I didn't need it since I am trying to watch the fat grams and spiciness in attempts to avoid that GB pain again, but all I could think about was how good Taco Bell would be (a place where I hardly ever eat).

Anything making you queasy or sick: getting hungry. if I let myself get too hungry, I just can't eat from the nausea and settle for some toast. I am also still having a lot of random food aversions.

What I miss: Being able to run and play on the floor with Sawyer. He is such a wild child that he tends to forget I am a little more fragile and slow than I would usually would be.

Symptoms: Still super tired and having a bunch of food aversions, but no complaints otherwise!

Workouts: lolz

Things that suck: My hemoglobin has been pretty low leaving me anemic and super lethargic and exhausted feeling. Monday I came home from work around 11am because I had been just staring at the same screen for 45 minutes without actually doing anything and I realized I was definitely not being productive and I needed to go home. I walked in the door, fell asleep around 12ish and didn't wake up until after 4pm. While the nap didn't suck, the fact that I woke up still sleepy did.

Things that don't suck: Still no signs of preeclampsia! My BP has been great and no real, fluid-related swelling so far! Praise the Lord!

In other baby news, I finally ordered the fabric to recover Sawyer's crib bumper and skirt with! I really couldn't find a bedding set I liked, so after fretting over just picking one I didn't like, I decided I could easily recover Sawyer's old bedding (except the quilt part and curtains) to something I like. Since we use a lot of Sawyer's nursery decor in his "big boy room", I will just have to make my own curtains (aka, cover over some pre-existing blackout curtains) and recover a lamp to match.

We are going with a car, truck, construction kind of theme and I am so happy with the Jill McDonald "On Track - Metropolis" fabric I got for the curtains and dust ruffle (and probably a lamp shade and canvas) and the Ruff N Tuff "Tic Tacs" tire track fabric and Premiere Prints "Canopy Stripe" fabric to coordinate and make the bumper, a pillow for the rocking chair, and to cover some baskets with! Now I just need a solid green fabric to match and coordinate for some other items!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Princess Ella turns One!

This past weekend (as in Sunday, yes I am just now blogging on Wednesday), my best friend Hope's little girl, Ella Marie turned one! I feel like we were just celebrating Ella's impending arrival at Hope's baby shower, so I could hardly believe when Hope texted me a few months ago and said "let's start planning Ella's party".

Hope had already chosen a precious chalkboard-print style invitation with pink and mint colors and a cupcake/princess theme, which naturally meant we needed to add some gold glitter in the mix too. After a few Saturday's of making fake cupcakes (tutorial here) for the tables, spray-painting some mason jars & making a three-tier cupcake server (tutorial here) - I am super pumped with how well everything turned out and Ella seemed to have a great time being celebrated!

Hope's sister-in-law Elizabeth made some fun memory boards with pictures that looked great on the mantle in the clubhouse!
Hope's super crafty mom, Mrs. Nell made Ella's tutu and a precious tutu and cover for the high chair too.

we were totally worried that the big heavy cupcake on top was going to just topple over on the home-made cake tier tray but it worked out great (as long as there were cupcakes on the bottom two tiers to keep it steady)
three-tiered tray minus the cupcakes
the fake cupcakes were a great addition to the food table and centerpieces and went great with the theme, and yes we did have to remind a few people that they were indeed fake. 

Princess Ella getting into her smash cupcake (and surrounded by paparazzi)

My favorite picture, Hope, Ella & Eric (post-cupcake eating) 

papa, paparazzi
opening her numerous gifts

tantrums are cuter in tutus, and it's her party and she can throw a little tantrum if she wants to.
...besides, she bounced right back.

Rachel, Dana & Colton enjoying the festivities
Scarlet and Colton ready to make a run for it

Ella and her sweet grandpas
I am so happy that I got to be a part of not only the party-planning for Ella, but also her first year. Can't wait to celebrate many more birthdays with this princess. 

You may notice that there are no pics of Sawyer from this party. Homeboy spent an entire week at the beach with Josh's family (and Josh went down Wednesday) and was too ill from traveling and helping unpack his grandparents' cars to grace us with his presence (as was his daddy). So Saturday while I was spray-gluing sprinkles to the top of fake cupcakes Sawyer was thankfully not around to destroy them, instead he was fishing with his "uncle jordy".