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Archive for the ‘birthday’ Category

My Dear Sweet Son,

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written you a letter. Far too long if you ask me. I must admit part of that reason is because I think you won’t need or appreciate these as much as your sister might. Of course I know I could be absolutely wrong. You may love and cherish these the most for all I know, so I shouldn’t assume otherwise.

You turned two today. I can’t believe it. It feels like I was just snuggling your tiny infant body and just like that–POOF! You’re two!

biracial toddlerYour sister thought that meant you’d be able to have conversations with her now, and was only slightly disappointed when we once again explained to her that these things were a gradual process.

At times you were a feisty little one-year-old. Many times you nearly made me faint with your daredevil moves flying off the couch, or walking out the front door. I never realized childproof door knobs could be in our future.

For a little while I worried you had some bully in you, but you’ve definitely come back around to your sweet side. You love hugs, and when you’re sleepy or just waking up you like me to carry you around. You and your sister often fight for space on my lap.

One thing I love about you is how independent you are. You can go and play and do your own thing until you want to ask for help, or get tired. You do like company when you move from room to room (unless you’re getting into something you don’t want us to know about) but you can play by yourself for a while.

Some of your favorite things right now: Popcorn, music- especially Wheels on the Bus and Head Shoulders Knees and Toes; books, trucks and TRAINS.

biracial boy trainsYou first saw a train near Grannie’s house and became fascinated with the sound and watching it go by from the window. Then when we visited Disney World you saw trains everywhere and officially became obsessed. It’s the cutest obsession ever though. We probably hear the words“Choo Choo” out of your mouth about 200 times a day.

Although you like to be with whichever parent is leaving the house at the time, you definitely seem to be a mama’s boy. I’m not sure if your dad would agree, but your big smile and welcoming hug every time we reunite says it all to me.

My sweet son, you’re only two but I want you to know that we are so proud of you. You’ve learned so much these past couple of years and I can’t wait to see what you do next. I hope your sweet side never leaves, and that you continue to love books, learning, and playing. I hope you’ll continue to ask me for help when you need it, and always know that I’m here for you. I’m your biggest fan!

Love you always my little one!

Love,

Mommy

From time to time I’ll get an email asking me questions about my kids’ birthday parties. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. I’m not the best at party planning, but I find myself very handy when it comes to delegating duties and hijacking other people’s parties and making them my own. According to Pinterest pins, I seemed to pull off his party better than her party, but what do they know?

So if you’re getting ready to celebrate your baby’s first birthday, have no fear, today I’m going to reveal the secrets to planning a first party with the least amount of stress.

There are a few things to decide before you even begin the planning process.

planning First birthday party1. Do you want to go all out (meaning a theme, some decorations, several attendees), or do something low key (a few guests, a small get together or celebration)?

2. How much do you want to spend? Have a budget in mind so you can make shopping decisions easily.

3. What’s most important to you? Keep this in mind as you plan.

Once you’ve answered these three questions you can get to planning. Decide on a location, make a guest list, and start making a shopping list. For each of my kids’ first birthday I wanted to be able to invite all of our friends and family members and make it memorable (for us, cause let’s face it, they aren’t going to remember). Here are my 5 party-planning tips to keep in mind for a first birthday party.

1. Location Location Location
Since Lil’ J has a summer birthday, we did her first birthday party outdoors at a splash pad. I didn’t need as many decorations since we were at a park, and there was lots of entertainment. We still had a theme, but aside from the food and goodie bags, it wasn’t a huge display.

bday-party-21Big T’s party was at our house, but I had a blast decorating for it, and having a specific theme. It was the first party we’d had at our house (because we had just bought it a few months earlier) and I loved not being tied to a small window of time for party set up and take-down. Don’t stress too much about entertainment because kids are plenty happy just being out of their own house and being kids.

2. Keep It Simple Where You Can
After you’ve identified what’s really important to you, keep things simple where you can. Whether it’s with Facebook and Evite invitations instead of the paper kind, or buying the cake instead of making it yourself. I also hit up the Dollar Tree before going to the big box party stores for supplies because I could find a lot of what I needed there for $1.

3. Timing
040514_0077

Keep in mind nap times and your child’s mood before and after. We tend to plan the parties either in the morning before nap time, or in the afternoon, just after nap time. I usually don’t schedule them to last much more than a couple hours because it seems to be plenty of time for play time and cake, and the kid’s attention spans are good for about that long.

4. The Perfect Gift
You know your kid best, and chances are you have an idea of what your child would love for their first birthday. I, however, have been surprised with what stood out for favorite gifts for my kids. I tend to lean towards toys they will love and use for a while and typically don’t go all out on an expensive gift since the party in a way, is the main present.

I like a variety of toys from simple to the more advanced. Are you going to surprise him before or after the party? We tend to open gifts after the party and save more time for playing, but some people like to watch the birthday boy or girl react to the gift.

One of my favorite gifts for Lil’ J was a wooden peg toy set. A friend of mine painted it herself, and it was a long-loved toy teaching colors, hand-eye coordination, and matching skills. Lil’ J loved taking the little “people” out and putting them back in over and over. You can pick up these plain wooden pegs at a local craft store and paint them assorted colorful colors. I actually am working on a new set for my son now.

Fisher price laugh and learn chair fisher price laugh and learn chair

A more advanced toy that’s fun for new 1-year-olds is the Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Chair. My son loves anything with music, and small places to sit, so this was an immediate win for him. I love that the features and games on it adapt to his age as he gets older. For instance right now on Stage 1 he does little prompts with animal sounds and noises. Stage 2 has more Q & A prompts with pointing out numbers and shapes, and the third stage encourages imaginative play.

Toys like each of these are fun in different ways, and sure to keep their interest for a while.

5. Capture the Moment
preview Jayda turns 1 253_edited-1

Birthday Card 1

With each of my kiddos I wanted a whole photoshoot to celebrate reaching their first birthday. For Lil’ J we had a cake smash photoshoot, and for Big T, we set up a photobooth that went with the theme of his party. During the party you may want to hand your camera over to a friend so you can focus on enjoying the party yourself. You don’t have to go all out, taking some pictures as he or she dives into for some birthday cake may be all you want. But please, please don’t forget to get a shot of you with the birthday child. I am still so upset that I forgot to get a family shot of us together on Big T’s birthday.

bday-party-8

Did I miss anything? Do you have tips for planning a first birthday party? Let me know what you think in the comments. Everyone who comments before November 22nd will be entered to win a Fisher-Price Smart Stages Chair like the one I mentioned above.

Good Luck!

Tips for PlanningFP insiders logo

 

 

This post was sponsored by Fisher-Price as a part of a multi-month partnership bringing my tips to you. However all opinions and typos are my own.

Dear Daughter,

Today you turned four. FOUR years old. I still can’t believe it. How did we get here so fast? Today is the anniversary of the day I became a mother. I wanted to make it as special as possible for you.

Earlier this week we shopped for a special outfit for your birthday. Dress from your head to your toes in an outfit you styled yourself. And quite well I might add. You even chose some adorable clip-on earrings that matched, because you’ve been hounding me for some earrings.

So this year making your day special also meant covering your floor with balloons and your doorway with streamers. For once, you slept in, so your brother and I came in to wake you up and sing to you.

A letter to my daughter. Celebrating her 4th birthday.I’m not sure if you’ll remember all the details so I’ll share a few with you. We had your birthday party at a nature center, as you requested. We fed turtles and saw butterflies in their butterfly house. We looked at fish, and your best friend even bought you a fish for your birthday.

You’ve named him Little Blue. And you’ve been talking to him nonstop.

Today your family and close friends surrounded you. So many people who love you. The grin on your face while we sang happy birthday to you was priceless. This was also the first year that you weren’t too bashful to blow out your candles by yourself.

Later this evening your dad and I surprised you with your new bike, and you loved it. Daddy asked you to get his stretch ball out of the garage and as soon as you opened the door you exclaimed “A BIKE! I LOVE IT!”

I’m so proud of the little girl you are turning into. You are kind to your brother. You are incredibly smart and curious. I love how you always want to learn more and try new things. When someone tells you how cute you are you remind her you’re smart too. I don’t think I ever imagined I’d have a daughter as awesome as you’ve turned out to be.

A letter to my daughter. Celebrating her 4th birthday.I only hope we’ll continue to be close and grow closer the older you get. These last four years have been a whirlwind, but some of the best four years of my life, thanks to you.

Continue to be bright, and continue to brighten the lives of those around you. Don’t worry; you don’t have to try hard. It comes naturally.

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Love,

Mommy

So, I’m going to let you decide if this Dr. Seuss party was Pinterest-worthy or not. I happen to think that I pulled it off spectacularly, but it wouldn’t have been possible without help. To me that’s the secret of party-planning… Getting help. And I don’t think I did a single detail of this party alone.

Dr Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme

Dr Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme: birthday boy hat

Starting with my invites. I knew I wanted to do a Dr. Seuss Party theme from the book Oh The Place’s You’ll go. I had ideas in my mind, but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pull it off. One day I just decided to go for it, and when I found a $5 basket that would PERFECTLY serve as a kiddy hot air balloon basket I knew it was on.

So home I went with my $5 steal, and I got balloons to tie to it. Word to the wise: Don’t try to take 10 balloons home from the store, it’s not safe.  I had to pull over and have my husband rescue me from my balloon-filled passenger seat.

Dr Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme: places you'll go party invite

Once I had the picture taken, I searched for the perfect invite. I found one from this etsy shop. Boom. Invites done.

Dr Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme, places you'll go welcome sign

My sister Lauren helped me make the “welcome” sign outside the door that actually didn’t say welcome, but some funky directions that went with the Dr Seuss Party, Oh The Places You’ll Go party theme. She made fun of me for placing it that way, saying I should have put down up and up down, but whatever.

My friend Hope has a Cricut and she helped me make the Happy Birthday banner, and extra flags that I used on the wall.

Dr Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme, birthday month-by-month banner

Another friend, Laura, makes adorable photo banners, so she sat down with me to make his month-by-month photo display.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; hot air balloon lanterns

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; kid you'll move mountains places you'll go partyDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; hot air balloon lanternsDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; elephant banner places you'll goMy mom and sisters came in for the party, and they wanted a hand in helping. My mom helped me turn colorful lanterns into hot air ballons. My sister Kimberly gave me the idea to turn the extra bunting into an elephant/held flag. And from the beginning I wanted to make a mountain rage featuring the famous words in the story: “KID YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!” Even Lil’ J helped with that creation.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go decoration

I used some leftover poster board to make a little airplane “banner” for a plane we had. It looked perfect on our bookshelf below a US map I got from Hobby Lobby.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; birthday party puffsA woman from my ward has a little bakery called Dough Girl Bakery, and she made the gorgeous pastries you’re about to witness. Believe me, they tasted as good as they look.
Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go cupcakes Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go cupcakes Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; marshmallow pops chocolate covered pretzels Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go smash cake
Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go party foodI gave her ideas and sent her pictures of the type of cupcakes, and dipped pretzels and giant marshmallows I wanted and she totally exceeded my expectations. She also made the cutest little smash cake that Big T loved.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; first birthday boy

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; messy baby eating smash cake

For a second.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; messy baby smash cakeI’m not sure if he had a sugar rush or if cake got in his eye but after a few fistfulls in his mouth he was done.

We had water and rainbow sherbet/sprite mix.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; birthday party goldfish bowlDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; birthday party grape kabobsDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; Happy Baby puffsDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; happy family party foodDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; happy baby party food

Adults and kids loved the sweets, but we also had other yummy non-sweet food. We ordered chicken croissants and ham pinwheels from HEB, and my sister made purple and green grape kabobs. Happy Family sent me a bunch of toddler snacks for a promotion I’m doing on BabyCenter and they worked perfectly as healthy snacks for all the kids. The organic animal cookies and yogurt puffs were a big hit.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go party favors

The party favors were another idea I came up with on my own. I’d been saving babyfood jars thinking I’d make rainbow cake in them, but it was too overly ambitious for me. I ended up filling the bottom with Easter-colored jellybeans (that went along with the theme) and topped them off with jellybean cotton candy.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; places you'll go party favors

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; birthday party display favors

A neighbor let me borrow her gorgeous goblets that I filled with the other favors… Play-dough and bubbles.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go birthday book

I bought an extra copy of Oh The Places You’ll Go and used it as a guestbook. Looking back I wish I left a sign asking guests to leave a piece of advise or well-wish, but it’s ok.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; places you'll go photobooth

We also inflated more balloons (this time with a balloon tank) and attached it to that basket again for a little corner photo booth.

Lastly, I bought a rainbow inflatable pool (that my mom inflated with her own lungs!) and 300 balls for a little ballpit for the kids. They got a kick out of it. It took him awhile to warm up to it. We had it up for a few days before the party, and now, a few days after he’s finally climbing in and out, tossing balls about.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; birthday party ballpitI’m not thrilled about having 300 plastic balls that at any moment can end up sprawled across my house, but hopefully we’ll put them to good use, and this summer, can get good use out of the pool.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; baby day 365Oh, and after wrapping up the party, we took his last 365 photo. So that project is a wrap!

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; mommy and me first birthdayOverall I think it was great. My one year old had a blast on his big day, and I tackled a party like never before. Planning ahead and getting help made the biggest difference. I’m already excited for my daughter’s birthday in July!

And of course I had to capture the scene on video. If you don’t watch the whole thing just watch the first 10 seconds and let me know what you think of my new intro. Believe it or not that was the trickiest part of the entire project!


What do you think of the party? How did I do?

I’ve been in denial long enough. My son is turning ONE. I feel like I just had him a few months ago, not 11 months ago. It seems like he just started crawling, and now he’s trying to walk. I just snapped a picture of his first tooth, and now he has eight. Time has flown by much too fast, and it’s time I accept it.

Big T is probably my last baby. And I LOVE babies. Have I mentioned that? This stage he’s in right now… The happy, non-moody; Crawling, not running; Compliant, non-picky-eating; Babbly, not talking my ear off and constantly asking “why?” stage. He is so much fun and I just never want this to end.

diy Hot air balloon kidSince this will probably be the last first birthday party I throw, I’ve decided to plan ahead and try to put together something I’ll be proud of. That’s right. Me. He won’t remember any of this. But I will. I’ve decided to do party theme based on the Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” I love that book, and it has such a great message for both my kids, especially for my son on his first birthday.

balloon-set

I don’t have everything set in stone yet, but I know we’re having it at my place, and that I want to have a little photobooth. My bright blue wall will come in handy as a sky backdrop. I bought a basket off craigslist for $5 that works as a perfect little kid hot air balloon basket. I tested out the area yesterday photographing pictures for his birthday card. Choosing a favorite was much harder than it should have been.diy-hot-air-balloon-partyI’ve decided I’ll use extra photographs and outtakes as decorations for his party.

I’m also pinning other party ideas like crazy… A tiny ball pit/pool area, maybe a popup tunnel, and lots and lots of snacks. I love the cute pastel rainbow theme and colors of the book, and luckily Easter candies and decorations use the same kind of colors, so hopefully finding party items won’t be too hard.

rainbow cake in a jarjello boat

I’d also like to tackle at least one Pinteresty food project. I’m thinking either these jello boats, which look awesome, or this rainbow cake in baby food jars. I’ve been saving baby food jars just in case, but I’m thinking of filling them with cotton candy or Hersey’s kisses as a party favor instead. Only because cupcakes and other finger foods won’t require forks, and I’m wondering if adults will find them small. Then again, cupcakes are small too so never mind.

Other ideas on the menu: Pigs in a blanket, fruit kabobs, chocolate covered pretzels, popcorn, marshmallow pops,  goldfish. Basically a lot of sweets and junk food.

Aside from decorations and food, I’m chewing on an idea for a time-capsule like project for his birthday. Maybe a tradition I start for him. Perhaps I’ll have party guests give him a piece of advice on video, or mention a memory from the year 2013, or both. I’m workin’ on that.

If you’ve had party successes with decor, food, entertainment, whatever, please share! I want this to be a non-fail.

My Sweet Daughter,

Congratulations! You’ve made it to three years of age, and your golden birthday. We survived the “terrible twos” barely breaking a sweat.

This last year has been a whirlwind. Not long after your last birthday you found out you were going to be a big sister, and you have been an even happier little girl ever since. Your vocabulary has exploded, and I just love having conversations with you. I’m not afraid to use words far past your years because I know you’ll pick them up.
Happy to be 3
Speaking of picking thing up–You are a little sponge! You’ll hear something from I-don’t-even-know-where and repeat it to us. I’m blown away by your retention. It keeps us on our toes… And laughing a lot. For example, you spilt something in the kitchen and I got upset. Instead of crying yourself, or feeling bad, you looked at me and said “take a breath and count to four.” It’s something you picked up from a show you like to watch called Daniel Tiger (a cartoon remake of a show I watched when I was a kid).

You’ve been excited for your birthday this entire year. You told us you wanted “A Rapunzel party at the jumpy place” and that’s exactly what you had.

Some of your favorite things are books, playing pretend, making up stories, and playing dress-up. You also absolutely love working in the kitchen with me. It’s not often enough but when we get together and bake either muffins, or cobbler, or pancakes, it’s a blast.

Watching you love on your brother melts my heart. I’ve never seen a child so sweet with their younger sibling as I have with you. You ask if he’s “awake or asleep” and you always ask him to “talk” to you. That entails me speaking for him, but you don’t mind. He can’t crawl yet but you like me to position him in different places around the house while you two play hide and seek. I can’t wait to watch as you two grow older and closer.

You love it when we chase you anywhere. You ask us to chase you to your room, to our room, to the bathroom and the car. You love to run and run fast! Maybe you’ll be a track star some day.

Since we’re on the topic of sports–Three opens up a lot of options for you in terms of classes you can take without me. I think you’re going to do a week of summer camp next week, and probably ballet lessons pretty soon. You like to dance around and say you’re a balerina so I think you’ll love it.

lil j

I’m not sure if most kids your age think this way, but you like to tell us what you want to be when you grow up. Lately you say a fireman, but you’ve said all sorts of things from an astronaut, to a police officer, to a cowboy or doctor.

Sleep doesn’t come so easily for you these days. I take it you get it from me. I’m surprised how late you can stay up. Once you were up with me until 5am. Lately I’ve let you sleep in our room with us more. I’m not sure what’s gotten into you not wanting to stay in your room, but it’s cute, and I know you won’t want to sleep in my bed forever, so it’s ok.

So far you’ve been as sweet as can be. Sure, there have been times where you’ve shown your inner-diva, but two wasn’t terrible at all. Sadly, I hear three-year-olds are a nightmare. “Even worse than two,” they tell me. It’s hard to picture you transforming into a crazy child-monster but I’m bracing myself just in case.

Nothing beats you telling me you love me, and you giant hugs. I love you so much!

Love,

Mommy

Nov
06
2012

He turned 30


I met him when he was 21. Fresh off the mission just 6 months prior. He was cute, slightly socially awkward, but oh so funny.

He swept me off my feet with his sense of compassion, a strong spirit, and good taste in music. He continues to amaze me to this day. In fact, we went out to lunch for his birthday and during our conversation I stopped and said: “Wow, you are seriously the perfect person for me…” We get each other.

Aside from being my best friend, he’s the best father. Lil’ J was beyond excited to shower him with gifts, songs, hugs and kisses all day for his birthday. She even told me to “go away” when I went in to get her this morning. Then when he went in, she exclaimed “HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!”

You don’t see him on my blog often, and he usually avoids the paparazzi side of me, but he agreed to let me take photos for his birthday and not complain. He’s thirty, flirty (with me) and just as hot as that adorable little RM I met 8 years ago.

A Happy Birthday to my Boo. May the next 30 years be even better than the first!

Jan
17
2012

26 Years Young


Wow, I’ve been away from here for a minute. Sorry about that ya’ll. Things got busy this week. Saturday I celebrated my 26th birthday and I think it’s the age I’ve decided to stay at forever. You now how women say they’re forever 21, well I want to be forever 26.

25 and 26 don’t seem much different except I just have a weird sense of “woah I’m closer to 30 than I am to 20 now” that’s strange.

The past few years I’ve totally downplayed my birthday and it was one of those things that when it came up like “oh when’s your birthday?” and I’d be like “last week.” I just didn’t really do anything for it or celebrate it much. Then a few days later I’d be like “man I shoulda milked that more huh?”

So this year I decided to milk it for all that I could. Starting the eve of my birthday when I requested pizza for dinner. Then stayed up until 4am watching romantic comedies like While You Were Sleeping and Ever After. In fact, I was awake when my alarm for work went off at 3:30am, but luckily I had taken the day off.

I spent the morning volunteering with friends from work to build a wheelchair ramp for a woman who needed one, but couldn’t afford to have one built. There’s a great nonprofit called The Texas Ramp Project that does these every weekend all over the state. It felt good to do something special on my special day.

One of my friends even brought cupcakes for my birthday (Thanks Bonnie!). She’s got the random act of kindness thing down pat!

After that, I spent the rest of the day with my two favorite people.

My husband and Lil’ J surprised me with a gift card for an 80 minute massage. My husband said he requested the most relaxing package they had, and got that for me. He’s such a sweetheart. Can’t wait to cash in on that!

We went to the park and took Lil’ J to play on the playground. I wanted to go canoeing but someone had the nerve to leave a body under one that morning so umm… They were closed for the day. So we just skipped rocks (a hidden talent I didn’t know my husband was good at) and walked along the trail.

After that we went to dinner at Freddies, which is one of my favorite local restaurants cause they have a little playground outside, you can bring your pup and order them a doggy burger, and usually they’ll have a band or movie going too. Lil’ J played some more, and I gave the stink-eye to crazy kids that kept throwing rocks around. Yea, that’s the day I learned I’m going to be one of those moms who totally says something to a kid when their mom doesn’t, and that kid is acting a fool. That day I took the higher road (I think?) and walked away.

I didn’t have cake but we made chocolate covered strawberries. My favorite dessert. And Lil’  chowed down on those with me. And after both of them went to bed (they can’t hang like I can). I watched Planet of the Apes while pigging out some more. (I know, weird movie choice, but I’d been wanting to see that movie forever.)

Sunday I worked and today I’m off again. I just put Lil’ J down for a nap and I have a to-do list a mile long. Photo editing, cleaning, assembling her Power Wheels toy she got for Christmas (I know I’m bad, I can’t believe I haven’t finished this yet), and hopefully thrift shopping for a jogging stroller.

I’m hoping there are some more MLK activities going on this evening because I’d love to go out as a family and celebrate.

Did you have a good week?

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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