Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Zianne's "Favorite Things" Birthday Party

As I mentioned earlier, we threw two birthday parties for Zianne... one in Seattle where it was surprisingly warm and sunny and one in Phoenix where it was surprisingly cold and wet... like crazy flash flooding, roof leaking wet.

My dear friend Shalyn and I decided to throw a joint-birthday party for our babies who were born just six days apart {all three of them since she has twins!}. To keep the party gender neutral we chose a "favorite things" theme - planes, books, music, animals, etc. Our plan was to host this party at the local train park which is about halfway between our houses. We rented a picnic ramada, bought teal and navy decorations, Shalyn made the cutest Little Blue Truck cutout for photos, and we made a bunch of cupcakes. We were set for a low-key first birthday at the park. We chose the last weekend in September hoping the weather would be slightly cooler than all the sunny 100 degree days that make up the first half of the month. Joke was on us...

In the days leading up to the party, we could see rain on the forecast. By Friday, there was an 80% chance of rain for the following afternoon.. But you never know... it's the desert. Even though we figured it would rain at some point, there was also a good chance it would pour for 20 minutes and then clear up. Plus we had a large covered area rented, so a little rain wouldn't hurt us.

Saturday morning came and it was perfectly sunny. By noon it was slightly overcast but still not wet. It wasn't until about 2:00pm that the flood started. And I literally mean a flood. Shalyn and I had been on the phone on and off for 24 hours trying to figure out what to do if it got really stormy. We looked into a few back up options but none of them were very convenient. Finally at 3:00pm the park made our decision for us. They called Shalyn and told her the park was closing down. Apparently, the rain had caused some broken trees in addition to flooding and the property was considered unsafe. So by 3:15pm we set a back up plan in motion. Party at our house. Starting in approximately one hour.

Thankfully, my sister and her boyfriend were visiting, so with both of them and Micah to help me, we had the whole truck unloaded {it was already packed for the park} and the house set up for the party in record time. Never mind the fact that our roof was leaking. We blocked off the leaky area with balloons and string and called it good to go. Within minutes, guests were knocking on the door, drenched from running from their cars to our front porch. It was not exactly the casual party at the park that we had planned, but we are grateful so many family members and friends braved the storm to celebrate with us. And the kids didn't care about the rain one bit. They were just in it for the cupcakes.

Leak station...

Favorite things party favors... Ritz crackers, a toothbrush, a book, and a ball

"Hey... I thought they were taking us to the park?"

Zianne is waving... as always.

Seth {aka Sethy}

Aaron {aka Bear}

Zianne {aka Z}

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Worth It: Gift Guide for Babies and Toddlers

If you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet, don't worry. That's what Amazon Prime is for. Here are suggestions for the baby in your life. I would recommend these products for the 6-18 month age range. Although we have a lot of toys at our house, these are the tried and true ones that Zianne continues to play with consistently week after week.

V-tech Walker - As soon as a baby is pulling up to standing, this a great toy to help get them walking. The front side is full of fun buttons that make noise and Zianne will play with it for consecutive minutes, which is a LONG time in toddler world.

Fisher Price Rings and Blocks Bundle - These are classic toys to have on hand and are helpful for teaching colors and shapes. We also have the xylophone, which Zianne loves to play.

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes - This is one of the first toys Zianne liked as a baby. She learned how to push the button to change the song at a very early age, but she still enjoys turning it on and dancing to it now that she can boogie on her own two feet.

Musical Flashlight - Another musical toy that teaches colors. You can't go wrong with these.

If you're feeling generous - We have one of these {scored from Craigslist} and Zianne loves to drive it across the living room or sometimes just push it around like it's a walker. She also has learned to open up the seat and the hood and stick her toys inside.

First Words Flashcards - This is Zianne's very FAVORITE toy. She started looking at these cards and touching their textured pictures when she was only seven or eight months old. Now she will dump them out and sort them on her own. She can say the words on over half the cards and she can identify almost all of them if you ask her. For example: "Z, where is the tractor?" I cannot recommend these cards enough. We also have the numbers cards and we just bought the colors ones to give Zianne for Christmas.

+Affiliate links used

Monday, December 15, 2014

Zianne's Rockin' Robin 1st Birthday Party

So Zianne turned one! {It happened nearly three months ago, but please disregard that fact...} We actually threw her two birthday parties, one in Washington while visiting family, and one in Arizona, which was a joint party with her twin-friends, Aaron and Seth.

The funny thing is that her party in Washington took place on a perfectly sunny Sunday afternoon. The weather was nearly 80 degrees, which is rare for the Pacific Northwest almost anytime of the year. The funnier thing is that it POURED down rain for her Arizona party. I'll share more details later, but just imagine flash flooding, the park venue for the party closing down, and hosting the gathering at our house at the last minute despite the fact that our roof was leaking. This, too, is very rare for the desert we now call home.

But back to the sunny party... I decided Zianne should have a "Rockin' Robin" party in honor of her very favorite song and all the oldies dance parties we had during her first year of life. The girl has moves. I bought Zianne a poodle skirt from Etsy, found some old 45s at a local record shop, and commissioned the cutest robin sugar cookies from a Seattle bakery. We invited friends and family over to Micah's mom's house for a lunch of pizza and cupcakes, before watching the Seahawks beat the Broncos during Z's afternoon nap.

We started the celebration with a dance party to Z's favorite tune, which she loved, and the party ended with Zianne eating cupcake crumbs off her own body during her post-cake-smash bath. I'd say the day was a success!

Invitation by Sweet Hammer Press

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