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We decided to have a library themed party for Harry’s first birthday.  We chose this theme because we want to promote reading, of course, and because Harry loves his books.  We also go to a weekly library that Harry really enjoys.  I started the party with the invitations.  I had a great idea of how I wanted it to look, so I got it done a couple MONTHS in advance.  But once I had the invitation done, I needed to start planning the actual party and I realized my idea wasn’t quite as broad as I had thought.  But, I was very happy with the way it all came together and I believe both Harry and our guests had a good time.

I mimicked the old libabry check-out cards for the invite.  I bought some old books at a thrift store to create a pocket that the card would slip into.

I mimicked the old libabry check-out cards for the invite. I bought some old books at a thrift store to create a pocket that the card would slip into.

I made this shirt for Harry.  I used some iron on bonding to adhere the ribbon suspenders and the one.  The bow tie I glued on with a hot glue gun.

I made this shirt for Harry. I used some iron on bonding to adhere the ribbon suspenders and the one. The bow tie I glued on with a hot glue gun.

While most of the party was outside, I did put up some decorations inside as well.  I found some cute 4x6 card packs on sale in the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby.  I punched holes and threaded them with yarn to make the banner.  Harry liked them.

While most of the party was outside, I did put up some decorations inside as well. I found some cute 4×6 card packs on sale in the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby. I punched holes and threaded them with yarn to make the banner. Harry liked them.

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I made banners out of old children's books.

I made banners out of old children’s books.

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We put clusters of balloons nailed into the grass to add color to an area where we couldn't otherwise hang anything.  It looked great.

We put clusters of balloons nailed into the grass to add color to an area where we couldn’t otherwise hang anything. It looked great.

Along the side of the house that has a wooded fence, we put up library sections and posters with books related quotes that I made on my computer then had printed at Staples.  I decided to go with a chalkboard look so that I could print in black and white without losing any of the effect I was going for.

Along the side of the house that has a wooded fence, we put up library sections and posters with books related quotes that I made on my computer then had printed at Staples. I decided to go with a chalkboard look so that I could print in black and white without losing any of the effect I was going for.

We put library section sings all around the yard, wherever we could find a way to make them stick.  This were hung on the balcony that over looks the backyard.

We put library section sings all around the yard, wherever we could find a way to make them stick. This were hung on the balcony that over looks the backyard.

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We hired a taco man for the main food, but wanted to make sure there were baby friendly foods as well.  I do think many of our guest (not just the little ones) enjoyed the option of Peanut Butter and Marshmallow or Cream Cheese and Jelly sandwiches.

We hired a taco man for the main food, but wanted to make sure there were baby friendly foods as well. I do think many of our guest (not just the little ones) enjoyed the option of Peanut Butter and Marshmallow or Cream Cheese and Jelly sandwiches.

I wanted to make sure there was something for the kids to actually do at the party besides just sit around, so I had an arts and crafts station and we gave out books as the party favor.  At the arts and crafts station, they could decorate party hats, decorate a bag to take home their goodies in, mold something out of play dogh and color.

I wanted to make sure there was something for the kids to actually do at the party besides just sit around, so I had an arts and crafts station and we gave out books as the party favor. At the arts and crafts station, they could decorate party hats, decorate a bag to take home their goodies in, mold something out of play dogh and color.

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I local thrift store sells children's books for 25 cents, so I was able to get enough that each child could pick one to take home as a favor.

I local thrift store sells children’s books for 25 cents, so I was able to get enough that each child could pick one to take home as a favor.

I made three types of cupcakes, Almond Joy, Lemon Delight, and Blue Suede.  They were all pretty good, but my favorites were the Blue Suede and Lemon Delight.

I made three types of cupcakes, Almond Joy, Lemon Delight, and Blue Suede. They were all pretty good, but my favorites were the Blue Suede and Lemon Delight.

I bought two packs of the candles that spell out Happy Birthday and swapped out the p's for r's and spray painted them so the candles would spell Harry's name.

I bought two packs of the candles that spell out Happy Birthday and swapped out the p’s for r’s and spray painted them so the candles would spell Harry’s name.

This shot cracks me up!  Harry didn't want to touch his cake at first, but once I finally got him to taste it, he realized he liked it after all.  He wanted to give it a big hug!

This shot cracks me up! Harry didn’t want to touch his cake at first, but once I finally got him to taste it, he realized he liked it after all. He wanted to give it a big hug!

This is Harry with one of his Aunties who he doesn't get to see too often, Paul's sister Kristi.

This is Harry with one of his Aunties who he doesn’t get to see too often, Paul’s sister Kristi.

Harry with Grandpa.

Harry with Grandpa.

This is Harry's cousin Gia.

This is Harry’s cousin Gia.

One of my dearest friends Tiffiny was able to make it!

One of my dearest friends Tiffiny was able to make it!

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Harry enjoyed some time with Grandma Katie before the party got started.

Randi and I met last year in our new mom's group right after our babies were born.  Her little guy, Charlie, is one of Harry's first friends.

Randi and I met last year in our new mom’s group right after our babies were born. Her little guy, Charlie, is one of Harry’s first friends.

Dan is one of Paul's oldest friends.  They went to high school together and Dan one even one of Paul's best men in our wedding.  It was great to see Dan and Sarah as they live pretty far and we don't the opportunity too often.

Dan is one of Paul’s oldest friends. They went to high school together and Dan one even one of Paul’s best men in our wedding. It was great to see Dan and Sarah as they live pretty far and we don’t the opportunity too often.

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This is Grandma Katie with Harry's youngest cousin, Luka, who is only a month old!

This is Grandma Katie with Harry’s youngest cousin, Luka, who is only a month old!

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These are my parents, Dan and Mary. Harry loves his grandma and grandpa!

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This is my Grandpa, so Harry’s Great Grandpa, with one of my younger cousins Tommy. We were so glad they were all able to come.

There was a great turn out for the part!  We were so glad to see everyone and it was fun to gather all the kids for a picture.

There was a great turn out for the part! We were so glad to see everyone and it was fun to gather all the kids for a picture.

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For Harry’s first birthday, I decided not to go get pictures done. Instead I decided to do them myself. I knew this was a risk, because I’m not a pro, but I also didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for cute pictures of my little guy. I recruited my mom and my husband to help out, and we headed to the park. I brought props and snacks for my little guy. Here is a good handful of my favorites.

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I used the Rohnna Designs app to add the cute stars and border to this one. The app is only a couple bucks and has tons of fun options to dress up your pictures.

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I left the board blank for the pictures and added the text afterwards. This will allow me more freedom and pretty writing.

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I can’t believe it’s been almost a whole year since my little guy debuted to the outside world.  What a great year it has been.  I have been busy and tired and oh so filled with love and joy.  What a precious gift he has been to me and my husband.  One week from today, he will be one year old, and in two weeks, we will have a great party to celebrate.

I’ve got some fun projects coming up, but since we’re nearly to the one year mark, I want to take a few minutes to reflect on the last year and share a particular year long project I’ve been working on.  And, I want to take a minute to congratulate myself for staying on top of this!  It’s the monthly pictures!!!

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The holiday season just passed, and with it, craft season. That’s right, I decided to go with crafts, homemade Christmas gifts this year. As a single income family, and lots and lots of people we want to give gifts and love to, we simply couldn’t buy presents for everyone. So we decided to make them.

A couple months ago, my grandmother decided to officially finalize her retirement from baking. She cleaned out her baking supplies and gave a lot of the old pans and other goodies to my mom and me. One of the things she gave us is her boards. Boards that she put the cakes on. They’re not quite cardboard not quite wood, but something in between. And in all shapes and sizes. Okay, they’re mostly round, but there were a few other shapes and they did come in varying sizes.

I decided to use these to make something for our family and friends we wanted to give gifts too. If you look on Pinterest these days, you will find a plethora of plaques for walls with cute quotes and sayings on them. And many of them appear to be chalkboard. So that’s what I decided to do. I made chalkboard look-alike plaques with Christmas quotes and sayings.

I started out by painting all the boards that I was planning to use white. I had to do a couple coats on some of them because some of the boards were a little beat up. Then, the real fun started. I use my cricket to cut out words and other cute shapes. I cut them out of freezer paper, then ironed them on to the boards waxy side down. I then put a light coat of black paint over the whole board. While the paint was still a little bit tacky, mostly dry but not 100%, I gently peeled off the freezer paper.

Since the freezer paper had been ironed on to wood, it didn’t peel off totally 100% cleanly. But, that gave a look of distress that I was actually going for. I then used a fine sandpaper to smooth out the wood and even distress some of the black paint. Following that, I gave it a coat of mod podge to seal in the design.

Once they were completely dry, I asked my husband to drill a hole in the top (not that I couldn’t do it myself, I just wanted to help😉). I slipped in a ribbon to tie it off and voilà, super cute little signs to be hung on people’s doors in place of wreaths or on walls of peoples hallways.

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How Harry Arrived…

We got a surprise on Wednesday night around 10:15.  At 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant, my water broke.  We were just getting ready for bed and settling in for the night.  I had been having quite a few braxton hicks contractions over the last couple weeks, but nothing too alarming.  And when my water broke, there were no other sings of labor.  In fact, when my husband and I were getting ready to head to the hospital, I asked him not to call the grandparents or anyone yet because I didn’t want to get everyone all excited to just call them back an hour later and let them know I had actually only peed my pants.

But after the initial exam at the hospital, sure enough, my water had broken, and as I had noticed from the lack of pain and discomfort, I was NOT in labor.  But, once the water’s broken, baby’s gotta come.  So I was put on pitocin and I just had to wait and try to get some rest.   Of course, who can rest when they are having a baby!?!  So Paul and I hung out in the L&D room.  My nurses kept turning the pitocin up and the contractions kept getting stronger and stronger.  Sometime after sunrise (forgive me for not remembering the actual times, I was a little distracted) the contractions were getting teary-eyed intense and I was set up with an epidural.  I’m glad I got it, but getting it put in was pretty… hmmm… not sure the right word actually.  But, well, I didn’t like the experience.

After the pain of contractions -and the feeling in my legs- went away, they turned the dosage up higher, higher, and higher to really get labor started.  When I had been on pitocin for about 16 hours and was ready to get a good progress report, the nurse informed me that I had made no progress.  The baby wasn’t dropping and my cervix wasn’t opening (not enough, anyway).  The Dr came in and recommended a c-section and that’s what we did.  I was prepped for surgery and off we went.

At 2:50 pm, Harry was born.  I was told afterwards that he was tangled in the cord with it wrapped around his neck and that’s why he wasn’t dropping and I wasn’t progressing.  I am glad we made the decision we did.  I am bummed, though, that immediately after he was born, I pretty much passed out and was in a foggy, shivering, blur for about the first two and a half hours of his sweet life.  Paul was able to stay with him while they cleaned him up and got him crying.  Paul came and checked on me a few times and reassured me that the baby was so super cute and that baby and I are both amazing.

Eventually, I got moved into our recovery room and they brought the baby in.  I was still a bit foggy from the meds and sadly, I don’t really remember the first few  moments I held and fed him.  Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t remember much about that afternoon or even the first night.  I’m pretty sure the grandmas came in and visited for a bit, though.

What I do remember is that the next morning after feeding, Harry was really alert and we were able to snap one of my favorite pictures of him (so far).

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And there he is.  Content and sweet and we are so smitten.  And that’s when my life actually starts.

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