Friday, April 13, 2012

Birthday Blessings

Ecstactic... and exhausted.
Proud... and in pain.
Optimistic... and overwhelmed
Blessed... and burdened.

This is how I felt 3 years ago when, after going into labor at 2 a.m. on the day I was due with my first child, I found myself holding him in my arms at 7:04 a.m... all 7 pounds 14 ounces and 19.5 inches of him.   April 2, 2009 was probably the most emotional day I've had in my whole life. 

This year on April 2, not only did suddenly find myself the mother of a 3 year old but also 30 weeks pregnant with my little girl.  Our life right now has been... well, chaotic, but it's also been filled with some tremendous blessings.  

We had the opportunity to host about 25 of our friends and family for Jadon's 3rd birthday party.  We typically invite family members and a couple of Jadon's friends (with their parents).  Other than the 6 family friends who were local, the rest were family members who came out for the celebration.  People had anywhere from a 3 minute to a 7 hour drive.  (Or in the case of one of my sisters, a 2 hour flight that left at 6 a.m. the morning of the party... and she rode back with my northern family at around 1 pm, giving her a grand total of less than 5 hours at our house!  That's one dedicated aunt!)  We were definitely feeling a lot of love from our family!  

To celebrate this day, I went with a Curious George theme.  It's one of Jadon's favorite characters, and made for a fun party theme, especially for a brunch.  

As a side note, this is the second time we've had a birthday brunch for Jadon's party and we love it!  It's different, it's not all that difficult to do, and there are less cranky kids running around.  Jadon was down for his afternoon nap shortly after 2 p.m!  That made for a happy Mom and Dad who had some time to pick up a bit and crash for a few minutes. 

So, for months now I've been doing searches via Pinterest and Etsy brainstorming and collecting ideas for Jadon's party.  We're not over the top by any means, but I do like to do a few (small, inexpensive) things to make it special.  Here are a few pictures from my big 3 year old's special day!  

The color palette, which was played off the books, was red, canary yellow, and light blue.  The mantle was simply decorated with Curious George books that we already had and balloons.  I bought a dozen helium balloons from iParty for about $10 and divided them up throughout the house.  My course of action when decorating for a party at our house is to basically hit the important areas, which is our case is the entryway (it's what everyone sees when they walk in the door, so I tied a couple of balloons there), the living room (hence the mantle), and the dining room (where all the eating takes place).  

Due to some extra craziness immediately before and after the party, my opportunity to take pictures was pretty much gone.  So, did I get a picture of the table and buffet of brunch foods?  Nope.  The kitchen counters displayed an array of delicious foods, some of the highlights being pancakes (inspired from Curious George Makes Pancakes), banana bread (sent to us by my grandmother who couldn't be at the party), and monkey bread (google it if you don't know what it is because it's delicious).

No pictures of the table or anything, but I purchased this tiered cupcake rack for about $12 from the Christmas Tree Shops (kind of splurge, but I know it's something I'll use again).  We also had an 8" round cake that I purchased from a local grocery store (when I saw how many people we'd have coming to the party). 

The cupcakes were funfetti with a buttercream frosting on top.  Then each cupcake was topped with some sprinkles, a banana runt (of course), and a personalized cupcake topper.  I ordered the toppers from a seller on Etsy and they were soooo cute!  I purchased 12 toppers for $12.50 (including shipping).

The only thing, other than cake, that Jadon requested for his party was to have party hats.  Of course he hardly wore his, but for $1.99 it was worth his initial excitement.  Also, in the back ground of the above picture you can see a monkey mask (available at iParty 4 for $3.99).  It should be said that although the interest in both of these items (the hats and the masks) among the children was short-lived, several of the "adults" at the birthday party were constantly entertained by either of these.  It was quite amusing.  

The only other costs associated with the party (besides food) were paper goods that were purchased from a dollar-type store that was going out of business (woohoo!) as well as the grocery store, and his gifts, of course.

What do you give a 3 year old who has a ton of toys?  For the past 2 birthdays we've had the philosophy of giving Jadon a couple little things (like a couple books), and then something "bigger" (for his first birthday it was a sand and water table, and for his second birthday it was a tricycle).  This year we really struggled with what "bigger" gift to get for him.  Ultimately we decided that, with the coming of our second little one, one of the greatest things we could get Jadon was some special time with Mommy and Daddy.  Using Jadon's favorite Curious George book as our inspiration, we purchased tickets to the Boston Aquarium for the three of us.  We know Jadon will love it, and it's definitely not something we would just do on a whim.  It will be a special time for our family of three before we become a family of four.  

The down side is that I'm not completely sure that he understood what we were giving him, but he definitely was not disappointed.  You can be sure to catch a few pics from our family adventure to the aquarium sometime in the next few weeks (hopefully).  

 It was a great day to celebrate such a big blessing in our life, and we're so thankful to God for giving us care over him.  We daily surrender this awesome burden back to our Heavenly Father, trusting that as we love, instruct, and correct our son that he will be directed to the One who loves him with a greater love than we could ever imagine.  

~ Carrie

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