Alice’s first birthday – 3 of 4

Time for some family pics!  We really enjoy working with Rebecca from Red Bridge Photography, and she got some excellent shots that day.

Also – how cute is her dress?  I sewed it without a pattern since I couldn’t find one that was exactly what I wanted.  Made some mistakes, but they’re not visible in pictures.  Whew.




April 17, 2012 at 8:57 am 1 comment

Alice’s first birthday – 2 of 4

You’ve seen the outside of the house – now check out what I did inside.

For the mantle, I ordered a $5 2’x3′ engineer print from Staples and attached that to a piece of foam board ($5 Staples).  I loved how it turned out, and so did Alice.  I added a few other framed photos of her too.

I also made a photo garland.  Alice was born on February 17, and I took a photo of her each month on the 17th (still do, actually).  I printed out one from each month along with a newborn photo taken at one week, gave it a paper mat, and strung them all together.  I added a hot air balloon ornament on either end to coordinate with the ornaments dangling from the pussy willow branches in the vase on the mantle.

I also printed out a bunch of photos from the year and put them under plexiglass on our coffee table.  Alice loves to look at those too.  (Yes, I know the table scrunchy looks awful, but the corners of that table are too sharp for a clumsy baby to be around.)



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For the center of the dining room table, I made a balloon topiary to match the balloon wreath on the front door.  We also had guest signature art.  My mom painted a picture of a baby girl in a pink dress with lots of balloons, and the guests signed the balloons.  We’ll frame it for Alice’s play room and, when she’s tired of it, it’ll fit into a scrapbook so she’ll always have it.

In the foyer, I attached a bunch of enormous balloons to a basket, reminiscent of a hot air balloon.  Alice was supposed to sit all cutely in the basket for some pictures, but she had other ideas.

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Now on to my favorite part – the dessert table.  I sewed name bunting from scraps from her baby quilt and hung that against a piece of foam board I covered with aqua cloth.  We hung a couple of model hot air balloons from the ceiling – I just love them, and we’ll be hanging those in her play room soon.  The cake was super cute – an orange cat in the basket of a hot air balloon.  And my mom made hot air balloon shaped cookies, and we had hot air balloon shaped cake pops.  I had some little suitcases, a couple of art books, and a small Eiffel Tower model to complete the travel look.  Oh – and, just for fun, I stitched up a table runner and wrote her monogram on it.

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Last, but not least – the high chair and smash cake.  I got an old wooden high chair for super cheap off of Craigslist, painted it, dangled some pompom trim on it, and made a goofy name banner.

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Photos: Red Bridge Photography

April 16, 2012 at 8:40 am 2 comments

Alice’s 1st bday – 1 of 4

We had SUCH a blast at Alice’s 1st birthday party.  And I had a great time planning and executing it!

Some people gripe about “over the top” children’s birthday parties.  You know what?  Maybe having a theme with lots of special touches and a food truck counts as over the top, but whatever – this was a celebration of so many things.  This was about Alice’s birthday, us surviving pregnancy and then a year of parenthood, our marriage surviving pregnancy and a year of parenthood, and our family and friends making it through those things with us.  If those aren’t good enough reasons to celebrate, I don’t know what would be.  And planning is TOTALLY my favorite hobby.  Why shouldn’t I take the opportunity to indulge in it?  I think everyone had a good time – I know I did!

First up, the fabulous vendors:

Red Bridge did our Christmas photos, and OnlyBurger’s brick and mortar location was the first place we took Alice other than the doctor’s office.  Both are very special to us!  Now Edible Art and the Cake Pop Shop are special to us too.  Both provided excellent products at a very reasonable price.

Now!  On to the pictures! First up, let’s set the stage.  The theme was hot air balloons, and here’s what the invite looked like:

This post focuses on what was going on outside.  The front porch featured tissue paper hot air balloons, rainbow bunting, and a DIY balloon wreath.  Then, of course, there were balloons on the mailbox and the OnlyBurger truck.

April 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm Leave a comment

It’s been a while

We’ve been a little preoccupied since we got back from the Galapagos.  Here’s why:

Joy Lyn Photography

Joy Lyn Photography

Her name is Alice, and she was born February 17, 2011, at 12:52 am.  She was 6 lbs 7 oz and 20.5 inches.  She’s totally healthy – a great eater and good sleeper (so far anyway).  And we are totally in love.

Our photographer, Joy Lyn Photography, posted a few more on her blog.

March 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm 2 comments

Back from the Galapagos Islands

We just got back from the trip of a lifetime Monday evening.  Here’s my brief overview:

The preamble:  None of our usual travel companions joined us (we almost always travel with friends). This trip ended up costing a lot more than we planned due to the volcano issue (new plane tickets booked last minute, hotel, cab, food). The Celebrity Xpedition desk people were really rude to us and misinformed. We missed the pre-cruise city tour in Quito. We got sick with colds. My husband got seasick. On the last excursion, I slid on loose gravel, scraping my leg and breaking my camera (Nikon D90; don’t worry – I have insurance for it). This was by far the worst luck we’ve ever had on a trip, including our trip to Mexico that got canceled last year due to swine flu.

The verdict : It was the most amazing thing we’ve ever done, and I have serious doubts that any other trip for the rest of our lives will come close to competing with it.

  • I got stepped on by a baby sea lion when getting off the panga (small boat used to tender between the ship and shore) for the first excursion.
  • A penguin bumped into my leg repeatedly.
  • A snake curled around the edge of my husband”s shoe. (Thank goodness I missed this particular moment – I shrieked when I came upon the snake a couple minutes later.)
  • We saw blue footed boobies dancing and nesting – they even showed us their eggs.
  • We saw waved albatrosses flying (amazing – 7.5 foot wingspan), landing (hilarious), and nesting (saw eggs).
  • We saw a giant dude tortoise humping a chick tortoise and groaning. haha
  • We snorkeled with sea lions, sea turtles, penguins, sharks, rays, and loads of fish.
  • We saw a huge number of swimming iguanas (these are the only marine iguanas in the world, and they only take to the water at certain times of day).
  • We made new friends, who I miss already.

It was the trip of a lifetime, well worth every penny and bit of hassle. Sure, I wish it would’ve been cheaper and easier, but the point is that it was hugely expensive, we had a lot of problems, and it was STILL amazing.  If you have ever considered visiting these islands but hesitated due to cost or whatever, quit hesitating – book now!

Pictures and more info to come.

June 9, 2010 at 5:52 pm 5 comments

Destination: Tallinn, Estonia

You know what’s totally adorable and nearly unheard of in the area?  Estonia.  It has a population of just over 1.3 million, so that’s fewer people than in the Triangle.  Since it’s in Europe and snuggled up to Russia, there’s no doubt that it’s adorable.  Tallinn was a super cute, and seemingly pretty well off, walled town.

We hopped off the boat in Tallinn, and made our way through a little booths.  We spotted a couple sheep in a pen there.  At first we thought it was strange.  Then we realized that not only were they cute, but they were also super friendly!  The ram pawed at the fence, rubbed his horns on the fence, and batted his eyelashes at people trying to get everyone to pet and treat him.

We had Rick Steves’ Scandinavia, so we were prepared to hit the top spots.  Um… If you’re also working from this book, you’ll want to pick up another tourist map.  It was a little tough to follow.  That said, it definitely gave us a good overview of what to see.

We started at Fat Margaret, one of the best known towers.  We wound our way through the town and found our way to St. Olaf’s church.  This church was first constructed in the 12th century as “the center for old Tallinn’s Scandinavian community prior to the conquest of Tallinn by Denmark in 1219.”  Between 1549 and 1625, this was the tallest church in the world.  It’s life continues today as a Baptist church.


April 13, 2010 at 9:22 pm 2 comments

NC Eatin’: Rutherford County

Friday, November 13, 2009

Genny’s Family Restaurant
451 Main Street
Chimney Rock, NC

Having hit Waynesville the day before, Dad and I thought we should find another nearby, cute town for lunch on Friday.  I looked at a county map, picked Rutherford County, and figured out that we ought to go to Chimney Rock.  It’s a pretty, easy drive from Asheville, and we already knew there were cute stores and cafes by the gate into the Chimney Rock State Park.

We took my parents’ dog with us, so we found a place on Main Street that allowed dogs in their outside eating area.  Actually, I think Genny’s was the only one.  It has a couple tables in a fenced in area for people with dogs.  I was actually surprised it was the only place set up for dogs since dogs are welcome in the park and the best way to lunch is to sit outside by the river.  Anyway, we got settled in, placed our order with a friendly waitress, and listened to the river while we waited.

Our food took a little while, especially considering the place wasn’t that busy and we didn’t order anything complicated.  I got a hamburger, fries, and a biscuit, and Dad got breakfast.  It wasn’t particularly special, but it was good.  I’d go again.

You’ll notice that the dog isn’t in the picture.  She apparently decided that the sound of the camera freaker her out that day.  lol  After lunch, we took a stroll along the river.  There’s a very short little path there that has a nice view of Chimney Rock.

And I snagged my county sign pic on the way home.

March 21, 2010 at 1:10 pm 1 comment

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