Thursday, July 24, 2014

The lovebug turns 1!

We celebrated Jocelyn's birthday while we were up in Pennsylvania last weekend.  I'm usually anti-cartoony themes but this summer got away from me and I needed a quick and easy idea.  I happened to glance at the little ladybug costume my mom bought at a yard sale earlier this year and that settled it.

I feel like the invitations should have said "Sorry to BUG you, but another one of our kids is turning 1 ..."  Because it seems like we're constantly celebrating yet another first birthday.  I'm sure our family is over it!  But we couldn't leave out our last!

Thankfully, we're not in to big parties, just simple times of fellowship with close family.  And although it may look like we spent a lot of time on this, it really came together quite quickly and easily, especially since I had a lot of help!

Pinterest is full of ladybug party ideas.  And a lot of them come with free printables.  I found the invitation online and just filled in our information.  My mom had some ladybug ribbon and little plastic ladybug name card holders for decoration.  The kids and I went to the Dollar Store one day and got red balloons, plates, cups, napkins, and streamers.  We also found ladybug notecards and stickers (for decorations our thank-you cards.)

My original thought was to do a red and blue color schemed, I was afraid black, white, and red seemed a bit harsh for a 1 year old birthday.  But I got this bright idea to make a table runner and when I went through my scrap box, I had a lot more black and white than red.  And so for all those "babies of the family" out there that like to complain about getting all the leftovers and hand-me-downs--this is for you, I made my girl a table runner.  She has no clue right now, but I'm counting on her looking back on these pictures years and years from now and saying, "Wow, mom.  You made me feel so special on my first birthday when you spent hours sewing that table runner!"  Yeah?  No?  Only time will tell.

But she should feel special with this cake!  As usual, it was made by Marmie.  That's her specialty and she said this one was one of her favorites!  We all thought it looked amazing!  I also brought along some cupcakes that were decorated with a ladybug kit I found at Joann's, on clearance of course.

One night I Googled ladybug theme snacks and forwarded the results to Marmie--who, along with Aunt Kylee and Miss Carrie, took on the challenge of creating tomato ladybugs on crackers and strawberry ladybugs on Jello.  She also made blueberry ice cubes to float in our cranberry lemonade "punch" bowl.

Nonnie provided a luscious fruit tray and let us change the location of the party to her house at the last minute.  And Jon manned the grill.  Our original plan was to just have pizza, but by the end of the weekend we were all craving something a bit more healthy.  So Jon made up a big batch of his famous Stern's Chicken and we accompanied it with a colorful salad.

It was a small group since a number of our family was away on vacation.  And not much in the way of festivities since the star of our show had only had one short nap in the middle of church that day.  But it was enough to acknowledge our growing girl and the special gift she's been this past year!

Julia's friend, Sephora.

Opening gifts went fast, the birthday girl barely had to lift a finger!

And now we can put first birthday parties behind us forever.  Time to focus on the next age deserving of a bigger party.  I used to think that was six, but that would be Jack this year.  And I'm just now sure I'm ready for that yet.

Speaking of numerous children and large families, another reason we came to Pennsylvania was to attend my oldest cousin's wedding.  My brothers and I only have two first cousins in the all the world.  And our two first cousins only have us three as cousins, too.  We rarely see each other anymore, so when the oldest of us, Aaron, announced his wedding, it was the perfect chance to have a reunion.

The guys. I'm slightly outnumbered.
I think the last time we took a picture of the five of us together Jared wasn't even able to stand.  We took a few minutes out from the reception to catch up and for the guys to compare facial hair (or lack of.)

Poppa and his princess.
It's funny how much more obvious all those quirky family traits become when they're staring you back in the face in the form of another person.  That western PA accent, early graying (not me, I somehow avoided that one so far!), hairlines, noses, ears, posture ... This whole "we're related" thing is kind of cool.

These two.  I have about 10 pictures like this, they just wouldn't stop.

I'm so grateful my kids have a fun pack of cousins on their dad's side.  And we're REALLY looking forward to growing my side of the family as well ... in the future ... HINT, HINT to a certain uncle and aunt ... but no pressure ... whenever you're ready.  But I'm ready, just so you know.  I digress.

6:30am at Nonnie and Poppie's--Jon and I woke up to kid's voices outside and found our oldest three wandering the grounds in pajamas, looking for birds and deer with binoculars.
Oh yeah, the kids.  Well, we left the oldest three with Nonnie and Poppie that day.  A HUGE thanks to my in-laws for taking on that chore.  I don't know what it is about Pennsylvania trips, but typically my kids are CRAZY misbehavin' the entire week before.  And last week was no exception.  Jon and I were, dare I say, eager (??) to spend a day apart.

Photo Credit: Poppie

Photo Credit: Poppie

You can imagine the kind of fun the boys have been having with these inflatable "bats" this week.  I think one of these nights they may just "disappear."
Nonnie and Poppie accepted the challenge head-on--taking the kids to the county fair, wearing them out in the pool, playing in the yard, grocery shopping, and finishing it all off with a bonfire and marshmallows.

Photo Credit: Nonnie

Photo Credit: Nonnie

Photo Credit: Nonnie
Julia loves it when Nonnie braids her hair.  It's been 4 days and I was finally able to convince her to let me brush it out.
All in all, it was a lovely summer weekend in our favorite home state. We don't take these trips for granted, especially since we were *this close* to spending this week moving in to a new house in Boston--me unpacking boxes and boxes and Jon starting his new job.  Suddenly, packing up a family of six for two days in the next state over isn't such a big deal!

It's tough being a princess. 
And we appreciate the shorter drive to visit parents as well.  Especially when that drive involves a very fussy now-one-year-old, her princess of a sister who wakes up screaming approximately every 20 minutes whenever she's sleeping on long trips, and her two big brothers who fail to notify their parents they need a potty break until approximately 3 seconds before they NEED that potty break.

Reading her gift from Uncle Micah -- "Happy Birthday Baby.  In other words, I attempt to read and she flips the pages as fast as she can!
Yes, we love Pennsylvania.  And we love coming home.  It's just the in-between stuff that gets a bit tricky!

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