Monday, September 24, 2012

A September Baby Shower

Baby Shower  
On Saturday I had the pleasure of hosting a baby shower for our friends, Jessica & Daniel. She's the lovely wife of the boy who I once babysat, he's now our church organist and a Lutheran teacher. His father is our new vicar, and was also my principal and teacher growing up!

His family, they are also dear, long-time friends to my family. 
So I jumped at the chance to throw her {them} a baby shower when they announced they were expecting! Since she moved here from Phoenix when they married last summer, it worked out well for both of us--she needed a shower host and I needed a reason for a good party. 
{I might have begged her to let me, too.}
Mom & Dad-to-Be 
Don't these two make a darling couple? 
They're going to have a gorgeous little girl come November!
{And yes, the dad-to-be came along as well! We had toyed with the idea of doing a co-ed baby shower anyway, so when he asked to tag along at the last minute I was more than happy! This isn't the 1950s, people, dads can enjoy these things, too!}
Baby Shower Food 
We kept it simple, the theme was simply "baby shower" plus the nursery colors of pink, yellow, and gray. That's a palette I'm pleased to work with any day. 
Baby Shower 
In the yard, of course! We couldn't fit many people into our house, now could we?
To my delight, the weather was absolutely divine that day. Her relatives from Phoenix couldn't stop raving about the blissful 75 degree day. 
Baby Shower 
I'll move on to the food...

I served chicken salad sandwiches {using this incredible recipe from Jan's blog} on Costco croissants {look, I'd fly them in from France if I had the budget}, stuffed into gray and white Chevron paper bags. 
Chicken salad sandwiches 
Also cucumber toasties--this is one of my favorite, easy recipes when I need tasty snacks. 
Cucumber Toasties 
And deviled eggs. Meh. 
Deviled Eggs 
Jan was an absolute angel to me for this party. She made these delicious Nutella & strawberry cupcakes for me to serve, and delivered them a few hours before the party. {Oh, and then she stayed until party time to help me get ready, because I am a nut case during party setups. Her calm, laid back presence was exactly what I needed.}
Cupcakes! 
Store bought meringues in a vintage Fenton milk glass compote makes for a lovely filler for a party spread. 
Mmmeringues! 
Then there's Kellee's cookies. Now hear this, I've always been impressed with Kellee's cookies--she never disappoints--but these ones really were something special. 
Cookies! 
Each one is a little masterpiece. Unbelievable. 
She even designed them to match the invitations. 
Baby Shower Cookies by Kellee 
Keeping it simple, we served pink lemonade and iced tea with vintage tumblers and pink striped paper straws. 
Tea & Lemonade Stand 
I made the cake, a two-tiered chocolate cake covered in buttercream rosettes. 
Rosette "Baby" Cake 
People said the sweetest things about how lovely the cake was, I was flattered. I suppose we're always most critical of our own work, however. It was a really sloppy, last-minute icing job. Look, I know when I cut corners. 
Baby Shower Cake
The mother-to-be and I both agreed on no stupid baby shower games. 
I mean, come on, really? Melted candy bars in diapers? Tasting baby foods? Gross!

Plus, there were so many guests that I decided to keep the games to a simple minimum. 
Baby Shower Games Table 
The favors were unique--not every guest wanted one, but I have to admit the "emergency clutch" made out of a potholder was a strange thing to me, too, when Jan first made me one. But upon use, it's become an absolute necessity, you see. I LOVE mine. 

IKEA potholders with plastic baggies sewn inside, then folded in half and secured with a button and loop. So easy to make these! They hold so many wonderful little things in your purse, nicely organized!
Favors 
There was also a little baby name game and a bottle filled with taffys to win...
Games & Album table 
This was as corny as I was willing to get as far as baby shower games go...
Baby Name Game 
Guests put together a little album for the mother-to-be, using a Fujifilm Instax camera {like a Polaroid, but the film is smaller and cute!}
Instax camera & album
Guests were able to snap their own photo, paste it in the album, and write a note. 
It makes for a nice keepsake that everyone has a party in. 
Memory Album with Instax Photos 
There is some room left in the back, so I'll add some photos of my own from the party. 
Memory Album 
A few onesies, customized with iron-ons of Bible verses and monograms, makes for a great decoration and bunting. Plus, the mother-to-be can take them home and use them once baby comes!
Onesie bunting 
It always takes some encouraging to get guests to start eating, I've found. Once they did, however, plates were filled up quickly. 
Mom-to-Be 
There were a lot of people there! 
Some of our church ladies...
Church Ladies :) 
and some guests came in from Arizona and Iowa!
Baby Shower Guests 
I sent out 45 invitations! This was probably the largest party I've hosted to date. 
I enjoy the challenge of it. 
Baby Shower 
That's one of the aunts-to-be, notice her rosette boutonniere? 
Baby Shower Luncheon 
One little detail I had fun adding were these crepe paper & glitter rosettes for each one of the family members. 
Crepe Paper Rosette Boutonni√®res 
Okay, I'll admit it, this taffy game is a bit of a cop-out. 
Look, I made hand-crafted BOUTONNIERES, okay?
Games 
Wowzers, did they get a lot of gifts! Big party, like I said. 
Pile of Presents! 
So I made sure to start them on gift-opening sooner than later...
Baby Shower Gifts 
One clever guest wrote the most hilarious messages on the diapers she bought them. Things like, "Hey mom, someday when you're old I'll return the favor" and "Isn't it dad's turn?"
Showering Presents 
And they got a couple "big ticket" items, might I add. 
That always adds to some baby shower excitement. 
Opening Gifts 
Here is Jessica with her mom, who lives in Arizona. 
Mom & Grandma-to-Be 
Two of Daniel's three sisters, Jessica, and myself!
Aunties, Mom-to-Be, and me! 
It was a great time and an absolutely perfect day. 
Baby Shower
__________________________________________________

I can't thank my friends, Jan & Kellee, enough for the help with the amazing sweets. They were so eager and happy to lend me a hand, it's humbling. Wonderful friends I have.

Also Justin, who is an absolute hero when it comes to helping me through party planning. He never complains, even when I'm yelling at him to "hurry up and go get those rental chairs, and don't forget to get me coffee!" two hours before the party is to start...

And most important--I love baby showers so much because what better a reason to celebrate than a little blessing from God? Babies are such precious, priceless gifts. Always worth throwing a good party for. 

We can't wait for Jessica & Daniel's little girl to arrive!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Colorado State Fair!

Colorado State Fair 
My dad is a 3rd generation native and my mom grew up in the Springs, so when we collectively realized this year that we've never yet been to the Colorado State Fair, we decided we had to go at least once.
Eisley Struttin' 
Eisley donned her cowgirl boots, we slathered ourselves in sunscreen, and we drove an hour and forty-five minutes this morning to get to the fairgrounds, in Pueblo, CO.
Our Little Family 
The livestock is just one reason to go...
{And can I just say, that as a previously breastfeeding mother, that I just so feel for these poor cows and goats. Standing around all day in the heat with udders full...ugh. Poor things.}
MORE Livestock! 
The 4H gals were there today, with their goats. Goats are okay, but...I sort of have an irrational fear of them. This is due to a petting zoo incident when I was a  young girl, which involved me being pinned to a wall--like a cheerleader, pinned to the lockers by a stupid, amorous jock, one hoove on each side of my shoulders--by a goat for several minutes, intimidated by this one gluttonous goat after I ran out of the petting zoo food, it took a while before any adults noticed my screaming as the goat chewed at my clothes. SO, naturally...they creep me out.
Goats!
And then, we spotted this:
Water Bubbles! 
Justin protested that our girl, Eisley, was too afraid and skittish to get into one of the large bubbles, but I insisted, after seeing the look on her face as she watched the other kids, that she had to be given the chance. 
Eisley in Water Bubble 
I knew she would be my brave girl and have a ball in there.
She's cautious by nature like me, true, but I knew she'd love this!
Eisley in Bubble 
You should have seen the bright smiles on this girl.
She had an absolute blast.
Eisley in the bubble 
Although, with every fun ride or attraction Eisley was old enough to enjoy, we had to watch a disappointed Violet. 
Oh, Violet! She, who has the spirit and gumption times ten, but simply lacks the vertical size to participate. Someday, kiddo...
Poor Violet 
Someday, mark my words, this ginger will rule the world. 

Bubble Girl 
Meanwhile, my mom shopped for "I {heart} boobies" belts and cowgirl hats.
Oh yes, these are some of the goods we saw at the fair:
{how does one fry fruity pebbles??? seriously, I'd like to know.}
Merch 
They had rabbits on show, chickens, cows, pigs, goats...
Birdshows, too.
Eisley & Daddy! 
It is in some ways just like an old fashioned carnival.
{In other ways, not so much, but let's not talk about that.}
Attractions 
One of the biggest blessings of being a parent is watching these sort of moments through your kids eyes. 
Pretty Smile Eisley 
It is such a joy to see her with her daddy, 
and I'm so happy to see them be so close.
Justin is such a good dad to my girls.
Eisley & Daddy 
This is important to me, since I was blessed to also have such a devoted, involved father, who still is devoted and involved, just as a grandfather, now.
I know the significance in this blessing, first hand.
Papa & Viv 
But where there are arts...
Fine Arts 
My artist of a father must attend.

{Not that I'm complaining. That guy is the reason for my art education. He's the reason I can spot a Winslow Homer or Bouguereau anywhere or distinguish the difference between pointillism, impressionism, and realism. As well as spot the crap that is labeled "art". Okay, so really, he's just the reason I'm an art snob.}
Art
And so we put up with my artist of a father, needing to look at art no matter where he goes... even if it's at the state fair.
Dad at the Art Gallery 
It's easy for us to detect when dad is in "art gallery mode". 
He gets this look in his eye...
Dad & Art 
But eventually we talked him back into going out to some rides...
Colorado State Fair
Like the carousel, one of the few rides Violet could enjoy, too.
Carousel
Hey, Viv! 
{She cried when she had to get off this one. She would have sat on that horse all day.}
Momma & Violet
And the ferris wheel, in which this darling photo was taken, just before I freaked out when it was sent way up high. Apparently I was better with heights and rides back when I was a little girl.
I thought I was going to die. Especially when the helicopter went right past us. Yes, they have $20 helicopter rides at the state fair, too.
Daddy & Eisley on the Ferris Wheel 
The girls did so enjoy themselves on all those fun kiddie rides.
I won't lie, we had to sneak them onto a couple of which they were just a few inches short for according to the signs.
Rides 
This is Eisley, giving the stink eye to papa when he told her not to put her hands in the water. She deserved a lot of time-outs today.
The Stink Eye
And then there's the fair fare. 
Well, shoot. There is no eating healthy at a fair. 
Food & Drink 
Finally, hot, exhausted, and totally over-tired, we drove back home to Denver. 
State Fair Sunset

I'm so glad we finally got to the fair!
{You can see more photos, and more details, at my Flickr account.}

If you're in Colorado, and have the chance to go, do. It's fun.



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