Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brody & Swayze's Circus Birthday Extravaganza

I can't believe my handsome little guy turned two this weekend. It makes me sad that he's getting big so fast. It feels like yesterday Brody was in my tummy karate chopping my bladder, I was rapping about baby constipation in hopes of him poo-ing (for those of you who've been blessed to hear my baby raps), and throwing up in Walmart parking lot from locking him in the car and having to call the fire department... ahhh the memories.

Seriously though, I miss the days when he would just sleep on my chest, coo and smile at the sound of my voice--moments I'll cherish forever.

OK, I'll snap out of it and get to the party (cough) bitching, I mean planning...

So, I started thinking about his birthday bash long before the holidays. I tried to get some ideas for party themes to decide if I wanted to throw a big party like his first birthday (see Lumberjack birthday shindig here). There is so much planning that goes into these over-the-top parties we throw, and I have to make sure mom, who is our secret weapon, has plenty of time to draw, paint etc.

I wish I could say planning these parties is all rainbows and sunshine, but it's a pain in my rear.

Anyway, at the beginning of the year, Swayze, my youngest niece, turned one. Since it was on the heels of the holidays, my sister and I thought it would be a good idea to throw a joint party early February. Due to some arising issues and what seemed to be a Welch family sickness outbreak, we had to postpone to the 22nd.

This is where the fun--and frustration--began. After our initial talks and countless texts, we ultimately landed on a circus theme. Both of the kids love "Madagascar 3" and love watching Alex and the gang start the Afro Circus, so we thought it would be a fun to throw a crazy circus extravaganza. And, with my mom's artistic skills, I knew we could go to work.

Inspired by Pinterest, we decided on the things we wanted to do for the party.

Must haves, included:
  • Big Top letters and Curtains
  • Giant Popcorn Boxes with balloons
  • Chalkboard Signs for Food
  • Madagascar Art
  • Step Right Up Signage
  • Awesome games & circus food

When it came down to the nitty gritty the week of, it was pure chaos and a never-ending five day headache (for me); seriously I've never had sinus pain like this before in my life. I felt terrible all week.

One note to take away from this: If you start decorating two days before the party, you may have over done it. Well, we over did it. Go figure.

We started decorating Thursday and the party wasn't till Saturday. It just felt like this wasn't quite coming together the way it should. I think that all comes with throwing a joint party. We all have different visions of what we want it to look like. We bought different stuff at different places, and weren't sure how to bring it all together.

We were having the party in the garage and on the driveway due to nice weather. This was our first official shindig in the garage so we weren't quite sure on how it would pan out.

We felt it was necessary to cover every wall and we did. A lot of time was spent thinking about where to put what. We took things down several times and moved stuff around because we weren't happy with it. 

By Friday, we were ready to get stuff up and leave it.  With our "no one will notice it but us attitude" we were over this party. We knew we were tired and ready for the fat lady to sing so we could pack up our crap and ska-daddle.

By 6 o'clock, we remembered we had to map out where the games were going to go and what all games to use. Luckily my sister had borrowed an ample amount of games from work, which took some stress away and saved us money. We used sidewalk chalk as game signage. It was easy and pretty! We didn't leave until almost midnight though. And we needed to be back early the next day. I got lucky with my MIL who kept Brody for us Friday night.

Needless to say after all the stress and work put into the party, I was due a glass of wine. Hell, who am I kidding? I needed the whole bottle. It was exhausting. 

So let's start with what party-goers saw when they arrived to the party: 
We were lucky (and thankful) to be able to borrow the most of the games and strands of pennants. We had more than this, but only but up what we had room for. It really made the party more festive.
Afro Circus decor included solid wrapping paper from Dollar General and of course artwork by our mom. This was our favorite wall! We added the tickets to add a more 3-D effect!

The draping of material was done by my Mom. She tied together several layers of material we had from a previous party to get the "swooped look." The "Big Top" letters were nailed in to wood surrounding the garage.

The red and white stripes on the wall is actually wrapping paper found at Dollar Tree. The yellow on the table is also wrapping paper from Dollar General.

Table cloths turned into curtains.

Madagascar 3 Art by my mom

Prize table w/ bean bag toss games.

Feed the fish game!

"The Blazing Chicken" Game. Toss rubber chickens through the rings of fire.


Plinko fun!
Even the adults had fun!

Games, included:
  • Bean Bag Toss
  • Feed the Fish Bean Bag Toss
  • The Blazing Chicken
  • Crazy Clown Chalk Art
  • Butt Scooter Races
  • Make your own Balloon Animals
  • Ring Toss
  • Photo Booth

Presley and Emma having some fun. These two are trouble together!

Polka Dot Wrapping Paper from the Dollar Tree.
Me and my longtime BFF, Stephanie, who's an awesome fashion blogger. Check her out!

Our Circus Family!

My men!

  • "Step Right Up" signs - made by Mom
  • Pennants - Borrowed
  • Games - Borrowed
  • Rings of Fire (The Blazing Chicken) - made by me
  • Giant Popcorn Boxes - borrowed (art on front by mom)
  • Striped Fabric - JoAnn's
  • All other painted signs - made by Mom
  • Popcorn Boxes - Terrell Trinity Concession Restaurant Supply
  • Balloons - Dollar General
  • Brody's The Greatest Show On Earth Shirt - Little Tree Tops Baby 
  • Printed Graphics for candy table - Made by Tricia
All in all it was a pretty day for a party, and it turned out great. I need a massage, some liquor and a lot of sleep.

I foresee a party at Chuck-E-Cheeses next year or somewhere with less responsibility for the parents. Maybe I'll have Klay throw the party on his own...

Anything else you want to know about the party? Leave me a comment and ask!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Valentines, Schmalentines

For some reason I always dread Feb. 14. You'd think since the hubs put a ring on it six years ago, Valentine's Day would be a day to look forward to. Sure, it's a great day to shower each other with triple the affection--but to be honest--I feel like it's a waste of money.

I don't want to be one of those lame couples that say "we show each other we love them everyday." I feel like we do, more than most, but it honestly depends on the day. Some days it's more, some days it's less. But it IS every day.

Needless to say, our Valentine's Days aren't too interesting. Just a card--flowers maybe--of course a dinner date, but other than that we don't go nuts over it like we did before we were married.

I know, I know. How boring! But by the time I get in the chocolate-eating, flower-giving, stuffed-animals-that-say-I-love-you-spirit, it seems like it's a lot of hooplah over nothing. And those things get tossed in the can, before the next trash day anyway. OK, maybe not that fast...

It might be this time of year when the January Blues kick in that put me in a funky, foul, pitty-party-havin'-mood. BUT this year, with some positive and proactive pep, I wanted things to be different. I really wanted to something thoughtful for Klay that are from both me and Broman.

So, what better to do than take photos of Brody? It's been a hot minute since we had a professional photo shoot. This time though, I wasn't going to hire some hot photog to get the job done. I'd do it myself; makes it more personal, right? All we need was a few good photos of Brody, and maybe, if we're lucky I'll jump in a for a couple, print them up and BAM! instant gift solution and low-cost.

WRONG. This turned out to be a mess and it all started with me being sick and a misunderstanding with my mom.

I bought a few props from Hobby Lobby to stage a set for Brody. With his V-day "Ladies Man" tee and an old jacket that matched, the shoot was pretty much ready. Except, Mom had somehow mixed my V-day goodies with some of Brody's birthday party stuff (that she took home with her after a day of shopping) and now, I'm without props, I feel like poo and my photos were put on hold.

Countdown to a mommy meltdown, BEGINS...

Eventually mom ended up making it out to my house on the 13th to bring the props and take a few snapshots of me with the kid.

(Countdown to a mommy meltdown, phase 2) Once we were all ready, I decided to try to take some photos inside. Bad option. The hearts wouldn't stick to the wall. And, when they would stick my child would rip them off the wall and throw them down. Good times.

Due to bad lighting and a 2 year old's bad attitude, we decided to move this V-day fun outside.

(Countdown to a mommy meltdown, phase 3): This kid was not having it. By this time we were on meltdown #23:

When your kid doesn't want to smile for a pic, what do you do? Resort to deceitful tactics; you lie or you bribe. "Do you want a candy cane? OK, then smile for Mama." It would have been a lie, but leave it to GiGi to make me follow through on what I say. BUT....

Candy canes saved the day. I got a few good snapshots of a somewhat happy kid.

(Countdown to a mommy meltdown, phase 4): You know when you feel like you look pretty good, then someone takes a photo of you and you're like "I look like crap." Yeah, it was one of those days. Plus, my kid wouldn't cooperate. He didn't want to take pics with me, much less get photographed kissing mama.

I went inside and applied (much-needed) more make up to finish up our photo sesh. This is much better...

(Countdown to a mommy meltdown, phase 5)When I tried to wrap things up with Brody, I forgot I didn't get any photos with his jacket off, so we went back inside and attempted one last time. Someone wanted his jacket on. Meltdown #30.

This was the last meltdown I could deal with before I broke down myself. Later that night, I uploaded the photos to Walgreens in town thinking I would pick them up the next day while running errands to pick up last-minute items for a baby shower I was hosting on the 15th.

(Countdown to a mommy meltdown, phase 6): Next morning (Feb. 14), I go to Walgreens feeling worse than the day before with a cranky kiddo. I was debating on whether or not to go back to the doctor for the third time in two weeks, but I hated to take Brody into a sickly place when he was still on the mend from the week before. When I walked in to Walgreens to pick up my photos, I found someone working on the BROKEN machine.

No, my photos hadn't been printed.

And, no, they wouldn't have it fixed any time soon.

No, they couldn't transfer my photo order to another store.

SOL, lady. So much for your V-day. No wonder I hate this holiday.

Needless to say, I walked out crying and called my mom.

I eventually calmed down, got some food, downloaded the Walgreens app and figured out I could send my already uploaded photos to another Walgreens nearby.

I went to Walmart to pick up a few things, meanwhile Klay comes and scoops up Brody for me so I can finish my errands. He even takes some of my other to-do's off my list so I can focus on my Valentine's gift for him; I love that man.

I finally get to Walgreens and pick up my order only to find they have lines on them. They'd ran them through three times, and when I complained they did it again, but they didn't improve much. I did get them for half off. Pretty much the only pro of this whole story.

By the time all my errands were done, it was 6 o'clock and Klay was already home. We were going to be home with the kid, so no romantic time for this couple.

I had to send him outside to decorate his gift. But when I walked in I was welcomed with flowers, cards and apple pie and ice cream from my two men.

Klay bought apple pie and ice cream to remind me of our favorite day from our 17-day trek home from Alaska in 2011. We were in Gold Beach, Oregon at a small restaurant eating the most incredible homemade apple pie with ice cream looking out at seals who sat on the dock just outside our window. It reminded me of a better, less stressful day. He did good.

Maybe Valentine's Day isn't so bad. Ah, who am I kidding? It still sucks...

Until next year,