Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sprinkled with Love

Apparently this is event week at Embrace the Crazy! My sisters threw me the sweetest Sprinkle (which is a term used for a smaller, more intimate baby shower) this past Sunday. It was absolutely stunning. When they asked me, I said I loved the gold/light pink combination, but not too much pink. Alison, of course, is the former wedding planner turned wedding educator, and she ran with it. Bryan created the invitations and we had them printed at Costco. My sisters drew their inspiration from the invitation. 

Kari ordered these amazing cookies from Customiced Cakes here in Hanford - search Amy on Facebook! She's amazing. My friend Colleen uses her for all of her events and even gifted me the cake at Shepherd's shower from her. So delicious! Kari had an idea of what she wanted and she said that Amy nailed it. The cookies were stunning!!!

Alison went and picked up the flowers and they arranged them themselves. Seriously. I adored them. I loved that they went with white and green. It felt so...elegant. I was blown away! They put so much hard work into it and it shower. I loved the satin ribbon in the middle of the table too. It was all just perfect.

My four moms (haha) and my sisters all pitched in the for menu. There were sandwiches, chinese salad, kale salad, potato salad, fruit salad, pasta salad - all the salads! Of course, Alison made her amazing deviled eggs. The whole menu was stuff I love to eat (even the sandwiches, I heated the deli meat to kill any listeria and ate them! First sandwich I've had in forever.) and I love the white cake from the bakery at Walmart. Random, but I love it! So they made sure to get those too. They also had mimosa's which was heartbreaking because I wanted one. Haha! 

We ate (I totally went back for seconds) and then I mingled and chatted up everyone. I quickly opened gifts (which I don't have pictures of, but Alison recorded) and I was just overwhelmed by all the girl stuff. It was totally surreal opening up all of these girly things! Nuts. Everything was beautiful and we are so much more prepared for our little Lauriana now!

After gifts we took pictures! I tried to get one with everyone that was there but a few had to leave early. Bummer! 

 I'm so thankful for these wonderful women that support me and have cheered me on this pregnancy! I can't even gush enough about how beautiful my Sprinkle was or how much it meant to me. It was so different than my first. I wasn't swollen and uncomfortable. I wasn't stressed about anything. It all meant so much to me and I don't think it could have been any better.

I'm so excited and anxious for LJ to get here, but I'll distract myself by washing all her ruffly clothes and organizing her new headbands. She already has such a network of strong, diverse women to call on. I'm blessed by each and every one of them!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My 28th Birthday and 10 Year High School Reunion. I'm old.

I turned 28 this year! I feel old and like a kid, all at once. We celebrated my birthday on the 6th, because Bryan had worship practice on the evening of my actual birthday. We had all of our immediate family and close friends over for a little barbeque. Totally last minute. Bryan actually planned and invited everyone with only about 24 hours until show time. But almost everyone came and it was extremely low key. Just my kind of party!

Bryan asked what I wanted for my birthday and I said that it would be amazing to start my day with a crumb cake doughnut and a Java Heaven coffee, have lunch with him and Shepherd on my break, and then go see a movie that night. That is exactly what happened! Bryan got up and took Shepherd to get the doughnuts and coffee while I got ready and then brought my Cisneros tacos for lunch! He also gave me my birthday gift - tickets to see Britney Spears in Las Vegas in a few weeks!!! If I hadn't been at work I would have been squealing with excitement.

I made plans for the night of my actual birthday to go out to dinner and a movie with my sisters. We went to Tommy's in Visalia (their calamari is amazing) and then went to see The Intern at the downtown theater. It was so. stinking. good. I loved it. Robert De Niro was incredible in it. He kept reminding us of our Dad. Anne Hathaway did a great job too!

I don't have a lot pictures from the actual day, but I had an amazing birthday this year. It was sweet and simple with lots of family time!

 The next day was my 10 year high school reunion, which I made Denise come up for! I haven't gone out with Bryan in so long, it was so great to have a proper date with him. I like that guy. :)

I saw a lot of old friends and caught up with a few I see on social media and not in real life. It was great to hear everyone's stories! I didn't get many pictures (the three bottom ones are from Denise) because I've really been trying to stay off my phone and be in the moment at events. This is good, but it also means I capture less. I'm still trying to find the right balance! 

I had such an amazing week, but it wasn't over yet. My Sprinkle was just two days away and it really put the cherry on top of the whole week!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Emma's 11th Harry Potter Birthday Party

For my nieces 11th birthday party, all she wanted was a Harry Potter party. Emma thought it would be fitting since when Harry turned 11, his whole magical life began! My sister Alison isn't a huge Harry Potter fan. She likes it well enough but has only just started reading the books. That did not stop her from wanting to be as authentic as possible with the party and for that she needed two things, me and to watch the movies a million times! Haha! She asked for my help and I didn't even hesitate. I love me some Harry Potter. 

It was a HUGE DIY project, but it was really fun and both my sisters and I spent a lot of time together to make it happen. I mostly helped with the creation/food part and Kari helped Alison pull it all together and decorate. The three of us are a good balance, I think. We got everything done and it was a wonderful event.

When you walked up to the house, we had a large trunk, a vintage suitcase (which I bought at a thrift store years ago, used all the time, and then passed to Shepherd. He uses it for all of our family trips.) A birdcage from my baby shower and an owl and scarf that Alison picked up. That paint color was mixed by me and painted by Emma (which I had to recreate because I never made enough paint, and no one knew what I had done to recreate the color. Probably not the most efficient but Emma did a great job!) Kari was our official cutter, she's a cosmetologist so she is great with scissors. She helped cut out so many letters and logos. I suck with scissors (darn, lefty!) so I was thankful that I got a pass on that job. Alison painted the letters and I found and printed out the logos. If you are here looking for inspiration for your party, when you google images google "(image description) vector" or "(image description) PNG". They'll print out at a better quality when you print them! 

Alison hung some brick background on the door so of course I made Shepherd Grawp take a picture in front of it. He arrived with a club but quickly exchanged that for a wand. He was obsessed!

I had to post this because I love his intense face. He had just finished casting a spell. ;)

Oh look, we're being greeted/threatened by Bellatrix Lestange! Alison totally pulled her off. It was amazing!

We made sure to capture a picture before things got crazy. Bryan was Sirius Black, I was Tonks (I had a leather jacket, but it was waaaay too hot that day. So I put on a cape. Don't hate that I'm not spot on. It's good enough!) and then my precious Grawp! I handmade the little vest and cut out the loin cloth. Bryan broke a huge walking stick for Grawps club. 

Just to the left of our family picture is the Ollivanders set up, complete with cobwebs, spider, candles, another one of my birdcages from Shepherd's baby shower and a porcelain owl that Young House Love inspired me to buy years ago! We made all of those wands! Alison bought the wood, cut them (and even sanded them smooth!) and we used hot glue for the detail on it. Kari helped to paint and Alison finished them all up. They were a total hit!

We found these amazing netting pieces at the 99 Cent Store, and Alison found some free printables online to hang. Bryan got one and photoshopped his face on it for the Sirius poster! So awesome!

I'm so bummed I didn't notice that the garland and fallen down. Darn it! Emma cut out the Honeydukes letters and I painted the sign. Alison picked out all the candy and found the free printables and I helped her put the table together. Kari, Emma and I all worked together to get the treat bags (with sticker Honeydukes labels) ready. Kari and Alison decorated the wall and blew the balloons up to really create a fun vibe in the store. I loved the little tags for the candy! Alison found a lot of the free printables on Pinterest. Here are some closeups: 

Alison freehanded the Mischief Managed sign which I thought was super cute, and she put all the cobwebs everywhere. I loved the little touches!

Alison bought the Hogwarts banner and I printed out all the house signs. Alison put them all on appropriate colored paper and put gold paint around them. She really went the extra mile! I think Kari helped with those too, not sure. She draped the same netting from the 99 cent store around the fireplace and put the "fire" lanterns on either side of the Hogwarts banner. I found those while we were picking up other items at the Halloween store and she was like Oh my gosh! Those are perfect!! The way she styled it all felt very Hogwarts. Both of my sisters have such a good design eye. Somehow I was not given that gene. 

I made sure to print out the Dumbledore's Army sign cause I'm a huge nerd. It had to be hanging up in the Hogwarts portion of the house! :)

Alison had a really casual food spread that was perfect, I think. It was a late afternoon party so it was just light appetizers. Chips and dip and finger foods. My favorite part was the cauldron cakes! She put a platter in a cauldron and topped it with chocolate cupcakes. Such a great idea! We found the large cauldron from the Halloween store. 

Alison and Kari quickly whipped up the Three Broomsticks section for beverages and a cheese, fruit and salami spread. There was also various sodas that Alison had free printables to attach. A great touch!

Of course, there had to be an authentic 11th birthday cake! Alison and Emma baked it, Kari iced it and Alison wrote a la Hagrid. So precious. Emma loved her 11th birthday party and we had such a great time helping to pull it off!! 

I swiped this from Alison's Instagram (@thealisonhoward). Mark was Voldemort, Alison was Bellatrix, Emma was Hermione (complete with Time Turner, gifted by me. Sorry, I had to mention it. She was so happy with her birthday gift and it really 'completed' her costume! Brody was Harry Potter, and sweet Kyndall was Dobby! Alison DIY'd her costume and seriously, Kyndall was such a good sport. She is typically a total princess, girly girl so this was amazing of her! We were proud!

Happy Birthday, Emma! We all love you so much!!!!

ps. We also determined that for my 30th birthday, we were going to have a Harry Potter themed birthday party, to make sure all our hard work doesn't go to waste. I'm already pretty excited about it and I'm only 28. YAY!