Tuesday, May 28

The Rest of San Diego

Well, I returned from California a month ago... but it's never to late to preserve some memories on the internet. Because if I dont blog it, well, it didn't happen. It's also kind of fun to blog a month after the fact because it lets me relive all the fun a little--it's easy to forget how much fun we had and how dearly I love these ladies when there aren't pictures in front of my face.  And that's why you should actually PRINT pictures and put them on your walls.

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Aside from taking ridiculous pictures on the beach, we had a lot of fun hanging out and exploring the area.

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We had dinner at a local seafood shack type place... and my friend eat very enthusiastically.  Also, there were LOOSE SEALS in the water behind us. Luckily, no one lost a hand to one wearing a yellow bowtie. #arresteddevelopment

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The next morning we had brunch at an awesome pancake place that Courtney and Katherine especially loved.  They are excellent at ordering bowls of whipped cream on bananas and bagels. I had probably the best pancakes of my life. No joke and no offense to my husband's killer pancake skills.

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The highlight of the weekend and the reason for us being together was Jessi's wedding.  We did our best to look lovely even though a few of us had very weird sunburns from earlier in the day.

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What's better than a wedding near a body of water? Probably nothing.  Except for a wedding at Eastminster Presbyterian Church. Five sevenths of the ladies above would maybe agree.  Actually probably not, beach weddings are fun.

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We hunted the hors d''oeuvres people pretty seriously--we were chilly and the warm food was so so good. I pretty much wore that gray cardigan everywhere--in my attempt to move out of VA and pack for the next month, I assumed it would become summer a little more seriously than it actually did. I spent a lot of the month cold.

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And sadly, this is our only picture with the pretty pretty bride.  The reception was a BLAST.  I am not sure we've ever danced so much or so enthusiastically.  A lot of us cried, and some of us may have peed our pants a little. And we laughed about it all.

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The next day we went back to Coronado Island to explore, buy matching t-shirts and see the fancy hotel. It's just such a luxury to have TIME with these ladies. Time where we don't have other things to do except enjoy each others' company and reminisce and encourage one another. We have busy lives full of jobs and children and daily distractions--but I always pray that we'll manage to make room for each other in our lives. Friends are important.

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Friday, May 24

Eight Days In

We've kind of lived here for eight days now.  It's getting to the point where we feel less like we are squatters and more like we are living here.  For some reason I felt very offended the first time I had to do things like run the dishwasher or do laundry... and I'm still working on the motivation to vacuum   I'm thinking the Roomba might get that honor.

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The kitchen is put away and organized and so's the playroom... but that's where it ends.  We're at a stand off with our missing furniture--its absence is making it hard to make headway in a lot of rooms.  We just got a new kitchen table (see above) and have bunk beds for Finley coming this weekend. Hopefully that should help me be slightly more motivated to finish a few things. But let's be honest... it's REALLY hard to do anything seven months pregnant with two little boys running around. Not to mention the distraction that is getting through Arrested Development again before the new episodes!

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(Finley has CHOSEN to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor--even though he has a very nice air mattress all ready for him...)

The new house is great--I was worried I was going to lose the boys or feel like we were really spread out, but it still feels rather cozy.  As a pregnant lady, I'm quick to get annoyed with weird things in the house--there are literally no places for hand towels in the bathrooms... the bedrooms don't have overhead lights (why is that a thing? Seriously!) and the rooms that do have lights have the light switches on the wall behind the door--making them almost impossible to turn on in the dark.  The laundry is also on the main floor off kitchen which for some reason makes me feel like I'm living below the poverty line. How DARE you expect a pregnant woman to carry her laundry up and down the stairs! The injustice!

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(Old table and chairs! And a few pictures I set out to make it feel a bit more homey.)

And then I remember what a change this house is from the first three homes we've lived in--this is the first one not connected to someone else's living space. Making this the first time we haven't had to make sure we don't yell for each other too loud or try not to walk loudly around the house. There's an island in my kitchen. WE HAVE A GARAGE. AND CARPET. AND STAIRS. And bathrooms with countertops,  fancy things called "lin-en-clos-ets" and enough cabinets for our stuff.  It's a-mah-zing. Totally.

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(Clearly, we need a dresser and to stop living like we are in a hotel.)

We need a lot of furniture--I've bought a few things off Joss and Main which is kind of a black hole for cute house things. You can see them below... although I actually ended up buying the bed off Amazon because it was cheaper.  Free tip: before you buy anything on a "bargain" site do a Google Image Search for it.  Meaning right click the picture and copy the URL then go to Google Images, click the camera and paste the URL. You can sometimes find the "bargain" for even less. You are welcome!

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So here's where you get to weigh in with some input--furniture!  We're kind of avid Craigslisters and are pretty awesome at it, but the addition of two children and my inability to lift heavy things and the lack of time to leisurely look for things make it less ideal than it was when we were two crazy kids in Boston. So--good places for furniture? We're stuck trying decide if we should go ahead and fork over more money for nicer stuff that we love, or if we should just get cheaper stuff since our kids will likely poop on it... or if we should get a mix of the two. We still need more master furniture, a dining room set, a sectional, entertainment center and other various odds and ends. We've been to The Dump (a fairly awesome scratch and dent place) and IKEA... but haven't gone into an actual furniture store yet. They scare me.  So, help? Any great places to get furniture that is cheap, well made, pretty and awesome? Is that even possible?

Thursday, May 23

Friends at the Farm Party

Oh the ill fated farm party.  We were supposed to have a lovely day at Deanna Rose followed by an outdoor picnic with some little friends--but mother nature severely disagreed. The party was still adorable--and many more pictures will follow after the party is featured. But here's my favorite shot... I just love that the plates look like little eggs!

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Vic and I had a blast setting up together--for a duo whose business involves parties, we are rarely able to actually throw parties together since, you know, we live in different time zones.

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Braden had a blast too--mostly because the dessert table was at his height and he was able to snag unlimited sweets. He loved the sugar cookies... and everything else with sugar.

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The best part of the party was that it brought together lots of Kansas City friends in one place! I was excited to get a few tips from Jenny about handling three munchkins... and Finley was reunited with his blond pal Hayden.  Wish these two got to see each other more!

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All I can say when I looks at this picture is that Braden's hair is OOC. I've been lucky to see Alison and Dinah a few times in the past year. I just love when my friends' kids get to play with my kids! It's the circle of life... or something.

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And this is four sixths of our housemates from senior year at K-State! Unfortunately Tara had already left and Kat lives in the far far corner of Kansas... so this was the best we could do. But still, a pretty good showing!

Thanks to B-Roe for letting us take over the house with a million kids and letting them run amok with awesome vintage toys... and thanks to Vic for always letting me come crash and being my BFFFF.

Monday, May 20

Last Days in Little Rock

I'm barely ready to deal with real life--so instead of blogging about moving to PA or the overflow of love on my birthday, I'm posting pictures from Mother's Day in Little Rock. I'll blog about real life soon--I just am not ready to acknowledge it's happening!

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Mother's Day was extra special this year--because I got to spend it with my mother! Which means I had someone to take pictures of me and my sweeties eating some froyo. Are you impressed that my body was physically holding three various sized humans? I'm strong as an ox!

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After we got back Finley and I played outside a bit and he was willing to make a small amount of eye contact with me because he was so distracted by the brick wall. Cutie.

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Like the awesome photographer that I am, I seriously didn't take any pictures of the boys with my family until my second to last day in Little Rock.  Finley resembles my brother Dan a little more and Braden resembles Ben--but I forgot to get a picture of my wild curly haired child with his buddy.

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And this photoshoot with my parents went just really well as you can tell. Braden was thrilled to be there, they were sitting in front of a truck tire and Finley only wanted to throw rose petals. And their little doggy kept wandering around them. Would it be appropriate for Finley to be the flower girl in my sister's wedding? Maybe?

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I just had SUCH a nice time in Little Rock--it was so great to be taken care of so completely by my parents for a month... although it probably made the transition to a house with no food or furniture slightly more traumatic. I'm so grateful for my mom--for the sacrifices she's made for me in the last 30 years of my life and in the 30 days I was living with them. I'm so lucky to have a mom who is excited to spoil me (and unfortunately, also my kids) at the drop of a hat!

Thursday, May 16

Three Things in Little Rock

My sister Laura joined us in Little Rock for a few days--and we picked one day to be our day filled with things we'd never done before. First up: machine quilting with a long arm sewing machine.

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My mom and I were way excited--probably more excited than one should be about a sewing machine. But it was pretty cool! The best way we described it was as a sewing machine/motorcycle hybrid.  The needle is out a few feet in front of us and you steer it from the back using the handlebars.

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You can see better where Laura is--she's tracing over a design with a little laser to actually sew the design on the quilt.

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Not at all nerdy, right?  We had fun--it took about 3 hours to do a twin sized quilt which was WAY longer than we thought.  I had another twin sized quilt to do as well that I ended up paying them to quilt because three hours was enough for us.

Next up... wedding dress shopping for my sis!  I took pictures of her in lots of dresses but it's probably bad luck to post them, so instead you get weird ones of me and my mom. I thought it would be funny to pretend like I was the bride and ask where the maternity section was... but I didn't. Missed opportunity for sure.

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And our third activity... a Segway tour of Little Rock! Weird! And awesome!

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The sweet tour guide was VERY worried about me riding a Segway. I assured him that I had impeccable balance and that I had brought my very own doctor in case of emergency (my sister). She could give me a colonoscopy or cut open my heart... and maybe deliver the baby? I ran a half marathon when I was two weeks less pregnant with Braden, so standing on a Segway seemed like a safer option.

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It was REALLY REALLY fun.  They were so fun to whiz around on and Little Rock was lovely.  We went by the Clinton Library and saw the actual Little Rock the town is named for. It was a gorgeous day and I was inspired to re-learn a lot of things I'd forgotten about our great nation. And then I dropped the ball... I think I'll just wait for Finley to go to school and teach me things.

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And in real time life... the moving truck is bringing our things today! How I've missed my things! I'm not looking forward to putting all the things away, or cleaning the things, or cooking with the things... but I'm certainly happy to have my things back. But I was SPOILED in Little Rock because my mama took care of all the things.  Oh to live at home...

Tuesday, May 14

Deanna Rose

We have kind of rotten luck at the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead--we went last July and it was sweltering. SO so hot.  You can see my sweaty boy riding a pony here. We figured May would be the perfect time to enjoy the farm--and we were wrong. It snowed. It was cold.  But lots of fun.

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There are no shortage of goats--we started to be concerned about the long term future of the goats... what exactly do they do with all of them? I mean, there are A LOT. Vic had free reign over my camera and got a TON of great shots of Finley... she invented a new trick that gets him to looks at the camera and sometimes smile.

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The boys loved the tractors even though they still aren't big enough to pedal them. One day, my little boys. One day.

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It's so nice to have Vic around because I get to be IN the picture (and the picture is properly exposed and in focus!) I love these shots with my four year old!

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These ones are more typical of what we normally get... kids wo are not interested in being in a picture with me. C'est la vie. I also need to thank Vic for the use of her winter coat--it was supposed to be SPRING.

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And here are Vic and Finn ringing the cowbells. Nothing is more fun apparently!

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Monday, May 13

Broken Braden

Finley was born with clubfoot. He went through a series of casts when he was a baby--so I'm always friendly and interested when I run into other moms who have babies in casts.  I have a vivid memory of carrying tiny Finley in the Baby Bjorn through Whole Foods and running into a mama carrying a much bigger two or three year old in a carrier--with a cast on his little leg.  After kind of stalking her through a few aisles I tried to not weirdly ask about her baby's cast.  And this has stuck in my mind forever: he was going down a water slide with his dad and his leg got snagged on something, bent back and broke.

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Since then, I've had two friends whose little boys have also had leg injuries from going down slides with an adult.  The statistics are telling: 14% of fractures in toddlers are from sliding with a parent.  That's a lot.  And even though I talk about it a lot, and always have anxiety about the boys going down slides, it still happened to Braden.

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My sister and I took the boys to what I had already deemed the world's most dangerous park (the pictures of Braden in blue are of our first trip to the park). It's essentially an enormous rock pile with big tunnels going through it and ladders going up to the top where there are two big twisty slides going down. I had said on several occasions that a park like that would NOT fly on the East Coast. It's terrifying. It was sunny and hot and pregnant Rachel couldn't help Braden down the slide--so I sent him down with Laura.  I quickly told her about the dangers of sliding with kids and down they went.  And about halfway down--tears.  We're not really sure what happened, but I do know my sweet baby hasn't taken a step since it happened on Thursday.  I think his shoe choice was also poor--the Crocs caught on the slide and probably threw his leg back.  We took him to get x-rays and nothing is fractured visibly, so it's either sprained or a greenstick fracture that's too tiny to show up.  

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The first few days he was a real sad pup--not sure how to handle the injury and just wanting to be held.  We're doing better now--he's figured crawling out, standing on one leg and how to kind of protect his ankle. When I carry him (everywhere) he melts into me and holds on so tight--it's heartbreaking.  I'm grateful it wasn't worse--no cast, nothing broken seriously.  Just a little guy with a sore leg. Bottom line is: he's fine. He's extra cuddly, needs to be carried everywhere and gets frustrated quickly when he can't do something he wants to do. He's gotten better at standing on one leg and crawling so is coping much better than he did the first few days. He still has some very silly moments and is happy most of the time--hopefully walking again is just around the corner. I am a little nervous about our flight back east on Tuesday and trying to move into a new house following that...

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It seems like it would always be safer to accompany your kiddo down the slide, but often it's not. And it's something you may not think about until it's too late. With the warmer weather comes more time at parks--so tell a friend today to be careful with their kiddo. Here are my recommendations:

  • Don't go down the slide with your kid.
  • If they are too little to go down alone, put them only halfway up or let them go down on their belly.
  • Choose shoes that won't grip the edge of the slide.
  • If you do go down with your kid, put them ON TOP of your lap, not between your legs, and hold their ankles together so they can't slip out. Maybe that will help?
  • Don't go down the slide with your kid.
(Unrelated sidenote: most of these pictures were on a phone camera--which made me feel creative about processing them. And therefore I used... CLIPPING MASKS! I'm proud.)

Friday, May 10

Stay Thirsty

During a quick trip to KC, Vic an I attended part of a Queso Crawl. It was awesome. I had some really yummy cheese, but most importantly, I got to meet this kind fellow.

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Remember when Sol dressed as him for Halloween? It was awesome and I was so happy to see my husband's likeness during our long month living in different time zones. Yay for cheese and the most interesting man in the world!

Thursday, May 9

Peter Pan Party Post

Well, about 6 weeks ago we had Finley's Peter Pan Party. It was so much fun--which is probably why it's taken me so long to recap it! This post has a lot of words and pictures--you win my undying love if you read it all. There are lots of awesome items in the party that are from various vendors, so make sure to check out the credits at the end of the post. 

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First up, the missing picture with the photographer that made it all possible.  Thanks Jenn!

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This party was especially fun to plan because of the costumes--oh, the costumes.

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Initially I just was going to make a Peter Pan costume... and then I pretty much decided we needed the rest of the set too. I packaged the kids' costumes in paper sacks so they could quickly change when they arrived and not miss a minute of the fun.

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Wendy was made by one of my friend's mother-in-law, it was way beyond my sel-taught skill level. And Tinkerbell was an eBay purchase--the rest were sewn/scavenged by me. I'm especially proud of... well everything. Captain Hook's three corner hat and coat, the crocodile's awesome head, and Tiger Lily's dress--I was just so pleased with how everything turned out! So pleased.

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Here's the whole crew--they were such troopers for braving the slightly chilly weather for some pictures.

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Um, love. Why don't I have little girls to wear such sweet costumes? Someone tell me now please.

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I couldn't stop at sewing costumes... I had to sew a teepee too. Naturally. You know, for the highly offensive part of Peter Pan involving the Native Americans. The boys loved playing in it while it was in the house and the kids had a blast relaxing in it during the party--in between jumping in the bounce house, playing Captain Hook's ring toss and sword fighting with our crocodile pinata.

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I'm overly in love with setting tables (no thanks to Jenn!) and can't get over how much I love this particular set up.  I rented a kids party table and six chairs for the event--it was much cheaper than you'd think!  I packed little lunches in gable boxes, tied with a red string.  Our guest dined on Neverland Star Sandwiches, Pirates Booty and Peter's Fruit Pouches. Unfortunately, none of them were packaged in a way that four year olds could open without help... planning fail. I tried to keep the decorations as "natural" as possible--the kids' wooden flatware was tied to a red feather with some leather cord and the gable boxes were perched on top of slices of tree trunks. (Helpful hint: the tree slices are called "cookies" and you can probably sweet talk your way into some for free from a local tree removal company.  I seriously went to a random house where trees were being cut down and the nice men made me some slices. It was ridiculous.)

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Pops of gold were fun to include in the decor--down the table runner I had spray painted Tinkerbell's lantern, a hook and the Crocodile's clock all gold. I could have spray painted forever. Do you have any idea how fun it is to turn things gold? Only me and King Midas know.

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It was a chilly day, so I was glad we had planned an indoor activity. We were all very nervous about how sand art with four year olds would go--but it went shockingly well.  They all took it very seriously and dutifully poured and shared sand to make their Pixie Dust.  A few guests were disappointed that they didn't actually get to sprinkle it and fly. Life's tough, kids.  Two tips: first, the red funnels are cheap at IKEA and help minimize mess and second, hot glue the lids on. 

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I think the theme of this post is starting to be "Rachel pats herself on the back" but listen, I made a pinata. With newspaper and flour and water. And it turned out to be quite obviously a crocodile. Can we all take a minute to bask in his scaly glory? I bought thisfellow on Amazon and used him as a mold.  That's a completely reasonable thing to do, I promise.

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Speaking of buying things on Amazon, I also bought a bounce house so the kids could "fly." Please stop looking at me like that. I promise it was a good idea.  We used it for Braden's party the following weekend and like ten times since then. And I have a feeling that it will be used at every party (and in our new basement on yucky days) until it pops and dies a sad, leaky death. Much much cheaper than renting one. And it immediately makes you the coolest house on the block. (Next set of helpful hints: I got the bounce house for about $200... let me introduce you to my new friend, CamelCamelCamel. You can set up an Amazon alert to let you know when a product drops to a certain price and can check out the price history on an item to see if you are getting a good deal. Aren't you glad you read until the end of this long paragraph?)

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Oh my goodness this is getting long.  Treat bags!  Full of pirate goodies, a crocodile lollipop and clapper. Pretty much I just loved the burlap and feathers. Love it.

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I joked that I should have given all the parents an apology note regarding sugar intake... because there was a lot of sugar. I was lucky to have wonderful friends and vendors to work with who made all the sweets for me--so I can say without any bias that everything was DELICIOUS. I can not get enough of the cake pops. I want to throw parties just so I can order more! Other non-edible things I love on the dessert table--the amazing felt ball garland and darling balloon wreath. I feel like putting them all over every surface of my next house.  I'm only kidding a bit.

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I saw this Peter Pan peg people set and fell in love.  I had to include a bigger picture so you can see their full amazingness--they get a bit lost in the next picture.  Unfortunately, Peter was out fighting battles and was unable to make this particular picture, but you can only assume how amazing he is as well.

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And here's the full table--burlap, sparkly gold, wood, feathers... I loved it.

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Writing all these paragraphs (at midnight!) makes me grateful for the friends who helped with the party and didn't stage an intervention.  I sure used vintage stamps on the envelopes because I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. I had to. Even after I kind of said it was over the top. I had to have them. But look, aren't they perfect? They are.

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And the most important moment--Finley blowing out his candles.  He was clearly excited and loving his party. After the party was finished he came to me with a shaky voice and very sadly let me know that I had forgotten two very important things. His party didn't have cake or balloons.  He was upset.  And so it goes to show... you can't please everyone. You'd think that any four year old would be thrilled with the party, but all the kid wanted was cake and balloons. You better believe there were BOTH when his actual birthday rolled around.

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So many people to thank. Vic for being my partner in crime, Jenn for being my photographer, Kat for basically doing whatever I asked, Sol for letting me work on parties like this for a month in advance, Finley for being born, Finley's friends (and their parents!) for coming to the party and putting up with a crazy lady planning extravagant parties.  And all the lovely vendors who helped make the party easy to set up and lovely to be a part of.  If you are interested in anything, you can probably find it below. And if not, leave me a comment and I'll try to help!

Printables, Costumes, Sugar Cookies and Party Styling - RV Parties
Red and Ostrich Feathers - Moonlight Feather
Leather Cord - Sleepy Dog Beads
Vintage Postage Stamps - Verde Studio
Peter Pan Peg People - Allie Gray Creations
Burlap Ribbon, Favor Bags and Twine - We Can Package
Felt Ball Garland - The Fickle Felt Tree
Cake Pops, Pretzels and Dubloons - Miss Lulu's Sweet Treats
Crocodile Lollipops - Candied Cakes
Balloon Wreath - Little Crafty Cottage

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