Archive for March, 2011

Not everyone minded the snow…

Olivia Fix

Overheard: Bedtime battles edition

Ava: “Mom, will you tell me another story?”

Rebecca: “Sure. Once upon a time there was a little girl who didn’t go to bed when her mother told her to, and she lost every single one of her privileges. The end.”

Ava: “…how about a different story?”

Olivia, at roughly 10 pm, and while in my bed: “Mama, are I cute?”

Rebecca: “You’d be much cuter if you were sleeping.”

So, it snowed. Again.

Parting shots

A few shots of our party participants, which is what makes any event worth remembering…

Many, many thanks to our sweet families who drove down for the weekend–we appreciate it!

A day six years in the making

Time expands and then contracts….

Bryan and I have long disagreed on the meaning of this particular line from Hard Candy by Counting Crows. He thinks it means certain periods of time seem to last forever, while others of the same length just fly by. I think it means that in the moment, it may seem like time stretches out, but when you look back, you can’t believe how quickly it passed. Perception versus reality, I suppose.

Looking at these photos of Ava from the past six years drives this point home for me.

It took this child almost two years to say a two-syllable word. I thought I’d perish before I finally heard her first sentence. At the time, potty training most certainly took forever.

Remember when Ava cut her own bangs? I thought they’d never grow back. And, the phase when she would only sleep (horizontally, and between us) in our bed? AGES.

But now? Could it have really been six years ago? Because it feels like yesterday.

But it’s quite obvious much has transpired in those six years. Now, Ava talks like a grown up. She mimics grown-up behavior. She rolls her eyes at her father, pleads to have her ears pierced, and reads absolutely anything you put in front her. She’s questioned the origin of life, and whether or not a punishment is fair. She has her own fashion sense, rocking plaids with prints and owning it completely. She’s fiercely independent.

And, yet, she’s still quite little, at least in the sense that she needs reassurance, she needs comforting, and she needs to be near us. Sometimes, I honestly forget that she is still a child, that she still needs to be held.

When she reminds me, I scoop her up, limbs everywhere, and hold her close. In that moment, time expands, and then, all to quickly, contracts.

I love the details that go in to an event. I don’t get to focus on these much at work anymore, and so they’ve become even more important to me when I have the luxury of planning something at home. Given the myriad of ideas available online (even for the seemingly small niche of woodland fairy birthday parties), I had a huge supply of inspiration for this gathering.

We started with very simple invitations with three-dimensional butterfly stickers.

I wanted to create  the “woodland” feel with the party decorations, allowing the little girls to serve as the fairies. I started with the centerpiece for the main table, which I created by covering Styrofoam blocks in sheets of moss. I intended to use native grass cuttings from our yard, but opted for greener silk flowers instead. The letters spelling Ava’s name are borrowed from her bedroom wall.

I think this photo that Doug shot illustrates the main table the best:

The flag garland over the table was almost an afterthought—I had so much fabric left over from the mushrooms, I decided to make use of it. I stacked it up, made three quick cuts with my rotary cutter, then secured the flags to ribbon with a bit of hot glue. In all, they probably only took 20 minutes.

Ava and I painted small birdhouses (for the fairies, of course) and created fabric colored mushrooms to add to the centerpiece.

Despite starting our planning efforts nearly a month ago, there were several tasks I didn’t complete. My mom disappeared for a bit on Saturday morning, and I was pleasantly surprised to see her return with flats of pansies for the pots in the entryway.

My favorite part of the planning and preparations was making the tutus for the little fairy guests. In all, Gramma Great and I made ten tutus by looping tulle around a ribbon.

Here’s the smallest tutu, made especially for Sylvia, our littlest fairy.

We hung the tutus and wings near the front door and secured them with flowery hair clips.

I had blue dragonfly wings for the boys, but they were remarkably unpopular…

We served chicken salad sandwiches, crudites, chocolate-covered strawberries (called fairy berries, of course), fresh fruit and cheese, and plenty of sweets. Laura, a calligraphy artist, created the gorgeous labels.

One of the best ideas I found online was for a make-your-own-trail mix bar, complete with chocolate nests for bowls. To make the nests, I mixed crushed shredded wheat with melted chocolate, and molded it into the inside of a dish. After a few minutes in the freezer, the “nest” popped right out. Dave made the wooden chargers we sat underneath.

I made flower-shaped cupcakes for Ava and her guests, and in keeping with tradition, I ruined the first batch and had to make a second to serve.

My mom made an angel food cake, which I nearly—and accidentally!–destroyed. Mom was thankfully able to save it, and we placed it on a cake stand that Dave built for the party.

Karyl and Ava decorated the number six sugar cookies, and then sprinkled them with a bit of “fairy dust” to make them glimmer.

We put the pinata in place, and waited for the fairies to arrive.

Up next, the party participants!

Catching up

We were delighted to host our parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews—not to mention a few good friends—at our house this weekend for Ava’s sixth birthday party. Everything went off without a hitch—not suprising, given the fabulous team we had ready and willing to help with all of the details.

We’re slowing putting the house back together and catching up on the things that took a back seat to fun last week (like sleep, and email). I will post photos of the festivities and the participants over the next few days. Doug’s album is already up—you can see his gorgeous photos here.

And, in the meantime, here’s one quick pic of the birthday girl herself.

More soon!

Ava and Olivia

Party preparations

We are having a birthday party for Ava this weekend, and we’ve been working on a few projects to prepare. A few weeks ago, we started building a papier mâché piñata.

I inflated a round 36-inch balloon to about 24 inches, and Ava and I covered it in strips of newspaper dipped in wallpaper paste. The online instructions we used suggested four layers, but we stopped at two. Fortunately, that seemed to be enough.

After the paste was dry, we began work on the tissue-paper roses needed to cover the beast. I was grateful to have two willing partners in this endeavor:

To make the roses, we wound them around our fingers and secured the bottom with a staple.

Olivia’s approach was a bit less complicated.

I secured the roses to the base using hot glue, and only burned myself 750 times. I snapped this photo with my phone at the half-way point; I’d used 150 roses. This was the the moment I realized this pinata would be destroyed and thrown away. ON PURPOSE.

Nevertheless, we carried on, making numerous tissue paper runs over the course of the past week. In all, we made about 325 roses. Here’s the end result, filled with packages of Hershey’s kisses, and awaiting a visit from a few woodland fairies.

This is definitely a project I will do again–we had a good time working on it together. But next time, I’ll use a much smaller balloon!