Space Birthday Party

It’s my M.O. to get behind documenting birthdays, so here we are 2 months after the fact for George’s 4th birthday.

Better late than never.

Tom is obsessed with space so when George was little, I started collecting all the space books I could for the two of them to read together. And George has also grown to love all things space, so it was only fitting to have this as one of his themes.

It was out of this world!


My mom drew this sign. She is so talented!


I got these treat boxes on Etsy, here. I just filled them with candy (Milky Ways, Starbursts and a star whistle). While they are cute, they take forever to cut out. If my mom had not been so patient with them, Tom and I would have given up after 2 rockets. They are a beast to put together.

My sister-in-law put together these centerpieces. Aren’t they cute with George cutouts on the planets?


My sister-in-law also owns blow up planets for her classroom, so they came in handy for our decorations.


I did pretty basic on the food. I got these cookies from Hy-Vee. However, I don’t think I will do that again because they were pretty pricey. Their cakes are where they are at anyway.


As per usual, we had it in the church gym. It is so easy to do here. We had a couple activities in the gym. Daphne was just having a blast running around living her best life.

One activity was this cardboard rocket that the kids could color. I had gotten it for my niece years ago off Zulily. She gifted it down to George, so it was perfect to bring out. Unfortunately, it did not make it past the party.


I got these balloons from Wish for like a dollar, so it was a steal! I am kicking myself for not buying more than one packet because George still asks for these.


My mom made this meteor toss game. Seriously, she made it out of our trash and a little spray paint.


We decided to go all out on this party, and we got a bounce house. It was totally worth every penny. Although for the size of the thing, I really paid nothing!


I got this astronaut outfit on Amazon from Melissa and Doug. We love dress up in our house, so this has gone into our dress up box.


My mom put aluminum foil over some rain boots. It turned out just perfect! (Also my mom was the real MVP of this party.)


We had the best time celebrating our boy!

Putting together his birthdays are so much fun. He is the best.

Apparently so much fun, that we forgot a family photo…whoops!



A Baseball First Birthday Party

For George’s birthday, I wanted to do a classic baseball theme. I found these signs at Hobby Lobby last fall (on sale), and that was what started my thought process of the party planning.

11915128_10100890814468031_3876643987451444464_oI have been collecting things over the past 6 months, and then the past month we made the last minute touches.

So here is a look at our celebration of George’s first year.

1495287_10100890815146671_6681852672207887605_oLet’s start with the decorations.

12002413_10100890814248471_7457861057421633721_oThese were our centerpieces. I was able to get a pound of peanuts for $2 at our local grocery store. A pound goes a loooong way. Real baseballs were expensive, so I bought these stress balls instead for super super cheap. I think I got 24 for less than I could get one real baseball. We also had sunflower seed bags and Big League Chew gum that people could take. And of course a little Royals flair had to show up.

12002421_10100890814333301_3635579347020662466_oI really wanted to emphasize how far George has come, so the month to month pictures with the NICU picture was a must. The tags say “Rookie Year.” We made these with our Cricut and a punch out device.

11922956_10100890815705551_1934204914936988137_oWe printed these large architecture prints at Staples for cheap. I took the first baseball one when he was a couple weeks old. The middle picture is one of our favorites, and he was 6 months then. The last one is from his invitation shoot when he was 11 months old. Tom and I made that dugout sign. When George graduates to a big boy bed, we are going to change his decor to a baseball theme, so this will eventually go in there. I will share how we did that later this week!

11894504_10100890815745471_8853660199750160468_oThat mitt is actually a pool floatie that my sister-in-law found online.

11935134_10100890814168631_24198640669325182_oI saw this autograph idea on Pinterest, and it was just too cute not to do. We made the sign using our Cricut and a pre-made scrapbooking sheet.

10429494_10100890813759451_2016854847409029975_nThis is the cupcake stand. Tom made this, and I helped with the baseball stitches. I will share this soon too!

10699694_10100890814812341_800984713648129066_oThis scoreboard is another piece that will go in George’s room. It is a chalkboard sign, so eventually we see George playing with that as his imagination grows.

11999750_10100890814562841_2134369407922666121_oI found a picnic table cloth that looks like grass so we could do the cake smash on it easily instead of doing a high chair. My SIL got the idea to have a grandstand behind him once I told her about the grass. She found that wall hanging and the blow-up catcher on Zulily I believe.

For the food, we did hot dogs of course, but I wanted it to be pretty low key and easy to prepare. We also had popcorn, a fruit and veggie tray, cookies, Hostess cakes, ice cream, and cake pops.

11823033_10100890813894181_3897622861416448086_oWe made this sign to make it be a “concession” stand.

11922848_10100890814487991_2627504259060178010_oWe had it in our church gym, and the kitchen opens up nicely to add to the concession ambiance.

12002487_10100890814068831_4531515354860644404_oMy SIL has a cookie lady who does an AMAZING job decorating cookies. Seriously, look at those things! We also found Hostess baseball cakes which are on our nicely made baseball theme cupcake stand. My father-in-law found the KC Royals peanut bags at a local grocery store, so obviously we had to have those added! I found the Royals napkins at party store here, and there are also regular baseball ones.

12002621_10100890814847271_8820623049336009798_oMy SIL, the party planner, also has a cake pop lady, so yep these happened.

11953530_10100890815605751_1451344335719024023_oThese were our party favors. I just made balls that say, “Thanks for Coming! Hope You Had a Ball!” I made them in Publisher and printed them out myself. Easy peasy. I got a bulk box of them off Amazon for like 10 bucks.

Since there are a lot of kids in our family, we knew we had to have something for them to do to get all the sillies out. So we had inflatable balls and bats just thrown all over the gym. They had a “ball.”

11952796_10100890815670621_1129773986657203551_oMy SIL found these online in a 12 pack, which covered all the kiddos in case they didn’t want to share. And same with the baseball beach balls.

11936507_10100890815016931_2986832896686764566_o 11934968_10100890815121721_3675045106625245992_o 11928712_10100890815001961_7861883815618159264_oSo I bought this little bloomer outfit when George was like 4 months old, and let’s just say it’s a good thing he only wore if for a couple hours. It was a tad snug. 11226056_10100890815481001_294038128549587501_o 11227588_10100890815555851_6063895141694271798_o 11958050_10100890815426111_171671363350497930_oI mean this shirt was just calling my name. Especially when I got it for $4. He wore this after he dabbled in the icing.

12002358_10100890815406151_2526204293931605475_oTom made the baseball cake.

11227566_10100890815306351_580281061381427075_oDoesn’t the backdrop look awesome?

11937031_10100890815391181_3689082686254034623_oThe nice thing about doing it at the church was that it had an industrial kitchen with a big sink perfect for hosing George down.

10669051_10100890814108751_5408306421864629906_oThis is George’s great-grandma who is 96.

11823050_10100890814667631_8620753340258403849_oThese are George’s only first cousins, one from my side and one from Tom’s. I love that we were able to have them both there!

11947912_10100890814747471_8642003758167197522_oYes Tom is awesome for agreeing to match me in these baseball tees that were basically heat traps. Seriously so much sweat…

Tom and I love this little man. We are amazed by him every single day. We are so blessed, and we never knew how much our hearts would grow to let him in. I know George won’t remember this day, but this celebration was also to thank all of our family and friends for being there and supporting us in our first year as parents.

Can’t wait to see where year 2 takes us. We are oh so curious at what big things will happen.

Like talking. George said his first word this week. He said ‘mama!’

We had so much fun putting this baseball party together and celebrating George!

Ready or Not

This time last year I was put on bedrest in preparation for George’s arrival.

Now in two weeks, George will no longer be a baby.

What the heck? How is he a year old?

While I am trying not to get emotional about the fact that this year just flew by, there are moments where I am just overcome with tears of sadness, joy, fear…all of it.

But the joy is getting to celebrate this cutie:  the life he has lived so far and what is yet to come for him.

And I think that is what birthdays are all about.

I am one of those people that started planning his party once he was born. (And yes I already have his 2nd birthday planned in my head.) It’s just the creative planner in me that I just gets so excited about ideas! Judge me if you will. I will be over here enjoying the hotdogs at my kid’s birthday.

Luckily my sister-in-law is a party planner, and we jumped on the party planning bus together. She is helping bring life to some of the ideas. We have had a lot of fun coming up with things for his…(ready for it)

Baseball Themed Party!

I am sure there are no surprises there.


Birthdays are a big deal for me, and I want my kids to feel special and surrounded by the people they love on their day.

So we are starting this first one off with a bang.

Really, it is going to seem a little ridiculous to everyone but us what we have in store for this birthday. What can I say, his Auntie Em loves him very much, and it is a bonus that she is pretty much a walking Pinterest board. Also, I just want to do all the ideas.


We are making a lot of the things for the party, or I found things on super sale throughout the year so honestly the cost has been pretty low considering all that we have planned. The nice thing about having a party theme picked early is that I can watch for good deals and not have to spend so much the last minute. We are keeping in mind that there are a lot of other littles coming to the party that need things to do besides watching George Hulk Smash that cake. Our family LOVES to get together, so we want this to be a fun afternoon for everyone. And many of the decorations will be used in his room later on as well. Double usage-I am in.

Plus I need things to take pictures of, and a big birthday seems to fit that bill.


I can’t wait to share everything with you all. It should be a good time.


The first thing I will share with you are the invitations I made. I searched for months for the perfect layout for his invitation. I knew what I wanted, but I could not find anything that was cheap. It was ridiculous what people would pay for invitations.

So I just gave up and made them myself in Publisher. ALL the invitations and envelopes cost me a whopping $5 at Walmart. Deal.

First Birthday Invite

I am pretty happy with the way that it turned out for having no design skills whatsoever.

I am so excited to watch George become his own little self, and I cannot believe that he is almost one. I am going to be that mom that makes birthdays an extravaganza. It can be that one day of the year that he is truly spoiled beyond what he could ever imagine. We only live through this life once, why not have lots of cake?


Fun fact, Tom’s family has this field named in their honor in his hometown. So we took all these pictures there. I thought it was a cute personal touch for our family. The only problem was that it was awkwardly high, and George just wanted to eat the ball instead of look at me. He also had so much fun playing in the dirt and would not stay still for most of the shots I wanted on the diamond, but we made it work. And I saw that my future will be full of baths to clean up a mud-caked George.

Do you go all out for birthdays? Do you like themed parties? Would you like to make a bet on how George will react to cake?

To My Mom

Today is my wonderful mother’s birthday.


Y’all, seriously hands down, this is the most amazing woman.

I can’t even begin to explain what she has meant to me over the years.


She is a woman who has always been there, for the good days and bad. She has made us laugh with made up songs, kissed away booboos, and spent Saturday nights making mac and cheese with chicken nuggets so we could watch Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman as a family. (Mac and cheese is still my go to comfort food to this day.)

I remember summer nights riding our bikes in the Kauffman stadium parking lot. I remember going to the zoo to see our favorites:  the tigers and elephants. I remember the time spent in the kitchen making cranberry salad and banana bread. I remember the picnics. I remember the Friday afternoon taco runs before we picked up my brother from school.

Now that I am a mom, I am starting to realize what she went through with us. I strive to live up to the standards that she has shown us as a parent.

She is a Godly woman to so many people. She was always “adopting” other kids as we grew up. Our house was always full and always fun. I don’t think she even knows the lives that she has impacted over the years.

You see my mom has been working in the preschool setting (in many capacities) for over 30 years. She directed hundreds of church programs over the years, which are some of my favorite summer memories growing up. She has taught probably thousands of young kids how to write and recognize their colors. I remember spending many nights and weekends in her classroom trying to set things up for her kids or paint the elaborate backdrops for the musicals. (Let’s be real, my brother and I usually watched Lion King or begged her to get out the tumbling mats…) But more importantly she has made every kid who has walked into her classroom feel special and loved.


She is humble, generous, and is more likely to stay in the background so others can shine. But little does she know that her support has meant the world to so many. She has always lived a fairly simple life so she can provide for not just my brother and I, but to so many other kids and families who have come through her life. She always showed us what it meant to be a servant of the Lord and serve others fully.

I only hope that I can be half the mom and woman that she is.

And it is so fun to watch her in her newest role as Gammy to Addison and George.


I feel like I am just rambling because it is hard to put it fully into words what she has meant to me as a mom and a person of guidance in my life.

So simply put…

I love you Mom! You deserve the best on your birthday!


360 Months

Stephanie's 6th Birthday 91-007

My brother and I on my 6th birthday.

Since we are marking George’s age by month currently, it made me think about how many months I will be tomorrow.

On my 30th birthday.

That will make me 360 months old.

That is a whole lot of months.

30 seems like an age where everything is different. The pressure is on to really start adulting. It is time to be serious about family, about planning for retirement, about other adulty things that are oh so serious.

Does this look like someone who is ready to be adulting?


1923276_509087887201_9577_n 1930337_524690654131_6700_n

Some think not…but all of us in these photos have reached this time. And we are going to make 30 look amazing!

(Because most people think we are are in our early 20s…)

But to get serious with you for a sec, I think about my life in that 360 term.

There is something poetic about it.

As I turn 30, I really have made a lot of 360s in my life. I have developed and made complete turnarounds.

You make 360s as you go through different phases.

I am not who I was at 5. I am so glad I am not who I was at 15. I wouldn’t even recognize who 20 year old me was. And while at 25 I thought I had myself figured out, there was still so much for me to learn.

But then again, all of that is still a part of me. Even though I have changed every year, those pieces are still part of my inner circle. (See what I did there?) I realize what I have learned over the years has made me who I am today as I enjoy my last day in my twenties.

I have learned that play is important. 

I have learned that drinking from a straw is really the only way to go. 

I have learned that a good belly laugh can make everything seem ok. 

I have learned that N’Sync is really the only boy band that is important. 

I have learned that sometimes you have to put yourself out there even if talking to a stranger is the scariest thing. 

I have learned that a headband will fix any bad hair day. 

I have learned the right way to ride a roller coaster.

I have learned that sometimes that person only needs you to listen to their story, and that “Tell me more about that” is really the best question to ask. 

I have learned that it is really not a good playground unless there is a swing set. 

I have learned that there will always be room to improve, and that I will not always be perfect. 

I have learned that a good book is one of the best escapes. 

I have learned that making a list helps bring down my anxiety.

I have learned being a Royals fan is really the best kind of fan, and the wins are so sweet. 

I have learned that I love teaching but not in the traditional sense. 

I have learned your taste in things may change over time…Hello and Goodbye to that velour phase. 

I have learned exercising can be fun when you find the right activity and/or people to do it with.

I have learned that sometimes you just need to eat a whole bag of Twizzlers. 

I have learned music is a beautiful expression of emotions. 

I have learned ice cream cake is the best kind of cake. 

I have learned that it feels good to dance like no one is watching (even when people are watching).

I have learned that you haven’t experienced real joy until you become a parent. 

I have learned that there really isn’t a bad pizza. 

I have learned to show gratitude.

I have learned that there is so much joy when you hear someone you know is selling Girl Scout cookies.

I have learned that the good stuff in life doesn’t always come easy.

I have learned that I should wear sunblock.

I have learned that dogs are the most loving creatures. 

I have learned that you cannot please everyone, and that you will be miserable trying to do so. 

I have learned that education never stops. 

I have learned that God is the ultimate redeemer. 

I have learned that love is really what life is about. 

So here is to the first 30 years and the lessons I have encountered. High Five Self. 

Some people may think of 30 as a death sentence to the fun life and a time to stress about what they have not accomplished and that it is just the beginning of being old. I don’t believe that is the case at all. First of all, being able to celebrate another year on this earth is such a blessing. I LOVE birthdays! Secondly, I would have to say I have never loved my life as much as I do right now. I am fairly confident in who I am as a person and finally feel that things have fallen into place. Yes there are more responsibilities in this time of my life, but there is some sweetness in that stability that I am really enjoying. I feel like I can enjoy life a little more freely because I know what I like and am more put together in a sense. And seriously who wants to be a teenager their entire life?

Not this gal.


So 30 doesn’t seem so bad. I am not going to have a nervous breakdown or an existential crises because of being the big 3-0. I am ready to make the thirties my best decade yet!

And apparently I am in good company of people who are also turning 30 this year. 85 and alive!

PS. Derek Hough, we need to have a joint party some day. Just saying, our birthdays are a weekish apart. And I would make a great dance partner.

Now bring on the desserts!