Everly Veda’s Fairy Wonderland 3rd Birthday Party
I had been collecting little fairy themed party decorations for the past month or two leading up to Everly’s party last Saturday. It’s always challenging to switch gears from Christmas to birthday so closely together, so I always try to get a head start on things in the fall when I have more time to hunt and gather.
I wasn’t exactly sure how all of the things I had collected or made would fit together - there was a lot of pink and a good sprinkling of woodland themed items. A few girlfriends and my mother in law showed up a couple of hours before Everly’s party to help me finish up the food and decorations (thank goodness for them!) and when I stood back and looked around at 3:30pm, I was happy with what we were able to accomplish. The real proof of success was Everly’s reaction - she had the biggest smile plastered on her face every time she buzzed past me with a trail of little cousins and friends following her.
The day before her party, I dug around in my linen closet and found a couple of tablecloths (which could have used a professional press - but oh well!) and a much too girly shower curtain that I had ordered a long time ago but didn’t work in our downstairs bath. To that, we add a ribbon with dangling silk flowers & some custom printed birthday banners from Minted.com. They have a new birthday party section where you can create custom banners, table decor and signage to accompany your theme.
I don’t do a lot of baking and this is probably the second or third cake I’ve ever made myself. I had a vision for how I wanted to look and after tinting the cream cheese frosting to the perfect shade of lavender, I added fresh berries and some butterflies on wire that I picked up at the craft store. I was really happy with how it turned out.
I saw a photo on etsy of these little birch log cupcake stands and sent it to my wood working extraordinaire mama and asked if she could replicate them. She whipped up five of these darling little stands for me which added the sweetest touch of whimsy. Brent and I used kid-friendly modeling clay to make colorful little mushrooms that we scattered amongst the dishes on the table. The little fairy picks are from the Meri Meri party line. I bought them (along with a matching banner) at a discount off Zulily.
I had SO much fun planning the food for this party! Pinterest was a great source of inspiration and a few girlfriends sent me fun ideas too. Since it was a late afternoon party, I wanted to keep the food light and nibble friendly. On the menu:
Caprese Toadstools with balsamic vinagrette. My mother in law assembled these for me and she figured out that the trick to getting them to stand up is using two pieces of cubed mozzerella with a basil leaf as “grass” in between.
Berry Fairy Wands.
Dark chocolate acorrns. These are super simple to make! I went with dark chocolate hershey kisses and chocolate chips because I prefer them over milk chocolate. Melt a handful of chips in the microwave then use the melted chocolate to attach a kiss to one side of a mini vanilla wafer and a chocolate chip to the other. Let the chocolate harden for about 10 minutes before moving to a serving dish.
We also served little ham and turkey sandwiches cut into flower and butterfly shapes with cookie cutters, veggies and pretzels with dip, and gold fish crackers. I made a pink sparkle punch with 7up, pomegranite juice, and scoops of blood orange sorbet.
Each child got a pair of fairy wings and a wand when they arrived.
We had eight children at the party so I wanted to set up some fun crafts. I moved our kid table into Everly’s room and we set up a station for them to decorate their own fairy house or a butterfly mask with stickers, sequins, and washable markers. I found the little wooden houses at Michael’s for a dollar a piece!
A Happy Birthday song for our sweet three year old. I wish I had more photos of her from the day, but I snapped some photos of the food early in the day and then handed the camera off and spent the afternoon just enjoying time with our loved ones and watching Everly and Arlo live it up! Somewhere along the way, she discarded her blue wings, but oh man, was she cute!
It was a full house! 35 plus folks in a our little home. Soon enough her parties will be just her and a few little friends, so it’s nice to enjoy these big celebrations while Everly is still small.
Brent and I purchased a few gifts for Everly to open at her party and encouraged our guests not to bring a present. Our house is already overflowing with toys from Christmas! Many of them so generously brought her sweet things anyway. In years past, we’ve chosen a charity to donate to instead and I really like that idea but I also struggle with how to ask people to consider spending their gift giving money without it coming off as tacky, unappreciative or forced. I want my kids to have a wonderful birthday experience, complete with presents, but I would love to start a tradition where we encourage experience-based gift giving. A trip to the zoo, a special cupcake date, or taking the birthday child to a movie one afternoon. I am hopeful one day we will strike the right balance between making sure they don’t feel like they are missing out but also encouraging less stuff and more experiences. It’s something we’ll have to feel out as we go along. If any of you have advice or can share your experience, I’d love to hear it!
Everly’s fairy party was a huge success and a joyful day for our whole family. The highlight for me was seeing my daughter float from room to room in her blue fairy wings, laughing and dancing as she went. I could hardly keep up with her! Our goal was to give Everly the gift of a happy childhood memory , and it was quite obvious last Saturday that we had done just that.
EV is Three!
To the coolest, funniest, craziest little love I know,
Happy third birthday my sweet darling!
I am so thankful that you chose us to be your family. You have changed our lives for the better in a million and one ways.
We love you Everly Veda!
Mama and daddy
Giving Monday the Slow Clap.
(Waiting to see the orthopedist this morning & counting all of her fingers before we returned home)
I wanted to take a minute over my lunch break to write a quick post. First of all, thank you so much to those of you who took the time to comment on my previous post regarding work & home. I always find so much strength and perspective in the words you share with me. Sometimes in parenting, it just feels good to know that there are others out there who are finding their way through these same challenges too.
I also wanted to give you a quick update on Everly’s arm. This morning, we had an appointment with the orthopedist to review her x-rays and get her permanent cast put on. We’d been prepping her over the weekend, explaining what would happen and that they would take off the temporary splint cast she was wearing and put on a harder one. “I bet they will even let you pick the color!” I told her. “I WANT A PINK ONE!” she said back.
The orthopedist determined she had a small fracture in one of her growth plates and that it was small enough that it didn’t require a cast. There is a slight chance that as it heals, if she fell on it the right way without a cast on, she could break her arm but he felt that the challenges of putting a toddler in a full shoulder to wrist cast for 5 weeks would be harder on her than just being cautious and encouraging her to take it easy for a couple weeks. (No climbing structure or playground equipment, he said) Whenever we have to make medical decisions for our children, I always ask the doctors the same question, “If this was your little girl, what would do?” Without hesitation he said he’d forgo putting her in a cast.
When I told Everly that her arm was doing better, she initially was super excited but then reality set in that there would be no pink cast in her future. We had a few tears in the car over this realization (“I was going to get a pinkkkkk one!” she cried), but she finally decided that being able to clap again (as she carefully practiced doing it) was better than wearing a cast anyway.
We are so glad that she’s not going to spend this sweltering August in a cast and that her fracture was extremely minor. It started my Monday off right and made me want to join my daughter in her slow clap! Woo hoo, I love good news!
The Rundown: 30 months & 14 months
(Eeek! I’m so late on this rundown. These photos are from our trip to Vermont as they are most accurate for this update)
Everly- You weigh 26.8 pounds and are 36 inches tall. After wearing the same shoe size for nearly a year, I’m excited about the prospect of you finally wearing a size 6 this fall. I’ve been collecting some super cute shoes for you over the past year because I was just SO SURE that you would have grown into them by now! Your hair is really starting to get long and although the back could probably use a trim, I’m just not ready to cut it yet. You are still in size 24 months in dresses and shirts, and 18 months in most bottoms.
Arlo- You weigh 22.6 pounds and are 31 inches tall. You have begun to lose what little thigh chub you gained after your heart procedure once you started walking. You are quickly moving into a size 4 shoe and are wearing some hand-me-down shoes from your sister and your cousin Thomas. Your hair has started to really grow in now and the fabulous little curls behind your ears are the cutest thing ever. You are wearing size 12-18 month clothing.
Everly - No updates here. Full set of chompers!
Arlo- We thought for sure you were teething most of June and July, but despite some swollen gums, we’ve yet to see any new teeth pop through. You’ve really taken to brushing your teeth and love to do it yourself. Sometimes you get confused and instead of moving the brush up and down, you will stick the tooth brush in your mouth and move your head back and forth- ha!
Being a working mom means that I sometimes miss important days with my family. Like Everly’s second birthday, my thirty first birthday and Arlo’s first steps. I spent each of those moments in meetings or on work trips. This week, I found myself with a new challenge. After a rotten Monday - a harrowing two hour drive south to the coast during a raging thunderstorm for a marketing meeting, I discovered that the bag containing all of my clothes for the week had been left behind in Raleigh.
I had shoes and underwear and toiletries but nothing to wear except my favorite printed wrap and a pair of yoga pants. I thought I had put the worst behind me as I pulled out of the local mall with a bag of clothes I’d grabbed hastily to get me through. My phone rang. It was Brent on his way to the emergency room with Everly. They were going to going to get her arm and shoulder x-rayed after an awkward fall from a stool in our kitchen.
And there I sat, on the phone 131 miles away from my little girl. Most people would say at that point the logical thing would be to get in the car and drive home. And trust me when I say there is nothing more I wanted to do - but there has been a lot happening within my group at work and this week it was important for me to be visible and to be a contributor and going home wasn’t as easy a request as it might have been a few weeks ago.
Brent and I debated on the phone. “I’ve got it under control,” he assured me “Everly is in great spirits.” I spoke to her on the phone and she told me “I’m brave mommy!” and a text from my mother in law assured me that Arlo had fallen asleep back at our house without issue. I went to our evening event, feeling guilty and clinging to my phone as I waited for an update from Brent. I wasn’t in the mood to chat with my colleagues, and I spent the entire event fighting the innate urge to get in the car and go home.
Brent called at 8:30pm. The doctor said it was a fractured elbow and that Everly would need to see an orthopedist by the end of the week. At 9:15pm, on speaker phone, we both told her that they were going to put a cast on her arm and that it would make her feel better. She was scared and cried, ” I don’t want that!” And at that moment, hearing her frightened cries, I wanted to say - just screw it. Screw the job and the obligation and the reasons I’m not already on the road and back to her.
But still I stayed. Because the reality is that this job- this meeting- my career- It’s just as important to my daughter’s well being as sitting there next to her on that hospital bed. It’s what I have to do for her and for our family. There are many days that I love the work I do and some days that I loathe it. But mostly, it’s a hat I wear with gratitude.
Whenever I want to feel sorry for myself for missing out on moments or beat myself up for not being there to comfort the kids in a time of need, I remind myself that Brent and I both have certain roles and obligations to fulfill for our family. This is mine and I have to buckle down and focus on doing it as well as I can.
Everly had a great day yesterday. She was up and playing all day long and Brent said she barely noticed the cast on her small arm. She chatted with me on the phone last night and I knew I had made the right decision. I promised her stickers and a trip to build-a-bear to honor her bravery when I get home.
I always think about the phrase that my friend Rachael once told to me when I was sad over missing out on something with one of the children. “You are doing important work.” she reminded me. It’s a powerful phrase and something I tell myself often these days.
Be it in an office. Or on a plane. Or the library. Or in the quiet of a baby’s room.
This is important work. All of it. What Brent does and what I do. It’s not always easy and it’s not always fair, but every day we do the best way we know how.