Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ellie's Third Birthday Festivities + Mermaid Party Details

Ellie turned the big 3 on April 12th! It was a beautiful, fun-filled weekend. The day before (Friday) I took her to the musical, Pinkalicious, at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. I was happy that Ellie and I both experienced our first musical there for her special day. Her friend, Madelyn, was there for her birthday, too (she turned 3 on the 11th). We got an adorable picture afterwards that will definitely be framed. The girls were so cute together. Ellie and I read the book for the first time the week prior to the musical, which was actually good-timing so it was fresh in her memory. It's a cute story in which the girl in the book eats too many pink cupcakes and turns the color pink. She eats lots of green veggies to become normal again. A good lesson in the end! Ellie really enjoyed the show and clapped at the end of each segment. She was all smiles. She wore her pink, too- a dress I had mentioned previously that I wanted to get for her from Gap. It was a morning show so afterwards we went to a restaurant I had been wanting to try, In Riva. It's across from the Schukill River so a pretty view. I had the most delicious Kale and Burrata salad and we shared a pizza.
Saturday was her actual birthday and my husband had to attend a workshop for most of the day so it was just the girls and I. My Mom came to watch Summer while I took Ellie for her first manicure. My Mom brought Ellie a bouquet of daffodils and Ellie was so happy. On the way to the nail salon I had thoughts of turning around and just taking her to the playground because it was such a beautiful day and I wasn't sure if Ellie would really enjoy going to the salon. At that exact moment Ellie says, "Mommy, I'm so excited to get our nails painted. I'm so excited for our mommy daughter date." It was perfect. Ellie picked out a pink color, as did I- my favorite pink, Fruit Sangria by Essie. Ellie impressed me by sitting still for the entire length of her manicure and she was so curious. She watched the technician intently and did everything she asked. She would look over at me and smile shyly. I melted. While we were drying our nails she mentioned she wanted to come back to get her toes painted with me. It was such a fun and special experience for both of us.
I dropped Ellie off to my Mom at the playground and drove to pick up the balloons for the party. I was able to nap both girls at the same time (my lucky day) and get a lot of things done for the party. I really had prepared well during the week, but just had a few last minute things to do. We bought most of the food, but I made my favorite Mexican Quinoa Salad and my Mom made a pasta salad. When Ellie woke from her nap (Summer was still sleeping) we made marshmallow pops together. Ellie had fun dipping them in chocolate and covering with pink sprinkles and white pearls. I wanted to use the cupcake toppers in some way since we were having a cake and these were perfect.
My in-laws came an hour early and helped set up outside while I dressed myself and the girls. I had bought a yellow smocked mermaid dress for Ellie to wear, but it was too big. Instead, she wore the pink tutu she had been wearing all day paired with a J.Crew star tee and her new Toms Mary Janes. It was the perfect birthday outfit for a three year-old girl!
We only invited immediate family and a few of her friends so not to overwhelm her. It was the perfect number of people. And, a beautiful day!! We really lucked out with the weather. It was sunny and 70 degrees. The kids played in the backyard and we had a pinata (Ariel, of course). The kids had a blast picking up all the candy. We brought the cake outside to sing Happy Birthday. The candles wouldn't light so we pretended they were so Ellie could blow them out. Ellie gets shy when all the attention is on her (only when it's out of her control- not when she is singing and dancing). During the song she turned toward me to give me a hug. So sweet.
Ellie insisted on an "Ariel" cake so that is what she got:
Summer had a blast, too. She wore a seahorse dress from Carter's and her metallic gold moccasins.
Me: Gap Jeans / Banana Republic Top / J.Crew bracelet
Everyone was impressed with the balloon wreath. It was such an easy, inexpensive, and festive item to make. It took about an hour to complete. I bought a straw wreath from AC Moore for $3 (keep the plastic on) and two packages of 75 balloons from Target (Spritz brand). I had about ten left over. I used sewing pins to secure each balloon (one per balloon). I kept adding balloons until I covered every inch of the wreath (except for the back). Then, I hung a white ribbon around and hung on our front door. I put bunches of balloons (not pictured) in the backyard tied to our front porch.
I searched all of Etsy for the perfect mermaid package for a 3 year-old party. This one, by Sugar Tot Designs, was definitely my favorite, and Ellie's, too. She refers to all mermaids as "Ariel" and as soon as she saw the one with the red hair she was happy. Plus, it was a great deal for only $22 for the complete party package. I printed the banner, menu cards, cupcake toppers, and favors at Kinko's using white cardstock. The water bottle labels I printed on regular paper to save money. I got menu item names from Pinterest (seashell pasta salad, sea sips, seaweed dip, pearl pops, mermaid kisses, mermaid rolls, and sea bites).
Of course we had beer and wine- much needed after a busy week! If you've never had the pink grapefruit Italian soda from Whole Foods you must try. It's delicious. I put festive straws in a Mason jar and labeled the drink station as "sea sips." 
The birthday banner was hung across the windows and sliding door in our dining room. I printed out pictures from Ellie's third year and created the number "3" on our wall. I bought the honeycomb paper decorations and hung two on the ceiling and two aqua ones outside. Favors included mermaid coloring books for the girls (Ellie's favorite) and pirate kites for the boys. Ellie's baby cousin, James, received whale bath toys for his party favor.
I made a tissue tassel garland in the colors of the party. I also made my first fabric garland using fabric swatches I purchased from AC Moore. These garlands make me happy! This chalkboard puts me to shame compared to all the fancy ones on Etsy, but it served its purpose. I used the same one (and a DIY project) for Ellie's party last year.
The party ended at 5 and we had some family stay and hang out afterwards enjoying the beautiful weather. Then, we cleaned up and ate dinner outside. We sang Happy Birthday to Ellie again and this time the candle lit. She had one of the marshmallow pops we made together.

 Happy 3rd Birthday to my silly, loving, caring, beautiful daughter! These three years have been the best of my life!

Paper package included:
Birthday banner, water bottle labels, menu cards, favor tags, cupcake toppers
Mermaid coloring books: Family Dollar
Pirate kites: Five and Below
Fabric (for garland): AC Moore
Balloons: SGS Paper Company
Honeycomb paper decorations: SGS Paper Company
Paper tablecloth (aqua): Spritz by Target
Paper Straws: Princess (Jane) & Striped (Target)
Pinata: Party Store

You can read about Ellie's first birthday party details HERE 
and see the party in photos here and here!

 And, her second birthday party HERE.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Summer is Almost 1!

Ahhh I cannot believe Summer will be 1 in a week from today. Tears!! Seriously, I am emotional about it just as I was when Ellie turned 1. I have so many amazing memories of her and Ellie this past year. I was so sad about Ellie not being my only child, but now I know the best thing to do was to give her a sibling. The girls are best friends! I love watching Summer grow and learn new things. I love watching her personality emerge. She was always a smiling baby and a happy one, too. 

One more week of my eleven month old!

Her birthday party theme is "Our Little Sunshine." I thought it fit her name perfectly. Plus, she is the sunshine in our lives. Her and Ellie, of course. Party details coming soon! (Ellie's party recap is coming this week, too).

Training Update: 10-mile race

I lost three weeks of training due to my upper respiratory infection. I ran a 10k (6 miles) race on April 13th at the Donor Dash and finished in an hour. That was my goal- 10-minute miles. I ran the entire time even though I coughed for the first 3 miles and my chest hurt. I had also pulled a rib muscle from coughing, which finally just healed last week. I had a good 4 mile run on Easter, but I really have not been doing any runs during the week except during refereeing lacrosse.

My Easter morning run: Under Armour cold-gear top (I ended up taking this off halfway through my run and wearing an Under Armour tank) / Under Armour shorts:
Yesterday I went for a long run. If you know the saying, "the hardest part about running is the first step out the door" that was me. I had a million other things to do (wash, cleaning, errands and returns, food shopping), but I knew I really need to get a run in since the race is next Sunday. I also didn't have a route. My husband suggested I wear his Garmen GPS watch and I'm so glad I did. It was awesome to be able to see how far I had run and my time. I think I want/need one of these for myself. I stopped halfway through at Starbucks to get a drink of water and use the bathroom. I felt pretty good and kept the same pace pretty much the whole time. I did ten minute miles- a pace that is good for me. I ran a little less than 7.5 miles and I knew I would run a couple more during lacrosse in a few hours. I probably ended up doing a total of 9 miles yesterday. This is the longest I've run since before getting pregnant with Summer. I will go for a 6-mile run Wednesday or Thursday this week. I will have to do it either early morning before my husband leaves for work or my mother in law may be able to babysit for an hour since I have lacrosse everyday after school.

I'm thinking this will be my race day attire. I love these Nike spandex shorts. They have a pocket in the back where I held my iPod yesterday. It felt good not to wear the band on my arm or have to hold my iPod. I've had these shorts since college and they are my favorite. I also love this Under Armour top. Really comfortable and I love the material. I am wearing my new Asics Keyano sneakers.
I made an effort to drink a few glasses of water as soon as I got up yesterday morning (in between my two cups of coffee). I ate strawberries and a peanut butter and honey sandwich as my pre-run meal. I cannot run without coffee and I need calories, especially since I am still nursing.
My favorite sandwich!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weekend Recap + Outfit Post

Friday the girls and I had such a fun afternoon. I took them to see the horses in Valley Green. Ellie was so excited to see the horses! Oh, and she insisted on wearing this 18-month tutu. It fit her waist, but was a little short in the back. It's from Target (Gap shirt/Puma sneakers).
Afterwards, we went to Chestnut Hill. We first stopped in to the new children's store, Villavillekula. The name of the store is the town from Pippy Longstocking. I didn't realize it at first since it's been a long time since I've read the book. I love that the store is named after a children's book! I've been wanting to stop by since they opened a month ago. It's so adorable and they have such great items! Lots of unique, handmade clothing, including tutus and dress-up. A great place to go for gifts. The owner, Beth, was so friendly and so great with Ellie. Ellie was her usual social self and helped put out umbrellas. I let her pick out a new bracelet and when the owner asked to take a picture of her for the Facebook page, Ellie said yes and sat down, put her leg up, angled her wrist towards the camera. It was so cute and made me laugh. Beth gave her ice cream bubbles and Ellie said "thank you" in a very happy voice.
Next, we had lunch at Green Soul. Ellie couldn't wait for her green juice (our favorite) and Summer and I shared the black bean burger. I think one of Summer's new favorite foods is black beans. She loves them. Then, we went across the street to the playground for a bit before using Ellie's new bubbles on the sidewalk. Summer was in the Ergo, but she had fun watching Ellie and I pop and blow bubbles. A woman walked by and commented on how cute Ellie looked sitting on the polar bear blowing bubbles wearing a tutu and bandaids on both knees, which she put on herself. She needed one for a scrape and the other is questionable.
Saturday morning I had a couple club lacrosse games, then the girls and I joined my in-laws for pizza to celebrate my sister in law's birthday. We also had a birthday party later in the afternoon for Ellie's friend, Stephen, at Little Pod. They did such a great job for the party and it's such a fun place for kids. I definitely recommend! Ellie dressed herself again today. Can you tell she loves tutus?! She insisted on wearing her name bracelet from her Aunt Erin and her Tiffany 'E' necklace from her Aunt Mia. She loves jewelry. She discovered both a couple weeks ago while looking in her jewelry box I keep on her dresser.

She was a little sad here, but it's a cute picture of her outfit and her pigtails:
Summer walking with just one finger. Such a big girl! Still waiting for her to walk on her own, but we are in no rush.
I wore my new chambray shirt, which I love. It's lightweight and the sleeves roll up easily so I'm sure I will wear it into summer. I bought these white jeans two years ago when Ellie had just turned 1. They are from TJ Maxx and probably cost $15. They are by Indigo Rein. They are so comfortable, wash well, and are lightweight. White jeans with kids are risky. I wore these for pizza and surprisingly stayed stain-free! I am also wearing my favorite Steve Madden sandals.
We didn't do much today. I went for a long run in preparation for the Broad Street Run next Sunday. Then, did loads of wash and had club lacrosse in the afternoon. Then, it was dinner, baths, and bedtime for the girls. My best friend from college gave birth to her second daughter this afternoon. She named her Emmeline and will call her "Emmy." Such a pretty name! I'm partial to the nickname since she has always called me that. She is a beautiful baby girl and I'm so happy for her and her family!! Hope everyone had a great weekend, too!