Jack’s First Birthday Party

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A few weeks ago my son turned one-year-old, we had a big party for him! If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you know that I announced a few weeks ago that we are moving to Oregon, so this party was a good-bye party as well. We didn’t quite go all-out, but we tried to make it as fun as we could on a budget. Afterall, it’s not every day your son firstborn turns one!

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Wrap nap, that way he didn’t party himself out.

We decided on a longer party, lasting from 12-5pm. This way the families/babies could come earlier before naptime and the adults/singles could come later. That way everyone could come and celebrate. I was nervous about this, fearing Jack would be too excited to nap and have a meltdown. But the park was close enough to home we could bail if it went south.

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The party was at my favorite park in the whole Bay Area, Alum Rock Park. It’s as off the beaten path as you can get in crowded San Jose, but popular enough that it well-cared for. Playground for the kids to play on too. The other big reason I picked it is because of the amazing hiking trails. I knew I could throw Jack in a carrier and walk him around for his nap when he got tired.

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I reserved a covered structure area so people could get out of the sun and we would have a bit more privacy. It had two BBQ grills and 3 tables, plus there was a nice lawn next to it for everyone to sit in the sunshine too. I decided on a San Francisco Giants theme (similar to his babyshower). I didn’t go all out on the theme, just some black and orange decorations with some random Giants stuff we had around.

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I did make these super cute baseball-themed bean bag toss games. I got the idea from Pinterest. I used a moving box we had laying around and paint left over from Jack’s nursery sign.


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I was a busy mama, barely remembered to eat!

I made the bean bags too. I filled plastic sandwich bags with dry bean.Then I cut up an old baby blanket into a squares, stuffed the bean bags in, then sewed them inside using heavy duty thread. I am horrible at sewing, so anyone can do this. These were a big hit at the party. Kids and adults loved them.

As for the food, I need to give a huge thank-you to my mom, she cooked almost everything and it came out great. Most of the stuff she made was not vegan (mainly because I didn’t have time to do a big grocery shopping for the party). I just ate hot dogs and chips mainly (when I had time to eat, I spent most of the time running around). But here is vegan version of the menu with many of my own recipes:

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We did a cake smash too. My mom and I were going to make Jack a small cake to smash and then cupcake for everyone…. but we ran out of time and got a Costco cake. We cut him off a big piece to destroy, then served up the rest.

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Now, I know store bought cakes are pretty much all lard and processed sugar, not the best thing for a baby. But I do believe that treats (even horrible ones) can slide if eaten very rarely. Plus, Jack didn’t eat that much of it, mostly just played with it.

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The party was so much fun, huge success! It was low key, and just enough people came to make it a good time. It was lovely to have so many friends and family come celebrate Jack’s first year of life and send off to Oregon.  I hope we looks back at pictures from this day and always remember his home in San Jose and how loved he truly is.All that being said, it was a lot of work and this kid ain’t getting another big party for a long time! 😛

The Nursery: Decorative Sign

I love all the trend of the quote signs. Just basic letters with a quote or saying that reflects something important to you or a central theme. I knew I wanted one for Jack’s nursery, but didn’t want to spread $200 for some of the ones I found on Etsy, so I decided to make my own!

When I was little, my mom always sang “You Are My Sunshine” to me. It still think of it when I think of her. I have dreamed of the day I get to sing to to my own children. I thought it was very fitting quote for my son’s room.

So it seemed pretty simple. Buy some boards, put them together, paint and hang. Or so I thought….

I showed Michael some examples of the sign, and he pointed out that the sign we have above the fireplace is the same basic idea. So he looked at it’s construction. Three boards across with two boards to secure the others in place.

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So Michael bought 3 pieces of finished hobby board from Home Depot and cut them to the appropriate lengths, resulting in 3 long and 2 shorter pieces. Our sign is about 2 feet by 1.5 feet, because the wall we wanted to place it on the wall is not that big. If you have a larger room, you may want to make your dimensions bigger.

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Then Michael glued the the 3 longer pieces on the edges together with basic Elmers Wood Glue widthwise. Then he glued the smaller boards across on the bottom lengthwise. Similar to the image above.

Then I painted the front of the orange using the same paint we used for the walls (see baseball seam post). I only did one coat so the grain would still show, giving it a more vintage feel.

Then came the text…the stupid, stupid text. I have horrible handwriting so I knew I could never free-hand it. Michael has nice handwriting, but couldn’t make the fancy font I wanted. So I first came up the with idea of printing out the text I wanted and tracing it.

Then I realized that I didn’t know how to trace the letters without leaving big pencil marks or having tape pull the paint off. After some thought and consultation from others, I decided to print the text out again, but this time use the paper the letters were cut from as a stencil.

I did the first coat with Crayola Washable Kids Paints (the same I used for the wall letters), but it was not thick enough. So I used the same white we used for the nursery walls. The stencil did the basic job, but left the edges a little messy and uneven. So I went back over with both the orange and white paint to clean it up. Then I needed to paint the sun. For the circle, I just traced 8 inch pot. I free-handed the waves. The color is a mix of the white and orange painted I already used on the sign. About 70% orange to 30% white.

I let it dry for a day before I sealed with Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer Spray. I did about two medium coats. Just a word of warning, this stuff is potent. Please do this outside in a well ventilated area. And let it dry and defuse for several days before you bring inside.

Michael hung it up with a simple sawtooth hook on the sign and picture frame hook in the wall. We placed it between the two baseball seams, but not over the crib in case of earthquakes.

Giants Baseball Baby Shower

This past Saturday, my sister-in-law and best friend threw me a baby shower. They did an amazing job! We split the cost between the three of us, which I really recommend doing so you can get all the stuff you want and no one person is bitter about the financial burden. Plus it is so much easier to plan when you have two other people to bounce ideas of off and ask for help when you need it. We were all also insanely busy, so we did most of the planning via Pintrest and Facebook chat. One of us would pin something, then message the others about how to do it. You can check out the board we made here.

So let’s start from the beginning…

Order your own from Etsy!

We kept with the Giants Baseball theme from the nursery.These are the super cute custom invitations my sister-in-law picked out.

She also included this insert, a request to bring a book instead of a card. Michael and I both value learning and education, and plan of reading him to from the start. Plus the notes written in them are something he can cherish forever.

My sister-in-law’s friend reserved the clubhouse at her place. It was a good sized room with a small kitchen. Lovely park and lawn surrounding it too. Not to mention the weather was GORGEOUS that day—75 and sunny.

The decorations were simple, but very cute. Orange and cream table clothes on sale from Party City. Giants memorabilia and signs that we borrowed from my brother-in-law’s collection. Streamers left over from another party and banners I found on sale from Party City as well.

Kamille made center pieces made from simple vases filled with marbles (both from Dollar Tree) and flowers. Peanuts sprinkled around the vase. Giant’s flag and an orange ribbon to tie it all together. Oh, and the baseball coin banks (Dollar Tree) with Big League Chew gum pops and mini Baby Ruths. Very creative on her part.

For the guest books, Amanda painted black and orange balloons on canvas and sealed it with clear acrylic spray.  The guests sign on the balloons. We plan on hanging it in the nursery. It came out so cute! Also in this picture is the adorable Giants diaper cake that Kamille’s mother-in-law (that’s confusing…) made for me. Thank you Lori, I love the little plushy guy on the top!

For food, we had hot dogs, veggie dogs, nachos with salsa and guacamole, hummus/spinach dip with pita bread, salad, potato salad, and a veggie platter. And no, not everything was vegan, but that okay. As much as I wish the whole world was vegan, it’s just unrealistic. So we made food that people would enjoy and would match the theme. And I was totally happy with my veggie dogs, veggies platter, hummus, and salsa.

There was also a mimosa bar—obviously not for the pregnant lady. We thought it was a way for people to relax without going overboard on booze. There was also tropical punch for those who didn’t want to or couldn’t drink. And yes, that is an picture of my husband when he was 3 in a bow tie. See the cute little napkin bow ties Amanda made to match the picture?

Amanda made these adorable cupcakes in the shape of a baseball. They were a big hit (ha, baseball pun).

And my other sister-in-law brought me a vegan cake! The frosting was so creamy and the cake was just rich enough without going too crazy. I loved it, thank you Kristina!

My prediction for when Jack comes.

We played some shower games too, three of which were printables I got for free off Pinterest. First was Baby Product Price is Right (Michael and I both grew up watching the show with our grandparents so it seemed fitting). People guessed the price of the products (like a pack of diapers) and whoever was closest to the actual total on my master sheet won. Then “Whose Traits Does Mommy Want,” where everyone guesses if want things like my eyes or Michael’s eyes for Jack. Then was Baby Wishes and Predictions, where people wrote their wishes for Jack and made predictions for when he will come. The winner was the person who guessed the closest to my predictions.

Then was the relay race. Each table needed four participants. The first person eats a jar of nasty baby food, the second chugs a bottle of juice, the third swaddles a stuffed animal, and the last recites a nursery rhyme. Everyone was hesitant at the eating/chugging part at first, but the game ended up being hilarious once we got volunteers. The table with the aunties/grandmas totally dominated the game!

Me in the orange stripped dress. 35 weeks, I swear my
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Then I opened gifts. We got a lot of Giants stuff (of course), some duck themed stuff from my fellow Oregon Ducks, and a lot of other super cute baby clothes and toys. I was truly floored by everyone’s generosity. I didn’t grow up with my extended family round and I moved a bit as a kid so I don’t have many life-long friends. So I appreciate how warm and welcoming Michael’s friends and family have been to me. And of course, I appreciate the generosity from my own friends and family. Jack is one very loved baby already!

All the gifts in the nursery the next day. Several people chipped
 in for the glider, I wanted to cry when I saw it. So sweet. 

I didn’t plan on learning a lesson from my shower, but I did. It’s not money or things that make life wonderful, it’s love. I wanted my guests to share in Michael’s and my love/joy of having a baby—as much as we could afford to do so. And in returned they showed us love that we didn’t even imagine. I plan on teaching this lesson to Jack.

A big thank-you to Amanda and Kamille, you are are amazing Aunties already. And thank-you Griselda for reserving your clubhouse and helping set-up and take down. Thank you to everyone who came, I hope you had as much fun as I did.

I hope this shows you can have the shower of your dreams, without breaking the bank. And helps you understand what true love is too!

Also check out my post of Michael’s Man Shower.

The Nursery: Wall Letters

Once Michael and I finally settled on the name Jack for a boy, I took to Pinterest again to get inspiration one cute ways to do a decorative letters or a name sign for his room. One of the first things that came up when I simply typed in “Nursery wall letters” was this:

Here is the Etsy Shop incase
you want to order the original. 
It was perfect, like someone pinned this just for me to find! It’s his name and a sports theme, just like we wanted. I just needed to change the color scheme and leave out the basket ball (we are both short, no delusions our son will be Center for the Warriors). 
We had some trouble finding decent letters, which surprised me because this is such a popular trend. There we either cheap looking, already painted, a weird font, or really expensive. I finally found a these basic capital block letter on Amazon
I used Crayola Washable Kids’ Paint. The main reason I went with this is because it’s inexpensive. Also, I tend to make messes…I didn’t think my husband would appreciate me getting permanent paint on the kitchen table. 

To keep with both the nursery theme and the design of the pin, I decided to paint the J black, the A a football, the C a baseball, and the K orange.

I did the base colors first, then added the stitches for the baseball and football. The paint adhered to the wood well,  but every color needed a few coats to make it even. It probably took longer to get even than permanent paint would have, but it was not that big of a deal.

After the black dried, I noticed that it looked more brown. I ran out of black to do another coat, so I had to mix together other colors to make more black. Felt like I was in preschool again! It was fun and it came out nice in the end.

Once the letters dried, I took them to the nursery to see how they would look against the orange wall. Then I realized that the orange K didn’t stand out enough. I didn’t want paint it another color and lose the theme. So I painted the boarder in the reddish brown paint to give it some pop.

Michael attached the letters to the wall with 3M Double Coated Foam Tape. We considered gluing or nailing them to wall, but we didn’t want to damage the walls.

You might be wondering why we didn’t put the letters above the crib. We thought it would look too busy with the baseball stitches. And worried they might fall off in an earthquake (the joys of living next several major faults).  

The Nursery: Painting Baseball Seams

When we first moved into our house, we discussed what wanted to do with each room. When we got to the bedrooms, we knew that the smaller of the two would be a nursery one day, so we left it alone for until that day. Well, that day came sooner rather than later!

The room used to be completely—and I mean baseboards to ceiling —a sad faded purple. It was in obvious need a of serious paint job no matter what the gender. I wanted to do a Gamma Phi Beta (my sorority) theme for a daughter, and we both knew it would San Francisco Giants baseball theme for a son.

The obvious answer was paint the black and orange. But the more I thought about it, I realized a black nursery might not be the most smooth thing for a baby. And the BRIGHT Giant’s orange would be too stimulating. Then I remembered the home jerseys: off-white cream and a lighter orange. That seemed more like nursery colors!

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After some inspiration on Pintrest, I came up with a two-toned wall idea. Then I saw another Pin with baseball seams on a white wall. Michael loved both ideas too.

There are a lot of organic, non-toxic paints specifically for nurseries, but they are really expensive. If you have the money, I really suggest getting them. We unfortunately do not, so we had to shop for paint on sale. If this is the case for you too, I suggest painting early so the room has months to air out all the fumes.

By the way, a friend asked me if paint was vegan….at first I thought she was kidding. I explained paint is made from chemicals mostly, so unless you are using squid-ink-based paint, then you are good.

Ideally, pregnant women should not paint due to the fumes. And, not to mention it’s exhausting and it’s already exhausting enough just being pregnant. My wonderful husband did majority of the painting. I did help a little bit, but made sure the windows were open and the fan was on first.

Now for the actual painting process….

He used a roller with an extension for majority of the walls and a medium-sized brush  (came in a set) for the corners.

We didn’t want the purple to show through, so we primed everything first. He used Valspar Interior Latex Primer High-Hiding from Lowes. We really like this primer and have used it in several rooms now. Not only did it cover the purple, it covered the dark wood panels in the living room perfectly.

For the colors, we selected Duration Home Latex Paint in Navel from Sherwin Williams and Behr Premium Plus Ultra Latex in Moon Rise from Home Depot. Both are semi-gloss finish.

The wall facing as you enter is orange, the rest of the walls and ceiling are off-white. And the trim, inside the closet and inside the door frame are orange for contrast.

He primed one Saturday night, then did most of the painting the next day. He went back a month later and did the touch-ups.

Then three weeks ago, my nesting instincts really kicked in so I asked him to please do the seams so the room is finished.

We started by having me point out how big/far-out I wanted the seams to go on the wall. Then he measured out that distance and cut a piece of string to that length.

He attached the string to a pencil. I held the string in the corner while he pulled it tight. He then drew a quarter circle from the based board to the edge of the wall. I suggest doing this with a colored pencil close to color of  the paint to avoid a black pencil mark from showing through.

Then, using a small angled brush,  Michael drew the first stitch freehand, and didn’t like it (though I thought it was fine). So he made a stencil so they would be more uniform and the process would go faster.

He ended up refining his stencil a few times, cutting it smaller so it did not smudge the previous stitch and create better spacing.

Then he repeated the process in the other corner. Once the stitches dried a little bit, he drew the seam line through the center of the stitches. He used just the very tip of the same angled brush.

Then the next day we touched up the edges and lines with some white paint.

I am very happy with the results! It’s not totally prefect, but if you really look at a baseball, not every stitch is exact. I would rather have a pretty good looking nursery done with love than a picture-perfect one done by some stranger or a machine.

I will do more updates about our nursery soon, including a review of the crib, the decorations, a custom sign, and wall letters.