Claire’s Flamingo First Birthday Party

This year, Claire’s birthday fell on a Saturday, so we were able to have her party on her actual birthday. And since her birthday is in the middle of summer, we had a pool party!

I had a blast planning and hosting Claire’s Flamingo First Birthday Party. Yes, first birthday parties are more for the parents than the child, but I think she enjoyed herself, too.🙂

Even though I had absolutely.no.idea about anything related to babies when we had Claire, I knew that I wanted the theme of her first birthday party to be flamingo related. That’s because flamingos were my mom’s favorite things (she had SO.MANY. flamingo things) – and pink is a good color for a girl’s birthday party.

HOLD ON (1)

I spent many (too many?) hours on Pinterest searching for flamingo-related and first birthday-related ideas. You can see my first birthday board here.

Decorations

I didn’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of money, but I did want to have fun with it. All of the decorations were DIY, with the much-appreciated help of one of my very talented friends. We shopped at Hobby Lobby, Target and online for supplies, with a tropical pink and green color scheme.

This is when you first walk into our house. You can see the pink and green paper pom pons.

decorations

Here’s the mirror in our sitting room. I used a piece of string, some clothes pins with the numbers 1-2 and pictures to make this banner of Claire’s growth from when she was 1 month to 12 months.

12 months of Claire photos

This was our dining room table that served as the presents table.

presents!

And here’s a close up of the decorations…
pom poms and pinwheels We had a “c” banner for Claire! DSC_0672

Here’s a look at our pool area. I found the flamingo lights at Michael’s, and the piñata is from Hobby Lobby.

DSC_0673 We, of course, had to have a high chair tutu! high chair tutu

But here’s the show stopper! The kitchen table and nook that had the centerpiece of the decorations: The flamingo pull-apart cupcakes, smash cake and “fun to be one” banner!

it's fun to be one! Here’s a close-up of the flamingo pull-apart cupcakes. These were handmade and hand decorated. I even colored the frosting! Again, so thankful for my friend who helped me!

flamingo cupcake cake

And the giant cupcake “smash cake” that was also handmade and hand decorated.
giant cupcake for the little one

Food!

Originally, I wanted to make everything myself. But then I decided, a couple of days before the party, that I was going to order Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets. And boy was it worth it! I ordered a medium tray and they were GONE. I did make spinach artichoke dip, and mac and cheese cups. We also had fresh fruit and veggies. And pink lemonade served in pink polka dot cups with flamingo straws! How cute are those. DSC_0526

The Party Experience

The party was in the afternoon, and it began with food, mingling and swimming! Claire wasn’t so sure about all of the people at first, and she had to be held the entire time we were in the pool, but that’s OK!

Then, we got dressed and it was time to open presents! Claire got tired of waiting for us, so she “announced” herself by walking into the kitchen.
she's ready for presents!

She had fun playing with all of her toys. And her grandpa said we are “in trouble” because her reaction to her new dresses was VERY positive. She is a girly girl!

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After presents, it was time for CAKE!

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First, everyone sang “Happy Birthday,” and Claire just looked around at everyone — and seemed to enjoy the attention being on her.

singing "happy birthday"

She wasn’t sure what to do at first…
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But once I put the frosting on her lips, she was in love! The girl has a serious sweet tooth. DSC_0604

Here she is going for it…

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She had to break for some water… DSC_0618

Then she was ready for more!

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The funny thing was, she never really got messy! She wasn’t a fan of having the frosting on her hands. She enjoyed the cake and licking the frosting.

After the cake, it was time for the party to end.

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We had a great time, and I’m looking forward to planning more parties for Claire!

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12 Months!

Claire is officially one.year.old!

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Sneak peak of Claire’s Flamingo First Birthday!

Stats:

  • 21 pounds
  • 28 inches long
  • 4 teeth (two top and two bottom)
  • Words: mama, dada, baa (bath), daa (dog)

What an amazing, chaotic, stressful, joyful, love-filled, trying, quick and fantastic year it has been. Claire has added such joy and so much love in our lives. It so great to watch her grow and learn new things. And, she gets more beautiful by the day!🙂

THEN:
Fresh and clean

NOW:
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I mean, wow! Her hair has gotten a lot lighter. It was very dark when she was born, and now it looks reddish/blondish when the light hits it. It really is incredible how much babies grow + learn in their first year of life!

Claire + Charlie: Best Friends

Claire LOVES Charlie. She hasn’t quite learned how to pet him yet, but she loves to touch him and chase him. She laughs so much at him these days.

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She has to be around him. She’s tried to crawl into his bed, and one of her favorite “toys” is his kennel. DSC_0477

One of Claire’s favorite things is to feed Charlie. Not his food; her food! It’s adorable.

More Faves

Claires loves to pull up and “cruise” on/around everything.
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She enjoys playing with her spoons. Plastic spoons are life savers when we’re eating out. IMG_1911

And my purse – how she loves to go through my purse!
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She still enjoys the pool, and being held in general🙂 IMG_1918

AND ICE CREAM!
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OK, you wouldn’t know it from this picture, but she does love ice cream. This was the first time she had a bite of ice cream. It was at Chick-fil-a (of course!) and she resisted at first, and she didn’t love the cold bite. But when David finally got her to try some, she LOVED it. She is her mother’s daughter.

First vacation without Claire
David and I took our first vacation since Claire was born this past month, and we didn’t take her with us! We escaped for a 3-day Bahamas cruise, and David’s parents kept Claire. We’re so thankful for their willingness to help and their love for Claire!

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One of the photos we received while we were on vacation. Happy + playing! 

We all survived, but we did check in frequently (when we had Internet/cellular data access).

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11 Months!

Wow! Claire is already 11 months old. That means the countdown to 1 is one!
11 months!

Development

This month has been significant in terms of Claire’s development. I don’t know how much she weights or how long she is, but boy has she become fun and even more mobile!

Claire loves music, and her toys that play music. She started “dancing” which is adorable. She’ll wave her arms, and also bounce up and down when she’s standing.

She also learned how to say “no.” No idea where that came from, but it’s one of her favorite things!

OH. And she decided she’s ready to PUSH her walker! Of course, she pushes her walker into the wall or a piece of furniture.

Eating

Claire continues to eat 5 oz bottles 4 times per day. She also eats a smaller 2-3oz bottle before bed.

We’ve been giving her more pureed food — different brands and combinations. She does not like textured food. Any kind of chunkiness gets spit out. It’s hilarious! But she’s starting to enjoy foods other than fruit — veggies, pureed meats, etc.

She also started to feed herself food other than bottles. She used to do everything BUT put a piece of food in her mouth, but now she is slowly but surely starting to feed herself solids and chew and mash. By the way, baby cookies are GROSS.

Fun!

Claire has been in the pool a couple more times. At times, she acts a little unsure about it, but as long as we are close (and she’s had a good nap), she enjoys the water.

We also went to a couple of David’s kickball games. She enjoyed being outside, although she didn’t really venture off of her blanket into the grass. But she loved going through my purse!

I went on a work trip for a few days right when she turned 10 months, but she did fine. She stayed with my grandma during the day and David took care of her at night.

OH. And she got to go on stage for the first time!
Recital 2016 - 11 months
Brite Starz had their 2016 recital on June 11, and she came out onto the stage with me at the end when they introduced the teachers. It was so much fun!

 

Next up: Claire’s 1st Birthday!

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10 months!

Bath night is the best!

Baby Claire is already 10 months old! Less than two months until she is one. And wow, is she moving and learning so fast nowadays.

I had to leave on a business trip on the day she turned 10 months, but thankfully I had a late-morning flight so I was able to spend the morning with her.

As you can see by the picture above (which David kindly sent to me while I was out in LA — so I got to show her off to my colleagues!!!), Claire LOVES her baths.

This past month we also decided that she also loves the pool! We put her in our pool for the first time, and she loved splashing around and kicking her legs.

pool baby

Speaking of kicking her legs, she also started riding in the grocery cart seat. And she (usually) really enjoys it — kicking her legs real fast and looking around as we stroll down the aisles.

first time in the grocery cart

Her legs are getting really strong — she’s able to stand up for a good amount of time now…

 

standing up

…and she’s even started to couch surf! Watch out world.

couch surfin'

We’re frequently greeted with her happy, smiling face as she stands up in her crib when we go in her room to get her up in the mornings.

Good morning!

Other things she enjoys doing these days include crawling over to her box of books and pulling all of them out and “reading” them…

little bookworm

…Playing with Charlie, including chasing him around the house, petting him and laughing at him…

a dog and his baby

Crawling into my office and pulling the picture of me and my grandfather off of my book shelf, and getting the phone and playing with it — pushing buttons and playing with the cord…

loves playing with the phone

She went to her first kickball game a couple of weeks ago. David is in a social kickball league so we got to enjoy the game (they lost but the weather was nice).

first kickball game

Claire got to meet some other babies and kids of David’s coworkers, and play in the grass on her blanket. But that’s when she discovered … mom’s purse!

lovin' mama's purse

The biggest thing from the past month, though, is that we celebrated our first Mother’s Day together! She “made” this for me at “school” the week of Mother’s Day, and I LOVED getting it. Her first “art” project!

Mother's Day Project

And we enjoyed church, dinner and spending time with David’s family.

first mother's day!

Now, let the planning for Claire’s first birthday party begin!

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9 Months!

Wow, Claire is already 9 months old. And boy has she grown a lot!

Height: 26.5 inches
Weight: 20 lbs (!)

First Easter

Going to Easter Service I LOVE Christmas, and I loved Christmas with Claire. But Easter was absolutely wonderful this year. Claire was able to really play with toys and have fun with her basket, and she is so much more expressive now, even though she’s always been very expressive. But even with all of the toys, she loved the tags the most.🙂

Loves her toys, but loves the tags more Easter Sunday

One of her favorite Easter presents was a puzzle with her name. I got it on Zulily.🙂 She loves to take out the pieces… and then put them in her mouth!

Eating her Puzzle

Standing up

Since Claire started army crawling everywhere, we decided we need to get her a big playpen for the living room. It’s hard to keep up with a mobile baby! Well, a couple days after we started using it, she pulled herself up to standing!

First time she pulled herself up to standing!

It was one afternoon, and I put Claire in the playpen while I was cleaning up the kitchen. She crawled over to the side to see me, and started grabbing the sides with her fingers. I watched as she slowly pulled herself up onto her knees and then to her feet. It was incredible!

Eating & self-feeding

Claire has been grabbing onto her bottles with both hands for a while now, but all of sudden she decided she wanted to feed herself. I feel like I should be sad about this, but I’m so proud to see her developing and becoming more independent … and it’s so much easier. I can get work done while she’s taking a bottle rather than having to take a break.

Feeding herself a bottle

She’s still eating purees, and she’s loving it! Fruits are her favorite, but she’s also taking to meat and veggies more.

Claire knows when we’re getting ready to feed her solid foods. We put her in her chair, and she watches us intently as we get her purees ready! She anticipates it, too, kicking her legs and putting her arms up. She’s so funny!

Meal times are also some of her happiest times. It’s easy to make her laugh and get smiles🙂

First ballet class

This past month, Claire also got to come to a ballet class with me! I had just one 1-hour ballet class to teach, and for some reason there was an issue with her grandparents watching her, so I decided to just take her with me.

I didn’t snap any pics (dang it!) but my students loved seeing Claire in person, and she seemed to enjoy being in the studio — and watching the girls dance! She fed herself a bottle at the beginning of class, and then she started crawling all over the studio. I would let her roam as long as she wasn’t getting in the dancers’ way, but I did pick her up and execute a ronde de jambe en l’air while I was holding her! My students were amazed! Claire didn’t fuss at all, but I don’t think I’ll be taking her with me every week.😉

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8 months!

Wow, where has the time gone? It seems like Claire has grown so much in just the past month.

8 months!

We don’t go back to the pediatrician for another month, so I don’t have any numbers to share, but we do have a lot of milestones to report on!

Crawling

All of sudden, Claire started army crawling. And she got real good, real fast. David and I can’t even recall the first time she crawled. It just happened so suddenly. Even Claire’s daycare teachers said they were surprised when she was crawling everywhere one week, when just the week before she didn’t seem interested in it.

Of course this opens up a whole new can of worms. She loves going for the TV stand, fireplace, bar stools, china cabinet… But it’s also fun to watch her. The first week she started crawling, she crawled down the hallway to her bathroom where David was getting her bath ready! She loves to make her way into the kitchen, and across the whole house to our master bedroom. She loves crawling into our closets and our bathroom. We have mirrored doors so she loves to look at herself in the mirror and try to high five herself. It’s fun to watch but scary! She’s definitely keeping us on our toes.

Crawlin in the bathroom

Quickly after she started crawling, she also figured out how to go from being on her stomach to sitting up. David and I were both amazed! But Claire acted like it was no big deal. Now, when we go get her up for the day, she’s usually sitting up playing — clapping her hands or grabbing the crib bars. Didn’t I mentioned that she’s also learned how to clap?!

She recently has started trying to grab onto things to pull herself up onto her knees. We know it’s only a matter of time until she pulls herself up to standing!

Eating

Claire loves fruit!

Oh my, does Claire love fruit! She still doesn’t care for veggies — she’s eaten some carrots and was OK with sweet potatoes, but HATES green beans and peas and squash. She gets really excited when she’s eating her fruits — apples, bananas, pears and peaches. She even enjoyed prunes!

Yuck

Daycare

When I walk Claire in to her daycare class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, she gets really excited. And she doesn’t cry when I leave.

She also made a friend, an older girl (maybe 1.5?) — of course she’s “friends” with everyone but the other 6 students are boys. One of the first days after the older girl started, I went to pick up Claire early because I had a work meeting, and her class was out in the quad strollers for a walk around the building. Her teacher told me that the older girl had her hand on Claire’s shoulder the whole time! How sweet.

Other outings

We typically go to church on Sunday mornings (sometimes we go on Saturday night) and then we go out for brunch. Recently we’ve been going to Another Broken Egg Cafe. Claire doesn’t like to stay in her car seat carrier when we’re in restaurants much anymore, so we’ve been putting her in the high chair. She turns her body all around in there, and loves to look at everyone and all the decorations. She won’t eat the tiny bits of food we try to give her, but she seems to enjoy being able to experience more of the world!

Babies who brunch

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7 Months!

Claire is already 7 months old! She is the downward slope to 1!

This past month was a big month for Claire. Lots of things happening.

Baby Dedication

We started the month with Claire’s baby dedication at our church. She fussed a little, but it made for a cute, memorable story. It was a special day for our family. David’s family was able to join us for the service, and for the prayer that our pastor prayed over Claire and our family.

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We also had more family photos taken! Claire was much more amenable to the photo shoot this time around. David still hates photos. {The following photos are by Kaci Danielle Photography}

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Untitled I went on another business trip the first week of February, but I got lots of pictures and videos! Saying "hi mom" while she's out of town

First illness😦

The week I got back, Claire started part-time daycare. She’s going two days per week for 4.5 hours a day. She’s only been a couple of times so far, but it gives me some time to focus solely on work, and it’s good for her to be with other babies.

Unfortunately, Claire also experienced her first illness this past month. It started after she got her first flu vaccine — she was congested with a runny nose. She just didn’t feel good. (Note, this was before she started daycare and right before I left for LA!). She was up most of the night and would only sleep when I was holding her — so it was a long, tiring couple of days, but she came through it!

Just a couple of weeks later, she came down with some kind of stomach bug. She was throwing up her entire bottle, and it was coming out the other end. Thankfully, she slept well during this time, but we were worried about her getting dehydrated, and seeing her milk come out her nose was not fun! I did take her to the doctor, who gave me great insight into what to do (feed her just a little bit and gradually increase the amount) and when she would need to go to the ER (hopefully never!). I’m thankful we have a doctor that is 5 minutes down the road and so accommodating to very worried first-time parents.

Just a couple of days after the vomiting-through-the-nose incident, we headed on our first family road trip!

First Road Trip

Road trip! David had a work conference in Amelia Island over Valentine’s Day, so Claire and I tagged along. The car ride was fine — she still wasn’t feeling 100% so she was somewhat fussy, but we survived. It also took Claire awhile to fall asleep in the hotel’s crib, but when she did finally fall asleep, she slept through the night. We enjoyed walking around the hotel grounds — with the shops and restaurants. It was nice weather, and the stroller was a huge help. Amelia Island

And we celebrated Claire’s first Valentine’s Day while we were there!

Happy Valentine's Day

Eating

We also started SOLID FOODS! Whoo was that fun. Claire wasn’t sure about them at first. We started with rice cereal, and then carrots… sweet potatoes…green beans… Carrots

But she does enjoy playing with the spoon!

Feeding myself already?!

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