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Step three: DIY Hooded Towels.

I found these amazingly adorable hooded towels on Pinterest a year or two ago by Crazy Little Projects.  I fell in love with them immediately.  Not only are they super cheap and super cute, but, most importantly, they’re super easy.  I made J a duck towel for the bath and a shark towel for the beach about two years ago.  Last year for Nolan’s 1st birthday I made him either the dog or shark…I can’t remember now.  I want to say dog.

Since poor C is still using baby towels and J’s duck is looking a bit forlorn, I figured I’d make them each a towel for Christmas.  Although there are a ton of choices, it was super easy to decide on one for each:  Elmo for C and a Princess one for J.

I picked up my supplies:  a red bath towel and matching hand towel for Elmo from Target and a purple bath towel, matching hand towel and yellow hand towel for the Princess crown from Walmart.  There isn’t a particular reason I bought them at two different stores…just turned out Walmart didn’t have an appropriate shade of red for Elmo.  See, chalk it up to yet another reason why Target kicks Walmart’s butt!

Check out the Princess hooded towel tutorial on Crazy Little Projects’ blog for the clear and easy to understand directions.  I’m just going to give a quick synopsis and I’m sure it’ll be confusing since I can’t explain anything, haha.

Since the crown is a separate piece this one was a tad bit more “difficult” than the other towels I’ve made previously.  Which means not at all.  I started by cutting the yellow hand towel in half so the width was about 8.5 inches.diy-princess-hooded-towel-14Then I cut a crown shape from one of the halves.  Crazy Little Projects has a template if you want to use it.  I just eyeballed it.  I made the crown go the entire width of the towel (there were 4 spikes) and the tip of each spike was about halfway up the length of the towel. I laid the first one on top of the rest of the hand towel and cut out a carbon copy.  I matched them and sewed them together, leaving the finished edge of the towel open as instructed.  I flipped it right side out so the stitching was hidden.diy-princess-hooded-towel-15The jewels were next.  I scrounged up some sparkly purple scraps from a long ago project which worked perfectly.  Now Crazy Little Projects does it the smart way and has you use Heat n Bond on the back of the jewels and then attaches them using an appliqué stitch.  I didn’t bother.  Instead I cut out four diamonds and sewed them directly onto the crown with a zigzag stitch.  I’m sure it won’t last nearly as long but if there’s one thing you’ve learned about me by now it’s that I am L-A-Z-Y.diy-princess-hooded-towel-12diy-princess-hooded-towel-13Now time for the part I’ve done before:  making the hood.  I cut the purple hand towel in half the fat way and put half of it aside for a future project.  I folded the finished edge about 4 inches up and stitched it down.diy-princess-hooded-towel-11I folded the hand towel in half (so the folded part was on the outside) and zigzagged it on the back to form a hood.diy-princess-hooded-towel-9diy-princess-hooded-towel-10I flipped it right side out and then pinned the crown on.  I took Crazy Little Projects advice and took the hood into the bathroom so I could adjust the crown as needed.  Don’t I look nice 😉 diy-princess-hooded-towel-8I sewed the crown onto the hand towel along the bottom edge. Crazy Little Projects advises tucking the open edge of the crown in before sewing it down to hide the raw edges.  Since with mine the end of the crown is already a finished edge I didn’t bother folding it in.  It would’ve looked nicer, yes, but honestly I don’t think my machine could’ve gotten through all of those layers.  I recently broke a needle and was on my last one so I didn’t want to risk breaking this one and having to wait until I could make it to Joann’s to purchase replacements before finishing the towel.  It looks fine.diy-princess-hooded-towel-7Then it just needs to be attached to the towel!  First, Crazy Little Projects recommends folding the bath towel in 3-4 inches on each short side and sewing it down, which I did. diy-princess-hooded-towel-6Then you find the center of the towel by folding it in half and form a pleat that’s about an inch wide. diy-princess-hooded-towel-5Sew across it. diy-princess-hooded-towel-4Then take the hood, match the hood seam with the center of the pleat and pin together.  Make sure you match the right sides of the towel together.  Although as you’ll see in a minute for Elmo, it’s really not a big deal if you’re not paying attention and mess that part up.diy-princess-hooded-towel-3Sew the two towels together and voila, finished! diy-princess-hooded-towel-2 diy-princess-hooded-towel-1diy-hooded-princess-towel-21diy-hooded-princess-towel-20

The Elmo towel was even more straightforward than the last one and very similar to the towels I’ve already made.  Once again, refer to Crazy Little Projects Elmo tutorial for the complete (and better!) instructions. Especially since for some reason my camera did not like this shade of red and the photos are difficult to see.

So same thing.  Cut the hand towel in half the fat way, fold the finished edge up about 3 inches and sew it, fold the towel in half (with the finished edge on the inside) and zigzag down the back to form a hood. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-6 diy-elmo-hooded-towel-4Next cut out your face pieces.  I used regular fabric for the eyes and mouth and an orange towel for the nose (since that’s what I happened to have on hand).  I just eyeballed the pieces and am actually surprised at how well they turned out!  Usually circles are extremely difficult for me. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-9Once again Crazy Little Projects recommends ironing Heat n Bond to the back the pieces and sewing them on with an appliqué stitch.  And once again I ignored this advice and just zigzagged them on as is.  I’m sure they’ll be fine… diy-elmo-hooded-towel-8There was one step on here that I’ve never seen in her other tutorials before, including the princess one.  She instructs you to sew a line across the top of the triangle and then cut it where the seam is.  Not sure why, but not one to question experts I did as told. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-3Then I did the same things as above to the bath towel.  Folded each side in about 4 inches, sewed it together.  Folded it in half to find the middle, formed a pleat and sewed it down. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-7Matched the seam of the hood to the middle of the pleat in the bath towel and attached them together. And that’s it!diy-elmo-hooded-towel-1diy-hooded-elmo-towel-10Like I said I wasn’t paying attention to make sure the right sides were together with the Elmo towel so it turns out that the seams I sewed on each side of the bath towel are facing out, not in.  I actually made this exact same mistake on Nolan’s towel.  Fortunately unless you’re looking super closely you’d never even notice the mistake.  And even if it was an obvious mistake it’s not like a 20 month old is going to care.  He’s just going to be excited to see Elmo!  I can’t wait to give them their towels Christmas morning!

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How tall am I now??

I remember in my grandfather’s house we had a doorframe that marked my and my siblings’ heights with pencil at all different ages.  Now that I have my own children I wanted to do something similar…except that Army life is not exactly conducive to drawing on walls.  And then prying it off of the frame and taking it with you.  Somehow I don’t think the landlords would be too pleased.

Fortunately the internet and Pinterest are around, meaning I was able to find a solution to my problem without giving it too much thought at all:  a DIY growth chart.  They’re all over the place and there are all kinds of different ways to make them.  I decided simple is always best:  a long piece of wood painted to look like a ruler.

I pinned a ruler that I liked:  this one.  I love how it has photos of the kids at the different heights running alongside it.  Unfortunately this idea isn’t any more feasible in a rental home as a door frame ruler is–Hubby would have a heart attack just thinking about all the holes he’d have to hammer in!

So I decided to compromise.  I would put pictures of the children in the vicinity of the height they were at each age.  I’m not sure what it’s going to look like by kid number 4, but for now it looks great!

We made it about 2 years ago so I’m going to remember as best I can how we did it.  Adventures in Decorating has very detailed instructions on her blog if you need specific direction!

Hubby picked up the board, cut it to size and sanded it down for me.  The board itself is 6 feet tall and 10 inches wide.

We had some leftover stain from when we stained our bedroom suite, so I just used that.  It’s a nice dark color, which I love.

Then I got to work on the lines.  This part was very time consuming.  I used my fabric tape measure to mark all of the lines off with a pencil first.  We figured that the ruler wouldn’t be flush with the ground when hung on the wall, so it starts off at 10 inches.  We just make sure to hang it 10 inches from the floor in each home so it’s accurate.  It goes all the way up to 6 feet 11 inches.  I don’t anticipate having giant children since I’m only 5’2″ and Hubby is 5’10”, but you never know.  It could happen.diy-growth-chart-ruler-5After I marked each line off I used a white paint pen from Michaels to make the lines.  This part was a giant pain in the ass.  It bled a lot and made quite the mess.  As you can see, some lines are thicker than others.  I finally got the hang of using it about halfway through.  So if this is your first time using a paint pen you may want to practice first!diy-growth-chart-ruler-3For the numbers I just printed off 1-6 on Silhouette Studio in a font that I liked and a size that seemed like it would work.  I didn’t want them too big because I was going to need as much space as I could get for all of the photos on it.  My machine cut the stencils out and I traced them on with a pencil.  Then I filled them all in with the paint pen.diy-growth-chart-ruler-6Next I searched for my favorite photos of J when she was 1 and 2.  I opened them up in my Silhouette, sized them to something that was big enough to see, but hopefully not so big that all of our future children wouldn’t fit.  I added her age and height on each photo, then printed them off.  I just modge podged them straight onto the ruler.  diy-growth-chart-ruler-4I actually had no idea how tall J was at 12 months.  I searched through all of my papers from J’s first year of doctors visits (the entire box of crap that I’ll get around to scrapbooking someday.  Like when she’s 25.), but couldn’t find a record of how tall she was at 1 year.  So I just estimated.  Close enough!

J is now 4 1/2 and C is 14 months.  As you can see, I’m not very good at keeping up with it.  I think I’ll update it right now…diy-growth-chart-ruler

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All of the crap has to go somewhere…

 

Before J was born I asked Hubby to make me a toy box.  Although it took him much longer than it should have to actually make it, I was very pleased with the way it turned out.  He just hammered together a bunch of 2x4s, added a lid on a hinge and bam, done!  I painted it to match the nursery decor, yellow and blue.  We had a bunch of orange paint leftover from our living room wall so I painted the inside with that.diy-toy-box-2I bought the huge letters from Michaels.  Since the nursery theme was ducks and frogs, I collected any wooden ducks and frogs I could find from craft stores like Michaels, Joann’s and Ben Franklins.  
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I decorated the top with glow in the dark stars.diy-toy-box-2-top

There are two things that I do not like about this toy box.  The major one is the lid.  It’s on a hinge and there isn’t any type of stopper.  This type of toy box is banned from being sold in the US in stores since kids can break their neck if the lid comes slamming down.  Hubby was supposed to find a way to stop it from coming down like that, but that was almost 5 years ago and he still hasn’t done it.  I really need to force him to do it because it makes me so nervous.  We solve the problem by keeping the lid down all the time.  Since it’s made out of solid wood, that lid is heavy; there’s no way the kids can open it on their own.

The second issue is how I attached the PLAY letters and the ducks and frogs.  I just used regular wood glue.  I don’t know if it’s because it doesn’t adhere well to the paint or if the brand I bought just sucks, but almost all of those suckers have since fallen off.  The toy box now says “P  A  “.  Of course our constant moves don’t help.  I think if it had been sitting in the corner for the last 5 years they would all still be attached.

When Hubby got back from his second deployment I asked for a second toy box.  J was about a year and a half old and the basket we were using the living room just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  We had toys coming out our @sses.  So, he built another one.

This time I asked him to not attach the lid at all.  Not only do I no longer have to worry about our children having their necks broken while finding a toy, but it now allows for overflow, haha.  Win!diy-toy-box-1-

I went with a beach theme for this one.  I used beige and teal paint for the outside, and then painted the inside dark blue and teal.  I picked up a ton of wooden beach pieces from craft stores.  Since this toy box was made before we started moving and I realized that wood glue was not the way to go, I attached everything the same way.  As you can see, the pieces on this one fell off at a much faster rate.  The entire bottom panel was originally covered with beach items.  And the letters never attached well to begin with (I think because they’re so much larger and heavier than the last set).  Hubby had to screw those suckers on there.

This one is a lot bigger than the last one as well.  Which we need.  I recently went through an organization flurry and am rotating toys each month so there’s plenty of room now, but before this sucker was always at full capacity.  It was impossible to find anything.

Because it was so much bigger I decided to paint some play-related quotes on it.  Since this was way before I ever even heard of a Silhouette, I stenciled everything on the old fashioned way:  actual stencils.  I picked up a sheet of letters from Michaels, took a pencil and traced each individual letter on the box.  Time consuming, but I like the way it turned out.
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So that’s it!  Our lifesaving toy boxes.

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It’s a Party! A Big Dog Party!

So C turned one last week 🙁  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about it…but as all mothers can relate, it’s bittersweet!  Especially since I look at him now and he just looks older.  He’s not this itty bitty baby anymore…he’s turning into a true toddler.  He just looks so big!  And that’s saying a lot since he’s in the 5th percentile for height and isn’t even on the charts for weight, haha!

Hubby is currently stationed in Virginia, so we’re about 5 hours from my hometown in Pennsylvania.  Since it’s rare for us to be so close I figured I would have C’s 1st birthday party up there so they could join in the celebration.  Since we were in Kansas when J turned 1 and none of our family members could make it out, I decided to take advantage of it and throw the exact same birthday party for C as I did for J:  dogs!

I used the same Etsy seller, PlanB Designs, for C’s invitation:Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-InvitationThe food was served in dog bowls I picked up from the Dollar Tree for J’s party 4 years ago.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Food-1To drink I whipped up Belle of the Kitchen‘s absolutely delicious Watermelon Lemonade (which was a huge hit!  I doubled the recipe and all of it was gone by the time the party was over!).  To eat we had Puppy Chow (just the recipe off of the back of the cereal box.  No reason to mess with perfection 😉 ),Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Food-2raw carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers and broccoli with Vegetable Dill DipDog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Food-3and strawberries, watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe with Fruit Dip (easiest recipe ever:  just two ingredients!).  I used a dog bone cookie cutter to cut the watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew to match the theme!

We also served hot dogs with all of the fixin’s.

Having experience with decorating cupcakes that didn’t go so well in the past, I wanted to stick with something simple.  I found this cute pin for dog cupcakes and did my best to replicate it.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cupcakes-1I didn’t want to decorate them all the same, so I found a second pin that I liked, this one.  This replication didn’t turn out nearly as well.  Sigh.  Serves me right for trying to make things more complicated than necessary. Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cupcakes-2Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cupcakes-3But these cupcakes still turned out loads better than the ones I decorated for J’s Farm Birthday Party when she turned 2.J-Farm-Birthday-Theme-CupcakesI still shudder every time I look at that picture.  They looked so easy!!

Since I learned that C really wasn’t into cake at his Cake Smash photo shoot I kept this cake simple.  I used a box cake mix and canned frosting.  I still made it in the 6 inch cake pan I have, but I used a giant dog bone cookie cutter so it was about half the size of the last cake.  I threw some frosting on top, outlined the bone with a store bought tube of icing, stuck the candle in, and voila, fini!

Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cake-1Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cake-2Try to ignore the frosting that’s everywhere on the plate.  Not only am I not a master cake decorate (obviously), but I’m also an insanely messy cook/baker.

I kept the decorations pretty simple.  I bought tablecloths, silverware and plates from the Dollar Tree in dark blue, bright blue and teal to match the invitation colors.  I also picked up a bag of balloons from there and blew up just the matching colors.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-2I used my amazing Silhouette to cut large dog bones out of dark blue, bright blue, teal and lime green cardstock to match my colors.  I also had it cut out all of the letters for “Happy Birthday Carter” and “One” out of the same cardstock colors.  I peeled the letters off, glued a letter onto a dog bone, punched two holes in the top and weaved balloon string through the holes to make the two banners.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-4There was a random balloon-animal-type balloon in the bag, so my sister had the brilliant idea to blow it up and form it into the letter C!  Loved it!Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-5

The party was held in my father’s garage.  Super long story, but basically the garage is bigger than the house they live in.  And even though there’s a ton of space inside, at the end of the day it’s still a garage, which means it’s not exactly ideal for pictures.  To help remedy that we hung up an extra tablecloth on the bay door and laid down an orange blanket I happened to find that matched his birthday outfit perfectly!  We figured he could do his cake smash and open presents there.  That way the pictures wouldn’t look as bad.

Final touch:  helium birthday balloons from Party City tied to some Kongs as a centerpiece.  Even though I paid the extra 15 cents for helium for 18-36 hours, the teal balloon only made it about 10 hours before it bit it.  I paid $1.35 plus tax for that one balloon…I was going to display it dammit!Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-3The centerpieces for J’s dog party were much nicer.  I picked up dog toys and rawhides from the Dollar Tree, but I just didn’t care enough this time around to go into that much detail.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-1

I also cut out a “1” from posterboard and taped a bunch of pictures from C’s first year.  Unfortunately we couldn’t find anywhere good to hang it, so I ended up just leaving it laying on one of the tables.  Whoops.

Party time!

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And the cake smash went MUCH better this time.  Figures, the little sh*t!

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The only bad part?  C got his first fat lip 🙁

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Other than that, the party was a success!  Woof woof!

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One?! Already?!

Well, we hit the big age mark with C on April 10th.  He turned 1.  Bye bye cute little blob of a baby…hello toddlerhood!  He took his first steps a couple of days before his birthday but hasn’t moved much beyond that.  Yet.  I know how this works…once he starts going there’s no stopping him!  Honestly I’m anxious for him to walk on his own (yes, I know.  I’m going to regret that statement back once he can actually do it.  Big time).  The kid isn’t satisified sitting…he has to be moving.  And since he can’t do it on his own yet, that means he needs Hubby or I to hold his little hands, hunch over him and walk all over the house.  All.  Day.  Long.  So the freedom will be so nice when he can move around all by himself!  So I’m definitely looking forward to walking, with one big caveat:  at home.  Once we leave the house to go absolutely anywhere–the store, a friend’s house, the pool, walking the dog–I know I’m going to miss the days of complete control.  That and it will official mean he’s no longer my itty bitty baby but now a real live boy 🙁

I did a cake smash photo session for J when she turned 1 and I wanted to do the same thing with C.  We hired a local photographer to take our Christmas photos and I absolutely loved her.  This one is my favorite from that session and is what we sent out as our Christmas card this year.

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We chose a date (one week before his birthday) and time for the photo shoot and I started to gather everything I needed (okay, wanted).  First:  a birthday outfit.  Although I love both of my children to death, one of the things I miss the most about having a baby girl is dressing her.  J had on the cutest little outfit for her first birthday:  a customized birthday shirt from Etsy, a tutu, and the cutest personalized bloomers ever (also from Etsy.  Man I love that site!).  She looked freaking adorable!!

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C was a much bigger problem.  I spent forever on Google Images searching for things like “birthday outfit 1 year old boy”.  I knew I wanted a bowtie but nothing I found seemed cute enough.  And then I stumbled on this image:

It was perfect.  I had to have it.  I bought a dark grey vest from Target.com and a pair of dark jeans from a local consignment shop.  I picked up two squares of orange and white fabric from Joann’s.  Finally I contacted a local seamstress and asked her to embroider a 1 and a paw print (his bday theme was “dog”) onto the vest and to make a bow tie and tie out of the fabric for me.  He already had a white onesie to wear underneath, the bowler hat from his Christmas photo shoot and a pair of black and white sneakers to complete the look.

Here’s the finished product.  I couldn’t be more pleased!!!!

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Next step:  the cake.  My friend Ashlyn has this AMAZING food blog, Belle of the Kitchen.  I mean seriously amazing.  Her daughter turned 1 a few months back and the cake she made for her was so cute that it stuck with me all this time.  You can’t tell me that isn’t the cutest cake you’ve ever seen?!  Click on the photo to go to her blog and get all of the details!  And while you’re there check out all of her absolutely scrumptious recipes!

Belle of the Kitchen 1st Birthday Smash Cake

Belle of the Kitchen 1st Birthday Smash Cake

Of course C isn’t a girl so I didn’t think pink frosting would be the best choice.  And the roses seemed a bit girlie as well.  But I really liked her cake so I used her recipe for the cake and frosting.  Fortunately it made enough for a 6 inch cake, 12 cupcakes and 2 cakes in a jar (something special for J to have too) because it was delicious!!  Especially the frosting.  It is a must-try.  Like right now.  Seriously, stop reading and go make yourself a cake.  Or at least a batch of frosting.

I wanted to use Belle of the Kitchen’s basic decorating ideas so I searched around for a less-girly finished product.  I found this one and decided it was perfect.  Like Belle of the Kitchen, Director Jewels also kept going on and on about how easy it is to decorate a cake yourself, so I decided to give it a shot.  My attempts in the past have not been so pretty…like these farm cupcakes.  And I didn’t even have to actually decorate them!  They should’ve been super simple!

J-Farm-Birthday-Theme-CupcakesBut it actually did turn out to be relatively simple.  I made the cake, let it cool, then tossed it in the freezer for about 30 minutes (I read somewhere that makes cakes easier to decorate.  I figured I could use all the help I could get!).

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While I was waiting I whipped up the icing and frosted the extra cupcakes.  Then I pulled the cake out of the freezer and coated it in white.

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I actually didn’t end up having enough icing for the cupcakes and the cake, so if I were to do it all over again I would skip this step.  It was unnecessary and was just a waste of frosting (although I’m sure C appreciated it 😉 ).  Then I took about a third of the frosting out, squirted some blue gel food coloring in and mixed it until it was a shade I liked.  I have a cake decorating tool so I decided to use that, figuring it would be easier than messing around with decorator bags.  Definitely not the case.  That sucker was a giant pain in the ass and wasted a bunch of frosting.  Stupid POS.

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Just look at how much frosting is left in there!  What a giant waste!

But anyway, I put the frosting in the tube, screwed on a decorating thinger (I’m assuming those things have an actual name but I don’t have the slightest idea what it is.) and placed random blue dots all over the cake.  Easy peasy!  I repeated the steps, making both green and yellow.  By the time I was halfway through with my second color I knew the frosting was going to be cutting it close to decorate the entire thing.  Fortunately I had only done the top, afraid something like this might happen.  Mental note:  decorate the cupcakes that are just meant for the family to eat at their leisure last, not first!

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Around the sides I opted to go for the ombre look.

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C’s birthday is right around Easter (at least it was this year and last year…Easter is such a strange holiday since it’s date varies greatly every year!) and although it definitely wasn’t planned, I love how it turned out spring/Easter colors!

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So we were all set for the photo shoot, which I was super excited about.  C LOVES food.  This kid can chow down like I’ve never seen before.  I figured with his love of food combined with his love of getting messy/dirty he was going to demolish the cake in seconds.  I thought we’d get some adorable happy photos of him in some cute outfits, make him naked and watch him destroy the cake.

As usual with kids, nothing ever goes as planned.  He spent about half of the 40 min shoot crying, so most of his pictures turned out like this:

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Fortunately he’s the cutest crier ever, so at least those ones have an adorable-in-a-particular-way element.  And our photographer is absolutely awesome, so even though he spent a good portion crying, she managed to get some great shots in.  After, of course, 50 million verses of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Here Comes the Bumblebee”, taking a 10 minute break to walk around the parking lot and look at trucks and finding a life-saver stuffed bear in the trunk of my car.

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Seriously, I’m in love with his outfit!!

And then the cake smash wasn’t much better.  He really didn’t care about the cake at all and made a minimal mess.

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It was nothing like J’s 1st cake where not only she ate the entire thing, but she did it in under 5 minutes.  Twice (at her photoshoot and again at her birthday party).

J-1st-birthday-cake-smash-2J-1st-birthday-cake-smash

And although the photo below makes it look like he ate a lot, that’s not the case.  J, Hubby and I were all snacking on it during the 10 minutes C picked at it.  At least it didn’t go completely to waste!

C-1st-birthday-cake-smash-1Oh well!  We got some cute (crying) pictures out of the deal, I learned that I’m somewhat capable of decorating a cake, and I knew I would only need a small cake for his birthday party next week!  So at least there’s that I suppose…

 

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Go Baby Go!

C is 10 months old and has discovered how much fun walking is.  Or at least how much fun it is to hold my and Hubby’s hands and walk all over the house while we hunch over, killing our backs.  And just the other day he found floor mats.  He’s obsessed with the one right in front of the front door.  He loves to walk to it, walk around it, walk off of it, walk on it, walk around it, walk off of it, walk on it.  Repeat.  10 billion times.  He also enjoys walking on and off of Jack’s dog bed, back and forth between wood laminate and the tile in the laundry room and kitchen, and the laminate versus carpet upstairs.  Basically any different kind of feeling.

So I decided to take advantage of C’s newfound appreciation for textures and make him a sensory runway!  I’d seen this idea awhile back on Pinterest (where else?!) and kept it in the back of my mind in case an opportunity ever presented itself.  Most of the ideas that I’ve seen are either just random things thrown on the floor or random stuff glued onto cardboard that babies can crawl over.  I wanted something a bit more organized than just tossing a blanket on the floor–mainly because after doing it once I’ll never remember to do it again.  Or, more likely, I’ll just never bother to pick the blanket up off of the floor.  And of course the recycling bin just went out this morning, which means that I have zero cardboard at the moment.  I have a box arriving from Amazon in a few days, but I want to make this NOW!  C’s taking a decent nap, J’s at a playdate and I’m motivated.  This is not a time to procrastinate.

And then I got a brilliant idea.  I could use a foam puzzle!  It’ll be easy to glue everything on, there’s no need to cut out squares like I would have to with cardboard, it shouldn’t slide around the floor too much and it’s super easy to connect the pieces together!  But once again I want to do this NOW.  Hmmm….J has one of those foam puzzles….foam-puzzle

I picked it up at a yard sale a few years back and not only are most of the frame pieces missing, but it’s also ridiculously faded.  So much so that it’s actually pretty hard to put together now.  foam-puzzle

We used to use it all of the time when we used play dough or did sensory boxes or anything messy in our old house, but haven’t found much of a use for it at the new place.

I figured since she’s not here at the moment she won’t mind if I steal it and put stuff on it for C.  I’m already preparing myself for the insane meltdown when she finds out what I’ve done.  I’m going to seriously regret not procrastinating this project until I found something else, I just know it.  At the very least I should’ve bought a replacement for her first, and then used the old one.  But that would hinder doing it NOW!  I will not let a 4 year old rule my life…I will not let a 4 year old rule my life…I will not let a 4 year old rule my life…  Okay, I’m ready.

I collected a bunch of random crap I have strewn about the house with different textures.  Then I just hot glued a material onto a piece.  I’m interested to see how some of this stuff stays on the pieces…like the Angel Hair.  I have a feeling that’s going to create a giant disaster.

So here are my pieces!

sensory-runway-contact-paperContact paper, sticky side up.sensory-runway-sandpaperSand paper.sensory-runway-tulleSparkly tulle.sensory-runway-foilFoil.  I have no idea how well this one is going to work, but at least it’s shiny so if all else fails there’s that!sensory-runway-faux-furRandom faux fur fabric.sensory-runway-cellophaneA cellophane bag.sensory-runway-feltFelt.sensory-runway-towelWashcloth.sensory-runway-paper-towelPaper towel (I was stretching a bit by this point, haha!)sensory-runway-tissue-paperTissue paper.sensory-runway-bubble-wrapBubble wrap.sensory-runway-angel-hair“Angel Hair”.  I have absolutely no idea what this stuff actually is.  I picked it up at a random store that was going out of business awhile back.  It feels really cool–really soft!  It’s definitely going to make a mess though once he starts pulling on it.  Which I’m sure will be immediately.sensory-runway-foamFoam pieces from the computer we bought recently.sensory-runway-styrofoamStyrofoam.sensory-runway-shower-curtain-linerPlastic shower curtain liner.sensory-runway-foam-puzzleAnd a blank one.  I figured the foam puzzle itself has a different texture.sensory-runwayTa-da!  The finished product!

I’m super happy that I didn’t procrastinate (at least until J discovers what I’ve done…).  This project took me about 30 minutes from start to finish and I’m actually excited for C to wake up from his nap so we can try it out!  I think he’s going to love it!

THE NEXT DAY:  Well, I was right about one thing at least:  the disaster that is Angel Hair.  During his one jaunt across the runway he got some stuck to his foot.  Then when J played with it a bunch more just fell off.  I’m still finding strings of it all over the house.  And yet I haven’t actually pulled it all off of the foam puzzle piece yet.  Don’t ask me why.

I was completely off base about my other hypotheses though.  After picking J up from her playdate I made sure to prepare her that I used her puzzle, hoping to avoid the meltdown.  She could’ve cared less (although that may be because I told her that I made “something for C and you!”).  And I told her that we’d buy her a new one next time we were at the store.  Which I’m hoping she’ll forget about, but I sincerely doubt.  And then after C finally woke up from his nap I fed him and then brought him right over to it…where he walked across it exactly one time.  I tried several times yesterday and again today and he still doesn’t have any interest in it at all whatsoever.  Sigh.

There’s always tomorrow…

TWO WEEKS LATER:  it was not a waste of time.  Hallelujah!  Every day I’ll throw three or four of the pieces on the floor and he gets a blast walking on and off of them a billion times.  His favorite one is definitely the black furry one.  Now if only he would figure out how to walk on his own so I don’t have to hold his hands as he goes back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.