Friday, April 27, 2012

12 months old...the big O-N-E!

Can you believe it? She's one! One year of stickers. One year of monthly photo shoots. Now we're to the big one year mark. I suppose it's only fitting that while uploading pictures for this post, I ran out of photo storage space on my Blogger account! Can you say too many pictures! Who me? Never


Luckily, I just went ahead and purchased additional storage for $2 a month, and I learned how to re-size my pictures appropriately (thanks to this awesome blog post over at Texas Chicks Blogs & Pics). So hopefully I won't run into this problem again, because lord knows this mama likes to take pics!

Any other bloggers have this happen? I had no idea I was uploading such huge pictures (resolution-wise that is) all this time! Live and learn I guess.

Now onto the milestone of the year for Avery...turning one! Here you have it, the final sticker of the pack: 12 months.



"You see these numbers? I'm a big
girl now!"
"Can I get a round of applause?!"

A closer shot, with some teeth visible...there are 9 now!
2 of those being molars- yikes!
Her favorite way to sit right now is cross-legged.


As well as this guy...or "Daddeeee!" as she calls him.


Now although I will miss certain things about these monthly photo shoots I won't miss trying to wrangle "Little Miss Independent" into sitting in one spot!

"This chair is for standing, right?"

And now that she's officially walking, it was funny to see her just "walk off the set" as we finished the photo shoot.

"Later Mom, I've got stuff to do!"

Although challenging at times, these photo shoots have given me an amazing way to look back and see how much she has grown in the past year. Let's take a look at month one through twelve...

What a difference a year makes!

Now that we've gone through the sticker pack, you may be wondering what I've got in store for next year. I still wondering that too myself. I've got some ideas brewing, but I feel like something new. Just this past month she was darn near determined to pull the sticker right off her shirt...so stickers are probably out. And And keeping her in one spot and sitting, well, you saw how that went! So since I want to continue posting monthly updates for at least the next year, I'm going to be trying some new things for our photo shoot. Stay tuned next month to see what I decide on, or what Avery decides on for me!



Now onto her stats for the months. Nothing major here. In fact both her height and weight stayed the same from last month, which I consider to be good because with her now walking (everywhere) I bet she's burning a lot more calories than before, but yet her weight seems to be staying stable. Kind of crazy to think that back when she was born she was 8 lbs. 21 inches!

Since we're getting all reminiscent on here I might as well throw up a favorite picture of mine from a year ago. It was our first "family" pic that we took an hour or two after I had given birth to her at our home. I had so many emotions going at that moment it's indescribable. I had no idea what this year would like to be a mother, to be a family, and to how I was going to take care of our baby. I've learned so much in the past year and made so many new memories.



So I only found it fitting to re-take the picture of us on the bed, just like we were a year earlier (only this time we took it much earlier in the day...as opposed to around midnight when it was taken on her "birth-day").


Speaking of changes that have taken place in the past year, let's talk about my body. That sounds lovely. But if you've followed my blog, you know I've posted about this topic before. I was curious what my body would look like while pregnant and especially after I had Avery. How long would it take to go back to normal? Would there even be a normal? Here's some pictures to show the changes.





I sooooo tried to get Avery into the shot so that it would be just like all the other pictures I've taken this past year, but when she looks like this and won't hold still...I had to say "pass" on that idea.

"I'm done with photo shoots Mom!"
In case you want the numbers recap, here you go:

Weight gain during pregnancy: 25 lbs.
1 week after: lost 20 lbs
6 weeks after: lost 5 lbs
6 months after: lost 11 lbs
1 year after: lost 4 lbs
Total loss: 40 lbs

So there you have it, my body 12 months after birth. Amazingly, I feel healthier, more toned, and stronger than I did before I was pregnant. I can't believe I weigh 15 lbs less than I did before I got pregnant on top of that. I'm pretty sure I've got Avery to thank for that one...mainly because of all the breastfeeding we've done, and continue to do. On top of that, my vegan diet and love of daily exercise (especially pilates) have definitely come in to play as well.

12 months after birth
After looking back at the whole year, I remember times, especially right after I had Avery when all I wanted was my old body back and I was willing to work out as long as I needed to to get back to that...as a result, I'd wear myself out! Little did I know that by just giving myself some time, trusting what I was doing (breastfeeding, exercising, eating right), the weight would come off. 

I'm a big fan of affirmations, and I wrote one while I was still pregnant that read, "Pregnancy and breastfeeding make my body stronger and healthier than ever before."  I relied on this quote a lot through this past year and instead of thinking, "My body will never be back to the way it was." "Pregnancy just messed me up." I saw the reverse..."My body was meant to do this." "I can heal, move forward and be stronger than I ever was." It's all in how you think about it...

Moving on to some fun stuff...this past month, Avery got to celebrate Easter. It all started with a little bunny fun (as you may remember on this post). And although I was in full-Birthday planning mode, I did manage to do a little Easter decorating around the house, my new favorite thing to do.

Bunny figure from Hobby Lobby

Egg wreath (love!) from JoAnn Fabrics

Then we went and spent Easter with our families.  Here we are enjoying the nice spring weather we got on Easter day.

With Grandma Karen and Uncle Austin

Happy Easter!


Here's some other fun highlights from the past month:

Other word she loves to say: "Shoes" which comes out,
"Chews" or "Dad chews" for Dad's shoes.


She has become very inquisitive this month too. You can
ask her a question and she'll raise a hand or two, and
say, "Oh?"

She has really started showing preferences to things
she likes and doesn't like. One thing she doesn't like:
the word "no". Say the word to her, and this will happen.

If she happens to snatch one of our phones, you'll see her
pretend talking on it.  She looks like a busy, business
baby in this pic.

Last but not least, we have decided to move Avery out of our room and into her own room, or her "big girl room" as we call it. A few months ago, I blogged in this post about our sleeping routine at that time where she spent about half the night sleeping in her own bed, and the other half in our bed...all of which was in our room. This worked out great up until a few weeks ago, when she decided she had no desire to sleep in her own bed other than when she first went to sleep. She would cry and scream from her bed, as we tried to ignore her and encourage her to go back to sleep. I'm not a fan of letting her cry it out, but both her and I struggled to get comfortable together in our bed. She needed more room and I was tired of getting karate kicked all night. Some nights she would do it less, but others, it would seem like she was up all the time either wanting to nurse or re-position herself. When I would try to put her back in her bed she would start crying and screaming, only to calm down when I brought her back to bed...and the cycle continued.

One and done...moving into her big girl room.
Something had to be done.

So right about on her first birthday, we enlisted my Dad's help to take down the crib, move it to her room, and reassemble it. That night we put Avery to sleep in there and tried to create a new plan/routine.

With this new location I was going to try and keep our feeds to the rocking chair beside her bed, as opposed to bringing her back to bed with me (why would she want to leave a soft, cozy bed with a constant milk supply next to her?) and after feeding her, I'd put her back in her bed.

That first night was rough, but she's gotten better since. She seems to sleep longer and is more comfortable in her bed. I'm sleeping better too and enjoying the added room in the bed. Although I'm sad our co-sleeping journey is coming to an end, I've enjoyed it while it lasted and I feel like now is the right time to make a change. Granted, our new routine isn't flawless. As I said before she's got some molars coming through and she's been battling a little cold lately, so some nights she wakes up more than others, but I'm trying to stick to it. I'm a routine person, so I'm all about getting Avery on a predictable routine that so she can take comfort in knowing what to expect when it's bedtime.

Wish us luck.

One last pic for you to wrap up the 12 month post...

In case you're ever curious how I get her to look so happy in some of the photos I take of her...well, that's because enlist the help of lots of photo assistants (aka family members and pets)! I couldn't do it without them.

My family (aka photo assistants) at the O-N-E photo shoot
in the backyard.

Thanks for following Avery's journey these past 12 months. I can't wait to see what the next year will have in store for us! ( :

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Behind the Scenes of Avery's 1st Birthday Party

Getting ready for the party...
Now that we've reviewed the party, let's take a behind the scenes look at how some of the projects came to be.

Like that picture to the left? That's me about 2 hours before the party, and although I'm smiling on the outside, you can bet I was stressing on the inside as I thought about all the things I still had left on my to-do list to get done before the party started. 

Does anyone ever have everything completely ready before their party starts? If so, please teach me your ways! I'd love to be just hanging out with a clean house, food all prepared, just calm and composed saying, "Well, hello. Welcome to my party, I've been waiting for you." Instead I'm rushing, still putting the finishing touches on things, and wishing the clock said a much earlier time.

One thing I did know to do for this party was to get all my big crafty projects done and crossed of the list before party day, so at least I didn't have that stress of that weighing me down.

I got these projects done so early that I even had time to take some pictures of them to show you exactly how I made them, (that was the planner-side of me!).  So in this post you will find my instructions on creating:
  • a no-sew fabric banner (or as I call it, "Those triangle things that hang down")
  • a monthly photo banner
  • tissue paper pom poms
  • a fabric-covered number one
  • dry-erase table signs (made out of bathroom tiles)
  • a wrapping paper table runner
I don't know about you, but I get pretty excited when I can make something on my own instead of buying it, talking about going green and saving some money! Granted it doesn't always save you time, but it does give you a nice little sense of accomplishment. (Score one for "Creative Ash!") Combine that with my love of details, and you've got one long list of detailed projects that I knew I wanted to create for Avery's first birthday party. So here are the projects I had fun planning, creating, and then displaying for Avery's party.

1. No-Sew Fabric Banner
Project guidance/inspiration: Babbling Abby: "Cheap and Easy: A No-Sew Fabric Banner Tutorial"

Supplies...I ended up not using the Liquid Stich (just so you
know, it left wet marks on the fabric)
 
Supplies Needed:
  • several "quarters" of fabric these were $1 at Wal-Mart
  • some ribbon, mine was 5/8 inch satin
  • although I originally got "Liquid Stitch"to start with, I decided on another alternative since it left a "glue mark" on the ribbon (maybe it wouldn't have been seen it I used grosgrain ribbon as opposed to satin).
  •  Stitch Witchery (an iron-on adhesive)


Steps:
1. I traced this pattern from Little Blue Boo onto the fabric
using chalk and then we cut them out.
2. Next we measured the ribbon, lined up the Stitch Witchery
and prepared it to be ironed.
3. Then we lined up the triangles on top of the ribbon/Stitch
Witchery combo. We moved to the floor so we would be
ironing on my dining room table, we ironed on a towel to
keep the steam from the iron from getting the fabric wet.
4. After lining up the triangles, we held an iron on them for a
few seconds each and then moved onto the next triangle.
Like how I'm watching my "Craftin' Mama" work her magic?
I'm her apprentice.
Then we had our no-sew fabric banner!

  I had no idea I bought way too much fabric, but I put it to good use and made a fabric banner, not only for our porch (as seen above), but also our mirror in the dining room.


I also put one on Avery's high chair using Velcro dots.  But you can tell how long those lasted! Luckily she was done with her cupcake.

Avery, respect the no-sew fabric banner! ( :

Next time I would... use wider ribbon (mine was the exact same size as the Stitch Witchery) and I had to trim it a tiny bit so it didn't stick over the edges and possibly stick to my iron. Also, I would try a grosgrain ribbon to see if I could get the no-sew glue to work and not be visible.


 2. Monthly Photo Banner
Project guidance/inspiration: a variety of photo banners of Etsy.

Supplies for Monthly Photo Banner.

Supplies needed:
  • a variety of scrapbook paper that matches your party's colors or theme
  • ribbon (I found this cool package of ribbon scraps that gave me a nice variety of colors and styles)
  • hole puncher
  • some form of glue or glue stick, I like Elmer's Craft Bond Dot Runner
  • 4 x 6 monthly pictures from month one to eleven (I originally included "newborn" but it hung too low on my fireplace mantle, so I cut it from the project)
 Steps:
1. I glued the monthly pictures onto scrapbook paper, leaving
enough border around the edges to show while hanging.

2. Next I cut out the pictures.

3. Punched holes and thread ribbon through to connect the
two pictures together. I found a double knot was helpful.
4. Next I made some numbers in Microsoft Word with a border
around them and I glued them onto some scrapbook paper
to give it some more pop. I then glued these onto the pictures.
5. Next I used clear push pins to hold my photo
banner up on my mantle.

Next time I would...not put the "newborn" picture in that I originally included, there just wasn't room for it and it made the banner dangle way too low. Luckily I realized this before the party and the final product you see is just month one to eleven.


3. Tissue Paper Pom Poms 

Project guidance/inspiration: Martha Stewart Tissue Paper Pom Poms

Supplies needed:
  • 1 pkg. of 8 tissue papers (preferably in a rectangle shape)= 1 pom pom
  • clear fishing line (to hang them from the ceiling)
  • some type of wire...I had green floral wire, some suggest white floral wire...you could probably even use pipe cleaners
I found this package of tissue paper at JoAnn's Fabric
that perfectly matched the party and had more rectangular
dimensions.
 
Here is the clear fishing line I use to hang them from
the ceiling, and the green floral wire I use to wrap them
up.

Steps:
1. First I lined up the tissue papers and begin folding, accordion-style
about a 1 1/2 inches to the front, then 1 1/2 inches to the back.
It will end up looking like this.

2. Next I folded the strip in half and used scissors to cut a rounded
top to each tip of the tissue paper strip. (Left=rounded cut,
Right=not cut yet).  This part is tricky, because I can
never get mine to look as nice and curved as the
Martha Stewart instructions say, but oh well.
3. Then I cut a little v-shape out of the center of each side of the
strip to help the tissue paper open even more when
it's pulled apart. Sometimes it's hard to cut a "v" so just
cutting a simple slit on each side will do the trick as well.

4. Following this I wrapped the floral wire around the middle of the strip
 and twisted it to make it stay. I bent it like a hook so
it was ready for the fishing line to be attached.

5. Now I began separating each layer of tissue paper and fluffing
it up towards the top or the bottom.
6. Now I tied the clear fishing line around the green floral wire
to my desired length (some were short, others were long).


7. Last I hung them from my ceiling using clear push pins.

Here's how they ended up looking at the party in my dining
room.

Next time I would...try using more sheets of tissue paper per pom pom, maybe 10 or 12 instead of just 8? Wondering what that would look like? Maybe it would look a bit more full? By the way these are tricky for perfectionists! We want them to look perfect, symmetrical, and even...but they never do. It's a good way to practice letting the little things (like unbalanced pom poms) go. Good luck to you. ( :

4. Fabric-covered Number One

Project guidance/inspiration: Nothing really, just had a bunch of fabric scraps and knew I wanted the number one displayed somewhere at the party...the end result was this project!

Supplies:
  • foam board
  • fabric of your choice
  • hot glue gun
One of the supplies: fabric scraps

1. First I traced the number one with a projector onto white
foam board and cut it out.
2. Next I wrapped various sizes of fabric strips around the one.

3. While holding the fabric tight, I made a strip of glue
with the glue gun on the back of the one. I then pressed
the fabric onto the glue...don't burn yourself though! Ouch.


4. The middle was easy peasy...but the top and bottom of the
number gave me a run for my money.

5. I just wrapped it up completely and added smaller strips
for the corners afterwards.
The end result

I displayed mine at the party on the mantle.

Next time I would...Clean up the back a little bit more...I planned on hanging it on the wall somewhere, so I kept the back messy with the scraps.  In the end, I liked how it looked on the mantle, but I wondered if  anyone noticed the not-so-clean back...so shh! Don't tell! Also, next time I would either re-iron or just store the fabric scraps flat, the wrinkles came back to bite me a bit as I tried to wrap them around the number one. So smooth fabric strips would have been nice to have.

5. Dry-Erase Table Signs
Project guidance/inspiration: "Make Dry-Erase Table Signs for Entertaining" from Madigan Made

Supplies:
  • corner bathroom tiles (the post above mentioned counter top tiles, not sure if there is a difference between this and bathroom tiles, but I used bathroom tiles and they worked fine...only about $3-4 for the four I purchased from Lowe's)
  • dry erase marker
  • Jolee's Boutique dimensional stickers (what I used to decorate the edges...since I don't have a clue how to use or make anything with vinyl like the post above mentioned!)
Supplies for dry-erase table signs


 Steps...there's only one!

1. Place stickers on tiles and then write on them with dry-erase
markers! Just wipe with some type of fabric or napkin
to clean! So easy and fun.

Next time I would...buy more! So fun, easy, and reusable!

6. Wrapping Paper Table Runner
Project guidance/inspiration: my crafty Mama always decorates like this for birthdays so she came up with this one!

Supplies:
  •  roll of wrapping paper that matches your theme or colors
I chose this orange polka dot wrapping paper.

 Steps...only one again!

1. We rolled the wrapping paper the length of the table
and used tape to adhere it to the table.

2. You can see it went beyond the edge of the table as a
traditional table runner would, but with the tape in place...
it did not move one bit!

Next time I would...try this for more occasions! I love how it really made the table look so fun and festive. Go green with it, by reusing the wrapping paper on the table to wrap some presents with (unless you spilled food on it like I did...then you can just recycle it, since most wrapping paper is recyclable nowadays).

Okay so now you've got the info, go out and get your "craft on!"

Just make sure you don't have your baby too close to your crafts or this may happen...

Minutes before the party started, Brandon was holding Avery
and she yanked down one of my triangles...thanks girl! LOL.

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