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We met over 8 years ago at church as Shaun was walking in and I was walking out. The few words exchanged sparked an interst that kept Shaun coming back. When we FINALLY began dating 4 years later we soon knew there was something special here. Our first year quickly flew by and we both decided we never wanted to spend another year with anyone else or without each other. We married in the place where it all began on January 1, 2011 (1/1/11) and gave birth to our beautiful daughter Ava Marie on September 22, 2011 our next little one, Clara Rose came 16 months later on February 11, 2013. This blog began with our preparation with our wedding and has entered into recording the days and events of our newlywed life and new motherhood.

The Happy Couple...

Daisypath - Personal pictureDaisypath Anniversary tickers

Ava Marie

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Third Birthday tickers

Clara Rose

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Second Birthday tickers

Gabriel's ticker

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Twins ticker

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Pregnancy tickers

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ava Marie's RAINBOW themed 1st Birthday Party!

Miss Ava Marie's RAINBOW themed 1st Birthday Party!

I know it's been a couple of weeks, but for lack of a better excuse, things have been a bit "busy" here lately and my blogging falls by the wayside when everything else takes over.  Better late than never, though and here's the "thorough" post about the little Miss's very first birthday party!

I knew she might not understand everything that was going on that day, but I wanted to make it colorful and happy and fun and ultimately really celebrate the gift of her life. The week before I prepped and got ready for the party with various crafts.  (Some were successful... some weren't)


I had finally come upon a non-windy day to take the photos for her birthday invitations and if you remember the pics came out super cute. I couldn't decide which photo to use, so everyone got a different one inside their invite. Some of my favorites were these ones...

Here she is singing at the top of her lung in the backyard.  This is very much the little girl I'm used to hearing sing sing sing all day around the house.  She's so full of life.

(This video shows the reality of some photo shoots... they don't always go as planned!!!)

(a rare shot of those two bottom teeth!)  The week before her birthday she was seriously teething and now has two beautiful teeth poking through the top as well that she flashes when she laughs with head back and grin spread from ear to ear.  This is a tough photo to get... sorry I don't have any for you.

I was going to make her invites by hand, but luckily found these great ones already made and super cheap at Marshalls in their stationary department (very low priced, about 35 cents a piece... plus postage).  They perfectly fit her "Rainbow theme" and although you can't see in the pics, they were super sparkly with glitter cupcakes and balloons!

Pretty transparent vellum envelopes...


I included a little not asking everyone to bring something for Ava's "Time Capsule" to be opened when she's 18, and some sparkly confetti to surprise the reciever...


My mom was a super help and was more than willing to share her phenomenal baking skills to help my dream of "rainbow cupcakes" come true.  For those of you thinking of making these, they take a little more work, but are totally worth it.

Separate your white or yellow cake mix into separate bowls for each of the rainbow colors you wish to make...

Liberally add food coloring to make the colors super vibrant!

Line your muffin cups with Paper liners...

Add a spoonful of purple first...

Then blue...




Finally Red...

What a cute baker I have for a Mum...

Bake according to package directions...

And Voila!!!

A little rainbow in the palm of your hand...

Complete with a "Cloud" of white frosting...

And we added fun rainbow colored umbrellas to make a beautiful display...

SO pretty!!!

A little pot of RAINBOW for the kids to take with them!

I had picked up some Skittles that I planned on placing into some pretty glass dessert dishes and letting the children take some with them, but I'm not really big on pumping kids full of candy and sending them loose on my yard/house/their parents.  Upon looking around the house I spotted a bunch of clean baby food jars that I saved.  After a little ingenuity, each child had a "little pot O' Rainbow" to take home with them.

Along with Pizza from Charlie's (best pizza ever) and Chicken Broccoli & Ziti from Riccardi's the food table displayed:

Chips and Dip in colorful bowls... (Thank you Colleen!)

My Aunt Priscilla & Uncle Joe brought beautiful "RAINBOW Fruit Bowls"  (I wish I had taken a pic of the watermelon ...uh very funny by the way ...when it wasn't saran wrapped, but when I came back to do so, it had quickly been devoured.

Utensils in glasses decorated with RAINBOW paper ribbon...

RAINBOW Jello (this took a long time to make, but was SO good!) 

When I was working on the rainbow jello, I would let the layers "set" and in between my Mom & I blowed up balloons for this beautiful "RAINBOW Balloon Garland"

From morning till night it looked beautiful and looked great for pictures... (and requires no helium, so can be blown up a day or two ahead of time)

RAINBOW Flower Glasses  For these, I had actually gotten mums and daisies that I had attempted to "color" with food coloring, but didn't realize this was not as easy as I thought.  Since the color didn't soak up the stems and into the leaves like I hoped it would (or as quickly), I cut the stems down and put the flowers in pretty glasses of rainbow colored water.  They were beautiful on the tables...

While sitting and watching a movie with my husband, I made these lovely "RAINBOW Patchwork Ornament balls" to hang above her gift table...

I also placed a Basket for her TIME CAPSULE items because I wasn't sure what size capsule I'd need in the end.  I placed a RAINBOW notepad nearby for those who forgot to bring something, they could write her a note to place inside.  People brought letters to her, notes, pictures from their children, newspaper clippings and more.  All of her birthday cards and birthday memorabilia will go inside and I plan on making a "photo book" of her 1st birthday.

She made out like a bandit in the gift department and I was SO grateful especially for everything, especially the clothes in sizes that she needed.  She loves EVERYTHING!
If you can see under the gifts, I found this pretty RAINBOW/PLAID table cloth at a local thrift store for about $5.  Perfect!
Wrapped her gifts from Mommy & Daddy in RAINBOW PAPER...

On the tables we placed bowls of fruit loops and fruity cheerios along with string and a little note that said "Make a RAINBOW Necklace"... (these were also a great "snack" while the food was being set out)


The tablecloths were paper, so I also placed cups of RAINBOW colored crayons as well as markers, colored pencils and paper for the kids to color either on the tablecloth itself or the paper...

Beforehand, I also (with my trusty assistant) stuffed balloons with candies and confetti (we found it worked best if one person held the balloon open with two fingers, while the other stuffed the candy in, then placing a funnel in the neck of the balloon, poured some paper confetti inside) to make RAINBOW BALLOON PINATAS! 

I had meant to string these outside as a garland and let each child choose their own balloon to "Pop" with their "Umbrella Stick" (from their cupcake), but didn't have time to string them, so instead each child picked one from a bag and popped it with me holding the balloon (Thus... no pictures of the popping action... wait ...there's a very unflatterying preggo VIDEO!).  I tell ya, though ...this was a hit!

Ava loved being surrounded by so many friends and family and not a complaint was heard from her all day no matter how many times she was dragged around like a veritable rag doll, by all the children happy to see her!
I tried to take photos of each person at the party (I realize now that I think I missed a few of the kids or friends, but they are at least in some of the candids)  Thank you so much for coming...
Martin Family!
Handsome John-Paul

Cousin Simon
Cousin Samuel
Cousin Dillon

Cousin Lukas

Cousin Paige (she doesn't like pictures so much)

But check out those RAINBOW nails!

Auntie Crystal
Uncle Paul (aka... the Godfather)

Cousin Martin

Cousin Jacob
Dad (aka "Grampa")

Auntie Louise & Uncle Dave

"Uncle" Bob
Uncle Joe...
...and Aunt Priscilla

Maria & Ed

Cousins Lexie & Julia (inseperable.  They're twins from seperate wombs)

Auntie Dana & "Mum" (aka: "Grama")
Auntie Mary (aka... the Godmother)
 My lovely Mom (thank you for being such a HUGE help!)
 Our Good friend Joe (and his wife Ann Marie ...who I somehow missed a picture of!)

Our good friend Janine
(who brought only 6 of her 16 cherubs... especially Ava's good pal, Caroline)
"Gi-Gi" (Bridget)

Joseph (who was such a HUGE help)
(I somehow missed photos of his siblings, Meghan, Liam and Grace...)
My good friend "Miss Kelly" who came and took pictures so I could enjoy the party (yes... this is me NOT taking many pictures!)
 and her little friend Avali

Auntie Jenny

Cousin Patchie

Cameron, Theresa & Kayla Fransisco
(who STILL made time to stop in after an extremely busy day for them!  Thanks for all your help)

Cousin Hillary

Our Pastor, Fr. Conrad
Ava made time to socialize with all her friends.  Here she is with her friend Xander (who is mesmerized by her hair, but has learned not to pull it since previous visits) who's mommy is trying desperately to arrange a marriage in the future between these two.  I wouldn't mind.  Good Catholic in-laws ya know?

Mommy and Daddy with the Birthday girl (who's too excited for pics) ...and a HUGE baby belly

The birthday girl with her Daddy! (Look at those tired eyes)
Visiting with her Godmother
Laughs all around!

Here comes the cake!!!
"Why's everyone singing?"
What is this thing?

Am I supposed to DO something with this?

Mom??? (She had NO idea what to do with it)
Daddy eventually helped her...
(Here's the 1st video of her eating cake ...or not.  It's kindof a long one, though, sorry!)

Mmm... pretty good!

REALLY good actually!

More Please, Daddy???

Uh, oh...
Well... as long as I already made a little mess... I might as well "dig in"...

Hey... where's everyone going? (to cut the other cake)

While everyone's over there... Here goes...

Time to cut the BIG cake
(which was chocolate with REAL whipped cream frosting and a Rainbow on top!  It was delicious!)

This cake was meant to tell everyone (including Shaun & I) what we were having (boy or girl) by the color frosting inside... It's a GIRL!!! 
At first we couldn't tell because the frosting was WHITE (I guess the baker only sprayed the top part of the whipped creme frosting layer inside "pink", so it barely showed when we cut it!  But we checked the ultrasound results to be sure)
Grama helped Ava out and told her excitedly...'re going to have a Baby SISTER!

I'm going to have a WHAT???

She was DEFINITELY getting the hang of it here!  We let her go to town on her cake.  Hey!  You're only ONE ...ONCE!

Ava & Nana

Mmmmm... Mmmmmm.... I'm DELICIOUS!

Finishing her cake (and pink cakey kisses for Mommy)

Hey... you almost done with that?  Wanna SHARE?

After her cake, she SOooo needed a little birthday BATH...   We used that pretty rainbow dress as a big birthday napkin of sorts and dunked her in the sink. 
(All I could think of was the song "Splish Splash I was taking a bath... how was I supposed to know there was a party going on? I was a Splishin and a Splashin...)

All snug in her jammies she came back out to party with the cousins...
(here she is practicing "walking")

Oh my... Look at all that hair!

And the Birthday girl was the last one up and roaring to go even when we were ready to shut the party down.  Here she is calling everyone she knows to tell them where the fun is (and that she's going to be a big sister!)
Opening her birthday gift from Mommy & Daddy!
She loves her "Baby" (we'll work on the part where she throws it on the floor)...
A great birthday time was had by all... now it's Time for bed!


  1. Wonderful post!! :) How did you get the cake made with the baby boy/girl frosting and not know what you were having?

    1. When we had our Ultrasound earlier that week, we had our tech write the results on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. Then we handed the envelope to the baker, explained that when they opened it they would put pink frosting between the layers if it was a girl & blue if it was a boy (and return the results with the finished cake)

  2. That looks like lots of fun! Way more than I did for poor Annamarie's first birthday! Wish we were closer, it seems like her and Ava would be great friends and they could sing together! :)

    And yay for another little girl!

    1. I'm sure you did great for Annamarie's first birthday! I wish they were closer as well as I feel they'd both be great friends. I think of your little one a lot when Ava does certain things.

  3. Wow, wow, wow!!! That looks like super-de-duper fun! You did so awesome with the rainbow theme and it made all your photos so gorgeous too. My favorite party yummies would have been the cupcakes and jello. Very clever!

    What a fun 1st birthday to remember.

    And, another little girl...Hooray!!!

    1. Thanks so much Sarah. I didn't have a chance to "edit" any photos, but love to take them! Ava's easy to take pics of... I think! The cupcakes and jello were awesome.

      We're so excited for another little girl!

  4. Oh my gosh, come plan all my kids' birthdays, ok? I'll even make it easy on you, and have one giant birthday. Seriously, this is the cutest birthday party ever.

    And the shots of Ava singing in the basket? Lethally adorable.

  5. Your kid sure seems busy with her cake! She looks very lovely and adorable! Happy Birthday Ava and I sure hope you get to enjoy your childhood under the love and care of your parents!

  6. It's nice to see a more normal party with ideas that can easily be done instead of wondering how these parents have so much time! Thanks for the great ideas!


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