Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Donuts & Pajamas~Elyse is 3!

Before Elyse's birthday party last year was even in the record books, I'd already come up with a simple and perfect theme for Elyse's 3rd Birthday.  Originally I had planned on doing Pancakes & Pajamas, but with Elyse's love affair for sprinkled donuts, the party quickly morphed into Donuts & Pajamas.  And honestly, this was way easier than pancakes anyway!  
Invitations via Inkberry Cards on Etsy 

When we realized that Nora & Elyse would not officially share a birthDAY, but would be born within at least a week of each other...the simplicity of this party theme was even more attractive!

Some people might think I was crazy to even have a birthday party...but it wasn't my 3 year old's fault that mommy got pregnant and had a baby near her special day.  A birthday party was not going to be missed...it was just a little scaled back this year!

We of course gave Elyse the presents from us before all the guests arrived.  We bought her an easel from IKEA and then filled a cart with new art supplies.  We've already gotten LOTS of use out of that present!

I found this idea last year and it will definitely be repeated for every December birthday celebration in the future...this way when you look at pictures there's no doubt whether it's Christmas or Birthday!  

I think she was most excited about the FROZEN wrapping paper! 

Hubby & I split the birthday budget again and neither of us really knew what the other was purchasing.  I went the traditional route with a new game, pink Hunter boots, and a Melissa & Doug 3-tiered birthday cake.  But Daddy definitely won the prize with a Frozen microphone set, and an Elsa dress!  She was in LOVE!!!

For the main celebration, most of the prepwork was pretty simple and I purchased most everything I could before Nora even arrived.  I also sent Elyse to spend the day with Gigi the day before the party so I could get the house ready to go.    We had a simple party on the morning of Elyse's actual birthday that included donuts (of course), fruit, punch, and a pink cake with sprinkles (because this was Elyse's request)!  The guest list was limited to close family, and 3 of Elyse's friends (only 2 of which could come) which still meant a pretty good party, but it was certainly manageable.
Thankfully I did get her out of the Elsa dress to put on her jammies for the party...but you'll notice later, it didn't stay off for long!  
Checking out her cake that she requested!  

For food, I assembled fruit skewers and made punch, my mom made the cake, and all the various donuts were purchased from Walmart or our favorite local donut shop.  So...all I had to do was put together the presentation like I wanted it.  Simple & easy!  

The best we could do with Elyse & Harper...which looks a lot like a choke hold!  

With having a newborn at home, and with this mainly being a family party...we played no games, had no party favors (besides leftover donuts), and I think everyone had left by 11:30.  Which was none too soon as the birthday girl had HAD ENOUGH  of sharing her new toys, being told what to do, and just general sensory overload! 
Family photo...there's 4 of us!!

Cousin Harper LOVES Baby Nora!  
And Great Papa with his girl...these two will have a special bond since Nora was named after my Grandma (his wife).
  Lots of presents were a big hit...but check out Elsa on her new PonyCycle from Mamaw & Pappy!

Momma & Nora...who looks a ridiculous amount like Elyse when she was a newborn! 

Overall it was a fabulous party and I'll be tempted to do a pajama theme every year!  Lots of guests even participated in the pajama theme which made it even more fun and relaxed!  I seriously can't believe my baby girl is 3!  Where does the time go!?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Elyse Ann Love ~ my 3 year old!!!

Elyse Ann, 

Today is your third birthday.  You are finally three, and we can stop correcting people when they assume that you have already reached that milestone.  Now if we can only convince you that YOU ARE 3.  Presently you are still convinced that you are only two years old...and of course momma wouldn't mind if you would just stay a little girl forever!  

This past year has brought on so many changes for you.  New house. Totally & completely potty trained.  New role as a big sister.  And through it all, you have danced gracefully from each change to the next with better poise than even your momma.  While I'm sure the changes have affected you, you have simply bounced along through life with your constant crinkly-nosed grin, contagious laughter, and never-ending stories of Mickey Mouse.     

As I sat down to begin this post, you have gone to spend the day with Papa & Gigi so I could do some party prep for your birthday tomorrow.  Your new baby sister is sleeping soundly beside me and I can't help but think back to those first few days of being your momma.  I was so scared, and so unsure and everything was so new to both of us...but we've made it through.  And as tears gather in my eyes thinking about how fast the time has passed, my heart also leaps with joy at the new experiences you & I & Nora & your daddy will have over the years to come.  

You, my darling baby girl, are one of a kind.  Seriously.  And my love for you is unwavering.   As I've watched you move from baby girl to toddler girl to little girl...and on some days straight into big girl, my heart comes close to bursting as I think about how proud I am to be called your mom.  There are so many things that you are capable of that have absolutely nothing to do with anything I have done as a momma...but simply just because you are an amazing little girl.  

I'm so thankful that the terrible two's seemed to have avoided our home for the past year...and while you are certainly a strong-willed, opinionated, stubborn, want what I want when I want it, little girl; I still seem to have the ability to reason with you on most occasions.  So many have warned us that the 3s can be much more difficult, but I have faith that we will navigate through the next year just as we have the last three...and we'll make it.  

Your level of understanding and vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds in the past year.  You have memorized the ABCs, the Pledge of Allegiance, and multiple books and Mickey Mouse episodes.  We truly limit your screen time each day, but it's hard to doubt the educational benefits of some of the things you learn when you spout off the proper use of some item that was used as a Mousekatool a few days or even weeks ago!  You are able to put together 20-25 piece puzzles without much help after the first try, indicating that you may have quite a bit of your momma's photographic memory embedded in you.  You also properly use pronouns, which in my opinion is quite advanced for not being yet 3 at the time.  

You are still fairly cautious around strangers, but if they mention one of your favorite subjects, you seem to break down the wall fairly quickly. You love to engage with other children, and you talk about your cousins & friends in such a heartfelt manner.  Watching you as a big sister has been an incredible honor.  You LOVE Nora in a way that is breathtaking to witness and I'm so excited to see your relationship as sisters blossom and grow as the years go by.   

Momma was fairly worn out toward the end of her pregnancy and because of that you started to develop an incredibly relationship with your Daddy.  That has continued on since Nora arrived, and it seriously makes me so incredibly excited to watch your relationship with him blossom.  He is an incredible man, and I pray that you will always be close to him...especially when you think that momma is a horrible person!  ;o)

You have developed an incredibly imagination which shows itself so much as you play with Daddy, but also just as you sit in the playroom and entertain yourself.  Sometimes I worry that I'm not engaging you often enough, but you are perfectly content to play your own little made-up games and it's satisfactory for you to simply allow me to witness your brain at work.  We have tentative plans to send you to a few days of pre-school next fall so you can experience the school-life first hand.  I know that you'll be incredible & absolutely love it.  

As we are embarking on a huge adjustment of adding Nora to our family, you are continuing to teach me the grace & mercy that you have taught me so often in your short little life.  You are honestly making this "newborn" baby thing easier simply because I am trying to model the grace you have for me with myself.  God knows that I make mistakes every day as a mom, but you accept those failures as learning opportunities and never fail to give me a hug and say..."I forgive you." Thank you.  Thank you for teaching me unconditional love and for teaching me that my heart truly can grow enough to love two little girls.  
You are our first born, and while there's a new girl in the house...I am absolutely certain that our love for you will continue to blossom and increase as the minutes and days go by.  We love you precious girl, thank you for filling our lives with so much joy!  

Love always, 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Welcome to the World Nora Kay!

Well...in case you hadn't figured it out, my blog absence is because we've welcomed Nora Kay into this world and couldn't be more smitten!  I'll have a full birth story up, hopefully soon, but for now we are soaking up the newborn moments and enjoying every second as a new family of 4.  

Until then...here are the stats.  Nora was born on December 2, 2014 @ 10:37 am.  She weighed 6 lbs, 10 oz and was 20 in long.  
And in true Layman girl fashion, she made a dramatic entrance into this world...but no c-section this time!  Woohoo!  

Big Sister Elyse has been nothing short of amazing and she's already proving to be a big help!  And let me just say that in discussing who Nora looks like...Elyse is definitely the front-runner!  

I'll be back with lots more details, and lots more pictures...but for now I've got some snuggling to do!