Celebrating Baby’s First Birthday

PicMonkey Collage (18)

Baby’s first birthday is such an exciting time for parents and one of the biggest celebrations during childhood. Today I’m partnering with Babies“R”Us to share about a baby’s first birthday celebration they are hosting in their stores this weekend.

I remember both of my boy’s first birthday celebrations. My oldest, Jacob’s, party was hosted in the community room at a firehouse which was big enough for all of our friends and family to join us. We had plenty of food, some catered and some homemade, and lots of toys throughout the room to keep the kids busy while the parents talked. The children even got to sit in the fire truck and meet some of the firefighters and the fire chief. Lucas’ party was more low-key, with just a small gathering of close friends and family at our home. We had some food and a cute “1″ shaped cake made by a friend. One thing both celebrations have in common is that they are happy memories we will always remember!

When planning your child’s first birthday party there are a few things you don’t want to forget to pick up. Here are three items that make my party must-have list:

1) A smash cake. Since nobody wants baby’s fingers in the cake they will eat, a smash cake (or even cupcake) is a must for baby. Think about all the adorable pictures you will get of your baby enjoying their special treat!

2) A birthday shirt or crown. Everyone knows who the birthday child is but it’s fun to have them in something that declares it! Babies”R”Us has a lot of choices in store and online. You can choose to get a first birthday shirt or just a general “it’s my birthday” shirt. There are also crowns and party hats you can get as well!

3) Decorations. Along with the typical decorations like streamers or balloons, consider adding in some personalized pieces. We displayed pictures of Jacob from every month of his first year in frames on a table.

Years ago Babies“R”Us helped make both of my boy’s celebrations special, from Jake’s birthday outfit to Luke’s birthday crown, and I’m happy to share they are still making baby’s first birthday something you’ll remember for years!  

This Saturday, August 27th, from 11am-12pm, all Babies“R”Us stores nationwide will host a Baby’s First Birthday event to celebrate this special milestone and offer the best solutions parents need for the big celebration. Attendees will also experience fun activities such as story time, photo prop fun, decorate your own Geoffrey growth chart and receive giveaways such as a complimentary Geoffrey plush, a special baby’s first crown and balloon, plus meet other local families and babies also celebrating Baby’s First Birthday.

While you are at the event, make sure to check out everything you need to make Baby’s First Birthday special, such as first birthday-themed apparel. Personally, I love the birthday shirts they have for kids (I still dress my boys in “it’s my birthday!” shirts every year). How cute is the little outfit for girls above!?

They have other First Birthday products along with great gift ideas for baby, too. I’m loving this Precious Moments figurine! I think they make such sweet gifts for little ones.

If you haven’t yet, make sure to sign your little one up for Geoffrey’s Birthday Club!  It’s free and the club makes birthday kids feel extra special with a birthday card & gift from Geoffrey, a Birthday Phone Call from Geoffrey, a birthday crown and balloon in store and special birthday in-store events where they can attend story time and take home their very own copy of the book, plus a Geoffrey plush toy. Children can participate in the birthday club until they are 10. My boys are 7 and 8 and love being members of this club. You can read more about Geoffrey’s Birthday Club and our experience with it here.

How do you love to celebrate first birthdays?

Birthday Boy {Wordless Wednesday}

luke bday collage

Luke’s birthday was a couple weeks ago and I already shared pictures from our tropical party but wanted to share some from the last half of the day as well :)

Happy 4th Birthday, Jacob!

Jacob is 4!

Sweet 16 {Wordless Wednesday}

My little sister is 16!

My little sister is 16!

 

Wordless Wednesday: Jake’s Three Year Pictures

bday pics 2

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These pictures were all taken at JCPenney Portraits Studio.

(Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post!)

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I have linked this post to: Wordless Wednesday Home

5 Minutes for Mom ~ Go Graham Go! ~ Jolly Mom

Mom of 3 Girls ~MomStart ~ Two of a Kind…

Momma Findings ~ Mom Knows It All

A Daily Dose of Toni

The Divine Miss Mommy

Grammy Mouse Tails

Wordless Wednesday: Luke’s Birthday

Lucas eating birthday cake on his birthday

Lucas eating birthday cake on his birthday

I have linked this post to: Wordless Wednesday Home

5 Minutes for Mom ~ Go Graham Go! ~ Jolly Mom

Mom of 3 Girls ~MomStart ~ Two of a Kind…

Momma Findings ~ Mom Knows It All

A Daily Dose of Toni

The Divine Miss Mommy

Grammy Mouse Tails

Happy Birthday, Lucas Nathaniel!

lucasbirthday

(This isn’t a current picture but one of my favorites.)

Wordless Wednesday: Jacob’s 3rd Birthday

Cake Time!

Jacob turned three years old this past Saturday. Here are some of my favorite pictures:

Presents were opened first thing in the morning!

Out and About: Pancakes at McDonald's, Walmart, All Aboard Diner

Outdoor Fun

Cake Time!

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I have linked this post to: Wordless Wednesday Home

5 Minutes for Mom ~ Go Graham Go! ~ Jolly Mom

Mom of 3 Girls ~MomStart ~ Two of a Kind…

Momma Findings ~ Mom Knows It All

A Daily Dose of Toni

The Divine Miss Mommy

Grammy Mouse Tails

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jacob!

jake3rdbday

JACOB THOMAS IS:

Joyful

Active

Creative

Outgoing

Busy

*

Terrific

Handsome

Oldest

Magnificent

Adorable

Silly

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Happy Birthday to my first born child! I love you so much and am blessed to call you my son!

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

sinisadaddy

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Happy Birthday, Daddy!

We love you SO much!

Love, Jacob and Lucas

Happy 50th Birthday, Mom!!

WE LOVE YOU!!

 

Jacob and Grandma

Lucas and Grandma

Wordless Wednesday: Cake!

Thanks to Paula from Frosted Fingers for making Luke’s fabulous birthday cake!

It tasted as yummy as it looks! :)

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I have linked this picture to: Wordless Wednesday Home
5 Minutes for Mom ~ Go Graham Go! ~ Jolly Mom ~ Look What Mom Found… ~ Mom of 3 Girls ~
Momspective ~ MomStart ~ Two of a Kind… ~ Frosted Fingers

Luke’s 1st Birthday (In Pictures)

Wearing his "birthday boy" shirt

At the Farmer's Market

Crawling around the splash pad

Eating his birthday cake

After cake... time for a bath!

Today My Baby Turns One!

One year ago I gave birth to my youngest son.

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Lucas and mommy

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Lucas Nathaniel

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Baby fingers

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Baby toes

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Happy 1st Birthday, Lucas Nathaniel!

Happy Birthday, Jen! (Giveaway)

Jennifer and my brother "back in the day"

Mommy Jennifer

Auntie Jennifer

Happy Birthday to my Sister-In-Law :) Hope you have a fabulous day today!

Giveaway:

Ever have a birthday or other celebration where you forgot to get a card? I have! To ensure that you are never in that predicament again (well for at least the next 12 occasions) I am giving away a Buttoned Up Last Minute Greeting Card set.


How to enter to win:

Easy! Just leave a comment wishing Jennifer a Happy Birthday :)

Giveaway will end on July 19, 2010 at 11:59pm.

(Disclosure: I won this product as part of a bundle pack a few months ago. I am not being compensated in any way for talking about this product or offering one as a giveaway.)

Happy Birthday, Amber!

Today is my sister’s birthday so I just wanted to wish her a Happy Birthday!! :)

Jacob’s 2nd Birthday

Jacob turned two years old on Friday, June 4th. We celebrated his birthday by spending the morning playing at home and after nap went to an indoor play place and a train themed restaurant for dinner. Jacob and Lucas had a lot of fun and I wanted to share some pictures from the day.

Jacob

Lucas

Jacob trying to blow his train whistle

Jacob was excited to see the food train coming towards him

Jacob's birthday cupcakes w/ Thomas on them

Enjoying the frosting and his new Thomas ring

Jacob's birthday shirt said "Choo Choo I'm Two!"

Tell me “seasoned” moms… what did you think of this age? Would you call them the “Terrific Twos” or “Terrible Twos”? Jacob has tons of energy and is pretty rambunctious but I am thinking this year is going to be terrific anyways :)

Happy Second Birthday, Jacob Thomas!

Two years ago today I gave birth to my first child.

Last year he turned one.

And today he is two.

I love him so much and I’m proud to be his mother! Happy 2nd birthday, Jake!

June Is Going To Be Awesome (Giveaway)

I am so happy that it is finally June! Here are ten reasons why:

1) My firstborn turns TWO on the 4th!

2) My “baby” turns ONE on the 25th!

3) June brings the official “start” of my favorite season (though it feels like summer has been here in Chicago for a few weeks now).

4) Lots of fresh fruits and veggies and grilling out means I’m eating healthier.

5) Spending most of our day outside means that the boys sleep well at night which means I get more sleep, too.

6) We will go on our first picnic of the year.

7) The boys get to wear their matching “My Dad Is Rad” t-shirts on Father’s Day.

8) Garage Sales, Farmer’s Markets, and Festivals will make our weekends fun!

9) We get to spend a lot of time with our friends and family this month.

10) THE “BIRTHDAY BASH” EVENT IS HERE!!!!!!!! To celebrate Jake and Luke’s birthdays I am throwing a blog party and you are all invited! There are going to be giveaways every weekday for the whole month of June and just for fun I may even add a few in on the weekends.

Let’s start things off right now!

The first giveaway this month will be a $25 gift card to my favorite store…. TARGET! There is only one way you can win this and that is by becoming a subscriber (RSS or email) and leaving a comment here on this post to let me know that you subscribe. The winner will be chosen on July 1st.

Subscribing is FREE and easy to do… On the right hand side, in the sidebar toward the top of this page there are two sections. One says “Don’t miss a post!” and one says “Receive new posts by email”. Choosing either of those helps ensure you won’t miss a giveaway this month. Please make sure to confirm your subscription when you get a confirmation email.

Disclosure: Target did not provide me with the gift card.

Make sure to check back tomorrow and the rest of this month for new giveaways! :)

Wordless Wednesday: Toy Story Birthday Party

Here are some fun pictures from my nephew’s third birthday party this past weekend:

The Birthday Boy

The Birthday Boy's Sister (Maddie)

Jacob

Lucas

Camden And His Cousins In Their Matching Shirts... Love It!!

For A Special Three Year Old…

Happy 3rd Birthday to my nephew, Camden!! Look at the pictures of this cutie:

Newborn

One Year Old

Two Years Old

Three Years Old

And Happy Birthday to Camden from your cousins, Jacob and Lucas.

Camden, Jacob, and Lucas- June 2009

Camden, Jacob, and Lucas- May 2010

WE LOVE YOU AND HOPE YOU HAVE A FANTASTIC DAY TODAY!!!

Happy Birthday, Uncle Brock!

Today is my little brother’s 19th birthday so I wanted to wish him a very happy day! :)

Brock and Jacob

Brock before Prom

Brock and Lucas

I just have to brag on my brother for a minute because I am SO proud of him. He is such a bright young man and is at a prestigious university majoring in pre-med and just finished his first year with a 3.8/4.0 grade point average.

He is also a very giving person and in high school volunteered weekly at a hospital. This summer he is planning to go on a trip with a medical brigade and they will be setting up small clinics to diagnose and treat patients at no cost. Each student is expected to raise $1,500 for the trip and I figured his birthday post was a perfect opportunity to ask for your support. A donation to the Global Brigades would be a great birthday gift, don’t you think? :) Also, if you are unable to support him financially, would you please lift his group up in prayer? Here is the link to the website, including a letter from him. Thank you!!

Happy Birthday To The Man I Love

Happy Birthday to the man I love!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SINISA!

Wordless Wednesday- Today Would Have Been Her Birthday

mom

Today is my mom’s birthday and I miss her.

Epilepsy took her away from us.

If you would like to donate directly to the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago you can go here

Happy 14th Birthday, Aunt Morgan!

Jacob and Aunt Morgan

Jacob and Aunt Morgan

Today my little sister turns 14 years old! I wanted to include part of her birth story which I wrote years ago in junior high when she was born as a preemie weighing only one pound 14 ounces.

This is the story of the miracle baby:

“Alicia! Wake up,” my dad uttered, as he shook me violently.

“Huh? What?” I replied sleepily, for I had just been awakened from my quiet and peaceful slumber. As I opened my eyes slowly, adjusting to the bright light in my bedroom, I saw what seemed to be a look of concern on my father’s normally composed face.

“Wake up! Hurry! We have to leave!” my dad shouted, in a manner that was anything but calm.

“What happened?” I asked as I sat up in bed, glancing at my clock quickly, “It’s four in the morning!” A feeling of fear crept over me.  There was something terribly wrong. Why else would I have been waken up at the crack of dawn on a school day, the afternoon of which we were to leave for a ski trip? I feared the worst, someone had died. However what came next could never have been prepared for.

“Mom’s water broke. Hurry!” my dad shouted, as he rushed out of the room to wake my two younger brothers up. For a second, I sat there shocked- water broke, what!? I did not comprehend, at the time, the importance of what my dad had just informed me of. Then, all at once, the realization hit me like a bucket of ice water– the baby was coming, and three months early!

Panic overtook me like a tornado. What would happen if we didn’t arrive at the hospital in time? What would we do if my mom started giving birth in the car? And the scariest question of all– what if the baby died? What if… I had never experienced panic like this before. I didn’t know what to expect. All of the above questions that flew through my head seemed surprisingly real to me; like they could happen and there was a very slim chance that they wouldn’t. I blindly threw on the clothes I had picked out the night before; and within a minute, had slammed our family’s van door shut, enclosing five sleepy and frightened family members within.

My mom sat weeping in the front seat, fearing that the baby– the baby that had grown and formed inside of her for six months– would arrive too soon to be saved. Longing to comfort her, but not knowing how to, I sat there speechless, staring out into the dense fog of the early morning. Glancing into the rearview mirror, I noticed a tear running down my dad’s cheek. I had never seen him cry before. “Why us? She can’t come! She’ll die!” repeated itself over and over in my disarrayed mind. It seemed to take all eternity to drive to the hospital.

As soon as we had shuffled into the hospital, my mom was wheeled away in a wheelchair to the critical care ward; while my two brothers and I were led, like scared puppies, to a small, gloomy room that reeked of puke and contained nothing besides a television and a few couches. After giving us some apple juice and graham crackers the nurse left us all by ourselves. By the routine manner in which the nurse conducted herself we were obviously not the first family of children to come through those emergency room doors seeking something more from her than she could give– an answer. With nothing to do, we sat there staring at the television screen at a news program that we weren’t interested in.

My youngest brother, who was five at the time, behaved like a typical five year old. That child could not sit still for a second, and I didn’t blame him either. I, as a seventh grader, found it very hard to sit there, uncertain of what was to become of the baby. I could just imagine what was going on in my younger brother’s head. When I proposed a walk, it was greatly appreciated. Searching for a water fountain, because we had drained the last of our juice over an hour before, we ended up in the area of the hospital designated for premature babies. I looked in one of the windows and saw babies in plastic boxes (which I later learned were called incubators). They had dozens of wires sticking out of their doll-like figures. The babies were jaundice, shriveled up, and not much larger than my hand. Their ribs were protruding out of their skin, their arms and legs as fragile as sticks, and their stomachs blown up, like balloons about to burst. Doctor, nurses, and parents were huddled around the babies like guardian angels and the parents looked as if they had been deprived of sleep for days.

That was what was to become of my little sister when she arrived into the world, three days later, weighing only one pound and 14 ounces. She was so small, in fact, that she had to be put on steroids to help her grow faster. So small that the first time she wore clothes was 23 days after her birth, and even then she was wearing doll clothes. So small that she swam in diapers made for newborns. My mom visited Morgan twice every day. While my mom was at the hospital, my brother and I became regulars at the public library, going there directly from school every day and staying for a couple hours each day. My brothers and I went to the hospital often, but because we were not allowed in the premature nursery, were not allowed to hold her, feed her, change her diapers, or help with any of the other baby tasks we would have enjoyed doing; the tasks that most big brothers and sisters grudgingly do. In fact, nobody but the parents and grandparents, after they had scrubbed themselves clean and put on a hospital gown, were allowed in the nursery in which my sister lay. Family and friends had to be content with looking through a window the entire three and a half months that Morgan stayed in the hospital.

When Morgan finally did come home, on May 24th, at four and a half pounds, everyone had to be very careful around her. My brothers and I had to take showers before we could hold her, and Morgan was plugged into a monitor all the time. This monitor annoyingly beeped whenever her heart rate dropped; even an imperceptible drop could cause it to explode with noise, imitating an alarm clock that could not be switched off.

Throughout her time in the hospital everyone worried that Morgan would not pull through. We still thank God every day that she lived. She’s has grown into such a beautiful young woman and nobody would know that she was once a little, fragile one pound 14 ounce baby. You would never believe she was once fighting for her life.

Looking ahead…

Today was my little sister’s 13th birthday and while debating on what I should get her, I thought about every other special occasion that was coming up this Spring and Summer for my family. I decided to make a list because… well, that’s just what I do :)

March- Stepmom’s birthday and Sinisa’s (fiance) birthday

April- Easter

May- Brother’s 1st Wedding Anniversary, Other brother’s birthday and graduation from high school, Nephew’s 2nd birthday

June- Son’s 1st birthday, my due date for baby Lucas, my sister’s birthday, my sister-in-laws birthday

July- My sister-in-law is due with my niece, my birthday is at the end of the month

That’s 13 gift giving occasions. And knowing me and my pregnant, mommy brain I probably forgot something. I’m glad I made this list ahead of time because I have just started budgeting (March is month one) and I will need to include an amount for gift giving every month from now until the end of Summer.

July 29, 2008

After my family birthday party yesterday my little sister stayed over night and then spent the day with me today and leaves tomorrow morning. I am so happy that I’m getting to spend time with her one on one because we don’t get a chance to do this often. I just wish that I could have taken her somewhere more exciting than the downtown of a suburb. It was fun. We walked around and ate at Coldstone Creamery (the apple pie ice cream is so good there). Having little money, a one and a half month old and a 12 year old really limited the choices of where we could go. Hopefully in the next couple of years my financial situation will improve and I will be able to find places to go and things to do that are a little more fun. That is if I go back to work. S doesn’t want me to return to work because he wants me to be a stay at home mom. As previously mentioned I had wanted to be a stay at home mom before so this isn’t just a man demonstrating a 1950′s mentality on a woman’s role. I can’t imagine getting out to do much of anything if I stay home. I kind of like the idea of staying home and taking care of my son and sitting online while he is sleeping but another part of me tells me I need adult interaction and places to go and these things will be harder to find if I don’t return to work. I have to decide soon because my maternity leave is almost over. I guess I have been putting it off because it is a hard decision to make. For now I will move away from this topic because it’s late and it puts too many thoughts in my head that I know I will think about when I’m trying to fall asleep.

July 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to me! I thought a lot this morning about my past birthdays. I have had some good ones and some not so good ones but the one thing that they had in common was that they did not meet my expectations. That sounds so horrible to say but I don’t mean it in an “I didn’t get the gift I wanted” way. I honestly would be fine with a card or even no gift at all. What I mean is that each birthday I’ve had I’ve woken up thinking that it was going to be such a great day and everything was going to be perfect because, hey, it’s my birthday and it’s an important day. I think that I am selfish in thinking that because my birthday is important to me that it’s important to everyone else. I think this is why I get disappointed every July 28th. I just assume that everyone is going to find this particular day of the year as important as I find it. Every year it seems someone has forgotten my birthday or has better things to think about and do on this day. I think all I really want is everyone I love and care about to acknowledge that it’s my birthday. I don’t need a party. I don’t need gifts. I don’t need anything more than a “happy birthday” from the people I love. I guess I make it a point to say these two words to others, even if I can’t afford a gift or don’t have time for a celebration. I make sure to let the person know I’m thinking about them on this one day of the year. I guess my birthday is not over yet and they still have a little under two hours to let me know that they care enough to utter these two words but I’m assuming they are in bed and not thinking about me at this time. To all my family and friends that did wish me a “happy birthday”- thank you. You made my day so much better by uttering these two words (or in some cases, writing it). I am grateful for these people and hopeful that maybe next year everyone I love will love me back.