Baby Barnyard Themed Baby Shower

img_8672My sister called me one day asking me how I felt about being a Godmother. At first I was confused, but then it hit me. You’re Pregnant?! I was over the moon when she told me. Before she hung up, eager to tell our Dad, I asked her who was going to do the baby shower because I was so willing. When she told me she wanted me to plan it, along with the daddy-to-be’s mom, I became even more excited and honored. I’m going to be an Auntie and a Godmother!

In no time I was buying a box of Pampers Swaddlers Newborn Diapers Size 1, 148 Count (mom-to-be’s choice) and burp cloths and washcloths to make a diaper cake that so many are raving about on Pinterest. I bought small bottles of Johnson+Johnson bath time essentials, also mom’s choice, although now she likes Burts Bees Baby Bee Getting Started Gift Set, 5 Products in Giftable Box (Packaging May Vary). If you are making a diaper cake, it’s important to know the brand the mother wants, otherwise she may not use it.

There were so many resources online but none were as simple as Jessica Bailey’s “How to Make a Diaper Cake” tutorial. I followed along and had a nice looking (but bare) diaper cake. So here’s what I did to make this cute diaper cake.20150611_170012

I decided to go on my own journey from there by adding little things to make it extra special. I added a book that goes along with her theme, Tabbed Board Books: My First Farm: Let’s Get Working! (Tab Board Books). I also added little baby finger puppets; a cow, pig, and chick from Carter’s. What I used to hold them up are actually spoons from her registry Munchkin White Hot Infant Safety Spoons, 4 Count. If you’re planning a baby shower and making a diaper cake, add little things from her registry. It’s a two-in-one kind of deal. It then serves as a decoration and as a gift.

One thing I loved to do for my sister was help pick out an outfit for her to wear the day of her shower. This way she had nothing to worry about. Eventually I ran into a problem. Yes, I had a million gifts from her registry and needed either a huge gift bag or a large bucket to present to her. Instead of those options I decided to just get the stroller from her registry while my mom got the matching car seat.

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If you’re wondering how I was able to get so many gifts from her registry, the answer is simple! Amazing deals at Kohls! When I was seventeen, I applied for a Kohls charge card after seeing all the benefits of being a cardholder. I was denied because, of course, I was seventeen with no credit history. I was so jealous because my boyfriend Henry had a Discover card. So I didn’t give up. At eighteen I applied for the same card as him, the Discover credit card, and learned quickly that paying it off in full every month benefited my credit score. Not long after, I re-applied for a Kohls Charge Card, and I literally danced at the register when I was approved! I then was receiving 30-40% off items I bought anyways in cash that were already reduced up to 80%. I was saving a lot of money where I was spending it anyways. Here’s the BIG SECRET of all. Kohls MVC cardholders get mystery offers online every once in awhile. Wait for it….!!!! Yes, I received 40% off online while also being able to add an additional 20% off baby and toddler items. So yes I received 60% off baby items that were already reduced. That’s my savvy shopping advice for the day. Now, back to the baby shower…

I struggled putting the stroller gift together and was so relieved when it was done. Then, I had fun filling it with light gifts, you don’t want anything real heavy in a stroller. Luckily, the majority of the gifts I purchased were bedding and clothes. Now all that’s left is one giant sized bow to place on top of the stroller. Here’s some great barnyard gifts for baby…

Trend Lab 5 Piece Bib Set, Baby Barnyard
Trend Lab Musical Mobile, Baby Barnyard
Trend Lab Set of 5 Wash Cloth, Baby Barnyard
Trend Lab Changing Pad Cover, Baby Barnyard


The daddy-to-be’s mom had done most of the yummy food and balloons, while I added in chips and salsa placed in a toy dump-truck, serving two purposes, decor and a gift for baby. I got country themed table cloths and hanging decorations from Party city during a sale event. My mom and I picked out the cake. Many of my sister’s friends and family also brought a dessert as well. We decided to have it at a newly renovated bowling alley where the mom and dad first met. It was a perfect place. I ordered pitchers of soda from the bar which made it easy on the initial car load.

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Food and dessert on the left. The drinks on the right. A sign in book in the very center of the room when guests arrive. All the games and gifts in the back. I kept everything simple, wanting most of the decor and work to be towards items the mom can take home after the shower. 

For baby shower games, I decided on a few just for fun. The late night diapers activity is where friends write advice on a diaper and the parents get to read them when they change the diaper. I like this because the storage caddy holding the diapers was on her registry, so again it’s a game but also a gift. Here’s where you can find that cute storage caddy Trend Lab Baby Barnyard Storage CaddyA fun game to play is the baby food game. I like this game as well because the mom can also use the food later for baby (if you guess the flavor without opening). And lastly, the string around baby belly is fun because it gets the guests to come up and chat with mom, and of course feel the baby belly. Now, I know a lot of moms don’t want to be touched by a million googling-eyed guests at their shower, so be sure to ask the mom-to-be what she wants to do.

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Baby barnyard tattoos are a fun themed item that moms can take home for their kids, and also for any children at the event as well.img_8617

Make sure to have Thank You bags near the exit when your guests leave. I added little themed candies inside, aka The Cow Pie from where we live. img_8619

Take lots of pictures so you can always remember the event. After all, it is a once in a lifetime event.img_8674

The latest artwork by my little nephew…

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The Worst Day To Try Chi Tea…

It was the day of my mom’s surgery. I sipped on a vanilla chi tea latte a friend told me the night before I must try. It’s not bad, but has a zing aftertaste all over my taste buds. A taste I can only describe now as the taste of that day. I will probably never order it again. My regular coffee is much better. Mom drinks coffee every morning, too, except that morning because she couldn’t. She had plans to stop at Starbucks right after her surgery, but we both knew she wouldn’t feel up to it…yet, we were optimistic that maybe this surgery would be no big thing. My mom has always been so strong. When she told me of her breast cancer, she comforted me instead of herself. I guess that’s how moms are, though.

I showed up to the hospital very early in the morning to see her before her surgery. She had a nervous smile on her face and I kept smiling back at her, to comfort her. She had already been hooked up to machines, needles poked into her arms, and beeps echoing the room that I will never forget. A lumpectomy and total removal of the nipple, and putting in a port were the daily plans for her. I knew it would be tough, but wanted to get her through what must be done. My mom made the surgery sound so simple, so normal, and so easy, but that didn’t stop me from worrying. She made it seem like an ordinary day, but it was far from that.

The moment my mom told me her shocking news my insides crashed like a million cars going sixty at a red four-way stop. She was following me up stairs to my loft bedroom to see baby clothes I’d bought for my sister (my mom’s soon-to-be first grand baby). I wasn’t aware of the ocean’s wave tide behind me filled with worried tears and confusion. I picked up what will be the third generation’s little clothes and turned around to face that red stop light. Crash. Tears flooded and choked both of us when she told me she thinks she has breast cancer.

When the doctors said it’s time to say goodbyes I gave her another smile and slowly walked back to the waiting room, attempting my best to hide my worried eyes. I told my grandma and grandpa that we’d be back before she’s out of surgery in two hours. So Henry (my boyfriend of almost six years) and I went for coffee since it was so early in the morning. I was optimistic with the early sunny morning, yet worried, a weird combination…maybe it was positive confusion? Maybe I had daughter instinct and knew something wasn’t right. I just knew something wasn’t right. At this point all we knew was that there was a cancerous bump that they were removing.

I sipped that chi tea, anxious to get back to the hospital to see her in recovery. When we got back to the waiting room, we waited a few minutes then the doctor came in and told us she was out of surgery, but before we could see her, the doctor wanted to talk with us. We crowded our way into this smaller seating room filled with brochures. She told us that when she did the surgery and removed lymph she found a lot more cancer, spread so much it’s deep around veins and lit up all over her arm… “stage III at least” she said unable to promise anything. She also wasn’t able to put in a port, which is required for her chemo. Tears streamed my face and I found myself mad at the doctor. Henry comforted me and I wiped my tears dry so I could go see my mom with a smile on my face.

I walked back to see her flat on the hospital bed with a pink bloody band around her now uneven chest. I stood up by her head but she was still sleepy. Five minutes later, still sleepy. She should be waking up soon and be alert…but she’s not. We waited and waited. I spoke to her “hi mom” and when she saw me she smiled and said “did you get your coffee?” I held her hand and watched as she still wasn’t able to keep her eyes open. I should have just ordered coffee, not chi tea. Something isn’t right.

More and more doctors crept their way in the room staring at the blood pressure monitor. Lower and lower it crept. They’d ask her how she was feeling and she was still sleepy and hot. Each of us took turns talking to her and watching that monitor go lower as time went on. By now she should have been awake and able to leave the hospital. Eventually another doctor came in and called for tests on her heart and found liquid around her heart, and when asking her more questions realized she had already been diagnosed pre-diabetic. Why didn’t they know this BEFORE the surgery? I was so mad but when they saw this, the new doctor wasted no time calling med flight to our bigger city…where I wanted her to go in the first place.

I can’t remember how many tests they did and how many times they said “say goodbye.” Because honestly it was enough to make every hello a gift. My mom was med-flighted that day and spent days in the hospital. After that more and more doctor appointments, surgery to put the port in, and then chemotherapy. Last week I saw my mom with no hair and she is beautiful. It’s a gift that she is still here. Four days before mother’s day, my mom will have her last “red devil” chemotherapy until she moves on to the radiation every day. She is weak after chemotherapy and noxious. Her eye sight is affected from all the pills she takes and she has no energy and is losing weight. The crazy thing about all of this is how fast it happened.

This mother’s day, I’m going to plant flowers for my mom’s “outdoor escape” as she calls it. Her place to escape everything around her. Where hummingbirds fly around her sitting on the swing and where she can drink her favorite coffee on her rare good days.

Silver Linings In All That Changes

Summer is coming. I can feel it secretly in the air. It’s waiting to warm the ground and bring the colorful birds back. When I was younger, my mom would fill all the hummingbird feeders around our white porch. Dad would get beautiful blooming flowers and hang them near the feeders. My younger sister and I would put on our small bikinis and jump in the pool out back. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss that.

But life changes and people change with it. Whether its for the worse, the better, or just because. Sometimes it’s hard to understand change and all that comes with it. After each winter, we are faced with the change of people and we continue life in a new year. Then, comes summer. The grass grows, children play outside, birds chirp, the sun stays out longer, and our feet feel warm. It’s like the light at the end of the tunnel.

As this summer approaches, I am faced with three things. Different in every aspect, yet all a big change in someone’s life. And it seems all three come out at the same time. My dad will be getting remarried. My sister will be growing a baby bump. And finally, my mom will be losing her hair. I never thought I would have to see her go through something like this…breast cancer.

Do I think she is right for him? Do I think my sister is ready for a baby? Is my mom able to do this? To be honest…I really don’t know how all of this will work out. I’m just looking at the silver linings in all of it.

To start, my dad was lonely for so long after my mom. He works hard and wants someone to share his life with. So, however crazy she may seem at times, the silver lining is that my dad won’t be lonely anymore.

Next, my sister. She’s been lost searching for her purpose for years after high school. So much ambition, just not in college. She wants more from life…kinda how I feel now. Expecting a baby has changed her life in such a good way right now. This is only the beginning for her. And me? I’m the lucky one to be the Godmother and Aunt! I’m also planning the baby shower. Silver linings.

My mom. Someone who has always been there for me through thick and thin. When she was poor to when she was rich and poor again. She’s always known what to say. Finding out she has breast cancer has changed her daily life, almost instantly. This must be the tipping point. I’ve never seen her more ambitious. It is only the beginning though. Many months of chemotherapy are ahead of her. The silver lining here…I still have my mom at my side, and now it’s my turn to help her.

As summer comes, my mom will get sick, my dad remarried, and my sister will grow a baby bump. What will I do? I will plan a baby shower, plant my garden of beautiful blooms and whisper three times to the hummingbirds, silver linings, silver linings, silver linings.

 

My Espresso Truffle Kitten…Katniss

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Whoever said cats will be cats is simply wrong. Cats will be more than just cats. They will be your best friend, your joy, and even your writing buddy. Katniss is our new kitten Henry and I adopted just days ago. It was our first time going into a humane society and adopting.

As I entered the “cat room” many emotions washed over me. I felt overwhelmed with the amount of beautiful cats and kittens meowing for my attention. I found my hand reaching out to touch each one as I walked through the storm of meowing. Then, I felt saddened that each cat has yet to find a home. Henry and I stayed awhile saying hi to each cat, then finally we came together to make a hard decision…which one do we take home?

Henry chose three that he really liked. They were playful, friendly, and of course…cute. But something inside didn’t feel complete yet. So, we walked around some more. There were three kittens separated from the others. One was really, I mean extremely shy. Another a black and white mix kitten, very friendly. The other…well, she was sleeping, until Henry clicked his tongue softly and immediately this beautiful four-month tortoiseshell kitty came purring to Henry’s finger tip. She was the one.

The humane society described her as “spunky,” we describe her as “crazy!” She has a gentle side to her where she will purr for half an hour and lick our faces. The other side to her thinks everything is play…even our fingers and toes.

It’s been hard to teach her to not bite at our toes and fingers. Using a spray bottle works well with her. Sometimes, she literally gets soaked with that spray bottle, but she is learning. The absolute hardest part of having a kitten is the fact that she does have nails. Declawing is very inhumane, and we’ve been looking at the other options available. We know that she doesn’t intend to hurt us, ever, because she is just playing.

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This morning she’s learned, I think, that it hurts us because she is starting to lick our fingers and toes after she “attacks…” never to the extreme though. When I take her out on the deck every morning and wrap her up in my arms, she purrs on my shoulder making everything better. She will sit in my lap and watch the hummingbirds with me. It reminds me that she’s just a kitten and has a lot to learn…kind of like all of us.

So, why Katniss? Well, have you read The Hunger Games? Do you know Katniss’ nickname? Catnip. This kitten is full of energy with a huge heart. She reminds us of Katniss, and after listing through a million names, Katniss just spoke to us.

Today, as I write, she is my little writing buddy and my spunky inspiration. She is my fourth charm. She jumps up into my arms and watches as I write. She is more than just a cat. She’s my little espresso truffle. xo