Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Claire Elizabeth {12 Months}

My Dearest Claire~

One year ago today I held you for the first time and in that moment, I was sure my heart might explode from the joy I felt! The second I first laid eyes on you, it was clear life would never be the same. This past year with you has stretched me, refined me, challenged me and shown me God's goodness in ways I never expected!

Your Daddy and I have had the sweet privilege of watching you blossom from a tiny infant you were a year ago into the sweet little toddler you are today! This month you reached the exciting milestone of walking and you are growing more confident in your new skill everyday. It is so fun to watch your excitement as you become more and more independent!

You are still an excellent eater and are willing to try anything we put in front of you. I love that you are so adventurous when it comes to food! You're still rockin' your four teeth (two top and two bottom), though at least two new top teeth are about to make an appearance.

We are constantly amazed at how quickly you pick things up. Watching you learn new things is one of my favorite parts of parenthood! Your Daddy is most proud of the way you throw your hands up in the air when we say, "Touchdown!". It is too stinkin' cute!! And in general, you love to mock our facial expressions and noises.

We can't go anywhere without making a few new friends thanks to your social graces :) You are our little ham and we wouldn't it change it for a thing!

Little One, you have taught us so much in such a short time and brought us more joy than I thought humanly possible. You have only been a part of our family a year and yet, we can hardly remember life without you! I am blessed and endlessly honored to be your mommy, to watch you grow and learn, to teach you about life, to care for you, to love you and to call you my daughter. Being your mom is the best calling on earth!

Happy Birthday, Claire Elizabeth! May the Lord bless us with many more wonderful years with you!

Official Stats

Height: 31 inches (88th percentile)
Weight: 24 lbs. (96th percentile)
Head Circumference: 18.27 in. (85th percentile)

Monday, November 12, 2012

{Claire's 1st Birthday Party: Apple of Our Eye}

This past Saturday we celebrated Claire's first birthday with our family and friends (her actual birthday is Wednesday)! I cannot believe it's over already, but it was without a doubt a day I will never forget. I am completely overwhelmed with love and gratitude for the sweet people in our lives who helped to not only make the party go off without a hitch and deflect stress from me, but who love us and our daughter so well! We are truly blessed!!

I am positively ecstatic with the way everything turned out, as it somehow managed to exceed all of my expectations! It was a beautiful day and we were surrounded by so many loved ones - what more could we ask for?! I would love to share the details and {lots of} pics, if you would like to see!

Deciding on a theme for her party came pretty easily as I wanted to tie in Fall, yet keep it unique to Claire. From the time I was about 19 weeks pregnant, the song "Sweet Pea" by Amos Lee has been a favorite, so Apple of Our Eye seemed like an appropriate theme.

Being in November, I instantly knew I wanted the party to feel cozy! We decided to do a spread of comfort foods and simple sweets.

Our menu included the following:
Beef & Vegetable Stew
Chicken & Dumplings
An assortment of Cornbread and Rolls with Honey Butter

And for the sweets:
Mini Sour Cream Apple Pies 
Spiced Cupcakes
Chocolate Cake Pops

This entire menu was prepared by our awesome moms and Chris' Aunt Kathy (who is known for her sour cream apple pie!)

As for the location I had some trouble initially deciding on a place. The problem was finding a venue large enough to accommodate our large family and close friends, with indoor and outdoor space in case of rain, and not too pricey. But thanks to a wonderful connection, we found the absolute perfect space that fit all of our needs. I honestly couldn't have asked for a better location and a delightful bonus was that we had beautiful weather!

Because there were going to be quite a few kids of various ages we incorporated some fun activities which included, decorate your own cupcake, a craft table with coloring pages and a photo booth. The photo booth was a splurge, but so worth it! Everyone had a blast, plus it gave me peace of mind knowing that if I missed getting a photo of anyone, I would get a copy of all the photo booth pics! We provided a bunch of silly props and got a great response from everyone! I'll be sure to share a few favorites after I go through them this week :)

We provided a table of various pictures of Claire, including a collage featuring one of each of her monthly pics we took this year. And best of all was the INCREDIBLE and detailed scrapbook my Aunt Judy made for Claire. What a special piece for our daughter of the special moments and adventures she experienced her first year of life. It ended up being a really neat way for guests to see how much she's changed since she was born and a great use for the many, many photos I've snapped of our girl! I am forever grateful for the time and effort she put into this keepsake.

So without further ado, here are the pics. Enjoy!

{The Barn}

{With our Birthday Girl}

{Collage of Claire's monthly photos}


{Cupcake decorating station}
{Sweets Table}

{Scattered munchies::Mini cupcakes & Kettle corn}

{Fill Your OWN Goodie Bag-Huge hit with the kids!}

{Favors:Homemade Popcorn Balls}

{Our little walking machine with Grandma}

{Beautiful day to play outside with friends}

{Parris & Whitney}

{After she devoured her beef stew!}

{Note to self: Coloring table is a hit with kids AND teenagers}

{Sweet friends!}

{Grandpa Curtis wins the prize for largest birthday present!}

 {Our dear friends, the Hills and Van Unens}

{It's cake time!}

{Dig in, Sweet Girl!}

{Birthday smooches!}

{The Hansen Fellas}

{Me & My Girl}

{Birthday love from Mama!}
Thanks for looking :)

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