Monday, August 26, 2013

Medieval Birthday Banner

What's this?  A crafty post?  Awesome!  I thought I would go through the process of making the banner for Nathan's birthday so others can copy the idea.  ;)  Hubby was interested in extending the medieval theme from the nursery to the first birthday party, so we decided to go for it.  It has been fun putting everything together.  I saw lots of posts on Pinterest about banners, but nothing like this.  So I made it up as I went!

First, I found a shield picture that I liked by simply googling "shield."  It was gold and black.  Jon used the same shield on his invitations.

It took a little photoshop magic to turn it into what I wanted: blue, green, red, and yellow to match the rest of his birthday decor.

I used this font to create the message: Happy Birthday Sir Nathan! You can obviously use any kind of font you like, and the site linked above has some great options.

I had a few other medieval choices, but it bothered me when they didn't have capital letters since I wanted to use all caps.  So this is the one we chose.  Celtic knots are a big thing with us (our wedding rings have Celtic knots on them) so we thought it was pretty appropriate.

The only problem was that the blue was too dark for the black outline and the green wasn't really great either, so I opted to change the black to white for those shields and leave the black on the red and the yellow ones (not pictured)

I was excited about how nicely the colors worked with each other and how great the looked all cut out, but when I laid out the entire thing, something was missing.  It felt like they were bare or something - like there needed to be.. more.

So I had some fun with craft paper and decided a look like this would be best.  And then I had to figure out which colors should go with which background.  I used a pair of scrapbook scissors to get the "castle effect" on the outer edges.  The shields are just shy of 5 x 7, so cutting out the backgrounds was a little challenging because I wanted to use one sheet for two.

With the colors picked out, it was just a matter of cutting out all the backgrounds, then using a hole punch to make holes for the string.  I did this. It took probably 2.5 hours to cut all the pieces out and then another 30 minutes to string them up.

I used gray yarn that I had in my yarn bin for a project I never did (surprise, surprise!) and it turned out to be the perfect use for it!  ;)

I'm so excited to hang this over the cake table!  I can't wait to take photos of the entire thing, and especially of him smashing into his first-ever birthday cake!  (egg-free, of course!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Seeking Mommy Friends

I find myself in a strange position currently, a place I've never been before.  I need friends.

"But Anita," you'll say.  "You HAVE friends."

Yes, I know I do and they are amazing.  I love my friends.  But I need a specific kind of friend right now - Mommy friends.  I do have a couple of these friends and they are awesome.  But their kids are either older or younger than Nathan, and at this stage, it's hard to let them play together unless they are at least at similar developmental stages.  I know, for example, that he would steamroll right over my dear friend Jestina's sweet baby girl.  So we have to wait awhile before they can spend any time together.  But my baby spends no time with other babies, and now he is really noticing other babies at stores and restaurants, and it makes me realize something is missing from his life.

So what did I do when I came to this conclusion?  I did what I always do - research!  I found a couple of mommy groups in my area and was completely excited about going and trying them out!  Until I saw that dreaded sentence on their websites: "A supportive group for Stay At Home Moms."

What?  So working mothers are not allowed at their evening meetings?  Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the need for a support group for stay at home moms.  I know it's hard to spend every day with a tiny person who doesn't talk (or does, but doesn't make any sense) with no adult company other than the TV, so I applaud groups that offer daytime playdates for moms who stay at home and their kids.

But... there are so many working moms who, while they do have the luxury of adult company during the day, they also would like to talk with someone who can feel their pain about dirty diapers, purees flying through the air during dinner time, and all the other things that all mothers deal with on a daily basis.

Why exclude those who have a different routine, when you have meetings that they could actually join because they are in the evenings?

This hurt me more than I can say, because I was hoping to find some friends in these groups, some people I could talk to and some kids that Nathan could play with.  But nope - I'm a working mom (say that with as much disdain as you can, because I'm sure that's how the members of these groups say it) so I'm not worthy of their group.

So here I am, trying to figure out other ways to find mommy friends.  I know lots of people who have had babies in the past year or so, and have even put the idea out there that we should have a get-together, but nobody really responded positively.  It's depressing.  So if you're a mom to a kid who's old enough (or big enough) to hang out with Nathan without him hurting them (he's just really full-speed-ahead right now and I fear that would overwhelm a small or young baby!) and you are near me, please, send me a message.

I feel like I'm failing him by not providing friends for him to play with and I need to fix that.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dear Nathan (11 months old)

Dear Nathan,

I can't even believe you are almost a year old!  I know it's a cliche but it really does seem like yesterday when you were born.  But it also feels like we didn't really have a life until you came into it.  If that makes any sense at all!

You are so much fun!  I know I've been saying that for awhile, but really.  It's true.  You chase the dogs now.  They love it - they run away and then come right back.  You're standing up so much better these days, and while you are not walking by yourself yet, you are taking steps when you hold onto people or things.  You have started letting go of things to stand by yourself too, so we're just waiting for those first unassisted steps.

We are planning your birthday party right now and even that has been a lot of fun!  Your dad wanted to do a medieval theme - like your nursery - so that's what we are doing.  It will be a small party, family and a few of our friends, but we are all about celebrating your first year of life with those we care about!  And we are going all out for it too!

You are so loved, sweet boy.  Everyone who meets you, loves you.  Your smile, your face, your eyes, the way you wave at people and chatter at them, looking at them like they should totally know what you are saying... you are just so awesome.  And we love you more than we could ever describe.

All my love,