Birthday Bidness

Guess what today is? It’s Sherry’s BFF Katie Bower’s son Will’s 1st Birthday! Did you get all that? It’s a lot of apostrophes.

And Clara is doing her best to be a good baby girlfriend, so she sent her main squeeze a couple of items that she loves: tools and clothes. (PS- if your name is Katie Bower and you haven’t had Will open his gifts yet, scroll no further – we don’t want to ruin the surprise).

The first thing that we Clara bought for him was this wooden tool kit from Melissa & Doug (Clara has a few Melissa & Doug puzzles that she loves). We gotta get the babies to follow in their parents’ footsteps early, right? This looks like just the thing for “helping” his mom and dad tackle a few projects.

And since we heard from Will’s mom that they were giving him something special and bike-related (also don’t want to ruin that surprise), we figured it wouldn’t hurt to throw in a t-shirt that he could sport when he gets his big You’re-One b-day gift from the rents (don’t tell Will, but it was on sale at Baby Gap for anyone else in need of one).

So a big congrats to Clara’s beloved baby boyfriend for completing 12 whole months of baby-dom. And an even bigger congrats to Katie & Jeremy for surviving the first year of parenthood (and doing such an awesome job with their little man).

Speaking of hitting the Big O-N-E, our very own Clara is a mere 5 weeks away from her first birthday (craziness – where did the year go?). Which means that we’re starting to slide into party planning mode. We’ve decided not to go crazy-over-the-top (don’t expect to see us on an episode of Outrageous Kid Parties anytime soon) but we can’t wait to host a fairly casual family gathering here at home (it seems like a fitting place for parents who DIYed their own backyard wedding).

We’ve had some people advise us against hosting a kid’s party at home – suggesting instead that we go to a park or other venue where we don’t have to worry about kids running amok and breaking things. But we figured that a one year old and her three under-two-year-old cousins can’t do that much damage with 15 adults around. Those could be famous last words, but after a small family gathering at our house this past weekend we got a boost of confidence that it’ll all work out.

Last weekend was the Monument Avenue 10K here in Richmond and it has become a big old family event for Sherry and me along with my siblings and parents (one year over a dozen of us either ran or walked it) and this year there were ten of us in town to celebrate. So we volunteered our house to be the post-race lunch spot as part of our concerted effort to host more gatherings in this house (now that we’ve got the space for things like that- heck Karl the giant sectional was made for groups like this).

It was amazing how plopping down a pile of toys and books in one spot kept Clara and her 17-month old cousin Emanuel busy, which started to make an at-home birthday party seem a lot less daunting.

We even dragged Clara’s highchair into the living room so she could have lunch with the rest of us (including Blurger, Burger’s blurry alter ego). Clearly she was excited to have been included.

Besides “finalizing” the party location (looking each other in the eye, saying it would be at home, and nerdily shaking hands) and prepping the invites (more on that later) we haven’t done too much else yet. Though we did take a spin through our local Party City to see if anything caught our eye – and of course things did. Our favorite of which were these “Fiesta” plates that were meant for Cinco De Mayo, but we thought would be fun for the beanette too (since the loose “theme” for her party is just the colorful fabric-filled weekly photos that we’ve snapped of her since she was born).

We were already planning to do something with blue, green, and pink (they’ve just always been “her colors”) so these just take it a step further with a playful textile-ish print that resembles a few of the fabrics that we used for her weekly photo project. And it didn’t hurt that they were 50% off.

So that’s all that’s been happening on the party front for now. And as much as I’d like to end this post here, I promised Sherry that I’d include these pics she snapped during the 10K (she’s very proud of having captured me passing by – even though I look terribly awkward in each shot). Here I am putting on the brakes as I reach the spot where she, Clara, and my other family members were cheering me on…

…and here I am going in to give Clara a kiss for good luck (which I’m pretty sure freaked her out – but you probably would be scared too if a man came out of nowhere and shoved his sweaty face into your stroller). For the record, I gave Sherry a kiss too. She was less freaked out. At least I hope she was.

And lastly, here’s me waving goodbye as I ran 2.5 more miles to the finish line.

Even if Clara didn’t really know what was going on, it was nice having her there to watch the race for the first time – after all, this is my 10th consecutive year of running it. And I got my second fastest time ever (47:21) – woo hoo! Now if only I could beat my 66-year-old father. You think I’m kidding. That man is FAST.

Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winners. Click here to see if you’re one of them.


  1. Megan says

    I don’t know if you have explained this before, but were you and Katie friends before the blogs or did you become friends because of the blogs?

    • says

      We met through blogging. How crazy is that? But we’re not just “blog friends,” we’ve graduated to true talk 5+ hours on the phone a week “real friends” who visit each other every chance we get. It’s our turn to go see her and we can’t wait to meet her new house – and of course Clara and Will can’t wait to be reunited!


    • Beatrice says

      Have they been to your new house? I only remember them coming to your old house, in fact it was the weekend after your Nate show, wasn’t it?

  2. mribaro says

    That picture where you have lots of people (friends and relatives) in your living room is my MOST FAVORITE picture of your house(s) taken ever since you started the blog! It feels so warm and comfy and that’s why we’re decorating in the end – for us and others to feel nice and comfy.

    • Cara says

      So true! I found that photo very captivating as well… like that is what it’s all about!

    • says

      I second that. You always talk about having friends and family over but we never see it. I like more posts like this.

    • Tania says

      I agree. While I absolutely love all the creative DIY posts, it’s really great to see the house in action. We just moved on Monday and we had a small shindig on Tuesday night. Although it was a bit hectic to move and have friends over the next day, it helped us to better envision what was working with the set-up, what wasn’t, and what sorts of things we want to buy for the living/dining areas. I totally get how Karl is perfect for your family gatherings!

  3. mribaro says

    I guess dear friends and dear relatives are the best decor accessories one can bring to his/her own place to add warmth :)

  4. says

    Home birthday parties are the best. Yes, I know you have more clean up, etc. but no “venue” is as special as home. We have always had both the kids birthdays at home, if circumstances permitted. One year, we were prepping the house for going on the market so my son had his party at one of those giant Bounce-U places. He and his friends loved it, but it had such a different feel than a homespun DIY party. :(

    This year (in a few weeks) my daughter is turning 5, and our house is still in such a state of renovation. It would dangerous to have kids around it. So we’re having the party at a nearby park, but I’m putting as many homespun touches on it that I can!

    p.s. My kids had that same Melissa & Doug toolbox, and loved the heck out of it! Great present.

  5. bhh says

    Will has the best birth date ever — shared with my husband, his sister (who were born several years apart at the same hour, same minute(!), same length and same weight (to the ounce!), and her daughter/our niece, too! Happy b-day, one and all!

  6. Tiffany says

    I wouldn’t worry at all about the home birthday party. My family has them all the time and I also had a home party when my daughter turned one last year. The only thing I feel that makes a difference are the way the children behave. Honestly if you know you have some pretty bad behaved kids then yes you will have a problem.

    Also a one year old party is always mostly adults and you have to focus on them just as much as the kids. So I always feel more comfy at a home instead of a Chuckie Cheese.

    • says

      Haha, I made him wear that so we wouldn’t miss him! After years of cheering we have learned that if someone says “I’ll be wearing a black shirt and navy shorts” you need to add something else to set them apart. And John’s orange hat fits the bill. Haha.


  7. Kana says

    I find it very funny (and cool!) that you guys and the Bowers are leading parallel lives: blog -> baby -> new house, all around the same time!! Glad you guys are “real friends” now! Seems like a friendship that was meant to be ;) haha

  8. Danielle says

    For a “something to do” activity for the little kidlets at my daughters’ first birthday parties, I bought acrylic paints in the party colors and the kids painted on terracotta flowerpots that I had prepped by painting white. They also got a little sack of potting soil and a packet of bean seeds on their way out (because bean seeds always grow).

  9. says

    Aww Happy Birthday to Will! What great gifts Clara got him!! Cool plates!! They def. are festive!

    Such a… different… picture of John “putting on the breaks” his body looks “wiggly” or something! I had a lot of friends that ran the race but not me! Whew I get pooped just saying 10k

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