This weekend our deck was full of people we love, gathered to celebrate this four year old bean of ours. It was pretty awesome to have so much connected outdoor space to party on (the sunroom-turned-veranda and our big deck that overlooks the grassy backyard felt less chopped up than having some people in the last house’s sunroom while others were on our two-tiered patio). And since our previous house is where we’ve hosted every other Clara-birthday since she was born (here’s the post about her first birthday, the one about her second one, and the one about her third) it felt both weird and wonderful to have our first big birthday gathering here. Most importantly, this girl had a blast.
We usually do a little party prep post before the big “after the event” rundown (like this one, this one, and this one) which is where we share details like her invitation, but this time we figured we’d toss everything into this full-monty post and call it good. This is the invitation that we sent out to friends and relatives after Clara decided she wanted her party to be “all full of pink and gold everything… with glitter.”
But the theme wasn’t “pink and gold with glitter” for long – it kept evolving. The description quickly morphed to include nearly everything in her world. Soon Clara was calling it a “pink and gold flamingo, fairy, princess, lego, glitter, flower, cupcake, pez, castle, polka dot, treasure, bubble, water party” – which we shortened to her “pink and gold everything party” since it included everything but the kitchen sink.
It was fun to embrace all the things she loves. We pulled out existing items that fit the theme (like old paper lanterns and floral tablecloths from parties past) as well as grabbing some fun new items that tied in (like a few dollar store flamingos, some gold tinsel to make a glittery table runner, and some polka dotted balloons from Target).
For added seating in our not-really-furnished-yet former sunroom, we brought out an old pedestal table and our wicker dining chairs (they’re actually outdoor chairs, so they worked really well) as well as breaking out some fun stuff for the kids like our water table (and the one we borrowed from Grammy and Tom-Tom) as well as a bunch of toys, bubbles, and even the sprinkler for down on the grass.
We’re so grateful for the weather. It was sunny and warm enough for the kids to play with water in the sun, but nice and cool in the shade (we didn’t even turn on the fans!).
We kept the food casual as usual, with some pink and gold favorites like watermelon, chicken nuggets, sliced peppers, caramel corn, chips & salsa, as well as a few pizzas since they’re always a crowd pleaser.
We even worked in some grocery store blooms and a few gold mason jars (from JoAnn) full of pink & gold twizzlers.
These little flamingo glasses were dollar store finds, and the chocolate coins and pink jelly beans were pretty much gone before the pizza was even touched.
We also grabbed five flamingo stick-balloons at the dollar store (who knew they were such a treasure trove of flamingo memorabilia?) that we stuck into the the potted ferns around the deck. Kids loved them so much they asked to take them home at the end of the party.
Easily the most exciting thing were the cupcakes, which were made by our sweet friend Justine. After we had Teddy she asked if she could bring us a meal and we kept saying “you’re too kind, but we’re all set – seriously our freezer is full” which somehow turned into her offering to make cupcakes for the party (she loves to bake, and her stuff is so delicious we couldn’t resist). She fully embraced the pink-and-gold-fairy-princess-lego-castle-glitter-etc theme and made adorable toppers for each cupcake, including a few “fairy Clara” toppers with her face on a glittery winged body along with everything from a lego head to a pink glittered castle. There was an audible “oooh!” when we brought them all out.
Here’s one of “Queen Clara” wearing a big dress (girl loves a big dress, especially of the pink and gold variety). Justine seriously went above and beyond.
Later when we asked Clara to name her five favorite parts of the party, the very first thing she said was “MY CUPCAKES!” (which oddly enough was followed by “when Sam hit me in the face with the beach ball”).
Everyone hung out on the deck and ate and played with the water tables for the first half of the party (there were around a dozen kids and twenty adults) and then some of the kids started funneling down to the grass to play with things like the sprinkler and the bubbles.
First we set up a little bubble blower…
… and then John broke out the giant bubble maker, which had everyone in awe of his skills. Until several kids made bigger bubbles than this on the first try.
The sprinkler was especially funny to watch since it was a bunch of kids standing around filling various cups and containers with water.
The water tables were also pretty constantly in use, so it was nice to have a few “stations” for kid activities while the adults chatted nearby without anyone being out of eyeshot.
Teddy didn’t get in on the water table, bubble, or sprinkler action, but he did woo his fair share of party-goers. Here’s John’s mom in her flamingo headband. Gotta love a lady who commits to a party wholeheartedly.
We kept the favors pretty simple too. Since one of the things in Clara’s longest-party-name-ever was “Pez” I found some dispensers at the dollar store for these pink & gold containers (30 cents each from Target) and tossed in a few other treats.
We also bought this pinata from Target but almost forgot to break it out. Some folks had already left when we ran in and got it, but the lingering crew had a ton of fun with it. Check out Louie with his gold chain and sunglasses on the right. Dude had moves.
It took about 100 swings, but it finally exploded and the kids scrambled to grab as much as they could.
As is the tradition, we also took a family photo, which is a pretty rare event for us (one of us is always holding the camera). In this case it ended up being even more momentous than usual since it’s the first photo of all four of us. Only took us a month…
Can we just pause for a second to soak up little Teddy. He’s so sweet I could eat him. But I won’t. And don’t even get me started on that little lady in John’s arms. When did she get so big? I tell her she’s not allowed to grow anymore but she just doesn’t listen.
Did you guys have any gatherings this weekend? Have you ever thrown a bunch of parties at one house over the years and then moved and marveled/feared making a new place work? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a house never feels homier than it does when it’s full of the people you love. In some ways even though we’ve almost lived here a year (how did that happen?!) this house didn’t fully feel “broken in” until Saturday. Just looking around seeing everyone out on the deck and our kids running around in the grass… well, it was pretty great. Even if there were giant piles of laundry lurking inside.
Seriously beautiful little Clara, family party and baby. Your cup overfloweth!
Ann Sato says
I cannot believe how big Clara has gotten. I keep telling my 2 year old to slow down, I’m not ready for him to grow up. It happens too fast.
I can’t even imagine a more gorgeous family. So perfectly precious.
Brit [House Updated] says
Such a cutie, that girl! You guys do such a great job bringing in the theme with food and everything, it all looks so cute. And I really love the family of four photo. Why do kids grow up so fast?!
Lisa | Winter Heights says
So stinkin sweet…Clara is just adorable. And so many ideas for future birthdays for our little boy. You guys and your awesome ideas… :)))
Wow, they grow up fast. What a fun party. BTW, you look fantastic after having a baby. Congratulations to your family.
OMG, when did she get so big! Happy Birthday, Clara!
John, what’s with the beard?
Sherry, you look great.
(And I know what you mean about the laundry. My washer finally gave up the ghost and had to be hauled away to the metal recycling place. New washer arrived on Saturday afternoon and the rest of the weekend was one big laundry fest. How can one person create that many piles of dirty clothes!!???!!!)
Paige @ The Room Kit says
Our nephew is about to turn 3 and I keep telling him to slow down, too. It boggles the mind! I’ve actually been reading here since you were preggo with Clara, and I can’t believe she’s this old either. Craaaaaaay.
Happy birthday dear sweet Clara! It looks like all had such a fun day! So glad the weather cooperated. Your outdoor space is gorgeous. Your friend needs to start her own cupcake business – they were too cute!
You are going to get this comment a lot today, but whoa does Clara look so grown up in her invitation photo. Holy Cow! She’s a stunner :) And I think I might have to make my next birthday party pink and gold themed – so fun! We celebrated my little guys 4th birthday this weekend also. He requested a Ninja Turtle theme complete with ninja masks and a treasure hunt. There was also some sprinkler action and a bean bag toss. I feel like summer is officially here now. Happy Birthday Clara!
Sounds like so much fun!
Mary | Lemon Grove Blog says
It looks like y’all had a great time (with great weather!) Clara looks SO grown up on the invite, you guys! What a beauty!
What an adorable family! Sherry, you do not look like you just had a baby.
We hosted a BBQ with some friends of ours and my parents/sister. Our back yard is in pretty awful shape (next year is the year of the back yard), so we had it in our side yard under the trees and next to our hammock. Since our patio table leaves a lot to be desired, we borrowed everything from friends, including the fire pit. It was a ton of fun and I am looking forward to birthday parties for my little girl in our yard.
Great party! I assume poor Burger hid away somewhere quite :)
Yup, he was upstairs hiding for the party and then came down and trolled the deck for crumbs afterwards!
Roo // NEON FRESH says
Gah. That photo. Love you guys.
Love Clara’s little outfit, too! Girl’s got style.
Such a cute party! Love the dollar tree too!
Sarah Ward says
Sherry is your cardigan from Target? If so I have the same one and it’s a staple in my wardrobe!
Yes! I wear it all the time… especially to cover the post-baby stuff. Haha!
Kirsten D says
That’s how I felt at Christmas, we have been in our house just over a year and we finally had family for christmas (12 year in the Air Force.) We were stepping over people but it was one of the best Christmas ever.
Jess @ Little House. Big Heart. says
What a departure from Dragons and Worms! ;) I love that you let Clara pick the direction she wants to go with her parties!
PS. Love the family photo at the end! You’re looking great, Sherry!
You are insane(ly creative)! I was a little disappointed when you told us after Teddy’s arrival “we’re gonna slow it down” but so far you two (three and four) continue to amaze with everything you do. Thank you for being the inspiration for the rest of us to make our homes (and lives) beautiful.
Diane Taylor says
Hi guys – now THAT looks like a pink-n-gold glitter party, I love it. Seriously I feel like we all blinked and Clara grew up. Her pic on that invite? Holycrap. I agree on the whole home sentiment. We host Easter every year with my husband’s huge family. 36 people in our 1400sq ft house. Chaos. Stepping over people eating on the stairs. Laughter coming from every little tiny room. I wouldn’t have it any other way :) Happy 4th birthday Clara!
anna whiston-donaldson says
What a beautiful, fun party! Happy Birthday, Clara!
Great party! Just a quick note: it should be “people who/whom we love,” not “people that we love.” That=objects, who/whom=people. (Whom is technically correct for your sentence, but I know some people don’t like to use it and sound stilted.)
Thanks Josie! All fixed. Went with “people we love” ;)
So much fun!!! Love it.
I can personally attest to the fact that the weather in Richmond was amazing this weekend…because I WAS THERE!!! (from Atlanta, but visiting my bestie) It was the last weekend (as you know) for homearama, so had to check out your beautifully designed/decorated house. You guys blew the other kids out of the water!! I may or may not have walked thru your house a couple extra times because it was that awesome. There was also a Nona spotting while there :)!!
Beautiful family!! Keep those family picts coming!
Aw thanks Alyson! So funny that you saw Nonna!
Oops…incorrect spelling. :)
No worries! I get it mixed up too. I finally remembered because Grammy and Granny have two Ns ;)
We went to Homearama, too! Yes, house #2 was definitely the favorite (“putain!” my husband exclaimed when he walked into the master closet; even swearing sounds better in French).
The party looks so fun! I love the theme and details.
Looks like everyone had a great time! The husband and I just sent out the invites for our birthday BBQ so I am in serious party planning mode even though it’s still a month and a half away. We both have July birthdays so rather than split up the party, we throw a huge BBQ in the middle of the month. We’ve been throwing this shindig since we moved into our home (three years now!) and it’ll be crazy weird when we move and have the party in a different location. If our plans work out, it’ll not only be in a new house but a whole new city!
Laura @ Rather Square says
That looks like the funnest party ever! I love the combination of dollar-store decor and the world’s longest party theme ever. :)
No parties for us this weekend, we did a lot of work on the yard and our bathroom (weird areas of the house to run back and forth between to fix up various things). Luckily we finally had some nice weather to work outdoors here in the Middle West. I envy you your sunshine – we’ve just started getting some here!
Holli C says
How is Clara adjusting to Teddy? I know she loves him :) Have there been any melt downs or jealousy issues? I’m pregnant with #2 and mine will only be 18 months apart which I know is a little different but curious to see if you’ve had any of those issues!
The small issues we have been having are that she loves him a little too… intensely. So sometimes we have to make sure she’s not squeezing him too tight or trying to carry him around herself, etc. She loves being a little momma, which is really sweet to watch – and most of the time she’s really good about knowing what’s “too much” and what is just right. She got a bunch of big sister gifts and then it was Easter (the grandparents gave her giant baskets) and now it’s her birthday, so she has been showered with a lot of stuff lately, so I just want to make sure she’s not expecting gifts to come every day now that Teddy’s here, but so far, so good!
Love, love everything about the party. Clara is so beautiful and little Teddy is a sweet little nugget (why do boys have the looongest eyelashes???).
Had to comment about “loving too much.” One day, when our youngest was just a couple of weeks old, I changed his diaper on a blanket on the floor while the 2.5 year old was watching TV on the couch. I thought big brother was distracted, so I RAN to the bathroom to wash my hands and zipped back, leaving the baby on the blanket. I wasn’t gone more than a minute. When I got back, the baby had been moved to the couch by big brother because, “He wanted to watch TV, too.” I almost had a heart attack.. ACK!! Thankfully, babies are a lot tougher than we realize! Now they’re 2 and 4 and are great buddies.
Oh my gosh!
Oh yeah my son was just over 2 when my daughter was born and about a week after my daughter was born I heard my son grunting – didnt think much about it but it continued so I went into the living room – he had her under the arms and dragging her across the floor so he could show her the play kitchen. Couldn’t yell at him for wanting to share!
For Holli – our first two were about 21 months apart and there was a little too much love going on too…but it was more shoving a pacifier in a mouth when it wasn’t needed or wanting to feed the baby the bottle by pushing it too hard into the mouth or tilting it sideways…so cute when I think back how much our girl wanted to be a part of taking care of her brother but hard in the moment.
Now with #3 on the way our girl (who is 4.5 now) is still ever much planning on being involved. She’s even proclaimed that only Mommy and herself can hold the baby (while my husband and son have to take care of the chickens). She’s even gone so far as to delegate which person has to do which type of dirty diaper. Just so you know, brother gets pee, she gets regular poop and I’ve been relegated to the worst of poopy diapers. LOL kids are so cute!
For Crystal – this is hilarious!!!! Your 4 y-o sounds like such a little mover and shaker… The part about the chickens. I almost peed laughing.
happy b-day to your sweet girl! party looks fantastic!
Great party! Now that you finally have a picture of the four of you, it is time to insert said picture in your info box at the top of your site. It’s an adorable photo!
Yes, I was just telling John we need to update that!
Jen @ Jen Spends says
What a fun theme! I love the pink flamingos especially. We just celebrated our baby boy’s 1st birthday over the weekend with a Goodnight Moon party. I love planning celebrations.
Liz || Shopping My Closet says
Looks like lots of fun was had! Great shots of Clara!
Liz @ http://www.shoppingmycloset.com
Stunning picture on her invite. That’s one beautiful young lady! Congrats!
I have major envy of those floral tablecloths – big time JEALOUS. They are awesome. Don’t ever give them away or get rid of them – unless you want to contact me for purchase/pick-up. ;)
Note* I’d love to see how you pack up/organize your party supplies.
This party looks super sweet and well-executed. Really glad your little one has it documented. My mom threw such wonderful parties for me and I’m sure I don’t remember half the details.
Also those wicker chairs are awesome outside. Given you haven’t been able to get to the dining room yet – do you expect they’ll have a semi-permanent home outdoors this summer?
I was just telling John that I’d love to use them more often, so I think outside for the warmer months and inside for the winter might be their fate!
I am in LOVE with those table cloths. Are they vintage or are they available somewhere? i love them so so much!
The rest of the party looks great too, and Clara looks like she had so much fun. Great job!
Thanks! They’re from HomeGoods a few years ago!
Lindsay @ The Newlywed Notebook says
How adorable! It looks like an amazing party! (how you had time to get all together with a newborn is beyond me P.S.) I love Clara’s pink-and-gold-glitter-princesss-lego-pez theme. That would probably be my chosen theme too and I’m almost 25. :) My husband and I had our three brothers over to “new” (first) house this Saturday for a cookout – we were so grateful to finally have some nice weather here in WI. Side note – I just have to say since I don’t usually comment that I’m so thankful for your blog and everything you share with us. My husband and I bought our first home almost a year ago now and since then have been fixing it following a lot of great ideas and tips you’ve shared through your blog. You’re making our ugly house pretty – so thank you! :)
Thanks so much Lindsay!
Beautiful family! I am in awe (and a little jealous) of your party decorating skills. I always have great plans that seem to fall flat at the end. I know you have heard it a million times, but holy cow, batman…Clara’s picture on the invitation makes her look like a teenage princess!
Wish me luck. I have a 5 year old little boy Skylanders party to do this coming weekend. It’s race day here in Indy and I am squeezing everything in!! Maybe I’ll post pics in the forum if the decorating comes out like it looks in my head.
love you guys!
Lots of luck!
caroline [the diy nurse] says
What a sweet party- those cupcakes! I love how you had the balloon and water stations- genius! What a lucky and beautiful little girl :)
Erin C. says
It all came together beautifully– nice work!! (especially considering your new addition.. it’s much harder to plan and set-up for a party with a baby, I’m sure). We had a party for our daughter’s first birthday on Saturday. The theme was Sugar and Spice.. my house looked like a Pinterest explosion for about a month, while I prepped. Everything came out well, and Lena Bean enjoyed herself. :)
Erin C. says
P.S. The theme was “Sugar and Spice”.. fitting for out daughter, since she is sweet and sassy :P
LOOOOOOVE this party theme! Maybe as much as the worms one, I don’t know! :) But it looked like everyone had a blast. :)
I’ve always been curious – do you have to do anything to post pics of other people (and especially their kids) on your blog? I know it’s not like you’re posting pics of them on CNN or anything, but it is a blog you earn income from. I’m not trying to be snarky or disrespectful in the least – it’s just something I’ve always wondered about and am curious how you deal with it.
And Sherry – you look great! So no worries on a cardigan to cover up. You really do! :)
Ok sorry, one last addition… I think the “step back” you guys have taken is fantastic. I think with adding a 2nd child in to the loop, your lives seriously do take a spin and if anything, it’s given me more respect for y’all! Do I still check my Bloglovin’ feed daily to see when you post (and even on Fridays still)? YES! Because I can’t wait to read when you do… but, the slower pace really is nice. :) Not to say we aren’t missing y’all, but it’s refreshing to know you’re not working as hard I guess! :) xoxo!
– Lauren (a Midlo native)
Thanks Lauren! As for people and the blog, if anyone asks us not to share a photo of them or their kids we’re all to happy to oblige (most of our friends and family have been on it a bunch of times at this point since this is Clara’s fourth party). The funny thing is that usually the opposite happens – people send us their photos and say “I snapped these too in case you want to use them!”
Haha, I can totally see that. :) Thanks for answering! :)
OMG – she looks so big and she is absolutely gorgeous!
Ugh, I hate when people tell me my boys are getting so big – always makes me want to cry :(
Hi, guys! What a great spread… Happy birthday to Clara!
I have an unrelated but burning question: The dresser off the living room of the show house (gray with circle detail beneath faux driftwood mirror) – can you please tell me where you got it? Thank you!
That’s from Green Front Furniture here in VA.
Michelle | Birds of Berwick says
The picture of the 4 of you is gorgeous – hope it makes a wall or a table somewhere! Great looking party and Clara is just beautiful – Happy 4th Birthday!
Happy Birthday Clara!
My son James shares Clara’s birthday, and we celebrated his second this weekend too :-) Just like you Sherry…I teared up looking around at all our loved ones in our home…there truly is nothing better! Oh…and our theme was Elmo as he is currently obsessed with the little guy :-)
Lauren (in PA) says
And not one person even noticed that laundry, right?
Looks like a wonderful time!
I went to a 50th birthday party that ended up being a surprise wedding! And only one of the grooms knew!
It was very beautiful and exciting.
I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, go to a surprise wedding would be on it!
That sounds AWESOME!
What a cute & colorful bday party!! I always love seeing what you guys come up with. Don’t ya just love the stuff you can find at the Dollar Tree. Love the flamingo headbands. :)
Happy Birthday Ms. Clara.
Jessica A says
Did you guys make a video? I’ve been waiting a year for another one, haha! Those are my fave. Looks like a great party!
Still not totally done with it, but so excited to finish that up. Will try to remember to post it – maybe with Clara’s four year photo and Teddy’s birth announcement.
Holli Coats says
Happy birthday Clara! I love that your parties are always themed and full of fun but not over the top, spend an outrageous amount of time/money on decorations kind of parties. It’s a good reminder to blog land that fun can be had without all the stress! We celebrated my niece’s birthday this weekend and followed that up by taking our three year old princess to the Virginia Renaissance fair. I highly recommend it for princess loving kids- had a blast! People were in character and addressed my daughter as “your majesty” since she was wearing her princess garb. She even got to meet the Queen! I think it’s going for one more weekend.
That sounds right up C’s alley!
Cathy C. says
the picture on the invitation is STUNNING. I would love to see the unphotoshopped version! Also, I know you posted an instagram picture of week 4/4 year old picture taking day, did Clara get an official year 4 photo?
Ack, we’re behind on that but hope to get it done this week. We’re going to use the same gold fabric backdrop from the invitation. I’m scared to see how big she looks compared to last year!
Cathy C. says
lol, nope, you aren’t behind, she hasn’t even been 4 a month yet :) Behind is when she is 4 and 11/12 and you are still waiting, haha
Kathleen W. says
What a fun 4th birthday party ! We are getting our ideas together for our daughters 4th birthday in June….Clara and Abby have similar taste in party decor! Kudos for throwing such a great party so soon after Teddy’s arrival. We had my son’s 5th birthday about a month after our daughter was born…phew…a lot of craziness but very memorable !
Judy Beeksma says
Clara is such a beautiful child and the party looks wonderful. Teddy is adorable! But I have to say the person that struck me the most is you, Sherry! You look absolutely fabulous! Healthy, happy and contented!
Clara is my kind of girl, pink and gold and glitter everything. I think I want you guys to come decorate my future (way in the future, I dont even have a boyfriend! hah) wedding exactly that way. Is that weird? I don’t even care.
I did not have any parties this weekend but my roommate and I keep joking that we’re going to have an “anniversary” part this weekend because as of tomorrow we’ve lived together 2 years and we’re still friends.
Also, I want those cupcake wrappers.
What a fun party idea! I love that the invitations are a picture of Clara and not just the theme! :) Your family is adorable. Thank you for sharing the fun party details! I’m looking forward to planning birthday parties when my husband and I have kids. It will be so fun!
Have a great week!