Monday, January 16, 2017

Flipping Into Five! : Raleigh's Gymnastics Party

We capped off our celebration of our sweet girl turning one-whole-hand over the weekend, and boy did we have fun! Because Raleigh is so into gymnastics right now, it was a no-brainer to have her party at the place she takes gymnastics, and we were so excited that all 11 of her sweet guests were able to join her. Here, a recap of our 5-year-old's birthday party fun!

First up, the birthday girl!

I designed this leotard and asked Kristen, of Kas Dance Customs on etsy to create it for my girl. Y'all. If you are looking for a custom leotard, this is the place to go! Kristen was so, so kind and so easy to work with and didn't hesitate to make the design come to life (and it is now available in her etsy store, in a variety of colors)! 

Next up, the party details! 

The invitation. My friend Amy of One Good Name (another awesome etsy store!) designed the invitation, and I just loved how cute it turned out (It was a front/back invitation): 

The decor. Although I love throwing kids parties, I don't love spending tons of money on them; so, I save where I can by re-purposing things I already have and creating printables and cutouts with my trusty Silhouette. Because Raleigh's favorite color is pink, we used it everywhere in her decor! For the main table, I incorporated lots of shades of pinks in lots of different patterns for the table runner, placemats, centerpieces, mason jar cups, straws, plates, and napkins. 

I also cut out a couple of gymnast silhouettes (which were used in several others places throughout the party) and used them to top a couple of simple flower arrangements.

The food. Because the party was from 2:00 to 3:30, and the girls would be playing their hearts out for most of that time, I kept the menu simple: sweets!, in the form of cookies and cupcakes. I've been doing so much baking for so many others as part of our adoption fundraising efforts, so it was fun to get to bake cupcakes and cookies for our own use!

The favors. In keeping with the gymnastics theme, each girl was given a medal cookie and a ribbon wand. Both were big hits with the sweet girls!

The fun! The girls had an hour to run wild all over the gym--from the beam to the bars, from the trampoline to the pit, they didn't stop moving the entire time!

After their hour of showing off their best gymnastic tricks, we came into the party room for cookies, cupcakes, and pink lemonade...and a couple of group photo opportunities, of course. 

And that was that! We had so much fun that Raleigh didn't even have time to open her gifts during the party. Luckily, we were joined at home by Banks (who missed the party as a result of having a basketball game at the same time) who was able to partake in helping Rals with her gifts. And then they played the rest of the day with her fun new toys

We sure had fun celebrating our girl and can't wait to see what this year brings for her. Happy 5th Birthday, sweet Raleigh Jane! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cheers to the Weekend, Natty Edition

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! You guys!!!!!!!!!! My Clemson Tigers are the 2017 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. We won the Natty!!!!!!!

And if you think I'm making this sound like a big deal, well, it IS a big deal. To us at least. I know it's just football. But also? It's the stories. 

It's the story of the head coach who was given a crazy shot eight years ago to take on a floundering program mid-season. The same coach who had been a small, walk-on college player at Alabama while having his own mom move in with him because she couldn't afford her own home. The same coach who places God above all else, lives his faith out loud, takes his team to chapel hours before the national championship game, and constantly reiterates that all the skill he, his staff, and his players have are 100% due to the glory of God.  

It's the story of the quarterback whose mom battled cancer, eventually having to have her tongue removed, and all during his college years. The same player who lost a heartbreaking national championship game one year ago, after having a solid lead until the 4th quarter. The same player who lost out on the Heisman twice. The same player who smiled and told his teammates, "Let's go be legendary," before marching his offense 68 yards down the field with two minutes left in the game. The same player who was awarded offensive MVP after winning the Natty. 

And also? It's the small, walk-on player who was told he wasn't big enough to play D1 college football yet turned down a scholarship to App State for a chance to play under Coach Swinney. The same player who was allowed to don a Clemson jersey as a walk-on, as a member of the scouting team, but who worked hard and eventually earned a scholarship and then, a place as a starter. The same player who caught the winning touchdown with 0:1 second left on the clock.

You see, it's not just a game to us. It's the stories of the coaches and players we love. And it's the fact that this has only happened for our team once before, in 1981. We die-hard Tiger fans have been rooting on our team since then but to no avail. Until Monday. Until January 9th. Until we traveled to Tampa and stood in that stadium and cheered our hearts out and held our breath, with teeth chattering as the wind whipped around us and the minutes ticked by. With nerves shot after being down the entire game. With baited breath as we watched our team come back, against the Goliath of football. And then, we watched our beloved Tigers score the winning touchdown with 0:1 second on the clock. And the crowd went WILD. Absolutely wild. We. Went. WILD.

I tried to take it in. The players dog-piling on the field. The coaches tackling one another in celebration. The orange and purple confetti flying. Tiger Rag blaring. The fans roaring. The tears and joy and excitement and relief and celebration EVERYWHERE. I'm not sure there was a dry Tiger eye in that stadium. It's what dreams are made of, and I will never take it for granted that I got to be there, in that moment, standing alongside my husband, my brother, and my best friends. I will never forget getting to be there, when our Clemson Tigers won the 2017 National Championship. It was one for the books. 

So. We are definitely saying cheers to that on this Friday! We are also trying to catch up on sleep ('cause when the game doesn't end until well after midnight and then you just have to go celebrate because we just won the Natty!!!!, well, it's awesome but also a great reminder that we grown-ups can't recover as quickly as we once could from so much celebrating and so little sleep). So, we say CHEERS to it being not only Friday but a long weekend. And we say CHEERS to...

Tampa fun. In addition to cheering on our Tigers, we made the most of our quick trip (arriving around 9:30 pm on Sunday and heading home around 9:30 am on Tuesday). My hub, brother, a friend, and I were lucky enough to have a free place to stay, thanks to a very kind and hospitable friend of my sister-in-law. Not only that, but our hostess lives in an apartment in the heart of downtown Tampa, making us easily accessible to the major championship hotels, which were just a short walk away. So, on Sunday night, we spent a little time on the town, brushing elbows with some ESPN big shots and and tons of Clemson fans, before heading home around midnight to get a little shut eye. 

The next morning, we were up and at 'em bright and early to take in the full experience of being at the Natty. ESPN puts on a huge, fun tailgate. So, after grabbing a quick (and quite frankly, delicious!!) lunch, and while waiting for my girls to arrive to the stadium, we were able to have plenty of fun taking in all the sites there (think Game Day filming, a huge stage with live music playing throughout the day, ending with a show by headliner Dierks Bentley, the Heisman House (where Heisman winners visited throughout the day), plenty of food and drink stations, ziplining, contests, games, etc.). 

The man on the left is Doug Flutie. He made my hub and brother's dreams come true by spending some time throwing the ol' pigskin around with them

We then met up with our peeps and continued the festivities until it was time to head into the stadium. 

And well, the rest is history. 

Snow day fun.  Last Saturday, we were anticipating 2-4 inches of snow. Well, imagine our surprise disappointment when we woke up to....nothing. Actually, there was a smidge of snow on our mulch. I was worried about how bummed the kids would be when they woke up to it. And then they looked out the window and were SO PUMPED. "Wow, Mom!!! Look at all the snow on the dirt!" I quickly realized they were in glass-half-full-mode and that I should follow suit. And then, it really did start snowing! And we ended up with...a small dusting. ;) BUT it was enough of a dusting for us to head to the golf course for lots of fun sledding. Honestly, I don't know that they would have had more fun if we actually had gotten all those anticipated inches. They had a blast, and so did we grown-ups. :)

Birthday party fun. Although Raleigh's birthday was on the January 5th, I scheduled her party for January 14th, way back in the beginning of December, with the hopes that we would be in Tampa the weekend right after her actual birthday. And well, we were! So, it turns out that was a good decision (priorities, people). ;) So. We will be closing out the celebration of our girl turning 5 at her party tomorrow, and I can't wait! And neither can she! More details on that next week. 

For now? I am off to close out this Friday and couch dive into the 3-day weekend, where we'll be trying to catch up on the last of our missing zzzzz's. Have a GREAT weekend, y'all! I hope you, too, are able to kick back, relax, and enjoy the downtime.  


And one more time, I'll say loud and proud, GO TIGERS!!!!!