ONEderland First Birthday

I love a good party. I love crafts. I love to create. I’d like to think I have a good eye for design, it’s some of what I studied in college (and, hello, AP Studio Art in high school).  I catch myself in a happy place when I’m creating, when ideas pop into my head and I put my hands into action. So it makes sense that I love designing events.

I was excited to put together a party for my sweet daughter’s first birthday at our home. My husband firmly directed that we, ahem, I, to not put on such an extravaganza as we had for our son’s “Hole-in-ONE” Masters-themed first birthday at a cool West Loop (Chicago) restaurant with open bar. Photo below.


With a now three-year-old, full-time job, commuting to the city, schedules, other household needs, yadda yadda it was a challenge to get everything done. Sure, I would have liked to have a few more things come to life, but I think it turned out pretty sweet. And I was grateful for some work PTO to get errands done!

My daughter’s room is a mix of Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-Secret-Garden with whimsy elements, blush tones, rich greens a special Alice in Wonderland vintage book (proudly on display from my late grandfather!), drawings and trinkets. This influenced the “Sydney’s ONEderland” theme - and, hey, it’s a bonus to use and repurpose party items permanently in her room. 

I am a big Disney lover but the pink striped Cheshire Cat movie creative wasn’t what I had in mind. So I went down the Pinterest hole and scoured Etsy shops and found some perfect Alice-party brands and decor that fit my vision. 

Now, for a first birthday, one must have an optimal photo area for the “first cake.” I had something in mind and nothing that a few trips to craft stores couldn’t solve. The “grass” background, oversized blooming flowers, garden decor, paired with the vintage Alice images and custom Sydney golden wooden whimsy-lettered sign (found on Etsy here) was the perfect backdrop.


The cupcake stand with favorites from a local shop (Baker Boys in Ravinia District) of vanilla with rainbow sprinkles and black and white frosting atop banana chocolate chip cupcakes turned out as a perfect scrumptious display. More cupcakes with the known “eat me” in gold glitter with pink ribbons were a great topper.


With an Alice theme, had to infuse tea party elements into the display table and found some darling succulent-filled gold and mixed-pattered teacups as accessories. 

You can’t forget the Mad Hatter, so I tapped my father-in-laws’ calligraphy skills for the “In This Style 10/6” top hat note. I paired some fitting colored sashes around the top hat thanks to an afternoon fabric department spree, full of ribbons and tulle that I hand-picked for her “high chair” banner — of warm pinks, white blue, and checkered tones and a golden “one” overlay. Want a mom hack?! Depending on your high chair brand, use tiny Command hooks and strategically put them under the table portion. The weight of string banner will push forward and stay generally well (better than tape, I think). 

Check out more photos below of the party details.


Year One...

It's been one year since our sweet man arrived (4/4/16 @ noon). And it's true what they say - it goes by quickly! Like at lightning speed, people... just yesterday we were driving little man home from the hospital. 


I've read numerous mom websites and blogs with first year lists of "things I've learned" or "I survived XX" or "tips" and felt inspired to share some of my own memories, thoughts, notes and randomness. 


Here is my list of 365 things... just kidding. However, here's a lot, enjoy. 



-It's ok to have baby blues, those trying, "I just can't do this" moments and just cry it out... a LOT. It will happen. Have faith that it gets better. 

-Take time for yourself... your baby should have one-on-one dad/partner time  

-Accept that your body will never be the same  

-Trust your mom instinct - it magically appears and is usually right. 


-A little Facetime with family never stunted a baby's development 

-Pick a few blogs, apps that you like and stick with them for information - most are pretty exhaustive. Too much information is just overwhelming.

-Grateful for only one ER visit which resulted in double conjunctivitis, ear infection and croup... all at the same time, poor guy. It was scary and he did better than mom and dad. 

-You WILL make it through long road trips and plane rides (we visited Boston, Washington D.C., Park City) where only 1.5/6 of those flights was a disaster

-You will appreciate your parents more - think it's nearly impossible not to. Tell them you love them. 

-I've already forgotten about the endless nights of exhaustion, despair and no sleep - guess that's how people have more kids! 


-When I stopped pumping at eight-and-a-half months (yes, that half-a-month is important!), it changed my life. Despite months after baby, I finally felt like a real person and like a weight was lifted.

-When you can't keep the milk supply up, it will be sad. (I may or may not have freaked out when I had one frozen bag of milk left.) It's ok and little man accepting formula was easier than I thought. Fed is best. 

-You might need to pump in the most obscure places (most memorable: a NASCAR racetrack with 160,000 attendees cheering in the distance)

-It is possible to carry on 104 ounces of formula on a plane (!)


-Get an extra bouncer chair for your bathroom so you don't have to lug myriad apparatuses throughout your home (I've seen them for as low as $20-$30). A few minute shower is a day changer... (see my previous post here about some of my baby gear favorites)


-No baby exploded from eating a non-organic piece of fruit or cracker

-Babies will survive licking and biting dog bones and toys  

-Carbs, carbs, carbs is the name of the game

-Husband suddenly stuck a finger full of peanut butter in his mouth at a Halloween party for his first time. I don't advise that route but all was ok. There were doctors in the room. 

-Offer them different foods, textures and flavors (while who knows if my little man will be a good eater when he's a toddler), I do believe that food opens up their world. If they reject at first, try again. And again. And again.


-There's been only one public occurrence of runny diarrhea onto white pants while at a trendy outdoor summer bar (note: a Dreft or Tide pen is a diaper bag MUST.)

-We avoided poop in the bathtub and in the bathroom-to-nursery transport. For that I am grateful 

-Experienced only one spout of projectile vomit... at home, avoiding the bed, carpet and walls (who knew such a little person could output so much?!)  


-Snap photos of you and your little one - puffy, pale and all  

-Do not let daycare teachers style your child for school pictures, lesson learned (he looked like a 60 year-old accountant) 

-Take pictures of their feet, hands, and toes. 

-Amazon Photo is your friend... most moms have an Amazon Prime membership, so Amazon Photo is FREE! Unlimited storage, hooray! 


-Do what feels right for YOUR family and base your selection on that, not anyone else's... same goes for your doctor

-Your child will do better than you do at the first day of daycare. Throw tissues in your purse. 

-We received a handful of "incident" daycare reports... falling, bumping, blood and the like. It's normal. 


I could go on and on. In closing, you will never experience love like this and won't remember your life without this little human. Sometimes when you look at them, your body will ache with love. Cherish the quiet, giggly and happy moments - allow them to consume you. Enjoy the magical journey. 

Photo:  Chad Husar Photography  (taken October 2016 - 6.5 months old) 

Photo: Chad Husar Photography (taken October 2016 - 6.5 months old)