Babies and Birthdays

My sweet little Laney turned one over the weekend. We started the day off right,

Getting setup for the party, a year in review. Doubling as decoration and party favor, we let the guests take home any pictures they wanted.

Not too long ago we started with this,

and like most parents we feel like time has flown by and now we have a wonderful one year old with a great sense of humor that is oh so close to walking…any day now.

have you seen this cake on Pinterest? A local bakery, The Bakehouse recreated the cake for us.

Life is so much sweeter because of you.

Sarah’s Birthday Wishes

I have a running wish list that scrolls along the right side of your screen on the reg in the form of a “wist list” but I thought I’d issue a special list for my 31st birthday, yeah 31–seems about as exciting as 28. Hopefully my loved ones, hi lovies! will elevate the occasion and buy me something (everything) from this list.

So these have been blowin’ up for ages but lets just get the whole collection in one swoop,

penguin classics collection
On One Kings Lane, here

And as a companion this version of the classic, love this

The Great Gatsby hardcover

A custom frame job for my beautiful butterfly print

green butterfly print rockett st george

from here

a striped maxi skirt with elastic for my expanding waistline

patagonia maxi skirt Anthropologie

mama needs a new pair of shoes,
naya samara sandal
you could pimp my living room with these,

vintage suzani pillow cover sukan
sukan silk velvet suzani pillow cover

or this (dreaming),

Fields France 2 Sara MacCulloch
Fields France 2, Sara McCulloch via Kathryn Markel Fine Arts

Definitely time for a new bag and I’ve loved these for a while

small longchamp le pliage

here’s a hint-check Ebay for these

Playset Prep

As I explained in last Friday’s weekend post, my daughter DC is turning 3 this weekend. Before DC was even 2, we were invited to a slew of birthday parties complete with pony rides and bouncey houses.  But I figure Dan and I have a lot of birthday parties ahead of us and we’re going to reserve those kinds of antics for a later time–maybe when DC is in school. Right now we like to limit birthday parties to family and close friends. How do you feel about fancy parties full of toddlers and Cowboy Bill for entertainment before the age of 3?

steve martin parenthood

So a big part of this party happening this weekend is our gift to DC which is an outdoor wooden playset. We did some research before buying at places like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Costco, Sam’s Club, Sears and Creative Playthings. I talked with my Dad about the different types of material that the various sets were made of. He gave me a general hierarchy of durability which was,

  1. Redwood
  2. Cedar
  3. Treated wood

Redwood drove the price up significantly and was outside of our budget so we looked at some cedar sets. My Dad warned that if the cedar isn’t high quality it will split. I read some reviews of some of the cedar sets offered at Costco and some parents reported that the cedar split when they were assembling it so we moved on. We found the best selection at Home Depot where they primarily carried the Swing-n-Slide brand. To learn more about their construction we visited the Swing-n-Slide site.   We liked the 4×4 construction and the heavy duty brackets used to assemble the sets. After tooling around their site a bit we found their Outlet section. Swing-n-Slide was offering some discontinued sets at pretty great discounts so my husband and I settled on the Juneau.

juneau playset swing-n-slide

There was a lot of prep work involved before assembly could even begin. Over the years the previous owner had allowed vines and other brush to take over the property. We’re lucky that my Dad owns a backhoe AND enjoys using as often as he possibly can so he has completed a lot of the land clearing for us. I’m trying to talk him into buying a Bobcat which looks like this,

Bobcat machine

He is actually going to look at a used model today that has a mulching attachment on the front that just kind of eats small trees and brush piles. This is an exciting prospect when you buy property that has been severly neglected and you battle brush piles with a rake.

So my Dad cleared some space in the side yard among the beautiful hemlocks and my brother loaded pile after pile of brush in to the rented dumpster. This process went on for a few days.

Here’s a view of the property partially cleared,

partially cleared front 2

My brother and Dan then cut the old ivy vines shooting out of the ground and hand raked the area where the playset would go, this would be significantly faster and easier if we had more equipment to smooth the area but we had to resort to hand labor.

playset spot

During the clearing process, my brother unearthed a stairwell made of square brownstones that leads down in to a lower part of the property. It will take a lot of work to fine tune this area but it was a cool landscape surprise. Those stones have been there a very long time, they were probably installed not long after the house was built in 1929.

hidden stairwell

After all that clearing and raking, we distributed 80 bales of pine straw around the area. We chose pine straw because we live in the land of Longleaf Pines which shed their needles constantly so we took a “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” kind of approach. Others might choose some kind of engineered or recycled material like rubber mulch or sand.

And then finally– we’re ready for assembly which will be left up to my Dad, brother and Dan. My Dad did carpentry work and a lot of woodworking in his youth and he’s a pretty fantastic handy man so he will lead the assembly charge. The assembly is scheduled to begin this Friday, there’s a lot of speculation as to how long the assembly will take, the estimates range from 4 to 8 hours.

I told everyone we could take a long break from yard work for a while, their response was basically yeah no s#!@

Turning 30

I will turn 30 on July 16th. To celebrate this momentous occassion, I think this pairing would make the perfect gift.

A little of this….

Lauren Moffatt Stockholm blouse

 And a little of that…

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible_

Outfit via Lauren Moffatt, vintage Volkswagen Karmann Ghia convertible

We’ll be seeing you…Alice

You know I’ve never seen the animated version of Alice in Wonderland, only the 1985 musical version that aired on CBS with Sammy Davis Jr., Sherman Helmsley, Shellie Winters, Scott Baio, Lloyd Bridges etc.  Now don’t go saying that I need to see the animated version because I doubt it can top Sammy Davis Jr. sitting on top of huge toadstool smoking a hooka pipe. But maybe Tim Burton’s rendition could push it to #2 or maybe even a live experience like this…

An Alice birthday party found via Swish and Swanky, photorgraphy by Jessica Claire. I would love to do this for my daughter DC, when she’s old enough of course.

the estate of things chooses alice in wonderland party

the estate of things chooses alice in wonderland party

the estate of things chooses alice in wonderland party