Tuesday, October 2, 2012

my pregnancy with ember: planning the baby shower.

I had to split my baby shower post into two because it was getting incredibly long... but planning the baby shower feels worth mentioning to me, because of all the thought and work that went into it.

My stepmom, who I will often refer to on this blog as Madre, TOM, or Toni, threw it for me over at my aunt Dixie's house. She let me plan most of it, decorations, food, etc. Which was fun for me and I'm grateful she did. I enjoy stuff like that too much.

I had a few ideas about decorations and food, and I with help from Toni, Neil and others we crafted and cooked everything ourselves.

When I first started considering a baby shower, this is what I knew:

- I don't really enjoy baby showers. That's just the truth.
- I don't really like crepe paper, or cardboard and plastic decorations that say "it's a girl!" all over them.
- I knew I needed to create a registry, and really focus on what we needed, the essentials, because Neil was laid off and since this was our first baby, we already had, well, nothing.
- I didn't really need a ton of clothes, many of Toni's coworkers had already been giving Toni hand-me-downs at work, and I had received quite a lot of things from various family members and friends.
- I wanted to make sure the food was semi-healthy, gluten free and good because I was preggers and it was no use overdosing on sugar and having a fuzzy brain for the week after.
- Other than baby shower jeopardy (I love baby shower jeopardy!), I'm not a huge fan of baby shower games! No candy bar "poop" diapers, no tasting baby food, no word searches, etc. etc. etc.
(sidenote: have you noticed lately how more and more people are not doing the baby shower games at all these days? Instead opting for crafty projects, mom centered activities  or just enjoying food and conversation. I enjoy all those immensely more! Next shower I throw for someone, I'm keeping that in mind.)

So first off, I think about the beginning of March, I started a serious registry. I used Wishpot, which I wasn't sure about, but since we were planning on cloth diapers, babywearing, etc. there were a few things that you couldn't just find at Babies R Us or Target. I needed a place where I could put things from all over, not just one store.
I had of course, been keeping ideas for things we needed since I found out about Ember, but nothing that serious.

The registry overwhelmed me!! I think I spent most of March working on it. I kept reading those ridiculous lists about what you need for a new baby. It was all too much. Way too much stuff.

(Knowing what I know now, I would have just registered some place like Target or Babies R Us for some basics. Only about two the items I received at my shower were actually off the registry. I've paid attention at showers I've been to since then and noticed that many people really don't shop off registries anymore. Doing the big online registry thing also seemed to throw people off.
I also would have chilled WAY out about it, instead of feeling like everything needed to be exact and just right.)

Once I finished up the registry, I tackled the invitations. I had these grand plans to make them myself.
I got about five made and gave up. Way too much work and time.
This and many other events over the past year have really taught me that if you can afford to, pay another talented craft for their time and products, because it's worth it just to save your sanity. Of course... being able to afford it is key!

Here is what I was planning on using:

CAM00448edit.jpg

And I loved it. It was fairly basic in all honesty.
But it was a ton of work. I just didn't have the time or energy to finish them all and get them mailed on time.
So I ended up buying some pretty printer paper from an office store, typing it all out and then printing the invitations on the paper and folding them into an envelope. Easy peasy. Not as awesome as my original idea, but goodness, better for my brain.

The Saturday before the shower, we started working on decorations.
Toni, Neil, my grandma and myself spent a Saturday tie dying onesies. I had never tie dyed a thing in my life before this, and I caught the bug pretty quickly. I ended up doing it again for different people, as well as more for Ember. I had been saving white onesies separate from all the other baby clothes for months, and we had a good collection of different sizes.

Even though I don't put Em in onesies anymore, I still buy white shirts from thrift shops and consignment sales for this very purpose. It's just too easy and too cute. I loves me some tie dye.

Dying Onesies.
(Me looking rather puffy and tired in my baggy, comfy clothes.)

Tie Dyed Onesies

That Sunday, we worked on tissue paper pom poms. I really had no theme ideas for the shower. I just wanted it to be eclectic, colorful and sort of vintage-ish. I had never made a tissue paper pom pom in my life either. Crazy.
Another easy, fun thing to do. Definitely with others though, it could tedious making them all by yourself.

Tissue Paper Flowers


Neil helping.
(Neil making a tissue paper flower... heh.)

The Friday before the shower, Toni took off work and we baked gluten free carrot cupcakes (what I was craving!), prepped most of the food so it was ready to go, and worked on more decorations. Mostly the doily banners. I loved these doily banners. I still have a couple of them hanging up in what will soon be Ember's room. So easy, but really cute.

Tie Dyed Onesies
(A glimpse of the onesies and part of a banner hanging up on the wall during the shower. I need to go into the playroom/craft room/what will end up being Em's room and take a better photo of the doily banners in the window.)

We used my aunt's vintage dishes for the food. We covered the tables and benches in her vintage sheets. AND we used some vintage quilts she had in her basement to lay out here and there as well. I loved how eclectic and homey her back porch looked when we got finished!

None of these are stellar photos (I know I apologize for that all the time, but it irks me because it's my blog and I like sharing decent images!) and now I wish I would have made sure to get more of the process. It was the most crafting I had done in months and it was fun. Good for my stressed out soul at the time. I love throwing parties and events, but every time I always learn that handing over tasks to others, and if possible outsourcing some things (when it can be afforded) makes things so much smoother. I remember thinking that it didn't look like the beautifully photographed parties you see on Pinterest, or Flickr, or anywhere online really. I considered glossing over all this preparation stuff. It's not professional. It's not fancy. It's not color coordinated. It's not even well photographed, haha! But it was a serious highlight for me during my pregnancy. But I also remember it just looking like.... me. Like my family. Like a comfy, cozy, "dani" type of party.

So, yeah, it was pretty much perfect.

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