Thursday, July 3, 2014

Best Baby Shower Ever!

Karl and I knew from the beginning that we wanted our baby shower to be fun.  As in, no awkward games involving measuring my belly.  And we wanted to invite everyone, not just ladies who happen to love finger sandwiches.  Nothing against finger sandwiches, of course.  And nothing against ladies, but we happen to also like hanging out with children and men.  So we decided on a barbecue picnic in a park.  Our families were gracious enough to indulge our request, and they went above and beyond to throw a picturesque shower that we absolutely loved.  

Elsworth and Lia did all of the decorations and centerpieces.  They could not have been more perfect!  The park shelter was pretty rustic/brown, so we wanted to jazz it up with some color.  Check out these gorgeous tissue paper pom-poms:

 Karl was a natural pom-pom fluffer.  You'll notice that I'm not actually helping in any of these pictures... that's because I was too busy eating cake.  True confession: I ordered a separate cake just to have at home that weekend.  We'll chalk that up to being pregnant, but honestly I probably would have done that no matter what the occasion was.  And it was so worth it.  

Hanna and Chad during a team-building exercise called "hanging up pom-poms." 

Here they are, all hung up!  This picture really doesn't do them justice.  Imagine the most beautiful decorations ever, and that's what these looked like.  

Centerpieces were little beach pails full of candy... and there were adorable striped paper bags for people to fill with treats to take home!  

Speaking of photos that don't do their subjects justice... Elsworth and Lia made these amazing embroidered onesies to hang up.  Here's a slightly better picture, taken at home later: 

 Who doesn't love to predict baby details?

Hanna coordinated this craft station for adults (kids were welcome to jump in, too, but hot glue was involved).  We ended up with a beautiful bouquet of fabric flowers for the baby! 

The set-up crew... Chad, Lia, Elsworth, and Hanna

 Karl's mom and dad grilled brats and did a great job keeping everyone fed!  Did I mention that we had 85 guests?  85 guests x 2 brats per person (hello, this is Wisconsin!) = a lot of work on the grill!

My mom (who took most of the pictures, which is why she's not in them... I think she does that on purpose!) rocked the desserts and drinks, as well as the paper goods, which were super cute but unfortunately went un-photographed.  Next time we have a baby shower I'll have to take many more pictures!  We had cake and ice cream (And ice cream cones!  Super fun.  Every baby shower should have ice cream cones.), lemonade, and beer.  Once again, this is Wisconsin, people.   

 One detail that I loved (and so did our little friend, K) were these sweet polka-dotted nut cups filled with nuts and chocolate.  I've always loved nut cups, but these were the cutest ones ever.

Many thanks to our families and friends for such a perfect shower!  Everyone was so generous and thoughtful, and of course we loved having a chance to see so many of the people we love the most.  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Nursery in Progress!

It's a miracle... we were able to somehow clear out our guest room/office/craft room/catch-all room!  We're quickly filling it up again, though... here's a little sneak peek at the nursery as it's coming together:

Book truck changing table!  

Don't worry, the card catalog isn't missing a drawer.  One drawer is with our friend Jenn, who is helping us refinish the sides and bottom of the catalog.

My mom made this beautiful alphabet flower embroidery!  

Karl did an awesome job building a closet system from scratch for the baby's closet; the paint is still drying and we have a few things to add, but let me just say that it is totally perfect and a huge improvement over the two bowed plywood shelves that were in there before.  

Soon we'll have a little person to plunk into this room!  We'd better enjoy the peace and quiet now... 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Baby Shower by Mail, Take Two!

You might remember the Baby Shower by Mail my college friends and I threw for our friend Mara back in 2010 (was it really that long ago?!).  Now that Baby Struckmeyer is on the way, the same girls have taken it upon themselves to keep our mailman busy!

I videotaped myself opening all of the gifts, but it turns out I'm technologically challenged (wait, we already knew that), so the footage is stuck on our videocamera for the rest of time.  This sub-par photo of all of their wonderful gifts will have to do!  An itty-bitty sweatshirt from our alma mater... a Garfield hat and nightlight (I sort-of-jokingly have said from the beginning that I wanted to do a Garfield nursery theme, which would be completely hilarious, but somehow I haven't been able to convince Karl)... the world's best Annie book (we had the same one when I was growing up)... lots of adorable onesies and sleepers... beautiful wooden toys... chocolate bars, which went straight into the hospital bag... and lots of other thoughtful, perfect gifts. 

I'm so lucky to have these ladies as friends, and our baby is even luckier to have so much love coming from all directions!  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Staff Lounge Reveal

Last but not least: How to surprise your co-workers!  

Make a little cardboard oven out of a shoebox (there are tutorials online, but I thought it was way simpler to just wing it... the oven door is made of a page protector, in case you're wondering).  

 It's fun if the oven door can actually open and close!  

Inside the oven, put a picture of the expectant parents, along with a Date Due slip (which is especially perfect if you work at a library). 

Order a bunch of morning buns from the local bakery.  Pick them up early in the morning, and get to work before anyone else.  Set up the oven and the buns in the lounge... 

Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Surprise Your In-Laws

We've already covered How to Surprise Your Mother, so let's move on to the in-laws.  I told Karl we could break the news about our pregnancy to his parents any way he wanted  to.  Here's what he decided (I think it's pretty cute!):

He decorated two little white onesies, one for his parents, and one for his grandmother (who recently turned 100!).  His parents had been on vacation in Florida, and when they got back to town, we wrapped up some gourmet hot cocoa as a little "welcome home" gift for them.  Karl, who is an engineer through and through, tied a piece of fishing line to the bottom of the cocoa bag, and he tied the other end to the onesie.  He buried the onesie deep in the bottom of the bag, under layers of tissue paper, so his parents would really have to dig.  

We went out for dinner with Karl's family, and we gave his parents the gift.  They were more than a little surprised when they found the onesie!  

A few days later, we visited Karl's grandmother, and we gave her the other onesie.  She immediately had us hang it up in her sunroom, and she tells us that she looks at it daily.  She's bound and determined to meet her third great grandchild!  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tub Time

You know how sometimes you see something on Apartment Therapy, and you think, "I totally need that!" but it's like a million dollars and really, you probably don't technically need it?  That happened to me recently with the Puj Tub.  So darling, so practical, but I wasn't about to pay-- or ask someone else to pay-- $40 for a piece of foam. 

I was super-psyched when I volunteered to help set up for a giant children's resale in Madison, where I spied not one, but two of the coveted Puj tubs.  Of course, no shopping was allowed during set-up, so I had to wait until the next day for the volunteer pre-sale.  I made a beeline for the tubs... and they were both gone.  Apparently I wasn't the only one with my eye on them! 

Not being one to let things go easily, I went home and checked eBay, but that felt kind of gross for some reason, so I took a peek on Craigslist... and there was a Puj tub for sale in Milwaukee, still in the box and the plastic and everything, for $10.  I texted my sister, who lives in Milwaukee, and seriously like 5 minutes later she sent this picture: 

I have no idea how she did that so fast, but we'll chalk it up to a Pre-Baby Miracle.
Here we are at Easter, celebrating the fact that our baby will be bathing in style. 


Monday, May 26, 2014

How to Surprise Your Mother

Have you ever wanted to surprise your mother?  Here's a no-fail, step-by-step method: 

1.  A few weeks ahead of time, ask her if she'd like to go with you to a book sale.  Make it sound really amazing-- they'll be selling lots of vintage German children's books, and each volunteer (oh, ya, you're volunteering at the sale) is only allowed to bring one other person to the pre-sale.  She might come up with excuses, so keep making the sale sound better and better.  Also mention that you usually bring your friend Kate with you, but this year she's due to have a baby around the time of the sale, so she probably won't be able to go.  Everything in step 1 is a lie, so feel free to embellish to your heart's content.  It's fun!  

2.  The day of the "book sale," meet your mom early for lunch.  Bring along a little gift bag.  Over lunch, plan your strategy for the book sale and mention that Kate had her baby the day before.  Since the lunch spot you picked is located one block from the hospital, ask your mom if she minds stopping by the hospital really quickly to drop off a gift before heading to the sale.  You won't stay long; you'll just drop off the gift and go.  Don't make it an option for your mom to wait in the car!  Kate would love to see her.  

3.  Check in at the hospital.  Fill out some paperwork.  If your mom mentions that she's never had to fill out paperwork to visit a baby before, say, "Me neither!  They've really tightened up security!"  Have a seat in the waiting room.  

4.  After waiting a few minutes, ask your mom if she wants to see the gift you have for Kate's baby.  Hand her the gift bag.  Watch as she pulls out a little box...

Inside the box, she finds a little hat, folded up... tell her to go ahead and unfold it... 

What's this?  

Wait a second!   

There is no book sale!  And Kate didn't really have a baby yesterday! 

 5.  Your husband pops out from behind the corner with the camera.  The nurse calls your name, and your mom gets to meet her new grandbaby for the very first time...