Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Eli!

Gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES! Eli's 3rd Birthday Party post is about to begin!

Saturday, November 5th, our family and friends gathered at our new house to celebrate Eli's 3rd birthday party. This year we (I) chose a race car theme because Eli is ALL ABOUT cars right now. The decorations were very easy and simple, and I loved the color scheme-black, white, and red. My mom helped me out in a HUGE way like always and helped make everything cutesy just like I like it. We stayed up pretty late the night before decorating cupcakes, setting up the tables, making labels, and getting everything ready for the party the next day. Plus, I also had to clean and straighten the house because this was the first time people other than family were going to be at the new house. I knew they'd want the grand tour and I wanted the house to look its' best.

This year we had to plan Eli's party around two things-naptime and the LSU/Alabama game. That's what you do when you have a birthday during college football season. Last year, LSU played Alabama and I scheduled Eli's party around that game time, but then they changed it at the last minute and Eli's party ended up being right in the middle of  the game. Yeah, it wasn't good. This year I wasn't going to make the mistake twice. Well, truthfully, it wasn't my fault...they're the ones that changed the game time last year. Anyway, I planned Eli's party mid-morning that way Eli would still be able to get his nap, it wouldn't interrupt game time, and people would still have the rest of their day to do things.

Eli's birthday balloon wreath I made for birthday weeks at our house. 
I love how it turned out!

The only problem with the party being at 10:30 is it came a lot sooner than I thought it would! Thankfully, Mom and I got most of the stuff done the night before, so Saturday morning was mostly just setting everything up. My friend, Diane, and her family and my brother and sis-in-law, Josh and Andrea, arrived a little early so I was able to use their help with last minute stuff before everyone started arriving. Before I knew it, it was PARTY TIME! My friend, Torri, took pictures again for me this year and she did a FANTASTIC job as always. I'm so blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful family members and friends who love my little boy so much :)

The frame Mom found at Hobby Lobby for his party.
I love all the vintage license plates around it.

Lightning McQueen cupcakes I made

Luigi's leaning tower of tires :)
(chocolate donuts)

Guido's Dipsticks
(chocolate dipped pretzel rods)

Red Light/Green Light treats
(Rice Krispie treats dipped in chocolate with M&M candies)

My birthday boy wearing the shirt my friend, Sarah, made for him :)

Mammy and Uncle Clare

Becky and Autumn Ferguson


Flo's Filling Station
(Rootbeer and Hawaiian Punch)

My friends, Kally and Diane

Josh and Clare

Reve and Richard

Sarah, Cooper, and Sophie

Sarah, me, and Cooper

Proud parents

My friend, Dara, let us use her little girl's inflatable jumper they got for her birthday last year and it was  a LIFESAVER considering we had NOTHING in our backyard for the kids to play on. The little kids LOVED jumping, sliding, and playing on it. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dara!!

While the kids were playing on the jumper, the adults started eating and snacking.

I went the simple route on Eli's cake this year. I did cupcakes in the shape of a big 3 that looked like a road and simply stuck some of his cars on top.

For the cake we used to sing Happy Birthday to him, I baked a small 6" cake and decorated it with Wilton's black sugar sheet. I'd never used that stuff before, but I really liked it. I just cut out my squares and made my own checkerboard pattern around the edge of the cake. I cut out a road for the top, rolled some yellow Laffy Taffy flat to use for the dash marks on the road,  and then stuck Lightning on top. I was really pleased with the outcome.

I also made a couple of Mater cupcakes. I LOVED how these turned out! The recipe only made 6 so I used them mostly for decoration but Eli got to eat one on his real birthday the next day and loved it. 

All the grandparents this year went in together on Eli's birthday gift and bought him a play fort with a slide, see saw, and swings this year. He LOVED it! I was so worried it wouldn't come in in time to be assembled, but it arrived Wednesday. Unfortunately, with us still moving stuff in, getting unpacked, having a fence built literally days before the party, Josh didn't have time to work on it before my parents and his parents arrived. Dad, Ed, and Josh got really busy Friday after Grandparents' Day and started assembling the swingset. Thank goodness for the love of grandparents because they worked until sunset Friday night and then woke up at 6 AM the next morning to continue working on it. They didn't get it completely finished, but it was sturdy enough that the kids were able to play on it during the party. Eli LOVED it :)

We called all the kids to come in so we could sing Happy Birthday to Eli, but they didn't want to get off the jumper or the swingset, so Dara finally just unplugged the jumper :) The kids were starving but first we had to sing Happy Birthday to the sweetest three year old ever :)

He absolutely loved hearing everyone sing to him. He sat there and just soaked it all up smiling the entire time.

Then it was time for cake!

After all the kids had stuffed their bellies, we had a couple games for them to play. I found some cardboard boxes (had plenty of those leftover from the move!) and my Dad painted them for me. I dressed them up with eyes, mouths and race car numbers, and we had instant race cars for the kids to run around in and play with. The kids Eli's age didn't really take to the cars the way the older kids (5-6 year olds) did. They really got into the games and kept wanting to race each other!

Then I had Sophie, Torri's daughter, help me play Red Light/Green Light (who doesn't remember playing that game as a kid?) with the kids. They loved that game just as much as the race cars!

After the games, it was present time. The kids were all excited to see what Eli got for his birthday.

Every year there is always a toy that captures Eli's attention more than anything. This year that honor went to my friend, Sarah's, gift of an umbrella. Who knew my child would want to drop absolutely everything else and do nothing but play with that umbrella? I definitely didn't because if I had I wouldn't have opened the umbrella in the middle of the gift opening :)

I tried to get Eli to pass the umbrella to Dara so that he could open the rest of his gifts, but he wasn't having any of that. I was even willing to hold the umbrella for him while he opened the rest of this gifts, but he wasn't having that either. He wanted to sit in my lap and hold the umbrella. The only problem was  he kept hitting the other kids accidentally in the face with it. I didn't want them to get hurt, so I finally took the umbrella away and told him I'd give it back to him as soon as he was finished.

Yeah, Mom of the Year right here...My little guy was not happy at all! I hate seeing big crocodile tears on his birthday! It broke my heart!

I finally got him to calm down and we finished opening his gifts. He received so many wonderful gifts from his friends. We've had so much fun playing with everything since then.

He especially loved his new Cars sunglasses from Mammy and Uncle Clare.

The best part of his day though was when he was able to get that umbrella again. It made my heart smile.

I love this picture of Eli and my Dad. It truly shows the relationship they have together. They're good buddies and Dad's always there quietly showing and guiding Eli. I've said it before but I'm so thankful that Eli has such a wonderful example to look up to. This really makes my heart smile :)

I was so thankful to have so many wonderful friends there. I love watching our kids grow up together. Sarah is such a precious part of my life. I thank God for her and for her friendship.

Me and Soph

Josh and Andrea drove in for the birthday party and I was so glad! They were a huge help getting the food ready. They are building their dream house right now and I can't wait until it's finished!

My other brother, Caleb, also drove in for the party. He and Eli are good buddies and they love playing games together. Caleb's really just a big kid :)

After the party was over and the guests left, we took some family pictures before we all took naps. We were exhausted!

Eli with all his presents from his birthday! He loved them all!

The party was a HUGE success! Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated our little boy turning 3! We have been so blessed to have all of you in our lives. Thank you for loving our little boy and making his birthday party such a fun day full of great memories!

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