2nd Birthday Party – Spotted Monkey Theme

We chose to make a party theme around Oliver’s favorite toy – the ‘Dazzle Dots’ monkey by Mary Meyer toys/Taggies.  It was fun to find different things to match the theme.


Here are a few of the details from the party…


The cups, plates, napkins and table cloth were all from Party City.  We bought brown napkins and four different color plates to match the colors of the spots his monkey has. The colors we used were Robin’s Egg Blue, Orange, Kiwi Green and Red. The red silverware was from the Dollar Tree.

Click the link to shop the collection of polka dotted party supplies here.



Oliver enjoyed helping us decorate this year. 🙂  Since the crepe paper we used from his first birthday were 3 of the same colors, we just used what we had left over.  These colors were found at Target for $2 each but they also have them at Party City.


For the cupcakes we put together a few ideas that I found online to make them look like a monkey.

All of the cake supplies were found at Target.

The Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix and frosting were perfect for our theme and the frosting already came with the color spots that we needed for the monkey.

We used Wilton Candy Eyeballs for the eyes – which we also used for his cupcakes last year.

The rest was made with an upside-down vanilla wafer and frosting for the face and Cheerios for the ears.


If you really want to get creative you can make them each have their own facial expression – I just did one. 🙂


What’s a monkey theme party without banana bread?  There are so many great recipes online.  This streusel one was delicious!


The original plan was to have a polka dotted pasta salad but I could not find tricolor wagon wheel pasta noodles.  It still had some spots with the olives and mini pepperonis.


To add to the spotted theme, grapes!


The balloons were all from Party City as well.


I was really excited to find these party hats on Amazon.  There are plates and napkins to match but I enjoyed putting together the ones that we used instead. The extra hats were given to his friends on the toy shelf. 🙂


For party bags we found these small gift bags on clearance at Target.  We filled them each with bubbles and a pair of socks.


I tried getting a photo of both of them but after a delayed nap time for Oliver, monkey was the only one that would sit for a photo. 🙂


Unwinding from a busy day with lots of family, cake and gifts!

Last but not least, if you want your own spotted monkey, you can buy one here. 🙂


Oliver’s Guide to… keeping Mom & Dad awake all night

Hi Everyone, Oliver here.  I am now seven weeks old.

People keep telling me that seven must be my lucky number since I was born at 7:00pm weighing 7lbs 7oz.  Keeping with the pattern of 7’s, I wanted to share seven of my favorite ways to keep my parents awake at night:

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1. Take Power Naps During Your Bottle: It’s common for Mom and Dad to give you an extra ounce to eat before bed so you will sleep longer.  Whatever you do, do not drink the full bottle. It is so much harder to stay awake with a full tummy.  Taking a short power nap after each ounce will not only buy you more time, but also help you catch up on sleep so you can stay awake longer.  By the time you finish one bottle, it will almost be time for another one!  This one can buy you at least a couple hours. 

2. Timing: It’s understandable that you will have to fall asleep at some point but it is all about timing.  Only fall asleep within 30 minutes before your next bottle is due.  This is your time to completely relax and let yourself fall asleep.  Don’t worry about sleeping for too long, your tummy will wake you back up soon.  After your next bottle, you will want to repeat this and keep Mom or Dad awake for another 2-3 hours so it is very important that you get your rest when you can.

3. Fill Your Diaper: The process of filling your diaper helps you stay awake.  Make as much noise as possible during this time to be sure Mom and Dad hear what you are doing (it will also keep them awake).  When you get to the changing table to be changed, they will have to turn the light on.  Be sure to stare at the light, it will help you wake yourself up even more.

4. Get the Hiccups: For me this usually happens after I fill my diaper so it is a great one to use in the same night that you try that one.  It works best if you also try this one on nights when you do not burp after your last bottle. Mom knows that I always spit up if I don’t burp and I get the hiccups after drinking a bottle.  Mom will be so worried about you possibly spitting up while you are laying on your back that she will jump out of bed and hold you until they go away.  Hiccups can last for a while so just wait them out.  They may not be the most comfortable but they are what is buying you extra snuggle time before bed.

5. Smile:  It seems so simple but parents go crazy over this when you are my age.  I guess I don’t do it very often yet.  When I look at them as they are rocking me to sleep, all I have to do is lift the corners of my mouth slightly while making eye contact and it instantly buys me an extra 10-30 minutes of awake time.  Mom and Dad will forget that they were trying to make you fall asleep and their new mission will be to make you smile.  Be sure to space them out a little to drag out this time as long as possible.  If you give them a second smile one of them will probably go grab the camera and they will both wait for you to do it again.

6. Refuse The Pacifier:  This is a trap.  I’m not sure exactly how it works, but I fall asleep so much easier when I have this in my mouth.  Mom and Dad must know this because they always seem to give it to me when they are trying to get me to fall asleep.

7. Breathe Quietly:  Mom is always listening to me as she falls asleep and nothing makes her jump out of bed faster than if I suddenly decide to start breathing quieter.  You can use this trick a couple times each night.  The trick is to wait until you see Mom turn off the lamp and hear her get back in bed. I recommend using this one no more than a couple times each night so she doesn’t catch on. 


Good luck! 🙂








Oliver’s Top Five – Newborn to 6 Weeks

Before Oliver was born it was a complete guessing game when we put together the baby registry.  The swaddle wrap and pacifier that he chose ended up being the ones they used at the hospital with him and we also tried a couple different bottles before we found the best one.  Several of the toys we knew he wouldn’t play with until he was older but a couple were nice to have in the first few weeks.  Clearly these are all things he wanted to pick out on his own when he got here. 🙂


This will now be Oliver’s contribution to the family blog and I will update them as he gets older and has new favorites. 🙂

Oliver’s Top Five so far (complete with Amazon links):

1. HALO SleepSack Micro-Fleece Swaddle: The nurses kept him in this during out hospital stay but I don’t think we really appreciated it until we got home.  It is so convenient for nighttime feedings and diaper changes for the first few weeks when they like to stay swaddled.  With the zipper starting at the bottom you can keep them wrapped up while you check or change their diaper which helped him fall back asleep.  We used this so often that we had to go to Target to buy him another one so we weren’t doing laundry so much. He slept in these for the first four weeks before he no longer liked to be swaddled and we switched him to fleece sleepers.ADSC_0051

2. WubbaNubHe really liked the Soothie pacifier that they gave him in the hospital so it was great when a friend gave him one of these.  At first I thought it was just a cute toy that was functional, but now I don’t know what we’d do without it.  Not only are they super cute but they help keep the pacifier from falling when he pushes it out of his mouth.  It’s especially nice when he is in the car seat and can now put it back in his mouth on his own since it keeps it right up by his mouth.  When he’s fighting going to sleep he now snuggles when we wrap him in his blanket.  At 5 and 6 weeks he has started holding the giraffe’s hand too. 🙂

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3. Playtex Bottle with drop-in liners: We started using these with him when he was almost 4 weeks old after we noticed he was uncomfortable and had a lot of discomfort from gas bubbles.  Since using these we have noticed that he does not spit up and no longer is fussy when working on a diaper.  They have definitely made a big difference.  There is also a Target brand liner that works in these bottles which saves a little money.

4. Fisher Price Singing Star Gym: He first started showing interest in this when he was almost 4 weeks old.  We have an older version of this toy that’s in the link but it does the same thing.  He likes watching the mirror reflection on the stars when he hits them but he can’t hit them hard enough yet to make the music start on his own.  When the music is playing he loves to follow the lights on the keys with his eyes.  It’s neat that he can grow into this toy as a keyboard to stand at when he’s a toddler.

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5. Fisher Price Cuddle Soother Elephant: This originally helped him relax when he had gas bubbles but now it also helps him fall asleep.

The Nursery

We are so excited to finally have the nursery put together and ready to welcome our baby boy any day!

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The ‘baby’ storage box was something my Mom and I found at Savers and is the perfect size for holding diapers!

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This rocking chair is the same one that was in Shawn’s nursery and the lamp was from mine.

The end table is from Target and used to be in our living room (we spray painted it yellow).  The pillow is from HomeGoods but we found it at a garage sale.

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This dresser is from my bedroom set when I was younger and is already full of clothes for our little guy!  The changing table pad cover is one we found on clearance at JCPenney before we knew if our little one was a boy or a girl.


The gallery wall is a collection of art work and frames that we have been collecting for years.  The three frames with the animals are frames that were collected throughout different thrift stores and garage sales.  We originally wanted to do a gallery wall of just these frames but then they stopped showing up when we were shopping.  The ‘It’s so good to walk with Jesus’ plaque was something we found a couple summers ago at a garage sale for 25 cents.  Both green frames are from Goodwill and were spray painted.  The empty frame will have our little one’s first initial in it after he’s born.  The other frame has a plaque in it that my Mom found at Savers.  Its the exact print that I found on Pinterest and have been looking everywhere for for months!  I kept seeing the version of the print with the girl so I was excited to finally have this one!  The lemonade stand artwork used to be hanging in our hallway and was another Goodwill find for just 49 cents. The last frame is from my Nana’s house and is filled with scrapbook paper.

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You can read more about the wall art in the Nursery from this post and the crib quilt from this post.

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The crib skirt we found at Goodwill before we knew if we were having a boy or a girl but knew yellow would be in the nursery color scheme.  The rug is one of the most recent things we found and we got that at a garage sale — it matches all of the colors perfectly!

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This owl we bought last fall at Pier1 before we were even expecting — it was too cute and we knew we would be having a baby soon so we bought it for the nursery and held on to it. 🙂


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This rocking chair I found several years ago at Goodwill for $2.99 and used it for multiple photo shoots.  I loved the natural wood color that it was but also knew it would be a cute addition to the nursery in green.

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It’s a Boy!

On father’s day weekend we were able to get our parents & siblings together for a gender reveal party!

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After looking at all of the fun ideas on Pinterest, we decided to get a small gift for each couple to open and the color of the gift would tell them the gender of our baby.

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We got these bags at Target and then wrapped each gift in a layer of white tissue paper and topped the bag with a blue and a pink piece of tissue paper.  Each of the gifts were something that could be purchased for under $5 and was something practical that we knew our families would use.

For my parents, they mentioned they needed new ice cream dishes.  I found these at target in teal or pink so it was a perfect gift for this party!

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For Shawn’s parents, we bought them five blue dice since they play a lot of Yatzee.

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For my older brother & his wife, we got them two blue loofahs.  It’s a running joke in our family and a long story… but we knew they would love them!

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My younger brother got Hershey candy bars in his bag.  We wrapped them in blue scrapbook paper and cut out to undercover the letters ‘HE’.  If the baby was a girl we would have done the same thing with pink paper and uncovered the letters ‘SHE’.

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Since Shawn’s sister likes Yankee Candles, we got her and her husband a blue jar candle.

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Here are a few photos we took when everyone was here:

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After everyone opened their gifts, we could have cake!

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We also bought these onesies at Goodwill and fabric markers at Michael’s so that our family could design onesies for our little one.  The onesies were all different sizes so it will fun to see when he will be able to wear each of them.

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Everyone decorating their onesies…

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The finished products:

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