A Valentine’s Day Picnic : {Evangeline’s First Birthday Party}


Last year I went into labor on February 13th and we were sure that we were going to have Evangeline on Valentine’s Day.  But of course she didn’t come until February 15th at 7:18am.  Even though we just missed it by a few hours, we still call her our Valentine’s baby. So when it came time to pick a theme for her 1st birthday party there was no contest; A Valentine’s Day theme!…hearts galore!  I had so much fun dreaming up the party, and then actually carrying all those things out (with the help of some awesome friends)!  I may have gone a little overboard…the house looked like a love bomb exploded in there haha. Happy Birthday my sweet Evangeline!

DSC_8174DSC_8177When people first walked in there was this sign with instructions on the party and the picnic basket of bubbles for the kids.

DSC_8149The “Love is Sweet” garland was purchased on Etsy here!DSC_8414My friend Jenna told me about where to purchase this sign on Etsy here.  I purchased the photo, had it printed at Costco for under $5 and mounted it on black poster board. DSC_8096I bought the cake toppers here! See my Healthy Cake Smash RecipeDSC_8394DSC_8067IMG_3419DSC_8095I bought these at the $1 section at Target.DSC_8144I am in love with this table runner I got on Etsy here!  See my always soft Marshmallow Chunk Rice Krispie Treat RecipeIMG_3440DSC_8211She loved looking at pictures of herself.  I kept saying “Who is that baby!?”IMG_3443DSC_8196DSC_8172I made these gorg mason jar gold glitter “vases” special for the party…now they decorate almost every room in my home and I love it!IMG_3458DSC_8326My good friend Claire was nice enough to make some heart shaped PB&J’s for the younger ones who weren’t into the taco bar.
DSC_8216DSC_8383DSC_8447We had a decorate your own heart shaped cookie table as a party favor.

DSC_8449DSC_8594DSC_8541Evangeline’s adorable dress was purchased at my favorite Etsy shop for girls dresses: Twinkle & Whim
DSC_8654Children enjoyed the parachute games, park play ground, and bubbles.  DSC_8683DSC_8693DSC_8721See my Gold Heart Piñata DIYDSC_8924The piñata was a little too tough to break for the kiddies so my husband ripped it apart.DSC_8974The end result of the cake smash….no cake smashed haha.  Thank you Karla & Heather for decorating the high chair! DSC_9045We were so blessed by our friends and family.DSC_9058We had to sneak in a costume change to try on one of her new outfits while she played with her new toys. DSC_9004All tuckered out!  It was a great party with our lil’ nugget.

My “Labor Day” : {5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going Into Labor}

As Labor Day approached I could have written about fun American themed parties, but I honestly didn’t really plan anything so it would be a lie- haha! Sometimes 3 day weekends/holidays aren’t always about cute Pinterest-y parties, but just about being with those you love and relaxing! As for me I am relaxing with my hubby and baby girl. The last few weeks every time I thought “Labor Day is approaching” all I kept thinking about was my “labor” experience when I had my first baby a little over 6 months ago. I am not going to go into all the details of it (yet), but I thought I would share the 5 things I wish I knew before my “Labor Day” that NO ONE told me….maybe it can help someone out someday.

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going into Labor:

1. Water Breaking Lies: This was the biggest misconception by far! In all the movies/TV shows I have seen when someone’s water breaks it happens in one “splash” and then it is done. BUT in real life the fluid from your water breaking can come out for hours!….Yes hours! (6 in my case). Talk about embarrassing when you think it has officially broken, only to be standing in the hospital in your third change of clothes and it just keeps coming out as you check-in.

2. Eat Before (if you have time): Once you are checked into the hospital they don’t let you eat anything. So my advice is to grab something to eat on the way because the next opportunity to eat could be hours or in my case 2 days away! Now of course if the baby is crowning or your contractions are super close together then skip this. But if there is time….eat something! I literally would have had enough time to shower, get dolled up, and eat if I wasn’t so panicked.

3. Overpack: I googled “hospital packing lists” months prior to giving birth and then decided to compile my own because none of them had all the things I wanted. I had this idea in my mind of wanting a magical, peaceful birthing experience so I packed everything I would need for that (iPod speakers, magazines, massage lotion)….well the one thing I didn’t pack was more than 3 days worth of clothes for my husband! We ended up being in the hospital 5 days and I was not wanting my husband to leave so he had to wear the same clothes over and over! So overpack!

4. You wait for Doctors: For the entirety of your labor you will only see the doctor on rare occasions…mostly when it is time to push….but besides that, it is you and the nurses. So when I was ready to push it happened to be around 6am and my dr. wouldn’t be there until 7am. So they made me wait….literally with a baby like hanging out of me. She walked in, told me to push, and that was it….my baby was born. Seems like a pretty sweet gig for a dr. if you ask me.

5. “Your Birthing Plan” may get thrown out the window: Like I said above, I had this idea of what my birthing experience would be like: what I would wear, how I would handle contractions, what music would be playing, etc. I wanted to bring my baby into the world naturally, with no pain meds, and in a peaceful environment. What I never realized was that sometimes the baby has a different plan and medically sometimes things need to be done in the best interest of the baby (and mom). I wanted to be cute….FORGET THAT! I did not want an epidural….But it ended up saving me from having a C-Section. I thought I would be able to handle contractions….But I didn’t think I would need to be induced and Pitocin causes violent contractions. The list can go on and on.

There are so many things we don’t know and can’t expect when it comes to giving birth so just be informed, be as prepared as you can, and then be open to whatever is best for you and your baby.

Happy “Labor Day” to all the moms out there and good luck on your Labor Day!


#Teamjohnston {Serving those you love}

Almost two years ago I started a new job that had me waking up earlier and commuting longer than any job I previously had.  After a few weeks of this I became somewhat unbearable at home.  I was cranky from lack of sleep and complaining constantly to my husband about the traffic and that I never had enough time to get ready anymore.  This crankiness resulted in crying… yes, I had a diva moment.  My calm husband just held me, told me how great I was for working so hard to help provide for the family, and said he wished I didn’t have to work.  But of course like most, I do have to work.

The next morning I woke up before the sun (as usual) and started to get ready.   A few minutes later my husband came into the bathroom and said, “What can I do to help you get ready?”  He had set his alarm to get up a little after me to help get me ready and even though I thought it was just too much, in desperation I rattled off a long list. Over the months when running late I would list off requests like: make my breakfast, start my coffee, warm up the car, lay out my outfit and pack my lunch.  There were even days I was running so late he would hold the blow dryer to my hair while I applied makeup, or put my boots on my feet while I brushed my hair.  (I know what you are thinking…I should be planning ahead, getting up earlier- I’m spoiled…ALL TRUE).

After weeks of this, there was a morning where he forgot to set his alarm and get up with me.  I didn’t wake him because I thought he deserved a morning to sleep in.  But as I pulled away from our house and began to drive down the street I saw him running after me.  I stopped and said, “What are you doing!? Go back to bed!”   But to my surprise he was upset with me.  He couldn’t believe I hadn’t woken him and reprimanded me for not doing so.  When I asked him what the big deal was he responded, “Care, we’re a team.  You do so much for us, this is something I can do for you, and I want to serve you in this way.    I know it’s stressful for you and I want to make it easier for you”  (Yes, this made me love him even more). Before I drove away he kissed me and said, “Team Johnston.”

Since then on when we do something that is hard, serve each other, compromise, or even do fun stuff, we look at each other and say “Team Johnston!”  It has come to be something we cherish, pride ourselves in, and are thankful for.

Of course you must know this took place before I was in my prime and a mommy and I have since grown out of the phase of needing help in the mornings and needing so much time to get ready….. And thank God for that!

What are some sacrifices you and your loved ones make for each other that you are thankful for?