Tuesday, September 18, 2018
On September 6th our third daughter turned one year old. I planned a little Party Animal party for her out here on the farm complete with a bounce house and the cutest custom cookies. All the details are below!

When it comes to planning these parties I always think it's going to be so minimal. Hardly any work...I tell myself. Why is this never the case?

To start things off, I created a little Party Animal Invitation that we sent out to all of Elli's nearest and dearest (ie. all our friends). And just like that, the theme was born.

Next on the list - We've been collecting these tiny animals since Kaye was a baby, so we have quite the group. All I had to do was make 12039 tiny cones and put little wool balls on top...and then, of course, hot glue them to each animal's head.

I also decided I wanted to try my hand at balloon garlands. I've been seeing them all over and I just knew if all these other people could do them...so could I. And friends - they are easier than they look! Just make sure you have a hand pump.

And just like that - Ba Da Cha - My minimalist party was complete! Not so fast. There were going to be a range of ages at this party with quite a few in the 3 - 7 age bracket, and let me tell you, nothing is better at a party than a giant bounce slide. It keeps the kids active and gives the parents a chance to eat all the party treats. Everyone wins! And while Elli wouldn't touch the bounce slide, she absolutely loved watching all the kids scream and laugh and have the very best time. If you're local to southern Idaho - grab yourself a bounce slide for your next event at Bouncin' Bins!

They have the best selection of wet and dry slides. You can get bounce houses and combos and there really are so many options I had a hard time deciding. The double slide ended up being a huge hit with our groups. You can get 10% off by using the code GIRLSTRAVELING.

Okay...NOW my party was complete. Invites - check. Bounce house - check. Balloon garland - check. Oh wait! What about those adorable custom cookies I've been seeing at so many parties lately? Elli neeeeeeeeds them! (Internal conversation I'm having with myself a week before the party.) So, because Elli obviously needed custom cookies I contacted a local Boise bakery that specializes in custom treats - One Haute Cookie, and they did NOT disappoint. I e-mailed them my idea and included a picture of Elli's invitation and within two days they had e-mailed me back with some sketches and ideas that were absolutely perfect. I can't brag on the ladies at One Haute Cookie enough! When I picked up the cookies I bought Sawyer and I each one for the road (mine was gluten free) and they were so soft and delicious I couldn't even believe it. Even better, friends, they ship! So, if you're in a different part of the state, or in California, or Nebraska...it doesn't matter. One Haute Cookie can be at your event.

Side note - I also used the cookies (that came individually wrapped) as party favors! I just attached a little tag to each one with some string. So easy!

So obviously, now that we have a bounce slide and custom cookies, the party is more than complete. No. That's never the case! One must make a smash cake and cakepops and floral arrangements and cupcakes and go to the grocery store 327 times and get out all the tables and chairs and tablecloths and...the list goes on.

And while I'm kind of hating myself in the moment of getting all the goodies and decorations pulled together...I'm NEVER mad at myself for planning a party for one of my best gals and inviting friends and family to the farm to celebrate. Never. It's worth it every single time.

The only snafu was watching the weather roll in that day. The forecast said 75 all week and even the day of. There was no mention of rain. Then the wind started blowing and sprinkles started falling. My heart sank. Everything I'd worked all morning on was getting wet. Everyone grabbed something and hauled it up our stairs to the kitchen. And just like that - my low maintenance outside party that I wasn't going to have to clean my house for...was an inside party. And as soon as we got everything moved inside...the sun came back out and it was the most beautiful day. Perfect 75 degree weather. Go figure.

All this to say - We had a wonderful day. I can say with confidence that even Elli had the best day of her life. She enjoyed all the attention and strutted around with her thighs out in her new sneakers like she owned the joint. Her smash cake was a big hit...even though there was minimal smashing and more so just dainty pokes and licks with her finger.
Will I be throwing another large party for Kaye and Sawyer in October? I say no now, but how can I shy away from more delicious cookies and a bounce house? Stay tuned - We'll see how our two week road trip goes that we leave for on SATURDAY! To say I'm nervous would be an understatement.

Party Details :

Bounce Slide - Bouncin' Bins
Custom Cookies - One Haute Cookie
Balloon Garland - Shop Sweet Lulu
Invitation - Wink & Ink Paperie
Flowers - Trader Joe's
More Pictures! A highlight of the party was this guy's little surprise. He shares a birthday with Elli, so naturally we threw some candles on a cake that was half eaten from Russell's birthday and let him go to town.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Oh, you know. Just a blog that's supposed to be about all this travel travel travel...and we have yet to...travel. But obviously I have all the excuses in the world. Ie. School starting, birthdays galore, coordinating with all our friends in all the states. Those sorts of things.

But...we have been up to the day to day and here's what's been happening...

A few weekends ago we made our way to a county fair about two hours east of our farm. That same town has a Costco, so it was a dual-purpose trip.

Sawyer has never been as brave as Kaye (albeit, still outgoing) so we thought for sure it would take some prodding and convincing to get her on the rides. We were so very very wrong. Both girls were sprinting from attraction to attraction and picking out rides way beyond their height clearance. Thank God they have each other...because that hot air balloon ride would have done me in. I used to be able to do all the rides...and then motion sickness set in in my adulthood. Does anyone have recommendations for that?
Because I've been talking about it way too much lately, you maybe heard our youngest gal turned one on September 6th. The best decision I've ever made was postponing her party by a full weekend. So, we've been doing little party preps here and there and I'm loving how funny these little party animals are turning out. 

If you follow along on Instagram you may have seen that on Tuesdays we have both school and gymnastics. This wouldn't be a big deal, but we drive almost 40 minutes to school and then I drive back to the farm. Then I drive 40 minutes to pick them up...and then another 40 minutes to take them to gymnastics. Then three hours of gymnastics...and then an hour drive home. It's not that there's a lot going on, it's just a lot of time in the car and a veeeeerrrrry long day. Especially for Sawyer. Girlfriend always falls asleep and is usually pretty crabby when we have to wake her up. 
On this particular day, in hopes of keeping her cheery, we stopped for a quick smoothie before class. As we waited for our smoothies the girls played Elli's favorite game of peek-a-boo. And then once smoothies were in hand, both spilled them down their fronts. So...that was a win.
Later that week (it was a Thursday) Elli turned one. It was probably the worst day of her life as I made her pose for waaaaaay too many pictures, but I'm trying to start some traditions, people! We started with birthday pancakes...and yes. She can devour the stack.

And later that day we had a birthday nap wakeup with balloons. We couldn't do birthday morning...because girlfriend wakes up at 6 am and it's still dark.
We've had some daaaaayzzzz on the farm...and the weather has been toying with our emotions. Some days it will be so beautiful out. Just the perfect amount of heat. And then we'll have a mini-heatwave where it's 95 and dry and dusty and ugh. This particular day also happened to be the day we had nothing going on. We didn't have to be anywhere. No visitors. Nada. So...I gave the gals a pass and we didn't fix hair and they picked out their own clothes. Kaye will a t-shirt and shorts every day...and Sawyer picked a swim cover-up. Oh, and they put a bandana on Elli. Also...why bother with shoes?

The farmer and I managed to squeeze in a date-night. We popped over to Boise, met up with some friends, and ate at a new-ish restaurant called The Wylder.
And lastly...I've been starting way too many projects...and not finishing them. As of late I've been trying to make our front deck a little more welcoming. We have a porch swing started. I have pots planted...after they housed dead things all summer long (forehead slap). And my last feat was removing all the crappy gravel that was in front of our porch steps. The plan is to level it out with some sand and then lay flagstone. We'll see. But what should be noted is when I went to wheel the wheelbarrow away I hadn't calculated how heavy it would be with all the rock and I immediately dumped it. Which I then had to shovel all the rock baaaaack in. And then I waited for my Farmer to get home.

And that's lately! This weekend we'll have our final celebration for Elli's first year and then it will be full steam ahead as we finish up the final planning details for our road trip!


Friday, September 07, 2018
A sweet, monthly update of our third daughter, Elliot.

Oh mercy. If I had a nickel for every time I've talked about how fast this year went...I'd have about 55 nickels.

Was the year hard? Yes. Did I lose my patience? Every day. Where was my exhaustion level? About a 24 on a scale of 1 - 10. Did I have a lot of support from my Farmer? Definitely. How many days did I wear yoga pants? 345 is probably a close estimate out of the last 365 days.

Was it the best year of our lives? By far.

I know you're not supposed to compare your babies, but that's all I do most every single day. With that said...

Elli was our slowest walker with only taking a few steps at nine months and then officially walking just before eleven months.

Elli looks the most like me...so I've heard. I'm going to hang onto that one as long as I can.

Elli has the biggest ears...and possibly the biggest eyes...and definitely the largest head by far. Kaye and Sawyer both had / have tiny heads. Elli ranks in the 97th percentile. Coincidentally - She was my longest / hardest recovery.

We're going to say that big head houses a big brain because she's also our earliest talker. She seems to pick up on things quicker. This could be because she has more people around she's constantly observing?

Elli has the blondest hair...or maybe she just has the most hair? Her farmer and I absolutely adore her little mullet action in the back and the way she has a few straggly hairs that lay over her ears. She pretty much looks disheveled most of the day every dar.

Elli's our only baby to ever keep a bow in. In fact, she prefers it. She also enjoys wearing hats.

Elli doesn't sleep in her car seat. This is actually super annoying and I'm still hoping she will get on board with this idea in the near future.

Elli is our only screamer. The other two whined quite a bit...but Elli screams. I don't know if this is something she picked up on so she could be heard above her sisters, but dear lord it grates on my nerves.

Elli might be the sweetest. She's extremely cuddly and is always quick to lay her head on your shoulder. I adore that sweetness.

I could go on...and on...and on...but I won't.

Need to get caught up? You can find Elli's birth story here.

This girl - she has fire in her. Granted...she's extremely cuddly but also independent but also clingy but also indecisive. Or maybe I just can't figure out what she's trying to tell me sometimes...? Whatever the case...we're on our toes a lot with this one.

Kaye and Elli are birds of a feather. They certainly resemble each other more-so than Elli and Sawyer. They're about the same size on the growth chart. I see the similarities in their eyes and noses, especially. And while lots of people say she looks a lot like me, Kaye has always looked like our Farmer...which means Elli probably looks a lot like hime too. I'm in denial.

Elli still love Kaye and Kaye loves being the biggest sister. I ask for Kaye's help probably more than I should and I'm pretty sure I have yet to hear any complaints. Kaye is, quite simply, the best big big sister out there.

Sawyer...oh Sawyer. What are we going to do with that girl? She loves Elli so much, but her love hurts. 99% of the time Sawyer's hugs result in Elli falling to the floor or being pushed down because it's thrown her off balance. And no matter how many times I tell Sawyer to not carry Elli...Sawyer insists...even though Elli is closing in on Sawyer's size. They are within 10 pounds of each other.

Also notable - Elli thinks Sawyer is funny now. Sawyer will pretend to hurt herself and say, "Owwwww!" And Elli thinks that's hysterical. Whatever works...


nicknames | One of the names I was hoping my farmer would consider when we found out we were having our third girl was Elle. He wasn't into it. And really...It might have been weird since we already have a Kaye. (K, L...get it?) But the other day I naturally abbreviated Elli to Elle, for whatever reason, and I was thrilled with myself. (Big thrills in my life these days, clearly.) Anyway...I hope Elle continues to come out of my mouth...because I still love that name.

size | Girlfriend had her little well-baby check-up yesterday and she's sitting solid at 21 pounds and it appears grew almost an inch in one month...so she's still super tall. This is pretty obvious considering she fits snugly in her 12 - 18 month clothing. And of course, she still has a giant head and big ears...But I can say, it appears that her ears have flattened to her head ever so slightly.

milestones | A few milestones this month...

Our little Elli is a mover and a shaker. She is cruising all over the house and rarely stops to sit. Very rarely. If she hears music come one she'll throw her hands in the air and bounce. And she loves knowing what's going on with her sisters...so the whole walking thing so she can follow them around is super convenient.

Elli has a mouthful of six teeth. Four on top and two on the bottom. There miiiight be another one poking through on the bottom, but she hasn't let me in there to give a thorough inspection.

Elli currently says - Uh-oh! Ow! Mama, Dada, hello and can sign all done and more. Elli also waves hello and bye-bye...and it's really pretty sweet.

Peek-a-boo is still a favorite and she's started giving unlimited kisses. After a kiss she'll clap for herself...and we clap too because we can't get enough of them.

Elli also enjoys a good high-five or seven or thirteen...as many as you'll take, really.

sleep | I've said it before...Elli is a wonderful sleeper. Unfortunately, the big girls have activities that are really messing with her nap schedule. She used to take a nap at 9:30 am and another at around 1:30 pm. Well, since school has started, two days a week Elli doesn't get her 1:30 pm nap because we have to go get her sisters. And apparently those two days throw off the rest of her week. So, we might be transitioning to one nap. When that happens, in a perfect world, she'll nap for 2.5 - 3 hours from about 11:00 am - 2 pm. Happy, rested baby = happy mama.

eats | The only issue we have in the food department is not getting it to her mouth quick enough. She screams and it's the worst. She has exactly zero patience in the food department. I mean...when I stop to think about it logically, I get it. She's walking now and cruising all over the house non-stop. She must be working up some good appetites.

Favorite eats : hummus, chicken, bananas...and who am I kidding. All the food.

loves | Elli is a huge fan of being a part of it all. She's so thrilled she can walk now because she can't get left behind. But...let me tell you what ticks her off...

dislikes | Being the slightest bit hungry or thirsty. Her car seat. Or...should you pause for two seconds before you answer to any of her needs she's going to let you know that's not okay by screaming. Yes, she's still a screamer.

Elli-belly...I hope you have the very best birthday month! September is big in our house and I'm so happy we get to celebrate you all month long. Your Farmer and I absolutely adore your beautiful blue eyes and your squishy chubbiness. Your kisses are beyond the best. Thank you for never denying us. We know that next year is going to be even better than this year...which will be hard to top, but as you grow, so will our adventures! 

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