Monday, February 04, 2013

Baby Shower Roundup

Most of my closest friends around here had babies last year between June and September.  It was crazy.  And very cute.  Since they were all pregnant and having babies - their third, fourth, or fifth - they were too frazzled and exhausted to throw showers for each other.  And while they may have said they didn't care about having a shower, I know from personal experience, Everyone. Wants. (And deserves.) A shower.  For every baby.  So I threw a few.

It hadn't occurred to me to post them.  Then I was going through last year's photo files, and I was like, those parties were fun!  So here's a little summary of the crazy good showers we had last year.

I threw showers for three different friends, one in June, one in August, one in September.  And since they are all friends with each other, they had to be as different as possible, to feel unique in the same setting.  I did my best.

#1 Pajama Party
I called my friend Juli and offered to throw her a shower for Baby Jane, her third girl, who was scheduled to arrive at the end of June.  Due to tight schedules, we chose a Friday night the week before Jane was expected; it was close, but it was the best we could do. 

So Juli knew about the shower, and provided the guest list, but I wanted the theme and details to be a surprise.  I sent out an Evite with bottles of nail polish across the screen, for a "Pajama Party Shower", asking everyone to come in PJ's.

Decorations:  One friend made big pink and orange paper stars, and another provided gorgeous hydrangea bouquets from her garden.  I got purple plastic tablecloths for the tables, and girly plates and napkins.  Also broke out my disco ball and put a pink filter on the light.

Food:  Juli's husband Brian is an accomplished home chef and foodie, so I asked him to make a couple of appetizers, which he not only did, but also brought them over early and plated them all gorgeously for me.  I don't even know what it all was, sorry to say, because I was running around like crazy at that point.  But everyone said it was amazing.
 I made some cookies n' cream popcorn (above, right), and provided bowls and plates of candy around the house.

Here's some more of Brian's concoctions, plus a strawberry w/ dip topiary another friend made, and some key lime pie cupcakes on the far right.
 To drink we had a tub of water bottles with single-serving Crystal Light packets.  My favorite is Ocean Spray white cranberry peach, yummy.  One friend there that night, also pregnant, tried it, and proclaimed I'd changed her life.  That's the kind of reaction I like to get at my parties.
Activities:  Because this was a pajama party, we had manicure stations at the counter, complete with emery boards, nail sticks, clippers, remover, cuticle cream, etc.  And of course plenty of polish colors!  One friend took it upon herself to also paint toenails for all the pregnant ladies at the party, so fun!
 One step of the manicure was this olive oil salt scrub that you rub on your hands and arms up to your elbow, then wash off.  So silky soft!
 Then over at the table was our facial station.  Headbands, cotton pads, and seven steps to a more beautiful you!

 Steamy hot washcloths in the crockpot to go with the facials.
 Favors:  Every good pajama party needs music!  So I made a mix CD of songs for mothers and children - I don't know about everyone else, but I still listen to mine all the time.
 Songs on the CD: Wonder Woman Theme, Lullabye for an Anxious Child (Sting), Lollipop (MIKA), For Baby (John Denver), Sweet Child O' Mine (Banda do Sul), A Child's Prayer (SweetHaven), The Babysitter's Here (Dar Williams), Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Greg Laswell), Gracie (Ben Folds), She Likes Being a Girl (Judd Grossman), Family (Dar Williams), Slipping Through My Fingers (ABBA), All Will Be Well (Gabe Dixon Band), You Raise Me Up (Josh Groban), Flesh and Blood (Johnny Cash), We Are Family (Sister Sledge), Say a Little Prayer (Shawn Colvin), Baby Mine (Allison Krauss), High Over Grandmother's Pond (Alex Grant), Prayer of the Children (Kurt Bestor), Mother and Child Reunion (Paul Simon), Mama Liked the Roses (Elvis), PM's Love Theme (Craig Armstrong)
 There's Juli in the flattering black dress in the middle.  I didn't ask permission of any of these people to post pictures, so hopefully they'll never check in here, or forgive me if they do!

 (Hazel and Ginger got to sneak down in their jammies and get their nails pained before bed.)

#2 Surprise Pancake Breakfast
My friend Andrea, due with Baby Paul in August, was adamant she did NOT want a shower for this baby, her fourth.  When asked why, she said because the shower for her third baby was so perfect, it could never be better than that.  I was at that shower, and it was very lovely, and her reason might be enough to intimidate someone smarter than me, but I said, "PHOOEY!  EVERYONE wants (and deserves) a shower."  But since she was being a pill, we had to go the surprise route, with her husband in on the deal.

Decorations:  Here's what I loved so much about this shower.  The decorations were all Andrea's!  She's got this box of a gazillion paper lanterns she uses for everything, and I very sneakily asked her if I could borrow them for something I wanted to do with my girls!  All I had to do was string them up, and put them over my pendants, and voila!  Decorated!

 And if that wasn't enough, our friends Julia and Shiloh got all the pink, yellow, and green paper products and table decorations, and Julia made three of these amazing, gorgeous diaper cakes for centerpieces (and Andrea's gift)!

Food:  Obviously, if we're having a pancake breakfast, the food is the activity and the activity is the food.  We had three kinds of pancakes - double coconut, Nutella swirl, and lemon blueberry.
 I don't even know if I can remember all the toppings.  Vanilla-pear sauce, jams, butter, maple syrup, buttermilk syrup, whipped cream...
 ...and root beer syrup, just because Andrea loves root beer so much.
 Also fruit platters...
 ...and pitchers of orange juice, rounded out the breakfast. 
 I had to borrow long tables and chairs from the church to seat everyone, and rearranging the living room by myself to set it all up was quite the feat, but so fun!  Andrea was gracious about the whole thing, and conceded, at least to make me feel good, that she was indeed so glad she had a shower.
 Since the whole downstairs was taken up with breakfast, we moved upstairs to the family room/play room for gift opening.  Nabbed this quick-and-easy decoration idea from another shower I attended once - clothesline of baby clothes.

 Here's Andrea just about to pop.  I know she won't be happy to have this picture public, but she is gorgeous - wish I looked that perfect and amazing when I was that pregnant!
Favors:  Guess I don't have a picture of them, but I found these tiny jars of jam at World Market, so everyone got a bag with two jams, one strawberry, one apricot.  I thought it went well with the pancake theme.

#3 Party of Five
This was maybe the hardest shower to come up with, just because I had already recently thrown two, and I needed this one to be different from both of them.  My friend Shanna was having her FIFTH baby, and she'd been through a real doozy of a pregnancy, to put it mildly, so she needed a really great party.  I played around with different ideas, but it seemed like everything had already been done (or was dumb), so I turned to the number 5 and found my muse. 

The Evite called it "Shanna's Party of Five" and the picture was a collage of all kinds of "five" things I could think of - a hand with five fingers, the Backstreet Boys, 5th Avenue street sign, etc. 

Decorations:  I went to the library and loaded up on children's books with "five" in the title - there are lots!  My search incidentally led to a couple of books my girls and I really loved, like The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean (front, right center.)  It was fun to see all the different books.
 My same friend with the summer hydrangeas at Juli's shower now had beautiful antique-y autumn hydrangeas she arranged for Shanna's party.

 I also printed off a bunch of "Five Little..." nursery rhymes, stuck them on scrapbook paper, and hung them up for decorations.  There are quite a few, and you might not know them all!
 Food:  I kept it simple, for a mid-morning shower - five-layer trifle...
 ...Five Alive juice to drink...
 ...and Take 5 bars in bowls around the room (luckily the Halloween candy was newly in stores, or it might have been hard to find them small size.)
Activities:  Mostly, we just sat around and ate and talked, like at most showers.  But I did have one little thing for everyone to do - a jar full of candy pumpkins, and you had to guess how many sets of five little pumpkins were in there.  The winner got to take the whole jar home, much to my daughters' disappointment.

 Here's Andrea (of the last shower), with Baby Paul, all safely in arms!
Favor:  One of the books I found in my book table search, was a charming old chapter book called Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney.  I read the whole book before the shower, and was more than once touched to tears by the simple tales of poor widowed Mrs. Pepper and her five children's mishaps and triumphs.  Thank goodness Shanna is not a widow, but I still thought this was a sweet enough book to be favor at a fifth child's shower. 5th Avenue bar attached, naturally.
 Here's Shanna (far left) with two other pregnant friends at the shower.  So many babies!  So much fun!


Joan Price said...

I love these ideas! I am in the early stages of planning my niece's shower (I am still deciding on baby shower invitations!), so I've been surfing the internet for inspiration. I love the spa themed baby shower. My niece has had a rough pregnancy, and I think a day of TLC with the people she loves is a perfect idea. Thanks for sharing!

elyse said...

I'm so glad you posted those pictures! It was so fun to see everyone! I miss you all! sigh...

Rachel said...

Holy.Crap. You are an amazing friend. (Also, just b/c I want you to homeschool, you have to start reading this lady's blog (and the comment section!).

stevenjared0853 said...

Wow, all these baby showers you threw for your friends are super nice and very inspirational for people that want some sort of help. I would like to use that first theme for my cousin’s shower that I have been planning to host at some domestic LA event venues.

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