Meet the Sullivans: January 2013

January 28, 2013

Mommy and Me Monday

Fellow blogger (and mother to an adorable Owen as well!) Emily at Dear Owen hosts a Mommy and Me link up every Monday. This is such a great idea, because I rarely manage to take pictures of Owen and I together. I'm usually the one behind the camera capturing the moments! 

This picture of Owen and I is from our visit to the pediatrician last week. I took Owen for his 12 month well baby visit. He is growing great and is in the 65 percentile in height and weight. He was super silly that morning and very hard to wrangle, as I'm sure you can tell! 

Have a great start to your week! 

January 27, 2013

Owen's First Birthday Circus: The Cake Smash?

This is my finally post- birthday party post. I hope you've enjoyed seeing Owen's First Birthday celebration as much as I've enjoyed sharing it! 

When it came time for Owen to smash the cake he was already pretty overstimulated and tired. I wish there was a way to have done it earlier, but we wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to finish with lunch before we started in desserts.

To my surprise Owen didn't want to smash or taste his birthday cake. I thought he would love to make a messy mess! He touched it a few times and stopped to clap for himself and induce an applause from his audience. Gosh, I love him! We tried to let him play with the cake for a bit, but he just wanted out of the high chair. I'm glad he didn't cry though--I've heard some kids get really overwhelmed. Some day soon I'm going to let him have another go at a cupcake! 

January 25, 2013

Good Reads: Gone Girl: A Novel

Last week I finished reading Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn. This is the first book I've finished in 2013 after committing to read for at least 20 minutes each night before bed as part of my 2013 resolutions. Although I didn't always manage to read this book each night before falling asleep (sometimes I can barely keep my eyes open as I climb into bed) I did do a trade and would read during Owen's nap time or after he went to bed. Same thing, right? The point of my resolution really is to just read more.

Here is the description courtesy of

Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

My feelings (NO SPOILERS!): 

I don't usually read thrillers, but the description of the book and the fact that I've heard so many other people were reading this book are what got me to buy it on my Kindle. I was a little disappointed at first because I thought I knew exactly where this book was going, but in the end I had no idea. The surprises keep happening until the very end and the characters' personalities keep unfolding. Although I probably wouldn't read it again (I rarely read the same book twice), I would definitely recommend it to a friend (like you!).

And now I've moved on to:
The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain

And because no post is complete without a little bit of Owen mixed in I'd like to leave you with a few of Owen's current favorite books. 
Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

Happy Friday and Have a wonderful weekend, friends! 

January 24, 2013

Valentine's Day is Almost Here!

Valentine's Day is almost here!

If you have children in elementary school, you need to check out Tiny Prints' Classroom Valentines.

Valentines Day Card from Tiny Prints

If you are not familiar with Tiny Prints, these are the best cards you can buy. And you can completely customize with your child's pictures, your own text, and text and fonts that you choose.

If your kids are too young, too old, or non-existent, Tiny Prints also has great customized photo gifts and Valentine's Dayparty invitations, and their sister company, Treat has some aweome personalized greeeting cards.

Here are the most popular cards. If you order by January 30 and use the promo code 20JANSW you can save 20% on your entire order!
Tailored Twinkling Valentines CardsTwinkling Tenderness Valentines CardsSparkling Splendor Valentines Cards
Construction Area Valentines CardsHeartfelt Speedway Valentines CardsSuperhero Skyline Valentines Cards
Love Bug Letters Valentines CardsFilled with Feeling Valentines CardsTender Tweetheart Valentines Cards

Don't forget to use the code 20JANSW to save 20% on your entire order! 

January 23, 2013

Owen's First Birthday Circus: The Food

For Owen's First Birthday we really wanted to keep the food simple. Luckily our "circus" theme allowed us to easily getaway with serving traditional carnival food. We had people of all age at our party ranging from 11 months to 87 years-old, so it was important to me that we have food that young children and adults all like. Who doesn't like pizza?

Our guests arrived right around lunch time, so we started with some snacks and then jumped right into the pizza and salads. If you don't know what Pigs in Blankets are you might want to check out this recipe and make them for your Super Bowl Party. They are always gobbled up quickly! 

My mom made the blue cheese dip and used a recipe similar to this one. Keith's mom made her very popular Tutia--it is at every Sullivan Family gathering! 

I made the Orange Creamsicle dip that you may have seen on Pinterest. It was sweet and very delicious on fresh strawberries. (I'll share the recipe tomorrow!)

A carnival party wouldn't be complete without popcorn! Our microwave still smells like burnt popcorn every time I heat something in it. My experience popping popcorn on the stove was not successful. I bought the paper popcorn bags from Dime Store Buddy on Etsy. 

We served a variety of drinks; sodas, waters, beer and wine. I also made Raspberry Lemonade, because again, what circus / carnival would be complete without lemonade? People seemed to really enjoy it, as it was all gone before the party was over.! I'm embarrassed to admit it was just two cans of Minute Maid Raspberry Lemonade concentrate (the kind you buy in the frozen food section), a little Country Time Lemonade and fresh raspberries. 

The drink dispenser, stand and sign are all from Crate & Barrel (they no longer sell the dispenser). I bought them all separately over the years and I have to say this drink dispenser has really come in handy in the 4+ years I've had it. Such a great entertaining piece. 

I bought the straws on Etsy from DKDeleKtables

Now, on to what is possibly my favorite part of the party (besides the adorable birthday boy, of course!), the Dessert Table! 

The Ferris Wheel Cupcake Holder was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law Barbara! Isn't it adorable? I'm in love with it and can't wait to use it again and again! We had gummy bears, chocolate covered pretzels (made by my always helpful and always sweet niece Natalie and my sister-in-law Kelly), gum balls, swirl lollipops, caramel corn, circus peanuts and caramel apple suckers. The yellow & red chevron treat bags were purchased on Etsy from DimeStoreBuddy.

I made Owen's cake myself. I used a 6 -inch Cake Pan to make the cake with boxed yellow cake mix. I usually prefer to bake from scratch, but I'm glad I skipped that this time, because I was really rushed with all the party prep. I made a simple buttercream frosting to use on the cake and cupcakes. 

I used this tutorial to make the DIY Sprinkle Cupcake Topper for his cake. It was really, really easy to do! Next time I would make sure to make it much thinner though! 

We sent each one of our younger guests home with a box of animal crackers! The tags were part of the "party pack" I purchased for his invitations from LemonSeedandCo on Etsy. We used a 2 -inch Scalloped Craft Punch to punch out the tags from 80# card stock. 

It was so much fun researching, planning and making all of the food for this party, but I could not have done it without the help of my mom, sister, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece! I'm so thankful for all of their help! 

January 21, 2013

Owen is One Year Old!

Dear Sweet Baby Boy!

I guess I should get used to not calling you my "baby" anymore, but I just don't know if I can do that! It seems like it was just yesterday we brought you home from the hospital--how can you be one year old already? You have achieved so much, grown so much, and learned so much in your first year. We are so SO so proud of you.

Let's take a look back and see how you've grown!

While I love all these photos of him I do have a few favorites! How cute is the way he's holding his little hands in month 1? And his facial expression and hand placement in the month 4 photo reminds me of a little old man. How chunky was he at 5 months? And look at the mischief coming out in months 8 & 9! Can you tell I just can't get enough of this guy?!

-You still love being read to! I hope this last forever! When you want to be read to you'll grab a book and walk with it in both hands extended out in front of you and go right up to who you want to read to you. I think it is your favorite thing to do when we're inside.

-You love being outside! The weather has been warmer lately, so we've been exploring the front yard. You love picking up sticks and holding little rocks in your hands. We listen to the birds and watch the ants crawl. We've been going on walks in the stroller a lot too, but you fall asleep so quickly!

-Pointing is a new favorite skill of yours! You point in the direction you want to go when you're being held or when you're interested in something.

-Your Aunt Christina and Uncle Kevin gave you a basketball hoop for your birthday and you've been practicing your slam-dunks!

Stats for this month:

Weight: I weighed you last week on our scale by weighing us together, weighing myself (yikes!) and then subtracting my weight from ours. You supposedly weigh 25 lbs, but we'll find out your true weight at your 12 month well baby visit later this morning.

Health: You are just getting over another cold. That's three colds in about two months. I was so proud that you didn't get a single illness until you were over 10 months old, and now you've seemed to have back-to-back colds. Poor baby! You really hate having your nose wiped, but not as much as you hate when I use the nasal aspirator on you. We have a humidifier running in your room, which I think helps.

Diaper: Size 4 Huggies Snug & Dry and we just started using Huggies OverNights. The OverNights have been keeping you dry!

Clothes: 18-24 months mostly!

Food: You almost made it a full year being exclusively breast fed, but we've had to supplement with formula in the last month. Truth be told, I am probably to blame for this. I wanted to make sure you were getting enough and didn't want to play the breastfeeding guessing game of "Is He or Isn't He Getting Enough Milk", so I started giving you a little formula after each feeding to make sure you were full. 

You eat three meals a day and two snacks. Yesterday you had toast and Yo Baby Banana flavored yogurt for breakfast with a slice of watermelon. For lunch you had a peach, mayo, banana smoothie from Jamba Juice and a pizza swirl. Dinner was cheddar cheese, garbanzo beans (not a new fave), grilled chicken, and avocado.

Teeth: You have 4 top teeth + 3 on the bottom = 7 total! You're drooling a lot, so I'm sure you're working on another one or two teeth.

Sleep: I have to cut you some slack since you've been sick, so I won't blame you for the sleep regression we've been struggling through. You've been up 2-3 times each night and your naps were pretty short too. On Monday you finally got back on track with some great 1 hour + long naps. 

Oh, dear boy you are the light of our lives! There are so many times I've wondered how I got lucky enough to been your momma. I've had so much watching you grown, and discover new things. I look forward to each new day with you because it is so fun to watch you discover new things. 

xoxo, Mommy

Owen's First Birthday Circus: Part One

Owen's First Birthday Circus was a success! Owen had fun and so did all of his lovely guests! I spent over a month getting ideas and projects ready for his special day, and all the hard work paid off. I think we were all happy with the way everything turned out!

The balloon wreath I made was hung on the front door, along with a chalkboard sign below it that said "welcome". 

In the entryway we had the chalkboard birthday sign I made and a Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss book as a guest book for party guests to sign. 

The dessert table was definitely my favorite part of all of the decorations! (I'll share all the details of the desserts and food with you this week!) I purchased the "Happy Birthday Owen" banner on Etsy from Haute Chocolate Favors. I used this free printable to make the banner for his highchair and then mounted the letters on polka dot, striped and solid card stock. 

To make the #1 Photo Collage I drew the outline of a large 1 on tag board. I used an exacto knife to cut the 1 and printed color 4x6 photos of Owen at Costco.  I used double sided tape to adhere the pictures to the tag board.  Easy as apple pie. I think I'll hang this above the changing table in Owen's room!

Keith made an adorable slideshow that played throughout the party on the TV in the family room. We had some cute music playing along with it and made sure to have pictures of of Owen with many of our party guests. I could have watched the slideshow ALL DAY LONG! It's just so sweet! 

I used painters tape on these white wood letters I bought at Michael's and painted over with red acrylic paint t make the stripes. I also bought a "W" so it can spell Owen in his room afterward. 

In the Living Room I had a 1-11month countdown of all the monthly photos I took of Owen through his first year. I found the popcorn boxes in the dollar section at Target--such a great coincidence!--to hold the photos. Each picture was mounted on red car stock and a red and white striped straw was taped to the back. I used green floral foam to hold the straw and photo upright. I made the bunting myself using card stock and twine. 

It was really fun for me to make all of the decorations for Owen's party! Having said that, I think I am done party planning for a while! 

Tomorrow I'll be back with Owen's 12 Month post! 

Happy Monday friends!

January 17, 2013

I'm Still Here!

I'm still here friends! Just knee deep in First Birthday Party prepping. Most of the DIY stuff is done. Today I'll finish the grocery shopping and do some decorating and tomorrow I'll do the baking. I'm so excited for Saturday!

And I'm freaking out a little bit that tomorrow by BABY will become a TODDLER! Ekkk! Someone hold me....

January 16, 2013

15% off Valentine's Day Gifts at Layla Grayce

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, now is the time to shop for your special loved one. Layla Grayce is offering 15% off Valentine's Day gifts with promo code: 15PINK. Below are a few of my absolute favorite gift ideas.

The Cross Stitch Hearts Apron $52 is just precious! Reminds me of something a 1950's housewife would wear--and I love it! 

These Kendra Scott Danielle Earrings in Pink Agate $60 are stunning and would add a cheerful pop of color to any outfit.

The Large Trapezoid Cosmetic Case $40 is perfect going into Spring with its bright, cheerful colors! 

Happy Shopping! 

January 15, 2013

Fun Stuff for the Little One!

There are some really great finds on Zulily today for the little people in your life! A few of my favorites:

I love the Silver Velvet Geo Circle Deluxe Satin Stroller Blanket on by Little Giraffe. These blankets are so soft!
The Regatta Royale Make-a-Mess Bib is just pure genius! 

I love the Red Playhouse! It is a really fantastic deal too! Owen loves to play in these tiny houses at the toy store. I bet this would be a great toy for the backyard this summer. 

Happy Tuesday, friends!