Our Baby’s First Birthday

Our boy turned one in November! We blinked and a year went by. Even though we know our baby won’t remember his first birthday, I love any reason to celebrate and have a party. This was also a day to celebrate my husband and I as parents for surviving the first year!

We invited our close friends and family over to our home to celebrate our little guy. I got this balloon arch kit from Amazon and spent the night before blowing up balloons and putting it together. Luckily I also invested in this balloon pump a couple of years ago which makes the process go a lot faster. These are never my favorite to make but I always love how they turn out and doing it yourself saves so much money (of course our dog Edgar had to get in the photo). I also order this one balloon to use as a decoration.

A girl I met in a local moms group made this smash cake and it was delicious! Our boy loved it so much that we eventually had to take it away from him. My husband and I ended up finishing the cake throughout the week because it was too good to throw away. I order these Wood Round Pedestal Risers to display his cake and now use them for plants and other items to display in our home.

I made a letter template on cardstock where guests could write a letter to our son on his first birthday. I took the letters and added them to his baby book. I absolutely love this baby book from Artifact Uprising called The Story of You and I hope this will be something my son treasures when he is older. I forgot to get a photo of this from the party but below are a couple photos of his baby book.

I also got this First Birthday Photo Banner from Etsy and thought it turned out so cute with a photo of him from each month (Several months later and we still have this banner hanging up! I think it may be time to take it down).

I found this One Year Old Birthday Crown and little Suspender Outfit on Amazon. His Birthday Boy shirt was a hand-me-down from a friend, but there are many on Etsy.

Chipotle does catering and is very affordable so we decided to go this route instead of worrying about cooking. It was delicious and we had a lot of left overs for Chipotle Bowls. Our little 1 year old loved it too.

The party ended with opening gifts and signing happy birthday. There is something so special about seeing all the people you love in your life sing happy birthday to this little guy who you adore. It was also very obvious that our boy is the first grandchild on both sides. 😄 He was spoiled and loved opening his gifts (Well he kind of opened them, I helped a lot but it was great practice for him right before Christmas-haha). It was a very memorable day and I’m looking forward to celebrating our son each year!

Disneyland with an 11-Month-Old

Thinking of bringing your baby on a trip to Disneyland? I 100 percent recommend going! We brought our son to Disneyland with us when he was exactly 11-months-old back in October 2022 and we had the most incredible trip. I feel like this was a great age to enjoy the park with a little one while they are out of the infant stage but before they become full toddler mode and wanting to explore all over the place.

Many people say things like, well the baby won’t remember the trip so what’s the point? You should wait until they are older. My response to them is, why wait? Things could come up and you never know where you will be in life in the future. So I say if you can, take the trip now! Disneyland is also very expensive but free for little ones under the age of 3. Also, babies fly free under the age 2 so this would save families a lot of money. And it doesn’t matter if your baby won’t remember because YOU will. You will have those sweet photos and experiences and treasured memories and that to me makes it beyond worth it.

So if you are thinking of planning a trip with your baby, go for it! Here are some things that helped make everything go smoothly when we experienced Disneyland with our 11-month-old.

1. Book a hotel within walking distance to the park

We stayed at Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort which was about a 10 minute walk to the park. We loved that this hotel offer suites with a kitchen/living room area to make meals for our son and a separate bedroom from where he would be sleeping if we wanted to stay up later. They also had pack n plays available and a delicious breakfast spread that we ate at every morning (which also saved us a lot of money).

2. Get Genie+

I believe they raised the price of Genie+ since we went back in October 2022 but I still think it is absolutely worth it. In fact, I would not go to Disneyland without getting Genie+. Genie+ allows you to schedule rides for a specific time and skip the main lines for the bigger attractions. We would not have been able to ride everything we wanted to without Genie+ and would have spent most of our time waiting in lines. Not all rides are offered on Genie+ so I would recommend starting in Fantasyland (most of these rides don’t have Genie+), doing those rides first thing in the morning before the lines get out of control and then using Genie+ for rides after. The wait time for rides that have Genie+ was anywhere from 5-20 minutes compared to 60-90 minutes without. Also, once you redeemed a ride, you can book the next one right away!

3. Use Rider Swap

Rider swap is amazing! Lets say you have a group of 3 adults and a baby. Two adults go on the ride while the other person waits with the baby. After the ride is over, the adults switch places, one stays with the baby while the other two go and ride the ride again. You don’t have to wait in line. All you do is go to a cast member at the start of the ride, tell them you want to use rider swap when they scan your phone, then a ticket will appear on your account. We used rider swap all throughout our trip since it was me, my husband, my mom and son. Another perk of this is one person gets to ride the ride two times in a row! You can also do this if it’s just the two of you and a baby and take turns riding rides and watching the baby.

4. Bring Your Own Food, Drinks and Snacks Inside

Since our hotel room had a full kitchen, we used Door Dash our first day in California and stocked up on a bunch of food and snacks for our son. We brought a small cooler filled with food and a picnic blanket. We found a spot in the park to each lunch each day. This helped us not only save money but also enjoy a quick meal together without having to go to a sit down restaurant. We also used the meal ordering service on the Genie+ app to make sure we weren’t wasting time waiting for food.

5. Book Out of Order/Rides Out for Maintenance on Genie+

If you see a ride is not available on the app, book that ride as soon as you can! If the ride happens to get fixed, that’s great and you can go on it during your scheduled time. But if the ride does not get fixed before your scheduled time, you will automatically be given a pass on the app where you can now skip the line for any ride that you like (not just the ride you booked)! We got about 4 or 5 of these passes because we kept booking rides that didn’t get fixed in time. We then chose a ride with a long wait time, walked up to the exit, showed a cast member the ticket and they let us on right away while skipping the normal 60+ min line.

6. Stop for the Free Photos

When you purchase Genie+ you also have access to all the professional photo locations in the park. It’s worth it to stop and have your picture taken! A photograph will scan the barcode on your app and then they will automatically be available for you to download directly to your phone. Photos from all the rides are also included for free! You just find the photo number after the ride and enter it on your account.

7. Bring a Family Member or Hire a Disneyland Nanny

We were fortunate that my mom was able to come with us on this trip. Day 1 and 2 we went to Disneyland and Day 3 we went to California Adventure. By around 6pm each day, we made our way back to our hotel to wind down and put our son to bed. Once he was in bed, my mom stayed back at the hotel while my husband and I went back to explore the parks at night. There is something so magical about seeing the park at night and even if you don’t have someone with you to watch your baby, I recommend having your child stay up late at least one night to experience this. If you don’t have a family member with you, you can hire a Disneyland Nanny (just google Disneyland Nanny and a bunch of options will come up). The nanny can help watch your baby at the park or just stay back at the hotel while they are sleeping so you can head to the park at night.

8. Purchase Toys Outside the Park

This is more of a tip for the plane ride but we purchased some toys from the dollar store, wrapped them up in wrapping paper and then gave them to our baby to occupy him on the plane ride. This meant we also had a couple of toys for him back at the hotel to play with before bedtime. You can also purchase a Disney Bubble Wand at half the price and bring it inside which kids at all ages love. Since we went around Halloween I found this adorable Dumbo Costume and he wore it the morning at the park.

Of course we did splurge on a couple souvenirs. Inside the park we purchased our son a mickey mouse ornament (one tradition we are starting is buying him one every year then giving them to him when he is older and has his own Christmas tree). We also purchased this Dumbo Stuffed Animal and that our son now sleep with it every night. Something else I recommend doing with your baby is going to Silhouette Studio and getting this special keepsake!

9. Take Advantage of the Baby Center

Although we never actually went to a baby center, I’ve read great things from this blog here if you need a quiet place to rest or to feed your baby. This might be especially important if you are a nursing/pumping mama and you’re looking for some privacy.

10. Have a blast and take your baby on as many rides you can!

There are so many rides at Disneyland with no height requirement which means you can take your baby on them! Here are some rides we took our 11-month-old on (but there are many more beyond this list!):

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Dumbo
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Jungle Cruise
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (our favorite)
  • Snow White’s Enchanted Wish
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

We enjoyed Disneyland more than California Adventure with our 11-month-old but there are also many rides in that park with no height requirement. We took our son on Golden Zephyr and The Little Mermaid and then spent a lot of our time in Animation Academy and the Sorcerer’s Workshop.

These are just a couple of tips and reasons to take your baby to Disneyland so if you are thinking about going, definitely do! I promise you will not regret it and the memories you make will be so special that you will probably want to keep going year after year. 🙂

Cherry Blossom Trees

It’s that time of year where the weather is beginning to get warmer! This also means the Cherry Blossom Trees are in full bloom. If you are looking for something to do, I recommend finding the famous trees to take some photos. Maybe not necessarily the place we went but you can find these trees all over the city. Plus we got these adorable pictures which is pretty much the only reason I wrote this blog post-to share these photos and memory☺️.

Around this time last year, my husband and I took our son to UW to see the cherry blossom trees. It was insanely busy (my husband described the crowds as his own personal hell, haha) but I still made him walk around with me. We saw a very diverse group of people from students to grandparents to babies and kids. We noticed some families had an entire picnic set up with a tea kettle and tea cups and others brought in dim sum and take out orders. It was wild but also great to get out of the house as new parents and walk around with our 4 month old at the time.

I told my husband that we now have to do this every year and recreate the pictures of our boy since they turned out so great. Maybe this year we’ll try for a week day and will miss out on some of the crowds, but we will definitely be back to visit the cherry blossom trees and will carry on this new spring tradition!

DIY Nursery Transformation

My sons nursery was originally used as a room for storage, filled with unpacked boxes from when we first moved into our home. When we first moved in, we ripped out the stained carpet, closed the door and let the room sit for months. This was until we found out we were pregnant and knew we would have to get this room ready for our baby!

All of our bedrooms in our home are small with limited closet and storage space. I knew I wanted to transform the closet into something more functional, especially since babies need so many things. This was when I discovered the IKEA Pax closet system. Very affordable and customizable to fit your design and your space. It took a couple of weeks to get all the parts I wanted due to supplies being out of stock but I’m very happy with the end results and happy with how much we are able to pack into this closet (The Pax systems were also easy to build and put together-I did this 8 months pregnant)! I also ended up getting the Billy Book Case from IKEA and used it on the left side of the closet since there was more space but the smallest PAX base didn’t fit. This worked out great for toy storage and other misc. items. The bins in the bookcase are also from IKEA and fit perfectly. I added wallpaper to the back to make it look more like a finished custom closet and used drawer inserts to organize clothes.

The other huge transformation to this room was the hardwood floors. My husband rented a sander and sanded them all down, trying his best to get the deep stains and paint off. He used a clear coat to finish them off. The floor transformation is night and day!

We also decided to give the walls a fresh coat of paint. Choosing a color was very challenging since this room looks completely different depending on the light and the time of day. I also have a very hard time making decisions and being pregnant didn’t help (ha!). We went with the color Evergreen Fog from Sherwin Williams which was also the color of the year of 2021 when our son was born.

We ordered some new shades for the window, added a new light fixture, replaced the door/doorknob, replaced the trim and added quarter round to cover the small gaps on the floor, added trim around the closet (we may add bifold doors one day), replaced the light switch with a dimmer and then this room was ready (we finished everything probably about a week or two before our son was due-always last minute around here but we get it done)!

We love how this space turned out for our son and feel so proud to call this his room.

On the left is my last “bump picture” before my son was born and on the right is our son in his finished bedroom!

Baby Shower For Our Boy

On Sunday we had our baby shower to honor our baby boy that is due in November. It’s hard to believe that in just two short months we will have our baby. A BABY!! Wow has the time flown by. Seeing our close friends and family made everything feel much more real and much closer to our due date. Am I feeling all prepared and ready? Definitely not! But my husband and I greatly appreciate all the love and support we received on Sunday honoring our baby boy and we feel more ready as each day goes by.

We couldn’t have asked for a better party for Baby K! We decided to have a co-ed shower (since my husband Tommy is just as important) and planned the party during the Seahawks game since we thought it would be fun to watch with our favorite people. Tommy set up one of our TVs outside and made a couple of seating areas with tables and chairs under a large canopy tent on the patio. Somehow the weather held up throughout the day right up until the hawks went into overtime. Then came an intense downpour and we ended up loosing. But for a Seahawks loss, we sure had an amazing time.

All of our immediate family pitched in to to make the day very special. We had an abundance of sweets since Tommy and I both LOVE dessert. Cupcakes, chocolate chip blonde bars, espresso cookies, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and the most delicious vanilla cake with chocolate filling that my mom ordered from a local bakery nearby. She also brought some sides and made endless pasta salad, her staple. My sister-in-law created and planned some fun games to play during half time (Guess Who: Mom or Dad, Baby Trivia and Who is the dad?). And my in-laws hosted everyone at their house on the patio and made some delicious pulled pork and food that was served.

We definitely felt the love from the amazing people in our lives and are feeling so very excited to meet our son soon!

Gender Reveal Party

When my husband and I first found out we were pregnant, we immediately decided we would find out if we were having a boy or a girl. (There is absolutely no way the teacher/planner in me would be able to wait). And we love to have parties so we decided why not have a little gender reveal party!

At 14 weeks, we did the NIPT blood test which screened our baby for the most common defects, including Down Syndrome, trisomy 13, and trisomy 18. We added on the option to find out the sex and then had the results put in a sealed envelope which we got on May 23rd. That very night we gave the envelope to our friend Amber since it would be way too tempting to sneak a peak at the results. (We had our party on June 19th and waited 3 weeks after we received the results to accommodate our schedules). Waiting was hard but also fun because during that time we would go back and forth discussing if baby was a boy or girl and why.

We invited our immediate family and some of our close friends to keep things small and intimate. I made a Balloon Arch to use as a background and love how it turned out. I also got these Gender Reveal Buttons for friends and family to guess if they thought baby was a boy or girl. We had some charcuterie boards and snacks and did a pasta salad bar with a bunch of different cold pasta salads to eat. For dessert, funfetti cupcakes! And I had to somehow include our pup Edgar so I got him a Big Brother Bandana (totally unnecessary but I think was very cute).

For the actual reveal we used 10 Confetti Cannons which Amber ordered for us since she was the only person who knew the sex. Instead of releasing the cannons ourselves, we had our friends and family circle around us and count down while we watched under the balloon arch. This made for such a special and memorable moment. Honestly it was incredible watching the colors fly in the sky and a day we both won’t ever forget.

And we are having a baby boy!!! We had such an amazing time and this party made us even more excited for our little babe. Now to think of and decide on a name. Any suggestions? ☺️