Madeline's First Birthday: A Build-A-Library Party

Madeline is quite the book fanatic but she doesn't have a very large library of books to choose from. So we decided that a Build-a-Library Party would be the perfect theme for her first birthday.

I found a lot of great ideas on Pinterest and created a board for inspiration.

Menu Inspiration:
Hostess With the Mostess
What I Did Today

Did Someone Say Party? 

Here are some fun pictures from her big day!

For her birthday invites, I made an invite that looked like a library card using a template from Did Someone Say Party? and photoshop skillz. I also created a cute library card banner using the template with my favorite quotes about reading.

Maddie's guests set their wrapped gifts on a cute bookcase that we refurbished for her. Then as we unwrapped each book we set it on the bookshelf to display.

We had a very fun menu for the occasion! Madeline's aunts and grandmas helped by bringing treats for the dinner.
  • Peter Rabbit's Veggie Tray
  • If You Give a Moose a Muffin Muffins
  • Strega Nona's Pasta Salad (Grandma Holly)
  • If You Give A Mouse a Cookie Milk and Cookies
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar Fruit Salad (Grandma Birkeland)
  • Green Deviled Eggs (Aunt Katie)
  • Green Eggs and Ham Quiche (Aunt Bec)
  • Pinkalicious Pink Lemonade
  • The Giving Tree Apple Juice
  • Madeline's French Crepes (Daddy)

I created a board book for Madeline with pictures of our family. I printed them out and then cut them with an exacto knife and glued them onto an existing book. It was adorable and Maddie loves to point to her grandparents, mommy, daddy, and cousins.

Her family and friends were all so generous. She received cute clothes, toys, and a variety of beautiful books to add to her library. Her cousins loved helping her unwrap each gift.

Brett and I gave her a stroller for her doll. The look on her face when she saw it was priceless.

 Instead of doing the traditional cake and ice-cream we gave Madeline a muffin with whipped cream and berries.

It was a wonderful day! 
Happy Birthday sweet girl. We love you!



(Wrote this weeks ago and just finally got around to posting it..)

Dear Maddie,

I have no idea where my baby girl went. This month I feel like you officially became a toddler. You have said goodbye to crawling for good and you confidently walk (and run) all over the place. You squat down to pick things up and stand right back up. You can turn on a dime and you spin in circles. You love to play tag and other games with your cousins. Somehow you manage to hold your own while playing with all your older cousins. You are one tough little girl.

You are getting more confident in communicating. You still say "Momma", "Dadda", and "Hi". This month you have started to say "ByeBye" when you wave goodnight and you sometimes say "Boo!" when you were playing peek-a-boo with Daddy. You also say "Yes" and "No". You also say "Nanas" for Bananas. You are also starting to string together a couple words you know. On Father's Day morning you said "Hi Daddy!" when you woke up. I've been teaching you some baby sign language and this month you mastered "all gone", "more", "milk", "soft" and "food". It's been fun for you to be able to communicate better! You also blow kisses!

You love to pick up cell phones and put them up to your ear and say "hi!"
You love to point to things and ask "Whaz dis?" You also like to play a game where I ask you to tell me where certain things are. When I ask you "Where is Daddy's nose?" you gleefully point to or grab your daddy's nose. Or if I ask you 'Where is Grandpa?" you point to your Grandpa Birkeland. It is so fun to realize how much you really understand. We brought home a big box from Costco and you love to play in it. Grandma was visiting and I told you to show her how you play in your box. You ran over to your box and climbed in. It was too cute.

You love trying new foods and you are far from a picky eater. You love watermelon, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, (I guess we can just stop this list and say that you like all berries and all fruit for that matter). Some of the more odd things you especially love and can't seem to get enough of are salmon, bell peppers (green, yellow, red, and orange... you love them all), pickles, and lemon wedges. Yes lemon wedges. You eat them like oranges. You gnaw them down to the peel without making even the slightest sour face. I discovered this at a recent family barbecue when I gave you a taste of a lemon expecting you to make an adorable sour face. Instead you snatched it from my hand and chomped it down to the peel. You eat whatever we are eating and you are losing interest in baby food.

You have become quite the little water baby. We got a season pass for the three of us to go to Raging Waters. We go quite often. You love to run around in the wave pool. When the waves come you run right into them. You also love to lay on your tummy where it is more shallow with your hands touching the bottom. You'll lean over and blow bubbles into the water! You also love to jump in to the pool from the side (even without holding on to Mommy!). You have learned to hold your breath under water. You and Daddy love to go down the kid slides together. One time you and Daddy went down over and over and over again because you kept signing "more!" After you went down well over twelve times together we decided to call it a day. You couldn't stop gabbering in the car on the whole ride home. (We suspect you were telling us all about how much fun that slide was!)

Your top two teeth cut through and you look so grown up! You are truly growing up right before our eyes!





Photo by Jamie Turner

Dear Maddie,

What a busy girl you've become! You walk, walk, walk whenever you can. You took your first step on Easter, a few steps on your nine month mark, and by the time April 25th rolled around you were officially walking, taking between 10 and 12 steps! Now you're walking everywhere. You can stand yourself up without holding on to anything, so if by chance you do take a stumble, you get yourself right back up and you're off again.

When you walk you hold your arms above your head and you look like a little chimpanzee. It's the cutest little thing. That's not where the comparison ends, just like a little monkey you love to climb all over the place.  We have to keep an constant eye on you because you are quite the daring little girl. Sometimes you will climb onto kids chairs and then stand up on them.

You are quite the talker. You still say "Momma", "Dadda", and "Hi". This month you have started to say "ByeBye" when you wave goodnight and you even said "Boo!" when you were playing peek-a-boo with Daddy. You have started to make the cutest little trumpet sound lately. You also love to point at things and talk about them in your baby gibberish. It seems you have paid attention to all the pointing and talking Mommy does to try to teach you about the world. Today at the Zoo, you were pointing at the giraffes and saying "Dooo doo dooo bo la ba da da!" you were quite excited about it all.

Photo by Jamie Turner
You love reading books. Your favorite book is Goodnight Moon. You always point at the mouse when we get to the "goodnight house, and goodnight mouse" part. You love books so much, that we have started to keep a book with you in your crib. (This is after you managed to grab three books off of the bedside table near your crib and maneuver them through the bars when you woke up one afternoon from a nap.) You love to read on your own when you wake up in the morning or wake up from a nap. You don't cry to alert us that you are awake anymore, we finally just hear you talking jibberish and when we open the door you have a book open on your lap.

You love to copy whatever Mommy and Daddy are doing. If we are eating dinner you demand to sit at the table and eat with us. You also love to help with dishes and laundry. (Though you definitely prefer emptying the dryer than filling it).

It's so fun to watch you grow up baby girl. Thanks for making me a Mommy. I can't imagine my world without you.




The Graduate

Although Brett received his degree months ago, he will don his cap and gown to walk with his fellow BYU graduates tomorrow. It will be a great way to cap off Brett's educational experience at Brigham Young University.

Brett is graduating with a bachelor's degree in special education with an endorsement in mild/moderate disabilities. I knew when I married Brett that he would excel in whatever degree/profession he decided to choose. I admire him for choosing a degree that fits him and our family so well.

Brett is an incredible teacher and coach. He is compassionate, patient, selfless, organized, driven and personable. He is perfect as a special education teacher because instead of teaching a class, Brett teaches individuals. He works well with small groups and knows how to motivate each individual to do their best. Brett also creates a comfortable learning environment where students aren't afraid to say they don't understand a concept. Brett loves making a difference in the lives of young people who especially need supportive teachers and good role models.

Besides making Brett a better teacher, a degree in education has also taught Brett to be a better father. He has learned patience, consistency, discipline, and how to set clear expectations. While teachers are not paid the highest salaries, Brett recognizes that being a teacher includes non-monetary perks that are priceless, like spending more time with our family, ending the work day at 3:30, and enjoying summers off with our children.

We can't wait to see where Brett ends up teaching this fall. We could end up on a military base in a foreign country teaching for the Department of Defense. We may move out of state, or we may stay close. We may know very soon! Brett has had multiple interviews this week. He actually has an interview on the way home from graduation tomorrow! Don't worry, I'm sure he'll leave his cap and gown in the car.

I'm excited to celebrate Brett's graduation tomorrow. It marks the end of the "poor college student" chapter in our lives that I will always look back on with fondness. It's with excitement that I look forward to enjoying all that will come.