Special Occasions

The Birthday Gift



As Lincoln’s birthday was approaching, I seriously considered putting “no gifts” on the invitations. This kid is not lacking for anything, and my house is filled to the brim with “stuff”. I can’t even tell you how many panic attacks I had imagining 40+ new toys entering our home after the party. (Ok. Panic attack may be a bit dramatic, but I really was stressed about it.) You see, Mike & I have chosen to stay in our first home for now rather than upgrading. It’s pretty tiny at just over 1,100 square feet, but it’s ours and we love it. In a time when people everywhere have been losing homes to foreclosure, I feel proud handing in our mortgage check every month because I know we can afford this place.

While living in my tiny place has its challenges, it also has its benefits. Like the fact that tiny house=tiny mortgage and tiny mortgage=more fun money. We’ve been able to visit Hawaii and Italy, plus a couple of cruises that took us to Jamaica, Mexico & Grand Cayman in our 6 years of marriage, plus countless more local trips. That couldn’t have happened if we lived in a big, fancy house with a big price tag, and traveling is a huge priority to me. That being said, I do hope we will be able to move into a bigger place in the future, because I can’t imagine raising 3 kids in this place. Clutter stresses me the heck out, and it’s almost impossible to not have clutter with 3 people and 2 dogs in an 1,100 square foot home. When the time is right, hopefully we’ll find a place with more square footage, but one that will allow us to still have financial freedom to have fun.

Whoa. How did this turn into a post about my house? I had a major off-the-topic-of-the-current-post moment there. I guess now you understand why the all the new gifts were worrying me. Anyways, back to the approaching birthday party. After I told a few people I wanted to put “no gifts” on the invitations, I was quickly reprimanded and told that I needed to lighten up & let people bring gifts. *sigh* Back to square one with my stressing out. I’m really happy to report that people bought Lincoln awesome gifts. We got so many new summer outfits for him, which was something super practical that we really did need. We actually didn’t get tons and tons of toys. (Hallelujah) And the ones we did get have been things that Lincoln has really enjoyed. And the biggest toys were for outside, which has plenty of room to spare. Score. So all of my fears were for nothing. It all works out in the end, and you can still see the floor in Lincoln’s room.

Since I knew he would be getting plenty of toys, I wanted his gift from mommy & daddy to be simple. I was also hoping to make it something sentimental, since I’m cheesy like that. I came across this tutorial on Twirling Betty, and I knew we had a winner. I decided to make him a growth chart. It was simple, cheap, fun to make, and something he can have later in life to see how much he’s grown. I really enjoyed making it for him. It isn’t perfect. I realized a long time ago that anything that I decide to craft will not be perfect, but this project turned out pretty cute. I made mine a little wider than the tutorial said, and I wish I would have followed their dimensions. For some reason, it seemed too narrow when I was cutting the fabric, so I went wider. Oh well. It works. I hope one day he (or maybe his wife) will appreciate his handmade first birthday gift from mommy & daddy. And best of all, it hangs on the wall and doesn’t take up any precious square footage ;)





I wanted to embroider his name, but I hadn’t embroidered anything for a long time. Stephanie told me to use the stem stitch, and I found an awesome website called Needle N Thread that had great video tutorials for all the basic stitches.

After successfully stitching his name, I got a little crazy & decided I wanted to do a tree as well. I freehanded the outline, and went to work. Oh my. I was regretting my decision at midnight the evening before his party when I was still stitching those tiny leaves. They took for-ev-er. But the end result was cute.



When we have another baby, I might stitch his or her name under Lincoln’s and add the new baby’s measurements. Just in case I decide to do that, I denoted his measurements with an “L” in front. I might just make a new growth chart so they each have their own. I don’t know.



Hanging in his room. It’s a fun, little focal point when you enter the room. We used to have his first year calendar hanging there, but I wanted something different since he’s beyond his first 12 months now. The new birthday gift was perfect for the spot. Please ignore the mess in the background. He and his daddy played in there last night, and mommy hasn’t had a chance to clean up after all the “fun”.







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