I prayed about it trying to be honest with God about my feelings. Even though I was disappointed, deep down, I didn't feel like the timing was right. And, there was a sense of knowing God had the right child at the right time for our family. God often speaks to me through giving me a peace in my spirit, and as I prayed, I felt in my heart Him give me a peace of "Fox's first birthday.
What is so beautiful about this story and I'll share it without TMI--afterall, we all know how babies get here! When I realized this, I sat in awe. God had told me "Fox's first birthday," and in my human understanding, I took that as when we could start "trying," when in fact He was telling me when our baby would be conceived. This brought so much peace to my heart. After a very hard year in my faith walking through postpartum depression and anxiety, experiences like this with God mean even more to me than before.
Rarely does a day go by that I don't think about how precious the gift of life is. I love being pregnant because I feel so close to creation, and more importantly to the Creator. Pregnancy also keeps me very aware of how BIG God is, how beautiful His design for life is, and how little control I have. There are so many different paths and stories of motherhood, and I often feel conflicted trying to make sense of it all as I pray for my own babies, believe with friends for babies, and mourn when things don't go the way we all wanted.
This makes it hard for me to talk about pregnancy and babies without acknowledging that we all have our own stories, and that there is space here for every story. If it comes to your mind, we welcome your prayers for our baby girl to be healthy and strong. I pray often that she would be whole, complete, lacking nothing, and we welcome anyone to join us in that prayer. If you're pregnant or at any point in your journey of motherhood a journey that begins long before having a child in your arms I'd be happy to pray for you, too.
Just leave a comment or send me a message. All photos by Rachel Coffey love her! I grew up with a sister, and I've always been a girly-girl, so when we found out we were expecting a little boy in , I knew it was going to be a new adventure. I was excited about it, and honestly, soon after knowing I was a "boy mom" I could feel God starting to uncover new parts of my heart. It needed to be peaceful, pleasant, perfectly boy, good for a baby, but not so "baby" that it couldn't grow up with him for a few years. I'm naturally drawn to florals and feminine colors, but I think our baby boy nursery is where my love of the color blue was born.
A space fit for a boy was a design challenge for me, but it was fun to dig deep to bring together a room that would honor our son and be a space where he could feel loved and comfortable. The walls were already gray SW Repose Gray , so we stuck with that. I loved the white and natural wood of the Babyletto cribs , and this choice set some direction for the room.
We ended up accenting the room with wood and neutrals, some pops of kid-friendly color, and blues in artwork and accents. We found the felt cactus at a local art show, the pillow was a gift, the lamp and throw are from Target, the rocker from a local furniture store, Barnett's , and the Peter Rabbit plate is an heirloom from Woody's childhood. I saw the idea for the floating shelves as a bookshelf and loved it.
Being able to display the brightly colored books was exactly the kind of pop I was looking for to keep a mostly neutral space fun and kid-friendly. We found our shelves at Ikea. The painting above the crib is by a local Birmingham artist, Jayne Morgan , which I had commissioned as a gift for Woody our first Christmas together. I love the playful images and colors, and having original art in his room was important to me as it is throughout our home. The crib sheets are another fun pop, and the little brown bear was one of my favorite friends when I was little.
I really hoped to find a dresser for Fox that he could use throughout his life. I looked for solid wood, classic pieces, but I just could not find one I loved in our price range.
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So, we ended up going practical and economical with an Ikea dresser. It's worked wonderfully with plenty of space, and I love the look of it, too. His gallery wall is made up of a combination of original art, prints, and a couple architectural pieces. I also adore his Letterfolk board , which we used for his monthly photos. Better than any piece we ever could've found for his nursery, was finally getting to be in that space with him in our arms. We had dreamed about him, talked about him, and carefully curated all his items awaiting his arrival.
Getting to finally enjoy the room with that little person that all the preparation was for, was the sweetest part. Planning parties is fun for some and overwhelming for others.
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While I happen to be one that loves it, I've had plenty of experiences where I've felt more overwhelm than enjoyment. As an enthusiast for thoughtful celebrations, I've compiled a list of guidelines that I hope will help free us and keep our hearts in the right place when it comes to parties. This list is far from exhaustive, so feel free to comment with anything you think should be added! Focusing on what matters to you is the surest way to decrease overwhelm and increase enjoyment in party planning. I love thoughtful details like paper invitations that arrive in the mail, themes that run through the decor and food, and creative party favors.
You may enjoy serving the best food, having fun activities, playing great music, having a huge crowd, or keeping it small and intimate. Doing what is natural and important to you will energize you. Trying to be someone else and plan the party you think you "should" plan will exhaust you. Don't do this to yourself.
Embrace what is authentic to you, and people will feel the care you've invested and love it. Something as simple as tying a ribbon on a specialty food item or dropping a piece of fresh fruit in a glass can take something from ordinary to special. These images are from my bridal shower in , and I still love these details as much as I did then! If you're hosting a shower or party in honor of someone else, ask them what is most important to them. This will help you put your energy into the areas that really matter to the guest of honor. Remember, just because something doesn't matter to you, doesn't mean it's not important to someone else.
For instance, I have friends who don't have a preference on invitations, but they know I love paper invitations, so for my baby shower, they made sure there was a lovely invitation in the mail. As much as we may want to do everything, budgets and time often limit how much we can put into a party we're hosting, which is another reason knowing the specific things that matter most to your guest of honor will ensure they feel loved in all the right ways and that your time and budget are put to best use. Rachel had a very specific aesthetic for her December baby shower, and it was so fun to run with it!
She was expecting a girl, but didn't want anything overly girly, so we embraced the rustic, outdoorsy vibe that felt more her. Her cake is still one of my favorite party elements! To create the teepee, we just got sticks and greens from our yard, used floral tape and twine to keep it together, and it made a gorgeous statement piece. The same goes for party planning. If you'll focus on doing a few things with excellence, you'll really be able to make an impact instead of spreading your efforts so thin that nothing is quite how you like it.
This is why its helpful to determine what matters most to you or to your guest of honor, list the priorities, and plan accordingly. If you have time for some extras, great, but if not, you'll ensure the most important things are covered and you won't feel like you're leaving something on the table.
My Birmingham baby shower for Fox was so sweet. With lots of touches of soft blue and plenty of fresh flowers my fave , it was the perfect blend for this Boy Momma to be! You don't have to impress anyone by doing everything by yourself. I have a friend who loves having people in her home and can make a dessert that will keep you coming back for more, but party details just aren't her thing.
She knows I love them, so she invited me to help with her daughter's first birthday. She created a budget and let me give her some ideas and help execute them, and it turned out so sweet. I got to do something I love, and she was able to focus on the parts of the party that were natural and easy for her. If you need help with food or cutting a cake or selecting decor, don't be afraid to ask people for help.
Chances are, you'll give someone an opportunity they'll love or get to support a local business, and make it easier on yourself to boot! Amy's shower was planned with thoughtful, handmade details and paid tribute to her animal themed nursery. One of the hostesses spray painted inexpensive animal toys for decor, and we gave Amy a few unpainted ones for her baby to play with when he was old enough. We also used her son's name and monogram to add a personal touch.
It's so easy for me to get lost in themes, colors, details and all sorts of party planning fun, but at the end of the day, it's the people that matter. There is no greater compliment to me than for people to come into my home and feel warmth, enjoyment, and ease.
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Connecting people and creating an environment where they can enjoy themselves is the most rewarding feeling. There's nothing wrong with receiving a compliment on your perfectly crafted floral centerpiece, but remembering that the joy it brings your guests is the point not the pat on your back will make your celebration more meaningful and rich. Whenever I find myself starting to get in a tizzy over little details, I try to pause, reflect on my guests, and think about what they will enjoy experiencing most.
Almost every time that helps me slow down, refocus, and find joy again in planning. I hope this list helps free you to more fully enjoy planning your next celebration. Also, if you have more tips to share, I'd love to hear them! I started thinking about Fox' first birthday months in advance. I love planning thoughtful celebrations, and I was extra excited to celebrate our little boy. Looking back, I think focusing on planning his first birthday also helped me process my baby turning one.
It's a wonderful thing to see your baby grow, but I'm especially sentimental, and so having fun planning this event was a great way for me to slowly take in this milestone. I have also loved arts and crafts since childhood, but I don't do it as much now, so the chance to get my hands into some creative projects was really fun.
Also, it's worth mentioning, I realize some might consider this "over-the-top" for a first birthday. Fox may not remember it, but I will. He'll also have the photos to enjoy. A first birthday is about the baby, but it's also about celebrating your family reaching one year of raising your child. That is a big deal to me, and I wanted to celebrate! A celebration should reflect what's important to you, and this party did just that for our family. I hope that you'll enjoy the details and find a couple ideas that make your next party even more fun and meaningful for you and your guests.
A theme is always the starting point for me, and I began dreaming of this long before Fox was near 12 months. Knowing he probably wouldn't have many specific interests at one, I felt free to select a theme that fit him and that I loved. Somehow, the idea of a blueberry themed party came to me. Next, I thought of the rhyme for the invitation and from there it was a done deal. I LOVE paper invitations and working with my friend Kayla on this resulted in one of my favorite invitations ever! I used a local printer to create poster-sized version of the invitation as a focal point for the party!
Then, I framed it in a frame I already had. I love how it turned out. Fox's birthday is in early February, and while I loved the idea of an outdoor party, I knew indoor was the best choice for the time of year. It was also really special and intimate to celebrate such a special occassion where we live. One of the ideas I was most proud of was how we made our home extra kid-friendly that day. We have built in bookshelves in our living room that are normally filled with beautiful and breakable items.
For the party, I completely cleared out the bookshelves and loaded them with toys and books. I wanted the kids to come in and feel instantly at home, and from seeing how they all quickly gravitated toward the collection of toys, I think it worked well! Fox and Ruth are buddies. Ruth's Mom, Rachel, is one of my dearest friends, and I prayed that we would be pregnant at the same time. Long story short, these two nuggets were born two weeks apart to the day. Seeing them grow together makes my heart so full. This was the most fun!
I quickly discovered that our blueberry theme was very versatile and easy to work with. I also found some items that were fun and simple DIYs like party hats, hanging blueberries, and a photo mobile that thankfully turned out really cute! DIY was good for both our budget and my creative side.
I learned a new DIY party trick, too. I had never heard of a "Pom Pom Maker," but they are quite a handy tool. I picked one up at Michael's and used yarn to create pom poms that I turned into garland, party hat toppers, and toothpick toppers for an extra pop of blue on the food table.
I also added some color to the space with inexpensive, easy-to-make paper chains and crepe paper streamers. These make a big impact and are so easy to do! I personally think every party looks better with a little fresh greenery. The photo mobile was a DIY project almost gone wrong, but thankfully it came together! I bought three wooden embroidery hoops and some decorative trim and ribbon with hopes of a cute decor piece.
After playing around with a few options, I used some Artifact Uprising prints I ordered and some paper blueberries I made to create a mobile for above the kids table. It turned out to be a cute way to share some of our favorite memories from Fox's first year. I had so much fun making party hats! They were a little more time-consuming than I expected, but they turned out so cute, it was worth it. I looked for some solid color hats to start with, but I couldn't find any so I downloaded a template on Pinterest. I used an acrylic craft paint and pencil eraser to embellish them with dots and stripes.
I added the pom poms to the top with hot glue and did elastic chin straps for the kids hats and yarn ties for the adults to accommodate different sizes. Everyone looked so festive in them! This is not my specialty, but I really wanted the food to be delicious, kid and adult friendly, and to include some GF options because we had a few GF guests coming. The blueberry themed leant itself to a picnic style lunch, so I decided on a sandwich station for the main item.
I got specialty bread at Whole Foods, fresh sliced deli meats and cheeses, and fresh toppings. I must say, it turned out to be so delicious! I also had some themed food like "blue potato chips," "blueberry and friends" mixed fruit, chocolate blueberry clusters, and blueberry muffins. I made some specialty items in advance and froze them until the day of the party like the "Fox is One" cookies. It was a good way for me to do something special and sweet that would take no effort on party day. I originally planned to make the cake and Fox's smash cake, but as the party got closer, I reasoned with myself.
I enjoy a lot of party planning elements, but a cake makes me nervous! Everyone agreed, especially the birthday boy! We went with a blueberry cake think blueberry muffin with icing! It was gorgeous and delicious and all the things. Also, one of my favorite aspects of working with local vendors is the special touch you get. Rebecca of Bec's Cakes had some leftover cake from leveling out the cake layers, and knowing our party theme, she turned them into the most adorable blueberry cake pops ever!
Y'all, she did this for us as a gift.
I was blown away. Also, everyone who ate them was obsessed with how delicious they were. She also told me that she prayed for our family as she baked for us, and well, that just had this Momma in a puddle. I just love a good party favor. I had the idea to do some sort of oversized stuffed blueberry, and my talented friend Mary and her insane knitting skills quickly came to mind. She knit the most precious collection of blueberries for the kiddos to take home. I bought little berry baskets at Michaels and set up a station for the kids to "Go Berry Picking.
One of the elements I knew I wanted to incorporate into Fox's first birthday celebration probably since before he was born , was a photo garland of his monthly photos. I always enjoy seeing the progression of children growing, and these photos and the memory of taking them, are some of my most special treasures from his first year.
We were also gifted a Kid's Legacy Prayer Journal for Christmas, and I thought this was the perfect place for guests to write a note to Fox. I've mentioned that I'm sentimental, and you're about to see what I mean. I had the idea to create an item for the party that could be a usable keepsake in our family. I went to our local pottery painting studio , and with the blueberry theme in mind, I decided to do a fruit bowl. We kept the design simple with blueberry clusters on the outside and a simple blue check pattern inside. And, the best part? The blueberries are made of Fox's thumbprints insert cry face here.
It's the sweetest thing, and it turned out better than I could've hoped. The employees at the shop were SO helpful in getting Fox to cooperate with the fingerprinting! It did take a couple trips, but it was totally worth it. I also got the idea from my friend Emily to create a birthday tradition that returns year after year.
I decided to make a special birthday plate at the pottery studio, too, that I imagine him eating pancakes or cake from every year. The polka dots inside the party hat are Fox's thumbprints, and they're just so cute. We also did his full handprint on the back of the plate and on the bottom of the bowl and wrote "Fox's first birthday February When I first picked up the pottery, I was so pleased with it, and I still am!
I kept looking at Fox saying, "look at the art you and Mommy made together! I mentioned earlier I love creating things, but if you're thinking, "I can't draw a thing," not to worry! The employees at DIY pottery studios can be very helpful in bringing your vision to life. At our local studio, they'll hand letter pieces for you with your kids handprints. It's a great option even if you don't feel artistic! I also selected a "Happy Birthday Banner" made of a good quality felt as an item that can return for Fox's birthday every year.
It may not always fit the party theme, but I love the idea of hanging it in our dining room on his birthday morning every year as we prepare to eat pancakes on his birthday plate! I just can't say enough about the gift of photography. It's an extra investment, but it's so, so worth it to me. When I look back at the photos of Fox's first birthday party, I feel transported back to that day with all our special people. I even get to experience little moments of the party that I wasn't part of that day. We love having her with us for these special moments, and she captures our family so perfectly.
My mom has even joked at Christmas and other family gatherings, "When is Mary Margaret arriving? Thanks for sharing in our boy's first birthday fun!
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I hope you take away an idea or two that you can use at your next party. Osh Kosh from Kohls similar. It helped me to view other blogs as I was deciding what was most important for Fox's birthday, and I wanted to share them with you. You'll see from these that there are many different ways to plan a meaningful party, it's all up to what matters most to you and your family and what works for the season you're in. Wow, it feels good to be back in this space. You'll notice a fresh look to the site as well as a fresh address mattyewoodcock. Since the last time I wrote in this space, I feel like I have become a new person in so many good ways.
When I stopped writing here, it was because I felt the need to retreat a little. Not out of any negative feeling, but more out of solitude. After walking through a miscarriage in March , and then getting pregnant again later that spring, my heart was experiencing so many different things. Sharing publicly didn't feel right, or even possible.
It's not that I didn't want to share, I just felt the need to spend time focusing inward and being with my people as we walked through that season. Essentially, it just wasn't the right time, and I listened to that. I knew the time would come where I would be ready to write and share again, and even now, I don't know exactly what it will look like, but I'm so happy to be back.
I've missed writing and connecting here. We found out in June that God had given us another baby. What a joy-filled day that was. Our son surprised us with an early arrival on February 2, his due date was February 21!
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I could spend a lifetime blogging cute photos of him and waxing poetic about our love for him, but I'll spare you We know he is the perfect boy for us. God gave us absolutely who we needed in a child, and he lights up our lives. After having Fox, I experienced postpartum depression and anxiety.
It was the hardest, darkest season of my life, which is something that is still hard and sad to say because it was simultaneous to one of the most wonderful seasons of my life, the first year with our son. I have walked a road of healing, and I am doing so much better now, praise God. I had the honor of sharing my story on my friend, Katie's new podcast, Untethered.
If you're interested in what that season looked like and how God sustained us through it, I'd love for you to listen. And, if you or someone you know has walked through anxiety or depression, I hope it will be a source of light and hope. I tell the fuller version of this story in the podcast, but after going back to work for several months after Fox was born, Woody and I prayerfully made the decision for me to move part-time starting in My leaders and coworkers were all so supportive of this decision, and it has been a great transition for our family.
Not always easy, but it has been the right thing for us. So, here we are. As for what's next? There is lots on my mind, and what you can expect to see here in the coming months is, well, who knows! I do have some fun posts planned with party planning ideas, and I'll talk about goals, too. Part of the beauty of visiting a new place is finding your own way and creating adventure, but I love having some solid recommendations, too, so here's a glimpse of our trip to Laurel: From The Loving Kind. Call me old-fashioned Call me old-fashioned demo Can you forgive her?
Dancing in the dusk demo Daydreaming Decadence Delusions of grandeur Did you see me coming? Domino dancing Don Juan Dreaming of the Queen. Ego music Electricity E-mail Entschuldigung! Euroboy Everything means something. Jack and Jill party demo Jack the lad Jealousy. Love is a bourgeois construct Love is a catastrophe Love life Luna Park. Radiophonic Rent Requiem in denim and leopardskin Reunion electro mix Ring road demo Run, girl, run Run, girl, run demo.
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