Evangeline’s Birthday


Evangeline “Ellie” Sophia Donohue turned 1 on April 12th (the Sunday before last).

My sweet baby girl appears to have had a great time … her little kingdom (ie our apartment) was transformed into a Frozen wonderland, her friends and family came, she got presents, and best of all, got to eat her very first cupcake (factoid: it turned her poop blue).




Oaken’s Ice Cold Lemonade, Hans’ Frozen Hearts, and Troll’s Tossed Salad


Olaf Cupcakes, the Do You Wanna Build a Snowman Station, and Ellie’s First Birthday Cake!

Kristoff's Swedish Meatballs, Sandwiches, Sven's Carrots, Yellow Snow! and Chocolate!

Kristoff’s Swedish Meatballs, Sandwiches, Sven’s Carrots, Yellow Snow! and Chocolate!


I threw a rather big birthday party, by my standards. The effects were:

1. Ellie got a magical celebration based on her favorite movie;

2. We had a GREAT time with family and friends, and

3. I discovered that I quite enjoy party planning.

This last part surprised me. As I’ve mentioned before, hosting parties is a source of anxiety. But this time, my “mom self”, who was intent on making it a perfect day for Ellie, took over entirely. You can get a lot accomplished when you let your mom self take over, people. For two weeks, I was on the birthday plan attack. First I Pinterest-ed, then I shopped, and then I designed and collected all the printables, and then I got all the foodstuffs, and then we drove to Ohio for my brother’s wedding the day before (crazy, right?), and then the night before and morning of her big day, I baked/decorated, cut out snowflakes, and basically threw it all together.

Two crises arose that brought out my choleric bossy side. As I mentioned, my brother’s wedding happened the same weekend. So our calendar looked like this:

Thursday – buy all party food, etc.

Friday – drive to Steubenville, Ohio. Hang out with friends, attend rehearsal dinner.

Saturday – attend brother’s wedding and reception. Drive back to Buffalo. Bake cake.

Sunday – decorate cake, go to Mass, get last-minute things at Wegmans, make ALL THE FOODS, decorate the park gazebo. Party starts at noon.

^ That is actually what my Sunday morning looked like. Except that my debit card got declined at Wegmans so I had to leave my cart there and send Brian back for it with his card. Whew. Oh, also, it was waaaaay too windy outside to have the party at the park, which we discovered half an hour before the guests were set to arrive. Needless to say, I was a stress ball.

But … thanks to my wonderful hubby and Ma-in-law, we re-located the party to our apartment, threw up the decorations, and the party was practically perfect. It was crowded, but so much fun! As evidenced in the above pictures, there was Frozen-themed food aplenty, activities for the kiddos, and presents for my baby girl.

The party itself is already solid gold in my memory. But the planning part, too, fills me with a happy feeling every time I think about it, despite the craziness. Whenever I come across my “Ellie’s First Birthday” Pinterest board or computer file, it makes me want to plan another party … so it’s a good thing Brian and I want a big family. There will hopefully be LOTS of kids’ birthday parties in our future!



One Day, Introverts Will Conquer the World

Success! My wonderful hubby’s birthday party went off without a hitch. He had a good time, the guests seemed to have a good time, and I got through the evening without acting awkward (and I had a good time).


Hmm … maybe I’m more confident now because I’m 25, married, and have a kid. Or maybe I’m finally just learning to chiiiillll.

In general, I’m a fearless kinda gal, social situations included. Sing a solo for a packed auditorium? No problem. Teach high school history and social studies? Nailed it.

But something about parties just gets me. I think it’s because the whole point of a party is to have fun. As a host, it’s kind of your responsibility to make sure people enjoy themselves, right? To me, that seems like a lot of pressure!

I *did* throw an awesome dinner party for Brian’s birthday two years ago, but that was during our undergrad when all his friends were my friends, too. Plus, Franciscan students are a friendly bunch. This time was different: I’m not nearly as familiar with his friends/colleagues at Buffalo. I don’t study there. But … turns out, these people were a friendly bunch, too.

What I learned: Party host is actually a nice role for an introvert, provided that your guests get along. They can talk, mingle, and enjoy your refreshments. You can mingle, too, but you can always dart away under the pretext of refilling snacks or whatnot.

Anyways. Most importantly, my awesome hubby had a good time. And that makes me happiest of all, ’cause that guy’s the best.


Seven Quick Takes

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum today for a recap of my week!

1. We found a church downtown which we think is The One – the parish we’ll attend while we live in Buffalo. And that, folks, is a relief for me, after visiting many parishes during the year and a half we’ve lived here. I’m so ready to put down roots and make some church friends I get to see each week. Which brings me to my next bit …

2. Not only have we already meet other young families, but last Sunday I was invited by two very warm and friendly ladies to join charity group dedicated to St. Zita that collects food and sundry items for the two cloistered orders here in Buffalo – the Carmelites and Dominicans. It’s funny; I have been longing to make some connection with the nuns for the past year I’ve lived here – and then I meet these wonderful people who invite me to do just that.

3. I’m finally watching Downton Abbey. Mostly so I can discuss it with my friend Emily, but partly because I feel like I can’t be a true BBC fan and lover of all things British unless I do.

4. Party planning has been keeping me occupied lately – my brilliant, wonderful husband is turning 24, and whereas his last few birthdays have been fairly quiet, this year I’m throwing him a party. Buffalo-style, which means pizza and wings are in order, obviously. It also means that I’ll be playing hostess and that makes me kinda nervous. I just have to remember that I’m not solely responsible for entertaining people. Once they’re here, they can talk amongst themselves, right? And I can scuttle off to the kitchen and make birthday brownies …

5. The other thing keeping me busy is preparing to fly to Houston for my friend’s wedding. I’m used to flying, but having Ellie along is a game-changer. I gotta be prepared. Naturally, I turned to my guru of all things motherhood-related, Kendra of Catholic All Year, for sage advice on how to fly with a baby. She’s traveled quite a bit with kiddos, so I figure she knows what’s up.

6. In other baby-related news, the Bean had her well baby visit yesterday. She weighs twenty pounds, in addition to just being an all-around perfect specimen of babyhood. It’s strange to think that nine months ago I was agonizing over her lack of weight gain (she was a slow-gainer … I think because she insisted on sleeping through the night instead of feeding but probably because that’s just the kind of newborn she was).

7. Lent is coming, and after a year of reading blogs on how to celebrate the liturgical year at home – mostly Carrots of Michaelmas, but some others, too – I’m actually going to *do* it myself. I’ve found this post very helpful, but also discovered a nice idea from Susanna at Living with Lady Philosophy about making a Lenten wreath inspired by Tenebrae, which I think I’ll try. I’m really so excited to start …

Happy Friday!