Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cooper's First Birthday Vintage Carnival Party!

The time has come. Our baby boy has turned 1!

I love planning events - but planning this special party for my baby was especially fun! There are so many great invitations and ideas that me and Stacia pinned to the "1st birthday inspiration" board but I finally landed on a Vintage Carnival theme.

When I started putting the party together there wasn't a lot of resources with the party planning details and ideas all in one place but there was a lot of interest for the theme. So, I wanted to write this post with a little different take: the anatomy of the party. Enjoy!

First I had these adorable invites and labels customized from Frosting & Ink that I found on Etsy.

Front of the invite
Back of the invite

I also had Frosting & Ink create these customized stickers that I used as the cake and smash cupcake topper. Our local grocery store (United Market Street) accepted the file via email and created this perfect sugar coat topping for the cake - at a fraction of the cost of having a custom carnival cake made.

Party cake created by a local grocery store using
a jpg file, 1 day notice and about $20.
Smash cake (really it's just a large cupcake)
created by United Market Street. Note I found out later
that red icing is a bad idea all around - messy, stains, bitter. 

We also repurposed the stickers to decorate pennant flags draped from the ceiling in four directions like a big top. I created the flags simply using fabric scraps, pinking scissors (for the edging detail), bunting tape and a stapler all from Cooper's Great GrandBoddy's collection.

Easy DIY pennant flags - took a total of 3 hours to create. 
We customized carnival-size lollipops with the stickers.

Customized carnival lollipops - found at Family Dollar for... $1. 

The outside of the house was decorated with this great carnival sign, balloons and a welcome sign.

Large, canvas carnival sign. Found at Hobby Lobby for $12.

We decorated the table with all things vintage carnival including loads of popcorn in these cool paper containers that doubled as party favors. 

Paper popcorn containers. Found at Target, snacks section, 8 pack, $3.

We also decorated the table with peanuts in the shell, cokes in glass bottles, striped straws, boxes of animal crackers, Twizzlers, and cotton candy.

View of the party table. Cotton candy and striped straws found at Hobby Lobby.
Animal crackers, peanuts found at Target. 

I gave the punch a carnival feel by adding these floating ducks.

Floating duckies found at Family Dollar for... $1. 

We had a Face Painting station marked with this canvas banner hung above the bar.

Face Painting canvas banner found at Hobby Lobby, $5. 

And here's the birthday boy caught in mid-run with a custom iron-on also created by Frosting & Ink.

I also wanted to capture some fun images of the day with a photo booth so we created one in a separate room using a large piece of fabric found at Hobby Lobby, a section of the pennant flag, balloons and of course photo props. We set the camera on a tripod (with directions attached) and set it to take the picture after 10 seconds so that the party-goers could come and go and have a little fun!

Here's a few of our favorite shots from the shoot.

Kay, GrandBoddy and Nana
Cody and Papi

Owen and Cooper's Nana
Jeannie and Stacia
Owen, Kande and Cooper
Trenton, Stacia and a curious Cooper
Jim and Haydn with the
dumbbell prop Haydn made.
Monica, Jared, Morgan and Meagan
with $1 props from Target. 

Cooper also got a ton of presents from all of his wonderful family and friends. Many of the toys are being shipped but here are just a few of the great gifts Cooper received. 
  • A board book created just for Cooper with lots of pics of family - from his Nana and Pops. 
  • B. You cars from Nani and Papi 
  • B. You bathtime boat with fishing rod and fish from Cooper's Aunt Monica and crew. 
  • A giftcard to Toys R Us and spending money from his Aunt Sandy and crew that we used to purchase several of Cooper's favorite Baby Einstein videos, books and more. And even more spending money from his Great Grandma Big Spring that we used to buy one of those push popcorn toys. 
  • Our sweet friend Jeannie that is expecting! got Cooper a present including this handsome little button down shirt.
  • He also got an Oklahoma tee and a collage picture card from Cooper's daycare buddy Milo and his mommy and daddy. A riding ATV from his friend Abby and her parents, a sock monkey jack-in-the-box from Cooper's day care teacher, Penny.
  • And SO much more. 

It was so wonderful to see all of our friends and family for Cooper's special day and what also turned out to also be a surprise going away party (thanks for planning Nani!).

Pre-Move Family & Friends Visits

Before the move to Osan AFB in South Korea we wanted to visit as many of our friends and family as possible. Here's a few pictures from our two week tour around New Mexico and Texas.

Stop 1: Albuquerque, NM
After the 10 hour drive by Owen and a flight be Cooper and I we arrived and visited a slue of Aunts and Uncles over a 3 day period.

Stop 2: Roswell, NM
We visited David and Nancy (Owen's parents) in Roswell over a few days.

Stop 3: Hobbs, NM
We stopped into Hobbs to visit Granddad and GranBoddy as well as Uncle Bobby and Aunt Kay (on Owen's side).

{pics coming!}

Stop 4: Lubbock, TX
During our trip in Lubbock we also had Cooper's 1st Birthday Party - and what turned out to be a surprise going away. We also were able to visit Nani and Papi, Jim, Haydn, Cody and Stacia and Trenton. We also were able to see many of Owen's side of the family visited earlier in the trip as well as many Whitharral friends and family that drove in from Big Spring.

Stop 5: Dallas, TX
This was our final stop before jumping on a plane to Seattle where the plane to take us to ROK will await. During this trip we will ship our car to ROK and be able to see a final slue of Aunt, Uncles and cousins.

{pics coming!}

Next stop... Korea!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Planning an International Military Move

The move to South Korea isn’t a typical move. It actually felt like 6 moves in one and honestly the task was a bit daunting. After much research including a very helpful document put together by the Osan Officer's Spouses Club. We finally settled on a colored dot coding system and methodically went through each room marking which move each item belonged in. This part felt good - like an intense spring cleaning session for the entire house. Here's how the moves broke down:

1. Unaccompanied baggage: This 1,000 load should be available when we arrive. We shipped things like clothing, our primary kitchen appliances, bath necessities like a shower curtain, shampoo, soap, and towels and everything in Cooper's room - because when you have a baby everything is a necessity. And a few luxury items like the Margarita Machine (if you've had a marg at our house you understand) and family photos. Basically this load was anything we needed to live on for a couple of months - but not that we would need during our next month of travels.

2. Korea move: This 8,000 pound allotment should arrive in Korea between 2 and 4 months. For this load we primarily loaded anything that we'd want to have over the next 2 years keeping in mind that the things we leave behind could potentially be in storage much longer. We also had to keep in mind the pounds allotment and the smaller living space. 

3. Local storage: This move was our things that will stay in storage here in Oklahoma. It included things like our guest bedroom set (we probably won't host a large number of visitors in Korea), extra clothes, and much of the outdoor and garage paraphernalia. We also decided to donate much of this load to Goodwill. 

4. One month of travel: These are the things that we need for the month of travel while we are moving, visiting family and then flying to Korea. We also went through this allotment a final time and mailed many items to ourselves.

5. Airline travel: This is the limited baggage that we are allowed on the flight. One bag for each of us along with the playyard, the carseat and stroller.

6. Car Shipment: We also had to determine not only which vehicle to take but how we would get it to Dallas to ship it. We decided that we'd be taking our Acadia and we'd ship it right before we left the country. Options we had to weigh here was either being without a car for a month in the states or once we go to Osan - we decided it would be easiest to be without in ROK. 

Next we had to sell our cars, rent our home and find family to take care of our dogs.

We're moving to South Korea!

Once we received word that me and Cooper would be command-sponsored and joining Owen in South Korea many of our family, friends and co-workers wanted a way to bridge the distance and experience our latest adventure alongside us. This blog is meant to do just that. So, this first post includes an overview of our 2011 and the story about how we came to be moving to Korea.
On February 22 our perfect baby boy Cooper was born. Only 3 months later and Owen was deployed to the Middle East for a 6 month tour. This was a difficult but as a military family we knew if was inevitable and we endured.

On a Saturday morning in late November Owen called from the Middle East to tell us that he’d been given a non-voluntary 1 year assignment to Korea beginning a mere two months after he arrived home. My first words were a resilient “how do we go?” There was never a moment of contemplation - I knew that we'd do whatever it took to be together. 

The days and what became weeks following were filled with small milestones on the journey to get Cooper and I commander-sponsored. In December we learned that Cooper and I would be joining Owen in Korea for a 2 year tour with a February 28, 2012 report date. 

We were (and are) overjoyed to be together but there was so much to be done in a short period of time including transitioning out of my advertising job, renting our home, finding homes for our dogs, selling two vehicles and moving – not to mention welcoming Owen home and the holiday season.

To get through the overwhelming schedule over the next two months it was necessary to take one big change at-a-time. So, Cooper and I got ready to welcome Owen home after a long, 6 ½ months.  We prepared the house, dressed Cooper in a “Welcome Home” onesie, put out the flags and waited with baited breath to see him again. On a chilly evening in the middle of December it finally happened – we saw Owen. Nothing warmed my heart more than to see Owen get to hold his now, 10 ½ month old baby. The next few days we didn’t talk about the changes that were soon to happen but instead just held eachother tight.

Only a week and a half later it was Christmas closely followed by New Year’s and we traveled to visit family in Lubbock and Dallas.

Now it was finally time, to start planning the big move!  

Meet The Hein's

Meet the Hein’s. We are a military family - strong, happy and full of adventure! Owen and I have been married for 9 years now and our baby boy, Cooper turns 1 next week.

Owen is a Major Select in the United States Air Force. For the last 8 years I've been an Ad Agency Marketing Strategist but as of just a short month ago I've left my job to take on the role of a full-time mom living and supporting my husband in Korea. This in itself will be quite the experiment - another adventure I hope to document here. 

So far we’ve had the opportunity to be stationed and live in Panama City Beach, Florida (2002), Anchorage, Alaska (2003-08), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2008-12) and by the end of February - Osan AFB in South Korea.  

We’ve also gotten to visit some amazing places along the way like Paris, Rome, Naples, Pisa, Tunisia, Barcelona, Monaco, Cozumel and Jamaica.

And gotten to do some pretty fun stuff like Disney World (and Land), the Redwood Forest, Denali National Park, the Eiffel Tower, the Coliseum, Alaskan glacier exploration and more.

We love adventure – even if it’s just the everyday kind - and are excited to share our latest adventures right here!

Note: The posts you see before this one are imported posts from our blog Bump To Baby that documented my journey from my first baby bump to our bundle of joy.