April Showers

It’s been a busy few weeks.  Generated a report for the MoES, graded literature reviews and methodology sections, listened to 8 thesis defenses, and got ready for a conference presentation for a major conference, have had numerous layovers and flew thousands of miles.  But amidst all this, it was great being able to throw my sister a baby shower on a layover in Chicago with the help of the internet, my sister’s mother-in-law, and a few of my sister’s good friends.  April showers bring May flowers – although in this case, spring’s a little early – so March showers… ok.  That doesn’t work here.  Bad usage of this adage aside, we had a March, spring-inspired shower last weekend.
IMG_0163 In general, we were going for a casual vibe with a spring and animal-inspired theme.  Originally, the theme for their nursery was arbor friends + a few random koalas.  But when I got to Chicago, I found out that they changed their mind to an arbor theme + monkeys.  Only in nursery land can monkeys, lady bugs, hedgehogs, and owls exist together, I guess.

For the decorations, we kept it pretty simple.  We had pink accents running through the house – with the pink medium-sized pom poms, the banner with pink cut out letters, and lots of spring flowers.  For the table, I saw on Pinterest that someone used butcher paper to cover the tables and then labeled all the food, which I thought I was a great idea.  Although I had planned on buying a few feet of butcher paper, it was nice to find out that Buy Buy Baby actually uses butcher paper to stuff its mail order gifts.  So we reused and repurposed the paper, saving a few dollars. 🙂  I also painted block canvas with several layers of brown acrylic paint and tried to make the baby’s initials (sans first initial) look like it had been spray painted on.

I didn’t want to use decorations that would have to be thrown out after the shower, and so, I ordered some stuffed animals to decorate + be used to decorate the baby’s room.
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We had a two floor set-up, with gifts and “activities” in the basement, a dessert section, drinks section, and a brunch/lunch food section.  For dessert, we had scones, pink rice crispy treats, a fruit platter, a monkey cake, cupcakes (which came a little late), Pirouettes (impulse buy), strawberry shortcake parfaits with handmade whipping cream, and cookies from Sugar Shaker SweetsIf you are in the Chicagoland area, I highly recommend Sam – her cookies, e.g., malted chocolate chip, peanut butter, and lemon cookies are delicious and prices reasonable.
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For brunch/lunch, we had chicken salad sandwiches (1/2 torta sized), charcuterie and cheese platters, pita chips + salsa and hummus, a veggie platter, various breads (lemon poppyseed, espresso, carrot bread and pound cakes), a cream cheese dip and a yogurt bar with a few different kinds of fruit and granola.
IMG_0161 The “thank you for coming” party favors were daisy-shaped sugar cookies (the spring theme) from Sugar Shaker SweetsIMG_0165In a last minute effort to tie a monkey element into the shower, I ordered water bottle labels from Pink the Cat on Etsy and was really happy with how prompt she turned around sending me a personalized water bottle label PDF, which I printed out at Kinkos. We also had mimosas, Frappacinos, and juice available for everyone.
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In addition to eating, we had a few “activities” planned.  A few weeks ago, I talked about some of the planned activities. We also had people guess when the baby was actually going to come on this 16 x 20 poster inspired by the invites. All the print materials were printed at Vistaprint, which offers tons of coupons and sends stuff promptly.
IMG_0159 Whoever wanted to could personalize a onesie, bib, or a burp cloth (since I didn’t think my sister needed 36+ onesies).  I forgot to take pictures of what people designed but I surprised that there were some that were really good (either witty or well drawn).
IMG_0155 And we played the purse game with the prizes being… yup, purses made by Xtal from Paper & Silk on Etsy.  Just a plug – she can make these types of purses in any size, color, and fabric type you need and they are really well made – they were a hit with the winners. 🙂IMG_0148All in all, despite the craziness of having 36+ people and a few kids eating and hanging out for two hours on a Saturday afternoon, it was great seeing old friends, family friends, small group  members, etc. come out to support my sister and brother-in-law as they get ready for their first. After it was all over, we cleaned up but left a few reminders of the shower.
IMG_0232 Although I’ve helped plan a few showers, and brought food to a million, this was my first time venturing into solo planning. And if the couple’s appreciation is the measure, then I feel like I got passed. Conference presentation check. Business meetings check. Urgent grading check. Now onto my revise and resubmit and book review.

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