Thursday, February 21, 2013

Baby Name Reveal Party

A surprise reappearance on the blog!  Yay!  Although I very much liked the idea of closing the Grand Life blog with our last Cayman entry, I decided this was the best venue to share the details of our fun gender/name reveal party.  Yes, to catch you up a tiny bit from the last post - we are having a baby!

We were super excited to schedule our 18 week ultrasound.  Finally we'd find out if a "he" or "she" was on the way.  An occasion like this certainly warranted a little party. We decided it would be fun to have family over to announce not just the gender but also the name!

I designed the invite and party trimmings myself, using coral and teal as the main colors.  

My favorite detail from the party were these little salad jars.  Each of our moms offered to contribute to the party, so I had my mom (aka "Winky," as her two grandsons already call her) bring pasta salad and Brent's mom (aka "Gaga") bring fruit salad.  They turned out so cute!

Now on to the game we used for the big reveal!  This is an idea I actually had a while back, before we were even trying for a baby.  I knew I wanted to have a boy and girl name picked out before the ultrasound so we could start calling baby by his or her name right away.  Then I thought how fun it would be if we revealed the name at the party to let everyone know the gender.

So we came up with 8 girl names and 8 boy names (there were 16 people at the party).  We wrote the boy names on blue name tags and girl names on red name tags.  At the beginning of the party everyone drew a name from a bowl.  Then every 5 minutes we crossed off a name from the list.  The person who drew the real name was the winner!

We made this board to keep track of the names that were left throughout the party.  Brent wrote the boy names and I wrote the girl names, a nice personal touch (though I really wanted to avoid the pressure and print the poster!).

People were kind of surprised that we decided to play this game since we are pretty tight-lipped about the names we like.  But, although each of the names on the list was considered at some point, all but the real one had been ruled out for one reason or another.  Some were names only one of us liked, some were names that had become too popular in recent years, and some just weren't favorites.  So none were names we would actually use in the future, which means our top 2 or 3 names for each gender are still safe for future kiddos!

Like many gender parties, we had people dress in pink or blue to show if they thought baby was a girl or boy.  We debated doing this, but I do think it's a fun way to record people's guesses.  As you can see, the girl votes far out numbered the boy votes!

The game was a hit!  People stayed engaged and got excited every time we rang the "elimination bell."

Timer's going off!

We had the real name written on a second board tied behind the name board.  So once we had it narrowed down to one girl and one boy name, it was time for the big reveal!

We have a SON on the way!  It's so exciting to know that we are now anxiously anticipating our little Gio's arrival!

That's my boy!  Love him so much already!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Last and First

Wow, serious flashback to this post, describing our last days in the States and our first days in Grand Cayman.  And here we are again, this time with the reverse.  Don't you love when things come full circle?

Our second to last day in Cayman we went to Spotts Beach with Walter.  We put our chairs in the shade, ate a picnic and took a little nap.  It was so nice.  I'm really glad we had time for some relaxation and fun that last week, in addition to the crazy to-do list!

I'm already missing these blue, blue waters...

That night we went to Ragazzi for dinner.  I love dinner dates with this guy.

We spent our final full day in Grand Cayman with Jenn and Nate, hanging out at their pool and eating a few meals together.  It was still so hard to believe that this was the last time we'd get to do that for a while.

The final day was a frenzy of chores, errands, and general running around.  Jenn drove us to the airport and Nate met us there to say goodbye.  I must admit a few tears were shed.  Oh how I love these people.  Thank goodness we kept it short and sweet, otherwise I would have been a real mess (and we would have missed our flight  - we made check in with literally one minute to spare).

We flew into Greenville, SC to surprise Brent's family.  His dad knew we were coming for 4th of July but no one else did.  It was so much fun to get to see everyone and meet our newest niece.  I wish the visit could have been longer, but we were also anxious to get home and start setting up the house.

Here's sweet Ellison - four months old

Girl's got good taste in watches

It was the perfect traditional 4th of July - hanging out by the pool, grilling burgers and hotdogs, watching fireworks from the driveway.

The many faces of Kru

Brent got sprayed in the eye with a water gun, which is why it looks a little funny here...

Can't wait to spend a whole week with the gang in Myrtle Beach this September!

We drove to Ohio with Brent's parents.  This was waiting at our house when we got there.  We have the best family!

Ohio did its best to make us feel like home - 100+ degree weather all week.  Our renter had turned off the power on her last day, and due to damage across the area from thunderstorms the week before, we weren't able to get it turned on for 5 days.  Oops.  Man oh man, not my favorite week.  But despite the heat, we got a lot done.  Some inside unpacking and A LOT of outside landscaping.

Now it's been almost a month since we returned.  Still some unpacking to do, but things are looking much more "settled."  Brent and I are adjusting well - some days it feels like we never left and the whole island adventure was just a dream.  I miss it incredibly, but we've also been so busy here I haven't had too much time to dwell on it.  When we tell people we just moved back from two years in Grand Cayman, the general response is "Why?!"  Haha, I really don't blame them.  I spent a lot of time wondering that too before the move.  But I think Brent and I are both feeling peace that this was the right thing for this time in our lives.  The future...who knows what it may hold :)

I don't plan to keep the blog going now that we are back in the States.  I realized that I pretty much put all the same pictures on Facebook, and my blog text was mostly just a few captions here and there.  It seemed a little redundant.  But you never know, maybe I'll stop by every now and then with some pictures and updates.  After all, life is still "grand," even in Cincinnati.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympics Party

Well, I'm going out of chronological order here, but this post is more relevant, and the pictures are ready :).  Last weekend we hosted an olympics party.  It was so fun to entertain at our house again.  Brent's still healing from his eye surgery, but was able to compete with everyone else.  I had lots and lots of help from family pulling this off!

Everyone had to wear red, white, and blue.  Go Team USA!

The torch and medals

Everyone made a dish from another country.  I loved the creativity!

Caprese Salad from Italy

Baklava from Greece

Cucumber Salad from Japan

Fried Meatballs from Albania

Plantains from Haiti

There was an Olympic trivia event, a flag match-up event, and a blindfolded relay.  We had three teams, so everything was a group competition.

The final challenge was seeing which team could eat the most from their box of Kellogg's Team USA cereal.  Not as easy as it sounds!

Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners

So proud of all our athletes!

Happy Olympics, everyone!