Monday, February 12, 2018

Jude is One! With a Dishwasher Themed Birthday Party!

Our sweet Jude Francis is one year old! How is that possible?!

This year has flown by faster than I ever thought possible. I look at these pictures of Jude as a newborn or a 3-month-old and in so many ways it feels like yesterday, and in so many other ways, it feels like years ago. Ha! That old saying, "The days are LONG but the years are SHORT!" is still so so so true and our kids make us feel it more than ever.

Jude Francis, you are such a joy! What a blessing it is to watch you grow and explore and learn every day.  It's amazing to see little glimpses of your personality shining through, and we can't help but wonder who you'll become as you continue to grow. Childhood is so full of wonder and awe, and your life is no exception. ;) 

Every day, we see you become interested in more and more things. Currently, you are obsessed with the dishwasher (more on that later!), the stairs, the toilet, tearing things off shelves, making messes, instrument toys (whistle, drum, shakers), and all your brother's things on wheels. You love to tinker and explore and I LOVE that quality about you . . . even if it means lots of messes to clean up later, they're worth it because I know you're learning. You also love to crawl at lightening speeds and just this week you started taking your first steps!! You can walk 3-4 steps on your own before you plop back down to the ground, and each day you seem to be able to do a few more. It won't be long before you're walking circles around all of us, I'm sure! But your favorite way to get around, by far, is in your walker cart. Yes, that's right, IN. You like to sit in the basket of the cart and let John Paul push you around. It always cracks me up. Your squeals and giggles as you zoom around the house on your royal cart bring us so much joy! If brother isn't around to push you, you tend to gravitate toward other things on wheels -- trains, cars, trucks -- and push them around while half-crawling, half-catapulting yourself across the floor. It's the cutest froggy-leg crawl I ever did see. 

We're currently working on porking you up, since you weighed only 19 lb 5 oz at your 1-year appointment, dropping you into the 19th percentile for weight. This is a huge drop from the 50th percentile, where you firmly sat from birth to 6 months old. We're not exactly sure what's up, but we're trying our best to get even fattier foods into you here lately. Current favorites include strawberries covered in coconut milk chia seed pudding, chicken nuggets and french fries, anything peanut butter, cheese (he got to try dairy and loved it!, but the verdict is still out on whether he's still allergic), pizza!, applesauce, tomatoes, and any fruit. You are pretty open to trying new things, but your appetite is still so small. You tend to nibble a few bites here and there and then you're all done. Even when you eat things like cookies and other treats, you usually don't want very much. Maybe you're just meant to be a tall, skinny guy, like your Dad. I mean, that *is* pretty darn cute.

You still adore nursing, which we lovingly call "milkies." I love the way you excitedly growl when I ask, "Do you want milkies now?" Ha! He's not subtle. He nurses approximately every 3 hours during the day and at least once overnight. I definitely wasn't expecting to still be nursing this regularly a year out from birth, but hey, it's what you need and want, so it's what you get, babe. :) Maybe that's why you eat so little. You just love milkies so much! We'll slowly try to wean you off of milkies over the next year, but for now, you eat as much as you need, kiddo.

Your sleep has remained about the same throughout your whole first year: awesome at naps, meh at the overnight. Currently, you take one 2-hour nap in the late morning/early afternoon, sometimes one catnap in the early evening, and then sleep overnight from 8:30pm - 7:30am. But that overnight sleep is so random and often interrupted. Some nights you wake only once for a quick feeding, other nights, it's 2-3 wake-ups, sometimes for feedings, sometimes for cuddles. Currently we think you're trying to pop some molars so your sleep has been terrible. Hopefully we have that behind us soon, because we could all use a little more sleep, bud, you especially. Thanks for being an awesome napper, though. That makes all the bad nighttime sleep a little more bearable. ;)

You have lovingly earned so many nicknames over the past year. Our current favorite are Juju, Juji, Jude the Destroyer, Jude the Dude, Boo Boo, The Boo Ju Ju, and Mr. Persistent. That last one comes from how insanely persistent you become when you really want something that you can't have. For instance: the dirt in my sunroom palm plant. We can pull you away from that plant 100 times and you'd still go back for a 101th try. We smartened up eventually and decided to block the plant with two big chairs. But it wasn't long before you were trying to crawl under and around and over those chairs, thankfully unsuccessfully, to get back at that plant again. I love my persistent boy. I hope your persistence pays off some day when that trait becomes a little more useful. :P

You've started learning words and it's soooo cute to hear your little voice. Your very first word was DADA (which means both "mom" and "dad" currently), but your first non-person-related word was ALL DONE, which you like to firmly declare the second you're done eating. It's more like "AH DUH!" Then from there, you've learned to say down (DUH!), book (BUH), bath (BAH), bubble (BUH-BUH), bye-bye (also BUH-BUH), and John Paul (BAH PAW), all of which you can say unprompted. My favorite is probably book, which you say when you want to read a book but then also every time we turn the page in a book. It's adorable. Just like walking, you seem to be learning a little more each day, and I bet the language explosion just continues from here. 

My favorite part about you is how much you love your big brother. You love to watch him do everything, and you love to copy him when he's doing something silly like shaking his head or clapping his hands or making a high-pitched noise. You follow each other around the house making messes everywhere, sharing toys, fighting over toys, exploring everything! One of our biggest dreams as parents was to give your brother a forever friend, and I'm pretty sure you've already found that in each other. I can't wait to see your friendship continue to blossom. 

Jude Francis, I love being your mom. I love the way you give big, slobbery, open-mouth kisses and say "mwwahhhh" as you go in for the smooch. I love the way you make sing-songy noises as you crawl toward something you're excited about. I love the way you sway and bounce when you hear a favorite tune. I love the way you love on your daddy and light up when he gets home from work. I love how you melt into a puddle of sadness when Daddy or I walk out of the room because you just love us both so much! Thanks for being so joyful, so cuddly, so wonderful, so fun! You make our days so much brighter (and our nights so much longer :P) and our world is infinitely better because you're in it! 

To celebrate Jude's big day, we had a dishwasher-themed first birthday party at our house. Yes, dishwasher-themed. The kid is OBSESSED with our dishwasher. He can hear it open from another room and he comes rushing in to play with whatever he can grab -- plates, cups, utensils, banging them together like a drum -- clean or dirty. I actually try to wait until he's down for a nap to put things in the dishwasher now because otherwise he's playing in all our dirty stuff. Eek! But he loves it so much, we just had to make a party out of it. It actually started as a joke: "Wouldn't it be funny if the theme was dishwasher?" And then it just stuck and so we made it happen. It was honestly a fun project. :) 

In case you're wondering: no, no one else in the history of Pinterest has ever planned a dishwasher-themed party. So we had to start from scratch and brainstorm everything you see here, with the help of a few friends of course!

We kept it small, only inviting family and Jude's two nearly-one-year-old friends (plus their families, of course). And I tried to keep the decorations and games to a minimum. I feel like we had just enough to make it feel dishwashery, but it was all very easy to put together, which is totally my kind of party!

The invites, which were probably my favorite part, were shaped like a dishwasher.  

When guests arrived, they had to walk through these streamers, which reminded me of a carwash, and thus evoked the feeling of being washed when walking through. Like an entrance to a human dishwasher, you might say. 

I kept food super simple and didn't really tie any of it into the theme. We had hummus and veggies and pretzel chips for an appetizer, and pizza, salad, and fruit for dinner. 

The morning of the party, John wanted to make some silly clipart with puns as decorations. They made me giggle. Oh, and he wants you to know that if you want to plan your own dishwasher birthday party and you'd like to hang these posters too, he'd gladly email you the PDFs for free. :)

We put our utensils in the dishwasher's utensil holder and all the cups and plates in our clean dishwasher. We knew we wanted our guests to interact with our dishwasher somehow, and this seemed like the easiest way to do it. :)

For favors, all of our guests got bubbles and a Ferrero Rocher chocolate, which we called "golden bubbles."

I printed out this simple dishwasher clipart and turned it into a dishwasher garland.

In our family room, we played a 45-minute video of the inside of a running dishwasher on loop. It was actually quite memorizing!

This blue and white happy birthday banner was from John Paul's first birthday! His Godmother made it for him.

I wanted to create an actual dishwashing station for the kids, but since Jude's birthday is in January, I knew we weren't going to be able to do anything with actual water, as that sort of mess would require us to be outside. So instead we bought Jude some ball pit balls as his birthday gift and turned this old blow-up pool into a "dishwasher" of sorts. I through in some cut up sponges and tiny cups to make it more dishwasher themed, and it ended up being a huge hit!

To make it feel even more dishwashery, I started blowing bubbles over the kids. John Paul tried to "clean" his cup by catching bubbles in it. Seriously, though, is there anything cuter than kids and bubbles? 

Following the ball pit fun, we settled for a while and ate our dinner.

And then dessert! I made (vegan) dirt cake for everyone, which I felt loosely fit the theme (dirty cake, clean dishes, that sort of thing), and it was soooo tasty!

Jude got a very special smash cake. Since we still weren't doing dairy at the time, I made a dairy-free, gluten-free, low sugar cake just for him. I got the cake recipe here and the frosting was just homemade coconut whipped cream with a tiiiiny bit of powdered sugar.

The big kids had to help blow out the candle. :)

I think he liked it. ;)

Actually, he mostly just licked some of the frosting off and then wanted nothing to do with it. Silly boy!

And that's a wrap!

Happy first birthday, Jude! We love the sweet little dude that you are! Here's to your 2nd year being as awesome as your 1st! <3 


  1. I can't believe he is one. And I can't get over the dishwasher party! What an amazing theme!!

  2. I love the theme! What a fun, unique and personalized idea!

  3. What fun theme! Happy Birthday, Jude!

  4. You guys are so creative! I love the theme and it seems so easy to do with what you have around the house. Happy Birthday Jude!

    1. Exactly! Easy to do with minimal purchasing. :) That was my goal! Thanks so much! :)

  5. I will come back to this place, its huge and open, and have really tall ceilings. Wait staff was also pretty good. Bartender was awesome and personable. I was really pleased with my party at event space San Francisco here. Ha! I highly recommend these guys.

  6. Stephanie, thank you so much for sharing this! We are planning a dishwasher themed birthday for our son, too! Your creativity and inspiration are very much appreciated for this unique party theme. Looks like Jude had a great time! :)


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