On my 13th birthday, my Papa Chuck gave me a birthday card in which he had simply written,
Stay as sweet as you are!
Love, Papa Chuck
It surprised and touched me at the same time. My papa wasn't a touchy-feeling teddy bear of a man; he was a quiet, hard-working, serve-others-with-everything-you've-got kind of man. Somehow, seeing those words, "Stay sweet," written in his block lettering gave me a new perspective about who I was. My papa thought I was sweet. He wanted me to stay the way I was.
I loved that. I felt more valuable, more precious, just knowing that this man of few words felt that way about me. Those words have always stuck with me. Through my teenage years, through my college days, through losing my Papa to cancer two years after I got married. I've always wished that Papa Chuck could have met Kayleigh. I can imagine the way his blue eyes would twinkle mischievously at her, and the way his laughter would echo hers.
Jesse and I started talking about birthday party themes for Kayleigh at the end of July. We played around with different ideas, from ladybug-themed parties to cupcake-themed ideas. We wrote down lists of ideas to go with each theme, and had fun getting creative with it.
But as her birthday came closer and closer, I realized that a cookie-cutter party theme idea just didn't fit. I didn't want to build a party around a theme, I wanted to build a theme around my sweet girl. My beautiful little girl who I wish I could just freeze at this sweet stage and cherish her forever.
Nat King Cole's song fits my sweet girl perfectly. Kayleigh's birthday party was a beautiful day of celebrating the sweet little person that she is. Jesse and I pray every day that she always stays this sweet.
Here are some ways that we decorated for her special day!
I covered an old bulletin board with batting and fabric to create this photo timeline with one picture for every month of her life clothespinned to string.
The mantle decor is string with 2" diameter circles folded over it in alternating pastels.
You guys, the party-planning craze came over me and I actually hot-glued the string to my brick fireplace! Thankfully, it comes right off :)
Three hurricane candle votives were used to hold some of Kayleigh's special items from her first year. Her first pair of shoes, her newborn pacifiers, and her everyday hair clips.
The lyrics to Stay as Sweet as You Are were printed out and posted near the entryway of our home
Continuing with our "Sweet" theme, we listed some of Kayleigh's favorite words on a cabinet.
And, I forgot to take a picture of it, but we had a basket full of candy on the table with a sign that said "Sweet Treats--help yourself!"
I never managed to get a picture of the dining room once it was all set for the party, but here it is halfway there. I made more paper garlands (I added doilies to these) and strung them from the chandelier, along with lots of tissue paper flowers.
I used doilies on the table and also to decorate the three mason jars which held the utensils. Jesse helped me punch out little circles using scrap paper and we sprinkled it across the pink tablecloth.
Flower-shaped brownie pops were Kayleigh's party favors, and we had footprint leaves with "Thank you for sharing in my special day! Love, Kayleigh Grace" printed on the back of each.
The house simply overflowed with loved ones that day, and Kayleigh was showered with love.
It was a beautiful day to celebrate our sweet girl!