Last weekend, my husband and I loaded suitcases, party supplies, and Eiger into our Subaru, and made the 10.5 hour trek to Normal/Bloomington, IL, to celebrate the arrival of our niece Madeline with a baby shower. Alissa, Madeline’s mom and my sister-in-law, co-hosted a fabulous bridal shower for me when Nathan and I got married, and that meant a lot to me. So, I was grateful for the occasion to make her feel equally special.
Alissa is a creative soul, and her husband Adam is one of those men that can build anything. The two of them remodeled their second floor to add Madeline’s nursery. Alissa chose a jungle theme for the nursery, with pink, lime, and turquoise as the main colors. Look at these amazing jungle wall hangings she sketched and painted, based on actual jungle-animal toys:
She painted three large, rectangular color blocks on one wall in pink, lime, and turquoise, which double as chalkboards, and knitted that monkey (above right) herself!
We settled on a jungle-themed shower to mirror the nursery, with an emphasis on zebras. Here is the customized invitation I created on Polka Dot Design (minus the address to protect privacy). At the time, Madeline’s name was still a secret.
Zebras are so “in” right now! Everywhere I looked, there was zebra stuff. I found a zebra frame (below) at Hobby Lobby and a zebra tote bag at Target, which served as the “gift bag” for Alissa’s party favor, but can double as a fun diaper bag. On the cake and gift table, I displayed the shower invitation and an assortment of jungle-animal themed books (including highly-recommended “Giraffes Can’t Dance,” not pictured).
Including several editions of the Madeline book series was, of course, a no-brainer. 🙂 The cake (shown above) was from Janet’s Bakery in Bloomington, IL; I asked them to just make it jungle-y and include a zebra, and it turned out perfectly! (Thank you!)
Last but not least, I strung a “clothesline” of baby clothes (onesies, hats, bibs, britches) in the nursery colors and theme for Madeline to keep. I got the idea for the onesie pictured below from Uncommon Goods, but asked my friend Courtney of Kalicocrafts to make – no, scratch that – improve it. I found the zebra britches below at OKC’s Pinkitzel.
Nathan and Alissa’s mom, grandmother, aunt, and cousin all helped me with the food (thank you!), including delicious homemade chicken-salad on croissant.
I was a little nervous about hosting a baby shower all by myself, because I haven’t had any children myself, so I was sure what to actually do. So, I called in reinforcements: my friends with children emailed me ideas based on what they loved most about their own baby showers, and most advised me against having a series of silly and awkward baby shower games.
So instead of playing any games, all of the guests signed birthday cards for Madeline to open on each of her birthdays until she turns 18 (shown above). We had some leftover cards, so all the uncles and grandpas loitering around outside the house wrote cards for Madeline, too.
With Madeline’s arrival Alissa and Adam’s identical twin 4 1/2 year old boys, Wyatt and Everett, finally became big brothers. They were so sweet during the shower, excitedly opening gifts with not an ounce of jealousy, and even smelling flowers from the centerpiece:
And last but not least, the guest of honor, sleeping peacefully through her party in the arms of Grandma Jamie:Alissa, I hope you loved every part of your little girl’s baby shower. If so, you get all the credit: your creativity inspired the fun theme, and most of all, you and Adam made this beautiful little lady with a perfect name. I am sure she will be every bit as talented as her parents, and hopefully, love books and travel like the hostess of her baby shower.
Thank you to my friends for your great baby-shower advice, to my in-laws for all the help with logistics, and to all of Alissa’s friends and family for being there or sending your love via mail!
– HBA (Aunt Holly)