Friday, August 5, 2016

Bridal Shower Planning: 101

The key to any successful shower or party is in the details. Your guests will notice the little things you did to go above and beyond preparation. Sometimes, prep work and planning takes a team. In my case, it took me and two other bridesmaids to throw my sister an epic bridal shower. 

Make a budget. 
We started planning months before the actual bridal shower to make sure we didn’t over spend. I had to reign the other girls in a few times because, let’s face it, this gal isn’t made of money. But for the most part we stuck to the plan. 

We thought about where to get food, what we would use for favors, drinks, everything. Start planning in advance so the money for everything isn’t a shock when it’s a week before the wedding and you still have to buy meats and cheeses! 

Plan your menu
Originally we were going to try and have Chick Fil A cater everything. Sadly Chick Fil A isn’t open on Sundays. Plan B, Sam’s club for food in bulk! We decided getting lots of meats and cheeses to make sammies was the best idea to feed a large amount of people. We were able to get some of the meats on sale with coupons and manager’s specials for the Salami. (win!) 

Fruits are always a great idea! 

Just keep in mind who you’re feeding. We struggled with having a few guests that couldn’t have gluten, so obviously bread for sambas were off limits. Instead we offered gluten free crackers and popcorn. Finger foods are perfect for showers like this. 

Stay hydrated! 
Obviously we had to have a mimosa bar! We offered both OJ and Grapefruit juices to mix things up. (Hint, the grapefruit was my favorite!) 

Don’t worry, we had options for guests that might not want to day drink with us. (I swear I’m not a lush)
We got a great deal on the four drink dispensers. In addition to the mimosa bar: we had lemonade, sweet tea, and water. 

It’s all in the details 
I cannot take any credit for crafting portions of the bridal shower. That was all on one of the other bridesmaids. She essentially told me and the matron of honor what to do / how to do it and we did. 

|| Polished Brides. 
Hot glue + flowers / mini veils on nail polish = these cute little favors for guests. They were able to choose a color they loved to take home. 

|| Chocolate Sunflowers
Yes we melted chocolate. Yes we had to dye it. Yes this was a pain in the butt. 

|| Mint To Be
Mints + Hot glue / hand written decor = cuteness galore. 

|| Date Box
We painted / added pictures / decorated this cute little box from the craft store to make a date box idea for my sister and her soon to be hubby. All of the guests at the party wrote down a date idea for when they get stuck on what to do. They choose a date randomly and have an adventure! 

|| Gifts for the mom’s / Step mom’s 
Because they’re important too! We threw these little “spa” boxes together for the amazing women in the bride’s life. 

|| Letters to the bride
When invitations were mailed out, we asked everyone invited to write a letter to my sister. It could’ve been a memory, a funny story, anything. We made sure to have the letters a week before the shower so we could make a scrap book. We gave her the book as a gift. She knew nothing about this until we surprised her with it. We even had her finance type up a letter. (Everyone else’s was hand written) Her reaction was priceless. 

Needless to say, we felt like the shower was perfect. We had games, prizes, and lots of laughter. Even unwanted advice from Grandma. No one was surprised with that though. At the end of the day, we were thankful for the mimosas! 

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Coping With Back to School

This time last year I was preparing to put my oldest on a school bus for the first time. He had never ridden a bus before. He was starting kindergarten. I was a ball of emotions. I was worried about everything imaginable. How he would like school, how he would do on the bus, etc. 

This year is different. 

This year I’m emotional for very different reasons. I don’t get to put my son on the bus. 

The reality is, there’s parts of divorce that no one ever talks about. Parents missing out. Split custody. Shared custody. Whatever the case may be. I’ve shared briefly here that my ex has primary physical custody of the kids (for now). We also live an hour away from each other. The distance makes it difficult to be there for a lot of activities especially when I work full time. 

Being an hour away is why I can’t put him on the bus. When you have an hourly job and you go in late without paid time off, that cuts into bills you have to pay. I’m conflicted. My company would allow me to see him onto the bus and go in late, but then I’d be missing on hours. See where I'm torn? Gotta work to pay bills, but then you miss out on things. 

Yesterday I went to my son’s open house. I got to meet his new teacher. I saw his classroom. I made sure everyone at the school had my contact information. He was extremely excited, and I am excited for him. I hid my sadness well. Sadness because I never thought there’d be a day in his life that I wasn’t there on his first day. Honestly, I’m tearing up about it. I cried about it Monday night talking with my boyfriend. 

So how do you deal with this? How do you cope? 

Remind yourself there are worse things to miss out on. 
There's going to be more first days of school. He's only in first grade. It's not like I'm missing his high school graduation. I'm not missing a major award. Would I prefer to be there? Absolutely? Is it something to get broken up about? Probably not. But if we're being completely honest, I did get broken up about it. He's my baby. I get upset about everything that I miss. I just have to remember that this isn't the worst thing to miss in his life. 

Talk everyday. 
I call my kids every night. I ask what their favorite thing about their day was. What they did, who they played with. Everything. Some nights they're more talkative than others, but they're also 3 and 6 so conversations may be limited. With Zander going back to school, I can ask him about the bus ride, his new teacher. The main thing is that they (both) know that no matter what... no matter how far away I am... that I care more than anything in the world. 

Honestly, I felt like there'd be more to it than that.... but that sums it up. Really, just celebrate the little things. I make sure he knows how proud I am of him daily. How proud I am of both kids. They know how much I love them. They know I'm there for the big stuff. And really, that's all that matters. Like I said, yes... it sucks. But this too shall pass. 

Have you ever dealt with split custody? How did you cope with missing out on accomplishments and milestones? 

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