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Brynnley’s First Rodeo! 1st Birthday Party

The last weekend of February we celebrated our baby girl’s first birthday with a little party at our home, themed “Brynnley’s First Rodeo!” I found lots of cute western decor on Etsy and Amazon, along with the CUTEST little birthday outfit you ever did see.

Brynnley’s birthday was Thursday, February 23rd. We hosted her party that Saturday with family and handful of friends. I also asked a local photographer who has shot some family photos for us to come capture the day so that I could leave my phone put away and just enjoy the party and my girl!

The toughest decision was picking a time of day for the party because Brynnley’s sleep/nap schedule can still be a bit unpredictable. She typically wakes up between 7:30-8:30am. Her first nap is just based on whenever she starts acting sleepy or grumpy, usually 10:00-11:00am. Sometimes it’s a 2-hour nap and other times it’s a 35-minute nap! The afternoon nap just adjusts to about 3 hours after she wakes up from her first nap. Giving our guests a month’s notice with a party start time seemed tricky, like there would be a 50% chance of her actually being awake during the party time. So I played it safe and planned the party at 5pm when I knew she would be awake no matter what. That meant that we would need to provide dinner, another aspect of the party that Zeb and I didn’t want to be stuck manning the kitchen or the grill, so we also outsourced dinner to our local Idaho Pizza Company. I had premade a bunch of snacks and sides earlier though!

We had lots of pizza, plus “tractor tires,” “hay bales,” “cowboy pasta salad”, and a “vegetable patch.” All served with pitchforks and shovels, of course. ;) The pasta salad recipe was SO YUMMY! It included ranch dressing and barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown mustard, crumbled bacon, ground beef, shredded cheese, green onions and cherry tomatoes. I really enjoyed the BBQ sauce flavor in this pasta salad, if you’re looking for something different to try!

Brynnley wore the most adorable pink cowgirl hat with her pink tutu and a onesie that I made with a friend’s Cricut. Her onesie said “My first rodeo”, and I also made my husband and I coordinating shirts that said “Not my first rodeo” in matching pink. I’d never used a Cricut machine before and was so impressed with how much it is capable of!

We ordered cupcakes from Albertson’s bakery in soft pink with little fondant horseshoes on top. We got Brynnley her own little smash cake, though I knew my baby is such a picky eater that it was unlikely she would dive in face first like I wish she would! She likes to poke foods, but she is very hesitant to actually try anything new. Unless it is a potato or a hunk of meat, any new food on her plate is met with skepticism. Add to that the fact that 25 people would be in our living room watching her, and it was unlikely that the smash cake would in fact be smashed.

I wanted to preserve her cute outfit for the rest of the party, so I stripped her down to her diaper and a cute little birthday crown before I put her in her highchair. I used half of a highchair banner that came in a party decoration pack on Amazon, and then I made extra tassels to add to it. I ended up actually just hot gluing the banner and tassels to the highchair because it’s the only way I could get them to stay tightly along the edge. Thankfully the hot glue pulled off easily the next day during clean up, leaving the highchair good as new!

Luckily it was pretty easy to clean her off with just a wet burp cloth and get her back into her party clothes! She hung out with her grandparents and friends until it was time to open her presents.

For the sake of not taking 3 hours to open all of her gifts, Zeb and I did most of the unwrapping and Brynnley showed off her clapping skills throughout the evening. It was so cute to watch! She’s such a ham and did not mind having an audience at all. She loves to clap for herself and wave to everybody!

We had such a fun time with our little western-themed party to celebrate Brynnley’s first trip around the sun. Let me know if you want links to any of the party decor items if you’re planning a little first rodeo of your own!

The Bucket List is complete!

This list that began 365 days ago has added to a year full of memories and gotten me outside of my comfort zone. 🤍

Tonight I’m celebrating a new decade, and I don’t feel like I need a list to commit to plenty of content worth sharing for the coming years. ☺️ Looking back, I know that I wanted to “make the most” of my twenties as I closed out this chapter of my youth. Moving forward, my thirties are all about becoming a parent and raising babies with their own special memories!

I tried to pick a favorite list item but I can’t, there are so many good ones! It’s been so fun to look back on all of them today and appreciate where this past year has taken us. The days are long but the year is short :)

Bucket List Item #29: Run 13.1 Miles (Half-Marathon)

Who would have thought, one month ago today when I still had TEN items on my list, that we would be here at the penultimate post on my birthday eve-eve?!? I didn’t know how much of a procrastinator I was until I gave myself 365 days to complete 30 things…..and I saved 33% of them for the last 30 days. It has been a VERY busy month. The cleanliness of my house has taken the toll. I have a deep-cleaning day scheduled for myself next week 😅

Running the distance of a half-marathon (13.1 miles) would have been just a normal Sunday for me, back in the day. I spent the better part of a decade in running shoes. I truly LOVE running (long distance. No sprinting here haha). After all, this blog began when I was a NCAA Division 1 athlete for Northern Arizona University’s Cross Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track team. (Anyone been here since race recaps…? ☺️) That was the time in my life that I look back and am most proud of. I’m so thankful to have had that experience!

Though I never saw myself continuing to run competitively after college, I do see myself as a lifelong recreational runner. And I know that it’s totally natural to have peaks and valleys in everything so I will openly admit that I’ve been in quite the valley when it comes to running lately. Particularly since becoming pregnant and now having a baby for the past 11 months. I run here and there but not as consistently or structured as my past, which is a goal of mine going into spring.

This was another item I prolonged til the deadline, and Idaho isn’t particularly known for its “ideal outdoor running weather” in February. Looking at the forecast, I decided this afternoon was my best shot this week. It would be sunny and upper 40’s, though windy. At this point, I have to take what I can get!

I was able to start my run around 2:30pm. Zeb was home until 4:00pm and could watch Brynnley while I ran outside for the first chunk. At 4:00pm, he had to get to work and I would have to come inside and use the treadmill while Brynnley snoozed for her afternoon nap. There was a good chance she would wake up during this portion and we could log the remainder of my miles outside again with her in the stroller. I had a plan!

After attending my MOPs meeting in the morning, I came home and meal-prepped for Zeb to take something healthy on his work trip. I made a Greek salad with tomato, cucumber, lettuce, green onion, feta, a creamy dressing and delicious pan-fried pork patties on top with a little cup of hummus for each container. I fed Brynnley her lunch, wrote a blog post for my regular job and then changed into a weather-appropriate running outfit.

The key to getting into the long-distance zone for me is MUSIC! I could not imagine running to a podcast or an audiobook. I HAVE to be listening to really good music with a beat that fires me up. I have my go-to playlists on Spotify, which include 1990s punk, 2000s hip-hop, current country, lots of Daughtry, some Avril Lavigne, a random Linkin Park song. 😅

I ran 5.5 miles straight without stopping at an 8-minute mile average. To be perfectly honest, that’s the longest I’ve run since fourth of July! I took a short walking break to blow my nose because the wind was really getting to me. I took this picture of a random house just to show the wind in the flag:

When I started again at the 6-mile mark, I thought “uh oh. I should not have stopped.” My legs immediately felt SO HEAVY after stopping. From mile 6-12, I ran as much as I could but stopped to walk when I needed to. I never went more than a mile without running. My butt, thighs, shins and calves let me know that I would regret not training more for this haha. Here is another random snap from my run of a dead frog that really freaked me out…

At the 9-mile mark, Zeb needed to leave for work. So I returned home. Brynnley was still asleep, so I grabbed the baby monitor and hopped on the treadmill. It is so much better to run outside than on a treadmill!

She woke up 20 minutes later. I’d gotten in 2 miles, so my grand total was 11 miles.

I needed 2 more, so I got her cozy in her stroller and went back out into the neighborhood.

We made it through the remaining distance, but I did end up walking the last mile because my legs were practically THROBBING. I just know that I will not be able to walk tomorrow. I’m really surprised that my lungs weren’t more of an issue though because I expected my breathing to be more out of shape than my leg muscles. I also didn’t sweat very much at all even though I hydrated quite a bit for this, and I’m assuming the wind just helped to dry it all off pretty efficiently.

The main takeaway from this task is: I don’t know why I don’t run more. I truly enjoy it. I have proved to myself that I can fit it in with Brynnley. Especially now that the weather will start getting nicer soon, I no longer have any excuse to stay in this “valley” of my running performance. I am here to publicly commit to making long-distance running a more regular part of my lifestyle again. It makes me happy :)

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