This August will mark ten years since I moved from Indiana to the Nation’s Capitol for a new job. That means, ten years of adjusting to a faster pace of life and a much slower pace of traffic. Ten years of exploring different ethnic cuisines and cultures. Ten years of watching every conceivable protest march between the Hill and the White House. And ten years since I met one of my very best friends, and former roommate, Kim.
It has been five years since we lived together, and those five years have been filled with major life milestones we experienced along a very similar timeline yet independent of one another: buying a first home (defined as a one-bedroom condo in DC ), changing careers, getting married, and moving from DC to Arlington. And come August, Kim will be celebrating more than just her 10 year anniversary in DC. She will be joining me in this new world of parenthood as she becomes a mother.
To get a head start on the celebration, two of my good friends and I had the honor of hosting a baby shower for Kim. All three of us quickly agreed to a travel-themed shower given Kim’s love for world travel and exploration. We were inspired by countless different vintage travel-themed showers we saw on Pinterest, but it did not take long to realize a common theme with these parties – they were for boys. It made sense, after all, with the bright reds and blues in vintage passport stamps and little airplane decorations. Thanks to the suggestion by one of the co-hosts, Kelli, we overlapped the feminine and whimsical qualities of hot air balloons with the travel theme, and just like that, we had ourselves a baby shower theme.
To set the tone of the shower – travel, hot air balloons, and pink – Kelli designed the invitations. Then, making a crafternoon of it, Andreia (the other co-host) and I helped her assemble them. So basically, Kelli did the hard work and we helped punch paper and glue pieces together. My kind of project. Here’s a look at the final product (blacked out in areas to protect everyone’s anonymity).
In addition to the theme, we also agreed that there would be no traditional games at this shower. Like a lot of ladies, self included, Kim is not a tie-a-ribbon-around-my-expanding-belly kind of girl. Instead, we decided to harness that creative energy and put it into other activities or gifts for the expecting mother.
Not knowing exactly what we had in mind, as guests began to RSVP, we asked each for their top vacation spot and place of birth. We later realized that we probably sounded like potential hackers knowing how many of us use this type of information for our passwords. We promise our intentions were good and solely focused on shower activities. In the end, we decided on the following two activities, each with its travel-themed card: (1) Check-In: Pin your Birthplace on the Map and (2) Souvenirs: Decorate a Favorite Travel Destination Onesie
Check-In: Pin Your Birthplace on the Map
Knowing the nursery was going to be in neutral hues with photos from Kim’s African safari, we asked each guest to pin their birthplace on a vintage-style map. While originally intending to apply the map to a cork board, it was not feasible. Instead, Andreia had the map laminated to strengthen and protect it. We placed the map on a table with pushpins and a “Check-In” sign. As guests arrived, they were instructed to pin their birthplace on the large map. Kim received the map at the end of the shower as a decoration for the nursery.
Souvenir Station: Decorate a Onesie
At the risk of disappointing guests by requesting they iron during a baby shower, we knew they would go for it in honor of Kim. We took the list of top vacation spots the guests provided and I had the joy of finding graphics that embodied the location yet seemed appropriate for an infant onesie. Lucky for Kim, her guests have been all over the globe. I selected anything from a baby and mama giraffe for Africa to a painting of a sleepy moon and stars for Turkey (inspired by the symbols on the flag). Other graphics included a kangaroo for Australia, a sandcastle for a beach vacation, a tango silhouette for Argentina, and a hula girl for Hawaii. I had a lot of fun finding different graphics that would make fun onesies, and the end result was definitely worth the effort. Once I had the graphics, we printed them onto transfer paper like I did for Alister’s monthly onesies. We set up an ironing table and iron and laid out the iron-on graphics and blank onesies at the Souvenir Station in Andreia’s basement.
About an hour into the shower, we requested the guests to take a trip down to the basement, find their favorite travel destination iron-on and select a onesie to iron. In an effort to make it feel more fun and less like household chores, we also provided a couple of fabric markers so the guests could personalize the onesie they ironed for Kim. Here are a couple photos of the Souvenir Station:
Aren’t they adorable? Not able to let an obvious play on words pass me by, I went ahead and included a couple phrases for some of the graphics – “Like Mother, Like Daughter” for the giraffes, “My Fine Whine” suggested by Kelli for the Napa wine glass, “Future Engineer, Just like Grandpa” for the sandcastle, and “Daddy’s Little Sack of Potatoes” for the Ireland potatoes.
We were very excited about them, and the guests were great sports in making something special for Kim.
Realizing this is getting a lot longer than I anticipated, I will hold off on the rest of the shower details for a separate post. Now that I have put it out there, I will try not to wait three to four months before posting it.