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3? now?


3! lucky number 3! three years of concentrated siren singing, four dress changes a day, dimpled grins, daddy’s eyebrows, more dora coloring books than i can count, squeezy neck hugs, a watermelon a day, and all the tiny, special parts of zoey that make her ours.


jake and I stayed up until way too late saturday night, containing all our delirious giggles at an intense game of monkey-in-the-middle we had going with the streamers and the beams. holy freaking mess we made. but it cleaned up good! and sunday morning, waking this girl up to her party covered living room was the most satisfying moment ever. she ran through the streamers, stood in the middle of the living room and just turned around in circles staring with the world’s most giant smile.

we’d been asking her for weeks what she wanted to do for her birthday and every time she would answer with the most simple celebration requests. balloons. streamers. music. party hats. her very best friends (who are definitely her cousins, smart girl). birthday cake. all the things that matter to a 3 year old about a party. I scrolled myself to sleep on pinterest many a night trying to come up with a theme or idea that would fit her and this season of her little life. i was stressing! 36 weeks pregnant and desperate to make sure my first little girl felt celebrated and not overshadowed by all the baby prep going on around her. this had to be a great one! a few heart checks and a lot of tears and, finally, i threw in the towel. you heard me. i said no to a pinterest party! don’t get me wrong, i’m all for gorgeous centerpieces and dessert tables! i love them! but all that work and effort wouldn’t have been at the heart of our tiny guest of honor. there will be plenty of years for fairy tale backyard glamping birthdays. this year, this girl just wanted a big, colorful, throw back, old school birthday. so we gave her one.

i’ll step off my soapbox and let this be about her big day, but can I just say real quick – – – don’t do it, mama. whatever pressure you’re feeling to break the bank, your budget, lose all the sleep and craft all the things for whatever event is coming? heck to the no. if it’s in your heart and you’re loving it and are finding joy in the late nights, eat your pinterest loving heart out. but if there’s any shred of you who’s more concerned about the likes on the instagram photo then the look on your loved one’s face? just let it go. take a minute and ask yourself how that person would best feel loved + most cherished + completely known, and focus all your efforts there. and then just buy the dang paper plates. because love sometimes doesn’t look like a perfectly styled photo. for us this year it came in the form of choking on slightly deflated balloon air and re-taping hallway streamers 9000 times so the kids could run through them like a car wash, again. shouldn’t it be at the very heart of loving someone? to listen and pay attention well enough to celebrate them however would make them feel most loved? it’s addicting and don’t be surprised if i start studying you. because making someone’s day is just about the biggest blessing on the planet.


when jake finally picked her up out of the sea of streamers for some morning cuddles, he said to her, “you’re 3, babe!” she pulled back to look at his face with the biggest eyes and asked him, “now??” aaaand we both turned on the waterworks. yes baby girl. after all the days of countdowns, now. right now. all day long she kept asking us if she was big enough to carry heavy things now and old enough to be a big sister now, like this was the day she’d been waiting for all her life. and every time we’d answer yes, the biggest smile would come across her face. she’s going to live up 3 right and we’re going to do our very best to keep up.


happiest three year birthday, big girl. our first love, our biggest dream, our most prized possession. we love you so. so much. xo


  • Ursula - This post had me bawling! Mama your heart is enormous, and your zest for living life and doing all things authentically has me even more smitten with you. I love how you remind us to unplug and connect with what is real, our precious tiny humans who only ever desire our love, attention, and determination to rock the heck out of this parenting game. Happiest third birthday to you sweetest girl. Sending all the hugs we can give all the way from Canada! xoReplyCancel

    • erin - Urs!! your comment had ME bawling!! do friends come any sweeter than you? I feel so loved that you snuck over to read and on top of it, took time to comment such sweet words! i’m just so grateful for you and maybe holding a giant grudge on geography that we’re so far apart. taking all those hugs and sending them right back across the boarder. love you sista friend!ReplyCancel

  • karra - Oh, Zoe! Happy Belated Birthday!!! Such a wonderful age she’s at and your are just glowing mama!!! Beautiful set up, I can see her excitement through the pictures. Wish we were closer 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Meredith - So sweet!!! Balloons and streamer-whats better?! Love this!! Nothing better than those sweet smiles and happy eyes when they see surprises that were made just for them! 🙂 Love your blog! Love your instagram! Thank you for all your sweet happy honest encouraging posts! And if I can be crazy and ask, where that awesome b+w table cover is from?? Lots of love from FL! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • erin - Meredith!! I can’t believe I never replied to your comment. FRIEND FAIL! I’m so sorry! thank you so much for all your sweet words! it means the world to me to read your comments and i savor every one. the black + white gingham tablecloth is trickery! it’s not actually a table cloth, its 4 yards of oil cloth from JoAnn Fabrics 😉 oil cloth is the very best trick up my pre-preschool teaching days. it’s basically table cloth on a bolt. fuzzy/felt on the underside so it doesn’t slip with slick, easy to clean up cute prints on the top. we have them so many different patterns! JoAnn’s has great options if you need them quick, but if you really want some cuteness, google oil cloth and feast your eyes on the florals/stripes/patterns you can order + ship. so good. hope this helps! xo!ReplyCancel

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