Lyla's 5th Birthday Mermaid Inspired

This last weekend we celebrated our precious Lyla's fifth birthday, I still cannot believe we are parents to a five-year-old. It feels like just yesterday she was just an itty bitty baby and now she's this bright, adventurous, independent little girl ready to take on kindergarten. Ugh, such a bittersweet moment as a mother and yes, you can bet I cried about it too. As much as I wish my little bean could stay little forever, watching her grow has been my life's greatest blessing. I feel so grateful that I have been able to be by her side for every little milestone, she truly is my best friend. Thank you all for your best birthday wishes! We had such a blast throwing her first birthday in our new city with new friends. 

Our little ocean babe asked for a mermaid birthday party this year -- I think it's safe to say she misses the ocean, so do we. It was fun to bring a little under the sea to the desert. This balloon arch was our very first and done like an hour before the party after realizing the night before that blowing balloons at 25 weeks pregnant felt like I was going to push a baby out. So, I went to purchase a balloon compressor first thing in the morning. Also worth noting, I couldn't find any of my needles and I threaded fishing line through them using a skewer -- improv levels off the chart.  I wanted the dessert table to be the focal point of the party and used gummy sharks and watermelon airheads (seaweed) to fill glass mason jars next to a homemade ombre cake and ocean themed cupcakes. I totally would've opted for someone else to bake being that I'm not the best baker, but store-bought icing/cake makes both Lyla and I sick. She was very specific wanting a strawberry cake and funfetti cupcakes, which we topped with cones and these cupcake toppers we found. I added fresh strawberries to the middle of the cake and iced it with homemade cream cheese frosting and added blue and green food dye to achieve an ocean ombre look. 

Summer is hot here in the desert so we kept all the food (pasta salad, veggies, dip etc)  indoors and the activities outdoors. Outside we grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and had rented a wet bounce house from a local party rental company, the kids enjoyed it, but I am most proud of this little outdoor fence decor I thought of. I found these cute blow-up fishies from Party City and a lightbulb went off in my head that I could totally make the streamers I bought look like seaweed on our fence. A simple and inexpensive way to spruce up the under the sea theme.

Our gift bags were inspired by last year's Unicorn birthday party, which happened to be a hit on Pinterest. I love the idea of dressing up paper lunch sacks, we gave these out right before we did the pinata and the kids stuffed all the candy inside and were able to take all of their goodies home. Lyla had a blast and I'm so happy that we could make her 5th birthday special for her, she took the move pretty hard but I think this helped show her that she can make friends and have fun anywhere. She was all smiles and giggles the entire time. We were all beat afterward and upon Lyla's request, we had a movie in the living room which ended in an unintentional family sleepover. 

You brighten our world, Happy birthday our precious bean, we love you with all our heart! To the

8 Facts About Our Shar-Pei

It's been such a long time since you all got to see Arlo, the last time she was just an itty bitty puppy, she's still a puppy but sure is far from being little. In the year that we've had her, a lot has changed but she has been by our side loving us for the whole wild ride. She started off in Los Angeles where we brought her to San Diego and then a bit north where she spent all summer learning the trades of a true mountain dog, chasing away deer and what not. And now, now she's here in Washington with us, getting accustomed to the not so vigorous outdoors, instead settling for a more content life in a family neighborhood -- though I'd think she'd still prefer the mountains/ beaches of California,  I don't blame her. 

Winter here in Washington was rough, cold as expected and we weren't able to get outside as much as we would have liked, thanks to the frozen temps, but on days we could, she enjoyed flailing around the snow. The warm weather has finally reached us, hallelujah! Arlo now spends all of her time outdoors doing what she does best, being a pup. She's such a good girl, I can't imagine life without her. Sure, there have been times when she's made me question my sanity -- for instance, destroying the molding in my brand new laundry room on the first night in our new home. But at some point doesn't every family member drive ya a little past nuts? We love her regardless, which is why we try to take care of her the best way we can and one of those ways is by ensuring she gets the healthiest of options when it comes to her diet (including treats) --- we love Ziwi Good Dog Rewards; they're her favorite and come in a variety of meats from free-range, grass-fed farming, no antibiotics or growth promotants. You can learn more about their New Zealand crafted goodness here

Facts About Arlo

1. Sits/lays down, alternates paw shaking, stays in place, rolls over and speaks on command. 
2. Enjoys playing in the wild and also with the wild.
3. Adores children.
4. Friendly with other pups.... other animals in general.
5. Has a strong personality, humorous and full of sass. 
6. Loves to lick with her blue-black tongue.
7. Will do anything for a high-value treat just as long as your us, she doesn't take treats from strangers. 

and the most notable fact 

8. She hates the crate - one thing we learned is that she does not do well in a crate or any enclosed area where she feels she can't guard us or our home. Whatever method there is to crate training we've tried it, doesn't matter. She doesn't mind a crate with an open door, it is just in her blood to patrol and protect and when she feels she can't do that, well...mayhem. Originally, we thought she suffered from separation anxiety, but when we leave her to freely roam outside by herself she's completely content. And to note, I've grown up with free-roaming pups my entire life, and hold my own biased opinions on leaving my own pups in a cage. 

I'd love to hear more about your family pup or cat, fish, bird --ya get the hint! Be sure to follow us on Instagram to see Arlo in action! 

This post is sponsored by Chewy and Ziwi