A Snowy Snoopy Birthday | Peanuts Christmas Movie Birthday Party Photography

If there’s anything about our family, it’s that we love a project and a party, and a project/party at Christmastime is even more special and makes such fun family memories.  For the last several years, we have used Steven’s birthday, just three days before Christmas, as a fabulous excuse to have some serious family fun.  (More parties:  Big Hero SIX & Robot Party)

Since Steven’s 7th Birthday (and the peak of his affection for all things Snoopy) coincided with the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the movie “A  Charlie Brown Christmas,” it was easy to choose a theme for Steven’s birthday party this year.  Steven and his Papa (my dad) love to build and plan together, and they started early in preparation for the Snoopy party.  On one Saturday, they built and painted Snoopy’s house and Lucy’s psychology stand, with working Christmas lights and everything!

Papa’s Park is always the perfect venue for a kids’ party, complete with zip-line, playhouse, jungle-gym, and spinning ride . . . but we kept the faux snow a secret from Steven until just a day ahead of time.  The snow really made the whole backyard a realistic winter wonderland!  The kids had a blast throwing snowballs, dumping snow on each other, and sliding around in it.  The falling snow (snow bubble solution) brought renewed excitement every time Papa started it up again.  These Southern California kids don’t see a lot of snow, and this was a typical winter day in San Diego . . . sixty-eight degrees.

For lunch, along with pizza, we enjoyed “Thanksgiving leftovers” (inspired by “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”): popcorn, pretzel sticks, jelly beans, and toast. Custom-made Peanuts character cookies by the amazing Mike Harness of 828 Bakes were the highlight of the dessert table, along with a cake with a real Charlie Brown Christmas tree and some fun cupcakes.

The piñata was filled with Christmas candy and Peanuts themed toys (thank you, Oriental Trading Company!), and each child also got to make a bag of his or her own snow to take home.  It was so much fun to see their faces when the instant snow turned from a salt-like consistency into “real” snow when water was added.

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Venue: Papa’s Park (Thank you Mom & Daddy!)
Cake & Cupcakes: Albertsons
Cookies:  828 Bakes
Snow & Snowballs: Snowonder
Pinata: Etsy
Blow-up Snoopy: The Naffziger Family
Plates, Decor, Pinata Toys:  Oriental Trading Company
Steven’s Charlie Brown Shirt: eBay

Baymax Birthday | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer

Our Steven turned six three days before Christmas, and we threw a Big Hero 6 birthday party! Convenient. Since the movie is very new (meaning Baymax plates and napkins do not exist), we had to get pretty creative with the decor. It was fun re-thinking the movie and pulling out fun things to build on. For example, we did a lot with Baymax’s “How would you rate your pain” emoticons, making Oreo cookie lollipops and using red, orange, and yellow gum balls and Sixlets for the candy table.

Baymax Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
Baymax Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer

I “commissioned” this enormous piñata from Rainbow Party Supplies.  I just sent over a photo of Baymax, and this is what they came up with!  Notice the lollipop in Baymax’s hand.

Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer

Since Steven’s party is ALWAYS just a few days before Christmas, we traditionally give guests ornaments for their party favor. This year I conscripted my friends to help make Baymax ornaments out of plain silver balls. They turned out cute!

Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer

Our party game, also a take-off on the emoticon theme, was a fun cross between bingo and a scavenger hunt. The big kids hid the emoticons. Then we divided up the rest of the kids, and each group had to find all of the numbered emoticons to fill their game board. The first group to complete the board got first whacks at the giant (virtually indestructible) Baymax piñata.

Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer
The piñata didn’t want to give up.  We went through all 20 kids twice, and Baymax was still holding strong.  Eventually, the big kids had to take drastic measures, but in the end all was well, and everyone got their candy!

Big Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party PhotographerBig Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party PhotographerBig Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party PhotographerBig Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party PhotographerBig Hero Six Birthday Party | San Diego Birthday Party Photographer

Since my parents’ backyard boasts a zip-line, jungle gym, playhouse/swing set, tire swing, and spinning ride, we didn’t have to do much more to make it a fun time for all Steven’s kindergarten friends! Thanks, Papa and Gramma, for being wonderful hosts!

Steven’s Robot Birthday Party | Birthday Party Photography San Diego

My little Steven turned five yesterday, and we pretended it wasn’t 3 days before Christmas and threw a full-fledged ROBOT party with all the trappings.  Earlier in the year, we had a little unofficial robot-making contest with family and friends, so we had some pretty awesome robots available to add some authentic robot flair.  Thanks to our friends who made time in their busy Christmastime schedules to come and wish Steven a happy birthday!

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Cake:  Melanie Monroe & Albertson’s Bakery
Printables:  TracyAnnPrintables

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – A Shower for Baby Emma

Hands down, the most beautiful baby shower ever. It was a photographer’s delight: gorgeous flowers, God-honoring decor sporting Psalm 139 (“I am fearfully and wonderfully made”), and the mom-to-be – well, she just couldn’t be prettier. Congratulations to Megan and her whole family as they welcome baby Emma!
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Hannah & John | Balboa Park Wedding Photography

It is such a joy to see two awesome individuals joined in a beautiful ceremony to become a family.  It’s even better when they are part of your own extended family.  That’s what I got to photograph a few weeks ago, when my niece Hannah married her handsome beau, John.  (Check out their PROPOSAL and ENGAGEMENT photos too!)  Please forgive the over-the-top flower girl coverage.  She’s mine. 🙂

** Thanks to Melanie Monroe Photography for her assistance and, in particular, the amazing ring shots.

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Posh Pink Princess Party

Wow.  Now, that’s a party!  A first birthday is always an occasion to celebrate, and when you have a close-knit group of friends and family, it’s a great opportunity for a kid-friendly food and fun spectacular!  This mom and dad (and an awesome auntie!) did it right!