Hi friends! Happy summer! We celebrated Max and Phoebe this weekend as they turned 12 and 4 on Friday and Saturday. My July babies. It's always a bit of a whirlwind and I was thankful that Max just wanted to go play paint ball with friends this year. He's truly 12...dubstep music and cat videos and perfecting the art of wearing socks with sandals. He's such a light-hearted blessing of a guy and we're going to soak up this last year of him being just a kid. No teenagers yet!

Phoebe girl was all about birthdaying this year. She knew back in February that she wanted a Rainbow Sparkle Unicorn birthday and didn't budge until the day before her birthday when she decided she wanted to scrap the whole thing and just have a balloon party. We did both. Everyone came over Saturday and we ate food and listened to funny music and doted on our girl. And there were ponies. Ponies! It's one of those things I've always wanted to try for a party and it ended up being hilarious and awkward and totally making the kid's day.

Phoebe at 4 is sugar and spice with a disdain for underwear and a flair for the dramatic. She sings with conviction and wears heels and a purse before leaving the house. She's confident and funny with a preternatural love for horses and marshmallows and lemonade. She's kind and giving and tells me that we're best friends and I know it to be true.

I hope you all are having a nice and simple summer. My heart is heavy with the world right now. It's been good to hunker down with my family and show them love and take these moments to teach our little ones about hope and goodness and action. Everyday action.


Most decorations were found at Sweet Lulu, Fawne Shoppe, boxes and tablecloth from IKEA, Unicorn head from Target, Phoebe's dress is from Alice and Ames. Unicorn birthday invitations at Bonjour Berry, organic cotton candy found here, the pink punch flavor is so good!!

Ice Cream Party

Our Phoebe girl is bonkers for ice cream...with sprinkles...always with sprinkles. For her birthday this year we threw her a little afternoon ice cream party at home with family. Loads of ice cream and sweet things to put on top, with soda floats and malt shop music on the side. It was a nice way to celebrate our beautiful growing girl...3 going on 13.

birthday circus sideshow

max and bee had a big circus sideshow to celebrate their birthdays this year! i was originally planning on two separate parties, but max wanted to celebrate together and who can argue with that? we had it at the roundhouse in the park...which is built just like a circus tent. we scattered the place with bouncy balls and hula hoops. there were lots of popcorn and cotton candy and calliope music, peanut shells and corn dogs and kids running around in funny hats and clown noses. bee ate a million and a half cupcakes and both kids conquered their fear of clowns when matt's mama hired mr. funny bones to come and do magic tricks and make balloon animals. most non-threatening/non-"keep you up at night" clown ever!

we photo-boothed and danced and made one big spectacle for these two crazies, it was a true circus...

helpful links + shopping sources- roundhouse information here // vintage circus mural image found here. i painted it on 2 4x8 sheets of lightweight insulation bought at home depot. // balloon wall inspired by you are my fave! // invitations are homemade, stamps available at the USPS // clown toppers and napkins found at shop sweet lulu // hula hoops from the dollar store (my favorite place to shop for party stuff!) // party hats are homemade with pom poms hot-glued on // stilts diy found here // peanut bags here // bozo the clown inflatable, candle sparklers found on amazon, here and here // marquee numbers made my max's stepmother sara, edison-bulb string lights found at hobby lobby// circus calliope music playlist here //

my birthday roni

today is our guy's birthday day! (july is the luckiest month for my little family). we're planning on fajitas and a night swim and shooting the works to celebrate him tonight. (and his twin brother todd!) summer birthdays are the best!

happy happy birthday, my the only guy who i would ever let call me his bobby brown "roni". i love you so much i could burst into pieces...then burst into pieces some more.

have a wonderful weekend, friends!

once upon a time- bee has a 1st birthday party

sis's first birthday party was saturday! our house and hearts had never been fuller for that girl on her special much family and friends there to celebrate. everyone brought books and books for bee and her library. so many amazing books to curl up and read to together! we had lots of sweets and fizzy things to character masks and a table set up to write a special note to bee in her books. (i'm a firm believer in writing notes in books!)
all in all the day was hot and hectic and funny and sweet...just like our phoebe! my oh my it's been a year...and i can't wait to see what happens next...

shopping list:  floral paper straws // bookplate stamp // alphabet plates // napkins from target // bee's dress-vintage // book props and character masks and garland and bee's party hat are homemade //

a phoebe turns 1

and just like that...our baby bee is a year old. at 1, phoebe sue is the wildest and funniest and orneriest friend in town. she twerks to pop music and snarls and growls when she's pleased. she claps for no good reason at all...has hair that will never ever stay down ever...and eats up every last bit of all the things to do and learn in this world. she's strong-willed and curious. funny and reserved. she is absolutely more beautiful and interesting a person then i could ever have dreamed her up to be. her life is a gift....and today we celebrate it over and over.

this past year has been so full and amazing and exhausting and significant. from reclaiming the birth experience to a full year of nursing every two hours...there have been moments of feeling like a super woman...and many more moments of feeling the weakest i've ever felt. but there is beauty and a whole lot of wisdom where those two meet...and i'm forever thankful for the chance to get to experience it all.

so today we clap and snarl and twerk for bee! happy happy birthday, our girl! you are loved 10x4x5x20!

a look back: phoebe's birth post // first year // monthly updates

12 month phoebe from katie stratton on Vimeo.

camp max

saturday we all gathered up together in the rain to celebrate max and his birthday...summer camp-style. we made a nice fire and lit up lanterns while the little ones ran wild in the woods. food was grilled and sweets were had and i couldn't think of a better way to ring in max's 9th year. 

today is max's official day! this time last year we were celebrating him in between my contractions with phoebe. she's never one to miss a party! 
happy happy birthday, my boy. mama loves you wide as the widest moon. you're my favorite friend and forever're my max. 

shopping list:  post card and notepads from sideshow press // ice cream cups bought here locally but you can find some here // A-frame tents made following a little bit of these instructions ( i used 9x12 painters dropcloth to cover them...and painted the yellow stripe) // birch paper straws bought here // large craft paper food trays from here // s'more cupcakes and merit badge instructions from MARTHA (i designed my own badges)  // invitations and canvas bags and camp t-shirts are homemade ( iron on's for the t-shirts)  // much thanks to max's 2nd mama sara for some of the photos!

surprise partying

my guy and sweetest sister pulled off the best surprise birthday party for me this weekend! all i knew was to get gussied up to go out...and after a car ride with my eyes closed we ended up at a warehouse studio space filled with my friends and family...indian food and cheese pizza and millions of cupcakes...and a disco ball for dancing and a pinata and one of my favorite local bands for good measure. it was a real party...and good grief, am i ever thankful for the village of people in my life!

turning 30 has been sweet as can be...

hoping you all had a wonderful weekend!

birthday afternoons

yesterday was a red letter day for this gal! thank you all so much for the birthday wishes. i love an excuse to make a fuss over things and birthdays are my most favorite! (although i'd much rather save the fuss for everyone else and their days)

the weather was beautiful and so we took bare legs for a stroll and headed east while bub was in school. it felt so good to just be out! we toasted the day over good lunch and ice cream and window shopping. matt spoiled me with a new dress and a vintage map and cast iron scissors. and best of all i got to check something off of my 30 year old bucket list...# 18- find a perfume you like already! we stopped in a little paper shop and i found a tobacco-scented tonic that was perfect...a little masculine and a little sweet. apparently 30 year old katie prefers to smell like a bag of pipe tabacco.

we closed out the day with lemon cake and candles and a dance party before baths and good nights. i couldn't have asked for a better way to start out this new decade. and if you ever need to get a dance party going, invite max and bee. those two are party animals for sure!

in between (birth)days

so long, twenties!
you were wild as can be and filled with all sorts of twists and turns and beautiful surprises.
i'm keeping my fingers crossed for a little bit more calm and quiet in my thirties...but what fun is there in that? 

yesterday we celebrated max's half birthday and today we celebrate bee's half too...6 whole months, that girl! i watched the clock turn to midnight this morning with her in my arms...listening to a birthday rap matt left on my voicemail...and feeling a bit of peace and contentment that only age can bring. life has been overwhelmingly sweet to me. i can't wait to see what this next decade has in store.

but i guess if it's all the same to you, i think i'll let the sentimental side of me listen to the cure on repeat all day and take those donuts in bed anyways. haha

a boy turns 8

yesterday we celebrated our little max...who woke up a new man of 8! 8!?
it's been a tradition the past few years to have a donut cake breakfast party on his day...and i was so worried this one wouldn't happen.
(before bed saturday night i started having major contractions, which have yet to leave me. they're coming inconsistently (5 minutes then 7 then 10 minutes apart) so aren't considered "real" labor just yet. but good grief do they ever feel real!)

so our breakfast party for max came with a bit of dancing and donuts and presents with a side of stops for contractions and crumpled over, breathing exercises. and while sis never ended up showing up yesterday, i'm so happy we got the chance to honor our guy in true "us" fashion...

happy happy birthday, my guy!
you proved yourself yesterday to be a real big kid..selfless and caring and sweet as pie. and i can't wait to get to know 8 year old max...see who he becomes...what he likes! because he's already the most interesting guy on the block! 

happy friday!

no baby yet...but all is well! 
i've been soaking up time with my boys, hiding out from the heat, and trying to enjoy these last few moments of quiet.
there are a few perks of being pregnant left...last night matt insisted i use the motorized scooter cart at the grocery. it was everything i had hoped it would be and so much more! max couldn't breathe for laughing as we scooted around the store...breezing past corners and coming to the most jarring stops.
anyways, it was a little bit of a dream. 

have a happy happy weekend, all!
sunday we celebrate our little man on his golden birthday! time has flown right by...but these past 8 years with him have been the greatest of all my life.

splish splash

max's messy paint party was a real splash! lots of washable paint and silly string and water balloons being hurled about.
it's not everyday you're allowed to make a big mess...max was in his glory!

party details
for decorations we just hung up an old sheet and splattered it with paint and water...added more oh happy day dot garland...and laid out goggles and paint cans and sweets and towels.

i bought large containers of washable paint (dumped into spray bottles with water and metal paint buckets) and hung a 10x12 white drop cloth from the clothes line for the little ones to splatter. after they were covered in paint we pulled out the slip n slide and more water balloons so they could clean off the dried paint.


oh how i love throwing funny parties for my little guy...only he's becoming not so little these days.
i wonder if he'll still let me do these things when he's 16?

Splish Splash by Bobby Darin on Grooveshark

very merry unbirthday

today we're throwing max a happy 8th unbirthday party!
with my due date being 2 days before his actual birthday (july 8th) we thought we would throw a raucous party now just in case sis decides to come a little early. 
max wanted a paint ball party but he's still a tad young yet for the pellets and we're having a messy paint party instead. it's going to be a big wonderful mess and i can't wait to start celebrating my growing guy! 
now if only i could wrap my head around him turning 8. sigh.

three cheers for early birthdays and my max and a happy weekend!


happy happy mimi

 this month is our mimi's "joining the family" birthday!
she got dropped off to us last year in march as a lost puppy...and after a few failed attempts to find her a home we bought her a bed and a collar and called her our own!

max and i celebrate her today over puppy treats and cupcakes and might have depressed her a little bit by making her wear a party hat.
 what a year it's been...
mimi has been such a good and funny addition to our family!
and my oh my does she love our boys as much as i do...
she is the most eager gal for attention and love and can be the life of the party! she has an affinity to eating my shoes and the dust piles i sweep up in the kitchen. she enjoys hiding under max's bed, hopping the fence and going for afternoon strolls, and plotting to take down our hamster, spongey.
but above all of it...she is loved and loved. 
 happy 1st birthday, sweet girl!