Event Paper & Styling by Loralee Lewis
Photography by Kristie Gardiner Photography, Cake by The Apothecakery
What does a mother do when her child has experienced things that a child shouldn’t have to? When her first five years were not in your loving embrace, but instead filled with hunger, hurt and loss? You accept that they happened and that they are hers. You acknowledge they have made her who she is – beautiful, independent, strong and resilient. But at the same time, you mourn those years. You wish you could have wiped every tear, picked her up from every fall, and blessed her with all the love she deserved. You grieve that you don’t know the beginnings of her life as intimately as you know your other childrens’. But you accept it. You accept what has happened has happened. And then you say a prayer. A prayer you hope that you can keep. A prayer promising God that if there is any way, you will do all in your power to bring as much beauty to her life as possible. That you will cram as many beautiful life memories into hers that they will drowned out the bad. You dedicate yourself into finding out who she is, what makes her laugh, what she loves, why she cries, and how you will now fit into her beautiful world. Always remembering in this less than traditional road to motherhood, that she is yours and she is a gift.
I purposely make all my children’s birthdays as beautiful as possible. I want them to have an enchanted childhood. I want them to enjoy being children. I don’t stress about their parties. I don’t take weeks planning them either. (I am running a company and a family of six after all!) Most of my children’s parties are planned just a week or two before. But I do put care into each of them. I think about them and in most cases, plan them with each child. Our Georgianna’s “first” birthday home from the DRC was especially important. I wanted to douse her in nothing but pure magic. Some of her first words in English were “Tinkerbell Fairy.” She would recite from the Tinkerbell movie in her thick Congo accent at the time, “Mommy, all you need is faith, trust, and Pixie Dust!” I loved the theme “All you need is Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust” because that is honestly what we needed to get our little Georgianna home. So the theme was set.
For Georgianna’s “first” Birthday we invited her closest friends – one sister, three cousins, and two bffs – Seven Pixies total. What was really special was that each of the little girls invited to the party are very close family friends and so all of them had prayed prior to G arriving home that she would come home safely and quickly. When she arrived in the US she already had a bushel of girlfriends!
I rented a 12 passenger van and drove the little pixies up the canyon to “Pixie Hollow”. On the way, I told the girls they had to think “Happy Thoughts” to keep the vehicle “flying” to Neverland and Pixie Hollow. I giggled inside as the girls recited Happy thoughts like, “Pink kitties!’ and “Rainbow Unicorns!” But nothing beat Amalie’s Happy Thought, “DIAMONDS!” Lainey echoed it saying, “YES!! LOTS OF DIAMONDS!” We then had each girl pick out a Pixie name. Everything from Sparkles to Pickle was chosen!
One of the greatest gifts Georgianna probably received this past year was little Vienna as her sister. From the first evening they met at the airport, they walked hand-in-hand to the car. Georgianna didn’t know English. Vienna didn’t know French or Kikongo. But they knew each other were sisters. And that was enough.
I loved intergrating the Peter Pan theme of “Never Grow Up” and “Never Grow Old” into the paper. Here it is on the Cake Banner. The Cake was created by The Apothecakery. I gathered little sticks around the canyons prior to the girls arriving and were used as their Pixie Wands. The girls placed all their wands in the middle of the circle and danced around them while chanting a little “Pixie Chant” to make them magic! My special niece (shown here in the pink!), was upset that her wand wasn’t working – she couldn’t turn her cupcake into a frog! I told her it was because she needed to focus. We set up a little table with log seats for each girl and a place setting. I put a burlap imprinted tablecloth on top. Each little girl had a mini log cupcake stand with a cupcake on their place setting and their named printed on a place setting banner so they would know where to sit! I used my mini mason jars and flower daisy cut lids with our Pixie Punch Straws and Pennants for drinks. The mason jars, dasiy lids, and all the paper items are available on the website, http://www.loraleelewis.com For an activity, the girls made charm bracelets. We filled baskets full of “Lost Things” I preordered silver charms and crystal beads from Etsy and each girl went through and picked their favorite “lost things” to put on a bracelet and placed them in a bag. The girls cried when it was time to go home…literally. Luckily, they were excited because they would be meeting back together in two days for Vienna’s Princess party! It was the only thing that kept the tears to a minimum! I love this age.