Good morning! I’ve been so excited about this guest blog post for quite some time! You, too, will see why when you read our guest blogger, Jenn Hultz’s touching story and take in all of the gorgeous photos of her twins’ first birthday celebration.
Throughout the years, Jenn has been very open about her family’s struggle with starting a family. As we all know, fertility issues are often something that people don’t talk about or share with one another. Unfortunately, thousands of couples struggle with these issues alone. Jenn was different as she was always comfortable and committed to sharing her story about her journey to becoming a mom. After many years of trying, Jenn and Mark became pregnant with twins and in May 2014, welcomed their miracle babies, Parker and Riley, into the world!
My husband, Mark, and I struggled for years to start a family. Through miscarriages, misdiagnoses, grueling medical protocols, and many disappointments, we finally were successful on our first IVF (in vitro fertilization) attempt with boy/girl twins. Throughout our IVF experience, there were 2 embryos that stood out from the rest of the pack and consistently out shined the others in quality and growth. The embryologist would call us every day after the retrieval and fertilization procedure to update us on our “brood.” For example, she would say, “5 embryos’ growth have stalled, 3 embryos are growing but at a very slow pace…but there are two that are looking fantastic!! I think we may have some winners here!” We started referring to them as our “All-Stars.” The name stuck and we, along with our family & friends, began incessantly praying daily for our All-Stars. Our Twinkles, Parker & Riley Hultz, were born May 19, 2014 thirty seconds apart, weighing 6 lbs 8 oz and 6 lbs. Our little miracles were what happened when we wished upon a star… Cue our nursery theme and first birthday party vision! Much to my husband’s dismay, I was already planning their year birthday party soon after birth! I had the theme nailed down, the rest would be a piece of birthday cake!
Prior to the demands of a twin pregnancy and birth, Mark and I were a very social couple often hosting numerous parties and get-togethers at our home for any and every occasion. We loved to entertain, put our hearts into the details, all the while trying to make our guests feel at-home, yet doted on. When thinking of the vision for the Twinkles’ first birthday party, we decided this event would be a celebration. We knew the babies would never remember their first birthday party, so why not make it a celebration of their beautiful lives and for the fact that we survived the first year, with twins!! We would plan this party as a celebration of the long journey it took for us to get here, and for all of those closest to us who stood by us in the deepest sorrows and the highest of highs, because they all deserved some recognition too. It can be difficult to see how relationships change and evolve with the addition of a newborn (or two) into the mix, so we wanted to celebrate those that stuck with us even though we were homebound for much of the babies’ first year. This would be our family’s coming out party: “We are back and we are ready to socialize in a big way! Thanks for sticking with us!”
We envisioned the Twinkles’ first birthday celebration being elegant, yet playful and having a stress-free environment for ourselves and guests. I desperately wanted myself and Mark to be one hundred percent in the moment and enjoying this day with our babies and closest family and friends. I did not want us to have to worry about the details… so I planned, and planned some more. Some of my biggest take-away moments came from the depth of creative details and focusing on host & guest comfort. I spent a lot of time pre-planning and creating, so that the days before the event I was (relatively) stress free and the day of: I got to relax and enjoy the fruits of my labor because everything was done!
- Grande Entrance
- Open Bar
3. Goody Bags
Get the Look!
- Star Sugar Cookies: Lisa Calton
- Star Origami Favors (special card stock stars that open up to reveal a special “fortune” or star quote): PaperworkbyMel
- Star Wands: bought in bulk from Party City
- Silver and White Favor Tags: PaperTrailbyLauraB
- Wish upon a Star Charm Bracelets: SheAndJack
Guest Book/Wish Tree
- Star Guest Book: MerryMeDesign
- Photographer: Headrick’s Photography, Walland, Tennessee
- Large Birthday Cake for Guests: Connie with SugarBuzzBakers
- Smash Cakes (and Star Sugar Cookies): Lisa Calton
- Star High Chair Birthday Banners: PopFizzHooray
- 12 Month Birthday Banner: Etsy Shop PaperTrailbyLauraB
- Hospital Door Hanger for Babies’ Delivery; recycled for party decor: SparkledWhimsy
- 1st Birthday Chalkboard Poster: Design- PopofColorDesigns, (file printed at Fedex and then framed)
- Photo Frames for food and drink items including “star quotes:” Hobby Lobby (always 50% off). Text printed at home on decorative card stock.
Photoshoot & Print: Sprouting Hearts Photography
- Special Birthday Party Outfits: Pink Frog Creations, London, England
- Official Naming of a Star: International Star Registry
Handmade Wooden Growth Chart with Name & Birth Stats: PaolaBrownShop
- Outdoor Bounce House: Little Tikes Bounce House
As I look ahead to Jillian’s first birthday party, I am truly inspired by Jenn and Mark’s incredible love for their twins and their ability to create a true celebration of two precious miracles that so beautifully illustrates their path becoming a family. Having been longtime friends with Mark and getting to know Jenn over the past few years, I have to say, Parker and Riley are not the only stars in the Hultz Family. Jenn and Mark shine just as brightly and Parker and Riley are truly blessed to have such caring and wonderful parents. Jenn’s impeccable taste, thoughtful gestures for her guests, eye for detail, and brilliant multitasking and project management skills shine so brightly and I am taking lots of notes! She has been so kind to share some of her tips for successful children’s parties and entertaining in general and I know you will benefit from them as much as I have!
I Dream of Pretty Things thanks Jenn and Mark for sharing such wonderful photos and memories with us.
I Dream of Pretty Things