Over a decade ago, a trend started within our group of friends to throw co-ed baby showers. While the parties were always a blast, there were some boys who thought a baby shower should be reserved for ladies only. John was one of them. It wasn’t until we started talking about celebrating our own bundle of joy that he turned the corner. We didn’t have to play baby-related games or have our guests sit in a circle around us while we opened gifts, one by one. We could simply get together to clink glasses with our friends (many new daddies included) in honor of our first baby. His one rule: we couldn’t call it a shower. And that’s how the Howe Baby Bash came to be!
It’s hard to believe we’re already within 7 weeks of becoming parents, but we’re excited. On the night of the party, John proudly wore his new favorite “I’m the Daddy” hat and I wore a dress that showcased the BUMP (John had to help me get into my boots!). We didn’t know what to expect when we walked into Julie and Greg’s gorgeous home on Saturday night and the evening overwhelmed us. Our main goal was a night to gather with friends and celebrate this new chapter in our lives, and the house was full of loved ones, all there to do just that.
My BFF from LA, Amanda, and dear long-time local friend, Julie, took charge of the fiesta. They kept us in the dark about most of it, which was unexpectedly difficult for me! The girls both know me well, in different ways. Julie knows that I love to entertain and believe any good party needs lots of fabulous food and plenty of strong drinks. Amanda knows how important thoughtful details are to me (she made an excellent Matron of Honor). And they nailed it!
Amanda had enlisted my little crew from California to get crafty with the details weeks ago. She took inspiration from our nursery’s mountain/outdoor theme and scattered subtle woodsy details around the house. There were chalkboard signs painted in Sierra’s perfect handwriting on slices of wood. A handmade guest book made of burlap and wood with “The Adventure Begins” on the cover was passed around for each guest to write down words of love and baby wisdom. There were floating candles in burlap-ribboned mason jars everywhere, making each room glow with warmth. Sly little foxes like the ones who live in our backyard were tucked in unexpected places (including on the invitation that Sierra designed). They printed photos of John and me from childhood and clipped them on jute wire with laundry pins. And my favorite part was a little stand with the words, “Howe ‘Bout S’more” stacked with little bags of s’mores for guests to take home with them: “S’more love for later.” Clever and personal, understated and perfect.
There was a Mexican theme to the food (YUM), with chips, salsa, guacamole, and scrumptious ceviche to start. Then came out a few different kinds of tamales and chicken tinga tostadas with all of the sides and fixings (plenty of Cholula!). In addition to the full bar, there were big vats of Greg’s margaritas (jalapeño or traditional), and guests could choose a pink or blue straw based on their gender prediction for the baby. I think I squealed when I spied the buckets of churros (stuffed with caramel or vanilla cream!) and munched one before the appetizers were even done. And let’s not forget Julie’s spectacular home-baked Tres Leches cupcakes! HELLO.
John and I made our way through the party, stopping to chat with our family and friends from many different points in our lives. Some traveled from other states to be there- Texas, California, Colorado, Washington. There was so much laughter and many hands on the baby bump (which I love). It was entertaining to see which color straw people had chosen and to ask them, “Boy or girl?” At one point, Julie took a moment to introduce the food fiesta and also say some very sweet words about our journey as a couple into marriage and finally to Baby Howe (she’s been there for it all). Standing there with John in a house full of family and friends and love was quite emotional, and as I tried to thank our hosts and express how much it all meant to us, I felt my words catch in my throat. John stepped in to finish my thoughts and the same thing happened to him! What can we say? Our baby makes us shmoopy.
It was such a pleasure seeing friends from near and far mingling together and I especially loved introducing everyone to my parents and brother. This big Mama thought for sure we’d be home at a reasonable hour that night, but before I knew it, we’d chatted and laughed and imbibed and eaten multiple churros until past midnight. Before we left, John and I held hands and wandered around the house to take in the little personal touches everywhere, marveling at how much effort our hosts had put into it all and soaking up the love. There may have been a few more tears of gratitude (blame it on the baby for me and many cocktails for John).
There are only a few of these major milestones in a lifetime, and there were many moments when John and I weren’t sure we’d ever get the opportunity to feel the joy of a baby on the way. To celebrate that joy with loved ones at a bash like this is beyond special… It’s priceless! It felt like a holiday. A Howe-liday. We’ll always remember it.
Baby Howe, we can’t wait to meet you and hold you in our arms…but we aren’t the only ones. So many hearts await your arrival! What a loved little baby you will be.
Special thanks to Tommy Chandler who captured our Baby Bash memories in 99% of these beautiful photographs.