I’m beginning to realize that party planning is not for me. While I enjoy the coming-up-with-ideas part, the actual execution part stresses me out. Somehow, things never end up going as planned.
In summary, I should have known better than to plan Charlie's first birthday party outdoors in the hills of the San Francisco Bay Area in the summer. It was very cold for most of the party, and the fog/wind wrecked a few of my DIY projects. Oh well. I like to keep it real here at Stinkerpants.com, so it wouldn’t have been me if I had an array of stunningly perfect first birthday photos, now would it?! ;)
Also, I’m convinced that people who have beautiful parties for babies either have a professional photographer, or they have a lot of help. Or maybe everything in their lives goes as planned? I'm not sure - whatever it is, the parties I looked at for inspiration were perfect. I don’t believe in photoshopping myself for this blog, and birthday parties are no different...so these photos have cars in the background, Charlie isn’t smiling (why is that?!), and I don’t look perfect (mostly because I was cold and had my jeans on under my dress - otherwise I usually look perfect, right? HA!).
Despite the weather, the carnival birthday party ended up being fun for all (even Charlie, who is going through a shy stage right now). And although my favorite DIY project didn’t work out, I let it go and had a good time anyway.
Because we live in a condo and don't have a back yard, we decided to hold Charlie's party at a local park, near a carousel. I had grand visions of tons of balloons (which Charlie loves), a very cute display of her weekly photos, and a warm, sunny day. The reality was a bit less than that, but I still think things turned out well. How about some photos?
Inspired by a post on Hostess with the Mostess,I bought a few tin circus toys on Etsy and displayed them on painted, upside-down terracotta pots. I also used rolls of tickets to create displays. Some of the ticket displays were actual ticket rolls, and others were 9" round foam discs (which I got from our local flower mart), with tickets glued on. The other centerpieces were cheap plastic wild animal toys, which I spray-painted gold, and ticket flowers, which I made using the various colors of tickets I bought. It was Y's genius idea to cut out the "one" from the "admit one" tickets for the center of each flower. Perfect for a first birthday!
On Pinterest (which, by the way, you should follow me on! Or, if you want an invite, comment below and I'll send you one!), I found this awesome beverages display and was totally inspired. I circus-ified a sign, and used a tin beverages container we've had for ages. Izze makes the perfect party drink - it's tasty and oh-so-pretty. It's also not cheap, so I wanted to prevent people abandoning their half-finished drinks when they lost track of whose was whose. I made little flags for people to write their names on for the stripey straws (leftover from our baby shower), and displayed them in a vase I made from one of the ticket rolls.
Another photo of one of the tables...notice Charlie's weekly photos, laid out on the tables? Those weren't supposed to be there. This is the only project that didn't work out that I was truly sad about. These were supposed to be hanging up as part of a "step right up and see the cutest baby on earth!" display (which you'll see in a minute).
For food, we served hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and various delicious sides from Best in Show (Y got a great groupon!). I must say, the food was really good.
Because it was so cold, the birthday girl's adorable outfit (handmade by her Grammie) was covered up for most of the day. She was wearing a mish-mash of various warm add-ons, none of which matched (haha). Y and I also dressed up to be a little circus-y, but I think Y's outfit (completed by an awesome moustache) looked way better than mine!
Y and I bought a birthday hat from a seller on etsy, which would have been awesome (if she'd sent the one we ordered). My mom and I took it apart and made the hat a million kinds of awesome using glitter and a feather boa (thanks Mom!).
Both of Charlie's grandfathers got rainbow suspenders - my dad already has a moustache, but Yeh Yeh needed one (like how it matches his hair?).
Clown noses were provided for the guests (of course).
See this display? I still think it was a genius idea. I bought cheap umbrella stands from Amazon (yay for Amazon Prime!), and wooden dowels from Home Depot. Then I hand-lettered a sign that said, "Step Right Up & See the...cutest baby on earth!" The idea was to string all of her weekly photos between the two dowels. Sadly, the moisture in the air from the fog combined with the breeze ripped the strings and the photos were flying all over the place. Sad. That was my favorite idea. I would have set it up at home, but somehow the sign got ripped and part of it was missing. Oh well. As it was, it became a cute backdrop for people to take photos with their babies.
I didn't want to go over-the-top with cake. Fondant isn't really my thing - it's a little too fancy for a first birthday party in my opinion, and it isn't the best taste-wise. I really wanted simple and relatively inexpensive cakes from a local bakery (they make the best Red Velvet cake!). We reused cake stands from our wedding, and I bought cake bunting from a seller on Etsy (even though these are super trendy right now, bunting is just soooo circus-y! I had to do it!).
I really expected Charlie to freak out and do a face plant into her tasty cupcake, but she didn't eat ANY OF IT, even after I put some of the frosting in her mouth! Behind Charlie, you can see more bunting (from the same Etsy seller). I strung the bunting between two dowels, much like the beverages sign & the weekly photos display (my dad got the fun job of getting the dowels in the rock-hard ground. Still not sure how he did it!). You can also see Charlie's cute oufit a bit better here.
The cakes came in three flavors: chocolate, white, and red velvet (the red velvet was the biggest, of course!). People seemed to enjoy them - I know I did!
So that's it for Charlie's first birthday party! I still can't believe she's a year old. Next year's party will be a lot less involved (unless I get carried away again...)!Comment
Everyone says it will happen, but to look back on something that felt - for quite a long time - like just yesterday and realize that it is actually rather far away...well, it’s a funny thing.
I can’t believe it, but Charlie is turning ONE today. My tiny little baby is a year old. And she’s no longer tiny - she’s practically a toddler. She weighs a ton, and half the time she’s trying to squirm out of my arms to get to the floor. The tiny baby who slept nestled into my chest is long gone.
I am sure there will be a lot of smiles today, but there will also be tears (at least on my part). I never understood why my mom cried in the Stride Rite parking lot when I outgrew their shoes, but I get it now. My baby is one, and I am simultaneously elated and heartbroken.
Today is the day that my baby - my very first baby, and first is a special thing - turns one. I am so much better today than I was this time last year, in so, so many ways. Having a child - and specifically having Charlie - is a blessing I never would have expected. I feel genuinely, truly grateful to have such a sweet, happy, adventurous, sparkly little soul as part of my life.
Happy birthday, Chuckers. You light up my life.
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