I can't believe this day has come and gone in the blink of an eye. It was almost as fast as my wedding day. I didn't have much time to reflect and be sappy about things because we were in the midst of so many changes. However, I will admit that I had been planning this for months- or at least coming up with ideas. I wish I had done a few things sooner but you live and learn.
Theme:For this momentous occasion, I chose a Dr. Seuss theme.
Since I had my baby I've loved Dr. Seuss. Well that's not entirely true- I've always had an affinity for Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat as a child. Things got serious when in March I found out there was a Dr. Seuss week! All these years and I had no idea that schools used anywhere for one day to a full week to celebrate his birthday! It also coincided with the LORAX premiere. Every store I went to had Dr. Seuss 'everything' and I just knew it was meant to be! I didn't take advantage of any of the Dr. Seuss themed items (what the heck was wrong with me?!) so I had to find a way to pull this party together when it was time to buckle down.
Pinspiration:Nowadays nothing is complete without a little 'Pinspiration'. I came across so many wonderful ideas and immediately began forming my team to pull it all together.
The Invites:I think any and all parties start with a good invite. I'm well aware that in the day and age of technology that evites and facebook invites are becoming more prevalent but it's just not my style. I don't think there's anything wrong with them but I've always enjoyed a good old fashioned paper invite. It probably is the sentimental scrapbooker in me. After emails are deleted and invites have past in your 'events' you can always look back on paper and remember an occasion. Plus, I needed something to go in baby's baby book!
This- I actually started a little early. In June I reached out to Jenni over at 9 designs and asked for her help. Her blog was the first blog I ever followed and I loved her party style. Actually I love her designs period because I basically copy catted her daughter's nursery into my son's. So, she agreed to design the invites for me. And you guys?? I'm quite pleased with the way they turned out.
Adorable, right? I removed his name but it was located inside the red truffula tree and in the bottom banner. I had them printed via Vistaprint and loved the way they turned out. Vistaprint has been my go-to printing service for a while now so I knew what to expect. You may (or may not) be able to see but the invite say location and directions on reverse. So about the location....
I think this plagued me since the day I started planning the party. I know you're thinking I should have just had it at "a place" and let them do all the work (i.e. chuck e. cheese), but that wouldn't have worked for the ideas I had planned in my head. I had all sorts of design elements that I wanted to incorporate and having the party at a place that does "birthday parties" would have ruined it. It did cross my mind- more than once- especially once we decided that we would be moving. The biggest thing I needed to have was a pool and an indoor/outdoor space in case it was too hot or it rained.
My family- we do first birthday parties where everyone is invited. It's not just for kids really- it's a family event. So I had to have a space that was also accommodating and Chuck E. Cheese wasn't it. That's reserved for second birthdays (or any number thereafter). Our house didn't work, my parent's house didn't work, my hubby's mom's house wouldn't work- ugh! I considered renting a small hall like an Elk's lodge or something but then I would loose the outdoor aspect. I really wanted a pool to be present as the main entertainment for the children (and adults too!) I know, I know- it's just a first birthday party and he won't remember it. But that's not the point. There will be pictures and stories and he will hear how much fun everyone had- it needed to be perfect! I did have two options. First was my sister-in-law's house. We love hanging out there. It was perfect- the in ground pool went from 3 feet to 6 feet which was perfect for all the little one-year-old's that would be there! My son likes to hang out on the steps were it's nice and more shallow than the 3 foot deep end. She has a gorgeous home on the inside- we could have food and desserts set up in one room, crafts in another, and the Lorax playing in another! I had big plans! And plus... she's my resident baker! And I know she had big plans for the cake too! Only it wasn't perfect. It is a little on the far side for some people to travel. I actually didn't care about that part- even it was too big of a trip for you to make then you really didn't want to be there anyway. The kicker: because her backyard (as it was) is mostly pool, she didn't have enough space to accommodate outdoors for the guest list. The have plenty of land behind the pool but it wasn't developed and basically all woods. Her husband (my brother-in-law?) made all attempts to have it cleared before the party but it ended up being a no-go. Their limit was 40 people, 50 max (and that was pushing it). I definitely attempted to cut the guest list- excluding everyone who didn't have small children and wasn't his god parents.
My second choice was my husband's best friend's house. they have an above ground 6 foot all the way around pool which we have spent many of our summer days at. They had more than enough outdoor space to accommodate but the inside was a different story. While the house wasn't small it wasn't as big as my sister-in-law's. As soon as it became available I checked the long range weather forecast on the farmer's almanac and it called for rain that day so having an indoor space was just as important as the pool/outside space. Oh the dilemma's. But I really wanted his party to be just right and my vision to be executed. Oh the naivete...
The guest list.It started out at 100 people. Yes, people, I know- he's only turning one. But, I have a HUGE family and plenty of friends who have small children that would be invited. And in my family- we do first birthday's (did I say that already?). Like I said I attempted to cut the guest list down and got it to 80 people. I had a heart-to-heart with my sister-in-law and we decided that her place wasn't going to work. We were both very disappointed because I know with the two of us combined this would have been the party I envisioned. Hubby's friends house is nothing to sneeze at but at times I felt like we could potentially be imposing (for reasons I couldn't explain via blog post). So there you have it 80 people invited.
The MenuI had it catered. There was no way anybody was going to be cooking to feed 80-100 people. Because this was a pool party I was tradiitonal backyard barbeque food- but that was a little on the expensive side. So I opted for Hamburgers & Hotdogs on the grill (of course), corn on the cob, brocolli, penne in vodka sauce, ribs, meatballs (thingamabobs!) and I suddenly can't remember if I served chicken or not.
Why do I torture myself?On the day of the party I woke up and scrambled to get ready. I scrambled because I was (as usual) downright exhausted because at this point it was hit or miss if my little guy slept through the night and I was up for most of the night making sure I had everything I would need to take to hubby's friends house. The party started at 1 so I wanted to be there early to get all of the set up done but not too early as to disturb their household. It had rained a little the night before so the set-up was delayed til the mornign of. Well as fate would have it we left the house around 10 is probably closer to 11. My husband swore that 2 hours was enough time to get ready but I was doubtul and already angry. I was running late, the caterers would be there at 12, and rain was imminent that day.
When we got there I immediately got to work. I had plenty of helping hands but I like to put the finishing touches on everything. It's the party planner in me. Problem was there was a little too much help. Everyone had an opinion on how the thought something would work. I didn't need that- I just needced my vision to work. Needless to say we ended up moving the food and dessert table at least 3 times- Oy! As our guests started to arrive my hubby and I were sweaty, kind of aggravated, and I just felt like the day was slipping away from me. My son wanted me to hold him the entire time and that was not going to work. Finally, I had to take a step back and remember why, what, and who we were there to celebrate.
Although I never got to change into my party outfit or enjoy much of the festivities (the pool, the artist, etc.) I think my guests had a good time and my guests of honor could care less what was going on and that's what counts... right?