|Lil' Chica greeting her guests.|
I’m still adjusting to the idea that my sweet little baby is now a toddler. She’s had no trouble adjusting to the new title and is toddling and climbing all over the place! Lil’ Chica started walking just before her first birthday and has her big bro’s constant shadow, as best as she can keep up. To celebrate her first year we threw a big party. After all, we had celebrated with Lego mania for Lil’ O’s first birthday, so it was only fair to do something similarly big for our little girl.
Husby and I aren’t big fans of princess stuff, but I need a theme to keep me focused. I love all the nautical stuff that’s in style right now, and don’t anticipate ever having an opportunity for an overtly themed nautical shindig for adults, so I figured Lil’ Chica’s first birthday was just the thing. I’ve always wanted to run with this theme and she’s too little to tell me otherwise. First birthdays really are more for the parents.
The catch this time around, though, was that we needed to also make it fun for Lil’ O, who is now three and a half and full of opinions. To help with the fun factor, I invited some of his closest friends from preschool and went on a Pinterest hunt for something fun for the older kids. When I stumbled upon this pin from Parents.com for a homemade sailboat, I knew we were in business. Let the pinning and party planning commence!
Balancing Party Prep Stress
|My MIL, Meema, aka Crafter Extraordinaire|
I did as much as I could in advance, but the main reason I was only focused and not frantic the day before the party (which I’d taken off of work to focus on cleaning and party prep) was that my in-laws came into town for the celebration and graciously offered to help me. What lifesavers! I almost didn’t take them up on their offer, but then determined I had so much to do and swallowed my pride. This is a lesson I evidently need to learn over and over: If someone offers help, just accept it!
While my parents watched the kiddos for the day, my father-in-law helped by tidying up the backyard, a sorely needed task, and my mother-in-law joined me in crafting décor, then tidying up the house. Boat construction took the bulk of our time, but it was worth it. The cardboard sea vessel came out just as we’d hoped and the kids did indeed enjoy pretending to captain a boat while at the party. I also really liked how it solidified the maritime theme and made a great backdrop for photos. I didn’t take many photos, but just as with Lil’ O’s first birthday, I delegated this task to my dad, aka Granddad, and good friend Mr. B. They both take beautiful photos, as seen here, and can be much more dedicated than I’d be able to while also playing hostess. Sure enough, the pictures don’t lie and I’m so grateful to them both for lending us their talents.
And, what’s a party without yummy food?! We tried to keep costs down, so we made most of the food ourselves. Thanks again to Pinterest for some really fun ideas. Some of the items, most notably the “starfish” PB&J sandwiches went surprisingly quickly. Granted we did have nearly 60 people, from babies to grandparents, attend. Good thing we had backup food! Lil’ Chica’s predictably favorite part was her birthday cupcake, which was her first introduction to sugar. That little girl was basically falling asleep by the time she finished, but she would not give up finishing off every last morsel! Haha, that’s my girl!
|Seems she likes sugar. ;) Cupcakes were a hit!|
Goldfish crackers – a hit with the kids, but maybe not my carpet
Artichoke hummus and pita bread
Cheese and crackers
Berry medley fruit salad in ice cream cones
“Star fish” peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Tri-tip that Husby smoked on his beloved Traeger grill
We had easily the most people that have ever been over to our home at one time and it was crazy, but so much fun! It was a beautiful day, so everyone could enjoy the weather outside or stay cool inside. There were toys everywhere! The kids were all so sweet and it was a joy to have our home bursting with friends and family. We were all a bit tired afterward (especially Lil' Chica!), but we're so grateful to everyone who helped us celebrate our sweet girl. Thank you!
|Month-by-month garland -- so fun to see how Lil' Chica has grown!|
|Lil' O (in the bike helmet that stayed on for most of the party) and his preschool buds.|
|Lil' Chica, Grandpa and our crazy seafaring hat collection!|
|Post-party family photo with our tired, tired kiddos.|