18 January 2012

1st Birthday Party - Unda Da Sea

I've always loved party planning. In fact, I remember (quite vividly) planning sleepovers and parties with my girlfriends from when I was 11 or 12 years old. I would always be the one to whip out the pad of paper and start making lists. I loved lists. I actually still do. Guest lists, food lists, decor lists...the list of list possibilities  is endless when you're planning a party! Especially one of the most important birthday parties you get to plan as a mom - your baby's 1st birthday party!

I'll admit it. I started scouring the Internet and sites like Pinterest to find all things 'Under the sea' a few months back in anticipation of my boy's big day. I was so excited. I don't know how I decided on the Under the Sea theme. I think it was a combination of the fact that he has a nautical themed nursery with a beautiful sea view...and the fact that we spend almost every afternoon on the beach or walking on the promenade. Our lives are quite influenced by the ocean living here and I figured his 1st birthday party should be too.

I tried to do as much party planning before we left for our big overseas trip as possible. He would be turning one while we were overseas and then we would have his party the weekend (um, two days) after we got back. Not. A. Great. Idea.

I am lucky enough to have a couple of really talented women in my group of friends. For this party my BFF from school (who remembers my slumber party planning hysteria days) offered to design all the stationary for my boys' birthday party. She made the most beautiful invitations, thank you tags for favours, bunting, stickers and food name cards (which we forgot to use!). She did such an amazing job sketching and designing the exquisite sea creatures for our precious boy.

I managed to buy most of the decor and goodies (like favours, balloons, bowls etc) before I left and then picked up a few essentials (plastic table cloths, a funky foil hellium fish and an 'I'm One' bib) from an awesome party shop in Vermont! Things were looking good.

Such a big boy!
 What I didn't really take into consideration was the amount of work that needs to be done the day before the party. You know, things like buying and making the food, baking and icing the cake and putting up the decor). I also didn't realise I would be so jet lagged and sleep deprived! N hadn't slept properly since we got back (probably due to the 7-hour time zone difference) and I was so blurry eyed and tired that could hardly function!

All I can say is thank GOD for BFF's who come to the rescue and stay up with you til 2am icing fish-shaped cakes and cupcakes, hanging and blowing up balloons and bunting and generally trying to keep you from having a breakdown - all while you're trying to rock your baby to sleep and not scream hysterically. (There was a moment when I broke down and my BFF was there with much-needed reassuring hugs...). I am so grateful for her. I admit there were tears on my part on more than one occassion during the planning and setting up process . . .even while I was standing in the middle of the grocery store trying to remember what ingredients I needed for some of the food . . . I just wanted to pick the phone and speak to my mom. She always made birthdays so special for us when we were growing up and I am determined to do the same for my boy. I just wish she was here to help me.

The day of the party was wonderful though. All our special friends and family (sadly not my family, but they got to spend his actual birthday with him) arrived and brought beautiful gifts. He had a lovely day. He was full of smiles for everyone and boy did he enjoy his cake! And biscuits. And then more cake...and more biscuits! The party started at 10.30am and by 2pm he was out cold! Completely played out!

I think he really enjoyed his day and we all really enjoyed watching him interact with all his little friends and family members and just be his beautiful, smiley, happy self. There were times during the planning process when I thought maybe I should rather just buy the cake already made and hand the whole thing over to a professional party planner...but I'm so glad I didn't. I am glad he had a fishy cake made by his mommy and her BFF at 1am with a gloopy, droopy eyeball. I glad we did it all ourselves and decided to have the party at home. I hope one day he'll look back on his party pictures and see how much love went into his it. We love him so very much. 

Fish with melty, gloopy eyeball!

I don't think we did too bad for our first time! And I'm looking forward to all the parties I get to plan for him in the future!

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