Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Baby is One

A year ago today, I helped to make the world a little bit more of a better place by bringing in this ray of sunshine to join us:

That's right - I've been someone's mother for a whole year now. It seems like it went by so fast, but at the same time, it took so long to happen. I've learned a lot of things about myself, and about my husband. I've learned LOADS about babies. I've learned that some of my preconceived notions about the kind of mother I wanted to be were, um, a bit misguided. I've learned that a lot more were spot on. I've learned that I'm not really a "live on a schedule" kind of person. But most importantly, I've learned just how much love I'm capable of having for one teeny, tiny human being.

(A lot. A whole lot, in case you were wondering.)

This past week has been spent in busy preparation for this once in a lifetime celebration of my baby's life, and also, a celebration of us as his parents, for doing all this and surviving. It hasn't been the easiest year for us, and the hard times aren't completely over, but by golly, we're all still intact and making it. That's gotta count for something. I am totally going to bore you all with the birthday details too because it needs to be recorded, and what better place than here?

So, to celebrate, we had a party. Not a big one, because we're not really big party people. There were only about 35 people at our wedding, after all. Just a little party, with food and balloons and cake and most important of all, friends. Oh yes. Old friends that have been there since the beginning, and before the beginning even. New friends with whom the journey of first time motherhood has been shared. Little tiny friends to from who to steal blocks and to join us (okay, mostly Bubba) in drooling on the carpet.

A few weeks ago, we picked out a theme and I got to work on getting out invitations. I didn't really like the look of the pre-fab invitations on the site, so I made my own in Photoshop. Fortunately, the monkeys were easy to recreate because it's basically just circles and ovals.

After those were mailed, there was a bit more crafting to do, but I'll get to that later.

We started the actual birthday festivities with our playgroup on Wednesday. Every month, we have a party for all the babies and moms who have a birthday that month.

This month, I made the cake. (I need to practice my writing skills, BLAH.) It turns out that Bubba was the only person in the whole group with an October birthday. We're a pretty good sized group, too. Crazy, huh?

The hostess put a hat on him and I tried to snap a picture, but he was being all wiggly so I didn't really get a good one. He also received his first birthday present that day.

He got a set of little Tonka trucks and some bath toys. I pulled out the trucks when we got home and he spent a good half hour playing with them in his box, which anyone with a crawling baby can tell you is a really long time!

When I got home, it was time to get down to the business of some serious party prep. First order of business - I had to make some sugar cookies. Earlier in the week I had made these:

I started off with an outline based on the monkey from the decorations which I made in Photoshop. I placed six on a page and printed them out. The printouts were then taped to the kitchen table, with waxed paper taped over that. I then started piping royal icing over the outlines:

And here are the finished monkeys, left out to dry:

On Thursday I made the sugar cookies using my new oval cookie cutters, and then iced them with bright yellow royal icing. Before it had a chance to set, I placed a monkey on top that I had carefully peeled from the waxed paper. Fortunately, I had left sufficient time for them to dry so I had no casualties.

I had seen the cutest idea for a party decoration using salt water taffy on Jaimee Rose's blog, and I was determined to make this for Bubba's party. I found a website that sells candy by color (genius!) but they refused to ship to me because it was too hot here. The candy would melt during shipping. Undaunted, I tried to order that dang blue and yellow salt water taffy once a week, for a whole month, only to be refused each time. Finally, the site deemed our weather suitable for candy shipping, but by that time I would have to use second day shipping to ensure deliver on time for the party. Shipping cost for $20 of candy? Oh, only thirty bucks.

Uh, NO. Thank. You!!!

I called around, and did some Internet sleuthing, and discovered that beyond chocolate shops, there really aren't any candy stores around here. That is, unless you count the ones in the mall which are full of gummy candies and Hello Kitty stuffed toys. Crossing my fingers, I called the first one. They didn't carry salt water taffy. Since there are only three different chains, and two are owned by the same company, I was starting to lose hope. I called the second one (which, incidentally, has a location in the mall that's two miles from my home) and had success! The man on the phone assured me that he did indeed not only stock the taffy, but he had blue and yellow in the mix as well.

When I got there, I found that while he did have blue and yellow, the yellow was mixed half and half with pink. Since that wouldn't work with my color scheme (and you know I'm ALL ABOUT things working with my scheme) I had to pass on those. Luckily the blue was perfect! I started to dig through the bin to pick them all out, which was a bit of a literal pain because it was low to the ground and I was crouched down. The manager was so nice and took pity on me, pulling the whole bin from the wall display and dumping all the candy into a big tub to make it easier to search through. When we found that there weren't enough blue pieces for what I needed, he dug around in the back room to find another bag from which I could scavenge blue candy. I am so thankful to him for saving the day! Best part - even with the additional purchase of some banana Runts (who knew you could buy JUST the bananas?) I still came in under fifteen dollars. Kick butt.

Here is what the dessert table for the party looked like:

From left to right - party hats, bananas, white almond sour cream cupcakes with vanilla almond frosting, Bubba's party hat, a mix of bright blue M&M's and banana runts, my salt water taffy bouquet, more bananas, and individually bagged sugar cookies. (You can click on any of these photos to enlarge them for a closer look.) I punched blue and yellow circles from scraps of cardstock and scattered them around the table. The bananas as decoration idea was from one of the moms in our playgroup. The cupcake wrappers from Smeeks worked out beautifully to keep them with the color scheme, as I didn't want to use any food coloring just in case some people wanted to share with their babies. That stuff stains something terrible!

Party favor boxes, ordered from First Wishes. Inside they each contained 4 pack of crayons, an activity book that is WAAAAAY beyond a baby's capabilities (but oh well! Fun for the dads, perhaps?), a strand of colored mardi gras beads, a monkey sticker, a little stuffed beanie baby monkey type thing, a pair of yellow Curious George sunglasses, and a monkey cookie. They came with miniature pots of play dough, but there was no way I was giving that to a bunch of babies so I left it out. They were donated to my friend's kindergarten class prize box.

The party guests hanging out in the living room. We threw a whole bunch of Bubba's toys in a laundry basket and then just dumped them all over the floor. Messy, but fun for the babies!

I did all the cooking for the party myself. I wanted simple food, but good food, and not sandwiches. I still like to try to impress people with my cooking, because otherwise, what fun is it being a good cook?

The spread, from left to right, top to bottom - shredded beef, shredded chicken, taco toppings (tomatoes, lettuce, colby jack cheese, green onions, limes), salsa, guacamole, sour cream, flour tortillas in the warmer for soft tacos, hard taco shells, Mexican rice, beans (from a can, I cheated), and corn chips. I simmered the beef for three hours and the chicken for one and a half the night before, and then just reheated it for the party. I made the rice and guacamole fresh that morning.

Funny note - I don't like guacamole but I hear that mine is excellent. HA!

As you can see, I went with the monkey napkins but opted for buying solid colored plates and flatware at Party City. You don't want to commit overkill with your theme, after all!

This is the bunting I made earlier in the week. Each colored circle is punched from cardstock, then machine sewed onto the large white cardstock triangles. I punched out the lace borders using my Fiskars threading water edge punch, and sewed them on as well. To hold the whole thing together, a long piece of ribbon was sewn across the tops using a zig zag stitch. The letters spelling out the baby's name were cut with my Silhouette. The font used for those, as well as the invitation and everything else is called Hopscotch Plain. I think there might be a Quickutz font based on that one too, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Here, one of the party guests models the monkey hat. I'll tell you what, I will NEVER buy party hats again. Not only are they a huge waste of money (most didn't even get worn) they are a pain in the butt to assemble. I am not a fan.

This is the hat I made for the baby. I saw these cute hats when I was at Smeeks, but at $25 each, they were a little bit out of my price range. Also, they had none in my color scheme, and well, you already know how important that is. Luckily, not only am I cheap, but I'm crafty as well, and I was able to figure out how to make one of my very own from cardstock, patterned paper, some trim, various odds and ends, and a bit of glue. Not bad, eh? The number one is covered in teal glitter and the little banner underneath says "Birthday Boy."

He wore this for all of thirty seconds, just long enough for me to get a photo. That was TOTALLY worth the three hours it took to make.

Here is his smash cake. I don't know why that one side isn't round like the rest. Oh well. I used some of the leftover icing monkeys to decorate the sides, and leftover blue frosting from the playgroup cake for the borders.

Instead of a boring old candle (my boy has more flair than that!), I stuck a sparkler in the shape of the number one on the cake. That was another Smeeks purchase. I'm telling you, this store is small, but awesome. Since the baby was distracted, we were able to get the hat on him for another photo.

It took a little while for him to figure out what he was supposed to do with that cake. At first, he was very carefully sticking just one finger at a time into the icing.

Then, after a few minutes, he figured it out.

He even tried to share with his dad, because he's sweet like that.

We gave him a spoon, which made it that much more fun.

This was the aftermath.

That baby ate almost a quarter of this 5" round (4" tall) cake! He was definitely a fan of the frosting too, and not at all shy about showing his preference.

Here he is with his godparents-to-be. They were nice enough to let us hold the party in their home, as we don't have enough room here in this apartment.

He wanted to taste one of the monkeys.

After the cake, and the cleaning up of the baby, it was time to open the presents. Bubba was not at all interested in helping, so we just set him on the table and let him play with the wrapping.

He was okay with that.

The more tissue paper that accumulated on the table, the more excited he became. He would grab handfuls and wave it around, squealing and screaming in joy all the while. It was pretty dang funny.

Good times!

He received several outfits, more Tonka trucks, a play set for said trucks, a sit and spin, a doctor kit, a knobbed wooden puzzle, a play kitchen (!!!), pots and pans for the kitchen, sand toys, a puzzle rack with more wooden puzzles, and a huge activity center cube. The babies were showing interest in that, so I pulled it out of the box so they could play.

As you can see, by this time the sugar had kicked in it's magic in a major way and Bubba was all over the place. He was making faces and blowing raspberries like it was going out of style. Our friend's daughter kept giving him these looks like, "What is WRONG with that kid???"

Every time I would try to take a picture, he'd scrunch up his face and blow more raspberries at me. I just wanted one of him and his dad in their matching shirts!

Silly baby. As soon as everyone left, he totally crashed and passed out in my arms. Drunk from mama's icing, I guess! It worked out well though, because we were able to clean up while he napped. When we got home from the party, we opened up the gifts from his grandparents, and then took a much deserved rest.

Dinner that night was from the drive thru. No way I was cooking!!!

Today, my friend took us out to lunch because she had to miss the party due to work. After lunch, we came home and she gave Bubba his gift:

It's a Bilibo! I know most people will look at this thing and totally be like, WHAT THE HELL??? But I'm telling you, it's awesome. It's this Swiss designed toy that is completely open ended. That means it's up to the child to decide what it is and how it will be used. You can put things inside, sit in it, rock in it, spin yourself in it, wear it, hit it, stand on it... it's up to you to decide.

Bubba decided that it was a drum. I'm telling you, this child is musically inclined.

All in all, not bad for a first birthday. Of course, I am beat and have decided to just lay low this week. We have his one year appointment tomorrow morning, and I will need to take his monthly benchmark photos. This will mark the last time for monthly photos, and they will be yearly from now on. My Babycenter email that usually tells me what my baby is up to this week developmentally told me today about my TODDLER this week. We had to retire the mini Chuck Taylor low tops and bring out the high tops in the next size up.

My baby is one today, but he's not going to be a baby much longer!

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Blogger Sweet Simplicity said...

You did an amazing job! Everything looked absolutely perfect! I'm very impressed by it all.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Great party!! I am so impressed with all your craftiness displayed at the party!! I'm definitely going to be "stealing" some of your ideas for Gabriella's party!!! Happy Birthday Bubba!

9:35 AM  
Blogger Felicia said...

That's awesome! I wish I was as crafty as you...I made my own banner but I wish I knew something about icing to make cookies...the are too cute!

10:01 AM  
Blogger kingsqueen said...

Looks like it was a great party! :)
And see, we told you that you'd be great at this Mama Stuff! You're in for a lot of fun times ahead. Each new stage is precious. Pretty soon he'll be walking (first step already accomplished!) and talking. And the questions will start. I've always told my husband that they aren't "babies" anymore when they lose those cute little dimples in their hands. Congratulations on a wonderful First Year. :)

10:53 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Your craftiness is inspiring!! The party decorations were adorable...loved some of the ideas!!

Happy Birthday to your little toddler!

3:09 PM  
Blogger Paula - Buenos Aires said...

Happy birthday Bubba!
What a wonderful party! You are an awesome cook. The idea to make those monkey cookies from the outline is very cool. And the theme was super, so smartly followed up all around the party.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Hooptee said...

WOW! I love love love it all. Such great ideas and beautiful execution! Happy Birthday Bubba, he's a lucky boy!

4:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am inspired! Where can I find the monkey face you used for your cookies?

6:01 PM  

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