Me: “I think my water broke”
He jumped up, almost throwing our 3 year old across our room, and said, “What? Seriously?”
I was 35 weeks, carrying twins, so this should not have been entirely surprising. But I believe going into labor early was also a bit of karma (since he had not yet packed his bag and we did not have a boy name selected). It was sort of entertaining to watch him scramble around as I donned a beach towel sarong over my clothes (which reminds me, it really is a shame yoga pants only qualify as work pants when you’re pregnant) and headed for the minivan.
That was a year ago this week. It is a momentous occasion. My babies will be one year old, and are healthy and strong (and strong willed). After 1 week in the NICU, 10 weeks of extreme sleep deprivation for mom and dad, another several months of regular sleep deprivation for mom and dad, approximately 3,500 feedings and 3,500 diaper changes (associated with approx. 1200 wrestling matches), and a combined ten sets of clothing sizes, we have made it. I read a enjoyable editorial this week about being in the Sweet Spot and I realize that we are sitting squarely in one of the many sweet spots we will find.
So, I do want to celebrate this moment. They are still little and I get snuggles and baby smells, but they are starting to be more independent. They make each other giggle. And they SLEEP! I look forward to gathering some of the people who helped us through this logistically challenging year by cooking us meals, entertaining us, giving us some hand me downs, hosting playdates, and simply asking if/how they can help. I hope people will have fun, the kids will play, and it will go smoothly.
I don’t want to plan an elaborate soiree that costs a zillion bucks and makes me go crazy. And I don’t want my party to be anything that sets the bar too high for other parents who someday will be scouring Pinterest to plan a first birthday for their kid. I loved this:
apple picking theme via pisforparty blog
Here was another party that looked amazing:
via All Things Heart and Home
Now is that not just about the most awesome, detail oriented, would-love-to-be-there looking party?! Yes. I absolutely would love to find an (almost free) party fairy that could just wave her wand and pull that exact setup together for me.
But I couldn’t find the fairy department on amazon.com.
It is important to me that it the food is ample and tasty, and that we get to enjoy the day with the guests … and I really want the kids to have fun. It is not that important to me that the overall presentation is fancy. For that simple reason, a 1st bday party planned by yours truly is not going to land on Pinterest anytime soon. But I would love to see pictures of yours.
What it will have in common with the party above:
- It is at the park with a generally picnic-y feel (I said a prayer for no rain. Then I realized I better come up with some sort of entertainment we can do under the pavilion in case it does rain). I even got two red checkered tablecloths (I will use for future block parties too).
- It will have delicious cupcakes. I don’t have the supplies necessary to make and transport that many cupcakes, so I found a nut free local bakery and ordered an assortment of Vanilla Vanilla, Chocolate Chocolate, Orange Zest Vanilla, and Lemon Vanilla.
- It will have picnic-theme food (sorry, no budget for those adorable brown craft paper boxes).
- Hopefully, it will be memorable and we will have good pictures of the event to share with family that is farther away, and also for the twins when they are older.
The similarities may end there. I feel like I deserve bonus points for thinking ahead to book the 12 year old from down the street as a mother’s helper for the day of (someone to push the kids on the swings, make sure the bolder ones don’t run away on the way to the potty, etc.). I used a quick Target trip as an opportunity to grab snacky things, some paper plates for the cupcakes, and some juice pouches (half real juice half water of course).
Adults will have food, drink, and a place to sit, and the kids will have food, drink, and a place to run around. Check.
Now, onto the one thing I’m doing that is somewhat optional: Favors. I do want to give a little something to the kids who traveled from near and far to join us. But … in my opinion, favors come with a tricky set of parameters. Specifically, no total junk (a waste of $) and nothing the parents would be mad about (i.e. a pet goldfish). Plus, I am trying to get away from food based (as food allergy mom, just a good concept). And, I must be able to prep them ahead of time. Too bad we don’t have Tori Spelling’s connections.
Again, you can definitely come up with lots of super cute, crafty, and time consuming ideas:
Do you see the little monogrammed tags and rolled up mini napkins? Now that would be Pinterest worthy. But what would the guests do with those tiny baskets when they got home? Maybe use them to go on a tiny picnic? Scratch that.
My Not Pinterest Worthy Favors
This might be just slightly less exciting than those …
While not glam, big sis liked this idea. She even helped me assemble them for the babies’ party. Total cost of the supplies? $4.04 per filled pencil pouch, consisting of:
- Crayons (divided up among the pouches)
- Colored pencils
- Fruit shaped erasers
Crossing off to-do list while disguising something as a “fun” rainy day project for your almost-5 year old? Priceless.
It was easy, and I feel like parents may actually keep them, perhaps for travel, the car, or eating out. They can even add new stickers or extra crayons as needed. I probably could have done it for less $ if I’d gone to Walmart for the supplies, but I made the conscious decision to spend a few extra pennies on amazon.com instead of loading everyone up in the minivan to run an errand (in my opinion, avoiding that whole process is worth $10-$15). Plus they only turn 1 once.
Now please send good thoughts our way for no rain, because I still have no really good ideas for what to do to entertain 12-15, families crammed under a park district pavilion.
Are parties your thing? Share a link to your awesome Pinterest worthy party below!