Isn't she lovely, Isn't she ONEderful
This past weekend was Remi's first birthday! Of course nothing could have prepared me for the enraptured, whirlwind, sleep-deprived joy that is the first year of parenthood. This year has challenged me mentally and physically. You never know what kind of baby you end up with (the good eater, the bad sleeper...I feel for you mamas!). It is an absolute wild ride filled with uncertainties, confusion, tears (both moms and babies), aches and pains, sleepless nights, and a lot of “when will this phase pass!?" The first year is a tough puzzle with no stability and consistent changes day to day and week to week. Each month presents a new set of challenges to concur and just when you think you have it all figured out, another obstacle presents itself. Patience is defiantly a virtue. The first year is exhausting but monumentally rewarding.
This year Remi's birthday landed on Easter and we knew we would have a small family gathering at our home. Most of our family members are vaccinated or had quarantined so we planned to have an early Easter dinner followed by a smash cake and gifts. I went back and forth in my head trying to figure out how to have a party for additional family and friends. Rather than letting the pandemic spoil our birthday celebrations (while keeping a safe social distance) I decided to follow some birthday party inspiration I had seen on social media. I created an invitation a few weeks before and we sent it out as a "text" photo. The idea to do a drive by was last minute so there was no time to order and "snail mail" invites. We were hesitant to finalize any plans, mostly because of the weather. If you are familiar with Chicago then you know April is the most unpredictable month for weather! My husbands birthday is in April and two years ago it snowed on his birthday. I crossed my fingers and watched the 14 day forecast like a madwoman!
Yard Sign: Custom yard signs are an easy way to decorate for a birthday or celebration. For Remi's birthday I used Card My Yard and they did not disappoint. Lori the owner, has amazing customer service skills and is thorough with confirmation, setup and takedown. The website was easy to use and they throw in a few extra icons (if available) which adds to the presentation. Their user friendly website allows customers to choose from a large variety of themes and colors.
Cupcake Truck: When we decided to do a "drive by" outdoor event for Remi's birthday I wanted some sort of treat that would be available for guests. We booked the Courageous Cupcakes Food Truck aka the "Green Machine" and had cupcakes and coffee available for the two hour visit window. CC had a variety of options to choose from so we picked four flavors, one of which was gluten free for guests that have an allergy or gluten free preference. The team was great and very flexible and responsive with communication! I always order more to be sure we don't run out! We were given all extra items we paid for and will be eating cupcakes and drinking coffee for days to come! In addition to the cupcakes and coffee, we had coolers filled with water and juice boxes.
Decorations: I was determined to make the decorations for the party. In the past I had ordered decorations from various vendors and had not been 100% happy with how they turned out. I figured this was something I could handle and an opportunity to make it as close to what I envisioned it to be. One of my best friends has a cricut machine - a small electronic cutting machine. It’s like a mix between a craft plotter and a laser cutter (but with a knife). She made two beautiful pastel banners and (1-12) numbers for a month photo display. I ordered a Balloon Arch Kit and pastel balloons from Amazon. Aside from hand pumping all of the balloons this was the easiest process! The kit came with 60 circular rings that are placed around the arch. Each ring holds 5 balloons so once you connect the balloons it is a stacking process. They are held in place securely but allow for some wiggle room to adjust.
Words of wisdom: 1. Wait until the last minute to blow up the balloons. Our event was on a Saturday and we spent Thursday night blowing up the balloons. The arch looked AMAZING when we put it together on Friday afternoon. By Saturday morning we already had some of the smaller balloons that had deflated a bit and needed replacing. 2. The morning of the drive by, it was EXTREMELY WINDY and we lost a few sets of balloons. Luckily we had a tent out-front and we secured the arch to the front of the tent which held it in place. 3. Always have extra balloons on hand.
Goodie Bags: We had kids of all ages coming to visit so I attempted my best goodie bag mix! I ordered everything in bulk and all the extra items can be saved and used for later events/holidays/stuffers.
Glow Stick Glasses
Tic Tac Toe Felt Boards
Smash Cake: The smash cake was created by my go to for baked goods Britty Bakes! It's now a routine, I send her a photo of a cake or cookies (found on Pinterest) and she turns the product into a masterpiece! If you live in the area, I highly recommend her for events and celebrations! Some of my friends have really tested her skills on their kids crazy birthday themes and Britt always delivers a 5 star product!
All in all the first birthday weekend was a success. I wanted to make a memory for our family, friends and most importantly something to look back on for Remi. It was a beautiful day in the 60s and we were surrounded by LOVE. Friends and family gathered to wish our girl a happy birthday and it was everything I had pictured it to be. I wish we could have thrown a huge first birthday bash and invited everyone we wanted, it just wasn't in the cards this year with COVID still lingering. This first year is something I will never forget. Many of our friends and family met Remi for the first time this past weekend...it took 12 months for us to get here and we couldn't be more excited for the future and adventures to come. I ended the weekend with a glass of red, sitting on our front steps, reminiscing with my husband and feeling incredibly blessed and overcome with gratitude for our girl and our tribe.
XO - Katie