By now you’ve noticed I have a thing for lunches. However, in my former life, I was a data geek. And it seems that “once a data geek, always a data geek,” so it comes as no real surprise to me that I am quite fascinated by the fact that the statistic that indicates that the #1 search that draws new readers to my site has nothing to do with bento lunches! Rather, it is “Toy Story Birthday Party.”
I also have a couple of friends who have suggested that I start adding posts about the birthday parties that I’ve thrown for my kids. Tonight, I started poring through my millions of pictures and I’ve learned several things about myself:
- I am often not behind the camera at my kids’ parties. So there aren’t a lot of pictures in the beginning as most of the pictures contain too many cute faces. As darling as I think my kids (and their friends) are, I do my best to protect their privacy.
- Throwing birthday parties is a learned process. The internet has been an incredible tool in researching ideas. Very few ideas are my own.
- Our family has a tendency to destroy cameras right before our kids’ first birthdays. Really. I have no pictures of my my daughter’s first birthday. And I have no pictures of my middle kiddo’s first birthday.
- Mother’s intuition is always right. Here’s a funny little bit: For each of my kids’ first birthdays, I managed to pick a theme that still reflects their personality. For my daughter, I picked ladybugs because *I* think little girls and ladybugs are impossibly cute. So cute that her first Halloween costume was of a ladybug. To this day, she is often found digging for and creating habitats for bugs…collecting slugs on the way to school…rescuing her brothers from all those scary spiders. For my second born, I picked sports. He seemd to be quite the ball loving boy then, and this has definitely held true. And my littlest. Well, I’ve always wanted to do a circus birthday I figured his first birthday was kind of my last shot. Guess what role he plays in our family? Definitely the clown.
Honestly, I don’t remember what we did for the first two first-birthdays. I think it went along the lines of inviting family and close friends, getting naked and smashing cake. I do remember that my daughter got 3 Fisher Price Barns for her first birthday.
I did (and always have) made their cakes. It’s one of my gifts to them, and I treasure the fact that they believe that I can create anything. I love that they *run* downstairs the morning of their parties to pull open the refrigerator doors to see what I’ve created. As they’ve gotten older, we’ve spend time together surfing the ‘net looking for cake ideas that they like.
Here are a few pictures from the Circus Party. For this party, we definitely had a plethora of older kids (but still 5 and under) so I needed a couple activities. We had plain, primary colored cone hats and stickers for the kids to create their own “clown” hats. And then my hubby was a good enough sport to don a clown nose and twist a bunch of animal balloons for the kids. I’m not sure who had more fun watching that happen…the kids or the rest of us grown ups!
Number “1” cookies decorated by my big kids for their baby brother. We ate these on the day of his birthday, cake came a few days later at the family party.
Cookies for the circus cake. I used a glaze frosting for these – I believe it was the first, and possibly the only time I’ve attempted this. One thing I learned with these cookies is that bright pops of color can hide just about anything. I thought these cookies were rather atrocious, but they were so colorful, it almost didn’t matter.
The final cake. This is quite possibly my most favorite cake I’ve ever made. Don’t you love those little clowns?
One of my cake “signatures” is that I run a “Happy Birthday <Insert Name>” around the vertical perimeter of the cake. It leaves the surface for design, and oddly, I find it easier to write on a vertical surface. Is that strange?
Another thing I’ve done for each of my kids’ first birthdays is written them a letter. A letter telling them how blessed their daddy and I are to have them our lives, what they are like at a year. That we hope they will always know how much they are loved. I’ll save these letters for them for when they are older, maybe when they get married. Maybe when their first baby turns a year. Or maybe when they hit those turbulent teen years and need to be reminded how much they are loved. I don’t know.
What first birthday traditions have you created?