Monday, April 4, 2011

Eric's First Birthday Party

Eric's birthday party was on Saturday. Fortunately, the weather was decent so there were no travel concerns for out-of-towners coming to the party. I tried to keep the party simple and just focus on the real star - Eric! Here are a few glimpses of the decor for the day.

I sorted M&Ms by color in these little tins, then glued pictures of Eric to wooden craft sticks. Perfect centerpieces.

I took the letters that hang on the nursery door and hung them in the bay window (I also did this with E-D-I-E for Edith's first birthday)

I found this very cool streamer tutorial from Jordan's blog. It was so easy! (PS - A changing table is a great poor man's bar, just give it a good washing first!)

We use Dave's old Underwood for the Silly Goose Farm guestbook. Our friends and family left little notes and pieces of advice for Eric on his first birthday.

I made Play-Doh for party favors (this is what remains). Much better than the plastic trinket-y stuff kids usually get at parties (in my opinion, but I might be biased).

The menu for the party included ham and cheese and Italian mix handpies, veggie pinwheels, pasta salad, chocolate-chip cookies, sparkling lemonade punch, and of course, cake and ice cream.

I figured since Eric was born on April Fool's Day, he needed a joke cake! His birthday cake was made to look like a cheeseburger. It was just two layers of yellow cake for the "bun," chocolate ice cream for the "burger," yellow fondant for the "cheese," and shredded coconut dyed green for the "lettuce." I could have made this look a little better, but I was pressed for time and really wanted to enjoy the party with my baby. Worried I wouldn't have enough cake, I made vanilla-fudge marbled cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting. Edith blew out the candle for her brother, it was cute! It was kind of like she was telling him, "don't worry, kid, I've got you covered." Since I didn't want to be scooping out tons of ice cream at the party, I pre-scooped the ice cream the night before into cupcake liners, placed them in a baking dish, covered them with plastic wrap, and placed them back in the freezer. I'm pretty proud of myself for thinking of that one :-)

Eric was too tired to open presents, so we had to do it the next day.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves at Eric's party (especially Eric - he loves to play the "pass the baby" game!). He is such a happy little boy and I can't wait to celebrate more birthday with him. I love you to the moon and stars and all the way back, you little bugger!

P.S. - If you have any questions about recipes or anything else, please feel free to email me at (at) gmail (dot) com.

Eric's First Birthday

Eric turned one on April Fool's Day. Yup, he's a little April Fool (learn how he tricked us and came into the world here). While it was a low-key (and rainy) day, we tried to still provide a little fun for our little bugger.

The first part of the day was spent opening presents. Eric received a fun new truck and construction vehicle, lots of books, and plenty of clothes. Edie helped a little (and yes, my kids usually are dressed).

We then went to the cafe where Dave and I met. It's become a tradition to take the kids there for a birthday lunch. Eric had a waffle (but also tried out Dave's clam roll and some of my french fries). We celebrated with chocolate cake and ice cream. Many people came to wish Eric a happy birthday, and one gentleman came up to our table and said he wished his grandchildren were as well behaved as our kids (this happens rarely!).

What better time to get a first haircut then on one's first birthday?! Eric was looking pretty shaggy, and Edie was also in need of a trim, so we took them to the salon after lunch.

I really would have liked to take Eric to a barbershop, but I don't know of any reputable establishments here in Albany. Besides, I think he likes the salon better, because he really likes pretty girl and loves to let them hold him. He was in little baby boy heaven, and all the stylists were cooing over him. Both kids were so well behaved having their hair cut - I was impressed! For anyone in the area who needs a kids' cut, go to Lucy at Jean Paul in Stuyvesant Plaza.

We stopped off for a few more errands on the way home. By the time we got back to the farm, both kids were wiped out and pretty much went straight up to bed. Dave and I spent the rest of the evening getting ready for Eric's big first birthday party the next day. All in all, it was a really nice day and a great way to celebrate little Eric! I wish every day could be so perfect.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Edie's Birthday Party

Edie's birthday this year has been a blast. She's at the age when the whole "presents" and "party" things are making sense. She's knows that on her birthday she is extra special. On Thursday, her actual birthday, we started the day by all climbing into bed together and cozy-ing up. Which led to Edie jumping on the bed, which then led to Edie mimicking Dave's snores, which concluded with Edie pushing Dave and saying "Wake up, Dad!" We all went downstairs and Edie opened presents (wearing her favorite hat, of course).

With her trusty sidekick, "Guy"

She's a pro at ripping off wrapping paper

Eric got in on the action, too

Eric gave Edie a new puzzle board with numbers (she already knows them all!). Dave and I gave her a new jacket, a bunch of "little French girl clothes," (ie: striped shirts and skinny jeans) a new set of cars and trucks (her favorite!) and a doctor's kit, which included a little pager with the message "Doctor, doctor, give me the news..." She's been chasing us around the house for days, looking in our ears, giving us pretend shots, and telling us to say "Ah."

Dr. Edith on the case - and yes, we did give her the initials ECG in hopes she might be Dr. ECG someday.

Later in the day, we dropped off some holiday donations to needy kids, visited Santa, and had a very special birthday lunch. Edie had a Belgian waffle with whipped cream, chocolate milk, some of Dave's toast and a few of my french fries. She also picked out a piece of chocolate cake with chocolate-chip ice cream for dessert. She blew out the candles after an off-key rendition of "Happy Birthday."

On Saturday, we had a nice party for family and close friends. I know Edie probably won't remember any of it, but I think she'll appreciate the fact that we always tried to make her feel special when she's older. Because Edie loves to go to the fair so much, we did a "County Fair" theme. I tried to create a menu that featured spins on classic fair food, with decor to match.

Dessert buffet - mini pies, candies, candied apples, and of course, cake

Mini blueberry and cherry pies 

Candied Apples

 Yum, birthday cake. It was an old-fashioned butter cake with chocolate chips, and classic white buttercream frosting

Savory options - Pigs in blankets, potato chips, onion rings, sausage sandwiches and kettle corn (in lieu of corndogs, bloomin' onions and french fries) 

For decorations, I made a twisted felt garland I strung along the ceiling as well as a simple fabric pennant banner. I removed the dining room painting that hangs over the buffet and replaced it with three pictures of Edie - one when she was a few days old, one from her first birthday, and one from her birthday this year.

Felt garland taped to the ceiling fan - classic

Edie really enjoyed it when everyone sang to her. She clapped and bounced on the chair, and worked really hard to blow out her candle. 


Next up: Presents. Edie was very generously gifted beautiful clothes, new musical instruments, lots of art materials, more cars and trains, and a new tricycle (she can't quite reach the pedals yet, so we'll just put some blocks on them).

Edie loves to ring the bell on her new tricycle

By the time everyone left, we were all pretty exhausted. 

But not so tired that we couldn't take baths and go for one last trike ride of the night.

It was such a nice day. There were a couple of hiccups along the way (I had set up a "photobooth" in the office, but of course, the batteries on my other camera were dead), but I'd count the party as a success. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and Edie had a great time playing with her cousins and friends. We had family and friends travel from near and far (some driving nearly six hours round trip!), and it's nice to know that we have people in our lives who care that much about us. Both of my grandmothers (Edie and Eric's only living great-grandmothers) were able to make it, which was such a special treat. The whole day made me thankful for so much. I'm especially thankful:

- For kids who know to share without being told
- That my grandmothers get along really well and can make the two-hour trek to the farm together
- That my whole family lives in the same town and I can visit them all at once when I go home
- For parents who always come early to help, let me boss them around and still give me hugs and tell me they love me
- That my in-laws care enough to make the trip (also two hours one-way from their town in CT), even with little kids in tow and when under the weather
- For our childless friends who still come to our kids' parties, and never complain about us being those parents
- For friends with kids that understand how hard it is to be a parent and help me along the way
- For friends that date guys with good photography skills and can easily entertain cranky kids by making funny sounds
- For loved ones who tell me what a great job I did with the party - even if the cake isn't frosted properly and not all the decorations made it on the walls
- That I have a babysitter who cares about my kids as much as she does her own
- That my husband typically tolerates my Martha Stewart-OCD antics and helps clean up at the end of the day
- That I'm able to provide for my kids' every need

I'm really lucky, as so thankful, that I'm able to provide these silly parties for Edie, and soon for Eric. I hope they never take for granted how good our life is.