Big and Little Birthday Parties

With Valentine’s Day behind us, our family heads into birthday season. In the next two months, 8 of our close family members have birthdays. We start things off with Baby V’s very first birthday! I think the first birthday is a really important one and should be marked unabashedly! The first birthday is more than just a milestone for Baby. It’s a celebration that tells parents, “You got this! You survived a full year!” On top of all that, it’s a perfect chance to look back on how much your little treasure has changed in a year. From being a newborn at 7lbs6oz (or, in my case, 10lbs5oz!) to an expressive, mobile little person, those 12 months have passed quickly but brought major advancements!

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Thinking about Violet’s first birthday obviously leads me to reminisce about my own boys turning one. BigB’s first birthday is a little further in my memory as he is now 8 1/2 while LittleL’s in a bit more recent having only happened almost 3 years ago. The more perceptive of you have noticed that there are five years between my boys and that means five years between their first birthdays. As far as party planning goes, a lot changed in those five short years!

Once upon a time, a birthday party involved getting a cake, having a few people to your house and blowing out some candles. Nowadays, parents are setting birthday party budgets into the $1000s, renting halls and serving full course meals for their kids’ annual celebrations. I don’t go that far (I wouldn’t even say I fall in the middle of those two birthday party styles!) but I enjoy planning a birthday party and looking after as many details as possible.

As I looked through old photographs to include with this blog, the difference between B’s 1st birthday in 2007 and L’s in 2011 is totally evident – so at the very least my enthusiasm for birthday parties has changed! When my first turned 1, I was back to work full-time and he was in daycare full-time. I didn’t go overboard. I went to the Dollar Store to see what was at my disposal. I found a complete set of racecar party supplies (plates, napkins, cups…). I was new to the game so I figured I had hit a jackpot! I ordered a cupcake pull-apart cake (this seemed like the ultimate best option at the time because just think about letting a one year old loose on all the icing required to keep a pull-apart cake together!). My husband designed an invitation using photoshop and, ta-da!, we had a party. It went off without a hitch (that I can remember!) and it was fun!

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Five years later, it was time to celebrate L’s first birthday! By that point, I was 5 years versed in birthday parties thanks to B (who, for the record, now has his birthdays at rented venues!).

Theme food is a great way to incorporate your theme at a low cost. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have traditional party food but label is as something fun or related to your selected theme.

One of my newest favourite party decorations are pom-poms made from tissue paper to hang from the ceiling. (There’s a tutorial on how to make them here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJCRoxccsWY)

I’ve started a tradition I’m really excited about with Little L: book signing. I leave the book out and have guests at the party put a birthday message inside for him. I have enough Dr. Seuss books to last us for a few years down the road! These books have a special spot on a bookshelf in his room.

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I love planning parties for my kids. It’s time-consuming but so much fun! I probably do it more for myself than for them but I can tell they have a great time at their birthdays and that makes me happy. Sometimes I think I enjoy party-planning so much that I wish they had birthdays more than once a year. But then I realize that it’s only February and I’m already planning for Little L’s party in April so I think once a year each is more than enough! #MelMar

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