Last week, we celebrated Gus’s first birthday. His actual birthday isn’t until tomorrow, but with Thanksgiving next week, we wanted to give ourselves some breathing room between big events.
I’m really not into big huge theme-y birthday parties. I enjoy looking at other people’s fancy parties, like this one, but it is quite a lot of work. Especially for a first birthday party.
But as J points out, the first birthday party is 90% for the parents, and 10% for the baby. And after the year we’ve had, I decided to go all out (well, as all out as I was willing to go) for Gus’s party. Besides being fun, it helped keep me busy so I wouldn’t dwell on how emotional things were this time last year. It mostly worked.
On to the party!
I decided to go with a circus theme, inspired mostly by this post and this post and the curtains in Gus’s bedroom. I had two goals: to not spend a lot of money, and to make some things that I could incorporate into the decor of Gus’s room. Currently, the only decoration he has in his room are those curtains, and it is pretty drab. The curtains have always reminded me of the circus, and I love bright colors in kid’s rooms.
First big project was a multi-colored bunting. I used this tutorial, which seemed like a super easy project, and got super cheap fabric from Ikea. And while it was easy, it was very, very tedious. I am now an expert at turning out corners. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I’m going to hang it around Gus’s room as a border. Festive!
The finished product:
I also made a couple of super quick table runners using red striped fabric from Ikea. I just used pinking shears to edge the fabric, and I am hoping to make some pillows or something to get further use out of the fabric. It looks a bit Christmas-y as well, so I may make some napkins or something. I decorated the table with some cute star jars I picked up (also from Ikea) filled with gumballs. The fun elephant is from Target. We also spread out some photos of Gus from his early days, since most of our new friends had never seen how far he’s come.
To liven up the mantle, I made a circusy birthday banner. I had all of these plans to remove everything from the mantle and put up Gus pictures along with the favor bags, and bunches of balloons, but I’m pregnant and exhausted and I ran out of time. The banner is cute though!
Speaking of favor bags, this is what all the kiddos got to take home. I put them in these favor bags, which aren’t pictured because there was an incident where Charlie and his two toddler buddies emptied out all of the favor bags in search of treats. It was quite amusing and I wish I’d gotten a shot of the destruction and chaos that ensued.
The kids were entertained by the Circus Tent, which was Gus’s birthday present from us. He loves tents, and this was perfect. No idea where we’re going to store this thing, but it is certainly fun.
The hardest project I undertook was Gus’s birthday cake. I made Charlie’s 1st birthday cake myself, and I felt compelled to do the same for Gus. I’m not sure why I have this compulsion, and hopefully I can reign it in for future events, because baking really stresses me out. I thought the end product turned out pretty cute, and it tasted good, which is the most important thing. And I really have to give credit to my friend Lisa, who is an expert cake baker and taught me about crumb coating and other such things that I was clueless about. The only thing I wish I had done differently was maybe have done the little round balls using icing (they are Sixlets). They made the cake look very polished, I thought, but when we took the top layer off to give to Gus, I realized that those little balls were a choking hazard, not only for him, but probably not the best idea for the other 1 year olds. Oops! Live and learn.
I would also like to mention that the icing is buttercream, not fondant, and is made with butter, powdered sugar, and shortening. I adore buttercream icing and while it is pretty tricky to get smooth, the taste is worth the effort. And fat.
Of course, the birthday post wouldn’t be complete without some pictures of the actual birthday boy! I honestly did not take a lot of photos during the actual party, because our house was packed with guests and I was busy talking. Also, I’m not going to post photos of the kids in the playgroup on my blog b/c I haven’t asked the other parents if they are okay with that. But I assure you, there were guests.
Gus was not a fan of his special party hat.
Taking his first bites of cake (minus the choking hazards). This was probably where I got the most teary-eyed. A year ago, heck a month ago, I wasn’t sure if Gus would ever be able to eat anything more substantial than a puree. But his surgeon has given us the yellow light to start solids – as long as they are fairly soft and in small pieces. I think everyone in that room was holding their breathe to make sure he didn’t start choking.
Clearly, he did not.
Gus, who is the smiliest child ever, did not smile once while eating his cake. That’s how intent he was on shoving it in his mouth.
Joy. Simple joy to see my child shoving cake in his mouth. I can’t even tell you.
Party is over. We’re exhausted! Really, everyone was very, very tired. Charlie was in a daze from running around acting like a maniac. So much so that we decided not to open gifts until the next day. Well, except for those gifts that Charlie started ripping open that night.
Gus is clearly still overtired. Or is mad because Charlie keeps stealing his presents.