February 22, 2014

Alden's 1st Birthday Party

our amazing little birthday boy :) 

I'm finally here to share Alden's birthday party! It seems like the month of February is trying to mess everything up. We started it out wonderfully, with family in town and Alden's birthday to celebrate, but then Alden was sick (for his party, his actual birthday, and for THREE more days after that) with some kind of weirdo virus (gotta love daycare :/). Then, we had two weeks in a row with totally bizarre weather that kept us out of school and work, which is crazy when you have a 1 year old at home to entertain. We finally feel like we're getting back to some semblance of normal and I've found some time to get back to the blog. 

Party details! 

We hosted his party at the Bloom community space in the historic Chase Park Warehouses not far from downtown Athens. We knew before sending out invitations that both sets of grandparents would be in town and that Alden's aunt and uncles may be joining us as well so we decided from the outset that our house would be too cramped for everyone to be comfortable. If his birthday was in the warmer months, we could have opened up the house and mingled on the deck, etc. but with all the doors needing to be firmly shut against the chill outside, the Bloom space was the much better option. If you're local and haven't been to any of the activities that are hosted there, make sure you check it out! The space is big and bright, with tons of toys and space for littles to run and play. There are even twinkle lights strung across the ceiling- such a perfect addition for our little celebration :) 

We invited lots of family and friends and were so happy to see everyone that was able to come! Alden was thought of by so many people, near and far, and we are incredibly grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives :) 

The party was monster themed but I reigned myself in while reminding myself that a 1 year old's party surely shouldn't (or needn't) be extravagant. I'm usually a pretty easy going entertainer but, for some reason, this party made me a little nuts ;) I kept thinking, "This is his first birthday party. ever. And he's only going to turn 1 once." I wanted it to be sweet and memorable for us and to make sure that he could look back at the photos and know that we were so excited to celebrate him. I will say, that even though there was less Pinterest involved and a few more store-bought elements than originally planned, there was much more love and celebration than I could have asked for. Mission accomplished! :) 

We bought the invitation image on Etsy from The Trendy Butterfly. They customize the image and email it to you so you can print it yourself or have it printed at a print shop. The Etsy shop also offers printing services but we wanted to give the printing business to a local shop that I've worked with before. Bel-Jean is a really wonderful place with a great group of people working there. They are SO easy to work with, will help you out with everything from paper selection to design changes, and are really affordable. We'll definitely use them for anything we have printed in the future, they did a great job!

bad image but I needed to edit it...they were adorable printed! 
Since Alden's birthday is so close to Christmas, he's pretty well-stocked in the toy department. We have always wanted for Alden to have as many books around as we did when we were kids, so we decided to include a little note asking people to gift books for Alden's library instead of toys. I worried that it would be tacky or distasteful but after talking with lots of local Mamas, I felt better. I learned that in our community having more toys than necessary is a common concern (as I'm sure it is for lots of parents everywhere) and many people have done something similar to curb the amount of presents their babes get. Our guests were happy to oblige and Alden got some really wonderful books to add to his shelves! 

It reads: Alden's toy chest is filled and his closet is packed. Our little man would be thrilled to add more books to his stacks. Help us fill up his nook and please, instead of a toy, bring your favorite book for the birthday boy!

The party was mid-morning so we could accommodate baby schedules so we did brunch food; bagels with varied cream cheeses from Athens Bagel Co. (we got the lox, regular, and bacon/chive-all delicious!), cheese grits with sausage (a recipe my Mom brought, everyone says it was wonderfully Southern), hummus with veggies and pita, a chicken salad (two kinds- my Nana's recipe and a curry chicken salad that Nick's mom makes) and pimiento cheese (from Marti's, a local favorite) platter with crackers, fruit salad, a monster yogurt (we dyed it green :) bar with granola and fruit, and, of course, yummy sweets! I made a batch of dairy and soy free coconut cupcakes for Alden and I (decorate like monsters!) and my Mom brought some custom made monster cookies from a local (to them) baker in Alabama. We also got a small Publix cake, decorated in the party colors, so that there would be some "regular" cake for the non-dairy allergic guests ;) Publix makes the best cakes! 

As for decor, I had big plans but with Alden getting sick and guests coming into town (along with a heaping dose of February sneaking up on me like crazy!) made me rethink what I could actually accomplish without going crazy and still enjoying the weekend. It's amazing what buying a felt birthday banner can do for your sanity ;) We were originally going to do some confetti filled balloons with letters to function as his birthday banner but ended up not doing it. There were enough complications while making it that when we found an adorable felt banner at Target, we jumped on it and saved ourselves the trouble. My Mom and Mother in Law even filled about 25 balloons with handmade confetti (that Nick and I had given ourselves carpal tunnel cutting the night before) in case we decided to use them. I'm glad we didn't kill ourselves to make it because there really wasn't anywhere to hang it once we got to the room and realized that the wall space was well-filled. I kept the balloons, though, and they'll definitely find a place at a party in the future! They're too cute not to use :) It worked out perfectly because the Bloom space is already decorated and feels really put-together. I didn't feel like we needed to add much at all. 

I originally wanted to do some monster printables and to have a "year in the life" photo table with Alden's monthly photos and some other snapshots, but a sick baby and time with family won out over the hours those crafts would have eaten up :) 

Now for more photos! 

little man was really into the balloons. he wouldn't leave them alone!
playing with the balloons...

reaching for the balloons...

"oh wait, there's cake? Dad, hold my balloons."

first time eating cake...not sure what to do with it...


"OK, I like this :)"


with wonderful friends!

Alden and his BFF :)

with more wonderful friends!

with Mimi and PopPop

with Grandma and Far Far

our Centering group! :)

Centering babies

Alden mingling with his party guests :) 
All in all, we had an amazing day celebrating our one year old little boy! A huge thank you to our parents for all of their help with the party and for coming into town to celebrate and to our friends who came and sang to our little guy!! :) We had such a blast!

much love, L&N

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