Since heading back to work 3 weeks ago I’ve had good intentions about fitting in some blogging, but work and life have had other plans! Since I don’t have as much time as I used to I’m probably going to be a little more ‘all over the place’ and write down whatever hits me at the time! At the same time they will all still be Baby V related since he’s the center of our universe.
This past weekend was one of our latest Rites of Passage as new parents. A 1st Birthday Party!! And with V’s start…where we weren’t even sure we’d get to this big milestone…we went all out! My sister delightfully applied the phrase ‘Party Mama’ to me as I was standing at the cash register in a party supply store, with my notebook, arms loaded with supplies, waiting for our balloon bouquet to be finished. I wear this label with pride! The planning for this shindig started about mid August, once wedding festivities had wrapped up (Oh yeah…we also got married this year…new parents and newlyweds…best year of my life!). And let me tell you I was much more involved in V’s first birthday party celebrations than I was in my own wedding. Andrew and I are laid back people and our wedding reflected that…but we’re no where close to laid back when it comes to our little miracle!
I picked the theme, “Winnie The Pooh”, since Vaughan is obsessed with anything featuring that classic Disney character. He’s had his Pooh Bear layette since he was a week old in his isolette in the NICU and they’re still inseparable. It just fit and we figured we could run with it from there. Now I’m not crazy, I realize that he will not remember this party at all, but I figured it would be a great time for family and friends to come together and celebrate this big milestone with him, and help Andrew and I celebrate surviving our first adventurous year as new parents! We definitely wanted it to be kid friendly but I also decided that it was going to be more ‘adult’ geared. We planned to have BBQ and cake with a drop-in atmosphere and also include a bar! We actually brainstormed Winnie The Pooh adult beverages…so wrong and so right at the same time.
Andrew is incredibly talented with computers and graphic design so I had him take charge of the invitations at the beginning of Sept. He made the most adorable card with a Winnie the Pooh background and superimposed on that is a picture of newborn V and Pooh Bear and then a newer picture with the same toy showing how much he’s grown! He emailed me the invite from work and I have to admit I got a little teary when I saw how far our little man had grown! We printed out the invites at Walmart (I love the Photocenter!) and mailed them off, giving people plenty of time to reply back!
I also became obsessed with the type of cake I wanted for this epic birthday party. We invited about 40 people and I knew that I didn’t want to get a slab cake from Loblaws. Also since I possess little to no decorative baking talent myself, I thought ordering would be the way to go. Luckily there appears to be a new fad in independent cake bakers (Thank you Cake Boss!) and through a recommendation I was able to order a fabulous confection that would be delivered on the day! Now when I was starting my baker search I did some research through friends on Facebook to see if they’d had any good experiences with businesses around London. I have several friends who have had babies in the past year and this birthday extravaganza appears to be a popular pastime. During the course of my correspondance with the baker we decided on a 3 tiered number featuring our favourite character, Pooh Bear as well as a personalized ‘smash’ cake for V.
Now I’d never heard of a ‘smash’ cake before last year but once I did the idea really appealed to me. It is a small, personal cake for the birthday boy or girl to go to town on. An adorable new fad and I couldn’t wait to see our tiny boy covered in ooey-gooey cake destruction. I understand that some of you might be thinking I’m a crazy lady so I feel like I should explain where we’re coming fromon this decision. As previously mentioned and highlighted in earlier blog posts, we weren’t sure we’d be bringing home a baby, let alone be lucky enough to enjoy celebrating a 1st birthday! When you have a preemie you’re inundated with the negatives; Don’t take the baby outside during cold/flu season, RSV could put them back in the NICU, Be aware of possible hearing, vision, developmental challenges, Weight concerns, etc. Things that normal healthy babies can shake off could earn your child a repeat visit to the Children’s ICU for an extended stay, permanent damage, or loss of life. When it seems like you’re facing insurmountable challenges you take so much pride and joy in the milestones. It is important to celebrate those positives or you’d be too wrapped up in the ‘maybes’ or ‘what ifs’ to take the time to really enjoy your miracle! Andrew and I decided that we never wanted to regret NOT doing something for, to or with Vaughan and we took that attitude into the first birthday celebrations. So for those of you naysayers (and yes I’ve heard from a few!) who maintain that a 1st birthday fiesta is largely a money sink because the baby won’t remember, I say “Good for you, that is a very practical way to think of it, BUT this is our son, our celebration and we’re doing it our way!” So…I got the smash cake! A piece of cake for a baby is fun…but imagine the mess and excitement of a whole cake…I could barely contain my excitement!
Now here is where I dropped my ‘Party Mama’ ball a bit…after ordering the cake(s), sending out the invites and outlining our general ideas, Andrew and I sat back and waited for the date to arrive. We greatly underestimated how much less time we’d have for planning and preparation once I started back to work! Stay tuned for the frantic last minute preparations…