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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Emmeline Turns One : First Birthday Party

Man, everyone warned me how December birthdays can be difficult, and they weren't wrong. Emmeline's isn't even that close to Christmas (13 days away) but it still proved to be a challenge. Scheduling was hard (do it early and it's too close to Thanksgiving, do it late and it's too close to Christmas, and trying to work around everyone's holiday parties. Then, of course, funds are tight, because again: Christmas. And everyone is just a little more stressed and a little busier that time of year.

And then there are little things that only complete assholes like myself think of, like: "But what about all the Christmas decor we have out? It won't match her party theme!" And then I punched myself in the face because that's ridiculous.

I decided on a loose winter/snowflake theme.

"One" crown from Little Blue Olive
"Emmeline is one" banner from Minted.com
"Let it Snow" sign from Target

Her invite, designed by me.

We had a hot chocolate bar. It was amazing and I pretty much want to drink hot chocolate every day now. And I do, thanks to leftovers. HELPFUL HINT: The hot chocolate toppings are also great on ice cream! So if you decide to follow suit, buy a lot and buy some ice cream and then enjoy the leftovers. BOOM.
Hot chocolate assortment from Amazon.
Snowflake stickers on the cups from Minted.com
Travel cups with lids from Target.

I laid down a white tablecloth and covered it with a "snow blanket" (you could also totally use just white batting from a fabric store sprinkled with glitter) as the base. I got a bunch of fake snowballs and placed them around the table as well. I stapled (super fanceh) pictures of various "firsts" onto a burlap banner and labeled them with small chalkboard labels.  The little chalkboard signs for the "my" and "first" were WAY WAY WAY too small but WHATEVER, right? We had first Christmas, Easter, swim class, camping trip, food, 4th of July, airplane ride, trip to the beach, and Halloween. I painted a chipboard "E" and a chipboard "1" with leftover chalkboard paint from Carys's bedroom.  I filled the rest of the table with her cupcakes and some "wintery" snacks. Wintery in that they were white, basically. Popcorn and donut holes and yogurt-covered pretzels. Hanging down from the top you can juuust see the tip of a "chandelier" I made with big white pom poms and 3D paper snowflakes that I found at Target. I hung paper snowflakes up all over the walls (super cheap from Amazon). And that was seriously about the extent of the decor. Honestly, our house just isn't that conducive to decorating or to entertaining or hosting, so it was pretty basic.

Burlap banner, fake snowballs, and E/1 from Hobby Lobby. I know, they suck.
Chalkboard labels and snow blanket from Target.

Ok, this thing looked way better in real life without the super shadow-y lighting. I swear. 
And do you love our brass and wood ceiling fan??

Looking at the picture above reminds me that I had fake snow that I'd sprinkled on the "E" and the "1" until I had a rare moment of practicality and realized it probably wasn't the smartest to have piles of plastic that move with the slightest hint of a breath that close to the cupcakes. 

Oh. And in the "better in my head" category was a garland I had Carys make out of cotton balls. It was cute, actually. Until I was like, "I KNOW! Let's use spray glue and sprinkle glitter all over it!" And that pretty much didn't work at all and it ended up looking weird because the adhesive made them all stick together and kind of melt a little, but when your three-year-old makes something for her sister's birthday party and is super proud of it, YOU HANG THAT SHIT UP even if you totally ruined it like a complete douche canoe.  So I did. Along with snowflakes found in Target's Christmas section.

I got her a little snowflake outfit from Carter's that is pretty much my favorite ever. Her sweet little headband that stayed on for exactly three minutes (truly a miracle I even got a picture of her wearing it) is from Dear Grace and Parker. Also note the broccoli hanging out of her mouth. WTF.

My amazing little sister has made the dessert for every one of Carys's parties, but she moved to California because she hates us and wasn't able to come back to celebrate with us because she really hates us so I had to figure it out myself like a real adult or something. I ended up making cupcakes, then dipped the top of some of them in clear glitter sprinkles and some of them in tiny marshmallows, and they turned out really pretty. I made marshmallow fondant (SO EASY) and cut out "E"s and "1"s and snowflakes using cookie cutters to decorate the top of them. I wrapped them in pretty gold and silver glittery cupcake wrappers from Amazon

Once again because I pretend to be a health freak, I made the birthday girl's cupcake "healthy" using the blueberry-banana recipe from this site (the same one we used for Carys). I did give her real frosting and marshmallows on top, though. So she got PLENTY of sugar and then some. She very delicately picked off each marshmallow one by one.

She really seriously was not sure about all the people singing to her.


She then got to open her presents, and I'm so grateful everyone took the time to not only get her something, but also wrap them in non-Christmas wrapping paper. I'll always do everything I can to make sure her birthday is entirely separate (even though she'll probably always have a Christmas tree lurking in the background of her birthday pictures). 

And, in true second child fashion, she had to fight her big sister to open any of the presents herself.

That look on my face is me trying to control my three-year-old threenager in front of a room full of people.

And now, if you don't mind, I'm going to go look at pictures from her actual day of birth and cry myself to sleep that time has passed so quickly.


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