Simplicity and a Sweet Birthday Celebration

This weekend we celebrated my daughter’s first birthday. It was sweet and simple with mostly family- about 1/4 the size of our son’s crazy first birthday. And it was a good reminder that sometimes less is more.
My son had a total system overload at his first party and broke down crying when all eyes were on him during the singing and cake time. (He is now old enough and extroverted enough that he’d probably be thrilled with 200 people and a laser light show if we could give him that, so it will be interesting to see if his little sister evolves in a similar way…) My daughter made it through her whole party before she crashed hard and happy.

We themed the party “Winter ONEderland” and miraculously our unseasonably warm Phoenix winter gave us a chilly day that was perfect for the hot chocolate bar we had planned. My mom jumped in with soup and warm sandwiches as well which were a perfect addition and which I’d resisted at first as I truly just wanted a hot cocoa bar and cupcakes to keep things super simple, but were so useful with the chilly day and kept everyone full and happy. We also had a few other fun snacks that went with the theme- carrots, aka “snowman noses” and a delightful idea I’d seen several times on Pinterest where little cups of popcorn are decorated like snowmen. The cocoa bar was an excuse for me to make homemade whipped cream which is truly one of my favorite treats (and my son’s as well, though he calls it “SCREAM!” and screams as he asks for it. One of those things that is just a little too cute to correct just yet…)

We had some sweet little snowflakes all around and even got to break in our fire pit which we’ve had for a while now but were lacking a safe place to put it until we re-did our lawn this winter.

With my son I made a giant star cake in addition to various cupcakes (again with the huge party thing) and I knew this time around we’d stick with just some simple cupcakes dusted with snowflake sprinkles. (I can imagine what my husband’s reaction would have been if I’d tried to make and ice a snowflake shaped cake… it would not have been pretty since we’re still fairly sleep deprived over here…)

For me, having photos showing my daughter’s growth and change during her first year was really important. Not for her, of course, but for myself and my husband, and even our close friends and family who have watched her first year, from our early days of weight gain worries to our recent adventures as she becomes more and more playful and confident. Plus, she’s just freaking cute and we haven’t put up enough pictures of her around the house yet.As a friend pointed out, “She just has the best faces!” Mostly, though, It was a way to make peace with the huge mixture of feelings I had about her turning one and all the pictures will eventually make their way into her baby book- hopefully sooner than later. It was a really lovely day and a great way to start off my year of entertaining. We may not be here forever, but I’m learning that our smaller house might be teaching me about slowing down and simplifying in both the everyday as well as the bigger events.

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