Mathis’ 1st Birthday
The First Party
The first birthday, it’s a big thing. I often wonder if it’s a celebration for the parents that they survived a whole year and kept a little human alive?! Or is it faint hope that now finally, when a child is no longer a baby, you will get your life in order?!
As I was thinking about this, I kept debating if I should plan a party for him this year or not. I knew we could not have his cousins and my family for his party since we live miles apart. I decided that I don’t need to wait for the perfect circumstances to plan something.
I feel like we often live our lives waiting. Waiting to finish college, waiting to get that perfect job, waiting to get married, waiting to get pregnant, waiting for the first birthday and list goes on. I am no different, I plan for things and look forward to them. And it’s no surprise that I started thinking and planning for Mathis’ first birthday party just a few months after he was born.
Inspirations and Theme
By the time Mathis was nine months, I had already settled on the theme for his party. It was sort of a given since he is the only baby in our family who was born in Manhattan. I thought to have an NYC theme inspired party would be perfect for him.
My inspiration came from our daily views and Pinterest. I knew I wanted to have a photo booth, backdrop with New York; of course. The colors came easily too, New Yorkers wear black, and the yellow taxi was Mathis’ first toy car, so it was my choice - a pop color for black and white NYC theme.
If you know me, it’s no secret that I am not creative with my hands. I can’t draw anything, even if my life depended on it. But that did not stop me!!! I always say that the important thing is to have a clear plan and be persistent :). Our family friend, Katya, is an artist with a real passion and creativity. I gave her an idea about the party, and she jumped on it and volunteered to come up from DC and work on the decorations.
All the drawings, taxi cars, balloon all happened because of her. After we finished with the big art posters, I started planning the rest: invites, location, menu, etc.
For the location, we choose to do it in our apartment building lounge room. It was big enough and still felt like home. For me the sad part was knowing that Mathis’ grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles would not be there to celebrate him; living far from family has its downsides. But my husband’s parents came from WA to celebrate – it was great! We also had a lot of church friends and my mommy’s friends from our neighborhood that came to celebrate him.
Anytime we have guests or plan a party; I am not the one who plans the menu or cooks. Probably not a surprise for those who know me - I am not particularly into cooking. So, Vitaliy planned the whole menu, and I helped with preparing food before the actual party 🙂.
It was fun making from-scratch parmesan cups for Caesar salad, duck pate sandwiches with French onion confit spread, as well as endive boats with cheese, walnuts and, oranges. We also had sliders with pulled pork from a local smoke shop/bbq place – everything turned out really yummy!
I also ordered a cake from a local bakery – unfortunately I only liked the decorations on the cake, and I was not impressed with actual contents :(. We also had little smash cake for Mathis, as I did not want the big cake to be messed up.
We picked up a few desserts from some well-known NYC bakeries: rugalach from Breads Bakery and banana pudding from Magnolia (if you read my NYC post, I mention those places). Side note: I have a love/hate relationship with NYC dessert choices – they are all over the city. For most people, it’s a destination because of how good their food is. Because of this, it’s hard to stay away from all the sweets; my beach body is not happy!
I knew I wanted to have photos from the party, but since we were doing all of the food, décor and set up before the party, we booked a local mom photographer to take pictures of the event for us. I am happy I did because when the party was over, I realized even though I had our camera and my phone nearby I did not have time to take even one picture or video. (So unlike me btw! 😊)
I got his birthday outfit at Children’s Salon, most of the special occasion outfits I find there. The second outfit, as I knew I would need one after he eats cake, unfortunately, did not come on time. I probably should have just stripped him down to his diaper before letting him smash his cake.
My point is not everything is always perfect, but that was not important. Mathis was happy to be smashing his cake (he made the most adorable giggle after burying his face into it), and he’s a kid, so getting dirty is not a big deal.
Originally I was thinking to do some entertainment for the kids, but since we had kids that were mostly Mathis’ age, all they wanted to do is to play with balloons. I did have crayons and art supplies ready. If we had enough kids at the party, it would have been fun setting up an art table for them to play and color, perhaps an idea for next time!
Overall the party turned out great; we loved every minute of it. Mathis loved the attention and had fun with all the balloons and with his little friends. He may have had a little too much sugar after tasting both of the cakes. I am happy I did not wait for next year or next time to do a party. The first birthday only happens once, and perfect circumstances might never happen.
We should not wait to live our lives, but live our lives in the present. As they say, stop to smell the roses and enjoy your cup of tea, my friends 🙂.
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