I blame it all on Pinterest. If not for that website, I probably wouldn't have had nearly the crazy, ramped up and grandiose ambitions about Sophie's first birthday party that I did. But alas, the internets are very very good at showing you all the things that the other cool mommies are doing. Pinterest is sort of like peer pressure for grown ups.
After clicking on a billion zillion kids birthday party links, I realized I was out of my league, so I had to scale back a bit. There weren't going to be any hand-lettered signs for each child attendee, there weren't going to be any homemade 15-layer rainbow cakes. But then I stumbled upon something that looked do-able.
Actually, cupcake toppers and pom poms. I would send you now to my friend Melissa's blog if she had one, as I got the paper poms idea in part from her daughter's first birthday party. However, it appears she is blogless at this time.
In my browsing on Pinterest, I discovered the TomKat Studio. The designer sells you a PDF of her party designs, customized with your child's name and age, and you do the footwork of printing the designs out in color on cardstock and cutting them out.
In reality, I let Staples do the footwork of printing in color on cardstock for me, and I spent a lunch hour one day sitting at Chick-Fil-A cutting out the cupcake toppers and the happy birthday sign. I got a few weird looks, but when I said "first kid, first birthday," the weird looks turned into knowing nods from veteran moms. They'd been there, too. To the brink of party planning insanity and back. Just to say we'd done it, of course.
Homemade cupcakes (or homemade anything, really) were out of the question given my available free time and energy (read: zero and less than zero), so I let Harris Teeter handle that part of the equation. We even got a free "smash cake" since it was Sophie's first birthday. The hand lettering on the cake left a bit to be desired, but when its free, I guess I can't be too choosy.
The cupcake toppers turned out magnificently - better than I thought they would. I ordered them from the Lollipop Sweet Shoppe collection on the TomKat Studio website, although I didn't really go through with the whole lollipop theme. I bought a 2-inch scalloped paper punch from Michaels and just punched those bad boys out at my Chick-Fil-A party organizing lunch that day. In the few days before the party, I taped wooden dowels to the backs of the toppers, and on the day of the party, I put the toppers into the cupcakes. I think they look pretty professional and awesome, but that's just me. I will probably order toppers from that site again -- plus, they have freebies for special occasions! So fun!
Another great tip that I saw from the hundreds of "first birthday party" posts I looked at online -- lots of people had a specific "cake smashing outfit" for the baby. Hence, Sophie is here wearing nothing more than bloomers and a bib, for minimal pink icing cleanup.
That idea worked out quite well, as post-cupcake smashing, I just transported her over to the sink, washed off her hands, then took her into our home office (which doubles as the baby-changing-station right now) and stripped off the bib and bloomers, and put her back into her regular birthday outfit.
Nana and Pop (my parents) came in town for the party, and Grammy and Grandpa (Steven's parents) came in town for Sophie's actual birthday, which was later that week. Sophie loved having all of her grandparents visit in the span of less than 10 days, although she may have been a bit exhausted after all of her partying!
One of the funnier things about waiting until her party to get her any new toys was how very thrilled she was with EVERY SINGLE TOY. We'd apparently been depriving her.
Yes, Pizza Hut? Mommy wants a cheese in the crust pizza, please, and make it snappy!
Our "big present" to Sophie for her birthday was a personalized toddler chair from Pottery Barn. It was a wee bit spendy, but after seeing how much she absolutely adores it, I'm so glad we got it for her. She runs over and dives into it now, and then turns her little bum around and sits in it like a proper little lady. Anytime she has a book or toy in her hands that she wants to look at, she carries it over to her chair, climbs in, and sits down to "read" or to look at her toy. She also has a toy xylophone that she drags into her lap in the chair to play.
I've got more pictures from the pumpkin patch to show you, so I'll be back later to give you those.