Thursday, September 15, 2016

Rings Over Rio

One month ago, my littlest baby turned one...and a few days after that...we partied. Big time.

I love a party (duh), and I love my babies (DUH) you know I can't resist throwing a party for my baby! But honestly...for a while I couldn't figure out the theme, and couldn't quite muster the energy (or time) to get the planning going. I even thought maybe we'd just skip it this time (he'd never know, and never care, right?!) But I would know, and I would care, so I shook off my lameness and dove into making things happen. 

Soon, an idea started to gel, and my vision started to take shape- I decided to go with Brazilian Olympics theme. Pretty standard on the baby party circuit, right? Ok, even I wasn't quite sure what that theme meant...but I figured this was a once in a lifetime opportunity (his birthday will be at least around the same time as the Olympics every four years...but the Games are not likely returning to South America any time soon...) so I might as well go for it, no matter how weird it sounded. I pictured 80% South American Carnival type fest, with a layer of patriotic sportiness thrown in. I was skeptical I could bring my half-baked vision to life, but I pinned my heart out, went on a party supply shopping spree (with my co-planner/enabler/mom) and it started to take shape. Once the garlands, backdrops and tiny ducks started rolling in, I started to get pretty pumped. Then I found basically the worlds most perfect e-card invite...and we were in business.

The only problem was the sliiiiiiight detail that my knowledge of Brazil was...a little lacking. 
Fortunately, my cousins are half-Brazilian, so I texted one of them to help me out: 

Sounds good to me! 
I wanted to keep things as simple as possible (ok... mostly I wanted things to be as cute as possible, as festive as possible, and as fun as possible, but after that, simple was definitely on the list) so I decided we'd keep the party short, not coordinate any organized games (babies don't really do organized anything) and keep the menu easy to manage. I prepped as much as I could in advance, and then took the Friday off work so I could bake and decorate without kids running around un-doing all my doing.

And somehow, just like always, everything worked out. I spent entirely too much time and money on the whole thing, but how often does your baby turn one?! That's what I thought. All costs- emotional and physical- are justified. But I never stress-cried, and only got relatively sassy with Dustin (vs. all out party-zilla...a role I may have played in the past). I bit off more than I could chew, as per usual, but with my mom's amazing talent for all things party (and endless patience to help me with grunt work), and increasingly lower expectations for myself (and a wee bit of perspective that this is a party for a one year old after all...) it all turned out beautiful- AND enjoyable. 

Click through for full details- and basically a flipbook of pictures. 

For the food we did a nacho bar (I Brazilian), Olympic fruit rings, and red white and blue chips. I underestimated how much people would eat (it was 3:30-5...I figured- how hungry could people be?) so we probably could have doubled up on the amount we served, but no one complained/starved. Plus I think snacks like that might be something that no amount ever seems like enough (does anyone know when to stop eating nachos? Teach me your ways.) so it really was fine in the end.

I made the pineapple vases (Instructions: slice off the top and carve out the inside, being careful not to slice your hand off/mash the fruit beyond repair. Stick a plastic cup inside to hold the water), and my mom arranged all the flowers. I was pretty much obsessed, and kept even the coke bottles up for at least a week. (note: pineapple vases are not meant to be kept longer than about 24 hours. Do as I say, not as I do, unless you want sticky counters and a fruit fly invasion).
My plan for the party was pretty much...invite people over...send them outside. Which was flawless. Except for the forecast, which called for rain almost exclusively during the party hours. So I balanced some optimism with some realism, and set things up outside, but only used decor that could survive getting wet. Lo and behold, it did rain...hard...for about a half hour right in the middle of the party. But there was still plenty of sun to kick things off, and it cleared up in time to do smash cake on the deck, so I consider it a win. 

I didn't plan any games (like I said...not really one year olds' strong suit) but the maraca making station (Easter eggs, rice, spoons and washi tape) was a big hit, and the favors were in high demand. (you would have thought they were actual gold medals with the way the kids were coveting them). Other than that we just set up the bounce house, threw out a few toys, and let the kids go to town. 

So we played and ate, and ran inside to escape the rain, and played and ate some more, and then headed back outside for the Closing Ceremonies: The Cake Smash. 

Now, I have a bit of a dicey history with cake making, but I'm nothing if not dedicated, so I was committed to making a (simple) Olympic cake for the occasion. And I'll spare you the day long process and just brag about the end product(s):

I know they're not exactly Food Network worthy...but I was pretty pumped about them...and the guest of honor pretty much couldn't contain himself.
 And once it was time, this guy delivered pretty much everything you could want in a cake smash session. He did the skeptical-faced song-tolerating, with some icing tastes mixed in:

 He pawed at it:

And eventually just went for it:

He had quite the audience of adoring fan-girls, and he hammed it up big time. I was worried he might get a little overwhelmed by it all, but he ate it up (the attention, figuratively, and the cake, literally).

By the end, he hand a mound of frosting and crumbs on his tray...on his his hair...And he was loving every minute of it (Until we had to hose off the deck...and him). 

Don't worry, eventually other people got cake too (not all off of the birthday boy's fingers...though I wasn't complaining!) ...and the bash wrapped up with far too many presents, and a few more photo-ops. 

It was a wild day, and our favorite little boy soaked up all of the love and attention- and sugar- we could possibly heap on him. I know he'll never remember a bit of it, and even if he did, he would likely never care about the majority of the details. But I hope somewhere in his heart, he eventually sees that yes, his mom is a very specific breed of crazy when it comes to this party planning stuff..but mostly I'm crazy for him. I'd buy all the striped straws, blow up all the balloons, nearly-ruin all the cakes, and theme alllllllll the things to show him how much he's worth. He's gold medal status...on this day, and every other.  

Happy, happy first Birthday, Miller bug.
Or should I say: Parabéns!

Miller's outfit: Etsy
Party decor: Party City (balloons and clips, backdrop, balloons, cups) Oriental Trading (flower garland, napkins, plates, ducks and punch-ball favors), Hobby Lobby (faux leaves, napkins, plates, straws), Target (medal favors) and JoAnn (parrot napkins, fabric table runner). 
Balloon garland: followed this tutorial
Flag garland: DIY, using this version as a basis
Fin's and Piper's Dresses and my shirt: Kohl's

P.s. Check out Piper'sand Fin's first birthdays too!
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