Saturday, June 20, 2009

The BIG 1 (Part 2)

As promised in my last post, here are more pictures from Taylor's 1st birthday.  I love photos and documenting life thru the lens of a camera.  The moment Taylor was born, there was a camera in her face either from hubby and I or her wonderful Aunt T.  Hubby had to buy a 1 terabyte external hard-drive after year one to store all our photos, which were well over 2000+ images.  To share some of the images captured in her first year, we had a table displaying the photos at the party.  Aunt T found a frame intended for school pictures for Senior Graduation with 12 slots at Michaels; perfect to display photos from the past 12 months.

Since the theme of the party were "Barn Animals", I hired a petting zoo for the kids.  What a hit!  Owner Jennifer and her staff at Pony to Go were so friendly and knowledgable about the animals.

 We had a donkey!


A goat!

Chickens and bunnies!

We even had a miniture horse.

One thing to keep in mind about parties for such young children is that it can become very overwhelming if there are a lot of people.  Our guest list was a lot bigger then I had originally planned, I quite literally had to force myself to cut a lot of people off the list before it got out of hand.  I wanted to make sure that even though it was Taylor's party, the focus wasn't on her.  Plenty of activities that kept both adults and kids occupied.  Guests tend to shower the birthday girl or boy with lots of hugs and kisses and she/he ends up getting passed around alot.  I knew this and wanted to avoid it as best as possible.  One way to give kids some "breathing" room is to literally take the child into a cool and quiet area where they can relax.  Mid-way thru the party, I took Taylor up to her room, stripped her down to her diaper and let her enjoy some quiet time and refreshed her spirits when she rejoined the party.  Not a great picture, but here's the birthday girl having some quiet time with mommy.

Here are some shots of our wonderful friends and family who came out to celebrate such a fun milestone!

Tayls w/Grandpa.

Tayls and some friends.

Happy Birthday my Little Muon.  What a magical first year it has been!  Love Mommy!

Again, BIG THANK YOUS to my sister for her wonderful photographs capturing Taylor's special day!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The BIG 1! (Part 1)

First birthdays are always so exciting... for the parents.  When Taylor's first birthday was approaching, I knew I wanted it to be something special, unique and memorable.  Plus parties are so much fun to plan. 

I first started my planning by deciding on a theme.  I knew I wanted a special activity to be the central feature of the party, but something Taylor would be able to enjoy as well.  Months before the party, I debated the idea.  Should I have it at a facility like Chuck E' Cheese or The Jump Zone (moonbounce)?  It would be less stressful and no clean up required, but not very personal or intimate.  So I knew it had to be at our house.  Should I hire a magician or Taylor's music teacher?  Fun for the kids, but not for the parents.  So then it struck me, a petting zoo!  It would lead into the perfect birthday theme, barn animals! 

I told my multi-talented sister and tasked her with coming up with a unqiue invitation.  She blew my mind away with what she came up with.  A movable invite with barn animals and all!

The animals inside the barn doors rotated in a circle and different animals would appear (a pig, horse, goat, etc..).  We had to cut by hand each barn and inner circle.  Then assembled about 25 cards.  Here's an image of just the barn so you get an idea of what was required in the assembly.  For some reason, the image below got cut off on the right side.  Click on it to view the complete image.

The back of the card was extra special b/c it showed that love was put into designing the card.  It took me two days to finish cutting each card and assembling them together.  That's when I promised myself that Taylor's 2nd birthday invite would be a lot less complicated. 

The goodie bags inspired by the invitation.  Here's a close up shot.

We even made name tags for the kids that played on the invitation.  I found these adorable plates at JoAnn Fabrics in the seasonal section.

I found a flower pot in the shape of a pig at JoAnn's as well and had to have it.  It was perfect for the farm animal lollipops I found at Oriental Trading.  I filled the pot with a styrofoam cube to keep the lollipop standing up and the green "grass" is edible candy that I found in the Easter clearance aisle at JF.

I wanted my main feature in the dining room to be a cupcake tower.  I found a tutorial online, visited a local cake supply store and voila, I had a custom cupcake tower.  Did I mention my sister was multi-talented?  Well, she made the barn cake that sat on the top tier.  My childhood friend volunteered to make the cupcakse and we somehow ended up with 144 cupcakes (she did the math wrong and we had alot of leftovers)!

The cake dummies were wrapped in a red gingham fabric. I was lucky enough to find scrapbook paper with a grass pattern.  That went on the cake boards which was then wrapped with a red ribbon to finish off the edges.  I found plastic barn animals at the cake store and barn animal candles at Oriental Trading to add to the finishing touches.

Overflow cupcakes went here.

Oriental Trading had so many wonderful barn animal themed items.  I had to have the personalized banner.

And while the petting zoo was setting up, I had the children work on these barn animal foam frames.

The Birthday Girl and some friends working on their craft project.

 And another cute purchase from O.T., these adorable foam barn animal visors.

Whew, that's alot of barn animals!  Okay, next post will include live animals!  I leave you with a picture of the Birthday Girl watching the animals from the petting zoo being brought into our back yard. 

Special thanks to Aunt T for her talents in designing the invite and the wonderful photographs.
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