Mara turned one on September 1, so from the day she was born I knew her first birthday party theme would be easy: golden birthday!
I made the poor girl a gigantic, glittery, gold tutu (just tied strips of tulle to a circle of elastic) and a “one” onesie (just like Corban’s one shirt — tutorial here — except vastly more frustrating because I had to use several layers of tulle for the letters). She also got a gold flower headband (made the fabric rose from the tulle and hot glued it to gold elastic).
In the end she was a gold, glittery mess, and had an overwhelmed blank stare on her face for the first 30 minutes of the party.
Eventually she warmed up and forgot about the huge nest around her waist.
The baby shower I threw for my sister back in February was gold-themed, so I was able to re-use a lot of the decorations (that may or may not have been in the back of my mind when planning her shower… nothing wrong with that, right?) including this wreath, which originally was a table decoration.
(Re-purposed the chalkboard idea from an Oscars party story I wrote earlier this year!)
I gave myself some grace and didn’t finish (or even seriously start) a year recap photo album for Mara in time for the party. I intend to do one (since Corban has not only a first year album but a second year album, too)… but let’s be honest, I still haven’t done it. The first birthday is such a sweet time to look back on all the many milestones of the first year, though, so I still incorporated many photos into the party.
I bought a bunch of gold frames at Goodwill and was going to display them on tables outside, but it was raining right up until the party started. Thankfully the sun came out just in time so we could be outside, but all the frames ended up on one table, like a little Mara shrine. (Complete with tea light candles that were also supposed to be outside.)
I did a monthly photo of Mara on our tan bed sheet, which ended up looking like a gold backdrop — not planned, but worked out well for this little photo project.
Here’s the similar monthly photo display I had at Corban’s first birthday:
I busted out this digital photo frame Peter and I got as a wedding gift (just took six years to open it) and let it scroll through a memory card of first-year photos.
Oh yeah… the cake! My friend Rebecca, who is a professional pastry chef and cake artist, made this beauty for us. It tasted just as good as it looked!
I made a small chocolate smash cake (using Pyrex containers to bake the layers) and decorated it with edible gold spray paint (found at JoAnn Fabrics) and edible gold pearls.
One of my favorite details was the flowers I picked up last minute at the grocery store. Goldenrod was in full bloom.
She ever-so-daintily dipped one finger in, licked it and repeated while we all stared and commentated.
Big brother waited eagerly for the green light to pounce.
We eventually had to extricate the destroyed cake from her frosting-covered hands. She wasn’t happy with that.
Gold decorations, photos, cakes… those were the facts of the party, and they were good.
But the truth of it was even sweeter: Loved ones gathered to celebrate the first year of a sweet, sweet girl who has brought such joy to our lives. I’m still in denial that Mara is every day less and less a baby, but I really can’t be anything but grateful for the privilege it’s been to hold her close and kiss her soft head incessantly for the first 365 days (and counting) of her life. That is to say, I love being her mom.
Her birthday celebration was also a time to reflect on how wonderful it is to have the support of loved ones in this adventure of parenthood. It’s a blessing to watch those around us love our daughter.
(Even when she’s partied out and crabtastic.)
(By the way, that vinyl banner is so coming out at all of Mara’s birthdays to come!)