Thursday, September 26, 2013

Anna's First Birthday Party

I had all sorts of other things in mind that I might write about today, but since I've found that I tend to sound on the blog like I take myself (and everything around me) way too seriously, I thought I'd post a little bit about Anna's birthday party, which I've been wanting to share.  (In case you missed it, I already posted about our celebration of her Baptismal anniversary here).

We hosted a small backyard get-together, and were thrilled that among other guests, all four of Anna's grandparents could be here to celebrate.

You all know by now that photography isn't my strong suit (in terms of quality of pictures or in having the camera charged - although now that the house is no longer under construction, I can typically locate the camera, which is an improvement!)  So naturally, I don't have pictures of her invitations, but I'll at least share the wording here:

Although it may seem that her life’s just begun,
Our sweet little Anna is going to be ONE!

To mark the occasion, we hope that you’ll come
To a party in her honor – it ought to be fun!
On the thirty-first of August, at 2 we will start
From then ‘til whenever the guests do depart.

Our home is the site for the party that day;
We’ll be in the backyard if the rain stays away!

Feel free to stop by as your schedule allows -
We’ll have lots of snacks there for you to browse.

And since it’s her birthday, there’s going to be cake
With singing and candles and pictures to take!

We’re keenly aware of how Anna’s been blessed,
And so on her birthday we have one request:

In lieu of a gift for a girl who’s got many,
We’d ask that you’d help someone else without any.

We’re planning to make a donation in her name
And we would be touched if you’d do the same!

We hope you can make it -  but please let us know

Our email and phone number’s listed below.

We were nervous about including the request for donations on the invitations (Emily Post wouldn't approve), but I'm glad we did.  We made a donation to the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Harrisburg where my mom is a volunteer (they do amazing work - check them out and support them here!), and were so thankful that others donated money and diapers to this organization and other non-profits in Anna's honor.  It was a win-win situation, with keeping Anna from being overwhelmed with more than she could need or want, while helping some of the people in the world who are lacking so much.  I'm not sure how it will play out as she gets older and more cognizant of the gift-giving component of holidays, but I'd like to incorporate some facet of this "sharing" in all of our birthday celebrations in the future.

As for decor, the theme was pink & orange and pennants.  Basically, I went for simplicity, and for colors and designs that make you smile.  When my sister and I left Party City with the balloons, we were talking about how happy it makes you to see someone walking with a bunch of balloons - you know they're celebrating!  It's the same as seeing someone buying a bouquet of flowers - you know they're going to make someone happy, and you can't help but smile :)

Many thanks to the family helpers we had (in particular, my mom, who was sewing pennants to ribbon less than 1 hour before the party!)

I thought I had some more pictures, but I think many are on other peoples cameras :)  We had a little drinks (pink lemonade & water) station on the back porch and a buffet of snack foods (BBQ meat balls, veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, and fruit) on the peninsula inside the kitchen.

Naturally, this looked much nicer in person.

Justin's mom brought Anna an inflatable giraffe pool, which turned out to be a great party accessory and Anna and her little guests enjoyed climbing in and out of it with toys throughout the afternoon.  (She also had a great time when we added water the next day and she got to splash with her auntie!)

There were party hats and cupcakes (and far more parental love than seems to be conveyed here!)

All in all, a fun celebration of our wonderful little lady.  All of the "my baby is turning one" emotions for me played out as pure joy and thanksgiving - and excitement at sharing everything with her.  We did all of the decorating while she was napping, and bringing her downstairs and hearing her squeal with glee as she pointed and lunged from my arms, saying "buh!!" (balloon!) was, for me, one of the highlights of the last year - in that moment, I had a keen sense of how much she's grown over the last year, how much we've grown as parents, and how many blessings we've had through it all.  I compared it to the new mom moment when you've been handed your baby for the first time, and all you can think or say to sum up the myriad of emotions surrounding this little amazing bundle is..."WOW."

What a year, my sweet Anna Rose!  Here's to many, many more happy birthdays and a lifetime of joy.


  1. So sweet. Thanks for the summary. Wish we could have been there.

  2. Love the decorations! I'm always terrible about decorations at our birthday parties... Just have to make sure the kids never get on Pinterest and see what they're missing :P

  3. Adorable! You're a good story teller. Wish we could have joined you guys for the party!