The Belly Blog:
You might notice a common theme around The Belly Blog is simplicity. Let’s face it, life with a baby can be pretty chaotic. As the mom of two girls under the age of four, I know how valuable a simple time saving tip can be. With that in mind, we’re launching a new blog series called My Best Tip(s). It is our hope that these posts help you relax, simplify and take a moment to soak up all that parenthood has to offer. Our first post in this series focuses on first birthday parties and offers you three suggestions for making baby’s first bash one that everyone will enjoy (including YOU!) Here we go…
My Best Tip(s): First Birthday Parties
Forget the themes
Let ‘em play!
1. Forget the themes.
Let’s face it - Pinterest has taken birthday parties to a whole new level. If you really wanted to, you could find any party accessory imaginable for even the most obscure party theme. I admit. I’ve been there, done that. My older daughter’s puppy-themed first birthday was complete with pink and brown dog bowls filled with treats, paw print fabric table runners and a stuffed puppy/name tag for each child to take home. I spent months planning the soiree and at the end of the day, all she wanted to do was smash her chubby little hands in that cake and get it into her mouth as quickly as possible.
My advice? Keep it simple by choosing a color to pull it all together and staying away from any character theme. Perhaps it’s the color of a special birthday dress or a color that you’ve decorated the nursery. Your baby won’t be in therapy down the road because you didn’t buy the Elmo cake topper or the make the zoo animal cake pops. Trust me.
I learned my lesson and went a simpler route for my 2nd daughter’s first birthday. Using a various shades of purple (purple ombre, if you will), I pulled together a great party that allowed me to enjoy the celebration with friends and family and celebrate my daughter’s first year without worrying about every little detail.
Much of the credit for my daughter’s simplified first birthday goes to a great new mom-owned company called Party Styled. They’re right on board with this mission to keep parties simple but stylish and have created a “party in a box” concept that will save new parents from five trips to Party City for matching paper goods. The Party Styled Box provides customizable, handmade, fully assembled stylish party decorations for all occasions. Each party box includes food toppers, straws with flags, and a banner (threaded through 15′ of kraft colored raffia ribbon) to add instant style to any party table. In addition, they include: white paper cups, white paper plates, white paper luncheon napkins, white paper straws, and favor bags with stickers. The pictures below show a little sampling of all the perfectly coordinated items I received from Party Styled for my daughter's party.
2. Go Naked
The highlight of any first birthday is baby’s first chance to go head-to-head with their very own birthday cake. There’s nothing better than those chubby, dimpled hands grabbing fistfuls of cake and using it as a facial moisturizer. Problem? You probably invested in an adorable outfit for this epic celebration and that outfit is about to get covered in Betty Crocker’s finest. My suggestion is to strip baby down to her birthday suit (get it? he he), let the cake smash festivities take place, then wipe the cutie down with some baby wipes and get her back into her adorable birthday ensemble. Disaster avoided. Clean baby. Happy mama. You can thank us later.
3. Let ‘em play!
Chances are, your 12 month old baby probably hasn’t hit the social scene and made many of his/her own friends yet. Most first birthday guests are friends of mom and dad and family members, which means the ages of the children in attendance are a mixed bag of various ages. Coordinating activities for babies, toddlers, and school-age children can be tricky, and can often result in waaaay too much time spent planning, and facilitating the fun and not enough time enjoying your baby’s first birthday milestone. Our advice? Let kids do what they do best – PLAY! If you have a playroom, just let them go at it. Strategically place toys that you know will appeal to a wide range of ages and make sure your baby’s favorite toys are accessible in a large bucket or toy chest. If your party is outside, a few balls of varying sizes, bubbles, and chalk are always winners for any age. Avoid the urge to over plan the opportunities for fun and let the kids explore and be free!
Most importantly, whether you throw an over-the-top bash or a simple family gathering, stay focused on what’s most important – your sweet one-year-old baby. Reflect back on the past 12 months (we love the idea of displaying your 12 months of Sticky Bellies pictures for guests to enjoy), stare in awe at how much s/he has grown, share funny or memorable stories, and remind yourself that you made it through the first year, and will make it through all the rest, too!
Happy Birthday, Sticky Belly babies!