Wednesday, April 1, 2015

second birthday party!

I don't know how it happened, but somehow 2 whole years have gone by with this girl of ours in our lives.  And to celebrate, of course we had a party!  It seems that this time of year gets incredibly busy for us every year, making party planning a bit tricky and always down to the last minute.  That doesn't seem to stop me from going a little party crazy, though! :)

This year, we did a very similar party to her first birthday ~ a celebration at our house with family and close friends.  Lilly had more of an opinion on things this year, but we still haven't reached the place where she wants certain things for her party and won't have it any other way.  I'm guessing that will come next year. :)  I was actually having a tough time coming up with the theme this year, there just wasn't anything that stuck out to me right away.  So naturally, I asked Lilly.  After chatting about it a few times, we finally landed on it - Curious George.  Lilly hasn't been very big into TV, and doesn't know many of the popular kids' shows or characters, but one show she does love to watch is Curious George.  Thankfully, its one I don't mind her watching either. :)  So I pretty much just took that theme and ran with it, and Lilly's Curious George themed 2nd birthday party was born!

Last year, I put quite a bit of effort into her outfit, and decked her out in a handmade tutu and "one" onesie, with a special hair bow and everything.  This year - not so much.  I looked for a couple of weeks for the perfect party outfit for her, but just couldn't come up with anything.  At the last minute, I ended up ordering her a Curious George t-shirt, and was planning on her wearing it with the cute polka dot jeans she wore in her 2 year pictures. Wellll, what do I get for ordering the shirt 2 days before the party?  It didn't come in time. (I ordered on Amazon with Prime, and it was scheduled to come the Friday before the party, but due to weather delays I didn't get it until Monday.)  So, the morning of the party, I held out hope until the last minute that it would come, and when it didn't I improvised.  I had gotten this cute yellow sundress at a consignment sale the week before, and since it matched the party colors and it was randomly warm that day, we went with it.  She wore her (adorable) red shoes also from her 2nd birthday photo session, and I was able to talk her into putting a ponytail in her hair.   I know I'm bias, but I must say she looked pretty stinking cute!!

Anyway, enough about her outfit, on to the actual party!

I didn't do quite as many DIY projects this year, mostly just for lack of time {if I haven't mentioned it already, we went on the 311 cruise, and got back in town the Sunday before her party - I also had to go back to work that week, so there was minimal prep time.  I of course intended to get everything done before our trip but...well, yeah.  that didn't happen!} but I still thought the decorations came out looking super cute.  I also had the help of my wonderful friend and graphic designer, Ashley {check out her blog here} in designing both the invitations and a lot of the party decor.  She made the 3 banners, the 2 signs that sat on the mantle, and the food labels.  She does the party accessories as a little side business now, and I think it's just the best idea.  I was still able to have the details that I love about a party, but didn't have to do all the leg work! {check out her etsy shop here}  I really loved the color scheme though, it brightened up our house wonderfully!  As you will see I used balloons as a big part of the decor as well - I ordered 18 of them, and just put them in groups all over the house.  Matt thought I got "way too many" but once they were all set out he agreed they looked great.  My other super simple decor included bunches of bananas. :) Being Curious George themed, it was just too easy.  I just tied balloons to the bunches, and set them out on the various tables.  As someone who makes smoothies every morning, we can never have too many bananas in this house!

Lilly doesn't have a ton of little friends her age yet, but we did have a few kiddos at the party so I set up a little table for them and got "Curious George Says Thank You" books to give as party favors.  I also got "Curious George and the Birthday Surprise" to use as a guest book.  I kind of failed at remembering to tell people to sign it, but a good chunk of people that were still around towards the end of the party did sign.  I would love to keep this tradition at her parties every year, I love the idea and it's such a cute keepsake.

And of course we can't forget to discuss the food!  I went super simple this year, and just did things that I could either prepare in advance, or that didn't require much prep.  I knew I was short on time, and didn't want to over commit myself!  The menu consisted of: pigs in a blanket, fruit cups, beer bread + ranch dip, veggies + ranch, corn cheese dip, and pull apart pizza bread.  Thankfully my mom and BFF helped contribute a dish each, so it really wasn't too much work to throw the rest together.  My "centerpieces" on the food table were just little glass jars I found in the dollar section at Target, with balloons tied to them and ribbons stuffed inside the jars.  For as simple as it was, I thought it was super cute!

My favorite decor was probably the dessert table.  It just came out looking so colorful and festive!  Last fall I finally got it together and hung a gallery wall collage on our giant blank wall in the kitchen.  Don't ask me why it took so long to finally do it...all but one of the frames I had on hand already, it was just a matter of laying them out and hanging them up!  It makes such a difference in that room though, to actually have something to anchor that giant wall.  Anyway, part of that is a chalkboard that I love to change with the seasons, and of course I gave it a Happy Birthday theme for this occasion.  I also changed out the other frames to all pictures from Lilly's 2 year session, and then one Curious George print for fun. 

I made the cake and cupcakes (from a box!  as much as I love me a good cake from scratch, there just wasn't time for that.), and ordered decorated sugar cookies from Icings by Ang.  My mom also made {amazingly delicious} chocolate chip banana bread which was a hit.  I am disappointed though, I didn't get a very good picture of the whole tray of cookies - they were so unbelievably cute!  I almost didn't want to eat any they were done so well.  When I asked Lilly what she wanted on her cake, all she told me was that she wanted a red cake - well I wasn't about to attempt to make red frosting, so instead I got red sprinkles to put around the edge of the cake.  For decorating it in the wee hours the night before the party, I think it turned out pretty cute!  I ordered the Curious George cake topper & candles from Party City online, and funny enough that little George figurine is her new favorite thing.  Like, she takes him everywhere with her.  It's random, but cute! Guess that was a good purchase. :)

As you can see, Lilly was once again spoiled rotten with gifts!  She was quite funny during the process of opening them, really I think just a bit overwhelmed.  She got into the first few, and then just wanted me to open them all for her.  And after opening each one she naturally wanted to take everything out of the boxes to play with, and could not understand why we were taking them away from her and having her open more.  

Her favorite gift by far, though, was the Cozy Coupe.  The second it came through the door she was in it ready to drive around the house.  It took some convincing to get her to actually participate in the rest of the party and leave it in the living room. :)  After everyone left for the evening we took it for a stroll around the cul-de-sac, and I'm pretty sure that was the highlight of her day.  Toddlers...easy to please. :)

After the marathon of presents, it was finally time for cake!  We decided not to do a smash cake (I seriously could not decide for the life of me if that was what you do at a 2nd birthday or not.  Pinterest seemed to indicate that some people do, some people don't.  We opted not to, just to save the mess and to actually be able to serve the cake to everyone), but we did have her blow out candles.  She was a little funny about it - super excited initially and was trying to blow them out before they were even lit.  But once they were lit, and everyone was staring and singing to her, I think she got a little stage fright and Daddy had to jump in and help her.

She did get her own piece of cake, which as you can see she completely devoured and loved every second.  A bit of a sugar rush did follow, but it was manageable. :)

The rest of the afternoon was spent playing and watching this cute little girl run around!  I think she had a great time, and once again really impressed me with her stellar behavior.  As with last year, she barely got a nap in the day of the party, and I was just sure she would be completely cranky but I was so wrong!  She was her usual happy self, having the time of her life!

One lesson I learned is to take the family photo at the beginning of the party. :)  She was running around outside with the other kids when I realized we hadn't taken one, so I grabbed her and brought her in and all she wanted to do was get back outside.  So, this is the best we got.  Matt's talking, Lilly's looking out the window, but hey at least I'm smiling!  That counts for something, right??

All in all, it was a really great party!  Even with taking it down to the wire and planning a lot of it at the last minute, I think everything came out great and most importantly: Lilly had a blast!  She talked about her party for days afterwards, and was slightly confused when I had to tell her that she only gets one a year.  Pretty sure she was expecting one every weekend. :)

Happy birthday to our beautiful, BIG GIRL!  We can't believe you are two, but we've loved every minute of your first two years of life, and can't wait to watch you continue to grow.  Love you always and forever!!  XOXO, Mama & Daddy

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