I used to always write party posts with all kinds of details, but I’ve slipped up in the past year or so. I hosted a Mickey Mouse birthday party for Jude last fall, and I’m pretty sure I never shared photos at all. I also hosted a black-and-white wedding shower for my cousin, and I love the way the tablescape turned out, but again, I am not even sure I took a photo at all! My party posts are by far my most viewed and most frequently pinned entries, but I don’t make it a priority much these days.
I couldn’t let this one go by without sharing a few though. It was so much fun to put together!
A little background on all of this…. I used to dance and spent something like four nights a week in a ballet studio until I graduated high school. I have dabbled a bit in college dance classes and even adult ballet classes in recent years. I LOVE ballet, and while I hope that Norah will share that feeling, who really knows if she will. I figured I’d throw a ballet party before she was old enough to object. Ha! I also had her pictures taken a few months ago with my old tutu as a prop for the same reason.
So there was really no question for me when I began thinking of a theme for her first birthday. The weather was atrocious on Sunday afternoon, and I was so grateful for our guests making the trip in spite of buckets of rain all night and day. The details turned out beautifully!
I served fruit salad in disposable champagne flutes I found at Hobby Lobby.
And we served caprese bites on party picks. I ran across some fluffy ones while browsing at Target one day and decided they were perfect. I just used marinated fresh mozzarella and small tomatoes. I used this handy free printable I found on Pinterest to label all the food, and I bought a few yards of nylon netting (super cheap!) and gave each dish a tutu.
I thought chocolate-covered strawberries were a perfect choice since strawberries are in season now. In addition to that, we had finger sandwiches you can see a bit in the background – sunbutter and jelly for the kids, chicken salad, and cucumber. I forgot to take photos of the drink station, but along with the sodas and water, I made some of this pretty pink punch, and it was a hit.
I glued a bit of pink ribbon around my cupcake tower, and we were good to go. Norah loved it!
On the table in our foyer, I placed treat bags filled with cookies from a yummy local bakery and tags that said “Thanks for twirling with me” with a photo of Norah. I also bought Tallulah’s Tutu for guests to sign. I love that this book is all about how ballet is hard work and not just pretty costumes and stage time. The illustrations are adorable, too. It made for a nice sentimental souvenir for little Norah to cherish one day, and we got some sweet messages from our guests.
About two days before the party, Scott got an idea to put together a cd as a favor. We heard so many nice things when we did this a few years ago for Jude’s train party, and dance songs are everywhere. So he took this on as his project, and there are so many fun songs on there – from the Beatles to Whitney Houston to the Rolling Stones.
I fell in love with this idea on Pinterest, but when I attached my matted monthly photos, they were too heavy. Of course this was ten minutes before the party, and I was frustrated, so Scott took over and gave our guests this little way to look at photos. I wanted to display the monthly quilt pictures I’ve taken, and this worked out well.
Lastly, we strung some paper doilies and added a ton of pink and white roses (Thank you, Costco!) and it was complete.
The Birthday Girl had fun, and unlike her photo shoot a few weeks ago, she actually ate the cake!
Her birthday outfit – which she also wore in her one-year photos – was created by this Etsy shop, and I love it so much. I intend for her to wear it out this summer.
All in all, it was a fun party with a ton of pink and a lot of family and friends with us to celebrate!
I haven’t been able to update much this week other than my birthday letter, but I have so many exciting things to be talking about soon.
Jude had his last day of school for the year on last Thursday. Check out the side-by-side of the pictures I snapped on the first day and last day of the year. So many changes for my boy. **Sniff.
Oh, and WE SOLD OUR HOUSE!! The contract was signed two days ago. We are so relieved and excited. And also? We are building a new one!
More details to follow soon, I hope. On another note, Norah had a Ballerina Birthday Bash today. I will do a complete post soon with all the party details, but for now here are a few photos of her shining moment.
If there is one thing I have come to know about motherhood, it’s that characteristic bittersweet feeling. That moment when my heart can sing and ache at the same time. It reminds me so much of the hour of birth and all the intense physical pain that accompanies that divine moment when you finally meet a sweet face for the first time.
It’s that two-sided pleasure and pain principle that shows up again and again. And now, as I write this and you are at the end of your first year, I feel it all over again. So much joy and excitement for the person you are becoming, but oh, the ache and nostalgia for your tiny newborn body! It stings my heart to remember your curled up fists and squinty eyes and the newness of getting to know you in those first weeks and to know that special time has passed.
I know this is only the beginning of your story, but it already astounds me to see how much you’ve changed. Last summer you just seemed like an extension of me, but now you hold your own space in the room. Trying to walk, moving from place to place. Pointing and laughing and communicating. I love watching you grow into your own person.
I worry sometimes about the usual second-child mess-ups that happen around here. I can’t count the number of times you have eaten Cheerios off the floor or crawled your way to the dog bowls as I’m cooking dinner. Three years ago, I chased your brother around with a dslr camera that weighed more than him, but now it’s all I can do to pull my phone from my back pocket and catch a quick moment in between chasing the two of you. But we can see a stubbornness in you already, at least ten times stronger than your brother’s. And although most parents will think I’m crazy for saying this, I love it. I know you are going to hold your own one day, and there are bright things ahead. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the world is different for women and the lessons that are uniquely ours to learn. Keep owning your own space and following your own lead, Norah. There is a big world of possibilities out there, and these choices are yours to make.
It’s so strange for me to try to remember our little family without you, and I ask your brother often if he remembers when you were in my belly. He always casually assures me he doesn’t, so it seems the two of you will never have memories that are not intertwined with the other person, and I love it that way. He’s taught you a million terrible habits already, as big brothers are expected to do…. how to blow spit out your tiny mouth, or squeal in a way that horrifies my eardrums, or splash far too much water out of the tub … But he’s also taught you to hug like you mean it, and the two of you will throw your arms around each other and squeeze like it’s your job. He can make you laugh like nobody else, and to see the joy you guys bring each other is such a gift to me. I have moments of such overwhelming gratitude for these two little souls entrusted to me.
Fifty-two weeks have passed in a blink, but I can remember the night of your birth so well, Norah. Always the planner, I’d packed battery-operated votives in my hospital bag, thinking I’d use them as I labored through the night. Your swift arrival had other plans though, and we were settled in our postpartum room by 10pm. Dinner eaten, nurses and family gone, your dad snoozing away on a cot in the corner. We lined the votives up along the windowsill, and I held you all night long. It was so quiet in that room and the candles flickered a bit and an entire city was hushed outside the window.
I remember the stillness of that night and the feeling that we were the only people in the world, you and I. Mother and daughter. Even then, at something like six hours old, you’d already taught me so much about myself and what I’m capable of, the wonder of my own body and spirit. I know it won’t always be this easy; mothers and daughters are complicated. And those adolescent years ahead when we will fight and roll our eyes and have the usual growing pains? I’ll fall asleep remembering the quiet peace of your first night, what a gift it is to have a daughter, and all the joy and companionship that lies ahead.
So here you are, my girl. Your own little mind and soon enough your own big dreams and your own future in front of you. Magnificent things will happen to you – and scary ones too. But life is sweet, and one day you will find your way to exactly where you should be. As Rumi says, “What you seek is seeking you.” I can’t wait to watch you find it one day.
Happy birthday, Norah. My daughter, my heart. I love you!
Mother’s Day 2010
Mother’s Day 2011
Mother’s Day 2012
Mother’s Day 2013
Happy Day to all the moms out there and those of you who are missing someone on this day as well. It’s the hardest job in the world, but it’s also the best one. Cheers to doing the best we can and making sacrifices to create love and memories for our little ones.
This time of year is always so busy, and we’ve been running from one place to another lately it seems. The weather in Atlanta is so unpredictable this year. 78 degrees one day. Rainy and 60 the next. We are something like 15 degrees below our usual temperatures this week. If it were July, I’d be grateful. But in May, I want to feel the sun! We’ve played outside the few days we could though. Jude always dragging along a water gun and a sword, of course. Which he always corrects me is actually a light saber. Duh, mom.
I’m struck so much by the gender differences already apparent in my house. We had a birthday photo session yesterday where Norah was given permission to smash a cake. One-year-old Jude would’ve turned it upside down and inhaled it in less than five minutes’ time. Norah just daintily investigated with a spoon, and we had to hide cheerios around the cake just to get a few photos! There is a little preview you can see here on the photographer’s blog. The pictures turned out precious nonetheless.
Other than birthday prep, there has been a little cooking (this recipe specifically), a few house worries (ready to SELL this thing), and a little knitting. This sweater should fit Norah well in the fall, I think.
So that is life lately for us. Hope this weekend treats you well and sunny things are on the horizon.
Norah and I have been busy making plans lately. We hit the craft store last week to get miles of pink and white tulle.
I used to spend most evenings in ballet class and grew up a dancer. I know Norah might not follow the same pattern, and I just hope she goes on to find something she loves, regardless of what that is! But before that happens, I decided I might as well get to plan a ballerina birthday bash as long as I have say. Ha!
So as usual, my Pinterest board is giving me tons of ideas. We always do a larger than usual party for the first birthday since it’s kind of a big deal, so there will be a lot of people around soon to celebrate little Norah! I’ll be sure to post pictures after the party in a couple of weeks. It’s pink, pink, and more pink!