Aaron and I decided that we were going to have a major party to celebrate Addison’s birthday and also the fact that we have a new (awesome) house. For once, I kind of stopped worrying about all of the obsessive details and let things just happen. I mean, there was some stress involved (like when there were only 2 hours until party time and I STILL hadn’t made Addison’s birthday cake. Um, yeah….) but I let it go and everything worked out fine.
Addison’s party was a collaborative effort for Aaron and me. Aaron designed the invitations, and based on those, I picked out some fabrics for decor and also the dress Addison wore (which was actually a hand-me-down – Thanks, Kendall!) I was particularly proud of the flag bunting that I made, and I bought tulips and a car load of balloons. For food, Aaron wanted oysters and a keg of beer, plus we grilled hot dogs and had chips and other munchies. Dessert was Aunt Wanda’s killer chocolate strawberry ganache cupcakes, Fran’s “Crack Cookies” (chocolate chip and so named because of their addictive nature. We joke that she must sprinkle crack rock on the top of each one to make them so alluring) and also the birthday cake.
There were probably 40 or more people on hand to help us celebrate – Addy’s “Auntie” Jessie came up from Bonita Springs, and Aaron’s mom even drove all the way down from North Carolina. There were a TON of kids there (and only one boy in the entire mix – our group is definitely girl heavy) and they all loved playing on the playset and running around in the yard. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, either. I’ve thought about Addison having a February birthday a lot and wondered, “What the hell kind of birthday party do you have in cold weather?” No one in my immediate family has a cold weather birthday, so that is completely out of my realm of experience. But for the day of Addison’s party, it felt like summer outside and it was freaking AWESOME!!!
There were two things about the day that really stood out for me: First of all, how special it was that everyone came to help us celebrate our little girl. Everyone there REALLY loves Addison. I mean, would take a bullet for her in a heartbeat. Being around so many people that love my baby so much was a beautiful thing. And everyone there had helped us somehow during our first year with Addison, so it was nice to celebrate the milestone with all of them.
Second, it was a great day for Aaron and I as a couple. We got to celebrate the day we welcomed Addison into the world and we also got to celebrate this new chapter in our life which includes a beautiful home where we’ll get to watch Addison grow up and where we’ll spend the rest of our lives. Also, I was proud of how well we worked together to pull of a rockin’ party.
I knew at some point I would probably shed a tear over my baby turning one. Boy, was I right. I held it together while I was walking into the dining room with Addison’s lit birthday cake and listening to everyone sing “Happy Birthday,” which was a pretty powerful moment, and I honestly thought that was the moment that would get me. Once I sat down next to Addison to watch her eat her cake, I could feel the emotions welling up. I was so proud of my sweet little girl, poking her teeny little fingers into the cake and smiling up at everyone, watching all of those people that love her smiling back. And I was also profoundly aware that my mom wasn’t there. She would have loooooooooooved to see Addison turn one and not having her there made me so sad. When my sister moved closer into the dining room, I made eye contact and saw that the tears were welling up for her, too. And then I totally lost it. I didn’t have to leave the room, but I was crying so hard that Jessie could tell and she was sitting behind me. (By the way – she didn’t console me or anything, didn’t extend her arm in a hug. But she DID reach her arm around me to take a picture of my crying face. Thanks, friend.)
After cake and a wardrobe change, Addison opened presents – with lots of “helpers” to assist in ripping off any trace of wrapping paper at lightning speed, in true kid-party fashion. She got an obscene number of presents, and every single one was awesome. I mean, kid got a quality haul – books out the wazoo, cute outfits, stuffed animals, the CUTEST jingle anklets (knitted by our doula friend, Leslee) and all kinds of electronic toys including a cell phone, a blackberry, and a laptop.
Everyone seemed to have a great time – we still had people at the house at 9:30, and the party started at 3:00! The party was everything we hoped for and beyond and it will go down in history as one of the best days for our family. It was just perfect. And Aaron and I are both in agreement about a big party next year – there’s no way in hell! 🙂
*For more pictures of the festivities, visit my facebook. I just didn’t have the time to load them here.