Great Birthday Party or Greatest Birthday Party?

I'm kind of a birthday fanatic. I love them. I may not be the biggest fan of growing older, but I am most definitely the grown woman who announces her birthday to everyone she comes into contact with and may have worn an "It's My Birthday" sash everywhere I went on my most recent birthday (Kroger, dentist appointment, bus stop, etc.).

When it comes to birthday parties for my daughters, I go all out. I start months in advance, deciding on a theme, making decorations, designing the cake. (Thank God for Pinterest.)

What I'm trying to say is that I consider myself a Birthday Party Snob. I'm a control freak who only does parties at her house because nobody else could do it to suit me.

Dear Readers, I was wrong. So wrong. Ella was invited to a birthday party at CKRH Riding for Hope located at the Kentucky Horse Park. May I now present for your consideration, the pictorial evidence of my wrongness:

This is Happy Feet, one of the miniature ponies that the girls got to brush, adorn with tiaras and jewelry, and paint.


That's right. They painted ponies. Did you know this was a Thing?

I couldn't help but wonder about the ponies' feelings on the matter. (Look at your LIFE, Happy Feet. Look at your CHOICES.) In all seriousness, the miniature ponies were very sweet, and the perfect size for 3-year-olds. The girls had a ball. As soon as we got home, Ella grabbed her baby and told me that she was naming her Happy Feet.

I consider that a Win.

HerKentucky Entertaining: First Birthdays

I have a thing for first birthdays. Truth be told, I have a thing for birthday parties period but there is something extra special about the first one.

First, you've kept them alive! Newborns are so fragile and tiny that it seems a stiff breeze could ruin your nine months of hand work. However, an entire year has passed and you have managed not to drop them (too hard!), not to forget them, and not to go crazy when the tiny little being produces so. much. crying. That is worth celebrating.

Second, if you are like me, then you have an amazing group of family and friends that loves this little baby almost as much as you do and has been there supporting you from the very beginning. A little cake and ice cream is the least you can do.

Third, as I recently wrote about on my own blog, I love creating and to be able to do that for my favorite person on the planet seems like a win-win.

So, here are my tips for creating a first birthday to remember.

1. Pick a color, any color. I don't really do themes for my first birthday party. It's not like a one-year-old really has interests or favorite things. My youngest son Amos turned one over the weekend. Amos likes to eat and he kind of thinks Elmo is funny. Actually, Griffin (his older brother) is his favorite thing in the world but that would be a weird theme. Instead, I usually just pick a color. For Griffin's first birthday, I did blue, green and orange. For Amos, I just did red.

2. Photo invites are the only way to go. Since most one-year-olds don't have a large group of friends, you will most likely be inviting family and friends. Your Aunt Helen doesn't want to see cartoon renderings of cupcakes and birthday hats. She wants to see that darling baby face. This is particularly important if you have a lot of family that won't be able to make it.

3. Ask for something besides presents. Chances are this will be your most well-attended birthday party. If you're like me, then you don't want a bunch of baby toys overriding your house and collecting dust. For Griffin's first birthday, I asked everyone to bring their favorite toy from childhood or their child's favorite toy and not to worry about age appropriateness. He received an awesome assortment of Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys that I'm still doling out at Christmas. For Amos's first birthday, we asked everyone to contribute to a time capsule he will open on his eighteenth birthday. Our friends and family really enjoyed thinking up creative things to add and I can't wait for him to open it up years from now.

One things is for sure, one-year-olds are sweet, cuddly, and definitely deserve to be celebrated!

~ Sarah Stewart Holland