Juliet’s First Birthday Party

Today Juliet officially turns one year old!  This last year has been one of the most exciting and challenging times I’ve ever experienced.  I had no idea on the day she was born that she would grow to be such a dramatic, independent, curious, funny, loud, busy, mobile, happy little girl.  Being her mom has surpassed every expectation and stretched my capacities to almost every limit.  It’s been an amazing and terrifying experience, and it’s hard to believe it’s only just begun.  How can one little person completely turn everything inside out?  It must be wizardry of some kind.

(Even as I sit writing this post Juju’s decided to scream and fuss on my lap while I read Love You Forever over and over.  That’s a creepy book.  I never realized it before.  I remembered it as a story of a mother’s deep love for her child, but I had forgotten that her deep love was quite stalkerish and obsessive.  She broke into her grown son’s house through his bedroom window and crawled across the floor to pick him up and sing to him?  That’s…not legal.  Or normal.  Even a little bit.  And then at the end of the book (spoiler alert!) he begins the cycle anew by singing his mother’s song to his baby daughter.  So, it’s a horror story, pretty much. )

On our last trip to California–Juju’s third altogether–my awesome in-laws allowed us to take over their house to throw Juliet a little birthday party.  It’s the first party I’ve ever planned, excluding my wedding, and it was quite the learning experience.  For one thing, I learned that crafting is a dangerous business. My sister-in-law, Nic, makes it look so easy, but it ain’t.  My hands were pretty much bloody stumps by the time I was done stringing garlands (I should never be allowed around needles) and punching paper.  I’m not even sure how my finger got caught by the paper punch.  I’ve looked the thing over, and it just doesn’t seem like it should be possible.

I also learned that I am the world’s worst baker.  I attempted to bake two cakes for Juju, and burned both of them.  I still don’t understand what went wrong.  They looked like cake soup every time I checked them in the oven until–all of a sudden– they looked like humongous charred hockey pucks.  I tried to make bread without my trusty breadmaker, and one loaf came out looking like it has been through war, all burned over and shell shocked.  The other loaf was a mutant because the dough was supposed to make three loaves, but mama didn’t have time to let it rise properly so it just made one monstrous loaf of bread.

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But the best thing I learned was that none of these failures matter when you’re celebrating with awesome family and friends.  Thanks to everyone who came for making Juju’s first birthday such a great memory!

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The party had a homespun winter theme.  Kraft paper featured prominently.

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The wall of Juju

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The cotton ball garlands

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The hot chocolate bar.  While my mother-in-law was whipping up the cream I handed her what I thought was a bottle of vanilla, but it turned out to be a bottle of mint extract.  I was on top of things, let me tell you.  It still turned out pretty darn delicious.

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The caprese tray.  The birthday dinner was a pretty simple menu of white chili and sandwich fixings.  Including, of course, the monster bread.

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The cake I did not make Juliet for her first birthday.  Kudos to Whole Foods.

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I was so busy I didn’t get many pictures of Juju with her smash cake, but believe you me, she did an excellent job of pulverizing it.

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She really took to this puppy ruxpin toy, and so did all the other kids.  Here she is staking her claim.

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And here she is triumphant!

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I loved her little black lace romper.  Etsy for the win!

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