Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Celebrating E.J.'s First Year!

Yesterday I posted for my dad's birthday, and today is also my 33rd birthday. We're in the birthday cluster over here!

Last year on my birthday, I blogged E.J.'s birth story. This year, I want to share his first birthday party!

I'm going to talk about his party the same way I have covered all of Ellie's: I'll talk about the fun party times today, and then in my next post, I'll share the little details that really made his golf-themed party come together.

E.J.'s party was held Sunday, July 12th at Lake Seminole Park, where we have now hosted all of our kids' birthday parties. It has been kind of nice continuously throwing our parties at the same park, and even in the same pavilion, because we sort of know what to expect. We can envision how we want to set up and are generally prepared for the elements. For example, the morning of Ellie's first birthday party, the wind was relentless, which made setup difficult. It wasn't much better for her second birthday, and our centerpieces kept blowing over. So now we know how best to tie down our tablecloths and have our little tricks for weighting centerpieces to keep them in place. We thought we had all possible curve balls accounted for.

Until Eric and I left to setup on Sunday morning and drove towards this:

Oh. Well that looks less than ideal.

It rained. Not for the whole party, thankfully, but it threatened/drizzled for most of our setup time and then picked up right as the party got underway. Hey, no biggie, we were under a shelter and for the most part, everything stayed dry, plus the rain kept the temperatures down (making the handheld fans we bought for our guests to use quite unnecessary). And really, it cleared out pretty quickly and didn't really upset the schedule of the day that much. Except, when the rain cleared out, it took with it any semblance of a breeze (so good thing we needlessly anchored everything to the tables in preparation for high winds), which meant the mosquitos came out in full force and I was all, for heavens sake, WHY IS THERE ALWAYS SOME NEW FORM OF NATURE THAT IS MAKING THINGS DIFFICULT. Everyone got eaten alive until my mom generously offered to run out and pick up some bug spray that quickly made the rounds. So, should we have another party here, our "prepare for the elements" list will now include BRING BUGSPRAY.

Anyway! Ellie had spent the night before the party at my mom's house, so Eric and I just left E.J. to hang out with his Papa while we went to start setup around 9:00 a.m. Even with the rain, we got everything done right on time. My dad brought E.J. out for the party to start at 11:00.

Let's party!

When everyone arrived, we kicked things off with the E.J. Wat.ers Birthday Invitational golf tournament! Eric gave everyone instructions, split them into foursomes and sent them out to play the course he set up. We used tiny plastic golf clubs in tall grass, so it was a bit of a challenge, but everyone really had a great time with it!

The golf tournament is underway!

When everyone finished, we totaled up the scores and awarded trophies to our winners.

Colton accepted third place on his father's behalf

My dad was our second place winner

And our champion: Eric P.!

Big winners

Then it was time to eat. We had basic party food: sandwiches, chips, fruit, etc. While everyone ate, we also snapped pictures of people channeling their inner golf champions with our trophy/green jacket photo props!

Birthday boy chowing down

Eric helping himself at our Arnold Palmer station

Ellie striking a pose

Our guests enjoying the photo props!

We also just spent some time visiting.

Sweet E.J.!

My pretty girl

Eric's childhood friend Ryan and his family

E.J. was excited to see his Aunt Molly again!

And I was so excited to finally meet my new little niece, Milena! What a doll!

E.J. and his Grammy

There was also a little craft project for the kids: each kid received their own golf club and ball as a favor, along with a visor to decorate.

Ethan decking out his visor

Ellie basically just hoarded stickers

Milena opted for a "simple and sweet" look

Then it was time for cake. We sang and Ellie helped E.J. blow out his candle, then we let him have a go at his "smash cake." Of course, my dainty-cake-eating-children have never been much for actually smashing the smash cake. E.J. was pretty unsure, but with a little coaxing he did get his hands slightly dirty. He even lifted a tiny taste to his mouth! Way to really live it  up on your birthday, big guy.

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear E.J.! Happy birthday to you!

Ellie coming through for candle duty

VIDEO: Singing to E.J.!

Have at it, kid!

Cousin Santiago providing explicit instruction

Now we're getting somewhere.


Happy boy!

After cake, we opened presents. E.J. had lots of help from the preschoolers in our midst! He got some really nice gifts, most of them of the wheeled, vehicular variety. When the opening frenzy died down, he and his fellow kids put many of his new toys to good use right on the spot.

It's a hit!

Reading his cards

What a cutie.

He didn't waste any time in pushing his new Thomas around.

Oh, boys and their cars.

He got a little dirty.

Dirty little toes!

People were starting to leave, but we hung out a little longer and spent some extra time with my cousin Molly and her sweet kids—they came all the way down from Illinois for the festivities!

E.J. and cousin Milena

With my cousin Molly and all the children. So, so many children.

We had such a great day! Thank you so much to all our friends and family who helped us make it so special. What a perfect celebration of our little one-year-old!

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