Penguins and Polar Bears and Seals, Oh my!
This blog is my scrapbook, sooo.....
I'm about to post like a hundred pictures from Polly's party. What can I say? She's asleep now, and her birthday is over and she is one year old, I'm nostalgic already, and it was basically the biggest deal since Christmas ;)
I had in mind a wintry wonderland-ish theme, and I wanted it to be engaging to a baby/toddler crowd. I think penguins appeal to babies because they are so alike. Polly really reminds me a cuddly little fast-toddling penguin these days, one that runs straight into my arms to be scooped up, much to my delight. So anyway I made a bunch of decorations that would bring to mind a snowy-but-cuddly arctic scene.
I had big plans for "winter carnival" games, since Polly is such an active and physical little thing, like a "penguin slide," "indoor dogsled racing," "ice fishing," and a snowball toss. None of that happened. The snowballs came closest, thanks to my mom, but the yarn I gave her to wind around foam balls fell apart. So we are going to remake them into pom poms and I'll have a fun indoor game for my girls in the long run. As far as the party went, there was plenty of activity, the kids always gravitate toward the playroom anyway, and we all had loads of fun without games.
I found this adorable etsy shop and shamelessly used their header as inspiration. Is that even legal? I have no idea, but since I'm sure as hell not making any money off this, I'd like to think it's the sincerest form of flattery. ;) I did paint and cut it all myself, in case you're wondering how and when, it was late at night over the course of a few days, because have you ever tried painting a giant piece of cardboard on the ground when curious toddlers are around? I quickly learned - No.
I made the Polly Diana name banner, which I hope to reuse for future birthdays just like the ones I've made for Darin and Lucy. It was the first time I realized that although her first and middle names have different amounts of syllables, they have the same amount of letters!
I got white lights on sale after Christmas, hooray!
Em came over the day before, as seems to be tradition, and helped me with her easy and graceful creativity. She whipped up this matching penguin-mountain-scene to go in the dining room, and also made cardboard animal masks that were the biggest hit with Toot, and paper snowflakes.
Multi-tasking: here she wears a sleeping Scout on her chest while standing on a chair adding finishing touches to her painting..
Polly doing her very favorite thing: crawling all over Scout. Scout is not such a fan of this "loving," But after a while they get it all sorted out and just hang out and play together.
Ryann came over too, my dear sweet friend who is back in town after some wonderful adventures through Utah and Montana. (I love to live vicariously through her these days). She held babies and read countless books so that I could bustle about and focus. She has no idea how much that kind of thing helps, plus it is just a treat to have her around.
Notice Toot's stack of books? She says "I want you to real ALL of them." She also spontaneously put her arms around Ryann and told her "I love you." It makes me so happy to see my girls learning to be so loving. She shrieked with joy when Ryann showed up again the next day for the party, running and leaping into her arms. Reading lots of books is the key to my girl's heart.
I stayed up really late the night before the party making cupcakes. Most of them were polar bears, but a few were supposed to be baby seals. I used this recipe for the cupcakes and this for the frosting. I'm not usually that into plain vanilla anything, but these were pretty darn good if I may say so myself. I messed up and overmixed them with the hand beaters though, so they didn't poof up the way I'd hoped, and some even sank down in the middle, but the flavor and consistency was still really tasty. Anyway, I was giggling to myself, feeling like a big dork as I drew these faces and imagined a bit of personality to each one. The seals especially. They just looked so funny and forlorn. One was sunken in really bad and Darin said, "that one looks like a clubbed seal." Whoops!
During Polly's nap on the day of the party, Lucy and I had fun doing last minute set up and preparing food. She was so charmed by each little detail. Over the few days leading up to the party, in the morning she was so excited to see what I'd been working on. Like when I added the little seal to the cardboard scene, I heard her in there exclaiming, "I LIKE it! I LIKE wis little seal. So beautiful!" She notices everything in the morning,if I've cleaned or organized or put out something new at night while she sleeps, like even if a different towel is hanging in the bathroom. It's pretty endearing and it keeps me on my toes and makes life so fun.
My mom brought over the delicate little baby roses that morning and made the "snowball" cookies. Pops bought the bouquets of white flowers and a lot of the food. May I never take for granted how absolutely wonderful it is to have my sweet and helpful parents close by.
Polly can be super clingy these days, especially right after her nap if she wakes up prematurely, so I was glad the timing worked out and she had about 40 minutes of quiet time before guests started to arrive. She had a blast at her whole party! She was comfortable and happy and just a little social butterfly. I was bursting with pride all day at my two little girls that seem to be shaping up to be really nice people :)
Just had to get these precious moments out of the way beforehand ;)
Okay, let's party!
It was such a relief to feel ready for our friends and family to arrive, to know I'd done all I could do and that now all I had to do was have fun, hang out, eat and talk and laugh. I stand by my sentiments from Lucy's birthday: having a big party for such a small child is kind of pointless, except that it is really actually for me anyway. For me to remember, for me to celebrate, for me to enjoy seeing my children have fun, and for me to be able to have a party with all my friends! Plus I think I kind of just love throwing parties.
Amy gave me these two handcrafted owls for Christmas because they reminded her of Lucy and Polly. I love them.
Sharing snacks while waiting for the party to begin. I loved their little silhouettes in their outfits, they reminded me of fairy tale characters.
And now our friends are here!
I made more homemade lemonade with the last of Grandma Vickey's lemons. Not a single one went to waste, and I had dozens. We've had lemonade for every special event at our home and I've LOVED it, my girls have my taste for it too.
My little party girl in the midst of it all, strutting about in her miniature confident way, I could just die with glee that i get to kiss that trim fluffy little head all the time.
Zillion brought her a flower. She kept ceremoniously handing it back to him, then he'd give it back again. It was super cute.
She is singing along to her own birthday song.
Scout's cape had the cutest little penguin hood.
A one-year-old's birthday is really the mom's birth-day too. In every way, like, you even have to pretty much open the presents. You do the exclaiming. You get all the glory. You deserve it.
Winding down, late afternoon, Sylvan sessions. He is seriously going to be a trusted babysitter in a couple more years. The babies adore him and he is infinitely patient with them.
A one year old and a bunch of her aunties.
How all of us felt:
It ended before dinner but it was already dark. We snacked and snuggled and played with new toys, then put the girls to bed early. They slept hard and Darin and I watched not one, but two episodes of Game of Thrones. Wha?!!! (we're rewatching all of season one right now. it's enlightening.) It feels leisurely and peaceful around here now that the holidays are over and Polly's birthday has passed. I would say it is bittersweet but so far I'm actually just fully enjoying the sensation, nothing much to do and at least a few wide open days. there is a lot more fun on our near horizon so I will embrace my lazybones tendencies gladly for a bit.
And with a one year old and a two year old, the word peaceful is always a stretch ;)
Happy January days from my little penguins to you!