Will's first birthday was last week, and we spent the weekend in Maine so he could celebrate with family! With so many relatives nearby, we ended up having two gatherings so each side of the family had an opportunity to spend time with him.
Here's how we celebrated!
Will's first birthday cakes
Mom's side: homemade chocolate cupcakes decorated with monkey faces.
Dad's side: rubber ducky pound cake with a chocolate cake base made by his great-grandmother Nana! She made Greg's first birthday cake, and it was so nice that she agreed to make one for his son, too. We thanked her with a photo book of our favorite pictures of Will with her and her side of the family. On the front was printed "A photo book for Will's Great-Nana, who made his first birthday cake".
8x10 framed photos of Will, in an apple orchard for Mom's side and with his favorite rubber ducky in the bathtub for Dad's side. The photos were given to each set of grandparents to thank them for hosting. On Mom's side, we also displayed a sock monkey that Greg and I learned to make at a workshop, but that's another story!
Since all the invitees were close family, we thought they would really enjoy having mini photo books with pictures of Will chosen to show how he's grown over the past year. My brother's wife is always five steps ahead of me with photo projects, and she pointed us in the direction of My Publisher, which lets you make twenty page 2"x3" softcover mini photo-books for $2.49 each. We then added some organic dark chocolate bars, customized with homemade wrappers (Thank you Greg!!), and put them in clear plastic treat bags.
Greg took all the videos we've taken of Will during his first year, and edited down almost two hours of footage into a twenty minute DVD with our absolute favorites. We made copies for each set of grandparents, and showed the DVD at each party. I can't wait to play it in ten, twenty, and thirty years to see some of his first laughs all over again.
Photo Albums and Baby Book
We used Will's birthday parties as a deadline and incentive for finally selecting digital photos to print and putting them all in albums for his first year. I learned a few things - one, we take way too many photos. Two, it's best to choose just the best from each event to print, and it's great to do it on a monthly rather than an annual basis! We ordered a case of black photo albums so that they'll all be the same, and I used our label maker to both number and date the albums for easy browsing. We brought them to each party along with Will's baby book and kept them out for relatives to flip through.
Will had a wonderful time at each party, although I think he's wondering why cupcakes and cake aren't a daily occurrence anymore. He had so much fun interacting with grandparents and great-grandparents! He also received some wonderful gifts to keep him busy and entertained when they're not here. We ordered customized thank you notes from shutterfly that I'm sure he'll hand write and mail shortly.
Happy Birthday, Will!