Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The big splash first birthday bash!

I've delayed far too long in posting these great photos from Ethan's birthday party last month. I had a blast putting together water-themed foods, drinks, and decorations. I'm so grateful to Mr Leaven for doing so much to get the house and backyard party-ready - everything looked wonderful!

I got a chance to do a little baking for the party, making beachy cupcakes and blackberry (sand)bars from local blackberries we'd picked ourselves.

We're also so grateful to Cherryleigh's Cookies and Cupcakes for providing a beautiful tray of cookies, which was the star of the dessert table. A week before the party I chanced upon an online baking auction raising funds for Habitat for Humanity to rebuild homes in Granbury destroyed by tornadoes. With this particular item fitting the party theme perfectly, I thought it would be a great tribute to donate to Habitat in Ethan's honor and also get some awesome cookies for the party! She even made some special personalized cookies for his first birthday. She's based right outside of Dallas (it worked out perfectly that she was visiting friends in north Houston so could swing by my office to drop off the cookies!) - if any of my Dallas friends/family have cookie or cake needs, I highly recommend Cherryleigh's!!

Some of my other favorites from the party planning: the towel party favors (brilliant idea of Mr Leaven's), which were cute and practical; blue punch with bath toys floating on top; a bucket of swim goggles in all sizes for kids to borrow as needed; the octopus hummus; plastic buckets with snacks, including the very popular neon orange 'beach balls'...

A few days before the party, Mr Leaven and I completed a small home renovation project, converting our patio into a cabana with outdoor curtains and a big sectional sofa. We love the space and it was perfect as a slightly shaded area from which grown-ups could watch the kids swim. Of course, Mr Leaven did most of the work - he's a keeper!

The party itself was a blast. I stayed inside most of the time (by the food tables!), spending time with the non-swimmers, and Mr Leaven was outside with most of the younger guests. There was much swimming, eating, and general festivity. E enjoyed a very blue cupcake and then got thoroughly washed. He slept very well that night.

Thank you to everyone who brought gifts (contrary to the invitation instructions!) and to those who didn't or who brought a pool toy (excellent job!). It appears that the new trend in gift-giving is not to include a card or tag (I am definitely a big follower of this trend as well) - this makes my terrible inability to write thank-you notes quite a bit easier - I have no clue who gave E such cute gifts, but please know that he loves them all!

And a very special thanks to sis-in-law Jessica, who was the unofficial party photographer and without whom I wouldn't have a single photo from the event! I'm looking through the pics again now and am so very grateful for all the memories she captured!!

grandma carrying ocean jello

deviled egg sailboats

you can't see it, but there was also chocolate panna cotta AKA Galveston water

Itty bitty cousin Piper - only a month old!


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