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On Planning a Second Birthday Party

It would be weird if it WASN'T a garbage truck party, right?

It would be weird if it WASN’T a garbage truck party, right?

Birthday season is just around the corner. Cullen and his buddies were all born within just a few weeks of each other, which means that for us, late September through early November is dominated by balloons, cupcakes, and toddler celebrations. I still have a bit more than a month to go until we are blowing up balloons for our own shindig, but with a baby scheduled to arrive between now and then, I am trying to get ahead on our planning.

Cullen’s first birthday was a low-key gathering at home, and I think his second will be very similar. (Although this time in our new house!) Since it’s late October, we can’t count on the weather being nice enough to be outdoors, although we can obviously always hope. But we have enough indoor space that it shouldn’t feel too cramped inside as long as we keep the party pretty small. My mom will be in town to help celebrate Cullen’s big day and meet his new little brother, so everything feels a lot less intimidating knowing I’ll have her here to help.

It probably comes as no surprise that we’re most likely going with a garbage truck theme. Cullen is crazy for trash, and while I never imagined in my pre-child days that someday I’d be decorating garbage trucks, it only makes sense to go with what makes him happy. With his birthday on the 21st, and our little one slated to arrive on the 9th, it’s very possible that we will have a teeny tiny newborn on our hands for the big day. Because of this I’m keeping expectations very low, and trying to really just worry about the basics.

We’ll have simple decor and we’ll do it in the afternoon so that we don’t have to provide a ton of different food/meal options. I am ambitiously hoping to make either cupcakes or one big cake (or both?), and am making this my one big project to get done before the party. I figure that with my mom and Casey both around to lend extra hands and help, we can get it done. I’m ordering Cullen a new birthday t-shirt, thinking about party favors, and trying to come up with clever ways to entertain a house filled with toddlers for a few hours.

One thing I did for Cullen’s first birthday was make him a personalized video a 20-minute compilation of the first year of his life. We didn’t play it at his party, but we shared it with family and friends, and we’ve ended up watching it over the course of the past year at least a hundred times. It is one of his favorite things to watch, and honestly, it’s one of my favorites too. It was a huge labor of love and took a lot of late nights in front of the computer, but I am so glad I did it.

But in thinking about year two, I feel like at some point it’s not going to be realistic for me to make a video for each child for each year. Perhaps this should just be something special to capture the first one? For some reason that feels sort of sad to me. There is so much about his first year that I don’t remember all that well anymore, and watching the video brings all of that instantly flooding back. His second year has been filled with so many remarkable moments the real transformation from being a baby to becoming a toddler. But realistically, I don’t know that I’ll have the time and energy to pull it off while also getting ready for and getting through baby brother’s arrival. I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment.

Anyway, these are my ramblings on planning for birthday party number two. The first birthday party felt like this monumental THING that came with all sorts of pressure and expectations. In hindsight, that was all really silly and our simple party with streamers and balloons was just as fun as any Pinterest-worthy masterpiece. I’m happy to have that wisdom to carry forward with me, along with an extra year of parenting and adjusted expectations. As long as we are able to gather together with our friends and help our little guy feel special and celebrated, I’m calling it a success.

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