Well, it’s taken me a full week to recover enough to write about Finn’s first birthday party. Although we tried to keep things simple, they somehow still managed to get complicated. Such is my world — always.
We originally decided to host a “Birthday Brunch Theatre” because we thought Finn would love a puppet show, and because a party at noon would work out best with his nap schedule. We tried to keep the guest list small so that he wouldn’t be overwhelmed, but even in inviting only family and a few friends with young kids, we were looking at over forty people. It took quite a while for us to make enough paper-bag-puppet invitations. Here are a few of them:
To prepare for the party, we bought about twenty puppets, Keith built an impressive stage out of PVC that can be dismantled and stored, and my multi-talented brother-in-law made us a spectacular red velvet curtain. It looked quite theatrical in our little place:
As our expectations rose, Keith started planning silly puppet skits with fun sound effects, and my sister and I made a festive banner the weekend before the party:
Most importantly, however, was the special video that Keith created to show in honor of Finn’s first year (included at the bottom of my “Turning One” post). It took weeks to put together, and features a precious birthday song written by my brothers Alex and Sergio, performed by Sergio, and featuring my brother-in-law AJ on saxophone:
All seemed as if it was going smoothly. Since the event was taking place on Sunday at noon, and I was trying to avoid overwhelming myself, I ordered bagels and coffee from Einstein’s, asked my sister Ilianna to handle the cupcakes for guests, and planned to just make a few quiches as well as put out some scones, juice, and pitchers of mimosa. On the day before the party, as my mother-in-law happily played with Finn, I made five quiches and the birthday cake: a small carrot cake sweetened with maple syrup and agave nectar. It was quite tasty, I thought, but the kitchen was an unbelievable mess, and I was exhausted.
Then we realized that the air conditioning wasn’t working properly. It wasn’t BROKEN, but the air seemed, well, not as cool as it should have been. Was it just because I had been baking all day? We cranked it down overnight and got it as cold as we could prior to the party… but as people filed in, the house kept getting warmer and warmer, and as luck would have it, the temperature on this particular South Florida October day managed to get up to 93 degrees.
Nobody drank coffee. While chasing Finn all over the house, I forgot to replenish the juice. My guests were undoubtedly hot and thirsty.
Keith, my sister Sunshine, and my brother Alex practically melted behind the puppet stage… but they were still amazing. The show was wonderfully cute and funny, complete with a “Yellow Submarine” sing-a-long and my favorite, a skit about the chef that turns vegetarian after becoming friends with the animals he tries to cook:
We followed the puppet show with Finn’s moving first year video, and then presented Finn with his first cake. Although he tries to eat paper, stones, washcloths, and even his shoes on a daily basis, he refused to allow a bite of cake anywhere near his mouth. Someone snapped a few shots of him just staring at it and I didn’t realize until the end of the party that I had forgotten to put him in his special birthday hat.
In the end, though, despite the hat and the heat, my family made an amazing troupe of creative party planners, my guests were incredibly gracious, and my little man was the star of the show.
Mr. Finn: one year old.