Before we jump into all things holiday, I wanted to share my littlest (and last) ever Bower FIRST birthday! My little pumpkin turned one at the end of September and shortly thereafter, we gathered with a few friends and family members to celebrate her!
One of the gifts I got when I was pregnant was this cute onesie from my girls group and it says “It’s my first birthday” in gold and pink. I knew that I wanted her to feel like a princess (complete with tu-tu and crown!) on her big day and that meant being surrounded by the ones she loves.
Guys….I hate to get mushy on you but seriously – how did I ever live without her?! She is funny and sensitive and opinionated and tough and sweet as sugar and such a girl boss. I just love love LOVE every little thing about her.
Okay – and her crown was a clip and I got it and her leg warmers from Hobby Lobby. The gold tutu is from TJMaxx and the pink tutu came with her onesie.
THE PARTY FOOD & DECOR
For her birthday we knew that it would be all about the food. We ordered BBQ and mac n cheese (her favorites!) from a local place and I prepared a table of finger foods….
Surprisingly she doesn’t like icing (we found out when we tried to give her a cupcake for Max’s birthday) and I’m glad I did so that I could make her a naked cake. Guys. My first naked cake ever! It was easier than I had expected! It was just a tiny little thing and I decorated it with faux flowers and I am actually really shocked that it turned out looking as cute as it did.
The topper and the flowers were all from Hobby Lobby and the cake pans I used were labeled “smash cake” size.
I always try to make one table a ‘pretty photo op’ and this one was super easy to throw together.
The pumpkin theme was perfect for fall and I placed a large white pumpkin next to a vase of faux blooms (the same ones I used in pictures when I was pregnant with Ella!) and included a photo of her with her naked little newborn tooshie.
All kids parties need fruit, right?! I always make sure that our parties have fruit to balance out all the candy and junk that we are about to give out 🙂
I have learned that people gravitate toward the finger foods so I always make sure to order just enough of the ‘grown up food’ and prepare extras like pigs in a blanket and crackers and cheese.
Also – this was my first time ever making a balloon arch (I made it four days in advance and it looked SO good. Way better than I had hoped! I used one of these to make it and I saved it for future birthdays!)
As for the cake smash part, it was in true Ella fashion.
She was interested but not really.
She was just chillin with it for the longest time. Which is fine. More photo opportunities 🙂
Speaking of photos, I thought there would be lots of pictures of her in her highchair (we have this one that is black and white) and so I made it extra princess with a highchair tu-tu (that’s #3 if you are counting) and covered the back with a faux fur rug.
She picked one little pinch of cake at a time and loved it. I think we all expected her to do something different than the boys (Will ate most of his handfuls at a time, Weston cried the entire time from too much attention, LJ went face first and Max literally smeared it all over himself and the chair and the table)….so this was definitely different!
I made strawberry cupcakes with strawberry icing for everyone else 🙂 Ella is our little strawberry girl so this was totally fitting.
The kids were all very sweet to come. We knew that Ella doesn’t really know anyone yet so we just had the boys pick out who they wanted to invite 🙂
We also planned all the activities around the kids that came. We had a cupcake piñata (note that the pinata did not survive three batters and the kids were shocked when it popped open so easily!)….and yes, we call Ella our little cupcake so nicknames played a big role at this party! Cupcake. Pumpkin. Strawberry shortcake.
I also set up a table for pumpkin painting….
The kids just picked out a mini pumpkin and painted them with washable paint. It’s the simplest craft but it occupies kids for a very long time!
My little favorite friend of the boys Hagon painted a white pumpkin orange. The irony of this is not lost on me 🙂
Overall it was just such a fun and simple day. Ella got lots of attention and didn’t even require an outfit change after her cake
smash stroking. And the kids all played and the guys all watched football 🙂
And now for my regular tradition of writing a letter to the birthday baby!
LETTER TO ELLA
Dear Ella Violet,
Oh sweet girl, I am overwhelmed with joy that we have you in our family. You make us all so happy. I prayed so hard for you….and I admit….I was scared. I didn’t know how to be your mommy…..I was so nervous about being inadequate. And for good reason….YOU ARE AMAZING. And the fact is…I am inadequate. I pray everyday that God gives me the wisdom and grace and strength to be good enough for you. I know I will fail. I know it won’t be always cuddles and giggles. But I also know that there is nobody who could EVER want this job more than I do.
Ella – I love how spunky you are and that you already have such strong opinions. That is a good thing! Have strong opinions sweet baby….we will teach you to stand by them, defend them and also discernment in knowing when to keep them in your pocket (I’m still learning this so be patient with me as we might be learning this together!). When someone you don’t know is holding you, I love that you push their hand away. It shows me that you know what you want even now. I love that strong mind girl! May you never lose that! I love watching you dance. You have always loved music and that little shoulder shake and the way your hair floats in the movement is my favorite. When your brothers clap, play and sing to you….your light turns on so brightly. I can not imagine them without you! You will be the most influential thing in their life when it comes to girls. You get to prepare them for the other half! I know that seems like a large responsibility….it is….but it’s an honor that only you get. Protect them. Be patient with them. And forgive them in advance because they will have no idea what is happening.
Baby girl – I wish I could say that I loved you first but really – it was your Daddy. Daddy loved you years before you were born and wanted you for soooo long. He would tell me that he dreamt about walking you down the aisle and going on limo dates with you to ChickFila and giving you your first bouquet of flowers. He is the very best of the best! And I am so glad that you look like him because I want you kids to be JUST like him….in all the ways. He is generous and kind and would give the shirt off his back to a stranger. And most of all….he would do ANYTHING for you. Be careful with that little finger of yours….it has the love of my life wrapped around it.
Sweetheart, I may not have loved you first but I do love you most. Out of every single person on the planet, I love you the very most of the most. I know that is true. It would simply be impossible for anyone else to cherish you more than I do. You are the love that filled me all the way up. The one that completed our family. The best ending and best beginning all in one. You have changed me in the most profound way. I want this world to be better for you. I want ME to be better for you. And I want you to know that YOU are beloved. Not just wanted. But passionately adored.
Ella – I know you are only a baby right now but this is important so pay attention – you don’t have to grow up and prove anything. Not to me or to Daddy or anyone else. You don’t have to achieve or earn or accomplish. Your value is not in your appearance or brain or bank account or skills or number of friends or ability to do anything. I am writing this to you now…on your first birthday…because I want you to know that there are a lot of voices that will try to make you think it is….but the truth is this…GOD LOVES YOU. That’s it. That’s what it always has been. He loves you. Fiercly. Recklessly. Passionately. You are created to be HIS. Do I want you to do your best and be kind and be honest and humble and have a servants heart? Oh heck yes. But most of all….above all else….I want you to know the Creator of the Galaxy would give all the stars in the sky to you! He already did give you the very best birthday gift. And when you believe this to be true…..that simple statement of truth…it will change everything. I can not wait to see you grow. I can’t imagine you being more beautiful. I can’t believe we have had a whole year together….and I can not wait to have MANY MANY more. I love you my sweet cupcake, snickerdoodle, strawberry shortcake, Evie girl. I am the happiest mommy ever because I HAVE YOU! All the love bubbles in a fountain of joy – your mommy. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
Anita T says
I am going to share this letter with my 28 year old first and only daughter, sister of 4 brothers, because it is beautiful, spot on and such an encouraging way to speak truth. Well done giving a beautiful party and being a delightful example of a real, honest woman of God. You also are teaching your boys about the girl they will want. 🙂
You made me cry
What good parents Ella has. Great job on the party, you went above and beyond, perfect little party!
How sweet! You have the sweetest little bunch of kiddos!
Kayla AKA Kilo Bravo says
Just had to tell a co-worker even pre-cut onions on my sandwich make me cry….
Adorable…. cute… fun. Happy Birthday Sweet Ella. <3
Very very sweet. But she looks like YOU!
Oh and also- what is the white stuff on the naked cake? I don’t know what a naked cake is… is it a tiny bit of frosting? Flour? Powdered sugar?
You made me cry at work!! I always love your letters to your kids, but hands down, this one is the absolute best!!!
What a precious birthday party and she is just adorable. I love your sweet family. And I cried at that letter, too. I hope you don’t mind if I steal this tradition (birthday letters) for my baby.