Actually, I really didn't do that much planning- I was DETERMINED to keep it simple and inexpensive (see, impending kitchen remodel), and I did and it was SO FUN. I wanted it to be close friends, a gaggle of kids, yummy colorful food, a real dinner, and adult beverages. When I think of Cora, I think of sunshine and rainbows and smiles, so a rainbow theme just fit. Then I found this little rainbow heart dress on etsy and it was like a beam of sunshine hit me over the head- DONE.
Everyone on facebook thought the pinwheel was a bow and one of my friends even noted that was maybe a step too far, but rest assured, her birthday bow was very tasteful and appropriate. Like ALL her bows.
This picture is mostly to show you my new booties, bringing this post full circle: Franco Sarto, purchased at Marshall's. I'm still not sure I know how to wear booties, but I love them kind of a lot. I decided on Friday that I needed a new shirt for the party, so I ran to Ross at lunch and found this one in the junior's section for $6.99. It had a truly horrifying shiny gold tri-level necklace attached to it, but I cut it off and gave it to Claire, thinking that was a win, but she has now worn it for 3 days straight and tells everyone she sees, "this necklace is my mommy's, but she lets me wear it," so a real win would have been throwing it away. The jeans are Old Navy's Rockstars because they're $20 and awesome (and Becca-approved). Oh and I needed a haircut desperately, so I made my appointment for 12:00 that day because I don't know how to do hair, and my hair stylist was so excited about my baby's birthday party (I'd never met her before, but I showed her a picture of the baby in question) that she made my hair fancy. There is a 0% chance it will ever look like that again.
On to the party! The rainbow theme is the most fun theme I've ever done, and so simple! Lots of different solid color things and next thing you know it's a rainbow! We had rainbow fruit kabobs, rainbow veggie tray, dips for each, skittles, m&m's, and in a break from the rainbow theme, cubes of cheese and ham and turkey roll-ups. There was also a crock pot of chili in the kitchen with fritos and cheese for toppings. It was really so easy, but I thought it looked nice and with only 13 guests (5 adults; 8 kids) we ate everything.
We also set up a cupcake decorating table and a bunch of little to-go boxes to decorate too. The cupcakes were funfetti and I used colored mini marshmallows, rainbow sprinkles, these giant star sprinkles I found on clearance at Michael's, and fruity cheerios. As it turns out, rainbow colors are all around you and for a generally low price, can be made part of your party menu.
I got the stickers for free when I ordered Cora's invitations and picked up some extra sheets of random stickers for the kids to decorate their to-go boxes with. It was all a big hit.
Cora carried around her invitation most of the afternoon and seemed very ready to party despite only taking an hour nap.
Waiting by the door for her guests to arrive.
We kept it simple, inviting 3 families (all co-workers of mine) we're close to and who all have kids exactly our kids' ages. One family was down with a stomach bug, which was a bummer, but it was actually still SO fun. We had eight kids between 1 - 7.5 and they all played so well together and we grown-ups just got to drink champagne and eat skittles and marvel at the fact that no one needed us.
I don't have any pictures of the big kids because all five of them were outside playing on the playground the whole time- 2 girls, 3 boys, 3 4-year-olds, 2 7-year-olds, and no one cried, no one complained, no one would even come inside until we announced it was time for cake. I tried to get a picture, but Cora only wants to walk these days and had no tolerance for it.
So out came the cake. Cora was deeply concerned the moment it appeared.
This is what I imagine was going on in her head:
What is this? What is happening?
Why are you all looking at me?
Ok fine... I'll touch it.
Ohmygod this is terrible.
You want me to eat it? WHY do you want me to eat it?!
Ohmygod it is SO TERRIBLE.
Little boy, NO! It is terrible! What is WRONG with you?!
CAKE IS THE WORST TAKE IT AWAY!
Luckily, we moved on to presents, and the party got back on track, though I should note, that everyone else liked the cake.
I had lots of helpers with the presents. She got bath toys, some play food, an electronic singing ABC dog (Cora loves anything that makes extra noise), and a slide. These are all her favorite things, and the slide in particular was a huge hit.
Totally made up for that awful forced cake situation. (By the way, see that blue wall behind them? Our kitchen hides back there and will be forced out into the open when the wall comes down later this week.))
All in all it was a ton of fun. I tried to get one picture of the three siblings when we finally got the big kids back inside, but Cora just wanted to go down her slide.
I still can't believe she's going to be one on Wednesday. I mean I really can't. How can my last baby be on her way out of babyhood? How is it possible there was a time I thought we were done at two? It has been a truly amazing first year with her- I don't think I've ever felt so full of love I literally ached with it when I went to bed. To have two big kids who are so fun and provide such entertainment and communication and independent self-sufficiency, it really made us all able to really enjoy the heck out of having a baby.
Cora's our family mascot, and I think she's enjoyed it as much as we have. Everything she does gets applauded by multiple people and when she wakes up from a nap, two excited kids run in to greet her and tell her hello! and how as your sleep?! and oh sweet Cora, did you have a good nap?!. She walked herself into the TV room tonight from the playroom and both Landon and Claire acted like it was the greatest trick they've ever seen and Cora was just beaming at both of them because they are SO the coolest, and well, rainbows and sunshine. It's been a good year.
Happy (almost) Birthday CoraBunny! Now I need to go pack up a kitchen.