Friday, 5 August 2016

An Affair to Remember

After searching high and low for shoes to compliment the dress;
They stayed on for all of five minutes...

I have to admit that prior to parenthood, I didn't understand the rationale behind having a one year birthday party. After all, the guest of honour is largely unaware of the purpose for the event and won't likely remember it. Co-worker explained her motivation for holding a party for her twins first birthday was really to celebrate herself and her husband. "We wanted to commerate that we kept the boys alive for an entire year without killing each other in the process." I started to view the first birthday party with the same approach I had for our baby celebration non-shower: this is our first any only baby. I didn't want to look back and regret not having a first birthday celebration. I started mulling with ideas just before she turned nine months. It would be a small gathering. Just my aunt and uncle, cousin and her kids, Co-worker and her twins and my friend Amy and her two kids. I have no idea how moms manage a large affair, as this small event was so much work! Seriously, planning and preparing this party felt like I had a second job. While Husband does his share with child care duties, I discovered that I would be on my own for party-planning. Husband is just not going to give thoughts to themes, invites, decorations, party favors, menu ideas...

The largest project was addressing our badly neglected shit hole of a back yard. The last time I raked up dried grass and leaves was the day before my Kate was born, and I don't think anyone else has done any work in the garden since then. My aim was to make the area at least look tidy. I knew that after all my hours of effort, it would still look like shit. I had to bargain with Husband to get gardening time on the weekend (funny that whenever he has a task to do, it's assumed that he'll get kid free time) and I spent about 30-45 minutes in the evenings after Kate went to bed. I eventually needed to take a day off from work to complete my projects (and of course, it rained that morning).

I'm not going to show any before and after picture of the backyard, as the 'after' picture, still looks like a 'before'. Over the course of three weeks, I filled 32 of these lawn and leaf bags!

The other rationale for having a bunch of people to your house, it that is serves as an excuse to make some necessary updates. We had to get rid of this chair as the cats had clawed the shit out of it. 

We replaced it with another chair from Ikea. A faux leather, which hopefully will be more resistant to kitty claws. We also added a standing lamp, figuring it would be safer than a table lamp. 

We decided to get another one to go on the other side of the room. 

Don't you love the end table? Actually, when we moved out to California, we bought a sofa and love seat set plus a coffee table, two end tables and two lamps and some decorative pillos for just unfer two thousand dollars. The cats destroyed the sofa and we bought a new sofa and love seat just before my in-laws came to visit in 2013. We couldn't find any end table and coffee tables that we liked, so we've been stuck with our old ones that don't match the curent furnature and with glass, are a safety hazzard. We got rid of all the old tables and lamps...

and replaced it with a new table and lamp from Ikea.

The other item that we needed to remove was the entertainment unit, as it also had glass doors...

we installed child locks on the new unit.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Books were put on display as part of the party decorations. 

The KATErpillar. A collection of her monthly photos

I spent many hours completing her baby books. No one looked at them

The Menu:
Apples (served with peanut butter)
Two Pears (display)
Three Plums (display)
Strawberries (with Nutella)
Orange Slices
A jar of pickles
Cheese and Salami
One lollipop (display)
Cherry Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream
A Nice Green Spinach Leaf Salad
Chocolate cupcakes

TVHC Food Table tents. Delivered by Etsy

I set up this little bowling alley as we have a long hallway in the front entrance. No one really played with it. The kids were much more interested in the shit hole of our back yard.

Cupcake Fail #2 

So remember by first attempt to make my own cupcakes? After I relented and realised I had to go to a professional baker, I still wanted them to represent the party's theme and didn't want to pay an outrageous price. I found these edible stickers on Amazon, (as I write this, I recognise how short sighted I was. Seriously Jane, just because you can order everything in the world on Amazon, it doen't mean it's always a good thing) but when I met with the baker, she explained that they couldn't put them on for me, as it was against their company policy (clue #2). The baker gave me a little instruction on how to apply them, and as you can see, there was space reserved for them. I followed the instruction that I received, (which guaranteed the stickers would pop right off the wax paper backing) and used the advice of the baker. They didn't come off the paper cleanly and it was a total fucking mess. I served the cupcakes as they were and no one gave a shit about how they looked as they were absolutely delicious. Kate really didn't get the idea of the cupcake and just dipped her fingers in the frosting, which was rather lady-like. 

One of my big worries for the day, besides the usual last minute preparations, was making sure Kate had a good nap in the morning. We didn't let her fall back to sleep after she woke up at 6 AM, and then put her down for her nap around 10 AM. My aunt stopped by that morning with my older cousin, who was visiting from Washington state and was on her way to the airport. They woke up Kate, who barely slept for 45 minutes. I feared this would set her up for a meltdown right in the middle of the party, but despite being so tired, she pushed through and I think she enjoying having so many visitors. Our guests seemed to mingle well and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were compliments on the food and yes, some noticed how much effort I had put into arranging the event. (I was up until midnight hanging decorations and arranging the table) Her first birthday party was a family success. However, it was not without some hiccups. 

As I hinted earlier, I found that I was doing most of the work for this party, so I gave one job to Husband -buy the sausages. As he would be grilling them, I figured he could be in charge of all things related to the sausages. Well, he bought way more than we needed (Co-worker stashed some in the freezer before he cooked them all) and he bought eight different types of sasuage. You can't keep track of which ones are which when you cook eight differnet types of sasuage at once, so no one had any idea what they were eating. (Face palm. SMH) While I was shopping for the rest of the food, Husband was supposed to be cleaning. I was gone for almost three hours and he spent most of that time hanging our framed professional photos. This included hanging a collage in our room where we were planning to confine the cats during the party. How is it that men can pick the task with the lowest priority and devote the maximum amount of time to that chore? I was so pissed as he ended up doing a half ass job cleaning, but given that the house needed to be cleaned again after the party; in hind sight, I was glad he hadn't spent too much effort cleaning before the party. (Although I do suspect he spent much of his time while I was out either working or watching football). 

There was something else to make the party memorable. While I was at work the next day, our ENT department had a pot luck party for a doctor who was leaving the group. I don't usually partake in a pot luck if I didn't bring anything to contribute, but several people stopped by our department to invite us to their party as they had so much food to consume. As I didn't feel like having mystery sausages and spinach salad for three meals in a row (it was our dinner too) I decided to eat at the pot luck. An hour later, I didn't feel so well. Twenty minutes after that; I ran out of a patient's room and almost ran over a staffer on my way to throw up. The next morning, I received a text from Co-worker that she was diarrhearring (a verb invented by one of our former patients). I figured it was the pot luck as I fixed a plate for her and we ate the same foods. However when I took Kate in for her 12 month check up, I inquired and no one else who had ate at the pot luck had been sick. That night Husband began to experience gut ache. I began to suspect it wasn't the pot luck that caused our illness and feared it was foods from our party. 

My fears were confirmed when Co-worker admitted that her husband also had some GI issues and then she disclosed a starteling relevation. "So, when we were at your party... your cousin's oldest child was licking the bread rolls for the sausage and was putting them back in the basket." Oh, it gets worse. "His father watched him do it and didn't say anything." I texted my friend Amy to inquire about her stomach. "I was puking on Monday and have been having the big D. Why?" she responded. Oh Fuck, my cousin's son made everyone at our party ill (Interestingly, my cousin and her husband and my aunt and uncle did not get sick). I can understand the awkwardness of the situation and how Co-worker probably wasn't sure what to say to my cousin's husband, but why the fuck didn't she say anything to me? Seriously, she is the most germaphobic person I know. We went out to the parking garage at lunch so I could return the cooler I borrowed and she grabbed a tissue before touching the door handle to walk out of our office (a door only accessed by staff, not patients) I debated if I should say anything to my cousin, but my dad cautioned me against doing so as I wasn't a direct witness to the event and apparently to prove that the rolls were the cause, I would have to do a full food analysis of what everyone ate and cross refernce symptoms. My dad used to be a food service manager and told me more than I ever wanted to know about documenting food contamination. The silver linging? Co-worker, Amy and I were all happy we lost a few pounds, and as Husband and I really didn't feel like eating much, I didn't have to meal plan or cook for almost a week. A few days later I was reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar with Kate and came to his binge session on Saturday, which gave him a stomach ache that night. I chuckled to myself. At least it was fitting with the theme of the party. 


  1. Oh my, parties are stressful. I am in the very early stages of planning Olivia's birthday. It sounds like overall the party went great! (Minus the food poisoning, oh. my. god.)

  2. Ughhhh. Gross. What an awful way to end a celebration. Garrison's birthday week started out with the Norovirus barreling though our home like a hurricane. I'm still down twenty pounds from that particular nightmare. I'm so sorry that happened!!! I'm definitely glad Kate didn't get sick. It seems like it can be semi-contained until the baby gets it. Then everyone is sick from cleaning up after the babe. Ewwww. I'll be quite content to NEVER relive that particular nightmare.

    It sounds like it was a great party and Kate handled it like a champ! Enjoy these next months! 13-17 months have been my favorite so far! : )

  3. I am thoroughly impressed with your party planning, especially with the food! (minus the food contamination. I can't believe the father didn't do anything to stop his son!) Sounds like Kate enjoyed her party and that it was a great success.

  4. Well except for the food ordeal it sounds like it went great especially going on limited nap time. I should probably start thinking about Bowen's party but I just can't wrap my mind around it yet. I am definitely taking tips off of what you did though! Everything looked great!

  5. Oh my gosh - I'm sorry, but I laughed through this post. You are a great story teller! Sorry about the food poisoning. The last time I ate Taco Bell was 2 days before my wedding. That particular food poisoning diet caused me to lose 11 pounds in 2 days (plus an ER visit). My dress never fit better, but it was not fun. I'm glad the rest of the party went well. It looked amazing!

  6. I kept meaning to come back to this and comment, but then not getting around to it. I'm so impressed with everything you did for the party! especially all that housework and cleaning. :-) I can also relate to the backyard that takes hours of time to maintain and clean up but never really looks good. haha. Oh, I can't believe the dad let his kid lick the rolls and put them back. Sooooo gross. And funny in a disgusting way, but seriously. Happy birthday again Kate!

  7. Kudos to you for all the effort you put in for a great party! Man... the food poisoning wasn't fun for sure. I like your silver lining though. Losing and few pounds counts! Man... Hate to have missed the party!