Yesterday, we celebrated Tilly's first year with a little party. Our "Say Cheese!" theme let us indulge in Tilly's love of cheddar and our love of cameras... what a fun combination it turned out to be! We had a house full of amazing friends and family, a kitchen full of dairy, and a back garden full of smiles and grins and fake mustaches.
Guests loaded up plates with all things cheesy (mac and cheese with chicken, spicy sausage queso and chips, brie and crackers, as well as a few fruits and veggies) and signed Tilly's birthday table runner, which was laid out on the dining table.
The signature runner turned out even better than I'd hoped! People signed in all sorts of ways -- with birthday messages, with names grouped together as families, in flowing script and in block capitals, with drawings of flowers and with stick-figure self-portraits. What a lovely way to remember all the people who joined us this year -- how funny it will be to see names reappear next year, and new names be added. I'm looking forward to embroidering over it all in the next few weeks.
Out in the garden, we had tables set up, too, covered with the easiest tablecloths in the world. (Three yards of fabric ripped in half! I'm hoping they'll turn into a dress for Tilly after I wash the cake off...) We had bubbles on one table, and the blank photo props and a pack of crayons on the other table, to entertain the bigger kids.
The colour-your-own-props worked out really well, and the children came up with some amazing designs, which they then proudly modeled in the photo booth.
The photo booth was so much fun, and we ended up with over 400 photos to pick from! (I'm just sorry I can't show you more of them!) The little ones got the most creative, and were so sweet with each other, lining up and taking turns, and letting each other use the bows they'd decorated. There were plenty of props to go around, and they stood up surprisingly well to baby hands (yes, and mouths -- hold a mustache near a baby, and they want to taste it!)
We had cowboys and wolves, circus ringmasters and cats. There were sweet family shots, hilarious poses, and some very funny photos of little ones who didn't quite understand the messages they were holding (i.e. one shot of a little friend with a giant scowl, holding the word "Cheese!" makes us laugh until we cry every time!)
The paddling pool was nice for the little ones to cool off in. Tilly fancied her own private pool, though, and got comfy in a big red bucket.
She had the time of her life, stealing people's cups of lemonade, watching her older friends blowing bubbles for her, and running off with the photo props! Say "Cheese!" Tilly.
When it came time for cake, she loved the candle (which remained at a safe distance until I blew it out... all she wanted to do was touch the flame!) on the little smash cake I'd made her, a.k.a. The Cream Bomb -- sponge cake with a hollow centre, filled with cream and strawberries, coated with cream and strawberries. Served up on a piggy plate. My dream cake.
It turns out, Tilly just wanted the strawberries, and once they were picked off, she wasn't all that interested in it anymore. She'd been really keen on the broccoli earlier on, and had filled up on that, I think.
I think I might be the first mother ever to say "my child ate so much broccoli that she didn't want any cake!"
Tilly got her arms in the cake, though, and had a little cream beard, so we were quite happy that she was messy enough, and had a little dunk in the paddling pool to clean off.
I made her a little banner the night before, to add a little touch of fancy to a basic IKEA high-chair. A little ironic, it turns out, as I was trying to MAKE her eat cake. Tilly loved the pompoms -- I think it's safe to say she would have eaten one of them if I'd let her.
Tilly opened her presents outside, with the help of some very eager friends. A new talking teapot and talking purse seem destined to become favourites, and Tilly got some lovely dresses and her own apron and rolling pin!
As a little party favour, we gave out miniature paper Polaroid cameras, (which you might remember me mentioning here). Justin's parents kindly dug up their beautiful old Polaroid and brought it along for
me to play with decoration, so it was nice to see the little paper ones next to the real thing.
I made tiny little Polaroid photos to come out of the slots, and Tilly wrote a little message for each of our guests, thanking them for coming.
A simply amazing day, with so many wonderful people to help us celebrate, and a lively little Tilly who couldn't have been happier. Thanks for all your love!