Why did I have my heart set on throwing a zebra-themed first birthday party for our little Ian? I’m not exactly sure: I do think zebras are magical and beautiful creatures. Zebras do populate many of his books. And we do wear a lot of stripes around here…But mostly I was thinking that the black and white would make a stark statement and a nice counterpoint to Christmas (something I wanted since his birthday is only three days later.)
As far as decorations, we started with this plush zebra from Lambs & Ivy. He got lots of love before he served as the centerpiece:
We rounded up some little zebra finger puppet books as party favors:
We ordered a palette of wheatgrass from The Little Flower Shop of Nyack – thank you to the very cool and accommodating Leslie for helping us with this:
These little pots brought a fresh element to the table on this wintery day. I found the cloud fabric for the runner on etsy from the Land of Oh.
We tried to not go too crazy with the stripes, figuring that a few touches would suffice (okay, that’s not entirely true – what you don’t see here are the striped plates, striped balloons, and striped napkins…):
We focused much of our energy on the “zebra cake.” I got the idea from Carisa’s Cakes. Hats off to Rob who baked the cupcakes and “sculpted” them into place:
I brought the stripes:
Not sure it was the wisest idea to display this cake on our low surfer table at one year-old party (lesson learned), but thanks to the diligence of the adults in attendance it stayed intact:
I couldn’t resist placing some books in the window sill:
I hung this uber-dorky fact sheet on the wall nearby because, you know, it’s good to learn stuff:
As guests arrived, Ian greeted them holding a toy bottle of whipped cream given to him by his friend Annabel:
We gently requested/suggested that guests wear stripes or black and white and to our delight, most people did! All the kids seemed to enjoy the musical entertainment, provided by Catherine Moon of Moon River Mother and Child. Not only did Ian rock out to the music, he had a good jam session with his cousins Brodi and Bria and also discovered that “drum sticks” can be quite tasty:
Speaking of tasty…
The first “processed sugar” was intriguing indeed…
Gotta mention that the quiche(s) my in-laws, Sandy and Bob made (all six of them) were also delicious and I am pleased to now have the recipe.
One of the greatest moments of the event was when our friend and neighbor, Katie Elevitch, singer-songwriter extraordinaire, surprised us all by performing an original song about Ian. AND she was only a few short days away from welcoming her own bundle into the world. The chorus went: Ian, Ian!/One year old today! /But there’s a million reasons/ To love you every day! Our favorite verse: Ian Ian/ Your name is hard to rhyme /I don’t think mom and dad/ Thought of that at the time! Then she threw out a few possible rhymes: Carribean? Canadian? Oxygen? Utopian? Plebian? Tazmanian? ha!
Though he didn’t have much interest in wearing a hat during the party, these shiny cones provided entertainment for many days to come:
Thank you to all of our friends and family who helped us celebrate Ian’s first year of life and our first year as parents.
On a more somber note, this post is dedicated to my mother Barbara, a.k.a. Granny, who passed away later that night at a hospital in Delaware. Her passing was sudden, shocking, and also not-so-sudden, as the last few years were very difficult for her, mentally and physically. She was an amazing woman who brought so much creativity, love and fun to our lives. These elements were in full effect for birthday parties she threw for my brother and I.
The day ended up containing both light and darkness – lots of joy and then heartache. In retrospect, these opposing emotions are represented perfectly by the stripes of a zebra.