Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Henry's 2nd Birthday Recap

While we're on the topic of Henry's birthday, we might as well chat about his actually birthday parties! 

Yes, the phase "birthday parties" is intentionally pluralized. We purposefully planned two different celebrations to honor Henry's birthday. 

Now that we've lived in Austin for a year, we have a lot more connections. I didn't want to throw a single party and overwhelm Henry with a ton of people all at once. However, I also wanted to invite everyone. The solution was to throw a party on Saturday morning for a couple of his closest friends and to throw a separate party on Sunday afternoon for the adults in our lives whom Henry adores. 

The Saturday morning party was a simple breakfast affair. We made pancake and waffle batter and set up the electric griddle and waffle iron on the table for folks to help themselves. We also offered up blueberries, strawberries, homemade whipped cream, and syrup. Henry helped get ready for his party by making freshly squeezed orange juice. He was also responsible for transferring the goat food into party bags for his friends. 

We intentionally invited only his closest friends in an attempt to keep down the guest list (again, I didn't want him to be overwhelmed by having so many people over at once). The strategy ended up backfiring. Out of the six friends we invited, only one ended up coming. Four of them RSVPed yes, but two of them ended up getting sick, and one of them thought the party was in the afternoon rather than the morning. Luckily, my parents were in town, so there ended up being seven of us all together, which kept the mood festive. 

The morning chill was a little too much, so we ended up having the party mainly inside. Toward the end of the celebration, we took a walk to feed the goats at the little farm in our neighborhood. We were home in time for Henry to go down for his normal nap at 12. It was such a delightful way to spend the morning. 

On Sunday, we invited our friends to a potluck celebration. We met at a random spot down by the lake that has a beautiful metal table (with an artfully crafted metal tablecloth). Henry loves running up and down the hill and watching the train go by on a bridge about 25 yards away.

I was so grateful for our friends who nurture our lives with their company and delicious food: homemade spring rolls, quinoa and spinach salad, whole wheat pasta salad, etc. Matt, Henry, and I provided vegetarian chili (which is thankfully easy-peasy to make) and homemade cupcakes (with two blueberries on top to honor Henry's 2nd birthday). 

The best surprise of all: there was a tractor parked at the bottom of the hill. Henry is quite obsessed with heavy machinery right now, so the presence of a tractor was exactly what that little boy would have wished for (probably even more than a bouncy house!). He got to sit in the tire, and we even climbed up into the seats. He was very sad when it was time to go. 

With our family traditions and rituals, I try to find the right balance between meaning/sincerity/handmade/enjoyment/relaxation. I think we got it right this year. Nothing was stressful and yet it all felt special and festive.

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