Post Written by Lilly
I’m writing to you today from some alternate reality where my tiny surprise-baby miracle-daughter is five years old.
For some reason, this was always such a distant future and major milestone for me when she was a baby! Five years old – leaving the entire baby/toddler/preschool phase behind for little girl life. To make the milestone even sweeter, we added another little bundle of love to our family last year when my sister had a baby girl. Both girls’ birthdays fall during the week of Christmas. To celebrate them both and their milestone birthdays, we combined a big fifth birthday party with a big first birthday party! The party was also a reason to open our new house to a few of our daughter’s school friends plus our adult friends and family. It was also a relaxed, daytime holiday party – with a kangaroo (spoiler alert!).
The best thing I did in prepping for the party was to send a random-feeling email to my friend Kelli at Nine Photography and ask if they might be around and up for shooting a kids’ party – they were! Knowing that Nine Photography was at the party, everyone in my family was able to attend the entire event without needing to keep their phones nearby for photos the whole time – and so they were able to participate in every moment while still knowing they would enjoy the photos for a lifetime (and that the photos would be awesome). I hope you enjoy this snippet of Kelli’s beautiful work – all the images in this post were taken by Nine Photography.
I turned to my ever-faithful Etsy for Beatles themed party invitations that got everyone into the spirit!
With the Christmas decor already up at our house, I wanted something that would excite our guests as they walked up to the house – and also something that would help them find us, since we had recently moved and it was the first time here for many of them! I considered using one of the companies in Dallas that create gorgeous turnkey balloon installations for parties but I happened to find this balloon arch kit on Etsy. It’s a hilarious-to-me observation that we’re all going this buck-wild on balloon displays these days, but why not – especially since the price was fair? Balloons are awesome, most especially in beautiful rainbow colors draped across an entry way. Party on.
This sounds a little crazy now, but a few years on a Facebook resale group a Mom was selling some adorable wooden signs with Beatles song titles painted on them, along with some other Beatles party decor. Our entire family loves the Beatles (my Dad played Here Comes the Sun and Back in the U.S.S.R. on the way to school every day for two straight years when we were in high school – without explanation now that I think of it, but that’s beside the point). I originally planned to use the signs for our girl’s second birthday party (that I never threw) – but everything happens for a reason, and it was the perfect theme for our family’s double-birthday!
Abbey Road continued from outside our front steps into our entry with a crosswalk I made by taping black plastic table-covering sheets over our entry tile and taping white cardboard crosswalk panels on top. The Union Jack flag helped set the tone and gave a proper backdrop for guests to take photos walking Abbey Road – with or without shoes, of course.
While looking for similar craft ideas online, I found a Yellow Submarine felt tablecloth concept someone had made. My girl and I had a blast going to the craft store to get big pieces of felt – and then we cut and glued with hot glue the layers together to create the tablecloth below the Sunday before her party. I try not to “over-craft” for a birthday party where I’m likely to be tired (or over it) by the end of the party. There’s such a balance between getting into a vibe versus going overboard and risking being burnt out! This tablecloth was the perfect thing to drape over our dining room table to help the theme along – and it added some anticipation for both us as we were coming up on our big day. I loved making it together and I added the paper flowers around the back to femme it up for our birthday as a tribute to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, “cellophane flowers of yellow and green, towering over your heads.”
Everyone loves a delicious and beautiful theme cookie at a birthday party, which can be very tricky to find gluten-free – especially in December when the bakers are also slammed with holiday orders! Thankfully, Nancy’s Sweets was available and down to experiment. I Amazoned her (it’s a verb, get on board) my go-to gluten-free flour substitute which she used for the most adorable little-girl Beatles cookies (and smash cake) of all time.
Since this was the first party we’ve hosted at our home, I had never booked “entertainment” before. Enter The Creature Teacher – who had the draw of being able to move inside if it was too cold, with Markus gently reminding me that the number of people I had invited wouldn’t fit in the house if it was too cold anyway.
Our handler brought five animals that Heidi hand-picked to show everyone out of the huge selection they have available. At Heidi’s school they are still talking about The Creature Teacher!
I was originally going to rent a bounce house so kids could jump and dance to Beatles music. I am so happy we went with The Creature Teacher instead, especially with hard-to-predict December weather – and even at a party with a lot of adults, where it was tough to tell who was enjoyed the animals more – the parents or the kids! The Creature Teacher should definitely host happy hours.
Nothing says “my parents are making up for my birthday falling on Christmas Day every year” quite like a live kangaroo jumping around your backyard.
This is my sister and I with our birthday babies. Growing up, we played with baby dolls almost every day. It was so surreal to plan this party and share this moment with her! It felt like another one of our pretend days from when we were kids ourselves. Also – LOOK AT THAT BABY, I CANNOT BELIEVE IT IS I WHO HAS BEEN CHOSEN TO SPOIL THAT BOO-BOOS.
Heidi’s cake request was for one that she and I baked together at home, which I was happy to oblige.
I know I’ll never forget this day and also that I’ll remember these adorable little personalities on our precious girls at these ages so much better with such cute photos and memories of them interacting with the party. Grandparents, parents and little kids all enjoyed being in Beatlemania for a day, remembering that All You Need Is Love!
With that said, I already need a theme to top this one next year! Hit me with your favorite theme below!