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Thursday, March 3, 2022

A year of Whitney - Celebrating in a Winter ONEderland

On February 24th, we celebrated Whitney's first birthday. It's wild to sit back and think that 365 days have passed since that moment I first saw Whitney. The past year has been filled with ups and downs and I can say with certainty that loving him has changed my life in an amazing way. My fears about motherhood slipped away as I stepped into the new role. I worked hard to ensure I "bounced back" to my physical and emotional self as quickly as I could. I made it my main mission to integrate Whitney into my life, not just change my life to always serve him. Having a child was not a death sentence to my identity, to my body, to my sleep schedule or the way I enjoy life. He enhances my life in a way that is hard to describe, adding another layer to my persona, not stripping some away.

His first birthday felt like such a celebration. You laugh at the "congratulations for keeping him alive for a year" texts but I started to take them to heart. I didn't want to throw a huge party but I wanted something thoughtful that brought my family together to celebrate a year with this darling little boy. As I spent hours making a balloon arch and assembling floating snowflakes to the ceiling, I kept telling myself "It's a party for us too". I put out the popcorn, ordered the pizza, and popped champagne to celebrate the sweetest year of Whitney. 

With a February birthday in New England (and still amidst a pandemic) I felt a little limited on what we could do to celebrate. I wanted a theme, I wanted it to feel like a real birthday party for him and his cousins, and I wanted him to look back one day to see how much hard work and love was put into making this a special day. I didn't want to buy a balloon arch. I wanted to tell Whitney one day how I spent an entire Friday fastening balloons to a floating banner and he giggled and watched by my feet. I didn't want a dozen cupcakes from the bakery, I wanted to laugh at the photos when he's older about the time I tried to make edible polar bears. 

I instantly loved the idea of a winter "one"derland and set to finding the perfect little decorations for the house. Food was going to be easy, pizza and salad, which meant I could go all out on the decorations, the cake, and a few apps.  I found these hanging snowflakes that I quickly assembled and spent the week hanging from the ceiling. I ordered a DIY balloon arch kit and spent a day or two blowing ballons and assembling the arch (not hard, but time-consuming, for sure - a balloon inflating machine is key). I ordered a "O N E" banner from Etsy that I had printed from Staples, and a Winter One Derland balloon set (easily inflated with a straw). For a few last-minute things, I headed to the dollar store where I found plates, napkins, goodie bags and toys, banners, and more balloons. For less than $200 we bought pizza, snacks, alcohol and decor for the sweetest little DIY birthday party. The best part? A lot of the decorations can be reused for winter and every penny was well spent. A winter theme in February - call me geniuis. 

We set up popcorn snowman cups, I made little s'more kits to roast by the fire, the adults enjoyed antipasti skewers, chips, dip, and hot cocoa for all (baileys optional). I made polar bear cupcakes and used mini cake pans to make him his own little funfetti smash cake. The snow was on the ground outside and the fire in the living room was the perfect last touch. It was simple, it was thoughtful, it was everything we wanted his first birthday to be. 

Shopping List

Dollar store Happy Birthday banner and paper goods
Gifted Name Banner
Borrowed wooden disks, and wooden woodland creatures

It was a small party, surrounded by immediate family, but absolutely perfect. Whitney was in heaven, running around playing with his cousins and the look on his face when we all sang him Happy Birthday was one I won't soon forget. I want Whitney to look back at photos and realize how loved he is, how loved he always was.

February birthdays can be a drag, but this winter "one"derland theme with neutral colors and cozy accessories was the perfect way to celebrate Whitney and the year we had. We love you Whitney, can't wait to see what the next 365 brings.

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