My sweet Zoe Annalise turned one on Friday, August 19th, 2016.
In honor of this amazing milestone, we had an unforgettable celebration for her on Martha’s Vineyard with our family and friends. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. The birthday party was absolutely perfect. Everyone, especially Zoe’s Grams and Gramps, went above and beyond.
It all starts with a theme.
Every kid’s birthday party needs a theme. Because Zoe is only one, still just a baby, I being her mama, chose the theme for her party. And because we were celebrating at the Vineyard, a¬†mermaid seashell¬†theme fit perfectly.
I didn’t over do the mermaid seashell theme, I mainly included it in the sign I made her.
You can find tons of birthday banners and sign options on Etsy. ¬†However, I thought it would be more special if I made my own sign for Zoe. It wasn’t hard at all. The sign consists of mermaid paper which I found at the Paper Source. The letters to create the word, ONE, I found at Michaels. They were originally white letters, but to add sparkle I wrapped then in gold paper. The gold tassels and twine were also found at Michaels.
Another decoration I made was Zoe’s growth display. This by far was my favorite decoration. It has been absolutely incredible watching Zoe grow mentally, emotionally, and physically. Seeing her evolve has been one of my favorite things about motherhood.
Every month since she was born, I have taken monthly photos to document how much she has grown. By displaying her monthly photos, I was able to share her growth with all of our loved ones.
To make this growth display it was quite simple. I found gold sparkled cardboard numbers at the Paper Source. I hot glued two clothes pins on each number. One clothes pin was later used to attach the number to a twine rope. The other clothes pin was used to hold the monthly photo. Each number was attached to the twine in order, 0 (being newborn) to 12 months.
The color scheme for Zoe’s party was pink, tourquoise, and gold. We purchased balloons in those colors.
The balloons were a big hit for the kids at the party. It was Zoe’s first time seeing balloons. She loved them. All birthday parties need balloons.
PONY and DONKEY ride
One thing about Martha’s Vineyard that not to many people realize is that there are tons of farms.
Grams and Gramps has a good friend who owns a beautiful miniature horse and donkey. So they arranged for the animals to come to Zoe’s birthday party.
When the pony and donkey arrived it was an amazing surprise for Zoe and her 2 year old cousin Stella and 4 year old cousin Fin.
Side note: (Let me explain something quickly. This trip was HUGE for Zoe. Although, she took a short trip to SoBe, Miami, back in February, she was only six months old and most likely doesn’t remember much of it. So this trip was full of a lot of FIRSTS for Zoe. It was a new place, she had never been before, with new people, she was just meeting. At times it was very overwhelming for her, so she wanted my comfort. She actually didn’t really want to be held by anyone else and definitely did not want me leaving her side.)
Sometimes it takes Zoe time to warm up to an idea. Whether that means trying a new type of food, or riding a pony at her birthday party.
So when Zoe first got on the pony she was a little overwhelmed, but then she warmed up to the idea, and actually started to enjoy it.
The pony and donkey were absolutely beautiful and really sweet. They gently trotted around the yard while each child took a turn riding them.
After Zoe took a short pony ride, we set up her bubble machine. Zoe loves bubbles, they are one of her favorite things. Watching bubbles fill the sky definitely put a smile on Zoe’s face.
Food is really important to me. I strive for quality, organic, and local. One of my absolutely favorite things about New England is the fresh seafood, so of course that is what we had at Zoe’s birthday party.
The morning of Zoe’s birthday, Erik went clamming with his brother Ian and cousin Frank to catch some fresh wild clams. They also caught some scallops and the mussels (shown in the photo) were store bought, but also wild caught.
We had clams on the half shell. And the combination of clams, mussels, and scallops made for a perfect pile of steamers.
There was no question… We also had to have a lobster bake. My absolute favorite shell fish. Ten lobsters cooked to perfection, smothered with butter, made for a delicious main dish, potatoes and corn as side dishes.
We also had a watermelon, basil, feta salad that my sister prepared. Watermelon the queen fruit of summer is Zoe’s favorite. The salad was refreshing and put a smile on Zoe’s face.
For those guests that do not eat seafood we had other salads and beef tips.
There was definitely too much food, but something to please everyone’s palate.
The next day we enjoyed a homemade seafood stew. (Side note: it’s always good to have leftovers from a lobster/clam bake, that way you can make a seafood stew or lobster/clam chowder.)
People say… “A baby’s first taste of cake is her first real taste of sugar.”
Zoe took a short nap during dinner. Which made her refreshed and ready for her first real taste of sugar.
Her Grams made three cakes, a Strawberry Shortcake, a Sheet Cake which said Happy Birthday Zoe, and then Zoe had her own personal smash cake.
Zoe loves fresh fruit and she loves bread, (pita, bagels, pb&j), so my thought was she would dig right into the cake. This was not the case.
She actually loved the candle lit on top of her cake…
But the minute everyone crowded around her and started singing happy birthday she cried.
She actually didn’t even like the cake at first, but once she had a few tastes she started to enjoy it.¬†
Zoe loved opening her presents. She was actually able to tear the paper and was curious to see what was inside. She got a lot of fun toys, books, and cute clothes. She is one lucky baby.
We ended the celebration with a bang, literally. August 19th, the Vineyard has a firework celebration similar to the 4th of July. Everyone goes to see the fireworks. We were lucky to be able to watch them on a private beach that belong to the local Boat Club, that way we weren’t smushed in between a mosh pit of people.
Because Grams and Gramp live right up the hill from the town and beach it was just a short walk down East Chop to see the fireworks.
Because we weren’t super close the sound didn’t bother Zoe until the finale. It was so cute watching her eyes get wide as she pointed her little finger to the sky, lit up with colors.
Fireworks was definitely the ultimate way to end our first year celebration together.
This celebration wouldn’t have been nearly as fun, with out our loved ones. I am so thankful to everyone who traveled near and far to be with us at this very special milestone. It was so amazing getting everyone together!
MOTHERHOOD & FATHERHOOD
A friend of mine, congratulated me. She said, “Happy first birthday to Zoe, and to you…happy first year as a mother.” ¬† This reminded me that although, Zoe’s first birthday is an amazing milestone for her, it is also one for Erik and I.
When Zoe was born, I became mama and Erik, daddy. Over this first year, as I took monthly photos to record how Zoe changed, I too have changed, we all have. As Zoe reached each milestone, Erik and I have grown deeper and deeper into parenthood, becoming more and more acquainted with our new roles and identities as mama and daddy.
Motherhood is interesting for sure… but I have never felt more passionate, this confident, this beautiful, this much joy, and I have never felt this much love.
This has been one very special unforgettable year!
Happy Birthday my sweet Zoe!
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