It might just be my imagination, but I keep noticing more and more changes in Arlo since he turned 12 months old. Changes in his mannerisms and behaviour that make him seem very much more grown up. He’s not yet a toddler, but I find it difficult to regard him as a baby.
The last week has been a bit of a whirlwind, what with preparations for Arlo’s party, then the actual party, and then the aftermath and week of illness. I’ve been meaning to write about Arlo’s day, but hadn’t found the time until now.
On the morning of Arlo’s birthday, Sam and I greeted Arlo with ‘Happy Birthday’ in his room when he woke and we opened cards and presents.
(Yes, photo evidence that I did eventually get round to putting up the pictures I made out of Eric Carle Gift bags… only six months after I made them).
Cbeebies wished Arlo a happy birthday. I sent this card in a whole eight weeks before his birthday. When did I become such a loser? (Rhetorical question, I’m scared of the answer).
Luckily, I managed to catch it on the PVR, so hopefully we will be able to show him when he’s a bit older.
Sam had a busy morning finishing the food prep for Arlo’s party. He had made the massive pot of chilli the afternoon before, but still had the salsa and guacamole to prepare. We piled into the car along with the crates of beer and wine in the boot, Arlo’s buggy and overnight gear, and a few carefully balanced pots of chilli (I’m surprised my poor burnt out clutch managed to get us up the big hill carrying that load. It was touch and go when I had to stop at the lights and do a hill start).
Inspired by the lovely invite I’d seen a few months ago at Housewife Confidential, I ‘borrowed’ a lot of Kat’s design. The theme of Arlo’s party invite was his favourite things. The idea being that most of Arlo’s guests would recognise either the lizard or the USB lead as items they’d seen Arlo drag around with him at some stage during his first year. To add confusion, he has never shown an interest in the orange thing on the right, that’s just there for fun because its name is Arlo, so it deserved to be included, obviously.
I tried to add a football in there somewhere, but it messed up the proportions in a very In the Night Garden way. Taking this shot was a bit of a palava. I was losing the light and Arlo was removing props as quickly as I was replacing them. He was most amused to see his USB all dressed up for the occasion.
The party was also to serve as Arlo’s Naming Day. Sam didn’t really see any point, but I felt it was important to have a celebration in his name. Unlike me or Sam, Arlo wasn’t going to have a christening. And we hadn’t yet had any sort of ‘welcome to the world’ event for him. We tied it in with his birthday because we didn’t have any free weekends over the summer, and we didn’t want to drag people out for two separate celebrations merely weeks apart.
The party venue was my mum’s house in Richmond. We were so lucky with the weather, it was such a warm sunny day (for October). Having use of the garden meant we had twice as much space as we had planned for, and the children got to try out Arlo’s new slide (a present from his Auntie Zoe). It almost felt like a summer birthday party.
Sam and I were taken aback with the amount of people who came to wish Arlo a Happy Birthday and Naming Day. You never expect everyone you invited to turn up. Arlo is a very lucky boy to have so many caring people in his life. And there were many more who would have loved to celebrate with us, but were too far away to attend.
At one point, I gathered everyone together to suffer the whole ten and a half minutes of the birthday video I’d made.
All guests wrote messages for Arlo in a guestbook, which is going to make a lovely keepsake for him to read when he is older. I’m going to put this, along with the number ‘1’ candle from his cake, and lots of little things I’ve collected from his first year into a memory box. I can hear Sam laughing already, and Arlo probably will too when he is older. But hey, at least I will enjoy it, someone’s got to be the sentimental one in this family.
Now, onto a serious topic….the cakes. Both made by my lovely friend Lorna, of Lorna’s Cakery fame; a delicious chocolate cake for the masses, and a special little vegan cake for Arlo to eat all by himself.
He had been having a post-nap whinge…
But all whinging ceased as soon as the first bite reached his mouth.
He loved his first ever taste of cake.
He made a big ol’ chocolatey mess, exactly how it should be done on your first birthday.
The birthday boy was on great form for the duration of his party. Which was incredible, seeing as he usually moans at big social situations, and seeing as he was at the tail end of a monster cold and was about to fall ill with Slapped Cheek the next day. In between illnesses, his birthday was the one day where he seemed to be in full health.
Sam, Arlo and I had a wonderful day, and not to mention the best year ever.
(Even though Arlo’s face in this photo would tell you otherwise, he really was having fun….I promise!)