I can’t believe it’s been a year! Beyond the fact that my son morphed from an amphibian-like newborn to a caveman toddler in 365 days, I can’t get over the fact that I’ve survived and kept him alive through all of those changes! Rookie Mom’s Challenge #52, “Celebrate Your Way” is aptly named – I’m a firm believer the first birthday party is truly for the parents, not the child. (Although I’m hoping someday my son Eli will look back at the photos and believe it was all out of love for his tiny little self that we threw a huge bash, rather than his mother’s self-indulgent tendencies…)

My husband and I decided to throw a pretty big party for our little one year old, inviting lots of our family and friends to help us celebrate one year of parenthood, er, Eli. Okay, both. But mostly parenthood. Let’s be real.

While we had lots of family staying in town for his party, it was pretty quiet the morning of his birthday, so we filmed waking him up (the CUTEST) and then threw balloons into his crib to celebrate. He LOVED it. They were a huge hit and we had so much fun watching him beat and play with them. Of course, I watched him super carefully to make sure nothing popped to protect him from swallowing any balloon parts and we had a blast throwing them in the air and watching them fall.

Crib balloons, a sweet surprise. First birthday parties are for the parents #rookiemoms #babies #birthday

Our party was scheduled after most children’s afternoon naps, from 4:30-7 p.m. and we ran it open house style. We had lots of young families coming, so we wanted to be sure they felt comfortable to come and go as they pleased. Since we hosted it at a community center, I and a few other people ran over a few hours before the party started to get everything set up and ready to go. Eli stayed home with Grandma to get his beauty rest, with firm instructions to be dressed and at the party by 4:30 p.m. (Seriously, planning this thing felt like I was planning a mini wedding and Eli was the bride.)

We kept everything super simple at the party, no real program and we also asked for no gifts – so there was no formal opening ceremony, but people were generous enough to still allow Eli to make out like a bandit. And to my surprise Mike and I were gifted with a few things as well. From wine and beer to movie tickets, people were so thoughtful to include us in the gifting (And they apparently share my view that the party is really for the parents. Right on.)

First birthday parties are for the parents #rookiemoms #babies #birthday

We did gather everyone together for about 10 minutes, and my husband gave a short little speech thanking everyone for coming to the party and he said some super sweet things about Eli and me.

First birthday parties are for the parents #rookiemoms #babies #birthday

Then before we knew it, it was smash cake time! Eli has a mild obsession with his pointer finger, so there was lots of that going on, poking and prodding the cake before he actually took a taste.

First birthday parties are for the parents #rookiemoms #babies #birthday

First birthday parties are for the parents #rookiemoms #babies #birthday

His cousin also jumped in there to give a play-by-play of Eli’s pointing and to let everyone know ten times over that it was Eli’s birthday. Which really meant, “Aunt Laura and Uncle Mike’s celebration of parenthood,” of course.

SMASH CAKE: First birthday parties are for the parents #rookiemoms #babies #birthday

All in all, the day was so fun and the time and energy to plan his party was totally worth it. I truly do hope Eli looks back on these photos someday and does see how much we loved him, even as a destructive, incoherent, unintelligible, adorable, sweet, sensitive toddler. On the surface, the party may have been to celebrate our survival as parents, but it would have never happened had this little boy never come into our lives – giving us so much joy, delight and happiness – and that’s what we were really celebrating.

First birthday parties are for the parents #rookiemoms #babies #birthday

Rookie Moms Challenges -- weekly adventures for moms and babiesFind more baby activities with the 52 weekly rookie mom challenges.

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Thanks to Walmart.com for sponsoring this Rookie Moms post. Tracking Pixel

Baby Shower Game Idea | Rookie Moms
At my sister-in-law’s baby shower, we played a new-to-me game that everyone seemed to enjoy. At least, I thought it was a clever way to pass the time with a lot of women I didn’t already know. Bonus points that this hands-on activity didn’t require anyone to be crafty, AND IT WAS SO EASY TO SET UP! All that’s needed for the Guess What’s In The Bag baby shower game is:

  • a supply of brown lunch bags
  • print-outs of the guessing sheet
  • a wide variety of small, low-cost baby items

Before the shower
Fill the mystery bags. The shower hostess will place one item, such as a pacifier, bib, or packet of wipes, into each paper bag and seal it with tape or staples (or bows if you are really fancy). Twelve bags seem like the right number, but you can decide. Each bag needs to be labeled with a large numeral. Done.

Baby Shower Game: Guess What's In the Bag

Pro tip: Hostesses who are moms themselves may use items they find around their own house. If you’re out of the baby stage, scoop up all of these things at a mega baby storeand, hey Walmart.com is sponsoring this post! – and gift them to the new mom at the end of the shower.

Print the game card. The guessing sheet should have a spot for the guest’s name and a line for each bag, ie 12 numbered lines if you’re following my directions. You can use this printable or make your own.

Place all the filled paper bags, blank guessing forms, and some pens in a large basket or tub so that you can easily bring them to the baby shower.

During the shower
Distribute print-outs and pens the guests. Then, pass out the sealed bags, instructing everyone to feel (without opening) what’s in each bag and write their guess down on the numbered line corresponding to the bag they are holding. Help everyone circulate the bags until the guests have completed their sheets.

How to: Baby Shower Guessing Game

This is not for a grade, so let the crowd self-correct or trade papers with a neighbor to score the sheets. The expectant mom can rip open the bags to reveal the answers. Provide a simple prize, such as a frame or a box of chocolates to the winner.

I’ve been known to force everyone at Heather’s baby showers to hand paint a onesie, which results in a few groans of “I’m not creaaaaative….” This baby shower activity, on the other hand, can include all guests, including men and children.

I am blogging on behalf of Walmart.com and received compensation for my time, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Walmart’s. Shop online and save money to live better at http://www.walmart.com.

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Tech Tuesday: Clever home screen for people who are likely to lose their phones

April 22, 2014

“I’m prone to losing things,” said a mom I sat next to yesterday at the park, and then she proceeded to tell me about driving away with her cell phone on the roof of her car. I can relate, and I’m quite surprised that I have not lost a cell phone yet. Except in my […]

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Activity #11: Interrupt someone’s work day

April 21, 2014

When your partner works on the other side of a toll bridge from your home, visiting him at work costs a minimum of $5.00. But still, it’s an adventure worth doing. I think it’s feasible for most professions, but feel free to let me know if you are someone for whom this suggestion is ridiculous. […]

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Flashback Friday: Whitney was my pregnant bridesmaid

April 18, 2014

Whitney is about six-months pregnant in this picture; I’m sure she could tell you the exact number of weeks and days. Little did I know that two weeks later I would be pregnant, too!

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Stuff rookie moms should know about (April 2014)

April 17, 2014

This post contains affiliate links. I used to do these link round-ups all the time but sort of fell off the wagon. Forgive me. * I was charmed by the appearance of this new book, Petit Collage, which provides instructions and templates for 25 home decor projects like this adorable mobile. * Baby Mum Mums, […]

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Taking my baby (and dog!) to the store {Rookie Moms Challenge #5}

April 16, 2014

First, before I get into my challenge recap, let me just say that being a mom is the absolute best thing ever! I am so in love with Garrity and absolutely treasure every moment that we have here at home together. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect little girl! So here we go, challenge […]

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Online doctor’s appointments are my new favorite thing (Sponsored)

April 15, 2014

Thanks to American Well for sponsoring this Rookie Moms post. Waking up and realizing you have pink-eye/strep throat/a bladder infection is immediate license for a pity party, right? Not only am I suffering from some horrendous malady, but seeking treatment looms as an obstacle that will derail my whole day. That’s the first scenario in […]

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Activity #10: Plan a mom’s night out

April 14, 2014

This week’s challenge is to organize a Mom’s Night Out with some girlfriends. Go somewhere you used to enjoy in your old life. Book the time on your calendar and try to make it a recurring event (like every third Thursday or second Tuesday) so you and your pals (and all your respective partners) can […]

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My amazing post-baby manicure {Rookie Moms Challenge #8}

April 11, 2014

Is it wrong that painting Riley’s feet had me skipping ahead directly to the mama-deserves-a-pedicure paint my own toes challenge? Well, it was truly out of my hands. It just happened to be my birthday and I was kidnapped by a friend who must be a mind reader. She treated me to a pedi AND […]

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How to have the best day ever with my two-year-old

April 10, 2014

If you ever find yourself saying, “Look there’s a choo choo!” whenever you see a train — even to an empty car, then I’d bet good money that you have a toddler with a train fixation. Or is it just me who points out large vehicles to only myself? I’ve noticed that Sawyer’s passions are […]

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Frozen birthday party ideas

April 9, 2014

Last night I made the possible mistake of inviting my kids to help me brainstorm what a Frozen-themed birthday party might look like. This morning I learned that Scarlett took that as a cue to start making her guest list — and her birthday is not for three months. Though I may have signed up for […]

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