Monday, October 4, 2010

Natalie's 1st Birthday Party

I was right that Natalie's party would be more special than her actual birthday at this age. Her party was a big success, with only one hang up.

I spent a lot of free time the week leading up to the party getting the house ready for guests. We usually only have our friends from down the street over, and that is rare. My mother keeps a very clean house, so I wanted my house to be presentable since she only sees my house about once a year. Also, Mike's aunt had never been to visit, so I wanted to make a good impression. I've always felt that company coming is the best motivator for getting the house really clean and I wish we had company more often so that we wouldn't let some things (like the blinds, or the ceiling fan, or the dust around the TV) get so bad. On top of doing cleaning here and there, I also finished up little errands like buying a couple of things and getting various clutter out of the way (returning bottles, recycling plastic bags, bringing clothes to Good Will). So, come Saturday, we didn't have too much left to be done.

My sister and her husband drove up after work on Friday and arrived just after we went to bed, around 1130. In the morning, I got up first with Natalie around 630. Then my sister got up, then Mike, and then my sister's husband. I wanted to jump right into action getting ready, but I'm really the only morning person of the group. I was also the only one who felt there was a lot to do. So, I got myself ready right away, but then we kind of stalled there. My sister and her husband went out to get breakfast (mostly coffee), and Mike vacuumed. I tried to put Natalie down for a nap, but she disagreed. When they returned, we were starting to get things set up. My sister and her husband took of decorating and did a great job with the streamers. It actually looked like we were having a birthday party. I'm not sure what I was doing during all of this - making a salad? Mike was in the shower, so maybe I was watching Natalie? I changed her outfit a couple times before settling on the right combination of clothes. I know that at some point I nursed her and tried to put her down for a nap because she looked tired, but she just cried for about 20 minutes before we got her. It seemed like there was a lot to do and we also got it done late, but its hard to remember what we spent the time doing.

Anyway, fast forward to 11, and my parents and brother show up early since my brother drove. I still didn't have out any of the food. Mike took them into the living room as my sister's husband and I got the food ready in the kitchen. Soon, and also early, Mike's aunt arrived. Then, I got a text that our last guests were arriving late.

This is when the party really seemed to start. After some hanging around in the kitchen where Natalie begged for snacks, we took Natalie outside and she ran around the yard with everyone for a bit. When we came back in, we did a quick Skype call with Mike's mom since she had to go out. So, Natalie opened her first present (with help) and played with it a bit. Then, Mike left to go get the pizza from down the street. I decided this was the best time to try a nap again, but it failed for the third time! I hated her crying like that in general, but it was particularly bad with guests and it being her party. We went and got her again after about 20 minutes. We got her a drink and put on a Yo Gabba Gabba DVD to help her calm down (she was still gasping a little).

Once Natalie was ready, we started on her presents. This took a while since Natalie doesn't really understand wrapping paper yet. She had to get a lot of help from me. My sister and brother helped to open up the packages once they were unwrapped so she could play with the toys a bit as we went. She seemed interested in most everything for a minute, but the big hit of the day was Tickle Me Elmo, which wasn't at all surprising. She hugged and kissed him and laughed. The other big hit during the party was a bag of clothes. She had a blast covering herself with them. After presents, we went downstairs to show the guests the montage I made of pictures and video from Natalie's first year. Natalie meanwhile had fun walking around and trying to go up the stairs. Everyone seemed to like the montage :)

Cake was next. I ran upstairs first to finish getting it set up, then we got Natalie in her seat. She looked confused as we sang to her, but didn't cry. When she got her piece of cake, she liked touching it, but didn't know what to do with it. I had to break off a couple of bites and feed them to her. She then figured it out and enjoyed her cake thoroughly.

After cake, Natalie ran back and forth between the living room and kitchen seeing everyone and playing with her toys. Our friends left and so did Mike's aunt. At that point, Natalie seemed to sense that the excitement was winding down and she started to drag. I finally got her down for a nap. She slept for about half an hour while we chatted in the living room. When she got up, I fed her a snack and she came back out to play. My parents left soon after that and the party was officially over. My mother had already helped cleaning up the wrapping paper, and I started working on organizing the toys and clothes. By the time Natalie went to bed, the house was back in order, though for a while there, it felt like every time I turned around I found another cup or toy or something to be put away.

So, Natalie's lack of a nap was the only problem. I feel a little bad because if I had just not tried to put her down then she wouldn't have had to cry like that, but she seemed tired. She was just too interested in all the guests and such to sleep.

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