Our Superhero Turns One!

It was a bit of a whirlwind planning Colette's party since besides picking a theme and sending the invites, I didn't do any planning until after the boys' party at the end of April. I was a bit partied-out after the boys' bash and had a hard time getting the ball rolling on hers. There are so many ideas for a superhero party, but I wanted it to be a bit girly, but also appropriate for a one year old. It also didn't help that I don't know much about superheros at all -- every party I've planned in the past has been a theme that the boys have been obsessed with for a least a year so a lot of the ideas came naturally. After about a week of being stalled, I finally got on a roll and a lot of the ideas came together.

I fell in love with the idea of a superhero party as it really captures the year Colette has had. I wanted to acknowledge how far she's come but celebrate where she is now and I think I struck the right balance. The side yard, where people came into the party, had the posters I'd made for her NICU graduation party which documented her 114 days in the NICU. On the other wall, I had the monthly photos I took with the number blocks.

Since there were more adults than kids coming, I didn't focus too much on games and activities, but we had the picnic table set up to decorate a superhero mask. The boys helped me make a big spider web and then we used 'spidey' spray (silly string) to spray the web. I also borrowed a tent with balls for a ball pit and then used pool noodles to  make a little tunnel into the tent.

Built by Hans, of course!

The last thing was the photo backdrop which I didn't think was going to come together but ended up working well. We saved boxes for several weeks and then Jessica helped wrap all of them with black craft paper and I made the windows to make them look like skyscapers. We had those all around the party for decor. 

Other decor included sunburst designs with POW, BAM, WHAM etc. written on them and strings of photos from her first year.

For food, I kept it fairly simple and did a veggie tray and fruit options for a 'pick your super power' theme.


For the dessert table, I made a 'cookie cutter' mask out of cardboard and then cut out cookies (couldn't find the right style mask online), designed 'spidey strawberries' using melted chocolate to draw masks on hulled strawberries on a stick, added capes to lolipops and made TNT explosives out of twizzlers. I added some candy dots and rock candy mostly for decoration and then of course had the cake and the smash cake.


In a way I had high hopes for the smash cake since the boys' was the cutest thing ever, but we offered Colette a dessert on her actual birthday and she wasn't too interested so I had a feeling it wasn't going to be a hit. Luckily we put her in her highchair and gave her a burrito first, which she loved, so we got some cute photos of her happily eating that. She was fine for the singing, but wasn't into having a taste and then got really made. We took her out of the highchair and set her on the ground with the cake and she was okay then, though still not really into the cake at all. I even borrowed the photographer friend's adorable vintage baby bath that I put the boys in for after their cake smash but didn't get to use it since she had zero cake on her. Oh well!




It was fun pulling together the other parts of the party as well. For the guest book, we did Oh the Places You'll Go, which we had the nurses and doctors sign before she left the hospital so it was cool to add to that.

NICU graduation board and Birthday board:

Goody bags: POP bubbles, a superhero rubber ducky and a Captain America container with gummies.


Then and Now!
We feel so blessed that so many of our friends and family were able to celebrate the big day with us, even flying in for the weekend (or driving from LA!). It was so special to have everyone who played such an important role in her recovery, whether by treating her, or supporting us, together.

Her NICU primary nurses

In the end, the party itself turned out great, but unfortunately George picked up a bug and started throwing up Friday night while at a sleepover at Ma's hotel. We briefly debated canceling the party, but I had everything ready to go and multiple people were coming in from out of town so even if the party was canceled, we'd still be hosting people in some capacity. Many times with kids, it's a quick bug and thankfully doesn't affect much else. Unfortunately that wasn't case with this one. We now suspect he picked up norovirus at the Discovery Museum the day before because it was quite the domino effect. George stayed upstairs during the party, but we didn't do a very good job about keeping people from coming up to say hi to him. We had Colette's baptism on Sunday morning, which turned out to be a slight disaster since in the end my family didn't even get to attend. We all were feeling fine but because of street closures due to Bay to Breakers, my family missed the baptism. It went fine though but after we brought Colette up from the nursery to get some family photos, she started throwing up in the church. Then I started feeling sick, then William, then my nephews, etc., etc. Thankfully mine was short-lived (maybe a few hours of really being sick) and though Colette was throwing up every 15 minutes for a few hours, she recovered fairly quickly too. We didn't get a single photo at the church or with Colette in her white dress which definitely makes me sad, but I'm SO grateful she didn't start throwing up during her baptism! It was such a special milestone I had been waiting to make official at church and our pastor did a great job of conveying Colette's miraculous journey. It was just disappointing, and a bit embarrassing, to hear how many people ended up getting sick after the party and I feel terrible. If I had known it was so contagious, I never would have gone through with the party, but obviously you don't know and you hope for the best. It will be a memorable weekend to say the least.

UPDATE: Ma did get a few photos!

photos by Alyssa Hunter Photography.
Cakes by Sweet Vanilla Bakery.

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