October 26, 2015

Lesson 223: Ford's First Birthday Party

A year has passed, and my sweetest ball of extroverted energy has officially turned one! What a full, happy, tiring, wonderful year it has been.

To celebrate, we threw a party as usual. The theme? Well, it's a bit complicated.

You see whenever our children are young, we choose for them.

Duh. Otherwise, every party would be themed, "Mama. Dada. Mo. Blah, blah, blah." And none of these are good baby birthday party themes.

We try to think of images or ideas that make their baby faces light up. For Samara this was a rainbow, and for Hudson, a bear. But with Ford, we were a little stumped. Not because he doesn't have favorites. He does. It's just that his "favorite thing," the one his face just beams with joy every time he sees it, is kind of interesting.

I had an idea brewing in my mind for a while, but wanted to clear it with the fam before we went ahead with it. So at dinner one night, I brought up the topic, and said, "What kind of birthday party should we have for Ford? What is his favorite thing in the whole world?"

Without hesitation, Samara exclaimed, "People." And I about jumped out of my seat, because that is exactly what I had been thinking. 

Ford loves people, and so the only way to ensure he had the happiest of birthdays was to invite a whole lot of 'em to his party.

Good news friends, we know people. Oh yeah! My husband is a campus minister, and so we basically spend all our time just getting to know people. People who love babies. And people that like free food.

Yup, we invited all of RUF Winthrop to Ford's party, which was a super fun thing to do!

In order to make the invite large, I had to make the promises of sustenance small. No massive spread of specialties. No chicken salad, couscous, fruit salad, crescent roll bonanza. Nope, none of that. Not even pizza.

Just cupcakes.

But, in my defense, there were a whole lot of cupcakes.

Dutch Chocolate. Vanilla. Red Velvet. Funfetti!

And lots of icing options.

Whipped Creme Cheese. Caramel. Strawberry. Chocolate. Funfetti!

And lots of toppings.

Andes Mints. Oreos. Sprinkles. Peanut Chips. M&M's. Marshmellows.

Fun! Fun! Fun!

The party was great. We had perfect weather, students showed up, and a baby smashed a cupcake in his face. Nana and Papa helped out, Taylor Swift had us Shakin', and the older brother hid all baby brother's presents.

What more could we have asked for?

It was also special for us that our students came to this party, because turns out the guests of my children's first birthday parties have always reflected the group of people that have really helped Mark and I survive the first year.

For Samara, that was my family. My parents and brothers and extended aunts and uncles and grandparents, who surrounded us in so many ways during the crazy months of Samara's birth and my subsequent illnesses.

For Hudson, that was our dear seminary friends. Those precious people, who threw parties to celebrate "A Boy" and brought treats to the hospital, and who helped us deal with a baby ... and seminary! Oh my!

And for Ford, it's our students. And our intern, Jaimie. And our not-students, but used to be students, but now you're all grown-up and graduated, but we still love you type people.

These ones, who first met me when I was pregnant with Ford, and said excellent things like, "You do not look seven months pregnant!" These ones, who walked slowly with me through the apple orchard, because what 8 months pregnant mama doesn't want to go apple picking? These ones, who held my baby when he was teeny, tiny, and told me that, "He is the cutest baby in the whole world! No, but ... for real." These ones, who gifted me with Winthrop onesies and other sweet lovies! These ones, who carry my baby around every function ... or spend their time coloring and playing games with his older siblings!

These ones (particularly male ones) who immediately have a baby thrown into their arms the second they admit to never holding a baby before. (Here at RUF Winthrop we're big on life skills.)

These ones who have just loved my family in every way ... and have helped us survive our first year!

We are so grateful for you all and were happy to spend such a special day in our lives with you!

In conclusion, I want to share a quick list with you. At his party, I passed a sheet around that said "Favorite Ford Moment," because I'm super cheesy and I like party games. Here are the responses.

"When we fell asleep in my arms at Fall Conference!" - Senior Guy

"Showing Ford how to draw." - Graduated Girl

"The first baby I held." - Senior Guy

"You are happy Ford." - Kindergarten Sister

"I taught him to throw things yesterday." - Senior Guy

"Holding him to meet new friends." - Junior Guy

"When he stole my phone and banged it against his head for a solid 15 minutes." - Freshman Girl

"I'm convinced he tried to murder me yesterday." - Freshman Guy

"That moment at Fall Conference when we threw rocks and hung out under large oak trees." - Junior Guy

"He is always happy ... and he tried to give me chewed up apples on family day." - Junior Girl

"When he smiles and wiggles to Shake It Off!" - Intern

"He is happy." - Kindergarten Sister

Y'all. Clearly Ford has made an impact in this first year of life!

We love you, sweet boy!

Lesson Learned: They say it takes a village to raise a child. They don't define "village." I think that's ok.

P.S. At the end of the day, we found out the presents weren't the only thing big brother was hiding ...

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