Planning M2's First Birthday

Jan 26, 2011

My sweet baby boy will be turning one year old next month. I have been having small birthday celebrations for the boys for several years now, with just us and grandparents. My feelings toward birthday celebrations have changed over time and I chose to scale them down in order to shift the focus away from materialism. My original thoughts were that we would have larger parties for milestones, such as the 13th and the 18th. And, honestly, as our family grew bigger, I felt like it was asking too much of our friends and family to attend birthday parties so frequently, not to mention that it gets expensive.

But M2 is my last baby. {Yes, we moved to the other side of the fence on this issue. I still have mixed feelings about it, but that's probably a post of its own. One that I may never write.} And my feelings toward birthdays are shifting again. :) We do not know what our days hold in store for us. As I hear about tragedies befalling families, I feel that we should celebrate the blessings in our life as often as possible. My children are my blessings, so when I have a birthday party for them, it is really for me also. I'm not sure how we'll handle the gift issue yet, but I would like for it to be limited, maybe asking guests to donate to a charity if they choose. We have considered sponsoring a child with Compassion, so that would be one option. I'm also considering just requesting board books because a child can never have too many books. How would you handle it?

Originally, I was going to go with the sock monkey theme because we have always called M2 our "chunky monkey". {He was my biggest baby at 9 lbs, 2 oz and was 21 lbs by 6 months.} I found some adorable printable sock monkey decorations on

But that changed when I was at Target last night. One of our all-time favorite books is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Target carries several TVHC party items, but I only bought the invitations ($3.99 ea) and stickers ($1.59) knowing that I could build on the whole theme without buying the rest. I love the bright primary colors and dots. It's a great theme for boys or girls. You could put more emphasis on the butterfly ending for girls.

I picked out party supplies in matching primary colors and grabbed some dotted treat bags ($1.99/20 ct) and tissue paper ($1.99) that works with the multi-colored dots from the book. I'll probably go back for the matching wrapping paper ($1.99). The yellow circle underneath is a straw placemat ($1.99) that I'll use under the food dishes. I'll need to get some more in red and green.

And, of course, when I got home, I jumped online to do a little research. My first inspiration is the caterpillar cupcake train at Coco Cake Boutique Cupcakes. A woman at church is a cake decorator, specializing in cupcakes, so I may ask her if she can replicate it. If we don't go that route and just do regular cupcakes, I love these cupcake toppers. They should be easy to make using primary colored cardstock and the round stickers from Target. To make the stickers go farther, I think I'll stick them on white paper and copy or scan them onto cardstock. The issue of food is covered in the book: we'll eat what the caterpillar ate. You can see great examples HERE and HERE. The homemade invites I've seen are super cute but I don't have that much time on my hands and they're just going to get thrown away. {Update: I'm going to try to make some poms too.}

Did I inspire you to try your own Very Hungry Caterpillar party for your little one? Check out some other Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday parties to see how other moms pulled it off:

Of course, I'll post pictures of the party when it month. And the next Saturday after M2's party, we're having a skating party for N, who is turning 12. Their birthdays are five days apart and they are my twins separated by 11 years. Same hazel eyes, same light brown hair. And three weeks after that, it will be time for L's fourth birthday. Thank goodness, the next birthday after that isn't until July...When my first-born turns 17!


  1. My Baby J turns 1 too..on the 27th of next month! I was thinking about a teddy bear cake since he has a teddy bear that he loves. But, I am definitely inspired by what you posted! I love the cake and would try to make it myself. I like to look for cake inspiration at We'll have to share pics of our little ones' parties! We usually put all of the presents away except for one and then we bring the other ones out later on in the year. We really like rotating toys out to keep them interesting for the boys. Sorry for my long comment!

  2. Miles was my Valentine's gift last year. :) I have been working so hard to declutter since we moved last spring that I hate the thought of adding more stuff. But I know that people feel like they have to bring a gift. I could probably use your idea with Miles, as little as he is.

  3. First of all, looking at the photo...those are some handsome little guys you got there! So adorable!
    I share your thoughts about scaling down and having more family parties but for my daughter's 16th this past June, I practically begged her to have a Sweet 16 party because I felt it was special and we needed to celebrate it accordingly. She absolutely would not hear of it. She wanted her family only. I've always asked everyone to "Come to our party, but please, don't worry about a gift...your being there to help us celebrate is a gift to us!" It never seems to upset or hurt anyones feelings and has worked out well.

    PS. I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar theme!

  4. Dear Christy, I know how much you would like to scale down the birthday thing but do you know how hard that would be for me......I love you..Maw maw

  5. First of all... WHAT A CUTIE!!!! I love that picture!! My (more than likely) last baby, my first sweet, lovely, also very chunky boy, turned one a few months ago. It was bittersweet, to say the least! I did try to keep the party pretty small, but I went a little overboard from my original plans. :) I LOVE the Hungry Caterpillar theme!

    I'm your newest follower from Swingin' by Sunday! I'd love for you to swing on over to my blog and follow back! :)

  6. Christy my girlfriend has often asked people to bring canned goods instead of gifts to help stock local food pantries. We often have friend parties and specify no gifts please. Not always, but often. When it comes to aunts and uncles & grandparents we offer suggestions but let them do as they wish. They usually will pick up what we suggest or something along those lines. Board books would be great, or ANY books for that matter!

  7. Thank you, ladies, for your comments! I'm going to request no gifts but if anyone insists, then I'll suggest board books.

  8. If you want to see more inspiring TVHC birthday ideas, go to google images and search for "very hungry caterpillar party".


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