Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The BIG Day

Finally, it was the day of Alex's big party. The morning was a little hectic and Alex woke up from his afternoon nap just in time to make us five minutes late to the Fayetteville Athletic Club. We only had thirty minutes to get everything set up in the first place, so that five minutes was sorely missed. I ended up having to delegate tasks and run myself ragged, along with all the other unsuspecting friends and relatives who happened to be early to the party.

Somehow we got most of the decorations up before most of the guests arrived. We were expecting about forty adults and fifteen kids, so we had four large tables with chairs and two kiddie tables with chairs to decorate. We had cowhide-printed balloons anchored by real horseshoes on each large table, with burlap placemats and bandannas full of trail mix as grown up party favors. The kiddie tables had hobby horses, hats, and personalized deputy badges for each cowpoke to take home. Our soundtrack featured a variety of traditional cowboy favorites, including "Home on the Range", "Back in the Saddle", and "I've Got Spurs That Jingle Jangle Jingle", and the cake table featured a selection of framed pictures from another of Aunt Rachel's awesome photo shoots.

I had also commissioned my mom and dad to build some simple sawhorses that we were going to fit with some youth saddles that Tim's parents were bringing up, including Timothy's saddle from when he was little. Of course, in typical Boettcher fashion, they went completely over-the-top and arrived with these awesome saw "horses", complete with realistic heads and faces and curly hair and a tail. The idea was that the all the little cowpokes would don their hats and badges and would be able to "ride" these wooden horses like real cowboys.

When most of the guests had arrived and were standing around the room waiting to be told what to do, I panicked a little, thinking, now what? I had kind of planned on things happening sort of organically, so I didn't really have a "game plan" per se. The FAC had a large maze and a bounce around gym, so we basically told everybody to mill around, check things out, and do whatever they and/or their kids felt like doing. Most of the guests ended up down in the gymnasium, where the smaller kids jumped in the bounce around and the older kids shot hoops or played on the big foam shapes that were scattered around the floor.

We managed to get one big group picture, which I plan on doing every year. Thirty years from now, I imagine Alex would love to see a picture of all the people who were present at his first birthday party.

After the picture, we led everyone back upstairs to the party room for cake. In order to feed fifty+ guests without breaking the bank, we decided to get a large sheet cake with red stars and simple rope trim and writing, and then splurged on Alex's "smash cake", which was airbrushed blue with bandanna details.

Before his birthday, during yet another photo shoot with Aunt Rach, we practiced with a cupcake so he'd know what to do when we put that cake in front of him. It seems that strategy worked because A dove right in like he's been doing it for years, and that cake didn't know what hit it.

Sometime during the cake-cutting process, I looked up to witness Grammy and Cousin Ashley trotting out of the bathroom in inflated horse costumes, handing out plastic horses that my mom had bought as party favors for the kids. Say WHAT??!! It took me a second to figure out what was going on because I seriously had no idea that they were planning this. Apparently, my mom was suppose to have been horse #2, but I was pressed for time and had "roped" her into helping me cut the cake, and she couldn't very well tell me no. Luckily, Ashley was willing to take her place.

I think everyone enjoyed the spectacle, although I was so preoccupied with cake-cutting and distribution that I didn't really get to see everyone's reactions. Alex, however, seemed just as stunned as I was. That Grammy - what a hoot!!

By the time we dove into the cake, we were really crunching for time. It was 5:20, which left about ten minutes for Alex to open a giant pile of presents, and at that time, Alex was still covered head-to-toe in frosting. So we had to improvise, and instead of letting him open his own gifts and going six hours past our allotted party time, we decided to go "shower-style" and open his presents for him. I am such a traditionalist and was kind of sad that Alex didn't open his own presents, but it just wasn't practical. So we tore through those puppies and tried to show Alex each gift as we opened them. He got loads of great stuff, too many things to mention here without forgetting some and then feeling bad about it. I'm sure most of the items will appear in future posts, so I will do my best to "shout out" to the gift-givers as the do.

After all the fretting over Alex's outfit, I don't know that I got a single picture of him dressed for his party. Pretty much the second that he started getting passed around, his hat came off, his boots came off, is bandanna came off, and his adorable leather belt and buckle disappeared under his t-shirt. Most of the guests arrived after he was already discombobulated, so all that work to make him look super cute and cowboy-like was completely in vain. I'm pretty bummed about it to tell you the truth. Luckily, Leah and Ashley snapped a few pictures of him before things got crazy, so there are a couple of good ones of him in his cowboy gear, including this one of him and his Auntie L...

...and this one of him riding a horsie.

We've already decided that from now on, we will be flying Rachel in for every big event that we have to ensure that we take advantage of each and every photo opp. The whole thing was pretty much a whirlwind for me, so the pictures are the only memories I have. It's amazing how reminiscent this one year old's birthday party was to our wedding. It was extremely tedious to plan and execute, it took forever for the day to finally arrive, and then before we knew it, it was over.

When our entourage of helpers were carrying our abundance of decorations upstairs before the party, Timothy overheard an FAC employee say, "Man, that must be one special kid." Yeah, I think that'd be a fair assessment. And as we were cleaning up afterwards, our party attendant said, "If this was just his first birthday, I can't imagine what his sixteenth will be like." I pondered that notion for about a second, then hightailed it out of there to start planning. One can never start too early...


leah said...

LOVED the party.....LOVED the cowboy outfit....LOVE my little corn dog!!! See ya soon!! :-)

Sarah Rose said...

Wow- that looks like the best party ever!! The cowboy theme is so much fun. And Rachel's shoots were hands-down amazing! Happy Birthday Alex!!

grammy said...

What a great post Sarah and what a great party - It was really fun and I'm still in awe at the sawhorses B and Grandpa made!!! And Aunt Rach - amazing pictures!!! Oh yeah, what a great idea to party in Fayetteville. It was so good to see everyone. Love, Love, Love you all!!!!!

hillarykey said...

Wow--so are you getting into the child party planning business? I have a 1 year old party coming up, and I am almost ashamed to say that I haven't really planned much. Loved the photo shoots!! You are one lucky fam. to have a professional in your sis!!

Weems World said...

super cool party mom!! love the new 'do on A. looks like a stud!

Alison said...

Kids birthday parties are my favorite to plan! My best friend uses the party as her gift to her kids...they are always a bash...with about the same amount of people that was at Alex's party.
Looks like you all had lots of fun! Hope Timothy his has a good birthday on Sunday. Next year he should get the BIG party (I only know because my BIG birthday is on July 7th...I'm just a few days older than him)!
Happy 1st birthday Alex!
Happy 29th Timothy!