Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cupcake Central

Cupcakes were the theme for Larren's very first birthday party. There was just SO MUCH more I could have done with this idea... but I kept things quite simple and went for the "clearly homemade" look!

We decided to hold Larren's party at a nearby hotel for several reasons:
1. We have a very "quaint" house... and the thought of fitting 25-30 people in our home would be a FAR stretch indeed!
2. Our garage is a little on the chilly side at the moment... so moving the party in there might have been a good recipe for frost bite!
3. It's winter and we thought the kiddos would love to take a dip in the pool while the snow flies around outside!
4. It was super cheap to rent the facility for the whole afternoon/evening...
so all in all it worked out quite nicely!

We started the party off with some swim time. The kids were thrilled, and a handful of adults even donned their suits and jumped in as well!!

Larren is no stranger to pool life, and couldn't wait to get her little piggies in the water!

Though Jon did mention that her grip was a little on the tight side of the spectrum!

It never fails... "water gulps" are sure to happen a time or two...

but our birthday girl didn't let that keep her down!

Our little Larren love!

Enjoying some pool time with Nana and Pops!

Her little "HEY, it's YOU again!" face just makes me smile!

Alia is a huge fan of the water, and had been looking forward to swimming ALL week! Between Jon, Uncle Brad, and Nana and Pops she had many opportunities to practice her swimming!

Here are two of Alia and Larren's good friends enjoying the water too!

The "non-swimming" party guests, chatting it up pool side!

Speaking of party guests... check out this little cutey patootie! I tell ya... those cheeks just get me every time!

After the kiddos were all wrinkled and pruney, we went to the meeting room for the rest of the shin dig.

Here's the homemade banner that I made for Larren. I gathered some old scrapbook paper one evening, made a template, went on a cutting and glueing spree... then voila! My mother in law helped string the cupcakes together - and I honestly think that was the hardest part!! Sorry, and thanks again, Mom!

Since the theme was cupcakes we had... well... cupcakes for dessert! We kept it low key and just added three different sprinkle options for interest... rainbow, chocolate and clear sugar sprinkles- though the rainbow ones were clearly the winner with the youngsters!
...the cupcakes before transport...

... all safe and sound at the party...

For Larren's special cake I made a giant chocolate cupcake with chocolate sprinkles. Again... think HOMEMADE!! :)
...the cake before transport... one piece :) at the party...

For favors, we continued on with our birthday tradition of sugar cookies that coordinate with the party theme. We "matched" the cupcake shaped cookies to the real cupcakes and again went with three different sprinkles options.

Alia and I made the cookies ahead of time... and then we had an "icing party" when Jon's mom was here! Jon and Jeannette sure can bust a move with the royal icing, I tell ya! I really enjoyed this time together... just chatting and laughing at each persons mistakes! As Mom said... our mistakes keep us from feeling superior... and well... our cookies sure were proof of that! Thanks again J and J... I really appreciated you help and our fun evening together!

We had a simple "faspa" meal consisting of buns, jam, butter, cheese, pickles, chips and veggies.

**For those of you who don't know what faspa is, it is basically a Sunday meal consisting of food that doesn't need to be cooked and/or can be prepared the day before. The tradition stems back from the old Mennonite days when there was no meal prep allowed on Sundays... so buns, cold meat, cheese, veggies, etc. etc. were usually on the menu. Just a little piece of Canadian trivia for ya!**

Larren really enjoyed the meal... can ya tell?!

Okay, so the original plan was for Larren to dive into the massive cupcake... BUT... from the very moment she layed eyes on the cake, she was skeptical!

Some serious coaxing had to be done before she would even touch the thing!

We thought frosting would just be aflyin' from the get go, so we suited her up from "head to toe"... but in the end the massive mound of frosting was a no go, and she simple preferred a regular sized cupcake instead!

The other kids would have GLADLY dove into the large cake on Larren's behalf... but they too settled for little ones... with rainbow sprinkles of course!

On to present opening! Now, let me just explain that we ALWAYS write "No gifts please!!" on our invitations! We feel that our friends already have enough stuff to worry about, and buying for/spending money on our kids shouldn't be one of them! We still want the girls to have something to open at the party, so we bring our gifts along, BUT... there's usually a rebel or two in the group who just can't help but do a little spoiling! :) And the girls are happy to oblige!

This was the scene for a large part of gift opening time!!! It's just so hard for the other kids to sit back and watch when there are perfectly good presents to open! :)

Alia took it upon herself to make sure there was never a halt in production... she knows that the sooner the gifts are opened, the sooner she can play with them too!

By the last couple of gifts Larren was really starting to get in the groove... literally! The new guitar/violin that Alia gave Larren sent her little hips a-wiggling and her arms a-waving!

She went home with a couple worship CD's, a new book, a new puzzle, a sock monkey, a bath toy, a guitar/violin, some snacks, and some gift cards/money! We are just so blessed by people's generosity... even when we tell them NOT to be generous!! :)

And since we have very FEW pictures of the four of us together... here's a couple of us as a family.

Thanks again for snapping a couple pics Tanya!

As I looked around the party room, I couldn't help but tear up! Every single one of the people there have made us feel like family and have welcomed our girls with opened arms! I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude, joy, and love as family/friends came together to celebrate this lovely gift of a girl that the Lord has given us!

It's been a roller coaster year since Larren arrived... but my oh my, we are beyond thankful that she is in our lives! Every. single. day. we are blessed by her and her big sister! Kids are proof that our God is good and we'll celebrate that any chance we get!

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