It was the perfect respite from what has seemed to be an unrelenting winter, the corners of our yards still covered in snowy peaks, the blustery wind still chilling the air to far too low of temperatures.
But we found it. A place to retreat from the bitter cold and steady wind. A place we could take our bikini clad bodies and swimmer-diapered babies to splish and splash for Brayden’s first birthday bash… one of the things we KNEW our little one year old enjoys, splishing and splashing. He had a party, a celebration of life, and everything was just as it should be.
There was music playing and a gathering of littles dancing around blue and orange beach balls, sunglasses and bubbles, squirt guns and sand pails, sweet and sticky things, blue and white striped beachy things, bright orange things, happy things and oh so many perfect little summery things.
We talked and laughed, ate Poolside Sliders and Gnarly Noodles while we sipped our sodas through fish straws floating on sweet doughnut innertubes to the background noise of littles’ laughter and squeals of delight, and it was… just right.
And though I’m sure his twelve month old comprehension didn’t get the full magnitude of what this day meant to us, that one year separates us from that amazing day he was first placed in our arms… he knew. He knew the attention was for him and he soaked it all in. He knew he was surrounded by the people he loved and the things that put a smile on his face, balls and bubbles and pools and happy little faces.
It wasn’t too hot or too cold, too lumpy or too soft, too much or too little. For our little Bray-man, for the calm contentment he felt, the pride he showed, the smiles he gave, the tentative way he poked at his cake and sucked every bit of sugar off of his fingers before poking at it again (so unlike the way his big sister face planted into her first birthday cake), everything was just as it should be.
I’m so grateful for the magic of that special day. For the party guests who lavished our littlest with love, whether they knew what it means to me to celebrate life, or not. For every scrunch-nosed smile Brayden gave me. For every echo of laughter that bounced it’s way through the pools, lazy river and water slide. For everyone who helped me make the day what it was… perfect.
My favorite moment? When the party went and one-upped itself as we yelled out, “Time to swim!” The room filled with the rousing sound of chaos as littles squealed and ran in circles on top of each other until we directed them down the hall and through the double doors, where the classic pool scent and large sound-reverberating walls welcomed us. I literally had to peel the birthday boy off of his new car and out of his clothes, against his will… until he saw the familiar blue mirror of water. Something he knows so well. His excitement spread clear from his hands through to his feet as his arms waved and feet went a kickin’.
These handsome fellas belong to Ashlee.
And this big slide daredevil is Gerri’s boy.
We had a party for our boy. And it was just right.
Venue:: Heartland Aquatic Center
Cake:: Custom Cake Designs
Mini Doughnuts:: Dough a Deer
Beach Balls:: pooltoys.com
Pails:: shindigz.com (painted by my dear friend Christina)
Bubbles, and other party favors :: Oriental Trading
White photo frames (menu frames):: Ikea
Photography:: Relish Studios
Birthday Boy’s Shirt:: My friend Ruby
Happy Birthday Banner:: Bayou Moon
Water and Crush Labels:: Onlinelabels.com (designed and printed by me)
Fish Straws:: Birthday in a Box