I hadn’t wanted to do anything for Allie’s 1st bday because at this age, she will likely get nothing out of it except a missed nap. I’d rather she take the nap and I’d prefer not to stress about food, guest lists, setup and cleanup, goodie bags, decorations, venue, cost, blah blah blah. My parents offered to bring dinner over on or around Allie’s bday, which falls on Thanksgiving weekend, and bring my grandma who hadn’t seen Allie in awhile, and just have a quiet low-key dinner. That sounded fine.

Then Mr. W got a phone call this weekend from his parents saying that they are planning to drive all the way here from Vegas the day after Thanksgiving (which would be on Allie’s bday) for their youngest grandchild’s first birthday. Mr. W told them we weren’t planning to celebrate it, and they said we have to at least get photos of her having her first cake and getting all messy. Well, if her grandparents are gonna drive all day, how can we not honor Allie’s bday? So it’s going to be my parents and grandma, now joined by Mr. W’s parents, so we have to have the stepkidlets here since we’re doing something now, and the stepdaughter of course would want her boyfriend to be present as he’s usually here in the evenings anyway when she’s home. Mr. W suggested adding his friend Chris and his daughter, and Allie’s nanny Jayne and her husband John, and I vetoed that. Once we start including non-family members, the line gets fuzzier, and we can’t invite Jayne and John without inviting their daughter who still lives at home, and if you invite their daughter who lives at home, you can’t not invite the daughter who doesn’t live at home because they’ll be spending the holiday weekend all together. 10 adults + Allie is a tight enough fit considering we have a dining table that seats 4, but 15 adults and 2 kids? No way. I don’t even know how we’re going to have room to serve dinner as it is, or where we’ll be eating, or when we’ll be eating as Allie goes to bed by 7pm.

Over the weekend, Mr. W and I passed by a party supply store on a walk to the organic grocery store across the street, and we ended up buying a couple of 1st Bday things for Allie. And I’m going to have to make her a smash cake. I found a recipe for a healthy sugar-free (using fruit juice as sweetener) and egg-free banana and applesauce cake which uses wheat flour and I’m going to make her frosting out of cream cheese and beet juice as red dye. I’m going to make 6 small bundt cakes so she gets her own to make a mess with. Flip Flop Girl suggested adding blueberries to increase the cute-mess factor, so I’ll do that. Hope it turns out well. For dinner, I’m not cooking. Mr. W has already ordered 2 fully-cooked, complete prime rib dinners from the organic grocery store for that day, which comes with sides and pumpkin pie.

I’ve also been inspired to pay a professional photographer (or maybe 2) for a 1-year birthday shoot. Jordan (in Florida) has a nurse coworker who’s also a photographer, who did newborn hospital shots of Jordan’s new grandson. I’ve looked at these photos, and because they were SO GOOD, I looked at other photos in this lady’s portfolio (InspireFly Photography is her side-gig). She is probably THE best children’s photographer I’ve seen, based on her work, but she’s too far away. So I started a local hunt. There is a studio in San Juan Capistrano running a promo with a slashed sitting fee on a mini-session of 20 minutes. Prints will probably be expensive, though. And then a social networking friend aware of my search did a public call on her page, and within minutes were flooded with recommendations, one of which was was more forward in responding to an email she left, whom I’d contacted and had emailed me back today with VERY excellent prices. She said she travels, and is willing to come to our house or to a local park for portraits. So I thought, Allie at our lake! How perfect! So I think we’ll do that, too. (I haven’t told Mr. W about that but he basically left all this menial decision-making stuff to me. Hee hee.) Then Allie will get a few posed studio shots, and some live outdoor shots that show more personality (hopefully).
Some people told me to dust off my DSLR camera and shoot Allie’s 1-year photos myself, and I was reluctant because I’m SO rusty (having not taken out the camera since Allie’s birth) that I don’t even remember how to change certain functions on manual mode and will have to crack open the manual again. I feel like I have no business using a fancy camera if I’m gonna shoot on automatic mode. Then I may as well keep using my cameraphone. Nevertheless, I finally got the DSLR out this weekend and did a few test shots.
O.M.G. A running 1 year old? I was in a full-sweat trying to get in front of her so that I didn’t constantly have shots of her side and back. I couldn’t get her to perform on command, either. There is no WAY I can shoot on full-manual for a kid. I’m definitely gonna hand the task to a professional.