15.09.2015. Forever My lucky numbers.
I can’t believe our Baby Luca is one already. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that a year has passed since they handed me that wrinkled little ball of peach fuzz and told me he was mine. I remember staring at him in complete awe, and being amazed at just how naturally he lay in my arms. He didn’t cry or squirm. He literally just chilled there. And although the idea of holding a newborn once terrified me, I wasn’t scared one bit. On the contrary, I was fulfilled.
I’m not going to preach to you about what an easy breezy year it’s been. I feel like I’ve climbed mountains, ran marathon after marathon and jumped over a thousand hurdles and perhaps dodged a shooting squad of bullets. And I feel like I’ve come out of it winning gold. Not because I did so good, although I hope I did. But because he’s my trophy. I’ve grown ten years older in his one year. And I’ve gone from being known as a master procrastinator to the queen of multitask.
And now enter a whole new ball game. As his first birthday approached, I was both excited and slightly confused as to what sort of celebration I would put together. I wanted to keep it simple and fun. I mean let’s face it; as many times as we tried to sing him Happy Birthday in the lead up to his big day, homebaby had no idea what the hell we were doing, but like a good sport he’d sing along. (He now thinks it’s one of his lullabies by the way) But I knew this celebration was more for our supportive family and friends, it was our way of collectively patting ourselves on the shoulder and saying- you did well, he’s turned out okay- so far…
The jungle theme was a no brainer. There was nothing Baby Luca loved more than animals. He can mimic the sounds they make and is totally mesmerized when he spots one on television. I struggled to find a theme that wasn’t overdone in Lebanon let alone a complete set which was quite disappointing, so I had this one brought in from Toys “R” Us, in Dubai. I found everything from the tableware set, hanging cutout streamers, decoration, themed invitations. The color palette was just perfect and easy to work with.
My set-up required a spacious grass lawn and so throwing it at our mountain house was the obvious choice. It was an intimate gathering with only ten kids below 4 years of age, so I wasn’t worried much about entertainment or animations. Instead, I installed a blow-up pool, filled it with small balls and balloons ( it was a HUGE hit) bought some hoola hoops and balls, a single-swing and a bubble machine. I also bought a set of ten toddler chairs and a table which I set up for the little ones to eat on and hang out. I love it cause I’ll be using it for all of Baby Luca’s guests.
This was an easy selection. Toddlers are fairly simple eaters and so I went with the obvious choice. Finger food such as freshly baked mini-pizzas, zaatar, halloumi, mini-burgers and mini-sandwiches. The mini-sandwiches were a selection of cheese and cucumber as well as ham/turkey and cheese. To go with the jungle theme I had them displayed into two large baguettes carved into a crocodile and a turtle. The kids loved them and they got them excited about eating, which I’m learning is a good thing.
The Sweet Table
From my many previous posts and celebrations I’ve shared here, you know by just how much this part means to me in any occasion. Why? Because it’s the table that guests gather around, and well let’s face it, it’s so pretty it serves as the perfect backdrop and is one to get photographed the most. I think I can also safely say if children appreciate anything, it’s candy and cake.
When I envisioned a children’s party I thought of giant lollipops and lots of candy, the sort you would find at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and so I thought of one place that would do the trick for me, Candylicious from Dubai Mall also available in Yas Mall Abu Dhabi. It’s a premium candy store that carries a collection of some of the world-famous candy and chocolate brands. I found swirly multicolored lollipops that I was able to get hand-custom designed with Luca’s name on using spun candy. The service is super convenient and you can watch as they do it in front of you on the spot. I also found chewy marshmallow like animal-stacked pops which I paired with the lollipops on two logs we transformed into lollipop stands on the table.
As for the cake, jungle animals also made a huge appearance, I turned to Secrets this time and they did not disappoint. The colors I selected were gorgeously pigmented and the animal marzipan on the cake were absolute crafted to perfection, almost too good to eat. I actually saved up what’s left of them and froze them for keepsake. I chose a chocolate interior, because well… chocolate!
I’m big on balloons right now. Actually ever since the Tiffany Blue ones made such an impact on Luca’s Baptism Lunch. Always the missing touch, they can really transform any setting into a magical one. My favorite and most creative balloon folks over at Mega Toy Store in Sahel Alma did not disappoint once again. They designed an stand-alone arrangements with letters of his name and also another large one encompassing the whole theme and colors.
And finally Baby Luca, his full outfit was from Baby Gap and his sneakers are by Adidas Marvel Avengers edition. To say he had a blast, would be an understatement. We thought he wouldn’t get it but he did, he sure knew it was his party. Especially with the smash cake his grandma made for him. Let’s just say, he didn’t hold back!