Some of you may remember the big sparkly gold and pink themed first birthday party I threw for Essley two years ago. It was probably a little over the top, and it involved many late nights of DIY projects and list making, but ultimately it was more than worth the work involved. I did tell myself that I would never do it again, but then on January 9th, 2016, Emmett came along. And after the first year he had (if you’re a new reader, you can read all about his story, his epilepsy diagnosis, and his miraculous triumphs here), there was never a doubt that he deserved an equally over the top party to celebrate his awesomeness. So I did it again. It was actually even more work this time, because due to timing (and lots of sick people) I ended up having to do everything myself (aside from some much appreciated help the morning of from my mom, sister, and friends Dee and Jess – thank you!). It was my choice though, and once again, it was worth every 3 AM glittery rocket cupcake topper making session. Emmett was thrilled with all of the shiny decorations (as was his sister) and balloons (his first word, a couple of weeks ago, was “balloon” by the way) and, most of all, all of the friends and family who came to be a part of his big day.
When I was brainstorming party ideas a couple of month ago, I came across an image of a rocket, and suddenly I’d found the ultimate symbol for Emmett – our strong, brave, curious explorer. I decided to go with a rocket/space theme, and over the weeks that followed I collected and created space-themed decor. As with Essley’s party, we held the festivities in my mom’s and stepdad’s finished basement (we have a small place and we had a big guest list), which was perfect for transforming into a planet/star/rocket-filled night sky. I found the ideal sized dark blue table cloth for $ 11 (that food display “table” you see in these photos is actually a ping pong table I folded in half). I ordered a bunch of balloons (48 total, plus the same gold mylar number one I used for Essley’s party) in shades of blue, black, silver, gold, and white to represent the sky. I also purchased spiral hanging planets, planet and rocket ship garland, gold star garlands, a variety of hanging tissue honeycombs/pom poms/balls in gold, silver, blue, and black, and other miscellaneous spacey decor. I picked up some space themed napkins, gold napkins, and gold and silver plates. (See end of post for links to places I got some of the purchased decor.) I made a tassel banner in the theme colors to hang and another for Emmett’s high chair with a big gold number 1 in the middle. I also drew several signs in rocketship and planet themes, which was a lot of fun for me – I don’t draw much anymore but I really love it. For favors, I bought plain blue paper bags and decorated them with different sized gold and silver star stickers to look like the sky, and filled them with stickers, wooden yo-yos, mini bubbles, crazy straws, and lollipops. Both Emmett’s and Essley’s eyes lit up when they entered the finished room, and one of the little guests said, “wow, we’re in a whole solar system.” And that was all I needed. The best.
For food, we ordered pizzas and made big bowls of salad. We also served up chips with salsa and guacamole, goldfish crackers, frosted animal crackers, chocolates, and a fresh fruit bouquet. There was beer and wine and water for the adults, and juice boxes and water for the kids. Robbie and I also made yellow cupcakes with vanilla frosting for the guests, and a vanilla smash cake for Emmett. Despite the fact that they were edible, the cupcakes were one of my favorite parts of the decor. We baked them in gold and silver wrappers and topped them with mini edible gold stars. Some of them also got the cake toppers I made – gold stars, silver stars, and blue rocket ships. We dusted Emmett’s cake with gold sprinkles and topped it with another big gold number 1. Unlike his sister, who very delicately approached her smash cake, Emmett went for it. I mean, he dove in face first. It was bad ass.
I wanted Emmett to have a special outfit for the party, and I found this adorable personalized onesie on Etsy. The fact that the color theme matched the party decor actually wasn’t intentional (I’m Type A, but not that excessive, I swear), but I certainly wasn’t complaining about it. I also had a gold crown for him, with which he wanted absolutely nothing to do after approximately 15 seconds – but hey, it was his party and his rules. He looked adorable and perfect to me, with or without a fancy crown.
Designing and putting together the decor and food and outfits and all the details was a lot of fun (I mean truly, as much of a pain in the ass it can be, I love this stuff), but the best part of the celebration, by far, was all of the people who came out to pay tribute to our boy. Every first birthday is special, but with what Emmett went through this past year and his nearly miraculous recovery, there was an element to this party that was especially emotional. I gave a choked-up impromptu speech before we did the cake about how grateful we are to have had the support system we did during the worst of his diagnosis and in the months that followed, and it really hit me right then how absolutely wonderful it was to have so many people who care about Emmett in this space for this special day. The only bummer was that Robbie’s parents, who flew in from Arizona to be there, ended up getting the flu that we all had the week prior and couldn’t be there. Since we had to cancel Essley’s birthday party a few weeks ago due to her being sick, I’m thinking we’ll just have to have a sun-filled belated double celebration when we visit them next.
Thank you, to all of my readers, for following Emmett’s story this past year. It was a bittersweet journey, but how lucky we are now to be in a place where we were able to honor Emmett on his first birthday in a way that was optimistic and happy and hopeful. Not a day goes by where I don’t look at our brave, curious, joyful little boy with a profound sense of gratitude – for all of it. It’s his story and it’s a remarkable one. Happy birthday Emmett Hunter, my little warrior! May your second year be magical (and deservedly carefree) in every way.
Oh, and for those of you looking to throw space themed parties of your own, here is a list of some of the supplies I purchased: personalized first birthday onesie, space themed napkins, space themed confetti (on gift table), solar system hanging whirls, planet and spaceship garlands, gold star garlands, table cloth, hanging honeycombs, hanging tissue poms, glitter cardstock (for cake toppers), gold number 1 balloon (we got ours at Party City), gold and silver plates.