I made a few variations, but this was the ultimate gist. Sorry the picture is on it's side, I'm too stupid to figure out how to get it to not rotate during the upload process. You're welcome for the neck stretch.
We wanted to get Zoey a swingset, so that was the basis for our playground-themed party. I could have gotten one for very little compared to others we found, but still astronomically over-priced for what it actually was, but I didn't get my ass in gear, so maybe we'll figure out a way to give it to her for Christmas without it being complete torture ("Sorry, kid, you can't play with it until the snow melts."). With her birthday on a Monday, we gathered everyone at our house the Saturday before.
My parents came over Saturday morning to watch Zoey so Jacob and I could do some pre-party errand-running.
Daddy buying his girl her first car. It wasn't a swingset, but still an outdoor-sy toy. She can toodle around the house in it, too.
For the first part of her party, it was at the playground she loves to frequent in our neighborhood. Yes, I know my decorations are awesome and you totally want my tips.
Thanks to work for the borrowed decorations!
Looks like a party! (A week later, the Elmo balloon lives on)
Zoey woke up from her nap and Jacob and I snuck away to "decorate" the playground. Then Jacob went to grab everyone and bring them over. As Zoey walked up, I yelled, "Happy Birthday, Zoey!" And she said, "Happy Birthday, Mommy!"
Unfortunately, my kitchen timer went off right as Zoey got to the playground so I had to head back and get some food together. By the time I was able to get back, playground-time was over. :-( I'm told a fun time was had by all and I'm glad for that.
Grandma Bobbie wanted a turn!!
She *had* to go down with her balloons.
Cousin Layne enjoying himself.
The park has a made-of-cement table, and we have sidewalk chalk, so I figured I'd combine the two. My mom told me it was a big hit.
Uncle Todd and Cousin Libby getting their chalk on.
Gorgeous Cousin Libby, enjoying some fresh air and sunshine.
Auntie Rachael and Cousin Libby enjoying some park time.
How dudes do playground parties.
My grown up, little girl.
How and where I spent most of the day. I didn't mind, it was tiring, but it was also fun and satisfying. I made homemade macaroni and cheese, salad, fruit salad, and homemade peanut butter fudge pudding cake (yay, crock-pot!), which worked out perfectly because I forgot to pick up candles. Well, maybe it's better we leave fire out for at least another year.
After food, it was present-time. A couple were even for me!
Helping Zoey learn the art of the un-wrap.
The requisite socks gift from Grandma Sally; she's famous for the sock gift.
It's hard to match my excitement, but she was pretty thrilled she got shoes.
Sparkly shoes!! (Though it's hard to tell in this picture) Even better, a purchase of these shoes buys a pair for a child in an underdeveloped country.
Then the big present!!!
She totally hated it..... :-)
Auntie Rachael, Uncle Todd, Layne and Libby got her this adorable play shopping cart. Don't even try to tell her she's pushing it from the wrong end, she won't hear of it. She wants to push it that way.
For our first go at the birthday-party thing, I think we did a pretty good job. No, I didn't actually send the invitations; and, no, I didn't bake the cupcakes for Zoey to bring to daycare to celebrate her birthday with her friends, but everyone had fun at our get-together, including - and most importantly - the guest of honor. I definitely learned what to do and what not to do next year, chief among them: start planning in January.
A gigantic thank you to everyone who helped make Zoey's birthday great!