On Saturday we celebrated Jaylen’s first birthday. One of his favorite books over this past year has been Brown Bear by Eric Carle (even these past 3 days he’s been bringing it to me to read as his bedtime story). So I decided to use Brown Bear as the theme for the party. There are tons of great ideas on Pinterest, of course. We had Jaylen’s party at the Heller Nature Center with family and friends. It was a great venue with a little nature area kids could explore.
Here are some great photos that capture the day by Jake Preedin of Dirt Cheap Photography. If you ever need a photographer in the Chicago area, he’s very affordable and great to work with!
I made a banner with Jaylen’s monthly growth photos. We could only use painter’s tape to hang things so that’s why it doesn’t look as nice. I don’t have a picture of both strands of the banner, but you can see it behind the table in some pictures.
Jaylen is one quarter Korean and first birthdays are a big deal in Korean culture. So my mother-in-law set up the traditional Korean first birthday table for Jaylen (my husband had a similar table on his first birthday). The objects on the front table represent different careers Jaylen might choose in the future (stethoscope – doctor, paintbrush – artist, tambourine – musician, Bible storybook – ministry, little basketball – athlete, apple – teacher, rope – long life, marker (which I added in after this picture was taken) – writer). We had guests vote for which career they thought Jaylen would pick.
We lay all the career objects out on the floor and let Jaylen pick one out. He was definitely drawn to the book first–a boy after his momma’s heart! So maybe he will have a career in ministry. We let him choose a second object and he picked the tambourine. So we said he’ll be in music ministry. Then we drew a name from the people who said he’d pick ministry as his career and Jaylen’s Uncle Pearson (who is a pastor) won the prize! It was a little owl ornament because Jaylen loves owls too.
I also got this great poster from Petite Lemon to hang on the wall. It’s available as a free download. I got it printed at Staples for less than $10, which is not bad consider how large the poster is! The photos are 8×8 printed from Mpix (the picture Jaylen’s blocking is one of his newborn photos). I plan on doing this every year, but next year I’ll probably print the poster and laminate it so I can reuse it instead of printing a new one each year. I just noticed Jaylen always seems to be standing with the same pose…haha.
Lovin Oven Cakery did a great job with the birthday cake. If you order a first birthday cake from them they also give you a complimentary smash cake. Pretty good deal!
I made the “I am One” banner from some instructions I found on Pinterest. It’s really easy to do and I thought it turned out great.
Jaylen loved all the attention. He smiled while everyone sang to him. 🙂
One other thing we had guests do was write a letter to Jaylen that he will read on his 16th birthday. That’s something my mom did at my first birthday party (and subsequently did not do it for my younger siblings…that’s what happens when you’re the firstborn). I thought it was a really cool idea back when I was 16 and I hope Jaylen feels that same way in 2029!
This last picture isn’t from the party because the shirt arrived at our house while we were at the party, but it’s a personalized birthday shirt from Petite Lemon. It’s hard to get a one year old to sit still for photos so this is the best I could get. Love the shirt though!
Although I was stressed the week of the party because my birthday was that Monday, Jaylen’s actual birthday was on Friday, and I had lots to do to get ready for the party on Saturday, everything turned out just the way I’d planned. Jaylen and everyone else had a great time and our parents did a lot too with getting the food (we catered Chinese and Gerald made some Korean food–kimchi fried rice–since Jaylen’s Chinese & Korean…and white), bringing things I forgot, and just helping out in general. Thanks to everyone who helped set up and clean up too. Jaylen won’t remember this party, but these pictures will help him relive it when he’s older!
Vendors I used:
Invitations/Favor tags/Food Tents // Bee Bee’s Dezigns
Photography // Dirt Cheap Photography
Venue // Heller Nature Center
Banner // The Banner Shoppe
Birthday Poster // Petite Lemon
Flowers // Mariano’s
Cake // Lovin Oven Cakery