James’ birthday party was this past Saturday and it went great, despite my best efforts to (accidentally) sabotage everything.

When I was planning James’ first birthday party, I knew my biggest challenge would be entertaining the kids. When my daughters turned one, the kids of our friends were all younger and entertaining them was much simpler. We held their first birthdays in my parents’ large backyard and distracted all the children with costumes or bounce houses. I love bounce houses but don’t have the room for a big one, so I knew I had to think creatively. James loves music, so I went with a dance party theme – who doesn’t like to dance? This is the picture everyone got with their invitation:

saturday night james

I think it set the tone nicely.

I booked a mobile dance trailer (Beatbox Party) and planned the entire party around that. Two hours of dancing and karaoke, then get the kids out for piñata & cake. Perfect! But fifteen minutes after the party started, the dance trailer hadn’t arrived. I called Carlos, the owner, to find out what was up. I’d met him six weeks earlier when he’d come to my house so I could sign the contract and pay.

Me: Are you running late?
Carlos: No, I have your party down for tomorrow.

Me: Tomorrow?! NO! My party is today! Right now!
Carlos: Let me find your contract and call you back.

When we hung up, I searched for a copy of my contract. There, in my handwriting, I’d written the wrong day. I was so mad at myself…and panicked, because I had a house full of 25 kids and no idea what to do with them.

Carlos called back and before he could say anything, I told him it was my fault and I had completely messed up. He was so nice and offered to reschedule my party for no additional cost, but I didn’t need a rescheduled party. I needed one THAT DAY. So I said, “Is there any way you can come at ALL today?” He was quiet for a second and the image of 25 bored kids tearing through my house flashed through my mind. “I’m at another party right now, but I can be there in ninety minutes.”

I truly considered changing James’ name to Carlos.

We rejiggered the order of the party. The kids all stuffed themselves on pizza, then we did the piñata and cake.

getting his first hit

ready for cake

Happy Birthday To You

As James started into his cake, my dad came up to me and said, “The dance truck is here.” Angels freaking sang.

The kids all went nuts in the Beatbox, dancing and singing. They decked themselves out with the silly club gear I’d bought for all of them. The accessories were a little more 80s than Disco, but no one cared.

dance party

disco table

dance party

Because of the trailer’s belated arrival, the party went an hour-and-a-half longer than it was scheduled, but a lot of the kids and parents hung out until the end. I gave Carlos and his daughter (who was the awesome host/hype girl) a million hugs of thanks. It’s so easy to complain about a company’s bad service, but I think it’s important to shout it loud when a company does something amazing. They could have just taken my money and been like, “Sorry, you messed up,” but instead they went completely above and beyond to fix my mistake. It makes me want to hire them for every party (Annabel would definitely be in favor of this).

Above all, James had a smile on his face the entire time. He was held and hugged by almost everyone, and he didn’t even cry during the singing of Happy Birthday!

Ryan loves James

Brianne and James

Dad, birthday boy, Mom

He LOVED the dance trailer and laughed like crazy at the bigger kids dancing.

birthday boy!

He didn’t seem impressed by the birthday cake but that’s probably because I made it (and I messed up the first cake I made for him…I’m a mess, you guys).

eating his birthday cake

At one point, I stood back and looked at everyone either dancing, drawing, or laughing with each other. I love giving my friends and family an excuse to get together and have fun, and I especially loved being able to see everyone and hug them. I’ve heard it said that a baby’s first birthday party is really a celebration that the parents survived the first year, but for us it was showing our appreciation to our family and friends for all of the support they’ve given our family. I’m so thankful that all of my children are surrounded by so much love.

Pics by my awesome cousin, Leah! Thank you for taking them, Leah! 

Tomorrow: party details, my favorite!