Baby’s First Birthday: A Lesson in Acceptance

We’re about to get really real today. In the weeks (okay, months) leading up to Cody’s first birthday, I carefully planned out every detail, from the food to the drinks and decorations all to fit with the perfect theme – Coco’s Ice Cream Parlour. I went crazy finding recipes on Pinterest, practiced making ice cream and nearly drove my husband to madness with the constant “what do you think of…?” You guys, I set up the pom poms and tissue garland a week early.

Check out all the recipes from Cody’s first birthday here.

In my mind, I would orchestrate the perfect party down to every detail. Everything would be ready in plenty of time before our guests arrived and despite my pitiful photography skills I would take some gorgeous photos of all of my dishes and decor to share on my blog so the world would know Mile High Milk Machine can throw a party. This is going to shock you, but things did not go as planned.

The party started at 4 p.m. Guests started arriving around 3:50. I snapped a few quick pictures of the setup around 4 and was still cooking food until 4:45. We have a huge backyard, so given baby girl’s birthday is in May, I was pleased as punch to host our guests both inside and outside. Wouldn’t you know it rained from an hour before the party started until 6:30, when it started SNOWING. Rude. So, our 30+ guests ranging between 2 months and 85 years old snuggled up in our great room, with a bit of overflow in the basement.


Shout out to Uncle Ross and Aunt Kaitlyn for the super sweet birthday crown!

In hindsight very little of what worried me leading up to the party mattered. My daughter still turned one, no one died and I think everyone had a great time. So, the below is a recap of the events and foods with no apologies that things aren’t *quite* as perfect as I might have liked. It was perfect for us and that’s what matters!

I don’t just have a sweet tooth. All my teeth are sweet. So, it will come as no surprise that I started the party planning with the desserts. After finding a few adorable pins with ideas for an ice cream party, my mind was made up. When thinking about what foods I wanted to serve, I also really wanted to make things that my daughter could eat. Immediately, I looked to find something with avocado and also coconut milk. We served three ice creams at the party: avocado (coconut milk and dairy base), chocolate cookies and cream (coconut milk base) and mint chip (dairy base). All three were delicious. My personal favorite was the avocado. We served them with a collection of fun toppings in small mason jars: pitted sweet cherries, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, chopped pecans and banana chips.

Ice Cream Bar

The Tovolo ice cream containers are awesome for homemade ice cream.

These pink lemonade bars were so refreshing

These pink lemonade bars were so refreshing

Because in my book a party can never have too many dessert options, I also made some lemon bars with a little twist – strawberry! Not only were these pink lemonade custard bars absolutely adorable, they were also super yummy.

I made Cody’s cake using the same batter for blueberry oatmeal bars and mini cake pans. I frosted them with a basic cream cheese frosting with about 25 percent the normal amount of sugar. They turned out really nice, although I have to admit, I expected Cody to be a little more demonstrative with her cake eating. Turns out, she preferred to be a bit more reserved.

I purposely hosted the party for an off-meal time so I wouldn’t feel obligated to provide a serious meal for my guests (and so I could avoid nap time and cranky time for Cody). This allowed me to put out some light bites. Our primary staples were crispy quinoa chicken nuggets and a super salad with carrot ginger dressing. The accompaniments to these were melon balls, a simple crudité platter (which my husband pronounces “crew dite”), and a kiddo platter with cheese sticks and applesauce squeeze pouches.


We did have a bit of fun with the party beverages. In keeping with our ice cream parlour theme, we served champagne floats, a staple at one of our favorite local bars. It’s a scoop of your favorite sorbet topped with some bubbly. They are delightful. For the kids we had some juice boxes as well as some Izzy’s for the older ones.

As the mom of a strong-willed little girl, I figure I only have a few more years where I can get away with an explosion of a pink. Our decorations followed that idea to a tee. I initially had every intention of making all my own tissue decorations but time constraints (and slight laziness) got the better of me. I settled for a compromise and ordered some cute items from Just Artifacts. These tissue pom poms and tissue garlands are precious, affordable and super easy to set up. Just Artifacts also has some adorable paper goods, like the cute pink striped ice cream cups we used. The peonies were a last minute addition. When I saw they were at Trader Joe’s that morning, I couldn’t resist. We had the mason jars lying around from our jar salad endeavors.

This was before the madness set in.

This was before the madness set in.

Overall, the party was an enormous success. Not because every detail was flawless, but because we got to gather some of our closest friends and family to celebrate the best, hardest, most rewarding year of our lives. My husband had decided it would be pretty sweet if Cody was walking by her birthday and this little overachiever did not disappoint. Just a week before her birthday, she went from a few small steps here and there to 5-10 steps (albeit wobbly) at a time. She was walking, crawling and dancing all over the place.

I don't think Cody even got through the cream cheese frosting to taste the cake!

I don’t think Cody even got through the cream cheese frosting to taste the cake!

One thing I didn’t anticipate was the overwhelming wave of emotions that came along with my daughter turning one. I cried no less than five times over the course of the week leading up to it. You know, because feelings. It’s super exciting to move on to the next chapter of our lives but bittersweet to be closing the baby chapter with Cody.


3 thoughts on “Baby’s First Birthday: A Lesson in Acceptance

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