Gosh I love a good party.
Last year for my daughter’s first birthday we threw a Hawaiian themed shindig at our house. It was amazing and SO much fun. The even better part was the weather. It was 90 degrees in April–couldn’t have fit the theme better.
This year was a different story it was cold, and WINDY as all heck. I am so incredibly grateful to our family for braving the wacky weather to celebrate our happy Harper.
I loved how the party came together. I’m a HUGE planner. Sometimes to the point that I drive myself and my husband crazy because I like to have so many moving parts and I like everything to be done way ahead of time if possible. I buy dresses for weddings like 8 months in advance because I just like being over prepared.
In terms of party planning, I’m a BIG dreamer. I love looking at Instagram and Pinterest and trying to create these plans in my head for my next big party. Harper’s first birthday was amazing. So many of our friends and family were able to make it over to our little house to celebrate with us. It was a packed house filled with fun, family (I consider my friends family too), and so much food. I love food. I think it’s the cornerstone of a good party.
(Thank you to Master Pizza from Livingston, NJ for delivering some seriously delicious pizza for our TWO at the ZOO party. The fact that you guys will deliver to the zoo is just amazing. The delivery driver was so nice and so full of energy. I hope he knows how much we appreciated him. The Nonna Pizza will forever and always be remembered with love (as well as the white broccoli!!!! My personal fave))
Anyways for Harper’s TWO at the ZOO party, I had to be a little more creative because I wanted it to be just as special but I didn’t have the opportunity to decorate like I would if it were my own house, and I had to rely on a lot of other people for it all to come together, which it did, thank goodness.
We had her party at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange. I love Turtle Back Zoo. All of the animals always look happy and well fed. I hope in my heart they loved being a part of our party. We spent the first two hours walking around and enjoying the amazing animals. Some of our favorite moments were:
- Feeding Bob the giraffe who licked my daughter. She replied “YUCK!” But is still talking about it so she definitely enjoyed it.
- The flamingos to which my niece Rosie proclaimed that she “would like to be a flamingo and she really wanted to swim in the water they were in” hahaha can’t say I was eager to swim with her
- The lions. The female lions were mother and daughter which just was cute to see. The daughter was cracking us up as she played with this plastic toy that kept repeatedly hitting her in the head
- The BABY goats–I am obsessed with goats. They are so freaking cute both big and small and their mannerisms just make me happy. The babies were only a few days old and we could have stood there and watched them all flipping day. They were learning to walk, with lots of tripping and just so so sweet. If I could have taken one home I definitely would have.
- The ponies! My daughter got to go on her first pony ride!!! Growing up my sister rode horses competitively. It makes me so happy to see her girls on a pony. Both Ellie and Rosie jumped right on without a fear in the world. It’s like they were born to ride. I can’t wait to see if they eventually competitively ride. Whatever sport they choose you know I will be there cheering them on.
- The carousel!!! Loved seeing all 4 of my little cuties happily riding on the carousel. No one cried. It was amazing and fun despite feeling a little dizzy after.
There’s something super special about watching my girls (my nieces included) grow up together. I will never forget the moment when my sister got to the zoo with her crew. Harper’s face lit up and she proceeded to hug each of her cousins with the hugest smile as they wished her happy birthday.
I’m so grateful to everyone that traveled to celebrate our girl. It really meant a lot to my husband and me. The years go by so fast. I couldn’t have pulled it all together without the help from our family.
There are also some very important moms that helped me in creating my dream party. Courtney from The Party Prep (Instagram: @_thepartyprep) made the amazing cookies we gave out to our guests. She was so great to work with. I sent her a photo I thought was what I wanted and she completely ran with the idea. They cookies were the best. They tasted so good and looked even better. I love decorated cookies. They make me happy, so thank you again Courtney. You’re the best!!
Maricel Stoveken is another amazing mama that helped me capture the day. Maricel is seriously the best. I found Maricel via a mommy board on FB. She’s a local mom and always captures my favorite pictures. She’s spunky and full of energy. She makes our kids laugh so hard to get the best pictures. She brought a rubber chicken to the zoo which had everyone laughing and she even gave it to my daughter after the party. She also got all the images to me within a couple of days. How she managed that, I’m not sure 🤔 she’s some kind of super woman.
So in closing thank you to everyone that has been a part of our journey to year 2!!! It’s hard for me to believe I have a 2 year old. I can’t wait to start planning her third birthday haha.
Here are some of our favorite photos from one of our best days (thank you Maricel!!!!!!!!!!):
And now for the cookies…omg!!! (I’m clearly not a professional photographer as seen below. I took the these pics immediately after work, after picking up the cookies. I decided the best backdrop would be my lap in my car. Yes those are my pale white legs also captured in the background. One day I will learn how to take a good picture, but until then you can enjoy my legs photobombing these 😂😂)