Yesterday the Gravy Baby turned two. Two! I can hardly believe it. it seems like just yesterday the hubby and I were running around, flapping our hands nervously and Googling every single parenting question we had. We still do that, of course, but now we’ve got a system down where one of us flaps nervously while the other Googles. That’s progress, friends.
Clockwise, from top left: “monkey snacks,” or bananas dipped in chocolate, rest on a banana-leaf platter; the Gravy Baby’s aunt rearranges her artfully decorated animal cupcakes; sandwiches with various fillings are made of pumpernickel and farmer’s bread to resemble “zebra” stripes; a “tiger” fruit platter with oranges and blueberries and a closeup of the Gravy Baby’s aunt and uncle’s beautiful animal cupcakes
The Gravy Baby has been very clear in the months leading up to our family and friend-filled shindig that he wanted animals at a jungle birthday party. Lots of ’em. We went with a jungle safari theme, since his favorite animals are in the “lions-and-tigers-and-bears-oh-my” genre. Even though we’d had a blast at last year’s birthday pig roast, his party last year happened right in the middle of moving into our new house, and I always felt a touch guilty that we’d not had other kids there or more of a to-do for him. I wanted to make up for last year’s “hey, happy birthday, buddy, here’s a roast pig now leave us to unpack the rest of the house” chaos by giving him a big ol’ bash he’d (hopefully) never forget.
Above: a homemade bunting spelling out well wishes for the birthday boy
What that translated to, of course, was that by the afternoon of the big party, our house looked like a safari threw up in it. Our families arrived early to help us set up, which meant that the entire day became one giant series of parties — decorating while eating grilled Omaha steaks (thanks to his auntie); my dad steaming trout for the Gravy Baby’s birthday lunch while others focused on creating his outdoor water wonderland; and eating dinner as a family after the Gravy Baby’s friends left.
The Gravy Baby’s playground set outside also got a healthy sprinkling of safari
Since we had nine kids and around 30 adults coming in and out of the house all day, the hubby and I decided that backyard fun would be a good way to keep the kids entertained while avoiding traffic jams in the house. All week I crossed my fingers for cool but sunny weather, since we’d had a flood and some unseasonably cloudy days in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. By the day of the party, the clouds parted and I sang silent thank yous to the forces that be. Unfortunately, I may have been to vocal in my praise, because it turned out to be a scorcher of a day.
Party favors were finger puppets from IKEA tucked into kraft paper takeout boxes and decorated with a “thank you” stamp
Luckily, we’d planned for that and had all sorts of water activities outside, including a sprinkler (because what kid doesn’t love a good dousing with a sprinkler) and a baby pool “lagoon” filled with animal beach balls. Our gift to the Gravy Baby was a water table, so the kids could also crowd around it for a little cool respite.
By the end of the day, the Gravy Baby was muddy, hopped up on sugar from his first taste of real birthday cake (we’d declined to give him some last year in favor of sticking to limiting refined sugar until after his second birthday) and could not stop squealing. I’m pretty sure it was one of his best days ever.
It was up there for me, too.