Friday, March 1, 2013

Ava's Winter ONEderland Party

This post has taken me quite a while to complete...mostly because of the ridiculous amount of photos taken at the party. It will also be one of the last posts in Ava's baby book (in addition to one on her nursery that still needs to be written), so I wanted to capture every moment from her special day.

 Ava's first birthday fell on Superbowl Sunday (Josh likes to remind me that he had to watch the Superbowl on a 13-inch, non-HD TV in the hospital last year...poor guy), so I was originally thinking that a football-themed party would be fun. However, Josh didn't think that was girly enough for Ava's first birthday...and I kind of love that he was concerned about that fact. Then I came across the idea for a Winter ONEderland party on Pinterest. Since Ava is a February baby, I thought the theme would be perfect.

I tried my best not to go overboard with the party, which was very hard. However, I did refrain from purchasing those vintage ice skates on eBay that were begging to be used as a coffee table centerpiece (I was about a half-glass of wine away from bidding on them one night). Josh was also a very good sport about the whole thing, and he realized that the best course of action was to just smile and nod. In order to keep myself from completely stressing out about the party, I decided to take the middle ground between making everything myself and buying everything...a happy, wants-to-do-everything-herself-working-mama medium. The theme also made it easy to limit (some of) the spending, because we were able to borrow holiday decorations from family members as well as buy some items during post-holiday sales.

In true Texas fashion, it was 70 degrees and sunny on the day of the party (not unlike the day she was born). Perfect weather? Yes. Perfect weather for snowflake decorations and a hot chocolate bar? Not so much. But it did mean that everyone could hang out in the backyard...while enjoying glasses of ice cold "Penguin Punch" laced with lots of brandy. (On that note, I am a firm believer that it should be mandatory to have booze on hand for the adults in attendance at first birthday parties...or any kid birthday parties for that matter.)

Ava had such a wonderful time, and I think she liked being the center of attention :). We had a pretty fabulous time as well. Celebrating our sweet baby's first birthday is something I will never forget.

Below are my favorite photots and details from the party. For the most part, I'm going to let the images do the talking in this post. I have also included source information where applicable for anyone who is interested.


{Invitation: Etsy.}

Decorations & Details

{Wreath: Etsy. Flowers: Bought from Whole Food's and arranged by yours truly. I used two vases for the one in the middle, and put Epsom salt between the two layers. Antique Silver Pitchers: Borrowed from my Mom. Snowman Soap Dispenser: Bath & Body Works (no longer available).}

{Silver Frame: Michaels. "Baby, it's cold outside" Sign: Free printable found on Pinterest. Decorative Trees: Borrowed from my parents. Snowflakes with 12-Month Photos: Snowflakes bought on Etsy. I printed and added Ava's photos.}

We had a fun slideshow going during the party. It even included one of Ava's very first photos...

While I think that I did a good job of not going completely crazy over the birthday party plans, Josh looked at me like I had lost my damn mind when I told him that I was going to create a "backdrop" for Ava's smash cake extravaganza. But I really like how it turned out. Thanks to my Mom and Jill for their help setting it up :).   

{"Ava" Highchair SignEtsy. Pom-Poms: Party City. Birthday Hat: Etsy. Snowflake Wand: Gap Kids (no longer available).}

{Candle Centerpiece: Candle holders from Crate & Barrel (previously owned), with Epsom salt around the candles. Snowflake Plates: Donated by Sarah (leftover from Abby's party).}

One of my favorite things from Ava's party was the Time Capsule (another great Pinterest find). We asked everyone to "Make a prediction about what Ava will be when she grows up, and don't forget to sign your name." It was so fun to look through all the answers, and I can't wait for her to read them on her 25th birthday.

{"Winter Onederland" SignEtsy.}

Food & Drinks

I had so much fun putting together the dessert table for the party, which included a candy bar, iced snowflake cookies, cupcakes (vanilla, coconut, and strawberry), and "snowball cookies" (aka my Mom's famous sandtarts). Emily at Panini Bakery & Cakes deserves a special shout-out for making the snowflake cookies and smash cake. They were so unbelievably beautiful and delicious! And as a bonus, I got the cake for free in exchange for my s'mores bar recipe.

{Glass Apothecary Jars: Two from Crate & Barrel (previously owned) and two from Amazon. Smash Cake Stand: Pottery Barn (no longer available online). Cupcake Stand: Crate & Barrel (previously owned). Silver Scoops: Amazon (also used for the popcorn below). Candy Bags: Shop Sweet Lulu. Cupcakes: Sprinkles Cupcakes. Iced Cookies and Smash Cake: Panini Bakery.}  

We also had a big spread of appetizers, including artichoke dip, Uptown Popcorn's parmesan & garlic popcorn, a cheese plate, Chick-fil-uggats, ham and cheese sliders, and deviled eggs (I went a little crazy picking food that was mostly white/neutral colored). 

We also had some very kid-friendly snacks...
As well as the not-appropriate-for-70-degree-weather hot chocolate bar (which was supposed to include homemade whipped cream, but I ran out of time...whoops)...

{Coffee Cups, Lids, and Clutches: Garnish.}

The Penguin Punch was delicious. I didn't manage to get a picture of the punch itself, but just imagine a sparkly, pink, fruit-filled beverage. 

{Striped StrawsShop Sweet Lulu. Tags, Snowflake Stickers, and Twine: Michaels.}

Guests & Festivities

We had lots of family members in attendance, many of whom drove in from out of town for the occasion, including the Bratton clan...

The Shepherds/Lockwoods (minus Todd who was out of town for a bachelor party)...

And her Bunny and Nello...

(We took this photo way too late, and Ava was over it by that point. But it is one of the only pictures of my Mom at the party...and it is hilarious.)

So many of our wonderful friends and their kids joined the fun as well (sorry I didn't get pics of everyone)...

"I want those pigtails!"
The kids loved running around outside!

"Here, Jack. You can have my new pig toy." (Alternate title: "Come at me, bro!")

Cake time!!
Ava didn't quite know what to think of the cake at first. 

But then the hat fell off, she got a taste of that icing, and there was no going back. 
The cake also survived a near-death experience, but I caught it in time and only managed to get a little icing on my boot...

And then she was over it.

Thanks so much to everyone for all the wonderful gifts. Ava may not have been super enthusiastic about "opening" them all during the party, but she has really enjoyed all her fun new toys. 

She got some fun clothes as well, including matching dresses from Jill and Erin (which I didn't realize until after the party when I took pictures of them); a Longhorn onesie from Nello, because he thinks Ava "has too many TCU purple outfits"; and a fishing shirt from Grampsie. 

I love the picture of Gary holding up her little dress. 
Ava's cousins were more than happy to help her open all the gifts :). 

They also made her this adorable card...

First Birthday Comparison

Finally, I thought it would be fun to include pictures of both me and Josh from our first birthday parties for the sake of comparison. I can see a little bit of Ava in both pictures. 




Happy Birthday, sweet girl. I had so much fun planning your first big celebration. I hope you enjoyed it, because according to your father, the rest of your birthday parties will be held at McDonald's ;). 


  1. I was wondering when you were going to post this.

    Also, are you going to return the Texas outfit since TCU & Texas are now in the same conference? Lol

    1. Haha! Even though I grew up as a UT fan in Austin, it is a lot harder to support them now that they are in the same conference as TCU. But I think Ava can at least wear it when the Longhorns play OU :).

  2. Great party!!!!! We loved it, thanks again for including Grant!


About Me

My name is Catherine, but most of my friends call me Cat. I was born and raised in Austin, went to TCU, and ended up in Dallas for law school (where Josh and I met). I decided that being an attorney was not my cup of tea and pursued a career in legal marketing. I am now a mother of two attempting to balance family with a full-time job, which is always an adventure. I love: my sweet babies, handsome husband, very large family, and fabulous friends; trying new restaurants; wine; TCU football; holidays; cooking; The Bar Method; pajamas; Topo Chico; reading; coffee; Central Market; carbs; the beach; mani/pedis; Anthropologie; binge-worthy TV shows and podcasts; trivia; French 75s; Pinterest; cheese boards; The Ticket; dancing; Sprinkles cupcakes; The Texas Rangers; fresh flowers; thunderstorms; naps; Tex-Mex; the Texas Hill Country; porch-sitting; ranch dressing; throwing parties; and my job. I hate: working-mom guilt; snakes; heights; waking up early; ignorant people; stomach bugs; paper cuts; green fruit; snoring; bad hair days; the sound of people eating (Misophonia); scary movies; bad drivers; pulpy OJ; trimming baby fingernails; and Miracle Whip. That pretty much sums it up.


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