We want to begin this post by saying a big THANK YOU to all of the wonderful friends and family who helped to make Celeste’s Fall Fest so special. Our fabulous guests brought a variety of food, drinks, and gifts- without which we would have never been able to feed and host that many people! Thank you to everyone who chipped in- we are so proud of the community that Celeste belongs to!
Tim tried his hand at some pancake art and was able to make both a heart and a butterfly-shaped pancake, which I personally think means that he has passed the ultimate papa bear test. We foolishly forgot to buy a cupcake to put her two birthday candles in, so we made do with a sturdy green apple! It ended up looking more like some sort of alien creature than a birthday treat, but it did the trick.
A package had arrived earlier that week from my sister Alexis (“Auntie A”) and it had been well-hid until Celeste’s special day. Celeste was so focused on opening the first gift that it took quite some time before she was ready to move onto the next one. There were only a few gifts. We took our time and let her do her own thing, which was lovely!
|mama helping little C “wear” her doll on her back|
The menu at Celeste’s 2nd Annual Fall Fest included beef brisket, grilled chicken, pasta salad, green bean casserole, several fresh salads, a variety of dips and salsas, and of course, bacon-wrapped jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese.
There were several fruit-infused waters, a cooler of fall beers and some sweet tea! Everything an autumn party in South Florida should have. My sister Chelsea sent a beautiful cake for Celeste and Celeste’s Auntie Melissa made spicy, sweet cupcakes!
Gluten-free ginger snaps, strawberries, and brownies baked by Celeste’s great-grandmother completed the dessert table. There was wand-making, a game of football, and a naked chicken chase led by my two-year-old nephew Daylon James van der Mije. (Incidentally, Daylon was the only participant in the naked chicken chase, but we hope to see more participation in 2014.)
|a diapered Daylon offers his cousin Celeste a drink|
At some point during the party, one of the older children asked me when we were going to sing “Happy Birthday” to Celeste. I explained that we weren’t going to in the simplest way that I could. This is the first year that Celeste has a handle on language and I had given her the option earlier in the day: when asked if she would like everyone to sing to her at her party, she calmly declined and that was that. Tim and I sang to her throughout the morning and I noticed that many of our guests sang to her one-on-one at her party, or pulled her aside to whisper happy birthday in her ear!
I like to conceive of Celeste’s birthday party as a fall festival in which Celeste is surely the guest of honor, but not necessarily the center of attention. Children of this age, and especially children with a high emotional I.Q. like Celeste, become easily overwhelmed by too much attention. This is doubly true when the guest list exceeds 40 adults and children! Several of my favorite schools of thought suggest that the amount of guests at a child’s birthday should be equivalent to the age she is turning that year. In other words, two small friends would be appropriate to invite to a two-year-old’s birthday party. Now, Tim and I place a lot of value on the fall season (the season of all of our birth!) and on having a good time. Which is why we hope that the Celestival will always be a large and uproarious event! However, it will always be an event in which Celeste can choose the amount of attention she receives. If at age three or four she decides she would like everyone present to sing happy birthday whilst doing a choreographed dance in front of a skilled mariachi band, that is what she shall have! We also like to open her gifts privately, so that she has enough time to explore each toy on her own time and also out of respect for the other little people in attendance at her party. (Hopefully, these choices will mean that we get to skip out on the all too familiar cliché of the birthday child having an epic meltdown while other children mope about not receiving gifts of their own!)
|Celeste Marie October 20th, 2011
|October 19th, 2013|