Catherine and I celebrated our son Nathan's first birthday party last September 18. His birthday actually falls on the 23rd, but we couldn't hold the celebration next Saturday because the second day of a church seminar leading to the church's 7th year anniversary falls on next Saturday.
Decor. Martha Stewart would have been proud. We decided to go with a Veggietales theme, given that it is Nathan's favorite show. We created thirty Bob the Tomato headbands for each child to wear around her/his head, and one giant Bob the Tomato to welcome guests into our home. We borrowed approximately sixty adult chairs and thirty kiddie chairs (with corresponding tables) from the village association (free! There are perks to being homeowners in South Green Park Village), and set them up around the garage area. We inflated ten long balloons and scotch-taped them to the walls; aside from that, we had happy birthday banners all over the house. We ordered thirty stick balloons, half red, half blue, and stuck most of them into the earthy soil of the garden.
Games. Next, we strung banderitas around the place, along with a pabitin and a palayok. Banderitas are triangular pieces of paper that are strewn along straw rope, and hung high above the ground, tied to trees and posts; they are standard decorations during Filipino celebrations. To picture a pabitin (which comes from the Filipino word, bitin, meaning short), picture a tic-tac-toe grid, made of bamboo. From the wood are hung toys, bags of candies, and money. The pabitin is tied firmly to straw rope and swung over a wooden rafter so an adult can adjust its distance from the ground with a pull of the rope. Children stand underneath the pabitin to grab the items of their choice when the adult lowers the pabitin suddenly, only to pull it up again out of the children's reach a few second later. The game ends when all the items are gone from the pabitin. The palayok is a Filipino version of the pinata: candies, money, and other items are put into a clay pot, which is then suspended from a straw rope. Children are blindfolded and given a wooden rod, and they try to break the pot.
Aside from those three, we also had balloon relays (for both children and adults!), which featured four kids in a team, with each kid having to run to a chair on the opposite side of the road to burst a balloon by sitting on it. Each child would then have to run back to the starting line, then the next child would have to run across the road to burst his balloon. We also had a "Bring Me" game and a Trip to Jerusalem game.
Food. The proudest feature of any party at the Deen home is the food. When we throw a party, the most time and effort go into the preparation of the food to be served, and Nathan's party was no exception. My grandmother and mother, along with a team of five domestic assistants, prepared pancit molo, a flavorful broth with meat dumplings, chicken, onion sprigs, and garlic; tenderloin steak with a mushroom gravy sauce; lumpia ubod, which is fresh spring rolls with garlic and chickpeas; spaghetti italiana; fried chicken; buko pandan, a coconut and pandan jelly dessert; and birthday noodles, which is essentially an egg noodle fricasee. We had a nice cake and Blue Bunny ice cream.
The celebrant. Nathan was pretty cranky, because he doesn't usually like noise, and believe you me, was it noisy! We dressed him up in a red "Number 1" tee and denim shorts, along with these adorable red rubber shoes that Caths bought for him at SM. He also wore one of the Bob the Tomato hats, but he wasn't able to make the rounds because the noise was simply too much for him. When you're one year old, you don't really care that much for a party, now, do ya?
Guests. We expected around 60 to 80 guests, excluding children, and got close to that number. What thrilled me were the arrival of some of my friends from college, and some bloggers even came to the party! So, thanks to Mikoid, The Rowster, Wangie, and Jay, because y'all thrilled me by showing up! God bless!
And that was the party. I hope to upload photos; I'm waiting for them to develop. Digicameras weren't part of the gifts given to Nathan, so I guess we're just going to have to save up a wee bit more. :p