I love video games. How I manage to be so mediocre at them, I'm not sure. I've been playing them since I was 6 when my cousin got a Regular Nintendo and we began playing Super Mario. Come to think of it, he actually played the game and I just ran through the first couple of easy levels over and over. Maybe that's why I'm not super good. I love video games just the same and it's a hobby my husband and I share together. After all, even as an adult I still need someone to play through the hard parts so I can see how the game ends. When I became pregnant it was without a doubt that I'd be raising a gamer, fresh air be damned! With that inspiration in mind I excitedly shared our birth announcement to the social media world:
And it only seemed fitting that for Roman's very first birthday party ever we continue the theme - a Level Up Party. Just like in any good game he set out on his main quest with only the most basic skills and resources. I mean, the guy could barely operate his limbs when we met, but that's pretty typical when getting used to the controller configuration settings in a new game. He unlocked many achievements, and scored loads of adorability points. Even his in-game currency is up (he has his own savings account)!
For myself, I was very proud of throwing a nearly-Pinterest worthy shindig. I am a crafter at heart although I'm about as good at crafting as I am at video games - decent, not the best, but willing to put in the hours. I made as many decorations as I could, of course with help from the very best Randi. We made a ton of video game characters out of perler beads - you 90's kids will remember those, they are the plastic beads you make patterns out of and iron to fuse together - which was cool because they look kind of pixelated. I put them around the backyard and also used them as party favors. Since this was a party with mainly adults I wanted to have a favor that wasn't a chintzy item that would be thrown away immediately, so I made some of the flowers you can find in Super Mario and put them in little pots along with a succulent.
I also made some paper decorations - pinwheels, star garlands, clouds, and a Happy Birthday banner with "pixelated" font. I bought a square paper punch and that certainly came in handy to make my pixels! I had a ton of fun working with paper and glue.
Of course I got to use some of the video game paraphernalia I already owned like artwork from my special edition Fallout 4 game, and the retro video game systems that I refuse to throw away. Another easy way to add interest to any party is to find wooden picture frames at Goodwill (they are typically only a couple of dollars), paint them, and then find photos online that are thematic. I found some really cool vintage-inspired video game posters, and I also used pictures of Roman. I put these around the house and it really tied things together! Most importantly, what good am I as a mom of 2017 if he did have his own poster of interests? I'm looking at you chalkboard trend! So I made that too. I was super proud of my graphic design skills for this!
The food was catered by my mom's friends and it was amazing!! They were Mediterranean style dishes that were mouthfuls of flavorful goodness. We asked her to help us last minute as I was struggling to come up with a menu that sounded delicious but not too hearty for the heat. I am so appreciative that she was able to help out. Good food always brings people together!
The party itself went exceptionally well considering it was over 100 degrees out and our house doesn't have central air. #thanksglobalwarming All of our family was there, including my pops who flew in from California for the occasion! Roman even had his very own friend in attendance (a buddy he made in swim class that we have had a few play dates with). Everyone ate, talked and laughed. Roman got some awesome presents, and he loved his banana cupcakes, specially made with love by yours truly [side note: Gossip Girl is a great baking companion when you are up past your bedtime the night before the big day].
A lot of love and work went into keeping him alive his first year, and I'm happy that his birthday party was a reflection of that. It's not my intention to have parties for him every year. I'm hoping that when he is older we can have more adventurous fun with one or two friends. Until that time, though, I'm happy to plan family parties. I'm already looking forward to next year and his Golden Birthday (he will turn 2 on the 2nd); I'm thinking we will have to treat him like the royal prince that he is!
Perfect Stranger, what is your favorite memory of a birthday party?