Birthday Parties: Go BIG or go home!


birthday partyI love big birthday parties, and I can not lie. You other mothers can’t deny that when you walk in with a present and see the spread and entertainment you feel the joy too!

My birthday stinks. It’s December 23rd, smack dab in the middle of the holiday madness. Truth be told, I only remember two of my birthdays with clarity…my 16th when my mom threw me a surprise party where the cake was dropped and the bakery graciously replaced it with two small cakes, and my 24th birthday when my then roommate who has known me since I was 11 years old, threw me a joint surprise party. Other than that, they’ve all been forgettable…even my 21st!

When I had my first son in July, I vowed he would know all the birthday magic there could be. (#Birthdayenvy). His first birthday was a beautiful day in mid-July and we rented out a park. Yes a PARK! There were over 100 people (not exaggerating), and people are still talking about how much food we had. (I’m Italian, what can I say?)  

The next year we rented a clubhouse, had a clown/balloon artist and brought our bounce house and tons of toys to the theme of Thomas the Train. I single handedly made cutout watermelon trains at 6 a.m. and close to 100 vegan cupcakes. Get the theme of 100 yet? Who follows that stupid age plus one rule for number of guests?  

birthday party
Watermelon Trains #pinterest inspired, not impressed

The following year the weather just barely held out for our bash at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. I had a blast with the farm theme. Thank god for Pinterest! That one I started planning in March….for July. Clearly I have a problem.

Every 3 year old needs a farm animal and tractor cake, right?

The only “small” party my first son has ever had was when he turned four. I did it a month early because I was pregnant and having a c-section the week before his actual birthday. That was a Lego/soccer party. Even though I was eight months pregnant and in the middle of a kitchen renovation which had me living with my in-laws, I still found a way to make the cutest darn Lego “head” cupcakes and stuffed a “4” piñata with Lego packs as the goodie bag. 

Got to love repurposing those baby food jars into Lego Head cupcakes. #pinterest winning

But last year took the cake. I did a “Double the Birthdays, Double the Fun” party. We returned to the clubhouse but this time did a Scooby Doo (for the big brother) and a Very Hungry Caterpillar (such a sweet first birthday theme). I hired two amazing guys to run all the games, and brought back the bounce house and old fashioned toys and chalk. People are STILL talking about this party. As you probably can guess by now, there were well over 100 people…I seriously lost track, but everyone had a good time, especially the kids. 

So why do I do these ridiculous parties? I guess because I want the memories not only for my kids, but for myself. I don’t actually care what others think of my circus (not this year’s theme by the way). There’s something magical about a birthday, and I think it’s one of the few times people get together and just have fun these days. I love a good party theme, personalized shirts and coordinated outfits. That’s also why I always try to enlist the help of at least one friend to take as many pictures as possible.  

For those of you lucky enough to be invited to the bash this year, be ready for a trip to the happiest place on Earth…  

Are you a big or small party kind of family?

If you need some more ideas be sure to check out Fairfield County Moms Blog’s 2017 Birthday Party Guide.

*Full disclosure, I also love throwing birthday parties for other people, like my husband (surprised 40th) and mom (surprised 60th). 

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Maria is a full-time mom, teacher, wife, daughter, and sister, who feels pulled in too many directions! Her older son Michael took over 24 hours to be born, and at six-months-old was diagnosed with allergies to dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, shrimp, and wheat…all after exclusively nursing because she was SO SURE that would help him be a healthy kid. Luckily at age 1, he began to outgrow some of his allergies. Fingers crossed the others will soon follow because that plus a husband who doesn’t eat any veggies and Maria always battling her weight makes for three meals to prepare every night. Luckily, Christopher, her younger son, is a cooperative eater! As someone who has always been committed to making positive change, Maria uses her privilege and position as an educator and mom to work toward a most anti-racisit, equitibile, and inclusive world. Recently, Maria has even started getting up at 5am to workout in her basement. (Thank you pandemic living!) She is addicted to reading chicklit on her Kindle app in the dark, most Trader Joe’s products, and watching TikToks.


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