I am way late in posting this! I kept meaning to get it done, but stuff kept coming up.
We went to NC the weekend of Valentine's Day to visit everyone and for Carter's first birthday party. We decided to have it in Greensboro since he was born there, and since so many family members are there. It was originally going to be in January, but was postponed when I broke my toe.
That weekend ended up being a great time to have it, though. Here is the invitation:
As you can see, we did it as a donation drive for Elizabeth's Closet, which provides baby gear and supplies for needy families with babies in the NICU at Women's Hospital of Greensboro, where Carter was born and spent his NICU days. That link goes to their wish list, so if you live in the area and would like to make a donation, please check it out!
If you don't live in the area, but would still like to contribute something in honor of Carter's birthday, please consider sponsoring a "frog", a special bean bag support pillow for tiny preemies. Go HERE for more information.
The party was on Sunday afternoon, and was lots of fun. It went on for hours and hours! My mom and sister set up a toddler play area, and that was a great place for all the little ones to play. I accidentally ordered WAY too much cake, but it was good! See the slide show below for pictures of how beautiful they were. Carter loved his smash cake and dug right in. My step-mom Barbara put together a fantastic coffee bar with amazing yummy drinks topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. She even dressed up as a barista for the occasion! I didn't do a count, but there were at least 30 people there, maybe more. It was mostly family, but in addition Carla and her son Wyatt came (Wyatt was in the NICU at the same time as Carter), my best friend Erin from high school came (which was a big surprise as I hadn't realized she'd moved back to NC already!), and fellow blogger Emily came with her son Will (it was my first time to meet them in person). At one point we had at least 6 toddlers running around, and so you can imagine it was a lively place!
And most importantly, people brought lots of donations. I didn't get a picture of the table full of stuff (did anyone get one?), but there were at least 60 preemie outfits, dozens of packages of diapers, receiving blankets, towels, and 5 boppy pillows! It was a fantastic sight.
Here is a slide show of pictures from the party. I didn't get that many, but at least you can get an idea of what it was like.
Here is a video of Carter pushing Emma around while she was in a walker:
Thank you so much to everyone who helped organize, set up, and clean up!
The weekend was a whirlwind of visits. On Friday evening, Dad and Barbara hosted a pizza party for the extended family. The highlight of the evening was watching all the little ones play together on the floor. I grew up with lots of cousins and great memories of weekends spent playing together, and it's so wonderful that Donna's and Julie's and my kids will have the same experience!
On Saturday morning, Emma (Donna's daughter who is the same age as Carter) came to stay with me, Mom, and Carter while the rest of her family went to the circus. It was so cute to watch the babies play together! Emma is clearly a lot more used to being around other kids than Carter, LOL. She is also more interested in interacting with people than Carter is. He tends to be more interested in doing his own thing!
Here is a sweet video of Mom and Emma giving Carter hugs:
And here is another video of the two of them playing with a telephone.
It's so interesting to watch babies interact with each other!
On Monday after the party, we dropped off all the donations at the hospital and got to visit with a few nurses who were there. We then drove up to Mount Airy to have lunch with Bonnie and Lane (my mom's sister and her husband) and my grandparents. Carter had a lot of fun exploring Bonnie's house and playing with his cousin Matti's toys! We then went by the Health Department to visit my Aunt Pam and to show Carter off to all the folks who work there who follow this blog. We stopped for one more visit with Damon and Leona, neighbors of my father's parents. It was lovely to see them, and to spend some time catching up.
We had dinner at a BBQ place that night with Dad & Barbara, Mom & Rick, Donna, Chris, Aidan, & Emma, and my sister Nicci and a friend of hers from college. It was a great way to end the weekend.
We'll be back in NC at the end of May for the annual family beach trip, which should be even more of a blast this year. I'm sure Carter will be walking by then, which will mean we'll have three (possibly 4) very mobile toddlers at the beach house. :-)
I was going to write more, but I need to cut this short. Carter just woke up from his nap and is being very insistent that I play with him. ;-)