This post is as much about my precious Little Fella’s Second Birthday as it is about sharing the significant events that happened during this time. Two days after Tommy’s party I ended up in hospital being diagnosed with Churg-Strauss Syndrome. (It is the same autoimmune disease as our bubbly Seven Sharp presenter Toni Street.) This followed months of feeling increasingly unwell but putting it down to being a busy mum.
I’d been dreaming up all sorts of gorgeous ideas for my little dimple boy’s second birthday party. Many of those ideas weren’t completed because I was feeling so unwell. However none of that matters, Tommy had a gorgeous birthday celebration and is now the proud owner of a cute caramel bunny rabbit we have named Lola.
Tommy’s Bunny Party Theme:
Like many two year olds Tommy loves animals. Whenever we visit friends with cats or dogs he tries to smoother them in toddler love. We decided a rabbit would be a great first family pet and thought Tommy’s birthday was the perfect excuse to welcome one to our home.
The whole family was eagerly awaiting Tommy’s birthday party and the arrival of our new bunny. ‘Daddy’ found a fabulous hutch perfect for kids to use on Trade Me. He gave it a new paint job and it stood waiting in the garden for it’s new house guest. The kids were so excited and despite feeling so unwell I didn’t want to cancel the party on them.
I had started making invitations using balsa wood, printed paper and a cute photo of Tommy holding a bunny but with feeling so poorly the weeks before Tommy’s party I never got them finished. I had to settle for a Facebook party invitation. I usually love sending out party invites so letting go of this was a biggie for me.
I wanted a natural feel to the decorations with lots of greens, browns, wood and white. The ‘Happy Birthday’ banner looked so gorgeous and I loved it. I cut the letters from artificial grass from Bunnings. The net hanging over the table was perfect to soften the look and the vines, white hydrangeas, carrots, wooden slaps, leaves and foliage added a lovely natural element.
I purchased some lovely bits from Dots and Spots; moss bunnies, moss balls and two ceramic white bunnies. I had also purchased some gorgeous tiny blackboards to label the food and a beautiful tassel garland in lovely greens but I sadly didn’t have the energy to get them out of the box. Dots and Spots is a fabulous online party store based in Palmerston North. Lots of gorgeous boutique products and excellent delivery service and price.
I used some brown wrapping paper to cover the kid’s table and decorated it with a grass table runner. I’d been gathering a collection of beautiful vintage plates from op-shops and these were perfect to serve the kids food. A great option for sustainable kids parties. I glued some fabric bunnies to my milk bottles from lovely material purchased at Spotlight. I looped a tie of black wool on them, labeled them with the kids names using a black sticker and popped a black straw in to match.
With each of my kids parties I’m learning more about how much food to prepare, what party food works best, what actually gets eaten and some ‘healthier options’. It’s awful to see food wasted at kids parties, especially when a lot of time, money and love has gone into it. I’ve learnt to leave the kids plates out on the table allowing them to return during the party to graze when they feel like it. I was going to write the kids names on the brown paper table cover for their place settings…
We made delicious mini carrot cupcakes and topped them with cute homemade little icing carrots.
I used small waffle cones perfect size for kids to hold fresh fruit; grapes, blueberries and pineapple.
In glasses, fancied up with a tie of black wool, we served chocolate mousse for ‘dirt’ with green jelly ‘grass’ and a chocolate bunny sitting on top. These were a hit.
Ian made some lovely shortbread bunny biscuits that just a touch of icing for the tails looked simple yet gorgeous. I also added some icing eyes left over from another party.
We had our savoury party favourites, my mum’s fresh egg sandwiches and some hearty warm sausage rolls.
I popped a scatter of chocolate raisins out for a wee laugh…
I had planned on doing more detailed bunny face painting but on the day all I could manage were three rough whiskers and a pink nose! The party games weren’t given the attention they deserved either. I had ‘bunny sack races’ with cute little bunny tails on the back of the sacks and a scavenger hunt for dozens of squeaky bunnies hidden in the garden. I only had strength to say to the kids, “Here’s a sack who wants to have a jump in it,” and “There are bunnies hidden in the garden, who can find some?” and that was the games done! I completely forgot about the bunny lollies I had to give out as prizes.
The highlight of the party was the arrival of ‘The Bunnies’. Bronwyn from Pony Parties came with our new family bunny and a few of her own bunny friends for the kids to cuddle and pet. The children had a lovely time with the rabbits. The cutest thing was when the kids used their own initiative to run inside and grab a carrot off the table to feed the bunnies. Bronwyn gave us a lesson on how to care for our new pet rabbit. Pony Parties is based in Christchurch and offers lots of different animal and party options. Bronwyn is awesome with the kids and shares her passion for animals so well. Tommy adores his new bunny friend. He loves following her around the backyard trying to feed her a carrot while singing ‘Lola, la, la, la, la, Lola.’
I’ve been admiring semi-nude cakes lately and love the use of natural foliage with them. We made two vanilla cakes cut in half to make the four layers and iced them in a buttercream frosting. A chocolate ganache was drizzled over the top. ‘Daddy Cake Baker’ worked his magic to make the cake look stunning. The custom-made cake topper from clever mum Kylie at Love From Seventeen finished it off perfectly. Love From Seventeen offers ‘stylish family-crafted children’s and interior décor, dreamt up and designed in the heart of Southland, New Zealand.’
The kids all got some bunny ears and tails purchased from Spotlight (which I attempted to dye black but failed) and the squeaky bunnies from the scavenger hunt. Our party guests also took home some carrot seeds to plant and they could ‘adopt a soft toy bunny’. These weren’t packaged and displayed with the usual amount of love and attention I would have given them but again… ‘let it go’… was my motto concerning any party prep or ‘stuff’ that I planned and couldn’t get done.
My Tommy boy:
Tommy is the baby I convinced my loving husband we needed to have. I felt so strongly about having a third baby… so Tommy came… and since that moment he hasn’t left my side.
I’ve parented Tommy with confidence in my attachment choices, co-sleeping and feeding with more self-assurance then I had with my first two. The five days I spent in hospital was the first time Tommy and I had been apart for more than a few hours and it forced an end to our two years breastfeeding. Five days apart from your husband and kids when you hardly even leave them for an evening out is tough. Blood tests, scans, x-rays and more is scary when you worry what they may reveal. Lying in hospital with a steroid drip, thinking about this disease you suddenly have, that has no cure, is rare and variable is daunting. Awful things happen in life and I wondered just how bad this was going to play out. Worrying what I might be like in 10 years time with this disease… at Tommy’s 12th birthday. Twelve is still so young… a twelve year old needs a healthy mum.
But I’ve come to terms with a lot of this now and back home with Ian and kids, with a diagnosis for why I was so unwell and the right medication doing its job, I’m feeling so much better. Luckily I’m not having too many side-effects from the steroids, luckily the only damage seems to be to my peripheral nerves, luckily this disease is inconsistent and hopefully mine will be mild and put into remission. My precious Tommy’s Bunny Party will forever hold some hefty memories for me. We ride through the storm and look for the bright blue sky on the other side.
There are things in your heart you know you want your life to be. Things you know are important yet life is so busy we don’t always get the chance to stop and make them happen. I’m sure millions of mum’s feel the same way. I have always had nagging feelings pulling at me about how busy life is. The overwhelming feeling to want to pause life, to stop, to be still. Sometimes I feel like a computer with 10 tabs open at the same time. I feel too busy to enjoy simple pleasures like sitting with the sun on my back. I want time in my life to simply enjoy my family. When I came home from hospital I spent the first week sitting playing with the kids. Watching them play and thinking about the life I want to have. The words simple and honest kept coming to mind. To look after myself with this new diagnosis I’m going to have to close some of those computer tabs and sit in the sun!
What really matters when the important stuff like health are at risk? What do I really want my life to be? A simple, honest life with my family.
What does this mean for My Kids Parties? Simple, honest kids parties sounds good to me and being a special celebration I think we could add a touch of something a little bit fancy.
Despite being so unwell Tommy’s party was still a gorgeous celebration for him. I spend so much of my day staring at him and his delicious dimples that it fills my heart to overflowing. We will celebrate his 12th birthday with a whole load of love and his 21st, well that will be a night for champagne and dancing on tables. xxg
Party Supplies: Dots and Spots
Party Entertainment: Pony Parties
Cake Topper: Love From Seventeen