Back in the days when I thought I could plan a pregnancy and birth whenever I wanted, I swore I would never have a summer baby because, well, Houston. But because God likes to laugh at me, I delivered a sweet baby boy at the end of June. This means summer birthdays for the rest of my life. On the bright side, at least He had a little mercy on me and didn’t go for August. It could always be worse.
Before my sister had kids, she always said she lived for birthdays. Anyone’s birthday. There was usually steak involved. Now that there are 4 grandbabies on my side of the family, there are a lot more hot dogs than steaks. And I’m the one that lives for birthdays! I miiiight have been planning Hudson’s first birthday (mentally anyway) for like 6 months. Maybe more. I teetered between a circus/carnival theme and Where the Wild Things Are. In the end, I went with Where the Wild Things Are because you can only say “Hudson is a wild ONE!” once.
Actually, I never liked the book as a kid. One, I thought it was a boy book and the pictures were way too brown for me. Two, Max was a bad kid. He got sent to his room, imagined that he visited some monster island, and then came home and still got his dinner. Wasn’t that his punishment? Also, I never saw the movie. It came out before I had kids, and everyone said it was weird. So yeah. But I had a vision for this Wild Thing party and I was determined to pull it off.
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All of Harper’s party invitations have had pictures of her and it has become a thing. So, of course, I had to subject kid #2 to the same torture by photography, except this time I put him in a fuzzy Max suit, outside, in Houston heat. Luckily we plopped him down (he wasn’t walking and barely standing alone at this point) he stood there, smiled, I caught the picture, and we were done. This was a total fluke and will never happen again. We used PartyPrintableStore on Etsy (who I am not affiliated with in any way other than being their customer) for the invitations and I highly recommend them. Even when there was a slight mistake on the first proof we still got them back and were able to print them super fast. The price was right, you get a free Thank You card, and seriously, how cute are they?!
About a week before the party I started decorating, with some help from my mom, my sister, Jackie, and my (ahem) future sister-in-law, Kayla. We used green plastic tablecloths (affiliate link) cut just right to look like vines when hung from the banister upstairs (and from the curtain rods, and everywhere else).
I turned the pillar in my kitchen into one big tree with some wood-look rolled paper and then a roll of green paper crumpled up and pinned to the ceiling. Harper helped me cut out a bunch of paper leaves to make it a little more “real.”
Threw in a bunch more trees (affiliate link) all over the place. We added brown balloons to give them coconuts and brown crepe paper streamers to the trunk because I can’t leave well enough alone.
For tablecloths, (ironically, since I had a lifetime supply of green plastic tablecloths [affiliate link]) I used burlap and a roll of moss (affiliate link) as a table runner. Kayla also made me some signs because first-grade teachers have waaay better handwriting and artistic abilities than nurses.
This one was obviously taken after the party.
Hudson’s shirt I ordered from LittlechicteesShop, also on Etsy, and I can attest to the quality (again, I’m only a customer, not an affiliate). I have started to be hesitant about ordering screen printed shirts on Etsy because lately I seem to keep getting a cute print on a crappy shirt. This one was not the case and he will continue to wear this one as long as he can. Because I am cheap, I made the rest of our shirts with (gasp!) fabric paint. Yup, there’s someone out there who still uses fabric paint. It’s me. That’s all. Just me. Harper, of course, wore her shirt for all of 1.2 seconds until her friends got there and it was immediately into dress-up mode.
If this kid were born in the winter, and if we didn’t live in the south, and if we didn’t have 1 million people at our house, I would have loved to keep Hudson in his Max costume (affiliate link) the whole day. Maybe his whole life. I mean, look at him!
Before anyone calls CPS over this crazy hot costume, I promise we only put him in it for a few minutes, for a couple pictures, inside, before most of the guests arrived.
The boat was the second cardboard boat I have made my husband build through the course of our marriage. The first was much larger and took much longer, but it was before kids. It required a plank, a porthole, and captain’s quarters. This one literally only took cutting a side off of 2 odd-shaped boxes and taping them together, but he was no less mad at me over it than the first. And much like the first, this boat was really just a photo prop, sooooo maybe I torture my husband for the sake of my pictures too. But not every husband is as sweet as mine to let me go so far overboard (pun intended) with a birthday party that the birthday boy won’t even remember. I love you baby!
If you’ve ever complained in my presence about how hard it is to have your kids close in age, you’ve been told about my sister-in-law who had 3 kids within a span of 10 months. This is them. Pray for her, friends.
If anyone cares, kid-friendly Wild Thing food is hard. We had Chick-Fil-A “Wild Animal Nuggets,” “Monster Mac,” “Eat-A-Mommy” (This is what Harper used to call edamame), a watermelon boat, and the obligatory fruit and veggie trays. As far as I know, no one went hungry, and the only thing leftover was a tray of mac and cheese that was never even baked. We have never had a party that didn’t have so much leftover food that we could have held another party. Total success in my book!
The original wild “Animal.”
So, the cake. I have never taken a cake decorating class. It shows. But I have a hard time paying a zillion dollars for a freezer burned, pretty cake, and it’s kinda fun making it all up as I go along. Everyone always compliments me on my Pinterest fails, but that’s why they are my friends. I make sure they only look from a distance and are then handed a cut-up piece of it. This was the first time I have ever tried fondant and I will say it was harder than I thought, but it was the only way I could have (almost) pulled off the cake I had in mind. In the end, a lot of it was eaten, so at least there’s that.
Hudson’s smash cake was not quiiiite what I was going for but at least you can tell what it is. I think you can anyway. Those are supposed to be horns in case you were wondering.
Didn’t take him long to figure out what to do with the cake. We let him work on that sucker for entirely too long, but he enjoyed it so much! And then I thoroughly enjoyed getting it out of his hair, ear, eyelids, fingernails, and nostril.
To everyone who attended and thought it would be a good idea to give him a toy, I have cursed you every day since. I love you all, but I curse you. Repeatedly. Hudson, on the other hand, has thoroughly enjoyed every. single. one. of the 1,527 new toys that now call our house home. He thanks you all. To anyone who also tries to keep their children’s toys to a minimum, don’t bother. When you request people don’t bring presents, they bring extras just to spite you. SMH…
We had planned a bunch of activities for the kids, like making a Wild Thing mask (which my devoted mother spent like 3 days cutting out pieces for) and Wild Thing coloring pages, and a couple games like make your mom into a Wild Thing and the shake-your-booty-‘til-you-shake-all-the-ping-pong-balls-out-of-the-kleenex-box-attached-to-your-rumpus game. We did none of it. The kids had fun just running around, being kids. I call that a win.
Check out my Pinterest party board for more Wild Thing ideas and send me any circus ideas you find! It’s time to start planning for next year!