Monday, July 27, 2009

Isabelle's FIRST birthday!

Our baby turned ONE just over a week ago. What!? I have no idea how this day came so quickly, but we rang in her big #1 with a great day of fun and friends. Here are pictures from her special day.

The after-attack. It could have been worse but she was distracted by the chicken salad croissants and a fruit plate, which she chose those over the cake. Seriously.

Cuddles for her new big teddy bear

Friends Jo & Susan

Susan's adorable son, Jaden, who spent the entirety of the party marching through the house pushing the toy trolley with food in his mouth. He is too cute!

Although she was a bit overwhelmed by all of the chaos throughout the day, she loved everyone singing happy birthday to her. She ate it up - flashing her million dollar smile, looking coy, and cheering for herself afterwards. A baby Leo indeed!

A bit overwhelmed by all of the people and in particular, the children descending onto her toys, but she was a star and rolled with it well.

...still unsure how she feels about it all...

...still suspect...

...hanging in there...

{The After-Party}

As the last group of our friends filed out of the door to begin their own bath, bottle and bed routines, Isabelle Anelies couldn't contain her excitement to have her home back. It may be hard to tell from some of these photos but she is swinging her head (key dance move), kicking her legs, and singing/shouting at the top of her lungs.


Waaaaaaa! (Daddy spotting for the catch in case she danced out of my arms!)


Literally holding her head for fear she was going to throw her neck out dancing so emphatically

Myhouseisback! Myhouseisback! Myhouseisback!

{The Pre-Party}

Oma and Opa stayed up late the night before Isabelle's birthday to gather trinkets from around the house, raid my ribbons, and create a very special "throne" for Miss Isabelle on her birthday. This is apparently a Dutch tradition and one we will definitely keep alive. What fun it was to wake up and to find this surprise.

Isabelle enjoying breakfast on her throne

{The cake}

I have strategically avoided becoming a baker. Cakes, cookies, icing...won't do it. Meringues, souffles, pies...forget it. Sure, I can follow recipes, but why bake something only to eat it? Well, I guess that's the point. Except for when those cookies or cupcakes sitting on your counter replace the dry, multi-grain toast for breakfast, or the salad for lunch, or the glass of water before bed. Anyhow, with other less dangerous tasks to do to prepare for the party like arranging flowers, printing pictures, and the lunch food (salmon salad carries a much lower temptation factor than cupcakes for me), I thought I'd leave it to the professionals to bake the treats for Isabelle's party.

So I arranged to have our local hotel prepare the cake for her. I was told to come early on her birthday to do the decorating, so Richard, Isabelle and I roll up to the bakery at the Ritz Carlton around 10am. Khalefa, the head baker, took me back to the kitchen, gave me a chef's hat, jacket and apron to wear, and directed me to the blank cake to start decorating. I didn't quite expect that treatment, but let's be honest - it was such fun. Oma joined later to help, and I'm glad she did! (Take my advice - when decorating a polka dot cake, start sparsely because once you commit to a polka-dot-density on one side, there is no turning back! I would have regretted my polka-dot-enthusiasm if it weren't for Sandy there to help me out.) Here are a few pictures of Isabelle's birthday cake making.

{The flowers}

I was feeling very Martha Stewart this day. In New York I took for granted the simple of joy of always having fresh flowers in the home, but here in the desert it is a real treat. I loved having an excuse to splurge on these pretty pink flowers and had a lot of fun arranging them just so.

{Isabelle through the year}

It's amazing to see pictures of your child each month throughout the first year, next to each other. Seeing it laid out like that is like one of those mornings in the early days, when you go to collect your little one from her cot and feel as though you've literally seen her grow before your eyes. There was no mind trick going on those mornings, and this little art project proved it.

Happy happy birthday darling Isabelle! We love you so much. xx