Today we celebrated Zander’s first birthday! It was really memorable for us. When I started planning out the guest list I realized I had over 50 people I wanted to invite to the party (and 200 more if I could invite my cousins, aunts, grandparents, parents and siblings from home 😭). I planned the date and about 40 people RSVPed that they would be coming to Zander’s first birthday. I honestly can’t tell you how touching it is to me that the people in Erie have embraced and loved our family SO much. Every time I plan anything, people show up and give support, and it means the world, especially since we live so far from family. The medical community, and just the Erie community in general, have been so welcoming. I couldn’t be more grateful.
With so many on the guest list, I knew I wouldn’t be able to host it in my tiny apartment, so I started looking into party venues and Chuck E. Cheese’s was immediately the top of my list. I had never been before, but Chuck E. Cheese’s is super affordable and looked like a ton of fun. To big things on my list checked off. It cost us $320 for the party, and that was enough drinks, pizza, games and fun for 40 people! That equals out to about $8/person. Not bad… Especially when you know we didn’t even finish all the food, or use up all the play points that came as part of the party package, and we were there for over three hours!
Zander was a little bit cranky at the beginning, but what can you expect from a baby on their first birthday?? (Nothing. Expect nothing from a baby. Ever.). I just laughed as he ran around Chuck E. Cheese’s waving his arms and yelling angry gibberish at random strangers. He looked like he was trying to boss everyone around. But once pizza and cake came out he was a happy camper. He really didn’t care much about eating, he just loved throwing everything within reach on the floor as quickly as possible.
The party was Troll’s themed. Zander isn’t super attached to any toy or tv character, and I didn’t want to do a milk/bottle themed party. So I had to go with the one thing he LOVES and that is the Troll’s music soundtrack. At least 5 times a day (not exaggerating at all) I divert a major Zander tantrum by saying, “Hey Siri, play the Troll’s soundtrack!”. When Zander hears those words he freezes in his tracks, completely silent, and then breaks into a grin and dances when the music starts. My friend Jasmine made the most adorable trolls birthday cake for him! I was completely obsessed with it. Instead of letting Zander attack the cute cake, I let him go to town with a mini smash cake I made. After a few licks of icing he decided it would be fun to throw on the floor. Our Chuck E. Cheese’s party host saved the day and caught it just before he threw it! She was AMAZING and so patient with our group of wild and crazy toddlers!
One not so nice moment was when Zander decided to run away from me. He ran around a corner and disappeared in a split second. I was running around like a crazy person trying to find him. Luckily, we had to take off his shirt from all the icing he got on it, so he was easy to identify as ‘the shirtless kid’. I enlisted some help from an employee and she found him in a minute. He had ran in the middle of a group of teenagers playing an arcade game together and was completely hidden by their legs… And also trying to play their game with them… I realized later that the reason they stamp your hand and your kids hands when you walk in is so nobody can leave with your child (your stamps all match). I probably didn’t need to be sooooo worried in that moment, but it did give me a mini heart attack.
Other than that it was the perfect first birthday! After three hours of partying we headed home with a trunk full of gifts for my little ONE YEAR OLD. I have to admit, I didn’t get him a gift. It took a lot to plan the party and all my sweet friends saved me from my mom fail by totally spoiling him. When we got home he was exhausted and slept for three hours. As soon as he woke up him and Zoey ripped open all the presents and played till they literally dropped. They have never went to bed so easy!
Still can’t believe he is one… I am not lying when I say it feels like he was just born yesterday.
Have you ever had a party at Chuck E. Cheese’s? Where is your favorite place for a kids birthday party?
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