Over the last week we have enjoyed celebrating our beautiful Mila’s 2nd birthday. It is incredible how fast the last 2 years have sped by! I agree with the quote that says “the days may be long but the years are so short,” how very true this is!
When Mila was a baby, Luke and I had a discussion about how we would like to celebrate birthdays and what we wanted the focus to be about. For us we decided that we would alway make sure birthdays were very special day where we celebrated together. There would be certain years that we had big parties, turning 1, 5, 10, and 13 (thats as far ahead as we were thinking at that stage) were some of these. On the other birthdays we decided there would always be some sort of celebration but there were some things we would definitely do and other things we would leave out.
The first non negotiable thing that we plan to do every year is have a family celebration. This year we chose dinner as the meal that we shared together as Luke was away over the weekend and it was going to work in best with other family. Mila loved this special family time where the focus was all about celebrating her!
As Mila gets older we will let her invite one or two of her friends to join our family celebration but this year we decided to have a small party in the garden the following weekend where two of her friends could come for a play.
I love to be creative and decorate but on the smaller party years we agreed to do simple decorations rather than big fancy ones. On her actual birthday this year we hung balloons and bunting and wore hat party hats. Mila came out into the lounge in the morning all smiles as she exclaimed with her hands held high above her head, “because it is Mila’s birthday we have balloons!”. Reminding me that it is the simple things that she found most exciting and made her day that extra bit special.
Having a birthday cake is another tradition we will do every year. This year I followed Mila’s current interest in ducks and made a duck pond for two of her rubber duckies to swim in. Mila requested her cake had “two candles, because Mila will be two years old”, so they were stuck in the top of the cake too. It was so much fun for me to be able to involve her in the decision making this year and I could see she loved being able to participate in the planning process too.
For us birthdays are all about being together as a family, having fun and celebrating with the ones we love.
For Mila’s small party with her friends the following weekend she chose to have a Belle and Boo (her favourite books) themed party which was very simple to achieve (which was wonderful for a mummy who works part time and didn’t have too much time to prepare for it!). What is even better is the only thing we bought for the party were balloons (rainbow coloured ones chosen by Mila) and party hats (also picked from “Mummy’s favourite shop, spotlight” lol) the rest we borrowed or dug out of cupboards!
This years party proved to me that birthdays don’t have to be an expensive exercise, they don’t have to be full of activities (this I realise will change as she gets older), they can be created and made very special without all the fuss and and pressure there sometime is around them.
Mila and her friends had a wonderful time playing, dancing, running and enjoying a few simple treats to eat. I enjoy setting up environments that promote exploration and create an invitation to play. Our simple picnic party set up (inspired by the Belle and Boo books) was perfect to encourage this type of play.
So now we have a 2 year old! What a wonderful little lady she is too. We could not be prouder to be her parents, she is so kind and caring, full of cheeky grins, laugher, chatter and songs. We look forward to the coming years but for now choose to celebrate and embrace the present, enjoying all the snuggly cuddles and cute things she says, dancing through our days like ballerina’s as we navigate the challenges and joys having a 2 year old brings, for I am sure these days will all to quickly become a memory too.
Here are a few photos of Mila’s Belle and Boo picnic party…
I would love to hear how you celebrate birthdays in your family. What special family traditions do you keep?
Photography by Luke Marshall Images