Zain’s First Birthday Party

Jun 8, 2018

zain's first birthday party

How happy does this boy look to be eating cake?


TGIF y’all!

We are enjoying our last day of vacation and trying to ignore all the packing we have to do when we get home. The more you block it out the better, right? 

I thought I would share some photos and details from Zain’s party since so many of you had asked and let’s be honest how cute is he eating cake? The party was a bit of a last minute fiasco. I had planned on hosting everyone at our place. We have a really pretty courtyard and outdoor space and the weather had been cooperating perfectly. Of course the days before Zain’s party the forecast showed storms and there was no way everyone could fit in our tiny place. I was also out of town for work in Grand Rapids and of course trying to frantically call places in the city to see if anyone happened to have a cancellation. I guess it goes to show you can never trust Chicago weather. 

Luckily, my brother and sister in law live in the suburbs and were gracious enough to offer their house. It was nice to have my SIL’s guidance (she’s basically a professional party planner at this point) and figured it may be helpful to share some of the tips she gave me!

The party was intended to be loosely ‘shark themed’. I’m not a huge theme person but I had ordered a smash cake with 3D sharks and picked out some shark balloons at Party City. Like the weather, the cake and balloons turned into a fiasco. I happened to call the bakery a day early to check on it because we were going to the suburbs early and wanted to see if it was possible to do pick up early. I then realized our cake order hadn’t even been passed along. I immediately panicked and called every bakery in the city. No one would take an order within 48 hours and although I knew Zain wouldn’t remember this, it was the one thing I took care of months in advance. The pastry chef eventually called me back and was able to create a more simple ombré cake that worked perfectly! 

I also never thought to reserve balloons ahead of time (amateur mom move) and when I showed up at Party City they were totally sold out of the shark balloons. Who is buying all the shark balloons?! So, as you can see the theme very prominent but at least the invitations we ordered from Minted were adorable and everything was shades of blue haha. 

We grabbed dinner from Lou Malnati’s, all of our snacks and drinks at Costco, mini desserts from Nothing Bundt Cakes (totally reccomend these buntini’s—way easier than cutting cake and so good) and balloons from Party City and The Dollar Store. I actually ran to the Dollar Store the day of to throw together some goodie bags and decided to buy balloons for the bags while I was there. Their balloons were far cheaper than Party City and lasted so much longer. I even paid extra for the special air at Party City and they died within a day or so and as of last week friends were still texting me pictures of their kids with the balloons from the Dollar Store. 

In the end, it was perfect despite the bumps in the road. The reason I didn’t rent a space and plan crazy things in advance was because we really just wanted this to be a laid back BBQ for our friends and loved ones to enjoy. We were so happy everyone made the trek to the suburbs. It was so nice to see everyone before our big move! Hope you guys are having a great week! 


boy birthday party decorations

These are the balloons I got at Party City! Loved the gold ones but you could buy them on Amazon and just blow them up at the Dollar Store. 

one birthday banner

How cute is this banner? The man at Nothing Bundt Cakes gave it to us when we picked up our stuff 🙂

birthday party decor

baby boy birthday

Papa slicked my hair back with water when I woke up haha!

baby boy birthday

Neal, the baby whisperer!

baby style

The look on Zain’s face when Emma arrived was PRICELESS!

birthday party food

Lou Malnati’s pizza & salad FTW!

best party wine

how to serve beer

birthday boy banner

boy birthday smash cake

The beautiful smash cake from Bittersweet Pastry Shop!

nothing but bundt cakes

The bundtini’s in all their glory!

dollar store balloons

The amazing Dollar Store balloons!

boy birthday party

Yes, Trevor and Zain wore blue short sleeve button up’s and yes we never took a family pic…

boys first birthday party

Zain was politely tasting the cake with his index finger and then my mom rubbed his whole body in it…

baby boy birthday

baby boy birthday


I can’t believe my baby is ONE and I can’t believe Trevor and I are so lucky to have him! Thank you thank you for all your sweet wishes! 





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  1. Lorrr says:

    I love it!! My little guy is about to turn 1 in August, I like a chilled out party. I also like any party where there is wine/beer. This is a win! Such a cute little guy.