My baby boy Benicio arrived on the eve of my birthday nearly 2 years ago, clinching the title for all time best birthday gift I have ever, could ever, or WILL EVER receive.

So as we roll up on our birthday season this year I'm reminiscing about his 1st birthday soiree, and marveling at how much he's changed in what feels like the blink of an eye!  It's astounding, really.

Looking back made me realize that I never posted any party photos from last year, so before there's a whole new batch to share very soon, here you go!  :)

The cake was my own creation that I adapted from a few googled recipes.  It was a lemon zest layer cake with cream cheese frosting, and I went very easy on the sugar to keep the little kids from being plastered to the ceiling.

The oriental chicken salad above is one of my favorite easy dishes to throw together for parties: it's just a blend of pre-shredded slaw mixes from Trader Joe's, their thin sliced toasted almonds, oriental sesame dressing, and shredded chicken.

I hit a bit of a snafu with the hot air balloon photo booth I tried to set up after seeing this inspiration on Oh Happy Day.  It was supposed to look something like this:

Or this ...

But my oversized special-order weather balloon popped in the heat of the day before the party even got going, so luckily some revelers brought with them a fistful of normal party balloons that we rigged up instead.  Not quite the same effect, but still cute, and the kiddos loved it!

Just look at that little face!  It was a day of many firsts for my little guy ... first cake, first candle, first party, first ginormous pile of presents ... he's quite an outgoing, social kid and he had a ball being at the center of things like that!

Next stop, TWO YEARS OLD ... in just a couple of weeks.  Wow.


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