Two things I should have known during his birthday party:
1. Nobody ever shows up on time to an event (except for the people you specifically ask to show up early or on time)
2. Italian servings are double what you would expect
While he was taking his morning nap, I scramble to the park because there was so much to do: lay out the tablecloths, hang the lanterns, assemble the food and drinks station, etc. Even with the help of three extra adults, we barely finished by 11am. “Whew!” I thought. “We finished just in time.”
So we’re playing and hanging around, waiting for the guests to show up. Half an hour passes by, still nobody. Finally, at 11:30, my husband’s coworker shows up with his daughter. “Sorry we’re late,” he apologized.
The second thing I learned was that Italian people will never underfeed or under-serve a party with their food. We ordered our food from a local Italian grocery shop that also sells hot food and offers catering services. My husband later told me that when he picked up the food, the guy brought out a huge box. “So that’s my food?” my husband asked him. “No, that’s just your lasagna,” the employee responded. He then proceeded to pile on the rest of our order (penne aflredo and sausages) and even topped it off with a huge bag of bread rolls. That order, combined with the parmesan chicken and the green salad my sister and aunt brought, respectively, we had plenty of leftovers.
Even though he only slept for 40 minutes in the morning, he was in a great mood during his party. He was also very tired, because he was due for a nap around 1:30pm, but he was hanging in there! You could tell he was tired though because when people would carry him, he would lay his head on their shoulders.
The lanterns were a huge hit. I strung up yellow lanterns on a string between the poles, and each lantern had a picture of him hanging from it. There were 11 pictures and lanterns total; one for each month.
I had a great time, and wish I could have stayed longer but by 2:30 I needed to get him home to nap. He of course slept for an hour and a half, which he hardly does anymore at home.
Celebrating his first birthday was fun: from the planning to the getting together and even all the gifts people generously gave him.