Baby James Turns One!

james 1st bday party

Our sweet and smiley little baby boy James turns one today! It’s hard to believe that 365 days ago Jason and I were in for the biggest adventure of our lives, the arrival of baby James. The delivery day alone could have been an epic movie! Thankfully ever since day one things have been smooth sailing (I’ve already repressed all the sleepless nights, and hard stuff, haha) but our journey has been packed with lots of great milestones.

Jason and I have grown together as parents just as fast as our little guy has grown taller each day. During these precious moments we’ve laughed, there were tears of all kinds, we learned to trust our instincts (and each others), but mostly we discovered the meaning of unconditional love.

We love seeing what makes our little boy laugh and smile. Jason loves chasing James around the house as they’re both on their knees crawling around exploring. James loves throwing things on the ground and watching us pick it up. I love dancing together to my silly made up songs while being totally blissful about each moment.

Becoming parents has been the absolute best blessing of our lives together, and we look forward to all of the new adventures to come with James!

compilation james monthly growth progress

When my friends and family told me that kids grow up so fast, they weren’t kidding! I knew that I wanted to capture each month of his first year with a collage of photos. We placed James in a rocking chair with his monkey pal. My talented god-sister Michelle hand knit that adorable toy. To keep track of the months, I bought a set of wooden age photo blocks that I found on Amazon.

With the collage complete, I am in awe of how much James has changed in just one short year! He looks so different in each photo. It’s hard to believe he was a lil’ cinnamon roll in my belly and now he’s almost half my height and nearly walking. I find myself spending a little more time each night as I rock James to sleep to relish in these tender moments and just enjoy being able to hold him in my arms as long as I can.

james 1st bday chalk board

It’s party time, and oh boy what a day! The photos don’t show it but who would have thought that mid-July would have heavy rain and thunderstorms in Southern California. Hurricane Dolores cruised up the Pacific coast bringing high humidity and crazy weather, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating James’ first birthday –> Outside at the park, in the rain! Thankfully there was a huge gazebo with picnic tables.

We are so lucky to have the most incredible family and friends who banded together to make the celebration happen, no matter what. From cooking, decorating, setting up games and just keeping positive, we are so thankful for the help we received.

james 1st bday parkers crazy cookies design

I wanted to give James a farm themed birthday party, super cute right? To incorporate a few unique details, Pinterest got my creative juices going! As a lover of anything chalkboard, I saw these great chalkboard birthday posters from Etsy that shared fun tidbits about the celebrant. I decided to make one specially tailored to James using different colored chalk markers. It was so easy to design and erase as needed (super important), so once I got the hang of writing it was so much fun! My inner artist was very satisfied.

See those cookies? I just had to get these customized treats from Parker’s Crazy Cookies for the party. Parker is this genius cookie artisan who can take any picture and make these amazing 2D cookies that look pretty darn close to the real thing. I sent a picture of James and went through a few design iterations until the cookies were just right. I was so happy when the cookies arrived just in time for the party. They are about 3 inches in size and make perfect party favors. Who knew James would be such a cute and yummy vanilla-flavored cookie?

food line at james bday party

We wanted the party to be colorful, festive, fun and have of course have yummy food! The menu featured BBQ pulled chicken sliders, my uncle’s famous pineapple potato salad, hot dogs for the kiddos (I saw some adults grab some too, hehe), summer fruit salad and the most amazing “bake sale” desserts. If you can’t tell in the picture, half of the buffet was all sweets, my kind of party!

james 1st bday table flowers

To tie the farm theme together, we incorporated some fun country touches. I bought all of the tablecloths from Party City, go gingham go! My crafty sister-in-law Imelda created cute pinwheels that were placed in each flower jar, she also made a beautiful rainbow tassel garland using tissue paper and created the cutest pendant “happy birthday” and “ONE” banner for the food table and James’ high chair. She also made James’ photo banner and tied on some festive ribbons in between each picture.



A fun and tasty activity was the popcorn bar. I borrowed a small, easy to use portable Popcorn Maker from my mother-in-law and created a sign for the directions. I filled adorable glass seasoning jars with cinnamon and sugar, parmesan, basil, and white cheddar so guests could make their own flavor combination. I found some vintage popcorn boxes from Cost Plus World Market so everyone could have their own. The kids loved seeing each kernel pop out of the kettle. This made the party smell extra delicious too!


Grandma Lynne and Cousin Zach are enjoying some popcorn together while Grandpa Rick and baby James take a milk break.


My sister-in-laws are so out of this world talented and creative. They took the farm theme to the next level with their desserts for the party! Auntie Imelda used her handy dandy Cricut Wireless Cutting Machine to make these adorable farm animal toppers for the yellow cake cupcakes with chocolate and almond frosting. Don’t they look so professional? I mean, the horse is wearing a bandana, cuteness overload! I love her so much.


Auntie Svet created the most impressive farm animal sugar cookies topped with rolled fondant. Svet’s cookies are always crafted with precision and perfection, they are little pieces of art! I felt so bad eating the cookies, I wanted to admire them instead. Chicks, sheep, pigs and even cow patterned cookies with “James Turns One” were all handcrafted and stamped. James is one lucky boy to have his aunties take the time to make him such special treats!


Since it was his birthday, James got to taste his first cookie with Auntie Svet. They secretly made a pact to enjoy more together (as long as mom doesn’t find out), hehe. Oh the joy on James face when he took his first nibble, priceless!


Who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip cookie? I don’t think there was one leftover and all kids big and small loved them.


The proud grandparents Grandpa Rick, Grandpa Bill and Grandma Joan celebrating James’ big day.


My side of the family has all boys, and they sure have fun together, hehe. Zach,  Hudson, Jacob and Aidan are great big cousins and are showing James the ropes.


DaDa, James, Sean and Travis – It’s great to have Jason’s best friends come and celebrate with us!


The 2014 babies are here! It’s funny to think a year ago we were all expecting around the same time at the baby shower. Now here we are, strong women with the babies that make our hearts melt every day.


There are a lot of options for healthier first-birthday cake recipes, which is great especially if it’s the first time baby is having a lot of sugar. For the 5 inch cake, I created a simple and cute cake topper to tie in with the theme. I used two blue gingham straws to hold up the mini paper “JAMES” banner and I made mini pinwheels for each “pole”. I really like how everything came together!


The moment we’ve all been waiting for… SMASH CAKE!!! This inaugural event has been quite popular, and I wasn’t going not let James miss out on the opportunity to DIG IN!


James was hesitant at first, he wasn’t quite sure what to do. Once he started poking around, he slowly but surely had a good time smashing. Luckily he wasn’t so much interested in eating the cake, but what came next was AWESOME…


Happy birthday James! Mommy and Daddy love you so much, you are the best part of us. Don’t grow up too fast!

Filed under:

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

Jessica's Secrets: Cooking Made Easy!
Get my essential cooking techniques that I learned in culinary school.
Jessica Gavin standing in the kitchen

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

4 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Amy says

    What a joy it’s been to watch this sweet baby grow.. He has a smile that can make any day brighter… Great job mom and dad on this handsome little fellow!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Awww, thank you so much Amy! James does have a way of melting our hearts each day, thank you for your kind words!

  2. kathy says

    congrats ! he is so cute and you have a lovely family. when he is older he will be so proud of your work. my oldest is 32, has a phd, and is living in Ireland. it seems just yesterday I was nursing all 5 of them. thank you for the site and sharing your personal moments.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Kathy you are amazing! You have obviously done a stellar job with your children, and I really admire you! I hope James does enjoy looking back at his history and can see how much we love him, and hopefully cook us dinner for a change, haha!

Leave A Reply