Everything you’ll read about how to do the first birthday party will indicate that you should “keep the guest list small”, “make it a quiet and intimate family affair,” “don’t do anything too big as to overwhelm the little one”, but the authors of such advices are obviously neither of Hispanic descent nor South Louisianans because the combined heritage alone gets you no less than thirty uncomfortably loud people in a space. And that’s BEFORE food and drink.

When it became clear that no action on our part was going to prevent them from turning ONE, people began asking me “what’s the party theme?” And I will not lie to you when I say that I had no idea what they were talking about. A theme? Yes, a theme! Like is it a Zoo Theme or a Cars Theme or a Noah’s Ark Theme?

Ummmmmm….it’s Crawfish?

And the logic went like this: Crawfish. Too spicy for kids. Fish sticks. Kids like Goldfish crackers. Activity for the 2-5 year lot. OK, sand and water table. Sand. Water. Sea. Wait a minute, something’s happening here. Yes, I’ll draw sea animals and we’ll cut them out of construction paper because I’m too cheap to buy decorations I don’t want anything too commercial. BAM! And just like that, in a flash of parental comprehension, we had a theme.

Our small family gathering? A crawfish boil for fifty.


We did, at least, schedule it post- afternoon nap when the kids are as rested as they’re going to get. We had originally planned an outdoor gathering with tables of crawfish in the driveway, ride-on toys and kid seating for the garage (thanks for letting us borrow, SJN!), a refrigerator full of sodas and juices, an open door from the garage – through the house- leading to the backyard where we have a slide-playhouse and sand & water table, ample set-up for a crowd that size. But noooooooooo, the biggest storm of the season came through that day. ALL day long. So we crammed into the garage and kept a table under a tarp & tent (thanks AJ & KF!) for the mudbugs.

Birthday Garage

Jennifer’s dad and brother boiled a spectacular batch of crawfish, potatoes, corn, and sausage. And we had fish sticks, goldfish crackers, and peas-n-carrots for the little ones. In the picture above, I think Mateo had managed eighteen or so fishsticks into his mouth and he’s using his index finger to keep it all in.

Their cakes were simple, homemade yellow cake by yours truly. I wasn’t about to spend crawfish money on a cake that wasn’t going to get touched by the the RJBs. Sure enough, they didn’t disappoint.

happy birthday

The kids received (too) many generous gifts from family and friends, but we’ve already learned that no one listens when you say “no gifts”. Especially grandparents. Mateo was especially excited about his Little People Cars toy from his aunt & uncle.

Birthday Boy


Harper stayed attached to me, Jennifer, my mom, our nanny, or the ride-on fish toy. Here, she’s attached to grandma’s fingers.

Birthday Girl

Even with crabby weather (crabby, get it?), it was a great party and I think most everyone had fun.

The After-Party

RaJen Cajun Familia