As Luke’s first birthday is approaching I thought I would share two tips for a great birthday. One is a lesson and the other is a favorite tradition we have developed over the past three years.

The first birthday is as much a milestone for the parents as it is for the birthday boy. Surviving the first year is huge deal and a thing to be celebrated. I was so excited about our accomplishment that we only served a champagne punch at Ellis’ first birthday. I think that was a big bummer for all the kiddos who attended and could only drink water. We rethought that the second year and had non-alcoholic beverages on hand. So learn from our mistake and toast your self, but don’t forget about everyone else. That’s the lesson.

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The tradition is the solution to a lifelong problem of mine: I never know what to do with cards. I don’t really save these things, but I have a little bit of guilt in the back of my mind when I throw them away. I think this guilt stems from my stint interning at the Department of Education where it was my job to create the daily archive book, a public record of everything the Undersecretary of Education did that day. Sometimes the book was 60 pages long. This certainly skewed my perception that every detail was important for posterity. However, my kid isn’t the Undersecretary of Education and 60 pages worth of notes on anybody’s day isn’t really interesting. So, I still chuck the cards.

Instead of saving all those cards, we’ve started a simple tradition of a birthday year book at his party. It is doctor Seuss’ Happy Birthday to You. Each year we have all his party attendees sign the book. They can write a little message (or not) but it satisfies my sense of creating a record of his birthday, and it is easy enough to do each year (which is key to a successful tradition—our mother’s day tradition is a huge pain and I am not sure how long I will be able to keep it up, but that is a story for another post). I paperclip the book open to the page that everyone should sign (learned this the hard way the first year, when people wanted to sign throughout the book). There are enough pages to last for 30 birthdays!


So happy early birthday Luke. And congrats City Mama and Papa on a job well done!