A Train Birthday Party for a Two Year Old

Choo Choo Benjamin is 2!

I remember being so excited to plan this party for Benjamin because it was the first year he was really INTO something- TRAINS!

The party was smaller than his first, with mostly our extended family in attendance along with a few friends who came to play.

The atmosphere was wonderful- the children entered right into the play area and the adults got to mingle, drink coffee, eat, and RELAX!

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This birthday party was in the afternoon, so we went with subs, pizza, veggies, and fruit, and everything was a hit!

The only thing I regret is not blowing up the balloons well ahead of time.  With all the food signs and little details- we simply ran out of time! Next time, I will blow them up at home before arriving! The other details were nice and appreciated, but nothing makes your theme POP (pun-intended) like thoughtful and colorful balloon bouquets!

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Another way to take your themed party to the next level in an inexpensive way- cupcake picks!

They really stand out and are significantly cheaper than ordering themed cupcakes from a bakery.

Cupcakes are also much easier to serve to toddlers- I usually get BOTH cupcakes for the children as well as a small themed cake for the adult guests. These ones I made myself!

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Overall, this was a wonderful and relaxed event, and I LOVE looking back at the photos of Benjamin having fun!

Our youngest was just under 4 months old at the time, and I was suffering from some mom-guilt since I had been focusing so much on the baby.

It was AWESOME to have a day and a birthday party all about Benjamin!

He enjoyed his birthday party as well- especially the cupcakes and all the TRAINS!

2 Years... and Counting!

Exactly 2 years ago this weekend, my husband Chris and I were finally able to see almost a YEAR of our hard work come to life when we opened Climbing Vines Cafe & Play and hosted our first birthday party for a lucky little one!  Since then, we have hosted over 400 parties, held tons of special events and classes, and greeted countless smiles that walked through our door.
 

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It has undoubtedly been the most difficult, yet most rewarding journey for my family and I thus far in our lives.  We have had to adjust from my steady office job and paycheck to accepting a world FULL of uncertainty, crazy hours, and cleaning up frosting pretty much daily!

I definitely have a LOT more grey hair and get a LOT less sleep, but my heart is also SO full and when I do (finally) go to sleep each night, I am so thankful that I, along with our staff, were able to make that day a little more filled with fun and laughter for a special group of children and parents. 

To celebrate our 2 year anniversary (although we prefer the term "birthday!"), I thought I would give you a little behind-the-scenes look of the creation of our little "nook" of the world that we love and run so passionately each day.

I am definitely writing this post through tears in my eyes, since these photos bring back so many memories and these pictures are giving me ALL the feels.

 

Our First Photo

First, a photo of what our space looked like when we signed our lease. I remember feeling so overwhelmed at the amount of work ahead!

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I am so thankful for our focus group that spanned over a year, FULL of Rochester-area parents (a.k.a. our secret weapon!), that helped me make so many important decisions and helped to ease the burden. If you are reading this and are one of our "Vines Visionaries"- THANK YOU!

Our Menu Development

Now, a fun photo of our menu taste testing team! Before we even began construction, we enlisted the help of our focus group (and their little ones!) to choose a menu that was fresh, healthy, and of course... tasty and toddler approved! This photo was taken in my kitchen!

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Now, a fun photo of our menu taste testing team! Before we even began construction, we enlisted the help of our focus group (and their little ones!) to choose a menu that was fresh, healthy, and of course... tasty and toddler approved! This photo was taken in my kitchen!

Next, a photo of our counter where we greet our customers each day, just a few weeks before we opened our doors compared to today!  We designed ALL the colors ourselves based on how they made us feel- happy, refreshed, and energized!

The Cafe 

 

Next, our lounge area, which is a nice quiet area for customers who want to take a nice rest from the play area! I love the inspirational quotes covering the walls, especially the one that says "be AWESOME today!" It reminds me each morning to do my best and STAY POSITIVE despite the circumstances.

The Lounge

The Play Area

Finally, a before-and-after of our play-area! We have to thank our architect, Eric Ferri, for helping us decide on the layout of our area and really maximize the space! We just love it, and it looks just like it did in my dreams! We custom-designed our playhouses and planned the rest of the activities with teachers and parents, and with incredible care. It's so wonderful to see children enjoying playing here every day!

 

 

BONUS Behind-the-Scenes!

And now, some fun bonus photos! We spent SO much time traveling, learning, and talking to other parents while we prepared to open. All of it has paid off, but man, it was exhausting! 

Thank you for taking a moment to revisit our opening with me- and HAPPY BIRTHDAY Climbing Vines!