Motherhood

Toby’s 5th Birthday Party

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This weekend, we threw an early birthday party for Toby, who turns five in a few days. It was such a sweet afternoon. Here are a few photos, if you’d like to see…

fifth-birthday-party-picnic-cup-of-jo-5As always, we had a picnic in a waterfront meadow in downtown Manhattan, the same place where we had Toby’s parties when he turned one, two, three and four. (Be still, my heart!)

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We brought along a few things for the kids to play with, as always — like, a parachute, a frisbee and bubbles. My friend Michelle also brought this super soaker, which was the instant hit of the party.

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Anton is a funny bird because he’s so brave and daring physically but so nervous and shy around people. He took a while to warm up and definitely stayed close (and mostly clung) to my leg at first.

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But a few snacks and juice boxes later, he hit his stride. (Side note: Thighs!)

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After everyone ran around and played for a while…

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We brought out the donut cake, Toby’s favorite.

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He looked so sweet and proud as we sang “Happy Birthday”…

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And once the candles were blown out…

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Everyone dove in!

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Oscar did his patented “donut sandwich” move, as he has for the past three years, so sweet! (Update: While wistfully looking over these photos for the millionth time, I just noticed that in the background I think Toby is telling somehow how old he is now. FIVE!)

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And Antoni tucked right in.

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Finally, at the end of the afternoon, we tried to take a family photo, but we were squirted with a water pistol at the last second, ha! It was such a lovely afternoon celebrating this little treasure. Five years, I can’t believe it. Thanks so much for reading. xoxo

P.S. Toby’s birth story five years ago.

(Huge thanks to our lovely friend Nicki Sebastian for the photos)

  1. Lindey Eggener says...

    Hey there! Looking through the adorable photos and then I happened to notice your sunglasses. Mind telling me where they are from? :)

    Thanks,
    Lindsey

  2. Samantha says...

    I cannot believe Toby is FIVE already! I started reading your blog since before you started dating Alex. My God, I feel old. Btw, Anton looks so much like you when you were a kid!

  3. Looks like such a fun, joyful day! All the photos are so sweet, but that last “family photo” is just perfect. Like many other commenters, I’ve been following along since before you were married, so I too can hardly believe Toby is 5! Haha. Time flies. But you are creating such wonderful memories for your boys, and I think they’ll really appreciate the little traditions you and Alex have established. Happy Birthday, Toby!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these comments are all so touching! thank you so much xoxoxo

  4. jess says...

    oh my goodness Alex’s hand on Toby’s back when they are singing happy birthday! (desperately trying not to cry at work, must do that squeeze hand trick) Was Toby scared before when they sung? I seem to remember this? It so sweet that Daddy is giving him a little “im here buddy”. Happy birthday Toby.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you are so observant! and now i’m tearing up :)

  5. Monica says...

    You have two ADORABLE sons, Joanna, but since Toby was born I adore his face expression, he is a such a sweet boy, he seems to be vulnerable and sensitive … so meaning in only one little face… Happy birthday Toby. Kisses from Spain.

  6. Katie McFarlane says...

    Oh, these photos made me smile, especially Antons legs! Happy Birthday Toby, looks like you had a wonderful party.

    Katie
    P.S so jealous we don’t have Madewell in Australia!

  7. Renae says...

    What a sweet and lovely party for a sweet and lovely little boy. Have the happiest of birthdays Toby.

  8. Kate says...

    Happy Birthday Toby! I have to echo the other comments that it’s mind-boggling that Toby is 5! I still remember your posts about planning your wedding and look at you now! (I suppose it’s even more mind-boggling for you!)

    I really admire your style for party-planning for your kids. To each his own, but the theme-tastic, Pinterest parties just look exhausting to me. This party looks so joyful and genuine, and I just love that it’s become this tradition.

  9. Kate says...

    It must be so fun and interesting to have such different kiddos!

  10. I am such a sucker for chunky baby thighs (sorry that sounds weird)! So adorable. You have a beautiful family.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha just laughed out loud.

  11. Such a sweet day in the park! And as a fellow photographer, I really love the work on Nicki’s site… Such refreshing (and clean!) children’s portraits! And love her fetes+functions gallery!! Thanks for sharing Jo (and introducing me to a new awesome photographer!) Happy birthday Toby!

  12. Meadow says...

    I can’t believe he is 5. I’ve been reading this blog since long before he was born hahaha.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these comments are making me tear up!

  13. such beautiful pics, these kind of birthday parties are my favorite. i looove anton’s outfit just the best :)

  14. Happy birthday Toby! Such sweet parties you throw – the family photo is just the best!

  15. I love these annual park parties! Happy birthday, Toby :)

  16. Galia says...

    Happy birthday to the little man ! Everything looks lovely. You have a beautiful family.

  17. Laura C says...

    Currently loving: Toby’s joy, Anton’s legs, Joanna’s smile, Toby’s donut cake, girls’ dresses, Toby’s denim shirt, Joanna’s outfit, Toby’s birthday party (so fun & easy), Anton in general.
    xxx

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha, “anton in general.” i love that ;)

  18. Freida A says...

    Happy 5th bday to Toby! I am a long time follower and have been reading you ever since you started blogging . Now I know why I love your blog, you are an honest and simple gal I can relate to:-)! I am definitely going to try the donut cake, I missed this one on my son’s 10th bday party last weekend. I usually have a party at the nearby farm but this year, i had his close friends over to the house and they had fun in the garden, playing pingpong( tabletennis) and just running around in the garden. The weather helped us a lot too, nice and sunny! Have a great day! And I love your top:)
    Bises de France

  19. Amanda says...

    I have been reading your blog for about 4 years now and I just have to say watching Toby grow up is the most wonderful thing. He seems like the sweetest little guy in the world. You and Alex just must be so in love! Happy birthday Cutey!

  20. Carmen says...

    ohhh! 5 years… time goes so quickly: I follow you before you got pregnant!! You went for the honeymoon to Italy, me too; you got pregnant, after a few months me too…. life is too short!! enjoy Joanna!! kisses from Spain!

  21. Heidi says...

    Happy Birthday, Toby!!! He is just the cutest thing. Thank you for sharing — He always brings a smile to my face. :)

  22. Suzanne says...

    I’m reading this post on the morning that the oldest of my 2 boys is about to leave for the USA FOR 2 months. He is 18 years old and it seem’s like only yesterday he was 5! Reading your posts of life with your boys brings back so many memories for me, thank you for sharing them.

  23. Happy Birthday Toby!! I love the donut cake! I think I need to do that for every birthday from now on. Or at least every birthday morning ;)

    x. Morgan

  24. Jennifer says...

    My son turned 5 today, and we also had a celebration this weekend! I love every age, but it is just zipping by. sigh. Happy Birthday, Toby!

  25. Tamara says...

    I love that he has had his party at the same spot every year! Also, those boys are your spitting image!

  26. Jill Lipschultz-Rosenthal says...

    I love that you did an old fashioned simple party. No one does these anymore in Los Angeles. There is always a bouncy house or now the video game truck, yes for 5-year-olds!!!! I did an old fashioned party when my daughter was 4 (with a playground and cookie decorating) and the kids asked where the bouncy house was! It is so nice to see a simple treat EVERYONE loves, not some fancy adult cake, that costs $300 for kids!!!

  27. Sally says...

    Heart warming! What a beautiful day.

  28. karen w. says...

    Happy birthday sweet Toby! looks like a wonderful party :)

  29. Happy Birthday Toby!!! :D

    What a fun and exciting day. Congrats on turning 5! Goodness, I remember last year’s birthday post like it was yesterday :)

    May the coming year be filled with joyous memories, many sunny days and lots of doughnuts!

  30. Ashley says...

    Lovely photos – Happy Birthday Toby!!

  31. Happy Birthday Toby! So nice to see a sweet little family together :)

  32. jill c. says...

    this is so sweet…i’ve followed you for awhile now and remember all of your birthday posts for Toby. My daughter turned 5 this past March and for some reason i was so much more sentimental about it this time around…something about turning 5 just made me so weepy.
    thanks for sharing such beautiful and real moments in your life.

  33. Cathy says...

    What a lovely party!
    I was wondering if that was Robyn and Isaac from the Made in Brooklyn blog in the second picture… She hasn’t blogged in a while and I would love to hear from her.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      it’s not, actually — i’m sorry, i don’t know her. have you tried commenting on her instagram or emailing her through the site? xo

  34. Happy birthday, Toby! What a perfect family photo to capture the spirit of the day :)

  35. That last photo of you guys is so perfect!

  36. Lacey Lynch says...

    Do I spy the summer sandals you said had been on your wish list for years?? Cute!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you’re so sweet! a reader actually told me about this cheaper version which i ordered right away! http://bit.ly/1bvHjhb

  37. Happy birthday to Toby!

  38. Flor says...

    You start to see patterns in your kids, little habits that you know they’ll have as adults- I love that!

  39. Dee says...

    Adorable!! Happy Birthday to him! :)

  40. Josephine says...

    Happy birthday Toby! Thanks for sharing Jo! It has been joyful to catch glimpses of Toby growing up through your posts. My first son, Oliver was born just before Toby, and we celebrated his 5th birthday last week – my son is chatty and inquisitive and I love witnessing the transition into personhood! Looks like a lovely party (I’m craving a donut right now, guess I should have breakfast first)! Have a good week!

  41. Aidel.K says...

    Happy Birthday, Toby! It looks like everyone else had a happy one, also.

  42. Lily says...

    Happy Birthday Toby!!! <3<3

  43. Erica H. says...

    Awww. Super sweet. Happy birthday to your darling Toby! I love your motherhood posts. My kiddos are just slightly younger than yours. Five years old is such a big milestone. Yay! XO

  44. I just wanted to echo everyone who complimented the simplicity of this party! Hopefully you can start a trend to make people calm the f!*k back down when it comes to events like this. Some people love to go over the top, and that’s awesome for them. However, no one should feel pressure to spend money and time they don’t have/don’t want to spend that way for something that can be so simple and still so fun.
    You can tell from the joy in Toby’s eyes that he loved his party.
    Also, as an introvert, I can see a fellow intro in Anton! I would rather travel to a country where I don’t speak the language or move across the country to a city where I don’t know a soul than go to a party where I don’t know many people. Ugh, gets my heart racing just thinking about it!

  45. Happy birthday to Toby! I love the donut cake…looks like it’s quickly becoming a birthday tradition! :)

  46. Cynthia says...

    Kudos to you and Alex for not caving in to the pinterest-level birthday parties for children. I love that you played outside, had low-tech fun, no decorations, and donut-shop “cake”. It’s awesome that you are letting your boys be boys.

  47. Nina says...

    Happy happy birthday

  48. Sydney says...

    Such a beautiful & natural family picture at the end x

  49. Neena says...

    Best family photo. Ever.

    For some reason this post coaxed a bunch of onion cutting ninjas out of their hiding place.

    How we all love our little ones in the same way… Enjoy!

  50. Kelli J says...

    Hi Joanna!

    What a sweet party! Totally cheered up my morning. Your link to Toby’s birth story made me curious – did you ever post Anton’s? I love hearing about other people’s birth experiences and probably talk about my daughter’s wayyyyy too much. :)

    Hope you have a great week!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thanks for your note! i haven’t shared anton’s birth story yet. it was kind of a funny birth — really fast, but kind of surreal— so i’ve been sort of hesitant to share it. but maybe i should just bite the bullet!

    • Kelli J says...

      Don’t feel pressured! I was just curious! Maybe this is just something you’d rather keep to yourself! :)

    • Juliette says...

      Oh I was just wondering the same! It makes me feel like we”know” Toby more…

  51. All the best kids parties are simple and fuss free, we had an olympic party for my son when he was 5 – races with medals, star wars light sabre waving was one event, loved it :)

  52. Bhairavi says...

    I loved the first picture.Toby and Anton are adorable.(Loved your top and jeans.Please share where the jeans are from)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      the jeans are from madewell, too, thank you!

  53. Laura says...

    Happy birthday, Toby!
    Ioanna, I read you since 2009 and you can’t imaging how the blog has campaigned me since then! I’m very happy the guys growing up and share your joys and sorrows.
    Love from Barcelona
    Laura

  54. Looks like a lovely day! Your boys are so adorable and look like the sweetest little guys! I get teary-eyed just thinking about my nieces and nephews growing up and when I look at pictures of them as babies – I’m going to be a wreck when I have my own! Thank you for sharing, your traditions and donut cake are inspiring!

    – Charlie, http://www.lemonbutterlove.com

  55. Blair M says...

    that might be the cutest family photo ever – i hope you frame it! :) Happy Bday T!

  56. Hi Joanna, long time reader, first time commenter….loved (and love) to read your family and personal posts. Time flies — the days are long, the years are short. Thanks so much for letting us all in to get a glimpse of your life. You somehow know how to balance everything — work, marriage, kids, and time for oneself. Thanks for always being real, honest, and open.

  57. L8Blmr says...

    Such an honor to watch your little guys growing up…thanks for sharing.

  58. Jo says...

    Awww. That first photo of you gently brushing Toby’s (giddy and proud) handsome face is SO heartwarming.

    Happy happy 5th birthday, Toby!

  59. Jenna says...

    I just cried! My little dude turns five soon and your post made me think about how sweet little boys are (at any age)! I love the first photo of you stroking his little cheek. You are a good momma! Happy 5 Toby!

    • I’m 18 weeks pregnant with a baby boy, and reading things like this make my heart so happy!

  60. Trish says...

    Love how the little girls are wearing dresses!

  61. Meghan says...

    Doughnut Cake! What a Brooklyn kid. Have you been to Peter Pan in Greenpoint?

  62. Liz says...

    This looks like such a fun party! And as other readers have said, it does not look fake like most blog parties do. It is just good, old-time fun. :)

  63. Anton’s face is the last picture!! “Hey, we are trying to take a photo here people!” haha so cute!

  64. Kristy says...

    it is so nice to see a normal children’s birthday party on a blog. no over the top decorations or elaborate cakes staged for pictures – just kids, a park and some donuts. and still the sweetest photo opps. thank you for always keepin it tha realest, jo!

  65. sweetness overload. xoxox

  66. So sweet! Makes me emotional thinking about my babies growing up… On a side note, I love the top you are wearing! May I ask where you got it?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much! it’s from madewell (on sale right now, actually): http://cupjo.co/1FkfsLF

  67. Kristyn says...

    Hi Joanna, I am a longtime reader who doesn’t usually comment, but I just wanted to say how refreshing your blog is. I love that Toby’s birthday party was pretty low key. He is so sweet and it looks like everyone had a great time. I have a 1-year old and I often feel pressure to make every event Pintrest worthy, but this is so much more my style, and it’s a nice reminder to keep it simple.

  68. Oh my goodness! I still remember when Toby turned one there and sat and watched everyone around him. Look how big he is! What a sweetheart. Happy birthday little fella!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i know!!! time flies, it’s so crazy. i remember him just laughing on the blanket with his little one-year-old friends.

  69. Glenda says...

    Happy Birthday Toby!!! Looks like everyone had fun! Love the family picture! Natural vs. Posed :)

  70. Sarah says...

    I started reading your blog just before Toby was born; seeing him turn a whipping FIVE makes me a little weepy! Happy Birthday, Toby! xo

  71. So sweet, Joanna. Maybe Anton has the makings of a tried-and-true introvert—I can see myself in his initial reserve around a big group of people but physical fearlessness (hello, skydiving and solo travel!). :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you might be right! that’s so interesting. i’m the reverse (physically cautious, socially outgoing) so it has been really interesting to watch him find his way so far in such a different way. i’m curious to see how he continues to grow up!

    • k says...

      I could give your comment a thousand likes. It seems to me the world doesn’t care about introverts of all forms anymore :(. haha!
      btw I have always thought Anton looks very intellectual. :)

  72. What a lovely party. And I love the donut cake idea!

  73. Happy Birthday Toby! Looks like a great day.

  74. Traci says...

    Hi Joanna,

    Toby’s birthday party posts are one of my favorites on here! It’s so nice to see that he was receptive to the Happy Birthday song :). Anton is such a cutie, great pics as always!

  75. Meg Webster says...

    The picture of you reaching out to touch Toby’s cheek during the Happy Birthday singing made tears just pop into my eyes! Its a CLASSIC, fleeting moment in every mom’s life captured in a photograph. I love it so much.

    • It made me tear up too! I just know everything that goes through my mind when I do that to my kids. It seems so small, but it’s such a sweet, significant gesture.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww, thank you, it was one of those make-your-heart-burst moments to see his proud little half-smile and just want to freeze time right then and there. i have become so emotional and nostalgic since having children!

  76. Lena says...

    Beautiful and joyous, happy birthday Toby!!

  77. Happy Birthday to your darling mini me :)

  78. Marissa says...

    This is so sweet, but mostly I am in love with your tank! Where is it from?

    • Claire says...

      I loved that last picture, trying to get the family photo – you all looked so happy. Happy birthday, Toby! (And your sunglasses! Please share where they’re from!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you guys are so sweet! my top is from madewell: http://cupjo.co/1FkfsLF
      and my sunglasses are warby parker. thank you!