Toby’s 3rd Birthday Party

Toby’s third birthday is next weekend, but since my mom is in town this weekend, we decided to have his party early. It was such a wonderful afternoon, I promise! Here are a few photos, if you’d like to see…

We invited friends for a picnic at a park. The weather report gave a 40% chance of rain. We debated changing the day but Alex pointed out that it rained at Woodstock and it was still awesome. Amazingly, EVERYONE rallied and showed up.

Look at these sweet babies!!! How cute are those cheeks?

We ordered pizzas from a neighborhood restaurant. I love that excited little face in the top photo:) And in the second photo, how chic is Ella’s trench coat style? I’m taking notes from that girl!

We served a doughnut cake by stacking up a mix of chocolate, glazed and jelly doughnuts and sticking three candles on top.
The birthday song started off well…

….but the closing cheers from the crowd were way too scary!

Luckily, the mood picked back up quickly:)

We played with a parachute…

…and Uncle Nick arrived for shoulder rides and requisite wild antics.

At the end of the party, Toby opened a bunch of adorable presents, including this cool truck, art supplies, a book about an animal orchestra and a helicopter.

We had a wonderful day.

Finally, at 8pm, past Toby’s bedtime, we headed home. When I put him to bed, he said, “Well, that was a good day, Mama,” and asked to keep wearing birthday shirt. What a sweetheart. It’s funny, I can’t decide if he seems really grown-up or still like a sweet baby. He’s in that precious in-between phase. Oh, how I love this boy:)

P.S. Toby’s 1st birthday party, and Toby’s 2nd birthday party. And when he was one DAY old—and so tiny!

  1. Nice post and your birthday celebration is really awesome. thanks for sharing with us. Drinkdings

  2. Kids grow up so fast!! It is crazy to see how fast my son has grown up. I remember clearly the birthday he had at your sons age! That is why now that we are preparing for his thirteenth birthday party we want to do something him and all his friends will enjoy. Any suggestions that could help us out.

  3. Wow! Your kid is so cute. I loved those doughnuts and the gifts. Outside party is always a fun, there is quite big space for kids to play and enjoy.

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  6. According to Facebook the pic of your tot crying was taken by … Someone stealing your work?

  7. I hope you have must enjoyed this birthday event. I like your party themes and these activities are a good way to get entertainment and fun at Kids birthdays. I am also looking for such ideas and I will try your activities at coming birthday party of my son.

  8. He is so cute and handsome and the party colors and overall atmosphere were so nice just like having a bounce house oakland or party bouncers for party.

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  10. Great idea!! You can also celebrate your love one’s birthday event with own customized water bottle. The bottle water label contains your kid or love one’s photo as well as your customized message.

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  20. Perfection. We did something similar for our son’s 2nd birthday this year and it was awesome! I love the donut cake idea!!! Maybe for next year. :) Thanks for sharing and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOBY!!!

  21. Thank you so much for sharing these photos Joanna! The one of you, Toby and Alex is beautiful. I love that I recognise other bloggers kids at Toby’s party. Talk about one big happy online community :)

  22. Loved reading this b/c my fourth son will turn three this weekend. I was feeling a little guilty for planning SUCH a simple (family only :)) party, but you are right–the simple ones are the best.

    And you’ve figured it out early–took me four kids to nail it. haha.
    That tractor looks familiar–my boy is obsessed. :)
    Aloha to you

  23. This is great! For the record, I remember distinctly being absolutely goddamn terrified of the birthday song when I was that age. It’s one of my earliest memories. I’m 26, so I handle much it better now. There is minimal screaming.

  24. My son’s third is on Tuesday – they’re so close and I totally agree – to me he is a gorgeous mix talking lots, understanding more but still so cuddly, chubby cheeked and still my baby….

    GREAT party – totally as we do each year – but in Denmark/Canada!

  25. This is essentially what my husband and I did for our wedding. Except instead of pizzas, we had handmade PB&Js. Love it!

  26. ahhh all the photos are lovely, and I’m sorry to say I giggled a little at the photo of poor liddle Toby crying. He is such a sweet natured boy. I can’t believe he’s three already!
    LOVE Sharon’s kids as well. Totally agree with Ella’s stylish ways, and loving the charlie brown t-shirt on one of Sharon’s twins. What a perfect day for Toby and glad that the rain held off for you guys :) X

  27. I’m taking notes! Pizza and donuts at the park. Genious!
    PS Animal orchestra is an absolute favorite around here! My one and a half year old loves to point at all of the animals in the audience and have me help her name them but I don’t know what to say for half of them. Ha! Check it out, there are some mysterious creatures in there. :)
    Andrea |

  28. Super duper cute!

  29. aw. what a cutie pie! that crying photo of him makes me laugh! lol. and Ella’s style is indeed very chic! even her messy hair is what most young women try and strive for. she makes it look so effortless.

  30. All of the kids at the party look like model babies!

  31. Oh this is SO cute. I love that Sharon’s kids were there!! Perfect no stress birthday- glad you all had such a lovely time! xx

  32. Even if you never read this, i’m so glad that you post REAL parties and not just catered parties. I like that you kept it simple. True parent inspirations.

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  34. Totally the best kind of party – love it!

  35. We just did a 2nd birthday party for my son — I chose an ‘Italian’ theme because I knew that went well with the pizzas I wanted to order (fellow lazy mom over here!). Mini cupcakes from the grocery store (toddlers are not dessert snobs) plus $1 soccer balls and grow-your-own tomato plants from Target as favors I bought the morning-of … everyone was saying ‘Ciao Bella’ by the end. :)

  36. My son cries with the birthday song as well! Sweet pics!

  37. I must be heartless, the crying photo is hilarious! :D

  38. Happy birthday Toby! He is so handsome and grown-up!. It’s amazing to be able to see your family through the blog, I started reading when you & Alex got engaged!

  39. I haven’t seen what your brother Nick is doing to Toby for ages! We called it ‘A leg and a wing!’ (exclamation obligatory) when I was little. Guaranteed to make kids go giddy.

    Love how Toby is sat eating his pizza. Hand on one leg, piece of pepperoni on the other. No big deal.

  40. I haven’t seen what your brother Nick is doing to Toby for ages! We called it ‘A leg and a wing!’ (exclamation obligatory) when I was little. Guaranteed to make kids go giddy.

    Love how Toby is sat eating his pizza. Hand on one leg, piece of pepperoni on the other. No big deal.

  41. Happy third birthday Toby, I cannot believe you are already 3, time is passing so quickly.
    PS- great picture for his 18th, capturing how scary happy birthday is :)
    lots of love X

  42. Looks like a great day! Good for you keeping things simple – that’s how the kids like it anyway. All the best for the last weeks of pregnancy and the arrival of baby #2. From a long time blog reader but first time commenter!

  43. I agree with the awesomeness of the “NYC Taught Me” kids and you guys all in one post. It’s like watching some All-Stars gang! There are so many beautiful little smiling faces though, whether infamous blogger kids or not.

    I am so glad you all had such a wonderful time at Toby’s party! It looks grand :)

    Happy 3rd birthday little one!

    I love how enthralled Toby is with you in the first birthday song photo. Such a great moment!

  44. Love the fallen pepperoni on Toby’s jeans. too adorable!

  45. The “NYC Taught Me” kids and Toby in the same post!? It’s like an amazing crossover episode.

  46. Those pictures were fabulous! I love how everyone is laughing and enjoying eachother. The cake with donuts is a great ideas.

  47. Terrific photos! Happy Birthday Toby! And thanks for sharing the lazy parent’s guide to an awesome party! I am already thinking what to do for my son’s first birthday this year! Love the statue of liberty cake topper on T’s first one! So nice. xo

  48. Happy birthday, Toby. Your party looked like a heap of fun. And you looked adorable in that little 3-year old tshirt. Im wishing you joy, love, peace, wisdom and success for all the years to come.

  49. These are so precious! What a perfect party for a 3-year-old (or any age). xo

  50. love the doughnut cake! happy birthday to toby! :)

  51. Sometimes the best parties are the simplest ones…my favorite childhood memories weren’t huge, grand moments, but little, intimate ones. :)

  52. Your cute family makes my heart smile! Thank you for sharing these little great days :)

  53. Wonderful party, not lazy at all. I know what you mean about is he grown up or still a baby…I imagine it changes moment by moment. It’s been wonderful to watch him grow, Joanna.



  54. Such a great birthday idea. You have such a cute son.

  55. Ah, Toby! Glad the sad moment passed.

    My parents have pics of me looking green (sick) at more than one birthday party. I think that was my version of overwhelmed.

  56. I can see that. “We sang him Happy Birthday and gave him a stack of delicious doughnuts.”

  57. such a great idea and attitude towards throwing a party! i love the no-nonsense-no-stress attitude!

  58. Happy Birthday Toby! What a fun party – friends and pizza and doughnuts – what more could you want?!

    Love his little tshirt – and the Charlie Brown one too. NY Mamas have seriously stylish little ones!

  59. Those are some stylishly dressed kids!

  60. I LOVE this party! Such a great reminder not to get too crazy about planning these early events. It looks like you had a fabulously relaxed afternoon and weren’t too exhausted (from unnecessary planning) to enjoy it yourselves!

  61. Aw, what a sweet party. He is just two weeks younger than my girl!

  62. That photo of Toby screaming may be the most hilarious of the week.

  63. Creative and a donut cake is the cherry on top! ;)

  64. oh, how cute is he! and he looks just like you! what a sweet birthday ;) especially with the donut cake!

  65. Being from Montreal, I love seeing someone wearing an Expos cap (we lost our team in 2004). Also, I love that Charlie Brown t-shirt!
    Great birthday party!

  66. happy birthday to toby! the photo of him crying is so precious :).

    his mannerisms are adorable as well! i’m glad he had a good day :)

    xo joyce

  67. Best kind of party, Mama!

  68. such a lovely birthday party! I love the relaxed approach to bdays and think it should be more of a norm.

  69. Looks like a great party in my opinion! What a sweet little boy you have.

  70. looks so fun! i love that he wanted to stay wearing his shirt! haha

    ella is such a naturally gorgeous little girl…such jaw dropping style!

  71. I love how simple the birthday party was – those are the best kind. Sometimes now I go to these children parties and the parents have spent thousands of dollars on silly things! I grew up on a budget and I have the best memories of my birthday parties! Thank you for sharing and posting such great pictures – I may have to use that doughnut cake idea!

  72. Such a nice sweet simple party!! I love simple things in life and this sure seems like the perfect party for a three years old!

    Toby is such a cutie… and he’s so lucky that you are his mom!


  73. The way he looks at you, when you start to sing Happy Birthday…pure love! Congratulations mom and dad!

  74. These pictures made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Congrats Jo and so happy for you and your growing family! I’ve so loved and enjoyed your blog!

  75. So darling!!!!

    He’s such an adorable mix of the two of you. Happy 3rd birthday Toby!! Getting so big already!!

    xoxo PARIS BEE kids blog

  76. superduper cute! I would love that doughnut cake for my birthday as well…;)


  77. Happy Birthday Toby!

    Thanks for sharing your great photos

  78. I love the way he’s looking at you in the picture where you start singing, that is pure love. The parachute pics and swinging with Uncle Nick are also pretty precious. And he wanted to sleep with his birthday shirt, priceless. My son will be turning two in July and pizza and donuts in the park sounds amazing. I also live in Louisiana so it may be a little hot…we may have to build in some water balloon pinatas :)

  79. CC says...

    I love what Alex said about rain at Woodstock and it still being awesome. I have a wedding happening in a tent next month and have been so nervous about weather.

    Happy birthday, Toby! You are so cute!!

  80. I love the Toby’s shirt. Is it from someplace or just a quick pick-up?

  81. So wonderful, Joanna!

  82. Gorgeous photos!!! Lovely family!

  83. Very cute! It’s so nice to have a simple birthday party, just everyone eating and playing together. Perfect!

    We used your donut cake idea for my son’s 4th birthday a couple weeks ago and it worked like a charm! Such a brilliant idea! Thanks again for that!

  84. Your boy looks so happy! Doughnut cake sounds like fun! I’m having a little boy in June and think this would be a hit one year!

  85. Love it! Best way to do a party! Happy Birthday Toby!!! My oldest used to spaz at the sound of all the extra cheers, but he has since gotten over the fear; he’s 4 going on 5 in September! the trench-coat wearing little girl; great style so young-Love it!

  86. Gotta say: I LOVE this style of birthday party! My son turns one in August and we want the same sort of “party” – a casual get together of people who love him at a park or in our backyard! I think that more than perfect pinterest parties, my kid is going to remember the love and attention he was shown on that day. :)

  87. @lilac in may, haha i’m sure you’re right. :)

  88. I’m glad to see that the doughnut cake went over well! I mean, who doesn’t love doughnuts! It’s cool to see how happy Toby was all day (you know, except for the whole cheering part), and how much fun it is to just have a low-key hangout with friends. :-)

  89. So precious! I loved Toby’s birthday shirt. Your friend’s children are beautiful. Geez! You could have done a photo spread in a magazine. Stunning! Glad yall had fun!!

  90. I love this! Things don’t have to be over the top to have a good time. I celebrated my birthday weekend too! I’m a wee bit older than Toby though.

    xo Molly

  91. I LOVE the birthday cheers photo!! Absolutely adorable! :)

  92. Why is that little girl in the trench coat so stylish?!

    • the hair helps. and she has a perfect camera face. Well, maybe it’s the photographer? Everyone looks great!

  93. Such a good idea… I am totally going to copy this idea for my little ones. It seems so much better to be calm and happy parents rather than stressed and edgy (as I was when I tried to throw a party for my one year old!). Thanks for the idea!!! Not lazy parenting…. Genius parenting I think!

  94. how sweet are these pictures?? what a fun party! a doughnut cake goes well with any age too! thanks for sharing, jo!

  95. It seem like a all of you had a great time! Everybody looks so happy. I love the prompt birthday party idea! Theres no fuss no muss, just pizza, doughnuts and children playing in the park.
    Also I think that the girl in the trench coat looks so mature and chic.

    Thank you for sharing your good time with us :)

  96. That girl with the trench coat is so stylish! And Toby too cute, as usual! Happy birthday to him!

  97. So sad to miss this one! Can’t believe another year has passed by. Happy birthday Toby! Giant MWAH from Hudson, Aron, and me.

  98. Looks like such a fun day. My son is a little over 2, and as big as he seems to be getting, I always catch myself seeing the little baby boy inside him too(especially when he’s sleeping).

  99. First of all I WANT THAT DONUT CAKE!!! I’ve been craving donuts for weeks now. UGH killing me! 2ndly Ella’s trench super adorable! Little fashionista in the works. 3rd and most importantly HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOBY! He’s such a cutie! You’re going to have your hands full with the ladies ;)


  100. Happy birthday precious Toby. Don’t grow up too fast!

  101. Happy Birthday, Toby!

  102. Perfect! And how stylish the little birthday goers were!

  103. 2nd children never cry because of noise ;D

  104. so sweet- thank you for sharing the photos :)