We wanted baby WaiWai’s lū’au to be perfect.
What are the ingredients for a perfect baby lū’au?
(1) ‘Ohana (Family)
(2) Good Kaukau (Food)
(3) Surrounded by Aloha (Love)
(4) Pay Homage to the Past (Kūpuna / Ancestors)
We were so blessed to have all of those things at Waipuna’s baby lū’au. ‘Ohana and friends flew in from outer islands and the mainland… and we got to welcome new ‘ohana and friends here on Maui into our ‘ohana and extended ‘ohana. In a lot of ways, this is a new beginning for our little family and it was so special to share these special moments with the special people in our lives.
For those of you that are wondering what exactly a “Baby Lū’au” is… well, many different indigenous cultures celebrate first birthdays and have been doing so for centuries. Infant mortality statistics were much higher in the past and the first birthday was a major milestone. In ancient Hawaii, children who made it to their first birthday were honored with a huge feast – a pāʻina or ʻahaʻaina. What we call it today - baby lū’au – came about in the 1850s and refers to the lū’au leaves in laulau served at the gathering.
WaiWai’s baby lū’au started with many helping hands. We couldn’t have done it without Kaimi’s co-workers (our extended ‘ohana) laboring, cooking, setting up, serving and welcoming our guests. Friends came early to help decorate and set-up. People donated their time, their tents, their cooking skills, their sound systems and so much more… wow, really… just wow. We are so lucky to have all of YOU in our lives!! xoxo
When the first guests started arriving Wai and I weren’t even dressed yet! (Still in our work clothes) We quickly did a wardrobe change. Me, into my bikini and cover up dress and Wai into her bikini and the tutu that I made for her (My Vlog – Tutu-orial: How to Make a No Sew Tutu). We wore our matching lei po’o made by a local Maui mama whose company name is “Petit Soleil Maui” – I love that!
We tried to take some family photos before Jackson and Wai got tired… but it was a complete disaster. Both kids were crying in nearly every photo! We only got the Judd / Ching side in… the Dudley’s didn’t even get a shot! I have to admit though, I kinda like the photos that “tell a story” and show the REAL side of life.
We had a lot of personal touches at the party – homage to Waipuna’s ancestors were written on little chalkboard signs indicating fun facts about ancestors on the Judd, Reeves, Djellali and Dudley sides of the family. This little one has got some amazing family legacies! (I blogged about the details of her first birthday decoration elements, baby lū’au ideas and personal touches you can incorporate into your party HERE.)
We waited until most guests had arrived (which was on Hawaiian time – some people were STARVING. lol) and then said a few thank yous and circled up for our family tradition of singing Ho’onani together. The harmonies were on point as usual. It always gives me chicken skin. I love that the drone footage shows us holding hands in the shape of a heart.
A Dudley thing (maybe Melanie started it) is that we always sing the Happy Birthday Song in as many languages as we can. My family spared our guests by only singing in three languages this day! ha ha! English, French and Hawaiian. (Side note: I totally ruined the cake by setting something on top of it and smudging all of the the letters! Ugh… BUT, Melanie and Donalyn came to the rescue and re-wrote the birthday message for me – thanks guys!)
Guests ate the traditional baby lū’au fare (ironically no laulau) – pig, poi, lomi salmon, sweet potato, chicken long rice, poke, poisson cru, noodles and of course haupia birthday cake for dessert. Hope you didn’t get the piece Jackson licked ha ha! The leftovers were sooooo ono… we still get in the freezer!
In hindsight, I should have announced the “cake smash” was happening. A “cake smash” is when you let the baby … smash the cake. Duh. Ha ha! It’s kind of a new thing. Our parents never did this with us… well, maybe it happened naturally. Now a days, parents do it to get cute photos of their keiki covered in cake. They get permission to not only get dirty but to eat sweets! For most babies, I’d venture to say it’s their first taste of cake. I know it was for Wai!
Waipuna was adorable. She was sooo dainty. She kind of caressed the cake and didn’t get any cake on herself for the first few minutes. That’s when mommy stepped in to “stage” the cake smash. I put some on her face and then she started to get into it a little more. The best part was when Jackson joined in and literally licked the whole top of the cake! A few of his friends joined in and the cake was definitely “smashed” at that point. Mahalo to Tenessa Cavitt of Rolling Lion Pictures for taking such amazing photos! (Click HERE for the Blog: Cake Smash Success: The Checklist You Need!)
I cleaned the kids off and everyone played, ate and enjoyed each others company. We were so lucky to have family friends and ohana play live music at Waipuna’s party! Joe Chee and Chase Cavitt are good friends of the family and Jarret Roback is Kaimi’s cousin… warmed my heart to see Kaimi playing music with friends and family (who also happen to be professional musicians) – he loves to do that but doesn’t get the opportunity as much as he would like. A HUGE mahalo to the Robacks for lending us their tent and sound system. Wow!
Once the majority of our guests had left it was time to breakdown the party and the set-up. We are so lucky to have such amazing friends and family. We got that place clean in no time! Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo to everyone who helped us make this day happen! We got to celebrate Wai, we got to eat great food and share special moments with great company… it was PERFECT.