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Friday, June 28 2013 01:54

Finley's 1st Birthday... Sunny Days, Clouds Away, Firsts and Final Experiences...

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Earlier this month, the youngest member of our family hit a major milestone: Finley Renoir turned one! I have to get used to the fact that "Baby Finley" is now a toddler, and I still can't believe that it's already been a year since she came into our lives. This past year has been filled with emotions that I never expected to have, fueled by the fact that even before Finn was born, my wife and I decided that we'd be completing our family with the arrival of our second daughter. With each "first" for Finn came a "last" for Dad... as I'd come to realize that I was doing certain things for the final time as a parent as our baby moved towards completing her first twelve months on this planet. The last folding of a 0-3 months size shirt; the last box of plain rice cereal purchased; and recently, the last bottle of formula created, as the little one "graduated" to 2% milk.

Just before Finn's birthday, we held our first garage sale of the year. In preparing for that, I found myself standing in the garage one night, sorting baby clothes and putting price stickers on things that I was sad to see go. There were memories attached to the hundreds of outfits that were passed-down from Addie to Finn, and now would be gone forever. We saved a few special pieces, but just as I was misty-eyed about parting with them, I was happy to get rid of a few Rubbermaid totes from the garage. It's all a part of the overall experience, and right now, the experience of being a parent is watching our little ones as they're growing up...

Just as we discovered that Addie's first "Pop Culture" icon of affection was CAILLOU, Finn's first love has also become apparent through a fixation on a certain 8'2" six-year-old that has been delighting children since 1969: BIG BIRD

Big BirdEven before she started watching SESAME STREET on PBS KIDS (and Daddy started entering that world), Finn took liking to a large, plush Big Bird that we'd actually picked up at a rummage sale prior to Addie's arrival nearly four years ago. Then we found that simply showing her a picture of Big Bird would elicit huge smiles and infectious giggles. When we first showed her an episode of SESAME STREET, the look of wonder on her young face was incredible... and once 'Bird entered the picture? Laughter... and a lot of it. The girls and I have even enjoyed 1985's FOLLOW THAT BIRD on occasion, so when it came time to plan Finn's First Birthday Party, it didn't take long to settle on a theme. 

On June 15, SESAME STREET came to our street on a day that weather-wise reminded me of our wedding day nearly 14 years ago. A gloomy and rainy morning and early afternoon that made way for sunshine and heat. "Sunny Days... Sweepin' the Clouds Away..." 

While we didn't do quite the "production" that we did for Addie's first birthday (which was also sort of a combo Birthday/Anniversary/Housewarming Party), Finn got a special outfit that her Aunt found on Etsy, and was treated to a house decked-out with SESAME STREET friends inside and out - complete with a photo backdrop on the deck for all the kids...

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As we did with Addie's Birthday last year (actually, all of her B-days), we ordered a cake from local baker, Lovin' Oven Cakery, and just as in the past, it was a massive hit with party guests:

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And it came with a special "Pink 1" smush cake just for the Birthday Girl, herself...

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Which, after a little hesitation was confirmed to be delicious...

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And much fun was had by all...

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The Zahn Family...

Happy Birthday, Little One!

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James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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