Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy 5th to My Piper...A Day Late

Happy Birthday to my sweet Piper!  I cannot believe you are five.  YOU are my baby.  YOU will always be my baby.  I will always have a hard time seeing you as the age you really are.  Sniff.  I love you to pieces and I cannot imagine life with you.  I just feel so lucky that I get to be your mom!

I didn't update yesterday (or the day before) because I was in party prep mode.  What that means for me is that I am a maniac.  Well, kind of.  You have to understand, I grew up watching my mom plan parties.  My mom throws good parties.  Like great parties.  Great food and just knows how to pull it all together.  However, I really haven't thrown too many parties over the years. I did a 1 year birthday for each of the kids but that was relatively lower effort since it was mostly family with a few close friends and with only a few kids - they weren't kid parties.  However, these past 8 years, I've avoided parties somewhat because I don't like to do parties outside of the house (not that they're not fun to attend, I just don't want to do one myself) and in our old house, I just didn't feel like it was conducive to entertaining.  Unfinished, dark basement that was packed with stuff and just not as much space as I would have liked especially knowing that at the ages my kids were that parents would usually stay which means more bodies.  While we had an awesome deck, if it's hot or rainy, everything has to be accommodated for inside and that just wasn't an option for me.  Again, I need to be able to plan EVERYTHING.

So once we got settled in the new neighborhood, I knew that it was time.  I knew I needed to put my anxieties about having a house full of people aside and just DO IT.  Piper's birthday was a perfect opportunity.  It started off in my head very small but got a little bigger than initially anticipated but it was still not too big.  We invited 11 kids and that was the perfect amount and perfect mix.  Aside from my parents and Jason's parents, we had our old neighbor friends and our new neighbor friends - a very good mix of people!  It primarily was a kids's party though and thankfully because I had so many things left over from my SIL's baby shower in January, I only had to buy some decorations.  The tea party idea was really fun, and fairly easy to execute.  We played three games and the kids were so much fun! And then when it was time for "tea," the kids all behaved so well - not a single one of my great grandmother's china tea cups, saucers or bowls was even the least bit chipped.  All the moms helped out a lot too.

Although I have to say this for the party planning - how did people plan good parties BEFORE Pinterest?  Seriously?  About 2/3 of the ideas for this party came from the wonderful Pinterest.  Everything from recipes, party games, to how to keep my apples for my Apple Nachos from browning (non-lemon juice method) came from Pinterest.  Several of the moms laughed with me because they recognized things they'd seen and wanted to try.  To say that I love it, is an understatement.

So without further adieu, here are few photos.  I literally was doing party prep until 5 minutes before guests arrived and then I had to run up and dry my hair so I have no photos of how things looked beforehand.  Thankfully, my MIL, and a few of my neighbors have already shared a few photos with me.  It really was a great party and I am SO glad I planned to do pretty much everything inside since it was so stinking hot.  But what do you expect in mid-July, right?

We started off making crowns - the funny thing was that a lot of the kids ended up wearing them for a good portion of the party, which I didn't expect.  It was a good activity to keep them busy while we waited for everyone to arrive and before games.  I give Caroline credit for thinking up this idea at the craft store.

The first game was "Catch the Tea" or another version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  (Credit: Pinterest)

Lucas won this one even though Caroline said she got it closest to catch the tea.

The two littlest kids and Bryce didn't play, but that didn't bother me.  They were happy playing with toys together.  Next was "Drop the Pin into the Jar."  I give my mom credit for this one.  We played this at a lot of our parties when I was a kid.  Such a SIMPLE idea!  You stand on a little stool and have the chance to drop five clothespins into a jar without bending over.  (I think this is the SAME stool we used when we were kids...I inherited it - my grandfather made them for all of us.)

Finally, it was a tea party version of Hot Potato....Hot Teapot!  Surprisingly, most of the kids had never played and they LOVED it.  I had two prizes so we played twice.  On of my adult neighbors even sat in for a round and had a ball.  (Don't you love that they wore their crowns???)

The birthday girl was totally into it!!

Even Bryce got caught smiling:

And then it was time for tea - here's a placesetting.  Caroline made the name cards and set the table.  (I had mustaches for the boys although Bryce was the only one that wore it.)

One of the things I highly recommend doing (per Pinterest, duh) for any kid parties where you're serving ice cream is to dish it out ahead of time in muffin tins (in papers) and freeze it.  Seriously, best idea!  I just plopped them on kids plates and there was no sticky scoop, hard scooping, or dripping.

We had a pinata, of course:

Here are a few other funny photos - Bradley, our youngest party goer:

And given that my mom is a babyaholic, she had to hold both Bradley and Ethan at the same time:

It was a great day, but I was EXHAUSTED at the end.  I realized that I hadn't really sat from 9am until 5pm for more than about 30 seconds (if that).  I had done a lot of the prep the day before too which was a lot of standing.  I logged my steps on Saturday and I logged more than I do on an active day where I take a walk.  And then when I went to bed last night my mind was still on overdrive so I could not turn it off.  Thankfully, we keep melatonin on hand and within an hour of taking them, I was asleep. But 6am came way too early this morning.  But it was worth it.  The kids were still sleeping when I left!  It's almost time to plan Bryce's party now.  He said he wants Skateland but I'm not so sure.  I'd kind of like to do it at the house again but maybe look into renting one of those big blow up waterslides.  We'll see.  I need a few days to NOT think about a party.


Katie said...

At home parties are best and the kids love them. Hardly anyone does them anymore. Good for you!!! & Looks like they all had fun!!! Happy Birthday, Piper! (My baby!!!)

I feel your pain on the back 2 back parties though. I am off now that Lucy is done, but it is a challenge. I just keep telling myself to suck it up and do it b/c one day they won't want a party like that anymore.

Erika said...

I was thinking about doing a blow up water slide rental for Bryce until I saw the RIDICULOUS price tag for a rental. You could buy one of those Bonzai things for that much. (And I do not want to buy one!) He wants Skateland so I need to call about that. Piper's concept was so easy since the kids are so little. Bryce's - not so much. He has friends (boys) that are 8, 9, and 10 now.....clearly they need to be MOVING and not playing little games in a basement. I'm skeered!