As you probably know, Joon celebrated her tenth birthday this last Sunday and it was a splash and a half. Actually, make that five-thousand smashing splashes and a half because it went off like no other pool party I have ever planned.
Have I ever planned a pool party before? No, I don’t think so. But that’s beside the point.
A little back-story on this party: It was cold and rainy on Monday. Payam and I even had a fire in the fireplace on the Friday before so the fact that Sunday rolled around to be a scorching 83 degrees Fahrenheit was downright providential. It was the PERFECT day to have a party at the pool. In fact, I doubt we could stand being anywhere else.
Pool parties are easy. You know why? Because you don’t really have to do anything. Just throw in some pool toys, order a few pizzas and maybe bring a cake. That’s really all you need to do and at the end of the party all the kids will go home sun-kissed and exhausted.
But of course that’s not how we roll. We go big or go home!
We made pool noodle brooms, aka The Aqua Nimbus 2000: They are very good at hovering over water and then bucking you off into a big belly flop of a splash. The kids had a blast with them, and then afterwards used them to mop the deck. (Just kidding. There was no mopping.)
We made butter beer (skipping the sweetened condensed milk in favor of whipped cream out of a can, because come-on, who’s gonna deal with that sticky mess at the pool?). It was a huge hit. It looked nasty like a pot of kombucha or something but that didn’t stop the kids from sucking it down in their miniature plastic beer steins (aka coffee cups ordered from Party City that I customized with a Joon’s Butter Beer Pub logo.)
And of course edible wands (cookie sticks) and Levitating Lemonade (aka regular old lemonade in a neon green cooler that broke half an hour into the party. Note to anyone planning a party like this: Do not buy this model of a cooler from Party City. Do not be tempted by the el cheapo $16 price tag. It is junk and you will rue the day. The knob broke off the top the minute I touched it and the spigot broke during the party, leaving everyone to ladle lemonade out of the top with a paper cup. It was super messy and super stupid.)
Don’t you love a good back-story? Here’s some more:
How did we make the giant snitch piñata? With paper maché of course! I did it very much the same way I created the giant cat toy piñata for Bug’s black-cat-themed seventh birthday party but this time I took my time and applied FOUR coats of newspaper and flour-water paste over the span of a week.
It was so much more solid than the cat toy. Awesomely solid in fact. I could have rolled it down the street if I wanted to and it would have held up. But it was also very big so in order to make it strong enough to hold the 20 pounds of candy and prizes we needed to stuff the piñata with, we had to create a macrame holder from string. Otherwise the pure weight of the piñata would have busted off it’s top.
Payam and I worked very hard on this thing. We haggled over how to make the wings for hours. We tried all kinds of wire (you should have seen Payam stripping tv coax cable which unfortunately didn’t work either) before we finally found the right gauge combined with a small piece of a wire clothes-hanger to keep it just stiff enough. Then I covered the wings with gold tissue paper and cut the feathery bottom. We sprayed the whole thing with gold spray paint.
I also made some baby snitches (or actual-size snitches) for anybody who might want to play quidditch in the water. Those were made from ping pong balls, wings cut from duct tape and hot glue, of course. Hot glue is my spirit animal.
SMASHING SUCCESS! That thing was so satisfying to smash. It broke just the right way, like smashing a big hardboiled egg. Everyone got a good thwack and then the birthday girl got a second turn to really whale on it before all the candy rained down on their heads.
Joon’s mom made a really cool Harry Potter cake with a chocolate fondant sorting hat, broom, glasses and even a tiny, super-cute, red-and-yellow stripped Gryffindor scarf.
I think this kid is loved. Don’t you?
Joon is TEN!!! Can you believe it?!! This is the best age. I used to worry that Payam and I rushed into living together too soon but when I look at our girls and how they get along so well most of the time (while bracing for the hormone-riddled teenage years) I am so thankful. These are the best years. I love this family that we have created so much! Sorry to gush, but you know how I feel. It’s just probably been the best twisty turn I’ve ever taken.
And last but not least, I leave you with a closing shot of Joon giving Payam a rotten egg-flavored Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour jelly bean. Yes, we totally re-posed that shot because I wasn’t quick enough to catch the original but let me tell you, that belly laugh is real.
Love you Joon!