Bug’s black-cat-themed seventh birthday party was pretty awesome. I had all kinds of fears and worries and middle-of-the-night freak-out sessions but nothing really went wrong other than the fact that I came down with the most awful head cold the week before. I mean really bad. Like solid brick sinuses and snot for days and days and days and then a few days more for good measure. I think I lost fifteen pounds out my nose. I thought I could kick it by the time the party came around so I didn’t postpone it or cancel but maybe I should have. I think what happened was I spent a lot of time not sleeping and worrying about the party and that made my cold stick around like an unwanted house guest. It was terrible!
It’s so funny, the thing that I was most worried about was the weather. We’ve had the freakiest cold weather all the way up to the party and I thought for sure we’d be out there in the mud and rain, huddling around a thermos of hot chocolate but I was wrong! It was the BEST weather ever!!! People were sitting on blankets sunbathing! Really. We could not have picked a better day to be outside at the park. The sun was shining. There air was delightfully just right…It amazed me. I was in awe.
January, you are so fickle. I don’t know why I doubt God all the time. I prayed for good weather, He gave it to me. I should have prayed my cold away. But no, I just lost my voice instead.
The stations worked out really well. I didn’t quite get over to the park as early as I’d wanted to so I was a little behind schedule getting everything set up just so but nobody noticed of course. Someday when I have my dream job of photo-styling these crazy parties, then I’ll get my wish for hours and hours of set-up time but it never really works out that way in real life.
The night before I made some little signs for each station. The first table everyone would be directed to was the registration table where they’d fill out a card with sections for each station/event and pick up their ears. I made the cards look all official-like.
I didn’t really expect the kids to follow directions so well. But they ate it up! They loved having a worksheet to fill out and I think every kid hit every station. I thought they’d eat cake, break the piñata and run off to play at the park but that didn’t really happen. (The stream, on the other hand, was a major distraction but what can you do? It would just be wrong to tell a kid not to play in a stream on a sunny day like that.)
After they picked out their cat name and their cat ears, they headed over to my mom’s station for collars and tags. My mom made all those collars from duck tape. It was funny, a few days before we were puttzing around the craft shop trying to figure out how to make collars out of that craft foam stuff.
I’ve never really been a fan of craft foam but kids love it. They can decorate it with bubble letters and shapes, jewels…it seemed like just the thing. But of course, with my luck, that didn’t work out. They don’t sell the foam in sheets long enough to go around necks without choking you. Choking was not part of my plan at all. Up and down the aisles we went trying to find something else that would work. We thought about paper, fabric, ribbons…nothing seemed right.
Then we stumbled across a display of decorative duck tape. That stuff is magic, man. You can make anything out of it. A dress? A wallet? Fix your that bumper hanging loose on your car? Fix the piñata? It’s the wonder medium!
I’m so thankful to my mom and her hard-working arthritic hands. She made every single collar and my dad tied on the tags. I wanted to make them myself but I was up to my ears doing everything else. If I haven’t said it enough earlier, I need to say it now: I have the best parents in the world. They came early Thursday night to help me with this party because they know how crazy I am and how much all these little things mean to me. They get me and it makes me want to cry sometimes.
Next was the Cat Toy station. I just put out some black pipe cleaners, fuzz balls, bells and feathers that I had leftover from other crafts I’ve done and let the kids go crazy. I did put out some glue too but the glue wasn’t really working.
A few kids tried to use the glue but I don’t think it really worked for anyone. You can’t really glue things together and make them stick unless you have a hot glue gun and I wasn’t about to put that out for little paws to play with, not to mention an extension cord wouldn’t reach all that way.
We also had a cupcake-in-an-ice-cream-cone decorating station. I know that doesn’t really have much to do with cats but kids love decorating and since we were at the park, for once I didn’t have to worry about them making a mess! Also, I was worried there might not be enough fish cake so I made sure to fill everyone up with everything else.
My friend Carrien operated the cupcake station LIKE A BOSS.
And yes, that is the infamous fish cake that Bethany made. It was SO DELICIOUS!!!
And pretty! I kind of drew up a rough sketch of what I wanted and Bethany took it to the 11th degree of betterness. It had lime frosting with real lime zest and real lime juice. The cake was raspberry, made with fresh raspberries and a thin layer of raspberry jam in between the layers. This was Bug’s choice. Personally, I didn’t think it would be great but it was so so so yummy! Who knew! In fact, I am currently on a sugar cleanse because I had a hard time keeping myself from eating the leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner afterwards. Pfff…I have NO willpower when it comes to these things.
I’m getting side-tracked though.
We also had a vet station that the tweens operated. It was pretty much just a table with a vet toy that I had bought for Bug set out. But the kids went ahead and played vet with it. They didn’t need much direction on that.
Even some grown-ups got in on the action. We had so much fun.
And how can I forget my station!!?
Paws & Claws! Yo! I finally got to use my face paint at a real party. I keep saying I’m going to hire myself out for these things but I still haven’t outside of the volunteer action I did for Bug’s Kindergarten Halloween Carnival. It’s probably a good thing too because I’m still working out the kinks. I used a grease pencil on a lot of the kids and that did NOT work. Their whiskers turned into a smeary mess.
The water-based paint (as seen on A above) worked a ton better than the grease pencil (seen below on Bug). Thankfully, nobody complained to me about it. I’m sure their parents complained plenty when they were trying to scrub it off in the bathtub that night. Grease pencil is no good. I’ll never use it again unless I’m trying to cover a winged monkey’s face for the Wizard of Oz or something.
I had a lot of fun though.
Everybody was in character.
Some more than others which made me smile so hard.
We had cat chow and kibble (which was really Cracklin’ Oat Bran and Cocoa Puffs respectively) on the picnic tables in these big glass canisters. I have two of them. They are leftover from my wedding. I’ve used these canisters for so many things. Lemonade, sangria and now cat food. They worked and looked great. A lot of the kids scooped themselves a bowl and chowed down cat-style. Bug was in heaven. She’s been begging me to let her eat this way for months.
After the kids made it through the stations and ate pizza for lunch we had events! This was the best part.
We had a relay race where three teams had to push a ball with their heads through a tube, lay down in the cat bed at the end and then push it back with a quick stop on the way back to lay on their backs and balance the ball on their feet. It was hilarious.
I love kids this age. They are so enthusiastic. I was even cheering and getting them to meow really loud for me. It was great.
Then we had a mouse hunt! I bought these little stuffed mice at Ikea for a dollar each. I know I spent a lot and I probably shouldn’t have but it was so fun! It was like an Easter egg hunt but better. You should have seen them zig-zagging around the trees desperate to find the most mice.
Poor Bug though, she knew about one that was hidden in a really hard place. I guess she had spied it earlier and she spent the entire time looking for that one mouse so that in the end that was the only mouse she found. Good thing she was the birthday girl and made up for lost mice with presents.
Speaking of presents, I am such a clod. I put “no presents” on her invitation this year because the last two years she’s been showered so heavily with gifts that it was embarrassing. Well, I’m still embarrassed because every single parent questioned me on this. Was I sure she didn’t want presents? they asked. No, I wasn’t sure. Of course she wanted presents. So I downplayed the whole thing and tried to explain that we live in a one-bedroom apartment and she doesn’t really neeeed anything and let people bring presents anyway. So everyone brought super sweet presents like gift cards and movie tickets and I sheepishly accepted all of them.
After the mouse hunt we bashed the piñata. That piñata worked out perfectly. At first I was worried that it would be too fragile and bust open at the first swing so I instructed Troy to be very evasive with it.
(Troy: official piñata guy)
But then everyone got a solid whack at it (without even being blind-folded) and it was still hanging in there.
It wasn’t as solid as the cardboard box piñatas that you buy in the store that NEVER EVER break until the Dads finally go whaling on them but it was a good challenge.
It hung in there just long enough to be fun and not get boring and then it fell apart with a satisfying thud.
It’s kind of silly how proud I am of that thing.
And then we had cake and sang Happy Birthday in all meows. That made Bug so happy. I think it was the smiliest she’d been all day.
The rest was cake.
It was a good party.
p.s. thank you Bethany for many of these photos!