You know what they always tell me: It always works out. This party was no exception.
No matter how much you fret and worry and freak-out about the severe storm warnings, the wind, the lack of space, the unknown-non-rsvp-ing mystery guest list, the kids who get bored in five minutes if there isn’t a bounce house and all the many many things you wish you could fix in your old broken-down mobile home…it all works out. It all worked out perfectly thanks to many whispered prayers.
Of course everything started really early in the morning. I was making the stump cake (which by the way came together exactly how I imagined and completely architecturally amazed me. I think I’ll do a whole post on that.) my mom was making her little cherry-tomato-ladybug cracker things, my dad was hanging lights in the carport and Toby showed up which turned out to be quite providential because right then Bug and I had a pretty big disagreement over her costume for the day.
I had thought she was going to wear her blue leotard with this really pretty light purple tutu that my friend Wendy gave her. It was perfect for the party. It was gauzy and had flower petals inside the layers. Except there was one problem that I guess Bug and I had discussed already and somehow in my absentminded party-planning-craziness I had forgotten.
It was the wrong color.
Now in a normal family the mother would say to the daughter: Tough. Get over it. I am the mom, you are the kid. And then the daughter would pout for five minutes and sneak a cupcake or something. Not this family. Color is EVERYTHING. If you’ve been following this blog for the last five years, you know how Bug feels about color. First there was green, then there was fuschia and now there is this peacock blue/teal/turquoise family.
Bug has her dad’s perfectionist eye when it comes to color. They can both see shades and nuances in color that even bees and hummingbirds can’t see. Seriously. If you know Toby you’ve probably heard him discuss how a photo has a green cast to it and go on and on about it until your eyes roll back in your head. Like father, like daughter.
So, apparently sometime in the last month or so I had told Bug that I would sew her a blue skirt to match her leotard. I’m sure I did. I had waxed on about all sorts of costume ideas and I’m sure she overheard me talking about them with all sorts of people. There was a time when I was thinking of sewing material to the leotard in waves to make her look like a water fairy and then I had this idea that I would sew up an old 60’s pattern my mom had in a pretty turquoise raw silk…But when it came down to the week of the party and I had way too much to get done (plus work deadlines), I just shelved all those fancy costume dreams and figured she was okay with the purple tutu. She had worn it several times before and flounced around so happily. I thought we were good.
I was wrong and Bug has a memory like an elephant.
Just when I thought it was going to be a whole day of “It’s-my-birthday-I-can-cry-if-I-want-to” Toby showed up. Of course he took her side, he always does. So I hatched a brilliant plan. If Toby would take her to the fabric store and buy her some blue tulle in the perfect color, then I would sew it right then and there. Never mind that I had 50 cupcakes to ice, animal masks to cut out and assemble, counters to clean, a hot cocoa bar to set up, craft tables to be set up, lemonade to make…blah-ti-blah-crazy-party-zilla rant here.
I figured either Toby would refuse to go to the fabric store on principle (places like that give him the willies) and then he’d be stuck convincing Bug that the purple tutu was perfectly fine OR they’d go together and have a wonderful father-daughter bonding time over color and fabric and they’d both be out of my hair for HOURS.
As you can see my plan worked brilliantly. They were gone for hours and everyone was happy. And yes, I can totally sew a tutu out of a yard of organza (not tulle) in five minutes flat.
Next came the spread. Amazingly, I was able to get everything done at the last minute. My mom went completely crazy over-the-top with these super cute little bug appetizers that I did not really get a good photo of. (That is my one big regret of the day. I never handed my camera off to someone else to take photos. And all my regular photographer friends weren’t there so the only photos I have are blurry ones. It breaks my heart too because I think this is my favorite party and all I have to show for it are a dozen blurry photos. Oh well.)
My mom made ladybugs out of cherry tomatoes, ants on a log, snails out of cucumbers wrapped around some kind of cream-cheese-sundried tomato mix and some green leafy-looking tortilla pinwheel things. I never got to taste them but I heard everyone else raving so I guess they were really good.
I was just so happy the cake turned out. The mushrooms my aunt made and these funny little malt ball acorns we made by rolling one end in melted chocolate and chopped nuts were so cute!! It was the best cake ever. I’m just so sad I didn’t get better photos.
Anyway, you get the idea.
But you know what else turned out? Everything else!!! I was so happy and relieved.
I had cancelled the bounce house because all morning it had been drizzling and the weather report forecasted nothing but rain and wind. But then one hour into the party, the sun came out and my Aunt Keren called the bounce house company back up and told them to get there ASAP. I had really given up on the idea. The driveway was full of cars, it just seemed monumentally impossible but never under-estimate the power of a short red-head. They get things DUN. Cars got re-parked, the bounce house people showed up and five minutes later we had kids bouncing in a giant fairytale castle in the sunshine. I couldn’t believe it.
Really, I should include one other thing in this story. Earlier in the day, probably around 2pm, I had remarked to my Aunt Keren (who had gotten there early to help) that I really wanted to brush my teeth before the guests arrived at 3pm. I hadn’t eaten breakfast, I hadn’t even had my coffee…things were crazy. All my kitchen counter-tops (which is really only one counter) were a mess and I was starting to get a tiny bit snappy at my mom because most of the mess was her mess—which I love her for dearly because LADY BUGS! SNAILS! ANTS ON A LOG! All not part of my plan but so WONDERFUL!!! Actually, I take that back. I did ask her to make the ladybugs but the rest were her creative embellishments. Super super cool but sort of worrying me because now we had about five thousand things to do at the very last minute. You can imagine my party-zilla distress.
My aunt pulled me by the arm into the bathroom and made me brush my teeth. She physically made me do it. I’m sure partly because I had horrible breath and partly because she knew I was going to explode and yell at my mom if she didn’t. So there we were in my tiny bathroom and while I’m brushing she held my hand and prayed out loud. I don’t remember what she prayed but I know it was something about it being a wonderful party for a happy little girl who we love so much.
And that’s why when the sun came out and my counters were all perfectly clean and there was a giant pink bounce house in my driveway that I felt like God was smiling at me. I hate being a gushy Christian going on about how God makes things “easy” because he doesn’t but for one moment I realized that if I just throw up my hands and let Him take care of things he totally does! It wasn’t supposed to be sunny!! It was rainy and cold and people were freezing. I did actually have to hand out blankets to the moms who sat outside and watched their kids in the bounce house but it was wonderful. It was cozy. We had hot chocolate and the lights my dad hung in my carport made it feel warm and inviting.
We had sun.
The fairy house kits were a hit. (Thank you Momfluential for that wonderful idea!) Some of the kids were baffled by it, others were engrossed. It’s really fun to watch how creative some children are naturally. They don’t need any prompting at all. The others didn’t get it at all so they went bananas in the bounce house instead, which was perfectly fine with me.
The lemonade turned out perfectly. You should really use this idea at your next party. The hole-punching was a bit of a chore but so worth it.
The hot chocolate bar was wonderful, thanks to my friend Deb who acted as bartender and some tasty six dollar amaretto from Trader Joe’s.
The masks were a fun photo prompt. I always like to have some silly thing like this to prompt people to take photos. You can download your own copies over at Alpha+Mom if you were thinking of having a woodland creatures party. (I strongly recommend it!)
Some people don’t need much prompting. Love her.
And of course there were presents…
And everyone fit in my tiny house!!!
I love these candles that don’t burn out. They give you plenty of chances to get a photo even if you are the hostess with the mostess and you’re too frazzled to check your camera settings.
Blow little Bug, Blow!
She finally got them all out and everybody cheered. It was great.
Carrien cut the cake for me because I was afraid of it. I’ve never made a cake that big before and the chocolate sticks were in there making it all weird and unpredictable. I just let the professional take care of it. Do you know what else Carrien is a professional at? Cleaning stoves. Yeah. She’s has OCD about it. It was so funny. As the party was dying down and we were cleaning up, she started cleaning my very dirty stove. At first I tried to stop her, but then she got in there with a little bread-tab scraper and I figured I better shut up because that stove was going to be cleaner than it’s ever been in it’s entire life!!!
So that was pretty much it. These photos are from the after party. I love the after party. Chatting, cleaning, kids playing dress up…it was just a whole bunch of wonderful.
A very long, tiring day of wonderful.