(What in the world is up with that streak blond hair there on my head? Have I really been going around like that since my last haircut??)
I find it interesting how mothers change through the years. I, for one, have sure mellowed out.
For Max's first birthday we whipped up a serious shin-dig. We invited practically every friend we could think of. Every babysitter who had ever taken care of Max was there with bells and whistles. Our house was packed.
One-year-old Max looked up at everyone with his big brown eyes and was amused by all the gifts and hoopla, but mostly he just cared about putting balls through his new "Little Tykes" basketball hoop. I realize as I look back now that he would have been just as pleased had we popped some popcorn and watched some of his favorite episodes of Barney with him.
Since then I've learned to simplify...a little more each year. This year I figured we'd do another down-year. I mean, Dave was in China all week last week and with all the running around craziness around here I hadn't given a party much thought. Besides, all Lucy wanted was some "squinkies." I knew her day would be complete as soon as she opened those babies.
But the afternoon before her birthday the girls and I decided any girl who was as excited to turn five as Lucy was really deserves to have her first friend-party ever.
So I emailed some friends and figured even if one or two came Lu would be in Heaven. It was really nice to know I had professional party planners (Grace and Claire) in my back pocket because I knew they'd pull through to make it fun whatever happened.
We started the day with our traditional family b-day breakfast (Lu chose gingerbread waffles) before we ran to Claire's soccer game (AWESOME game BTW...more on that later).
(She wore that hat all day, by the way. I woke up to her quietly "reading" by herself after having already donned it right when she woke up.)
She looks really worried up there but that's her "I-can't-even-smile-because-I'm-so-excited" face.
She helped cheer at the soccer game and then played with all her new "goods" for a few hours...
Sometimes she takes her playing very seriously:
...and helped me bake the rainbow cake she picked out from familyfun.com.
(I used this cake recipe that I found when googling "healthy birthday cakes." It was really, really good. Even my kids who helped me grate the carrots to put in licked their plates clean after some initial trepidation.)
Then the kids arrived.
We did a few crafts...including making their own party hats:
(Those "fives" they're holding up is for Lucy's five years just in case that doesn't make sense.)
They played a nice game of "pin the tail on the kitty." I say nice because seriously, look how nice they're standing in line?
(See those great party planners hard at work?)
There was present opening (more squinkies and things that delighted Lu even more):
And candle-blowing:...and a little swimming at the end.
I know it's lame of me, but maybe I'll plan all our parties the day before from now on...
That night we hauled out the tent. (Lucy's birthday tradition is sleeping in a tent.)
We soaked up having Dave freshly home from China and even did a little skyping with Nana and Papa who are up in Idaho:
I'd love to say that it was all butterflies and rainbows, but it was HOT.
And it was also a lot of work.
And it can be frustrating to try to get teenagers to stay home on a weekend night.
But that's what memories are made of, right? Putting in the effort to make things that kids will hopefully remember through the years.
Grace and I were the only ones who ended up sleeping out there with the birthday girl.
But we'll remember snuggling together in that tent for a long, long time.