The past weekend we celebrated Dot’s upcoming 4th birthday with large gaggle of fellow preschoolers, a half dozen or so baby siblings, and a herd of accompanying parents. It was chaos. But the celebratory, beautiful summer Saturday morning, kind.
Dot decided on a Tangled party. Not “Princesses” in general, as I’d tried to convince her. Rapunzel. And Flynn Rider. Pascal. Long flowing flaxen locks. Towers and cruel fake mothers. The whole bit.
She was also adamant about having her party at home. We angled for the park. The splash pad! The playground! We even offered up the $80 pavilion (seriously, holy rental fee)! She was not swayed. We moved on to the gym where she does gymnastics and the local indoor water park. Anywhere but home.
Which really is kind of silly. We have a beautiful spacious house. It’s great for parties. It’s just so much work. And Dot has a history of having a very hard time when friends come over. We really, really wanted to avoid a party that the birthday girl spent in tears. And then there was the space issue. Our house is well-sized. But that girl’s invite list was oversized! The whole preschool. Grandparents. Great grandparents. Aunts, uncles, and significant others. Great aunt, uncles, and cousins. Her friends. Our friends. She’s inclusive, to say the least.
We tried to have a small at home party but there comes a point where, if you’re inviting enough of the preschool, you just need to bite the bullet and invite them all. Dot was thrilled. I was shaking in my boots a bit. Funny thing is, we invited everyone last year. Three kids came. This year? Nine. Plus Dot. Plus one older sibling and two younger. Plus the three Dot friends and two M&M-friends that were invited. Plus parents! I didn’t get an overall head count, but looking at the list we had…thirty-nine people attend. Holy Moly! Ultimately it worked out just fine and we were glad for each person (big and small!) that was able to make it. We are blessed to have so many people in our girl’s life.
For party ideas, Dot and I spent some time browsing the internet together. We got a lot of “inspiration” from SuperMomMoments. Then I attempted to stay sane while cramming all the party projects into the week following our garage sale and preceding the big day.
Monday I devised a list that included plans for specific party areas (decor, food, activities, favors) complete with links and emailed them to the husband. Yes, some of our best communication happens via email. Pretty much the only way to “converse” in peace these days.
Tuesday I loaded up on supplies:
As you can see, Tuesday is when the panic of “too many” set in. In tandem with party prep was Project Surprise Swing Set. This is something I’ve alluded to here and here. It’s been a long process. First the yard had to be leveled. Tony rented a Very Mini Cat for a day. Of course it turned out to be one of the busiest days, in the midst of the craziest week, we’ve had pretty much all year. And it rained to boot. But he got it done.
Then we had woodchips delivered. That was Wednesday. Thursday they had to be hauled into the backyard and spread. If I’m not mistaken Tony made three separate trips to Home Depot that morning in an attempt to purchase a non-broken wheelbarrow. So much for being efficient with limited time. But he got it done.
Thursday the [un-built, boxed] swing set itself came. It was covered with a tarp and Dot was none the wiser. Friday she went to daycare and then got picked up for a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s. Friday Tony and my sister’s boyfriend put the swing set together. Except Alex had to leave at two-thirty. Again, Daddy got it done.
Meanwhile I was cleaning house (but purposely trying to restrain myself from cleaning too much, knowing it was just going to get trashed), prepping food, filling balloons, hanging streamers, filling piñatas and tending M. Both my sisters were amazing helpers with the whole process–we are so lucky to have family around willing to pitch in!
Saturday morning Dot came home about 9am, full of excitement about the party, the decorations, and then there was a swing set. It was a pretty great moment 🙂 She’s been outside about every chance she’s gotten since then. I hope the novelty doesn’t wear off too quickly and I love, love, love, the added space and functionality to our yard. Way to go Daddy!
Anyway, the party:
We did a piñata which seemed like quite the hit. Other than that it was pretty low-key. Food, presents, cake, playing. Sticky faces and sleepy eyes. This party had more details in it then any previous one but it was fun and I know that these are things that Dot very much appreciates. If she didn’t, I would not bother.
*White Rose Bakery – check out our wedding cake featured on the contact page!