Monday, May 2, 2011

Birthday Party of the Year


I didn't want to do anything big. I don't like huge birthday parties. They're stressful and they set a high bar for birthdays for the rest of a child's life. 'Just a cake and playtime at the park. No presents necessary' my text message invite said. I sent it off to a few family members, neighbors, and friends. I delegated the cake artistry to Taylor (as always) and that was that. No more preparations were needed (I thought).

But then the morning of the party came and I started to realize that in my efforts to make the party zero stress I had forgotten a few little details. Like what was I going to serve the cake on? I was out of paper goods, so I threw every plastic and melamine bowl, plate, and cup into a basket. I decided it wasn't me being forgetful, it was me being green. I daringly dropped all of my nice forks into the basket as well.

Then Blaine dropped the bomb on us that he really really really wanted a pinata. Something he'd mentioned weeks ago but I'd honestly hoped he'd forgotten. While Taylor stayed home to build the cake, I put all three boys in the swagger wagon and sped off to our neighborhood Walmart. Their pinatas were $20. Twenty bucks?! Not on your life. I looked at Blaine and said, "These are way too expensive." And bless his heart, my dear boy (who had had about 17 meltdowns all week) looked at me un-phased and said, "Let's just go get a brown paper bag, Mom."

An hour later we headed to the park with a hand-crafted pinata, a plastic bat, a broom, a gallon of milk, every plastic serving dish known to man, and the world's coolest cake. But. Ohhhhhmigosh our darling little park (a stone's throw from our house) had been defiled. Some unfortunate animal fight had left a stinky dead skunk ripped to shreds---all over our park. It was gruesome and stiiiiiiiinky. Children were screaming (and barfing!). It was that bad. A change of venue was declared, so while children were gathered into vehicles I sent out a text to the guests yet to arrive and we drove to the city park a mile away.

Our new venue was not ideal. The entire pavilion was decked out for a Mexicano birthday party. I looked at their table cloths and balloon bouquets on every post and felt like such a loser.

We had no choice but to plop our party down in the grass, which was, by the way, about two feet long (Parks and Rec budget cuts?). Taylor found some shade for his cake, we piled up the presents (no one ever complies with my 'no presents' request), and set the kids free on the playground.

After some free play, we gathered the kids for the pinata disaster of the year. Photobucket
{The kids line up smallest to biggest.}

Now I don't care that the pinata wasn't pretty (I am ALL ABOUT kids creations), but boy, our lack of preparations sure showed in the whole hanging it up process. Taylor and his brother, Tanner, gave it a mighty effort and jimmy rigged it with some twine, but the dang thing kept breaking and had to be re-attached in between every single kid.
{The brothers Cropper attempt to hang the pinata.}

We finally gave up. Taylor climbed the tree and manually moved the pinata up and down for the kids to hit. It was comical, to say the least. I looked at all of my supportive friends and shrugged. Then I looked over to the Mexican fiesta, well organized and smelling delicioso (I would have committed a crime for some of their tacos) and wondered what they thought about the idiotic Americans' attempt at a pinata.
{Cousin Mary takes a swing at it. Awesome.}

Of course Blaine had to cry about not getting enough of the pinata candy and Roger had to cry because he dropped his pink starburst and couldn't find it in the jungle grass, but we pressed on.

I sat down with the kids to open presents, which was the most stressful bit of the whole thing. The kids were on top of Blaine like piranhas, trying to see the gifts. Tissue paper was flying everywhere, I was attempting to keep the presents organized, and stopping Blaine in between each one to help him eek out a 'thank you' before tearing into the next one. The whole situation seriously stressed me out. No wonder I always say 'no presents.'

Finally it was time for cake, which was the only thing about the party that was genuinely awesome. Taylor's volcano cake was amazing and delicious besides.
{Anyone who knows Blaine knows that this is his kind of cake. And of course he can name every one of those dinosaurs.}

As fate would have it, it was a sunny, breezy day, so Blaine's candles wouldn't stay lit. After several attempts at blocking the wind, Taylor finally just lit a match and exclaimed, "Blaine, blow!" His eyes revealed distress, but he blew as commanded and didn't lose it (glory be!).
{I first made the mistake of putting in only four candles. I can't believe he is FIVE!}

After the cake was devoured and all of my silverware was retrieved, we called it a day.

I still can't stop laughing about it all. But you know what? That is real life. And Blaine loved it. So, mission accomplished.

Trying to decide which party blogs to submit this to,


Jenna said...

This is the best post I've read in a long time....I LOVE every aspect of the party. So kid-centered and REAL!! Awesome!

Katie Aldrich said...

Oh thank you SO MUCH for posting this!! I just realized that my middle child's birthday party needs to happen in the next three weeks...and I'm 37 weeks pregnant today. We will DEFINITELY be having your brand of party, and thanks to you I will know I'm not alone in my affinity for low-key parties and yet my amazing ability to still stress out during them!

Kate said...

I spit all over my computer I was laughing so hard. Why has it been months since we last talked????!!! I need my Anne fill! Now!

Anonymous said...

Hi. We're laughing our heads off. And you should see the birthday parties in Chile -- they put the Mexicans to shame. We sort of hate them :)

Chris said...

What a hoot! I prefer this kind of party to all the staged stuff I see online. Sometimes I just need some real. The bottom line is, the birthday was celebrated, a boy is loved, and all is well with the world.

stacey said...

you are hilarious. thanks for making me laugh. i am sad i didn't make it over! and i agree with everyone else- it was the perfect party for a darling little 5 year old.

Joan said...

Lost his pink starburst in the "jungle grass!?!?!" LAUGHED OUT LOUD!
Oh, Anne! Welcome to motherhood with three sons :) It's a breath of fresh air throwing the decor and silly details to the wind, isn't it?!
Next year, you just'll be off to Chuck E. Cheese!! haha :)

Rachael said...

Anne, this was so refreshing!!! Thank you for posting it. I was laughing out loud (the skunk! oh my!). This makes me feel so much better about my daughter's party last week (at 37 weeks pregnant, I was not feeling up to a houseful of craziness). Seriously, this is my favorite post in a long time!

Rae. said...

This was the BEST BEST BEST post ever. Had me rolling, so funny. Thank you for sharing!


Joan said...

No but really..were they seriously barfing?! I just read this post to Brandon and he was laughing out loud. He thinks that barfing children posts on Bloom will make it more successful :)

Liv said...

Hilarious! I'm afraid my daughter's first might turn out like this... oh well! She won't remember a thing, so no worries.

Lu said...

Oh my word, I love this post! You should be the one to START the Real-Life Party Blog. It'd be the party blog for the rest of us ;)

jeanine said...

Oh Anne! This was just too funny! You made my day!

Danielle said...

This is hilarious. Thanks for the good laugh this morning;)

Also I sent the exact same last minute(email) message last year for Avery's "party". I was pregnant and feeling pukey and not up for a big to do. So, we played at the park, asked for no gifts to be brought and ate store bought cupcakes (OK fancy bakery cupcakes but still).

Next year its bouncy houses and home-made goodie bags for sure ;)

Christie Elkins said...

THIS.IS.AWESOME!! I feel as if Utah and Tennessee were not days apart, we would be fast friends :)

Marissa Breann said...

awesome! thanks for sharing!

Terri said...

I love this... I really do!!! We haven't had a friend party yet with either of our girls. I'm terrified of them!! You're post made me feel soooooooo much better!

Amanda said...

Isn't that nice.

amy said...

This post left my tummy hurting because I was laughing so hard. Thank you so much for the much needed laughs and for the much needed ab workout that I received because of the laughs! Birthday shin digs for the wee ones are soooooo stressful. My third will be celebrating her 1st birthday in June & I am already freaking out!!