Sunday was the girls' collective birthday party. This is the second year in a row that I've planned a late september outdoor party and the second year in a row we JUST missed being rained out. Last year it started raining about a half hour after the party ended, this year it stormed and poured pretty much all day and into the night on saturday. Sunday was dry all day but overcast. Again, without a Plan B anywhere in sight, we lucked out. September isn't usually a rainy time of year at all, apparently unless you've planned something like this. I think I better quit while I'm ahead.
I've heard that for children's birthday parties you are supposed to take the child' age, add one, and that's how many kids you invite. When I was talking about this upcoming party at work I was reminded of this several times, right after the "*gasp* you've invited 25 children! Are you crazy?" Perhaps, but I don't believe this is the strongest evidence for it. We were fortunate enough to have a couple of Erin's new kindergarten friends, the twins' daycare friends, and the many pals from my mom's group that all of the girls have known nearly all of their lives, along with all of the local family members there to celebrate the day with us. It was a big crowd and a fun day. One friend even brought her one-month old son along, the first opportunity for many of us to meet him.
We reserved a park picnic space and Erin helped me pick the jump house. A princess castle, of course.
Uncle Brad took video, John barbecued, Grandma and Poppy made mounds of fruit salad, we served picnicy food and ice cream pops and cake. Everything turned out fine, some things turned out amazingly well. The first great surprise was the face painter I hired, sight-unseen, from an entertainment agency's website. With so many kids I wanted to provide something else to do besides the bounce house, but then again would young children want to wait their turn and sit still in the middle of a party? I really wasn't sure how this would go over, and furthermore I was expecting someone to draw little unremarkable hearts and rainbows like you see people doing at the county fair or something. But what we got was an actual artist, and wow, she was incredible. Take a look at just a few of her creations:
After the first one or two she did a whole crowd of kids rushed over to get in line and/or watch the process.
That butterfly design was very popular. Kate liked watching but didn't want to be painted. Erin wanted to have a princess on her cheek and gave the artist very specific instructions about what the princess should wear.
The other wonderful surprise was the cake, made by a mom friend of a friend, who makes special occasion cakes as a hobby from home. I just let her design whatever she wanted and she described to me over the phone what she would create so I kind of had mental image, but still, when she arrived at the park with this I was totally amazed. Erin asked, "Is that real?" And I don't blame her for wondering. After all, it very obviously bared absolutely no resemblance to any cake I've ever made.
The top layer was white cake with fresh strawberry filling, the bottom was double chocolate, and all of the decorations were edible. Though it was kind of a shame to have to wreck such a beautiful creation, it was delicious! All in all a successful party I think. Happy birthday, girls!