Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Halloween In January

I am out of control when it comes to recapping events, so I'm going to limit myself to a list of highlights for Jarrah's recent 5th birthday party. David has created a Flickr slide show of the party and some stunningly gorgeous photos of the children with his fancy new camera--see if you can find yours!) so if you have five minutes, you can have visual aids, too!

So, seriously. Go look at those pictures. Then we'll talk.

Foot-Loose and Fancy-Free

I swore that this year I wouldn't stress. I am a stress monster, and it doesn't help that we always invite 20 kids and 40 parents, like we're hosting a wedding. But I wanted to invite her entire class. Or rather, I had my marching orders. Jarrah chose the theme--"Halloween," so I casually mentioned in the E-vite that the kids could come in costume. And many of them did! I decided not to decorate at all--last year, the Pirate Booty almost sunk me. But the YMCA provided orange and black balloons, and Calvin and I baked chocolate cupcakes with orange frosting, which were cute AND delish. I finally had an excuse to fill the goody bags with candy (cheap, coveted, biodegradable) and the weird time I was offered--3:30--did not lend itself to any particular meal. The kids never want anything but cupcakes anyway.

Team of Experts

Our 48 Hour Film Project, you may recall, exceeded all expectations in 2009 in large part because of the Point Loma Actors boost. This production was similarly endowed. Lisa and Eva showed up in costume and submitted to becoming Toilet Paper Mummies. They danced, cavorted and led "Red Light, Green Light." They were like the Good Fairies of Birthday World. Lord love 'em for it. And Calvin, who HATES to be mentioned in this blog, is just going to have to deal, because he not only researched games and cooked and carried stuff, he made sure I never freaked out by instantly handling whatever situation was about to bring that on, so I could just be all hostess-y and not let the guests see me sweat. And musical chairs would not have been possible without the bold intervention of Thomas, my brother-in-law, and Steph, my dear friend. Mary and Paul, of course, have been on clean-up and present pack-up detail for four years running, and we are ever-grateful.

Fun-Filled and Action-Packed

I chose the gymnastics party at the Y because birthdays in January often get rained out, and because when we were rained out a couple years ago, the Y tossed us in the gym and let us have at it. Turns out that's the "funner" way to party, because this time I had to sign a contract saying no adults would dive in the marshmallow pit. Boo! Still, the structure of the party worked great--the kids spent an hour working the obstacle course, playing under the parachute, and diving into the pit, and then repaired to the "party porch" for games and food. Now, not to kvetch (aw, come on! It's me! I have to!) but there are two things that made me furrow my otherwise untroubled brow: by 5:00, the "party porch" was dark and wind-swept, and while the frenetic children were warm as toast, I caught the parents shivering. Also, my hyper-controlling self did not respond well to the directive: "Just leave all this stuff by the front desk; we'll set up for you." Oh, nooooo you won't, is what I should have said, but I didn't, and later when I couldn't find the iPod speakers, the game prizes, or even the freakin' birthday candles in a timely manner, I regretted it.

Poignant But Hilarious

Watching the kids try to paste individual squares of toilet paper on the mummy girls. Not understanding that the first couple of kids who got "out" on musical chairs were going to cry (broke my heart!) but that later on, kids would deliberately give up their chairs so they could get to their "thanks for playing" lolly that much sooner. Everyone singing "Happy Birthday" to Jarrah underneath the parachute. Kids dressed as princesses and pirates and cowgirls and bumblebees, and especially the Spiderman who bravely walked the balance beam with his vision-obscuring mask on.

Moments and Milestones

Can't believe this is the fourth birthday party we've thrown for Jarrah. (Fifth, if you count the one where she wasn't there and Mary and I wore crowns with our babies' pictures on top.) Each year, she gets a little taller, her hair gets a little longer, and she gets a lot more opinionated. I was also amazed by how cooperative and enthusiastic our little guests were, every last one. They are so well-trained by preschool about listening and circle-time and sharing and whatnot, that we didn't have a single squabble, no one ran crying to mommy, and nearly everyone approached me (me, Readers!) afterward to say "Thanks for inviting me, Jarrah's mom!" A bunch of us went for pizza after the party, and I couldn't stop smiling or feeling the glow of a successful soiree.

Some days you just know you live under a lucky star.


Stephanie said...

Beautiful portraits!

Myrnie said...

Sounds so fabulous!!

Joan said...

Great photos. Great party. Wish we'd been there. Love J&J

Jen said...

Way cool! What a fabulous mom you are!

Mrs. Chapman's 2nd Grade Class said...

Love the pictures! I also love the Hallowee theme! How fun!