Friday, November 20, 2009

The Tea Party: Mistakes were made but we all got out alive.

Do I keep harping on and on about the heat? Has it become tiresome? Sorry about that. It's just that today, as I prepared for Ava's birthday party and 15 little girls to descend upon the house, the heat played a major role in my life. Today, as temperatures outside soared to about 40 degrees outside (that'd be 104 F), and the heat climbed inside, heat was my constant companion. Picture a big, sweaty guy--like as big as a linebacker following you around all day. Whatever you're doing, he's looking over your shoulder and providing constant commentary. "Hey, what are you doing? Whatcha doing that for? Oh, are you going over there now? Can I come? I think I'll come." The heat is like an annoying, sloppy, lumbering person that you just can't shake. At least, that's how it felt to me.

I told you that it makes me a little crazy. But anyway. The birthday party. All in all, I'd call it a success. But gather with me in the Tea Party Situation Room, where we debrief, discuss unforeseen obstacles, and evaluate to overall success of the mission. Because when a multitude of kids are involved, strategy is vital. If you don't have a plan, you are toast. They can smell fear and indecision. Remember that.

What worked
--Everything looked pretty cute. We had to move the party downstairs to Jason's office cause it was just too hot (there he is again) upstairs. Here's the tables:

Each girl had her own placecard written out for her. I was laughing at myself while trying to figure out where to put everyone--just like they were adults. "Well, Child A and Child B argue sometimes, so I'll separate them. Child C's English isn't so great, so I'll put her next to Child D who will be sweet to her." As Jason points out to me, I put way too much thought into stuff like this!

--The party favors. I showed these to you guys the other day, but I was happy with how it looked. And I have to admit, it was a pretty good idea.

I think the kids liked it, too.

--The cupcake decorating and craft time. I put out little bowls of sprinkles and different things they could put on their cupcakes, and the girls had a lot of fun doing this. I also had them make and decorate little bookmarks with ribbon, glitter, and little plastic jewels. This was a last minute addition, as I'd planned to just let them play in the house. It was too warm for that, though, so I was just trying to keep everyone busy!

What Didn't Work
--I kind of forgot that kids don't care so much about presentation. So I should've spent more time planning games and activities and less time on how it all looked. Cause I hadn't really thought it all through, it was a bit disorganized and they got a little restless and bored at times.
--Things went more quickly than I thought. Like the craft and games I'd planned. I should've planned more stuff to keep them busy. Jason saved the day, though--he broke out the Twister game and they really had fun with that!
--Um, I forgot to bring out Ava's birthday cake. Stellar move on my part. Look, don't judge till you been there. Until you're the one in the room. Stuff is happening, dress-up clothes flying, little girls squealing, candy sprinkles under your fingernails. I think I might've even blacked out for a minute or two. Priorities got skewed, objectives were compromised and I'm not proud of that. But it is what it is. Welcome to the NFL. (I don't really know what that means, but I think it sounds cool to say.)

--Pretty successful. The girls had fun, and there were only a few tears at various times. And Ava said it was "the best birthday ever", so hey, what more can you ask for?

I think though, that I might adopt a "party every second year" policy. On alternating years, we'll do a special outing where they can bring a friend or two, but not a full-on party. Anybody got any thoughts on that? These are things you never think you'll think about till you have kids. But, as Ava starts talking about her birthday 8-9 months before it actually comes, it's an issue in our family!

I am off to take a cool shower and go to bed. Want a cupcake? And, um, we have a lot of birthday cake left over. A lot. Come have some. Please?


  1. I have heard of this every other year policy and I heartily approve. A family near us has 4 kids with b-days in same month and this is their policy. In our house the youngest kid ended up getting gipped on having not as many parties. I think it is tougher for him with a b-day only a few weeks after the school year starts--it is hard for him to decide what he wants to do and we miss the timeframe (or it may have been because this year I advised he could get more/bigger gifts or have a party).
    Anyway I applaud you for having that many girls over. I'm sure they had a blast. What I want to know is how little brother fared? Did he stay away or did he mingle and gets lots of attention?

  2. By the time I got to "Welcome to the NFL," I was really laughing out loud. I am totally going to use that.

    Also, I believe the Tea Party Situation Room should be a REAL PLACE. Anyway, it looks like a big success. Good point about kids not caring about presentation so much. True dat. Everything looked adorable though. Another jewel in your crown, my dear.

  3. Totally agree with you on the every other year policy for the birthday party. Gets crazy trying to plan these events and not to mention expensive! Because you invite the kids from the class but then mom, dad, & sibs come too! Adds up quickly. Loved your party favors. You are one classy lady even if you are sweaty & hot. That "heat man" must think you are really groovy to keep following you around. ha! can't wait to see you soon.
    Ask Jane R. what they do for parties esp since they'll have 7 soon. Those Rowlands are amazing!

  4. I like the every other year idea. Last year we had a party with a bunch of her friends and it was absolute chaos. So I might adopt this. Thanks for the idea!

    You know what we started doing? Money parties. Ha! I know it sounds awful but it's really not. We simply put in the invites:

    "Instead of gifts, if you feel comfortable sending $2 to $5, please do. This way, she can buy one thing she really wants and donate the other half to her charity (SPCA)"

    Works well.

    I still think you're brave having them in the house!

  5. Looks pretty! I love the resale china idea for the goodies.

    I manage here by throwing one party for both children in the exact same way, year after year, and I can do it in my sleep now + the children all know what to expect, anyhow. But if they weren't share-y, I would have to do one in even years, the other in odds, definitely.

  6. Rebekah had a ball and loved her teacup and yes, you were very brave to host it!

  7. Ava is a VERY lucky little girl to have such a party animal for a mom ! The party looks absolutely great and I am sure the little girls and Ava had a blast !