November 04, 2009
Julian's 4th birthday party was on October 16th, and we had a party for him the next day. I was really excited about this birthday for a few reasons:
1. HE was really excited about it. He's finally old enough to really understand what's going on, and the anticipation the month before was killing him! His last couple of birthdays here in Ohio have been sort of lame, so I was determined to make this one fun, since it would be the first he would probably remember.
2. He started preschool this year, so I was really excited at the idea of him having some friends attend! The last couple of years he hasn't had very many real friends, and I expected him to make some good friends at school and for them to be able to come.
3. Melody's birthday party in August was a huge success, and I thought I'd be able to replicate the awesomeness.
So, we all went into this expecting the best. I ordered the cutest pirate invitations from Etsy and invited all 10 kids in his preschool class. I also invited all of my friends, who for some reason each seem to have at least 2 kids of their own! I knew we were going to have a good turn out, but I didn't anticipate how good...
On swapmamas.com, I traded another mom for what she described as "pirate ship cake decorations". I assumed it would be a small pirate ship, and I had planned to make the cake look like a treasure map with the ship off to the side in the "water". My friend Amanda and I started working on the cake a few nights before. When we took out the pieces, it didn't look complete. There were a few boards and flags, but it wasn't a ship. So we searched online for some pictures of pirate cakes, and found a number of pictures that used the exact pieces we had. These cakes were actually shaped into pirate ships themselves, which was not at all what I had planned to do. But we did it. And...the kids loved it. Amanda and I knew it wasn't nearly as well made as Melody's cake had been, and we were kind of disappointed in it, but everybody else thought it looked great.
The whole theme of the party was a pirate theme, so I was very excited when I found a bunch of small wooden pirate figurines and markers for $1 each at Michael's. I bought enough for all the kids, and planned to have them decorate their pirates as an activity at the party, and then take them home. I didn't get any more planned for activites. I had wanted to do a treasure hunt in the sand box in the back yard, but it was too cold out :(
On the day of the party, there were literally 18 kids in my house. Yes. 18. Children. And their parents. Now, if you haven't been to my house, you don't know just how small it is. 18 kids was insane. And they all just wanted to play in the play room. Nobody wanted to color the pirates, and I had no other activities, so it was an hour of noise and chaos until we cut the cake and opened presents. Everybody was impressed with the cake, and Julian got some great presents. We bought him a Buzz Lightyear that talks to you and lights up...I think I was just as excited about it as he was :) He did have a great time, so I'm happy. But it was a bit chaotic.
Here's what I learned:
1. Don't invite everybody you know. There is an off-chance that they will all come.
2. Don't buy decorations without looking at them.
3. Have acvtivities planned.
4. Make it clear on the invites that parents need to stay, and should not bring other guests without asking beforehand. I was very surprised that these issues even came up!