My precious firstborn turned six years old on September 25th of this year (yes, over a month ago), and we held her birthday party a few days later. You might be wondering why it has taken me so long to write a story about that party, and several answers come to mind when I contemplate that question.
A) I’ve been busy.
B) My computer exploded.
C) I am lazy.
D) I have only now sufficiently recovered from the party so as to be able to re-experience it through the writing of this blog.
The answer is actually A. And kinda D. Just kidding. The party was a blast. But kinda D.
In the planning stages of her party, Annabelle said she wanted an event just like her brother Zach’s, that we had held in April. That party was a fun, outside, kid-centric extravaganza with a bounce house, pony rides, four wheeling, and rocket launching by Desperate Hubby and his assorted helpers. It had been a successful party, and relatively easy to manage, since most the of guests stayed outside the majority of the time and the kiddos were all entertained by the various planned activities.
A bounce house party actually seemed pretty easy to plan. With the experience from last time under my belt I was sure I could pull it off. It all sounded very uncomplicated, in fact, until it came time to do the guest list. We had all of our usual friends and family to invite, of course, but there was a new element involved this year.
After her somewhat rocky initial adaptation to life as a kindergartener, Annabelle had settled in and was really loving her school. And, with few exceptions, ALL of the kids in it. When we talked about her birthday party, she tried hard to decide who to invite from her class. This was complicated by the fact that though she really, really, really liked several of the kids and just had to have them at her party, she didn’t know all of their names. Also, she was genuinely concerned that if she invited some of the kids from her room and not the others she might hurt someone’s feelings. I thought that was a really sweet sentiment.
I spent about a week or ten days in denial, and then arrived at the only possible solution.
We would invite ALL of the kids from her class.
All thirty of them. Along, of course, with their siblings and parents. I sent an invitation to school with Annabelle early in the month, and the RSVP’s slowly trickled in.
It became immediately obvious that we would need a bigger bounce house this time. I had to upgrade to the largest model available.
Which sported, incidentally, a sixteen (no, that’s not a typo, and, again no, I did not think it completely through) foot high slide.
The slide was so big, in fact, that it required two air compressors, and blew the circuits in our house three times during the inflation process until we were smart enough to run a cord through the garage and plug it into the laundry room on a separate electrical circuit.
The kids had clamored in and were trying it out before the set up attendant had even finished with his installation.
It truly was something to behold.
We put signs out by the road so that people would know where to turn. And decorated the garage up so that it looked festive.
I had printed out a few photos of Annabelle as a baby and toddler and put them around on the tables. Looking at them almost made me cry. Still does.
She has loved animals from day one.
Desperate Hubby had offered to cook hamburgers and hotdogs for our fifty or so expected guests, and he had his station all set up and ready to go.
The guests poured in.
Almost all of the people who had RSVP’d showed up. And quite a few who hadn’t. It was tons of fun.
Grumpy and Reno walked their little hooves off, around and around and around.
There were all combinations of riders.
They were like the Pied Piper of party attractions.
They didn’t seem to mind though. The kids were having so much fun.
The four wheelers kept pretty busy as well.
Of course the rockets drew a big crowd.
Cousin Joni took some really great pictures of the party. Including this one of the actual launch.
Unfortunately for the soccer games taking place in the park next door, the wind was listing a bit toward the west. Seems it is hard to keep the team’s attention when a massive bright yellow rocket suddenly comes floating into the game.
Not to mention the six or seven kids clamoring over the chain link fence to retrieve it.
True to form, Desperate Hubby put on a good spread. He went through about seventy hamburgers and a like number of hot dogs. There were an awful lot of hungry people there.
You might have noticed that I have neglected to mention the bounce house.
And the slide.
That is because I have been trying to block the slide out of my mind.
The slide was fun, but, well……problematic..
With so many big kids, and so many little kids, and so many kids in between, the slide was pretty much constant mayhem.
The party hadn’t been going ten minutes when one little boy hurt his ankle. When a big kid landed on it from above. He wasn’t seriously injured, but that sort of set the tone for the slide.
Kids collided. Kids cried. Parents tried to monitor, but it was a difficult proposition. If I had it to do over again, I would not have the slide.
But let’s move along.
We had purchased six dozen cupcakes for the guests.
There weren’t a whole lot left over at the end.
I got the birthday girl a little cake to put her candles on. Make a wish!
Since the part was on big sissie Sami’s actual birthday, we were thrilled and honored that she spent part of it with us. She had her own cake, although she was allergic to it so she only got to blow out the candles. Sorry Sami.
Isn’t she beautiful?!
With so many wonderful and generous guests in attendance, you can imagine the gift opening got pretty out of hand.
Aunt Susie got Annabelle this picture that was painted by an actual horse. That’s right, it isn’t a painting OF a horse, it is a painting BY a horse. Super cool.
She got cowgirl decorations for her room.
Which went just smashingly with her newly decorated space, complete with bunk beds so that Batman wouldn’t have to sleep on the end of the bed like a dog anymore.
After about four and a half hours of squealing, running, sliding and riding, the guests slowly trickled back out and our home was returned to its former peaceful self.
Annabelle was absolutely thrilled by her party, and I was pretty happy too. A big thanks to everyone who came and celebrated with us, who led horses, chased kids and rockets, and kids chasing rockets, and monitored the slide. We loved having you all and appreciated you spending part of your day with us.
We’ll definitely do it again next year. But maybe without the slide.