The day after my oldest princess turned five, a miracle happened. This low-key, no presents or parties sort of family did a 180º and threw a massive birthday party for Rae and all of her little friends. After years of quietly biting my tongue and respecting JP's no party preference (because let's be real, you know I'd be throwing parties every year, right?), he agreed to allow birthday parties for our kids at two ages: 5 and 10.
It was like the heavens parted. I was so excited I could have squealed! Actually, I think I did squeal. Ok, I know I did. I squealed.
I'm not sure JP knew exactly what he was getting into when he agreed to this, but I knew that if this was going to be one of only two birthday parties I would ever throw for Rae, we were going all out!
Rae decided she wanted to have a princess party (of course), and to accommodate her many boy cousins and friends, we made it a "knights and fair maidens" theme. Everyone was encouraged by royal decree to come dressed in their finest attire.
There was no use in trying to keep the guest list at a reasonable number. Israel wanted to invite everyone she had ever met, and I was happy to oblige. In the end we had 19 kids and 15 adults packed into our home. We ran out of pickles and cheese, but there was enough fun and smiles to go around the room multiple times. :)
The party began with a game of "pin the crown on the princess," which can be a little slow when you have nearly 20 kids waiting as patiently as they can for their turn. After that we sat down to decorate craft stick magnet picture frames that the girls and I had assembled beforehand.
Before the party, my very talented friend Brenda painted a beautiful rainbow and castle mural for the kids to have their picture taken in front of. In my perfect plan, I was going to print out the pictures during the party to give them; then the children could use those pictures in their frames. Since I completely forgot about that in the craziness of the day, I guess I'll just be emailing them to the parents. :)
After decorating the frames, Rae passed out party bags to all of her friends. The girls/princesses all got a paper tiara, a wand, a necklace, a heart-shaped lip gloss ring, princess stickers and a noise maker. The boys/knights got an inflatable sword, a knight mask, and a noise maker. The kids all got a kick out of their
Lunch was next on the agenda. The menu consisted of Rae's favorites: Turkey sandwiches, grapes, and pickles for the kids. My mother-in-law Margie made a phenomenal chicken salad for the adults. I do not claim to have any impressive baking skills whatsoever, but Rae and I did work together to create a castle cake that I felt was satisfactory. The kids thought it was the coolest thing in the world -- they are so easy to please. :)
The final event was perhaps the most exciting for the kids: a princess crown piñata (did you notice I figured out how to type the ñ?). Apparently Target makes robust piñatas, because we had some pretty strong kids taking some pretty hard hits at that thing, yet barely making a dent.
We really thought Rosie could tip the scales, but alas, she could not. :)
Finally we called in the reinforcements, and the kids all cheered when my brother Joe stepped in to finish it off, spilling candy everywhere.
I am truly thankful that we had the opportunity to do something big and exciting for Israel's fifth birthday. I know she is old enough that she will remember this party for the rest of her life, and it brought JP and me tremendous joy to see her so excited all day long.
Now...only a year and a half until Ruby's fifth birthday. She wants a horsey party. I guess I'd better start planning now. ;)
(P.S. I have to offer a big THANK YOU to my awesome friend Sarah who manned the camera for me all day. There is no way any of this could have been documented if I had tried to do it myself. THANK YOU SARAH! )