Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Last "Little" Birthday Party

We go big for birthday parties around here. Long ago, I vowed to stop the elaborate parties after age ten. Well, my friends, my eldest daughter has turned ten. With a tear in my eye, I am going to present her last "kid" birthday party. Grab a coffee, it is going to be a long one!

When N was seven, she laid out her remaining parties. She is nothing if not my child! For the past three years, I have known that she wanted a messy, ten-part obstacle course and chocolate fountain for her 10th. Despite the lengthy advanced notice, I wasn't really sure how to do the obstacle course or if the girls would participate. A funny thing about turning ten is that half the kids are still playing with American Girls and half are think they are too cool for school. I knew that if she wanted full participation it was going to have to be good.

This past Spring, I heard of a company that offers Foam Party for kids. It was basically just like the ones for college students but with more clothing and less grown-up innuendo. I knew right away that it was a perfect fit for us as it was both messy and cool enough to engage even the "big shots." After thoroughly questioning the vendor to ensure that it was not going to ruin my grass and after negotiating over the price (sometimes the law degree comes in handy), we struck a deal. One obstacle down--nine to go....

Even with my amazing powers of negotiation, the foam was pricey, and everything else had to be super cheap! I began making obstacles before school let out. I tried to think ahead whenever I was working on a project and plan for double-duty at the obstacle course. When we styled a bar mitzvah as a favor to a less fortunate family in our congregation, I knew his football goal-post centerpieces would become an obstacle. When Mr. 31-derful got two frisbees in a charity golf tournament gift bag, I set them aside for the party. When or neighbor had leftover pool noodles from a light-saber project, I begged the rest off of her :). Our rainbow hued pool rings became hula hoops. Our hula hoops became jumping targets. You get the point--cheap, cheap, cheap! Even if I had bought the items, they were mostly dollar tree purchases. The only trouble was that I normally keep a tight color palate and this was "mismatched" at best. We decided to just go with it. Hence N's Rainbow Run was born! Here are the obstacles she selected:

Over the course of the summer, we attended several parties at the club where we belong. I have never done a kid party there, as I think it is a little ostentatious, but the other mothers swore it was easy and cheaper than doing it at home. I looked into it, and they were right. For a little more than the cost of filling our large chocolate fountain at home, I was able to host the event on the manicured lawn of the club (and it included food and a chocolate fountain). It was beautiful and I didn't have to clean up a thing--anyone who has ever cleaned a chocolate fountain knows getting out of said cleaning is priceless!! Here are some pics before the guests arrived:

The flag favors came from a friend whose business has a wholesale account with a popular party business. I did not pay nearly as much but you can find similar ones here: I thought a flag was a perfect little favor for those who triumphed over the course. It doesn't look hard but it was up a hill and pretty hard for this author! It was set up with two alleys so two teams competed relay-race style.

As guests gathered, the foam was turned on and a few giant bubbles went flying, sending the girls into a frenzy!
I have some priceless pictures of all the girls in action, but don't want to show guests' faces. Here are a few of the birthday girl herself on the course:
Notice, how little sister was stationed to throw some color into the mix!

Then, this happened:

After the rainbow war, it was time to hit the foam, where we had a dance party the rest of the night:

We did take a break for a chocolate fountain, of course:

A few moms stayed and I served them Sangria from a patio overlooking the party. It was a very fun, sticky, and bittersweet way to end N's childhood birthday bashes. While I know this all may seem over-the-top to many, it has been a joy for me to create these precious memories for N. There has been love sealed in each homemade invitation envelope I have sent and joy built into every DIY project. They say that joy doubles when you share it with others and I think it grows exponentially with each guest, so I do not regret the way we have celebrated these ten birthdays. Well, I do regret a few peoples' hair was pink all week, but I don't regret one penny or one second spent on these ten celebrations to honor my girl. We almost lost her on the day she was born; ten parties or a ten thousand could never show my gratitude for her life. We still have two more to go for little sister and then the bat mitzvah planning can commence :)!
inking up with:
21 Rosemary Lane

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