Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Birthdays.

It's always a joy celebrating my kids' birthdays. With Jordan, each year I marvel at his incredible spirit and enthusiasm. I remain in awe that he's so full of life and we are so blessed to have him in our family - alive, happy, healthy and smart as a whip.

With Mina - I'm marvelling at a lot of things, but most of all, I'm secretly pleased that she's a summer baby. Summer babies get to have their birthdays in the backyard! Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of work involved in a "house party." But it just feels ... well, "breezier" to me. I love our backyard. And I love seeing it filled with family and friends.

Much work and planning was taken care of earlier, but there's always the last minute things - like blowing up balloon centerpieces. Look at all my helpful little elves!

I even imported them from afar. I just want to eat this little guy. Starting with his chunky thighs.

Expect some rain to fall on your parade. (Thankfully, we avoided the bad weather - which I was watching like a hawk all week!!) Instead, the worst we dealt with was tangled balloons. My fault. But Monkey Sr. stepped in with his commendable physics skills. I skipped that class.

Several hours later, the backyard was all set up

Would the kids have fun?

Of course!

And the little kids did too.

My plan was to create four "staging areas" for the kids to focus on; and hopefully be user-friendly enough so that they could fend for themselves. Some hostesses are good with doing large scale arts and crafts things. Me - not so much. I like to create work/play/eat zones, and let the kids create their own chaos. Here, Tahera and I set up a dress up area with fairy-tulle canopy tent. Another yard-sale find.

Princess dresses, shoes and accessories to satisfy every child's creative neess.

And wings, of course.. You're never fully dressed unless you're wearing wings. When will people realize this?

In other corners of the yard, we set up a "construction zone." Target Dollar bin traffic cones, diggers, trucks, and yard-sale sit on Tonkas - voila. Instant construction site. I just need to find myself an inflatable rat somewhere. Do they do this outside of NY?

The art table - for the crayola junkies among us. Also serves as backup kiddie seating. Yay.

And what summer party would be complete without ... waterguns! Filled, of course. Plus, a tub of water for subsequent reloading.

Needless to say, the waterguns were a big hit.

Our own Bonnie and Clyde. As someone said, it's amazing how in this day of Wii and x-box, the simple things still amuse.

Here's a sight to warm the hearts of any transpant parent. My son - Jordan, in all his immuno-compromised glory - sucking down muddied tap water from a water gun that's been sitting out in the sun all morning, handled by about 20 preschoolers. I should just make the pediatrician appointment now.

And some were content to just enjoy the built in features of the yard - like the slide.

While the children frolicked, the adults lounged under the tent. This was part of the plan. As Jeff and I discussed seating needs, I reminded him that most of the seating would be needed for the adults. The kids would be running around. And this was mostly the case. Kids kind of came and went - ate a bit, then ran off to play.

The stage was set - literally - for the entertainment that was to follow. In the meantime, others made use of it. Check out the leap on this kid.

There he is - Michael Ickle the magician! Good guy. Entertained a big crowd, and maintained a sense of humor.

I gave Mina and Jordan the heads up that he'd be entertaining them at the party. Mina had his undivided attention.

She was anxious to be a part of the show.

He had a good audience.

They were all good little helpers.

Now, the highlight of the show, and the raison d'etre for me hiring him, was this guy. The bunny. Also known as Blanco. Those of you who know Mina, know that she is a bunny junkie. I hoped the bunny would be that special something she'd remember about the party.

It took awhile, but the bunny finally made an appearance. Complete with elaborate magic trick.

The the moment of glory arrived - the opportunity to pet the bunny.

The line forms ...

Yours truly, got to hold the bunny on my lap. Mina got a prime seat.

Look at the little finger..

After the entertainment, what was left but cake?

I know she should look more excited, but you have no idea how exhausted this child was. We were deep into napping hour here, but she still managed to keep it together. She knew what was in store for her - ice cream cake.

She soldiered on.

The party wrapped up quickly after that. The little ones took home gift bags - each filled with one cupcake lollipop. Recipe, courtesy of my favorite - Bakerella.

I finished baking and prepping them the night before. Jordan and Mina sampled them ahead of time to make sure they were ok.

Even as people cleared out, the after party on the deck was just beginning - because some people just have all kinds of energy.

Me - not so much.

Thanks everyone, for making Mina's 3rd birthday such a fun event!
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