originally, my sister, niece, and nephew were going to be gracious enough to drive in and meet me at the park in order to help me unload, watch violet during the party, and load back up. then, at the last minute, my niece decided she wanted to walk the stage for graduation the same day at 2pm. i was glad she decided to do it, but sad i would miss it and selfishly terrified about how to pull all this off on my own. i had a cooler filled with juice boxes and two dozen peanut butter chocolate chip cookies i had baked the day before and two jugs of water and plates and napkins and cups and a bin filled with party bags and a baby who had to be carried. it was overwhelming, to say the least. brian was able to help me get some of it down to the car before he had to leave for work.
i had chosen the park because we had no business shelling out $250 to rent out the little gym and, in the interest of saving money, i decided to run a risk and not rent the pavilion, which would cost $75. i figured who on earth would be having a birthday party at 10am on a monday morning. who?
so i pull up to the park a few minutes early and see that they have fenced off the pavilion for construction. i did not see that one coming. fortunately, as i was to find out several weeks later, i was lucky enough that they had not yet fenced off the couple of raggedy, standalone picnic tables. i chose one to toss a bag of stuff on. as i was headed back up to get more from the car, with violet strapped to my abdomen, the first guest arrived. it was halle and her grandparents. they helped me with the gift bags and after some more people showed up, i passed violet on over to elizabeth's mom and finished unloading.
and let me tell you. it was nasty out there. hot and humid and just like a magical shower of grossness. i was perfectly slimy. the air was completely dead. absolutely motionless. every great once in a while, a tease of the most delightful breeze ever would wander through and then leave you to flounder once again.
nicholas, elizabeth, elizabeth's sister, catie, catie's sister, lukas, and lukas's sister were all there when i received a call from claire's mom that they were down the road at the park right on the lake. i told her where we really are and she apologized up and down for being late. then, my sister called and it was at this point i realized i had put "white rock lake park on williamson" on the invitation instead of "lakewood park on williamson". oops. it makes me wonder if the two people who rsvp'd in the affirmative and didn't show were just down there hanging out by the lake. i was too humiliated to email later to apologize and didn't want to risk the awkward situation of them ditching the party and me being all, "hey! you weren't at the party!" you know.
so that's how we ended up with way too many bags. the missing children were bringing along siblings and i also made one or two extra because that's just how i am. they're still hanging out in my bedroom waiting for just the right children to wander in off the street to receive them. dylan took one. he's almost 14. they're a party for all ages.
all the kids were having a pretty good time and nicholas's mom brought some of those crazy, long balloons that you fill with a pump and then they make this screaming sound while they zip around all over the place when you let them go. they were pretty good at exploding. she also had these other gigantic balloons that were also pretty good at exploding. the kids were falling all over themselves about the balloons, but i felt kind of bad because catie has these kind of severe anxiety issues, which caused her to arrive halfway up the sidewalk coming to the party screaming bloody murder and her mom said it's always like this and i became thankful that oliver's anxiety was of the dubious and extremely quiet kind. so, catie had gotten settled in and then all these balloons started exploding in her face and started to send her over the edge again and i was holding my breath every time a balloon took off, hoping it wouldn't explode and scare her... because, hey, i hate exploding balloons as well, and 95% of the time... EXPLODE!
everyone was running around like crazy on the playground and having a super duper time, as oliver would say, and they were sweating buckets and really into those juice boxes and i had lugged down and i was all, "PLEASE do have another," so that i don't have to lug them back up to the car and back up to my house. but no one was interested in the five thousand chunks of apple and pear and the stacks of pb&j and the huge container of cookies. at some point, i forced the children to come over so we could stick some candles in oliver's sandwich and sing happy birthday to him and, though i know he wanted to have this done, he stood there looking silently terrified, that being his brand of anxiety and all. we finally assisted him with blowing out his candles and people nibbled a little bit. i think i fucked up the usually amazing cookies by placing them in the fridge uncovered for the night. they were really dry. but i still ate all the leftovers.
in the middle of all this somewhere, my sister's family was gracious enough to drive all the way up to the party to hangout for 15-20 minutes, trying not to sweat and destroy all their graduation day hair and make up and clothing, and i thought that was the sweetest thing ever. my niece looked beautiful with her new hair cut and white halter dress.
everybody went nuts for a little longer before the crowd started dying off. then, the last three mothers tried to leave all at the same time and i just about panicked looking at all the stuff to be carried and asked if someone could hold violet for a few minutes while i carried stuff up and it turned into that thing i keep hearing about where "it takes a village" and elizabeth's mom took violet again and everyone packed everything up in about 20 seconds and we all jointly schlepped it up to the car.
i was immensely pleased when all the little people napped upon our arrival home.
for days after, i force fed oliver and myself fruit and sandwiches. i even made some apple/pear sauce, which really impressed me with its flavor, but did not seem to do a thing for either of my children. "oh no, mommy... only applesauce from a jar will do for us," they said.
here you see elizabeth feeding oliver. i hear this went on quite a bit when they were in the toddler room together, seeing as how she was the fastest eater and he the slowest. but i'd never seen it in action before.