January is a busy month for us in the birthday department. Last week we celebrated Shannon and Ellie's birthday - each with their own friend-party.
Shannon chose to invite her friends over for a pizza-ice skating-sleepover-party.
Shannon and her friends
Opening some presents.
On the way to the ice-center we noticed an incredible amount of traffic, all heading in the same direction.
"Hmmmmm, wonder where these people are all going?? Wonder if they are having a super-sale at the Dodge dealership?"
Turns out that I should have called ahead of time. There was a hockey game that night (against BYU I think) and a gazillion people were attending.
So we went to plan B.
Roller blading at the Fun Park.
Guess how many hours 11-year old girls can roller blade without getting tired?
The next day at Ellie's party:
(This is minute-by-minute account of her party for your enjoyment/use/guideline of what-to-do-or-what-not-to-do.)
1:30 pm Guests arrive
1:31 While waiting for all guests to arrive have children do this:
Draw and color themselves on a long roll of paper.
1:42 Make sure they are all coloring on the PAPER (not the floor, each other, or the couch.)
1:50 They are still coloring?? Offer positive reinforcement,
"Wow! That's so good!! You draw so well!! I LOVE your pink hair!! That looks just like you!!"
1:55 "Time to finish it up everyone! We have games to play! Yeah!! Cause this is a PaR-taY!! Okay?? You have 20 seconds to finish and put the markers away!!"
1:55 "10-9-8-7... Hurry!! Get all the markers put away!! 6-5-4... Oh dear almost out of time!!! 3-2-1! Markers DOWN!"
1:56 Roll up humongous paper roll and put it away (probably never to be seen again).
1:57 Play "Throw the Smile".
2:00 This game is boring.
2:02 Decide to play a new game.
2:04 YEAH! This one is much better!!
2:06 Pause game. Everyone is thirsty.
2:06-2:10 Get cups and drinks for thirsty kids
2:11 Resume game.
2:14 Mental dialog: "I still have 4 other things planned and I am running out of time! We need to get things movin!"
2:15 "Okay we have a winner!!! Time to make crafts!!"
2:15 Kids don't want to make crafts at this time. They want to open PRESENTS.
2:16 "Okay kids! Let's open presents! Yeah!! Whoo-hoo!" (It's important to keep the energy up.)
2:17-2:25 Ellie opens her presents. I run to a fro gathering up wrapping paper, ribbon and tissue, keep track of who gave what and make sure that Ellie says "Thank you".
2:26 "NOW it's time for crafts!! We are making snowmen!!"
2:26 Gather the kids around the kitchen table.
2:27 Instructions are given.
2:28 Everyone needs help AT THE SAME TIME.
2:29 Mental note: Don't make crafts with 5-6 year olds that require them to put small dried beans into a very small sock. They drop 9-10 of them on the floor.
2:38 I am a frantic blur of, "Who needs a scarf? Who needs their sock tied? Who needs more beans? Who is ready for glue? Can someone please help me because I am going crazy?"
I didn't really say that last one. Out loud.
2:50 Only ten minutes before parents arrive!! Crap!! We haven't sung happy birthday yet! We haven't even had cake and ice cream!!
2:51 I multi-task by hot gluing snowmen and lighting the candles and singing happy birthday and YES I burned my fingers several times.
Did I say I lit the candles? I guess Shannon did.
See. I told you I was frantic.
2:52 Shannon dishes out the ice cream and cupcakes, I am a hot-gluing as fast as my poor burnt fingers will allow and Matt is picking up the beans that are all over the floor before Shelby puts them in her mouth. I have no recollection of anything else at this time.
2:56 The first parent arrives to pick up their child.
"NO!!! I'm not done yet! Hurry, gimme your snowman! Where's his eyes?? What color of buttons do you want?? Where's his hat??"
The kid is eating ice cream. She doesn't care.
2:57 My sweet visiting teaching partner arrives to pick up her granddaughter. She doesn't say a word and dives right in to help.
3:06 "Wait!!! Don't leave yet!! I have goodie sacks!! Don't forget your goodie sack!
3:15 I am grateful for parents who were late picking up their kids. I am grateful that I only have 3 more snowmen to finish.
3:20 Last kid is out the door. With Matt and Shannon's help we clean up. It isn't too bad. Cake crumbs, beans and string. Phish, easy.
3:41 Reflecting back, I feel the party went well. We didn't do everything that I had planned. But no one cried, no one said they were bored, nothing got broken, no one got lost or forgotten, everyone liked the cupcakes and...
Ellie was happy.
Sigh. The things we do for our kids.