Before you ask, yes, Bart made that cake.
Sure, maybe you were distracted by the 2 cutest Jedis in the galaxy, but I know you all want to know about the cake. ;) That’s homemade buttercream frosting, topped with fondant decorations. I, personally, am never disappointed by what my husband can do.
But back to the Jedis.
My husband has insisted I put this in writing. “Never again.” We just hosted a 50-person party for the 2nd year in a row (28 adults, 22 kids) at our home. And it’s all my fault. I want my children to feel special, and there seem to be no limits to that mission.
What makes it easier are the 6 times (I kid you not) over the 2 days prior to the party that Zoe said (unsolicited), “Mommy and Daddy, thank you so much for doing so much to make sure my party is so much fun.” Who can turn that down?
It almost makes the following worthwhile:
- I started 2 months ago reaching out to party companies around LA to find a “Rey” to come to the party (right after I convinced my husband to host the party at home)
- After interacting with a few, I booked Rey one month ago. (This will become important later…)
- Around that time, I started surfing pinterest for the MUST HAVE accessories for the party, including things we could “make”. Oooooh! Star Wars themed food labels! Star Wars puppets on a popsicle stick – Zoe and I could MAKE those! Star Wars themed sticker labels for Tic Tacs – a goodie bag must! (and oh so much more…)
- We made a trip to Party City to begin the dreaded Favor Bag process, getting the right colored cups (the “good guys” are blue and green NOT red and black), plates for food and cake, and themed decorations and tablecloths.
- Insert trip to Disney store to get Rey costume for Zoe and Star Wars figurines for decorations – oh, and Chewbacca PJs…
- No Rey costume small enough for Ella? No problem – head to Amazon.com for toddler version (This will also become important later).
- Can’t find favor bags that aren’t stupid expensive and “all bad guys”? Back to Pinterest for inspiration (read: something to steal). You’re a Trooper! bags – yay!
- OOOOOH – while you’re on Pinterest, notice the Tie Fighter cheese & crackers – the Chewbacca Bites – HAN SOLO IN CARONITE Jello (this was a huge hit).
- Two weeks before the party, realize that you need lots of “stuff” to make all that pinterest “stuff” and start random and frequent trips to grocery and Target for bits and pieces (including drinks, cake-making materials…)
- The weekend before the party, you’ll be out of town, so start BEFORE that obsessing over what you need/don’t have/need to do and start a Trello board to complement the google spreadsheet your husband “can never find”. This step will lead to insanity.
- That same weekend, start doing things like noticing the weeds in the backyard, the mostly-dust raised flower bed, the spiderwebs and exposed nails on the kids’ playhouse in the backyard – the one they NEVER use but you are certain will be a focal point of the party (turns out you’re right).
- On various evenings, print out all the things you found on Pinterest (above) and begin assembly. Goodie bags? Check. Tic Tac labels? Check. Food labels? Check. Puppets? Check. Goodie bags stuffed? Check.
- A week before the party, head back to Amazon.com to make sure the parents are festive for the party… “I am Your Father” black t-shirt for dad, “Trust me, I’m a Jedi” tshirt & Princess Leia bun headband (which I forgot to get out) for me, and a black/silver Star Wars scarf for Nina (my mom).
- During that week, talk yourself into booking a sitter the day before and the day after the party to “test” new backups for Ella, who starts school in 2 weeks – oh, and so you can “get stuff done”.
- Friday before the party at 4:59 pm (and I am not exaggerating), realize that the “Rey” company has not called to confirm final details, as promised. Call and leave voice mail, then email.
- FOR 3 DAYS STRAIGHT, DO NOT SIT DOWN.
- Day before party: Frantically begin trying to find new contact information for the “Rey” people. Email new email address you find, fill out form on site, send message on Facebook, call/email original contact info again. Plant the 11 “Celosa” plants that look like they’re from another planet in the raised bed. Also plant new succulents in the “dead” pots up front and add mulch to the front area. Obsessively clean and fix the “play house” out back and wipe down every item in sight. Popup two canopies in the back for shade. Shower. Train and feed a new backup sitter. Put up indoor decorations while kids napBuy the balloons in advance (including a huge R2D2 with moveable legs to hang out front). Husband makes the cake – flawlessly. Jump up and down for joy! . Clean the house. Shower again. Decide you need backup plan for lack of “Rey” and go back to 2 Targets and 3 random piñata shops to find Star Wars piñata. Buy Darth Vadar piñata. Pass out on sofa from exhaustion.
- Day of the party: Realize you don’t have anything to cover the food outside and one of your canopies is crap. When your child keeps asking when her party starts (repeatedly), set a timer on her iPad so she can look for herself (REGRET THIS LATER). Jump up and down for joy again when “Rey” company calls to apologize and confirm!! Take trip to Target AND Smart & Final AND Bed Bath and Beyond to find food nets. Feed and nap children. Realize that you cannot figure out how to fill the Darth Vadar piñata you now own and though you don’t need it, you have already poked hole in it and purchasd huge bag of candy… Give up on piñata. Then realize there are fewer than 2 hours before guests arrive and you still have a lot to do. Your dear mother starts assembling tie fighter cheese & crackers and setting up table. Husband leaves to pick up food and ice. You realize there are NO decorations in backyard yet… Setup backyard, tie R2D2 balloon out front, realize you also need to shower and promised your children you’d wake them before the party. One kid will get dressed as Rey with GUSTO. The other will put hers on, cry inconsolably (she’s still groggy), and insist it comes OFF! Talk her into a dress with stars on it – because your only backup is Chewbacca PJs and it’s warm outside… Listen to your other child countdown the MINUTES to her party, looking at that stupid timer you set, and say things like “Mom, it’s so close! Just 6 minutes left!” Sloppily apply makeup while you’re melting from sweat, throw on the t-shirt (and pants) and greet guests.
- [INSERT PARTY] I’ll let the photos do the talking for this part.
- Day after party: Well, this day is not over yet, but at 5:20 am, remember that the sprinklers are going to go off (since it’s Monday), then go un-decorate the entire backyard, taking down canopy and moving chairs to the deck. One of your exhausted children will wake and want to assemble every craft she got for her birthday. Meanwhile, the other will fall back to sleep in your lap for 1.5 hours, while the first insists that you help her (silently) with crafts and your husband snores on the sofa. To his credit, after that snore session (while you’re training the new new backup sitter), he will finish cleanup on his own of the outdoor areas. Love that guy.
I guess it’s a good thing that everyone (especially the guests of honor) think that the party was “great”. While 22 children are running in/out of my house, boys collaborating against girls to find hiding places (then running away like they found the plague when Rey arrives for Jedi training), I tell my husband “Never again.”
We rallied for cake time, as Rey finished up the last face painting and Bart set the candles in place, I rallied the troops to join us at the table, then rallied the kids to bang the table and demand “Cake Cake Cake”, which I thought would bring Bart running. Apparently there’s no “running” in cake, but it worked out just fine.
Anyway, I now know FOR SURE:
- Why parents book someone else’s venue for parties
- That I will never work in a child-related field
- Why party-planners get paid so much money (though I also do not want that job)
And I’m pretty sure that my kid would have been JUST AS HAPPY at a bouncy place or the zoo for her birthday, which we will find out for sure next year ;) Yes, Bart, I said that.
Something else I know for sure? Our kids are amazing. And only for these amazing children would we even consider the insanity you just read above. And thus wraps yet another year (the SEVENTH) of the blog, which I will dutifully print so that no one ever doubts how much we love our kids. And for when we are old(er) and losing our minds (more than now), we can look back at these times and be thankful we have 50 people (and even more who couldn’t make it) who we care about that are willing to share the insanity with us. That’s love.
This post would not be complete without a little bit of Jedi training:
And I’ll end up my rant (though my husband will be thankful for this post NEXT July when I decide that “maybe” we “could” do a party at home again), with photographic evidence of the work that went into this year’s Zoe + Ella production.