Check the box, folks! We survived our second year as parents!
This past Saturday, we celebrated Ava's second birthday with a backyard barbecue—complete with a Mickey Mouse bounce house, sprinklers and kiddie pool for the little ones.
As you can gather from the pictures, the theme was Mickey Mouse—something that has endless possibilities when it comes to decorations, food ideas and activities. And I took FULL advantage!
The kids ran and played, ate and drank and truly enjoyed themselves! One of the little boys was so excited that when he showed up, he "dropped trou" and made a run for the bounce house, sending all of us into hysterics; I appreciated his willingness to get into the spirit by wearing his birthday suit! That particular party boy can come to any fiesta of ours!
The little ones played in the sandbox, pool, sprinklers, etc., but the bounce house was, by far, the biggest hit. It was worth every penny! And I'm sure the other parents appreciated it, especially when their kids passed out at home for the afternoon!
For the weeks leading up to the party, I spent countless hours working on things to make the little shindig more personal: handmade invitations, menu cards, cupcake toppers, Minnie Mouse-Krispie treat favors, Mickey Mouse ears for all of the guests, etc. I realize that she is far too young to remember any of this, but that's what we have cameras for. Right?! Besides, I think people appreciated the extra effort I put into the details. (Well, the girls did anyway!)
I made most of the food, but was pleasantly surprised to hear that the food I purchased was also a crowd pleaser, especially the mac 'n' cheese (or, Micaroni and cheese, as we called it) from Costco. It was a big hit. Even the bakery folks at Jewel came through with an overly delicious and decadent birthday cake and matching cupcakes, easily rivaling the cowgirl cake (see pic here) we had last year from Sweet Mandy B's in the city. Not to mention, we didn't have to spend Ava's college savings on it, either! Gotta love that!
The one thing I hadn't planned for was who would cook the "Happy Birthday Hamburgers" and "Hot Diggity Dogs" for our 40+ guests. Lucky for us, the owner of the Pork Shoppe is a friend of ours and was in attendance. He stepped up to the plate to "man the grill" and literally saved the day!
When everything was over, we literally collapsed. To say we were exhausted is a gross understatement. The party crew stayed until around 2:30. After that, the family found our way into the basement in the luxurious air conditioning where we watched Ava open some of her presents. And, boy, did she get some cool stuff!
Her bedroom now looks like something that could rival FAO Schwartz; the kid has more Woody & Buzz dolls than the Disney Store! The dogs mistakenly think they now have an abundance of new chew toys, which means I'm constantly hearing the words "No Biss! No WeeWee!" as she tells Biscuit and Willy, "My toys!" It cracks me up that she can hold her own with two 100-pound Labrador retrievers; they already know who's boss.
Time to sit down now and get to work on sending thank-you notes to everyone for their generosity. I realize it's not a wedding and it's unnecessary to send thank yous for birthday gifts, but I find it to be a good habit for her to get started on.
We were also impressed with the generosity of our neighbors, lending lawn chairs and driveways (for extra parking). I was even hand delivered a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, purchased at The Farm by our neighbor across the street. They were beautiful and were so huge, I felt a little like Miss America. I did a few shameless flicks of the wrist, waving to the non-existent crowd.
Mostly though, I am happy that our little darling had such a great time. She wore a smile all day long and was so exhausted that she literally passed out on me around 4 o'clock. (Yes, she skipped her nap.) it's the rule around here that you can do whatever you choose on your birthday: which means if she wants cake for breakfast, cake it is! No nap? That's fine! Candy all day? Be my guest!
Needless to say, she had all her little body could take when she finally surrendered to the sandman. I sat on the couch and shamelessly held her on my chest while she slept—something that I consider to be the best gift I have received all year long—my sweet girl, sleeping like a little baby in my arms. I couldn't help but think: How blessed am I?
Looks like I can put my party planning hat away until next year, something I am happy to do. It's nice to not have any monumental activities on the agenda for the remainder of my pregnancy, which means I will hopefully be able to catch up on some shuteye-- something I did Sunday for three hours, thanks to Ava sleeping the afternoon away obviously still exhausted from the day before's festivities.
Yep, from here on out, it looks like all I have to do is prep for our baby boy. And compared to all the things I did for the party, I'm thinking it should be a breeze!