Tag Archives: parties

Like Ikea on a weekend

Things have been busy lately, like too much to see/do, but I’m on a mission so I can’t really stop to do half the things I’d like to do. My project list is about a mile long and growing.

The projects that involve the house are dependent on job coordination, when the necessary professionals can be here, weather, how large the payments are, etc. We tried to do the things that made the most sense first, but it’s turning out that nothing really makes “sense” and certain things are just baffling. Why don’t the outlets in the bathrooms work? Who knows. But it’s so not a priority right now. Dude with a saw who showed up this morning can just use an extension cord from across the hall. Why doesn’t the front door stay closed? Something with the door plate, but door technology is apparently beyond me. Door technology. God, what is wrong with my brain?

Projects that involve my daughter’s school are pretty much done for the year. But oh wait, there’s an Art Auction this spring. And an International dinner. They all sound like lovely events and I totally have signed up for them, but I’m already mentally pinning ideas to their imaginary boards and pretending like I have all the time in the world. La la la….

Then, there are projects that involve my commitment to solving global climate change. Those should probably be at the top of the list, huh? I really should have taken a class on programing and web development, probably graphic design. I’m fairly certain that aside from material science and public speaking, we are going to solve our planet’s energy crisis with the internet. Or at least it feels like it most days. I go to a lot of events, with a lot of the same people, but at the end of the day most of what I need to do is on my laptop. I wish I was more awesome at the internet. Anyone wanna volunteer?

I have some projects that involve annoying the crap out of my state senator. Discrimination, farming practices, coal, education, transportation: my husband said I should have a standing appointment every week until March where I show up wearing a different pin. There is probably nothing I’m going to say to him that he will ever agree with; he told me his favorite Justice ever is Scalia. I think that’s legislator-ese for “go home, little girl, your progressive views are scoffed at here.”

Party planning projects are ongoing. I have the loose framework for my daughter’s fourth birthday in mind, I have an idea for a dinner party I’d like to do soon, and I promised someone I’d help them with a reception. I could go on…

Projects involving my sewing machine: omg kill me now. I have no idea. I can dream far bigger than my skill set. This is a problem.

The rest of my projects are totally boring: cleaning, sorting, organizing, things you all do and are probably just as tired of as me. I start cleaning a counter and my brain starts planning a party. This is how the trouble starts.

Two for the Show

It’s taken me a couple weeks, but I wanted to post about the big celebration we just had for my little girl. So, here it goes! My daughter’s second birthday party was a kind of Horseracing/Kentucky Derby/1920’s Jazz themed event. I called it “Two for the Show” and sent out invitations that looked like the first page of the Daily Racing Form.

The party itself had Kentucky-ish food, mint juleps, a lemonade birthday cake, and cake pops. I sort of kept everything in the green, brown, silver, burlap, and white color template. I made these pennant bunting things with colors I liked and put little toy horses in apothecary jars and decorated the tables with burlap runners. My serving table was boards laid out on hay bales.
Anyway, I will show you some pictures and you can sort of see what I did.

Oh, and there were two ponies, one miniature. My daughter LOVED riding them. She was totally unafraid, as many kids can be around horses, and she had such a good time riding that I think maybe some future lessons are in order.

I made posters of my daughter at birth, age 1, and now and put house-numbers onto the foam board they were mounted on.

I put toy horses in some jars, mint in others.

I used canning jars for cups and served basil lemonade and mint limeade. There was also a small pitcher of mint juleps, of which I drank more than anyone…

the birthday girl and I

my daughter finishes her first of 4 cake pops… you can see the bunting I made overhead

blowing out the candles on her big cake

the tiny flags on the cake match the bunting and they also say “2 FOR THE SHOW” if you can’t see it…

My sweet little girl had so much fun and sugar, the food was all eaten up, the kids enjoyed the daylights out of the ponies, and no one lost any money to their bookie, so I’m pretty sure it was fantastic party. I had so much help, those people know who they are and they have my tremendous thanks.

Onto birthday three!


So it was my birthday last weekend. Don’t worry if you didn’t send a card. I’m old enough that I don’t really care about that anymore. I just would like my husband to buy me a present (check!) and to eat whatever I want (check!). I did forget to pre-order for a healthy child though…

My daughter woke up on my birthday with a huge fever and no desire to do anything but sleep, nurse, whine, and cling to me. It was about 92 F outside and the humidity of a jungle. We left the apartment to find air-conditioning at the bookstore downtown, but all my kid wanted to do was sleep on my shoulder. There was a lot of walking around inside while she slept. She was better the next day, so I suspect she had way too much sun/not enough water the day before when we were outside at two different picnics.

I remember really liking my birthday. I don’t know when that ended. Sometime in my mid-twenties? I think I turned 26 and was thinking “okay, I can stop now.” But then 27 showed up, then 28… Then, you just try to turn 30 without weeping. I was pregnant and very distracted with moving/baby showering/partying/going to cool things like a Lady Gaga concert. It’s probably the best way to turn 30, if you ask me. You almost don’t even notice! But since then, birthdays are just a yearly reminder that I’m not accomplishing very much, that the clock is ticking, that I’m probably going to need that botox sooner rather than later.

As much as I’m growing to dread my own birthday, I have this cute little girl whose birthday I love and is conveniently about 6 weeks after my own. Her party last year was fabulous, all miniature foods and drinks, little black dresses, and cocktails. Yes, I had a cocktail party for my 1 year old. No, she did not drink any of them. Calm down.

Her second birthday party is set to be pretty awesome. I can’t wait! I have a lot to do before then, especially the week before, but I’m excited. She will be so much more aware of the festivities this year, that will be nice. The party is mostly planned out in my head, it’s all execution at this point. I have a pinterest board… my husband some would say I go too far, but I do routinely stop myself from trying to pretty interesting things, so I DO have some sense of proportion. I have, this year, decided against adding turrets to the top of my mother’s house (venue) to make it look more like Churchill Downs. You know, things like that.

There is of course the cake. I am no cake maker, I have no formal pastry experience, but I do like a baking challenge. I am going to try to make a cool layer cake with buttercream frosting. I have tested a few recipes and have yet to settle on one. You only get one Second Birthday cake, so you know it has to be perfect. My daughter hasn’t yet determined what HER cake flavor is. Mine is carrot cake, not because carrot cake is my favorite, though I do like it. It’s carrot because when I was a kid, that’s what I had a few times and so I just asked for it every year after that. I had no idea that carrot cake and thus cream cheese frosting was really hard to assemble in the high heat of summer. My mom’s friend and neighbor usually made my cake in the walk-in cooler at her work. Someone should have told me; I would have been fine with chocolate! But that’s what happened, and now my birthday cake is carrot.

Someday my kid will have her own flavor, even though I would like not to have aged in the meantime, I can’t wait to find out what it is. I’m hoping for chocolate raspberry.

Of Parties and Schemes

No more fancy hats, mom. Someday I will be able to utter this thought and you'll have to listen.

Is it crazy that I have already mentally planned my daughter’s 3rd Birthday party? She’ll be a year and half at the end of next month, so I understand if you are like “well, a little crazy.”

But I figure that I only have a couple more of the kid’s birthdays where I get to choose the concept and things. Pretty soon, she’ll be demanding “Dora the Explorer” parties or whatever kids will be into in 2014. And I’ll basically have no say in the tastefulness and creativity of the idea.

I enjoy planning parties. I really do. I like to think I’m not too bad at it. My sister and I have hosted a themed party every summer for the last several years and when the baby came along in August, it seemed natural that our summer party became her birthday party. And I know that Julia might think I’m far to into all of this for my own good, but I can tell you that she’s no stranger to the elegantly executed event. She’s just faster at banging out the stunning results than I am. I like to procrastinate and ruminate.

And more than anything, I like coming up with fantastic party ideas. It’s what I do during the long hours of sitting in a dark room putting my baby to sleep or back to sleep. I think of cool party concepts. Is there something wrong with that? What do you do? Try to recite Shakespeare? Decide on the top 5 albums of the last decade? Invent underhanded compliments? Sums? Mentally reorganize the room? (I do a fair bit of the last one.)

Anyway, I am well on my way to putting the theoretical finishing touches on this summer’s party. I mean, I still have to DO all the things for it, but as least I know what I’m going to do. Knowing is half the battle, right? So, I’m off and running on the 3rd birthday and I think I’ve got a nice concept. Naturally, this made me leap briefly to “I wonder what we could do for her 4th birthday?” I stopped myself. Surely, by then, she’ll have her own opinions. I probably only get the next two to really exert myself. And then it’s “My Little Pony” all the way down.

Unless, she develops a taste for anime….. hmmm….

Happy Halloween, Mr President…

To mark another of my daughter’s rare childhood halloweens, we celebrated with two days of parties and two different costumes.

Yesterday, we went to a big indoor kid’s play area/gym that was throwing a big (and free!) party. The noise and motion was overwhelming. But my toddler had a blast when she wasn’t being knocked over by bigger kids. I dressed her up like a sock monkey, mostly because I already had the hat and a pair of knit pj’s that matched pretty well. I wanted a costume in which she could move easily.

Today, we went to a different party at a play cafe with some friends. I dressed up like Marilyn Monroe and my 14 month old dressed up like Jackie Kennedy. Her dad was supposed to be JFK, but he was lamesauce and went to work instead.

For her costume I only made the hat, which I made twice because I was unhappy with the size (too small) the first time. My second was too big, but more wearable. You know, in case my daughter needs a pink pillbox had this winter…

I learned some things today, about Halloween, playing in costumes, and parenting.

I learned that in some of our city neighborhoods, there are actually designated trick-or-treating hours. I will keep this in mind for next year, when my kid will be just about old enough for this. I learned that as cute as many costumes and costume accessories are, they are going to get disassembled during the act of merely LEAVING THE HOUSE. If you want something to stay on, it better be surgically stapled to your kid. Also, if you are going to dress your kid up as anything but the most simple, recognizable halloween childrens’ basics (ie. Cinderella, a ghost, a butterfly, a vegetable) you better accept that almost no one will be able to guess what they are. I learned that parents really do want to dress up and go party but by the time they get their kids out of the way, they just want to lay down and drink wine.

I also learned a little something about being Marilyn Monroe. A night ago, I watched “The Seven Year Itch” (for inspiration) while aggressively tweezing my eyebrows. For realz. It’s a little disarming how sexy Marilyn really was. Even if you’re not into blondes or glamour, she definitely exudes something. There’s no way I can incorporate that into a costume, but I attempted to at least the hair and makeup and dress right. I also identified some novel problems with someone like me playing someone like her.

Issues that did not concern Marilyn Monroe during her brief but troubled life:

baby carriers are not compatible with gowns
neither are nursing bras
playdates in heels
stray cheerios in handbag
I’m pretty sure this all makes me look fat

Issues we might have had in common:

creeping underwear
people staring
finding yourself short on cash
lipstick needing refreshed
husband completely not noticing that you look super glamorous
wanting a drink before 2pm

Happy Halloween, everyone!