Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Tale of a Birthday Party

I survived.  
It was my daughter's first slumber party, and I survived it.  Beyond that, it was an "American Girl" themed birthday slumber party, so it was ultra-girly...and I survived it.  

Girls showed up with overnight bags, sleeping bags, their special doll friends, and their special doll friends' clothes.   There was A LOT of pink and purple, flowers, butterflies, and stars.  A LOT of stars seemed to be surrounding us everywhere!  I wanted this party to not only celebrate this beautiful girl turning eight, but also to celebrate her girl friends - to encourage these wonderful girls in a time when they are so often pushed to grow up before they are ready.  That's not to say I was going to treat them to an evening of Dora the Explorer to keep them young for as long as possible, but I did want them to walk away from this party knowing how incredibly special they are.

Where there weren't pretty things decorating the house, there were 8 year old girls and their "crushes"...I had heard my daughter speak of Ross Lynch (Disney's Austin & Ally) and who doesn't hear girls giggle over the group One Direction...but I had no idea...dear Lord I had no idea.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My daughter's 8th birthday fell on a Thursday this year, and as luck would have it, she had a soccer game scheduled for that day also.  I could quickly foresee that her birthDAY would come and go without much opportunity for celebration.  This was also the year that the children knew they would not be having large & grand parties with all of their classmates, on location with play areas, video games, or large giant rodents serving poor excuses for pizza.  All parties for this year's birthdays would be held at home with a few close friends.

Therein lies a problem.  The princess is a social butterfly.  A few close friends is a very difficult decision to make for an 8 year old girl.  But she chose for herself, and she chose a lovely group of girls.  Five of them.

Homemade pizza was on the menu - at the request of the birthday girl.  Admittedly, that was an ego-boost to this momma.  Anytime they request something special of mine that doesn't come in a box or a can, it makes me want to do an imaginary little "whoop whoop" and dance a jig.  But I managed to contain myself while my sauce simmered and I rolled the pizza dough.

After pizza, we went straight for the cake...or cupcakes actually.  The princess and I had found a picture of a really adorable "cupcake cake"...no characters, nothing crazy, just colorful and cute (and it was on a website for another American Girl party which helped.)  My bakery of choice said "sure no problem" (since I don't bake nearly as well as making homemade pizza), but the vivid pink airbrushed frosting turned out to be just a startling hottest of hot pink frosting.  I found a colorful bouquet of posies to be able to snip a few for the cake, and the remaining made a nice centerpiece for the table.

A note...although the cake was adorable, a verbal warning to the girls to "be careful, the bright pink frosting WILL STAIN!" was not enough to keep them from purposely smearing it on their cheeks and their noses like make-up artists in training.  (The party was put on pause while a lot of warm, soapy washcloths emerged.)

There was American Girl Bingo (courtesy of kidscraps.com), American Girl "Cootie Catchers" (the girls called them Fortune Tellers) - the girls loved reading all of the fortunes, but the ones they could color themselves took way too long while the girls who chose the ones already in color were getting antsy for the next activity.  For my perfectionist, over-achieving princess...hers didn't get finished until the day after when she had some free time to herself.  There were also "glitterized"American Girl word frames the girls helped to decorate.                                                             
                                 
In between activities, to keep the girls from getting tired of being around the table all night, I would send them into the other room for a "2-minute Dance Party" while I'd clean up the previous activity and set up for the next one.  It was just enough time for them to blow off some energy and then come right back ready for whatever was waiting for them.


When it came time for gifts, I think the highlight of the evening was when the princess opened her "I Love One Direction" t-shirt, the reaction from all of the little princess friends was as if the band of boys was right there in the room with them.  They were naming each one, and exclaiming how cute this one was, and how handsome that one is...and oh good Lord!  I can only laugh as it reminded me of my own young girl crush back in the day of a certain young singer/actor by the name of Leif Garrett. {sigh}  wow...that makes me feel old!

Activities over for the night, the girls and their dolls settled into their jammies, sleeping bags and the feature presentation of the evening - what else?  The newest American Girl movie "McKenna Shoots For The Stars".  In addition to their crafts, I sent them on their way with a small American Girl book (sold in a box 0f 6 for $2 on Ebay, thank you very much) a paper doll fashion kit (generously donated by another mom), and a custom made CD which included some of princess' favorite songs from Owl City, One Direction, and Disney's Shake It Up.

It was loud, it was crazy, and the girls were up way too late (for 8 year olds) and up way too early (for this momma)...but when in the middle of the evening, my princess came up and wrapped her arms around me for no other reason than pure excitement and gratitude for her party....it was all worth it in the end.

And yes...I survived it.


C.