Thursday, August 22, 2013

Four Wheelin' with Princesses

Last week was Mimi's 14th birthday. Gasp! I seriously don't know how fourteen years have gone by. It seems like just yesterday she was hopping and skipping alongside me with her little page boy hair cut. Sigh. Somehow at work the other day we got on the subject of kid's birthdays and the parents with younger kids were lamenting how out of control parties have become. Parents are spending $500-$1000 on 3-year old birthday parties. Whoever you are, stop doing that. You are CRAY-ZEE. Growing up, my birthday, every year, consisted of me and my 2 boy cousins celebrating together. We all had birthdays 5 days apart so we got one cake with our 3 names on it. We always had a family bbq at my cousin Karen's house and many times we ended with a family wiffle ball game. I always remember it being very fun, and I never remember feeling like I was being short changed. Times have changed though and even when my kids were growing up, parents were already out of control. I have always loved planning and having the kids birthdays at our house. I'm a party planner at heart so their birthdays have always been so fun. One year for Jack's birthday...he must have been 5 or 6, we had just moved into our house and we had a mound of dirt in the front yard, because we had no money to put in a lawn. Well, the mound was a boy's dream and Jack was out there every day playing with his trucks on it. I decided to embrace the mound and we had a four-wheeling birthday party. Everyone brought their motorized little four-wheel drive/cars and we had extras for those that didn't have them. We spray painted a course in orange in the dirt, turned on the hose to make some mud puddles, and put a few giant plastic alligators in the "lakes". It was a huge hit but let's just say that the Mom's that had their little girls in white dresses...it wasn't as much of a hit...for the Mom's. I made a homemade, imperfect chocolate cake covered in oreo crumbs for dirt and I topped it with matchbox cars. Jackie loved it! Mimi wanted a princess party for her 5th birthday, of course. So, we found a giant box and spray painted it silver and spent a weekend making a castle. I laid out a red long tablecloth for the runner and as the "princesses" arrived, they walked the red carpet, through the castle doors, and promptly went upstairs for their make overs. We did their hair, nails, and due to Mimi's extensive princess costume collection, everyone got dressed in a princess gown. Meanwhile the boys got swords and knight helmets and then with the adults gathered around each Prince & Princess came down the stairs for their grand entrance. We even played pin the tail on the toad. It was so cute! One year for Mimi we had a tea party on the town common and all the girls wore old lady hats that I found at a thrift shop and the boys got top hats. Another year for Jack we used the local baseball field and had a wiffle ball game and instead of a cake I had the ice cream man come. Silly little fun things that don't cost a lot but the kids still remember to this day. The kids are too old for parties now...I stopped them when they turned double digits (10), but they still get to do something with a friend or two. This year Mimi decided she wanted to share her favorite place, Cape Cod, with a few friends. My in-laws were so nice to let us use their house, especially considering it was 6 14-year olds and they weren't even going to be home for most of it. I picked them all up early in the morning and we drove to the Cape where Tim's parents were waiting for us at the marina to give us a boat ride down Bass River. This happens to be one of my favorite things to do each year so I was happy too. My mother in law had made a fruit platter for the girls and they munched on that while they cruised along looking at the houses and waving to everyone that went by. After that it was back to my in-laws where the girls had "chopped salads". They had put their order in the night before so I had an individual salad waiting for everyone. Then they swam and played on the beach for awhile, before deciding to play a few games on the deck. In the afternoon, I took them all out mini golfing and for ice cream. Then it was back to hang out and get ready for our "fancy" dinner. I guess they all thought it was fancy because I used a table cloth and they had candles and flowers? They all had Mimi's favorite meal - steak and twice baked potatoes. Later we had cake - Mimi had requested a ombre cake. I had no idea what that even was but apparently each layer of the cake is a slightly different shade of the same or different colors. Of course hers was 2 shades of green and 2 shades of pink, with white frosting in between. Thanks Pinterest! Later in the evening the munchies hit and I was ready with sour patch worms, Swedish fish, m&m's, and various other sugary treats. I thought I was in for a late night but they all went to bed at 11:30. Impressive. The next day we had to go back home early because Mimi & I had to turn around and go back to the Cape for a family party. Not fun, especially on Saturday which is the Cape's main changeover day for rentals. For breakfast I went out and got munchkins but set them up all cute on the table with waters and flowers...again I heard "What a fancy breakfast!" Yep....made 'em myself. I love when I don't have to work too hard to impress. I wish they were still having their little kid birthday parties, but I'll take what I can get, even if it is putting munchkins out with flowers.

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