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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Don't be Tardy for the Batty Party

I really want to write about the chaos that lead up to my little sister #4's wedding night and the postwedding nonsense, but it only happened 2 days ago so I feel it's a little t0o fresh to write about just yet. If I never get the good vibration that it's acceptable to blog on the subject, just know that YOU HAVE NO IDEA what efforts were put into the wedding before and after. You have no clue how hard Samantha tried to keep everyone's best interests (financial and emotional) in mind as she planned. You don't know the names of everyone that prepared the shrimp you ate, the cake laborers, the water bottle labelers, the name card printers, the flower arrangers, the research assistants, the clean up crew, the breakdown crew (one in the same), the painters, the gluers, the hot sauce team, the salad mixers--let me just stop. But a gorgeous wedding with such beautiful details doesn't just happen, and without Samantha's vision and research, and a whole lot of family and friends, and a few sleepless nights, July 28 simply would not have been all that it was. Let me take this opportunity to say thank you, on behalf of Samantha and Nick, to every person that found themselves willingly or unwillingly assisting and helping make their fairytale wedding a reality.

July 28 was Ryan's 29th birthday.  I knew there would be no time for Ryan the day of the wedding, so I gave him the day off a week before to checkout the new cable park in Grassy Key. It was sort of a lame present, seeing as how all I really gave him was a day to himself, but I kept thinking how much I would love a day to myself. Even though he couldn't unwrap his gift, for a dad of 4, a Saturday to yourself is a beautiful thing. So on the day of the wedding, his actual birthday, I snuck away with the twins at 6am to pick up some of his favorite breakfast items in an effort to make the day about him, at least until the night became all about Samantha and Nick.  Samantha wanted her 4 sisters and mom to to a relaxing breakfast with her that morning at Blue Heaven, which I thought was very sweet and special since we hadn't had a lot of sister time with up to this point. I know she was stressed and still dealing with table seating assignments and a whole slew of other unresolved issues, but I also know time with us helped her relax, even for just the breakfast hour.

Back at the house, with cousins in town, aunts, uncles and grandparents stopping by to say hello, and the regular babies squeeling, it was quite a warzone. What started out as a calm morning quickly spun into a frantic dash to get to the wedding on time. I started to get Juliette prepared to be a beautiful flowergirl around 2:30, knowing she had to be at the photoshoot by 3:45. But suddenly there was no time. The curlers I needed to do her hair were snatched up by another cousin, and I had to patiently wait until they were out. (They were the guests after all.)  My dad, DJ, and my mom were running in and out of the house picking up food, equipment, and other wedding items forgotten.  When I was finally ready to take Juliette downtown, less than a mile away, it was after 4pm. In the end, after Ryan and I finished running out to GFS for a final pick up of 20 gallons of water and 500 more cups, we ran back to the house and threw on our party clothes, dressed the babies and drove downtown as fast as we could, but we were only able to catch "I would like to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Batty!"....But hey. We were on time for the party. 


There's Love in the Licorice

Why do I enjoy crafting, planning, and putting together these kids' parties?? Let's work this out: I am not very innovative. I am good at borrowing ideas from the internet. I am semi creative, but not crafty.  I like to organize the people around me, but don't really organize my own life very well. I wonder if living here at the crazy bin has given me the excuse that I can't be organized because of my circumstances, when in reality I just can't be organized because I'm not wired that way. I like to be in charge. I suppose I like the sound of my voice. If I were you, I would listen to me. I would follow me.  I would want to be on my team.  So how can I get the validation that my soul desires if I can't act out these urges for control and power as a stay-at-home mother?  Ah ha! I will invite 2 dozen children to be my "guests" at a party and force organized fun upon them all...

I just ordered 2.5 lbs of green apple licorice sticks from have spent the last 2 weeks creating invitations, gluing coffee filters, folding and cutting tissue paper, soaking and scrubbing baby food jars, stringing banners, and creating party hats for the twins' first birthday party in 11 days. They actually don't turn 1 for another 16 days but we party early and hard 'round these parts. I've chosen a simple theme and am pretty excited about all the DIY crap I've made these last few nights. After this party, I'll add some pictures to satisfy your insatiable desire to see my handiwork.

(Here are some pics from the party! posted 2/22/13)


I know I'm not crafty. I have always been embarrassed of my lack of artistic ability and have shied away from crafty things since as far as I can remember. But in recent years I feel like I've been transforming into a new crafting creature. Most likely due to the internet, Pinterest and other shared ideas, I feel empowered to try new things and get crafty when it comes to my offspring and their birthday parties.  It's sort of a sick addiction at this point...I've learned that simple is best, but I can't seem to say no to a good cheap idea, and I end up committing myself and others to these unnecessary tasks of gluing, cutting, and hanging. In the end we're all exhausted but still, I can't stop myself. (I have to add that getting crafty isn't so hard when your critics will be under the age of 6. How can I go wrong?)

Pirate Party, cake by Julie Parker

I think it started last year when Luke turned 5. We had a huge pirate party for him and his cousin Jake...and for that I trapped Ryan into making driftwood pirate signs, a full size plank, and 3ft pirate ship replicas. We had family members tie up 30 redblack and white balloons around the park and fill waterballoons for a pirate battle. I turned wipe containers into treasure boxes, made 20 small cardboard islands for games, created riddles and rhymes for a treasure hunt, put together a tattoo parlor and dressup table, and was 6 months pregnant with twins. Two months after the twins were born we threw a "Tangled" party for Juliette's 3rd. I braided yellow tablecloths to create a 30 ft braid to hang outside of the party from the high balcony, precut green craft foam into chameleon features for the craft, filled old baby bottles with paints for a gallery corner, and convinced Ryan to build a 10 ft rapunzel tower, including a pickaboo window at the top for a picture opp. We opted out of the traditional cake and stacked a dozen donuts on a dowel, topped it with an upside-down waffle cone, and piped vines and flowers around it to make a tower...

Rapunzel's Donut Tower

"Tangled" Tower and desserts

When Luke turned 6 we gave him a "Pokemon" party, and I won't go into details but it was another scene of   craftiness. And now, as the babies get ready to not be babies, we're at it again. But in my defense, I'm a stay at home mom. I'm a professional mother. I don't wake up and get dressed to go take over the world at 8am, I wake up and feed babies, help bring structure to my children's lives, and keep them safe and thriving intellectually, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Right now, they're all I think about. They are my job. When Ryan comes home from work I tell him about my job, and he tells me about his. We are measured the same. He is as important to this equation as I am (so he says).  For other moms, there are work deadlines, promotions, projects, and planning meetings to juggle. There are online classes, exams, and papers. There are degrees to earn and bills to pay. But for me, for now, my children are what it's all about. (Hokey pokey, step aside). So yes, I may go overboard on birthday parties. I may waste too much time deciding between the green apple gumballs or the green apple licorice sticks. But at the end of the day, at the end of this year, at the end of all the years, when Juliette finishes her first and last ballet class, and Luke grows another inch, and Jackson & Lincoln start walking/talking, and even graduate high school, I have to know I did my best as their professional mom, to give them a unique and special experience that only I could have provided them.  Did I sing enough lullabies? Did I correct enough grammar? Was I silly and serious at the appropriate moments? Did I demand manners and respect? Did I show passion and creativity and warmth and love? Even in the little things? Even in the licorice sticks? I want to be able to say yes. Yes I did.  And so my friends, for those reasons, we craft onward!