It was the year that my dad took me and most of my siblings to do the bumper boats and then out for ice cream. My mom was sick and so was one or two of my siblings, so she stayed home with them, and the rest of us went out. We didn't grow up doing much for birthday parties, til you turned 10 and got a sleepover. So to go do the bumper boats was a HUGE THING for us.
well, my bumper boat got stuck going in a circle, for a long time. and I'm not sure if it was the spinning that made me feel sick, or the sick bug that was going through my family that made me feel sick, or what. But when we got to McDonalds for ice cream, I barely made it out of the van when I puked all over the parking lot.
It's a VERY clear memory for me. So to realize that my kids are now at the point where they could have VERY clear memories about stuff kind of concerns me. how are they going to remember me? what are they going to say to their kids about what their mom did? I think about that a lot.
So when things like birthdays come up, i never really know what to do. We've always done the same thing for Lillian since she got into school. we hand out little invitations to everyone at the bus stop in the morning (so they don't feel like they have to go out and buy a gift) and invite them to pop in after school and get a cupcake.
That way we get a celebration, she feels special, I didn't spend tons of money, I don't have to entertain anybody, and everyone's happy!
but this year she really really really wanted a party where she could invite her friends.
now here's the thing about parties here. We've been invited to parties at all sorts of places like the pizza machine, p.e. 101, bouncy places, the skating rink, all sorts of places. So I kinda feel like that's what's expected when you throw a party around here!
well, guess what. that's not how I roll. So I talked to Lillian about how I'm not doing daycare anymore so we don't have any extra money to be doing fancy parties and such. But I also don't want her growing up thinking that you have to spend tons of money in order to have fun. SO, we decided together that we would throw a SUPER low budget party, but she could invite her friends.
It's kinda hard, ya know? in a world with pinterest and blogs and facebook and such, to do something simple. and be okay with it. there's a quote floating around that I've seen a few times about how we are always comparing our own lives to other people's highlight reels. and isn't that the truth. The big fancy parties going on these days are more for the moms to feel good about themselves I think. The kids couldn't care less.
so, the deal was: aldi pizzas for food ($5 each for a massive pizza. i bought two.) I would make cute cupcakes, but we weren't going to get ice cream to go with them. (and, ok, I spent probably like $25 on cupcake stuff, but it made LOTS of cupcakes, for the birthday party (2 parties actually) and the school bake sale, and some for the school secretaries, and I still have some supplies left from the butterflies, which will get used at a later date I'm sure. that did end up being more expensive than I hoped, but it's because I wanted lots of colors of butterflies.) :) and we were not going to send little gift baggies home with everyone, but I would let them each design a pinkadink headband, and that could be their little take home activity. oh, and I photocopied a butterfly picture for everyone to color while they waited for their turn to design a headband. oh, and because I"m a sucker for cute, I bought a set of paper lanterns, just to make it seem a LITTLE more party-ish. but I bought green, so you better believe we'll get lots and lots of use out of them. :)
and that was the party! it was only two hours long, we had 15 kids and one adult, and the kids loved it I think! in fact, I know they did. I didn't need to plan a big party to boost my self esteem, because inviting a bunch of 8 year olds over will do the trick. I heard lots of conversations along the lines of "I wish Lillian's mom was my mom." "yeah, I wish Lillian's mom was my mom too!" "well, I wish I WAS Lillian's mom! she can make dresses!!!" and they all thought I was so pretty and so nice! it was all very cute and sweet and hilarious. you should try it sometime. seriously. :)
But I was really proud of myself. I resisted the urge to get all crafty and make decorations and such. because I LOVE that type of thing, but it just adds up money-wise. and someday I hope that the pinkadink is doing so well that we'll have extra money to throw a party like that. I certainly don't think it's wrong for moms to do that. trust me, I appreciate cuteness probably way more than the average person.
but for THIS party, and at THIS time in our life, I wanted to show Lillian (and myself) that simple can still be good.
***and you might be thinking that the cupcakes weren't simple. but if you try it, you'll see that anyone can do it! you can find the tutorial on my pinterest "treats" board. it was EASY PEASY I'm telling you. it just takes a lot of time.***
so anyway, here are some of the very few pictures I took, because when you have to make sure that 15 kids don't disappear or trample each other in your little house, it gets tricky to walk around with the camera. :)
my girl. where has the time gone???
the butterflies. aren't they pretty?
the decor. that was it. :)
the kids. I love this picture. :)
so there you have it. the freedom to throw a simple party. no comparisons, no expectations, no lack of fun, that's for sure. it felt good, it was fun, but I'm glad it's over. :)