Monday, November 14, 2005

Let's Party!

Lauren's birthday party has come and gone. Thank God. It was fun, but exhausting, and I'm glad to have my house back to myself. There were lots and lots of people here, it seemed, but it went well. A few of the local friends ended up leaving their older kid home so there weren't *quite* as many 4 year olds running around. 5 preschoolers and one 7-yr old ringleader were plenty. The 2 year old crowd was mellow. Somehow we made it all work.

The night before the party was a bit frantic. I got all the gift bags put together, got the house tidied up, and make the cupcakes and 4 colors of frosting. Mr. Chick tackled putting together the play kitchen for Lauren.

Mr. Chick begins assembling the toy kitchen for Lauren. Many 4-letter words were uttered during this process.

The fully assembled kitchen! Isn't it cute? It took 3 hours to put together, but the kids love it!

The gift bags Nicholas and I put together the day before the party. He was most excited about these for some reason...

The morning of the party dawned bright. Yay - no rain! Maybe the kids really could run around in the backyard instead of in my house! We moved into high gear right away, prepping for the party. Nicholas was given the all-important job of putting the cupcake toppings into their bowls. Coffee and juice were brewed, snacks were set out, kids were dressed. Most importantly, I showered. But before any of that happened Lauren got to "open" her kitchen. We had draped a big sheet over it and left it in the living room for her to see when she woke up. She pulled the sheet off and both kids got excited. Mr. Chick had the video camera rolling and captured some funny comments. We got Lauren saying "tank oo Opa" - so cute! Nicholas was a goof with the toy phone. They examined every inch of the kitchen and deemed it pretty cool. Me, too.

Lauren - the before picture. She's eating her breakfast of dry cereal while watching some cartoon. Normally we don't let the kids eat in front of the tv, but it was a special day and, well, I needed the distraction, frankly. Don't judge - you've done it, too. Note the dog she's holding? Yeah, she's really into that dog right now and carries it everywhere. She tells us repeatedly that the dog says "woof woof".

Then, right at 10am, the doorbell starts ringing. People are arriving and the chaos begins. Er, I mean, the party begins. I think we had to brew a couple more pots of coffee for people - my family had to leave Portland by 8am in order to get to us by 10. They needed the java. It was very cool of them to come. Nicholas adores his cousins and was bouncing off the walls because they were at his house. Literally bouncing off the walls - my nephews are wild and very, very physical. No furniture was safe. Thankfully, the friends from Portland were 1.5 hrs late. My house was filled to bursting without them there, so that was for the best. Besides, they were staying the night with us anyway so there was plenty of time to visit even if they did miss most of the party.

When it was time for cupcakes, I had to restrain Lauren from diving into hers before we sang to her. Actually hold her back because she was going for it. We lit her candles, sang "Happy Birthday" terribly off-key, and she immediately blew out her two candles all by herself. Her big brother didn't even get a chance to do it for her! The micro-second the candles were removed from her cupcake, she did a face-plant into it. For some reason Lauren didn't use her hands to eat it. This was new, but whatever. She ate like she was in a cupcake eating contest. Or maybe a dog. Regardless, it was pretty funny to watch.

The Birthday Girl has her own unique way of enjoying her cupcake. "Look Mom, no hands!"

Lauren, the aftermath.

Gift opening was a flurry of paper flying and kids squealing and general mayhem. I'm thrilled I didn't get trampled in the process and managed to note who gave her what. I'm all about the thank you's, remember? She got quite a bit of pretend food and such for her kitchen and of course it had to be opened immediately. That stuff scattered to every corner of my house. She received a toy shopping cart, which Nicholas commandeered with much excitement, practically forcing my mother into slave labor to assemble it "right now, Grandma, please!" She did, bless her heart.

After the party ended we all went to a local pizza place that has a gigantic area for kids to play. And play they did. We ate, visited with my family, and relaxed a bit. Then my family had to head back to Portland and we were able to visit with our friends who were staying with us. It was nice and the kids had a blast having friends for a sleep-over.

My house is trashed and I have mountains of laundry to do. Mr. Chick is gone for the night for work, so I'm flying solo today. My car keys won't come out of my ignition for some reason, so I have to deal with that today, too. We're out of milk. Lauren is getting sick. Just another day in the life . But I'm so glad we were able to host such a fun party for our precious daughter, who ain't so little any more. At her 2-yr check up she measured 36 inches tall (90th percentile), and weighed 32 lbs (95th percentile). But she'll always be my little girl, even when she's bigger than me. Which, at this rate, might just be by her next birthday!

How fun and exhausting!!!! She is sooooooooo darn cute!!!! Love the pics!

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