First things first: look! New pictures of the wee one!
Now that’s out of the way….Madalyn’s party is now but a memory so it’s time to chronicle the event.
The shindig was scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Of course we kept with our family tradition of leaving way too much stuff for the last minute so we were running around like maniacs all day long (I still had towel on my head from my shower when guest started arriving). I about worked poor Robert to death but we did manage to get everything, decorating included, done before anyone arrived and that’s more than I can say for her party last year.
The theme was “Movie Night”. I borrowed 12 folding chairs from our church and we set them up in rows in our living room, in front of the telly. I had a “red carpet” runner that I ran down the center “aisle”. Out front, at the curb, I had a sign in the lawn that said “Celebrity Parking, Tonight Only” and then I tied red and black balloons to the porch railings. Inside I had door curtains that said “Movie Night” at the top and had reels of film, tickets and stars hanging from them, one on each door leading out of the living room. We had various cardboard cutouts on the wall and a banner that said “Hollywood” on the mantel.
In the kitchen I covered our table and put a Movie Night centerpiece and silver star confetti on it and used that to hold the matching plates and napkins. Then we set up our counter as a snack bar. We had different kinds of soda and cups with lids and straws. For food we popped popcorn and put it in red and white popcorn bags. We had a variety pack of candy bars, a variety pack of single-serving Pringles and a huge bag of Skittles. When someone wanted Skittles we used a small ladle to scoop some into little black plastic top hats. I bought play money and gave each kid a $5 bill. Everything at the snack bar was $1 each and they’d pay for however many things they got and we’d give them change. We did cupcakes (cream-filled chocolate with buttercream icing) instead of a cake.
For the first part of the party everyone just ran around and had fun playing in Madalyn’s room and outside. Our electric keyboard, which sits on a step in the sun room, was a hit. (You never know what’s going to interest kids!) In all my running around that morning I had forgotten one key element — the movie! — so Robert went out to get it, and pick up the pizzas, just as kids started to arrive. I meant to call ahead for the pizzas but got sidetracked and didn’t so he had to order them and wait for them there. I worried that it might make us run long (the party was due to end at 8:00) but it actually worked out well. He got back, they ate and got done just about the time we needed to start the movie.
The movie was “Meet the Robinsons”. We chose this because it was just released on DVD last week and it wasn’t in the theater here that long so we figured most kids wouldn’t have seen it. What I didn’t count on was the distraction factor. You put all those kids together in a house full of toys they’ve never seen before and they are going to have a hard time concentrating on a movie. I don’t think there was any kid who watched more than 30 minutes, total, of the film. There were two or three sitting and watching it at any given time but then they’d wander off and be replaced by some others. The important thing, though, is that everyone was enjoying him/herself, so I wasn’t too fussed about it.
Toward the end of the movie we did presents and then handed out cupcakes and goody bags just as parents were starting to arrive. We had told Madalyn that she could ask her good friend from school to stay over. She and her sister both wanted to stay and I said it was okay so Madalyn had her first sleepover! Madalyn and her friend passed out about 12:15.
We ended up having 11 kids total (counting Madalyn and JZ). It was a good number. They ranged in age from 4-9. There were two different factions — friends she knows from her class at school and friends we know from church or preschool days. The school classmates all know each other, of course, and then the church/preschool kids all know each other so there was no one that was odd man out because they didn’t know anyone. There was one boy who came and then a little girl from JZ’s preschool class so he was happy, too, because he had people to play with.
Madalyn had a great time and I’m thrilled that it seemed to be a resounding success. After her party last year (when only two of ten invited girls showed up) I was a little gun-shy but I think I had the right idea this year about inviting people whose parents I know. Last year we invited mostly kids from her class, none of whose parents I knew and I just don’t think they were motivated to make the effort to come.
For her actual birthday, on Sunday, we kept it low-key. Her friends weren’t picked up till after noon. Then we opened presents and Robert took her and JZ to his dad’s house to eat. About 5:00 I went to pick up a cake and took it over there. I don’t think Robert and I could have survived much more than that after all the work we put in on the party.
If anyone would like to see pictures (they are mostly of the decorations) you may find some here.