Friday, October 5, 2012

Plans, planes, and parental psychosis

It doesn't seem like it was that long ago when the fam & I were 100+ days away from our grand family vacation to Disneyland.  Now here we are in the final stretch.  Less than one week before we fly off into the sunset. (Almost literally, because our plane leaves early in the morning.)  I've been so tense the last couple weeks that I've found myself clenching my jaw, causing my back teeth to ache when I catch myself & finally ease up.  Seriously, this vacation cannot come soon enough.  Also, I've decided planning a  vacation 10 months in advance is torturous and stupid.

I'm sure I've mentioned this vacation is also a celebration of our daughter's 10th birthday.  Since her birthday gift from us is a full 6 days in the happiest place on Earth, we obviously decided to forgo the usual spectacle that is our kiddo's bday party.  (Oh, if I were rich, her parties would be RIDONCULOUS!  Finances are the only thing that reign me in.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE party planning!)  However, after a summer full of invitations to other kids' birthdays, the hubs was planting the bug in my ear about throwing some kind of little gathering so that Trin can celebrate with her friends, too.  Which is why on the weekend before we leave for Disneyland, I'm prepping for a birthday party.  It won't be anything near what her other birthday parties have been, but I'll admit, that's been a hard pill to swallow.  Not because I want to spend tons of money & eat the stress of planning a huge to-do, but because I don't quite know HOW to do this on a small scale.

Trin's first 4 birthdays were relatively simple.  There were a few little crafty things thrown in, but for the most part, I stuck to easy themes. (Disney Princess, Blues Clues, butterflies, and Cars, in that order.) You know, the kind where you can just pop down to the local big discount store & pick up almost everything you need, perfectly coordinated?  Piece of cake.  Then came her 5th birthday, which pretty much sparked an insatiable need to do something equally or more awesome each year.  The theme for her 5th birthday was Willy Wonka.  We had a sleepover with 10 kids the night before, then threw the party at a local Family Fun Center.  Her invitations were 1/2 lb Hershey's chocolate bars.  I took off the brown outer wrapping, flipped it inside out, then glued it back on.  Before gluing it back in place, I included a gold velum "ticket" that had the actual party info printed in Wonka font.  On the outer wrapping, I glued a little piece of paper w/ "You're Invited" in Wonka font & glitter around the border.  The goody bags were brown paper bags w/ purple Wonka hats attached to the top, full of exclusively Wonka candies, and a ribbon tying them closed.  I even went so far as to make lickable wallpaper.  I melted down suckers, then blobbed that onto some colorful bulletin board border.  Yep, I'm crazy.
The gloves I made for Trin's 7th bday party

Trin's 6th birthday was a Care Bears theme.  I made magnetic invitations with craft foam, rainbow ribbon, and white felt clouds, fruit platters arranged like rainbows w/ white fruit dip clouds, and colorful goody bags & decorations galore.  Her 7th birthday was a Michael Jackson theme.   I bought all the kids VIP badges (like backstage passes, get it?!), made them all white gloves that I hot-glued little rhinestones onto, and pretty much had to improvise out the wazoo as far as decorations go b/c, believe it or not, the local party stores don't keep Michael Jackson plates in stock. Her 8th birthday was an Alice-In-Wonderland inspired tea party theme.  We scoured yard sales & thrift stores for various teapots & cups, decorated the table w/ playing cards, and tagged all the food & drinks with "eat me" or "drink me".  Last year was kind of a two-fer party.  We took a select few kids to Wildlife Images, an animal rescue facility on the outskirts of a nearby town.  We had cupcakes, snacks, goody bags, and a guided tour.  Afterward, we headed home for an Angry Birds themed party at our house.  Again, there wasn't a wealth of decor available, so I improvised.  I made the invitations out of cardstock and printed them up using an Angry Birds font I found online. I bought some Angry Birds wall stickers to stick on a plain colored table cloth and I used plastic cups as goody containers, gluing an angry bird on the front, filling a piece of colored tissue paper w/ the goodies, then placing it in a clear cup & sticking a coordinating feather out of the top.  As much of a challenge as it can be trying to pull together a not-too-ghetto looking party w/out pre-made decorations, I kind of love it, too.  I think it's the fact that no matter what, my child has always moved to the beat of her own drum.  She doesn't always follow the trend and her birthday parties are a direct reflection of her character.  She's just too dang cool.
Goody cups from Trin's 9th bday

I had envisioned simple Disney-inspired decorations for this year's party at home, but as always, Trinity had other ideas.  She opted for a Paul Frank Monkey invitation.  Now, I may be white trash, but I've got enough class to know that you can't have one style of invitation w/out coordinating the party decor accordingly.  So we're making monkey-face cupcakes and using streamers and a table cloth that match the colors of the invitations.  The hubs & I are still arguing over goody bags.  (Cutting it close, I know....the party is tomorrow!)  He thinks we should make some, I think we should skip it due to financial constraints.  He'll most likely win.  He always does.  And he's always right.  Okay, well, most of the time anyway.  We're kicking around the idea of a silly string fight in the yard, but otherwise we're just doing simple cake, ice cream, and presents.  I keep reminding myself that it's okay that I'm not going all-out on this year's party b/c we're spending a week in Disneyland for crying out loud.  It doesn't get much better than that.  Still, I have the urge to pull together a last minute extravaganza, so it's a good thing I have limited access to our Disney fund or we'd be nuking ramen in our hotel room all week.


  1. You do way more on birthdays then I do! Lol Its cold when my kids were born (yep all 3!) so I rent a hotel room, and let them swim the entire time. They have never asked for anything different (thus far) but my oldest is almost 11. So I foresee Disneyland in my future too.

    Good Luck!

  2. Wow! And I thought my birthday parties were innovative. Maybe you should write a book.



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