Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fireman birthday party!

I feel like I'm finally getting good at this Mommy-thing.  It's only taken me three years.

This weekend was Pete's birthday and I planned a backyard party on Saturday afternoon with a fire-truck theme.  Firetrucks, by the way, are slowly replacing trains as the toy of choice around here.  In fact, a lot of things are closing the gap, catching up to the once exclusively adored trains.  At his second Christmas, every toy Pete received was a train or related to a train.  For months, every time a package arrived in the mail, Pete jumped up and down yelling "Choo-choo!" even if the package was Ryan's school books.

Where there was once just trains, now there are  trucks, cranes, racecars, motorcycles, helicopters and four-wheelers.  Clearly my child is his father's son.  He even goes so far as to take his screwdriver set and "fix" his vehicles.   

But back to the party.  I managed to plan in advance this year and send out the facebook evites and some adorable handmade invitations.  I investigated a firetruck to visit the party, but WOW those are crazy expensive.  If you need something to do with yourself in retirement, buy a firetruck and rent yourself out for parades and birthday parties.  Instead of the firetruck, it seemed a better idea to rent a bounce house from Hanscom AFB to get all the kids moving and bouncing and most importantly tired!  Additionally, there is a racetrack painted on the floor in my basement (thank you Ryan!) and if everyone brings a bike or tricycle, we'd have all the kids occupied and ready to pass out by naptime.  Convinced I'd planned a wonderful party, I sat back to relax until the week of the birthday to begin making the cake and food. 

The week of the party, I checked the weather forecast and it got worse and worse as the week progressed.  Partly cloudy.  Mostly cloudy.  Chance of showers.  Scattered showers.  Rain.  Total washout, downpours, build an ark.  Damn.  Our house is not big enough for 12 kids, let alone their parents.  How would I serve food?  Where could they all play?  The panic started to set in. 

At the mall to pick up a firetruck cake pan, I found the answer.  Across from AC Moore was the newly expanded Mall Tots.  Their birthday package was downright reasonable and they could fit us in at 10am on Saturday, the time we had already scheduled the party at home.  Many places require you to purchase their food and drinks, but Mall Tots was more than accommodating to my healthy turkey roll ups and fruit and vegetable trays.  I booked the venue, alerted the guests and breathed a sigh of relief.  Crisis averted.  I could still use my healthy birthday treats and I didn't need to clean my house! 

Jennie and I spent all of Friday baking and decorating the firetruck cake, I couldn't have done it without her!  I imagine someday my children will want a store-bought cake, and they won't understand until years later that it's not about the cost of ordering a cake, it's how much love I squeezed into every inch of that homemade firetruck cake.  I don't look down on anyone who orders the pizza, serves the ice cream and orders a cake, because I'm sure they love their children just as much as I love mine.  But for me, the love is in the hours we spent getting the buttercream icing just right and salvaging the yellow icing after the goldenrod debacle. 

The party went off without a hitch.  Pete found a firetruck cozy coupe and rode in it the entire two hours.  There were age appropriate toys for all the guests, from 11 months to 5 years old.  I cannot speak highly enough of the Mall Tots, and I'm pretty sure that many of our guests will be booking their upcoming birthday parties there as well.

If you've heard my rants about children who run up and get in the face of the birthday child, opening presents and blocking the view for all the other guests, I should tell you that all the children  (and the parents) at our party did exceptionally well watching Pete open his presents.  They all took turns hitting the pinata, and there weren't any fights over the treats they collected to put in their firetruck loot bags.  In fact, when Chase's firetruck toy was broken, Pete handed him a new one without anyone telling him too.  The sappy Mom in me just about cried to see him acting so kindly.  A big shout out to our friends who parent their children, it's rare these days to find a group of children so well-behaved and polite. 

And my husband deserves a shout-out too, for dealing with me during my panic over the weather, for entertaining all the children while Jennie and I baked on Friday, and for coming through with all the last minute fixes like twine for the pinata.  I <3 him.

By the way, when we got home, the dogs had pissed all over the kitchen floor.  No day goes perfectly around here!

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