Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Adventures in Party Planning: Parker's Unbirthday

So I can cross off of the whimsical bucket list, "indulge October birthday child's request for a pool party shindig."

Now wishing that I had had the foresight to have at least one summer baby.  Reasons:  1.  Pool party birthdays are totally fun.  2.  Pool party birthdays are totally easy.  Seriously, they pretty much plan themselves.  No need to think of activities; the built-in activity is "swimming."  And if you are fortunate enough to be a member of Ridglea Country Club, someone else sets up the table for you, the club assigns you a dedicated waiter (for a more than reasonable flat rate of $25), et cetera, et cetera.

So, needless to say, a good time was had by all - adult guests included.  By "good time," I mean "a lot of folks stayed around until after 8 when the party started at 2."  Believe me, Mom and Dad were just fine with that.  Given all that we've got going on, Mom and Dad needed some couple friend time.  And, also, some frozen beverages - served, in a kind-of-breach of Ridglea protocol, in pitchers rather than by the glass.

More on the pitchers of frozen beverages in a future post.

Parnell and I joked that this party was sort of like a first birthday party - as much for the parents as for the kid.  But I think that Parker enjoyed himself, too.  Do these look like photos of a boy who enjoyed himself? 

Methinks that they do.

Much of the decor came courtesy of my friend Carrye Campbell at Invitation Monkey - including the birthday shark balloon sticker:

Okay, funny story about the royal blue tableloth: awhile back, I purchased several two-yard cuttings of tablecloth vinyl at Garden Ridge, for $5.99 each. Among the haul: two lengths of blue vinyl with dark blue and lime green polka dots, and one piece of turquoise metallic naugahyde. Do I have any idea where these are? No, which is incredibly ironic, because they were underfoot for A LONG TIME. They were thick, and folded took up a lot of space, and for a time they were just OUT in the house. Apparently, I got tired of them being OUT so I put them SOMEWHERE ELSE. And then, like every squirrel who misplaced a nut, I developed selective amnesia. Tore the house and the carriage house upside-down. No luck. I am confident that all of these items will turn up when we move - the definition of a day late and a dollar short.

So, the morning of the party, I headed back to Garden Ridge, hoping that they would have the exact same designs and colors in stock. Wouldn't hurt to have multiples, right? Yeah, no such luck. So I stared at what they did have, for a long time, and mentally cursed my fate. Then I "settled" on the royal blue, on the theory that it would provide a nice constrast to turquoise paper napkins and plates. Turned down the next aisle and, voila: a smallish polka-dotted beach towel (translation: INSTANT TABLE RUNNER!) in the colors of the party, clearance-priced at under four bucks, and next to the towel was a stack of turquoise waffle vinyl placemats, fifty cents each. Went home, got out some circle templates and cut out turquoise bubbles of various sizes; remembered that I owned lime green placemats similar to the turquoise ones, and cut those up, too. (I wasn't using them. What's that line from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" The line that I love so much? You mean to tell me that you sold your everlasting soul to the devil? "Well, I figured I wasn't using it.")

Long story short, royal blue tablecloth plus beach towel plus bubble-age equaled a much cuter party table than I had found the earlier supply stash. Doesn't it always seem to work out that way? And now I have a royal blue tablecloth that doesn't duplicate the others and "will come in helpful," to quote my college roommate from Big Spring, Texas. Or, "BIIIG SPRAAANG, Texas," the way she pronounced it. Hey, come to think of it, my college roommate from BIIIG SPRAAANG, Texas, sounded EXACTLY like an extra from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Small world! Cue Elton John singing "The Circle of Life."

Um, where was I?

Oh, the non-duplicative tablecloth will come in helpful - that is, assuming that I don't misplace it. Better not store it with the others. Which should be easy to accomplish, SINCE I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THEY ARE.

I digress again.

Favors included shark-embellished party crackers (filled with blue and green leis and little rubber sea critters) and gummi kabobs wrapped in cellophane trimmed with shark stickers from Invitation Monkey:

Kabob backsides are pictured below.  Those are folded sour belts flanking the various colored gummi sour rings in the middle.  I told myself that the blue sour belts, when folded, resembled waves, and the rings were like life preservers.  Not that any explanation was necessary:  the kids just opened them up and ate them, without bothering to place them in any aquatic context.  No, the explanation was for me - to keep me from going postal after I visited every candy retailer in a fifteen-mile radius, only to discover that NO ONE HAD GUMMI SHARKS.  Seriously?  Central Market always has them (only when I don't need them, evidently), and if they don't, the World Market across the parking lot should.  Strikes one and two.  I checked a few other locales, and then inspiration struck:  the candy store in the mall, just past the Rave Theater!  The one with eighteen thousand bins.

Would you believe that only 17,999 bins were filled, and the empty one just so happened to be labeled GUMMI SHARKS?

(Editor's note:  Just had an aha moment.  The candy store inside the zoo.  That place is bound to have gummi sharks.  Day late and a dollar short is starting to show up as a recurring theme in this post.)

Polka-dotted paper cups were left over from a Fourth of July party.  Slapped on some more of the round shark stickers and, BOOM, finished.  To keep the cups from blowing away pre-cake time, I filled each one with a new splash bomb pool toy.  Paper plates and napkins were weighted down with cupcake liners filled with blue Jelly Bellys (the "ocean") and topped with gummi fish for a sort-of fish bowl effect.

Other favors included water guns  (and more little kid-friendly sand/water sifters for the smallest fry),

and, also, shark hats.  Even the adults appreciated the shark hats.  (Lauren Grace's dad is threatening to wear his while he mows his lawn.  He figures that his neighbors already have pegged him  for crazy, so why not indulge their preconceptions?

Cake was a simple bakery cake, decorated to look like water, and typed with another "Sharky" (this one a vinyl cutout, also from Invitation Monkey).

Like I say, the party was a success all around.  And now I am wondering what other special occasions I can co-opt.  Thanksgiving pool party just doesn't have the same ring and zing.  Bikini Halloween costume contest?  Wait, I PERSONALLY might be called upon to wear a bikini under these circumstances. Withdraw the question.

Happy "almost seven unbirthday," my sweet Shark Boy.

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