Monday, June 9, 2014

Berzo Bear's Picnic

Little Party Girls are Ready!
Our little Berzo Bear turned three on Thursday. Saturday was Charley's half marathon, so that left Sunday for the party. Since Berzo is only turning three, I took advantage of what will probably be my last opportunity to choose her party theme, so I chose Teddy Bear Picnic. We have pretend picnics with the girls' Steiff bears, Oma and Opa Bear, almost daily, so she was happy with the idea as I explained it to her. Then Boots would ask Berzo what cake she wanted, (while I was shooting her the evil eye from across the room) and Berzo would usually say she wanted a kitty cat cake.

“Mom I think we should let Berzo have the type of cake she wants, not what you want—it is her birthday.”

It's good to know that Boots listens, but why does she use my teaching to thwart me??

It took a little coaxing but eventually Berzo consented to having a teddy bear cake. Whew. (How do you make a kitty cat cake??)

In keeping with the picnic theme, I decided to make each of the littlest guests a picnic blanket, and buy them a basket. After buying the material for the blankets, I decided that the guests could bring an Easter basket instead…

I was nervous about making so many blankets, (seven) and wondered if I was overcommitting myself. I hadn't sewn anything since I made my veil—for my wedding, ...calculating... 16 years ago.  But, I had a new machine and a month and a half in which to get them done. Thankfully, I also had my mother-in-law to give me advice on a pattern that would be simple yet sturdy. Once committed, I cranked them out one by one. They're not perfect—not even close—but they were handmade with love…

The day of the party came and the excited uncontained energy of the girls ricocheted off the walls, leaving a wake of disaster wherever they went. We sent them outside to play, then promptly brought them back in as their yelling and crying from tormenting each other was sure to wake up all the neighbors, who don't have toddlers that wake up at 5:45 a.m., on a Sunday.

Charley took them to the park to let them burn off some steam and to let me have a shot at cleaning up the house. About 9ish a.m. the doorbell rang. It was my friend, Lori, who was delivering super cute pudding cups made of entirely edible materials. Later, I felt like Willy Wonka chomping into my cup after the pudding was gone. She saw my wide eyes and offered a hand. I made some half excuse to give her a chance to run, incase she was only being polite… She didn't, so I put her to work. Lori made dozens of teddy bear shaped PB&J sandwiches, packaged munchies, and prepared pretty much all kids' picnic food.  Meanwhile I shifted into high gear to get the cleaning done. (I wasn't going for sparkly here, just not grody.) She left to get her son Sam ready, and around 10 a.m. the guests arrived.

Soon our house and backyard were hopping with some of our favorite people. Everyone pitched in at different times, hauling things out, taking pictures, setting up toys, helping the little ones, hauling things back inside...

The party was fun, big kids paired up with little ones for a scavenger hunt. It was neat to see the older kids so involved in helping the littler ones, who felt shy, yet excited at the attention. Next we herded the little ones in to fill their baskets with their picnic goodies, choose a blanket, and bring it all back outdoors. Berzo chose two juice boxes and a bag of bunny crackers for her lunch. The little ones sat in the shade and ate, and fed their stuffed animal friends. The adults and older kids had watermelon and Subway and enjoyed each other's company.

Happy birthday!
Then came the teddy bear cake, aflame with Berzo's three candles. Berzo made one wet, sputtering attempt to blow out the candles, which made me grateful she's healthy at the moment, then she took a mighty breath and blew all three candles out. We cheered and passed around cake and cupcakes. Berzo had three cupcakes and a piece of the teddy bear cake, all of which were licked clean of frosting—cake untouched.

Cake: noun, frosting holding apparatus.

Next Berzo opened her presents, and being shy she wasn't overtly enthusiastic. But I know she loves them, because she's hardly looked up from her gifts since the party guests departed.

It was a lovely day of visiting, sharing food, and gifts. When I had a moment to look around, although I was missing some people, I sat in wonder thinking about just how much I like every person here.  Before we had kids, Charley and I rarely entertained. Birthday parties are a lot of work and expensive, but they've pushed to get better at entertaining and given us a good, time-sensitive excuse to do it.

There's nothing like seeing your kid having fun at a party, and watching them watch you having fun at a party that was meant as a gift for them.   There is one thing I would like to improve on, being more organized in the days before and morning of the party to allow more time to enjoy our guests and to enjoy the little one, enjoying the day.  Luckily I have at least fifteen more years to get good at this.

From my favorite parenting guru, Elizabeth Pantley.  Mabye I can get Boots on board with a "party package" for her birthday...
7 Easy Tips for a Stress-Free Birthday Party

Madi Bear

Going on a Bear Hunt.  Gonna catch a big one...

Life is Good

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